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HomeSportsBaseballMLB News: Premier pitching matchup on tap as Braves host Tigers

MLB News: Premier pitching matchup on tap as Braves host Tigers

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Two pitchers who rank among the league leaders in ERA will square off on Wednesday afternoon when the Atlanta Braves go for a three-game sweep of the visiting Detroit Tigers.

The starting matchup features Detroit southpaw Tarik Skubal (8-2, 2.20 ERA) against Atlanta right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (4-2, 1.69).

Skubal ranks fourth in the American League in ERA. Lopez would sit first in the National League in ERA but has pitched only 69 1/3 innings, leaving him 1 2/3 innings shy of qualifying for the league-leader list.

The Braves have taken the first two games of the series by identical 2-1 scores and have won five of their past six games overall. The Tigers have lost three straight while dropping nine of their past 12. Atlanta has never swept a three-game series against Detroit.

Lopez is fulfilling expectations the front office had when the club signed him as a free agent in the offseason. The Braves slowly helped him make the transition to the starting rotation after he had primarily worked out of the bullpen in each of his past three seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Guardians.

In 12 starts this year, the veteran has pitched at least six innings eight times. Only once has Lopez failed to complete five innings, and he has not allowed more than three runs in any outing.

“I’m definitely proud of the way I’ve been pitching, but to be honest I don’t pay much attention to that kind of stuff,” Lopez said. “I really just try to block out all the noise and the thoughts that can creep into your head.”

In his latest appearance, Lopez picked up the win after throwing six scoreless innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. He allowed just two hits and matched a season high with eight strikeouts.

Lopez has made 29 career appearances (13 starts) against the Tigers, going 6-7 with a 3.35 ERA. He was 1-1 with a 0.00 ERA against Detroit in 2023, allowing one unearned run in five relief appearances.

Skubal will make his 15th start of 2024 and has pitched at least five innings in each outing, five of which have been scoreless.

Skubal is coming off a loss against the Houston Astros on Friday. He allowed four runs, matching his season high, on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. All four runs Skubal allowed came in the sixth inning.

“He was doing Skubal things,” Tigers catcher Jake Rogers said. “They just kind of got to him in that one inning.”

Detroit manager A.J. Hinch was still pleased with Skubal’s effort.

“They were going to ambush early, which is advantage Tarik,” Hinch said. “He was in attack mode like he always is and he wins a lot of those in-zone competitions. They just got to him the third time through (the lineup).”

Skubal has never faced the Braves.

Detroit’s lineup is scuffling, with a couple of exceptions. Left fielder Riley Greene had a triple and scored the Tigers’ lone run Tuesday. Gio Urshela drove in the run with a single and has reached base in nine straight games and in 15 of his past 16.

The Braves are 4-1 on a six-game homestand and begin a three-game series in New York against the Yankees on Friday. The Tigers are 1-4 on their six-game road trip and return home to play the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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