Diamondbacks-Tigers preview: Pitching probables, Torkelson returns to the Valley

May 17, 2024, 5:00 PM

Javier Baez...

Javier Baez #28 of the Detroit Tigers turns a double play over Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning at Chase Field on June 25, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks embark on a potential “chew on rocks” three-game series against the Detroit Tigers starting Friday at Chase Field.

That’s how manager Torey Lovullo put it with Detroit’s pitching staff being the strength of the team with the eighth-best ERA in Major League Baseball at 3.38.

On the flip side, the Tigers have not scored in their last two games entering the slate.

This matchup brings a series of returnees to the Valley, including Arizona State Sun Devils superstar and 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson. The first baseman’s numbers this season are down (.625 OPS), but he has heated up lately with hits in nine of his last 10 games.

Former Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly (.588 OPS) and relievers Andrew Chafin (3.86 ERA) and Tyler Holton (3.83 ERA) are also back at Chase Field.

The Diamondbacks won three of their last four games and are marching back toward .500 at 21-23. The Tigers have a similar record at 21-22 but are trending in another direction (3-7 last 10 games).

Diamondbacks-Tigers probables

Friday: Arizona RHP Ryne Nelson (5.33 ERA) vs. Detroit LHP Tarik Skubal (2.02 ERA)

Saturday: Arizona RHP Zac Gallen (2.86 ERA) vs. Detroit RHP Jack Flaherty (3.88 ERA)

Sunday: Arizona LHP Jordan Montgomery (4.76 ERA) vs. Detroit RHP Matt Manning (4.37 ERA)

Skubal is the staff ace and off to one of MLB’s most dominant starts this season. His ERA ranks second in the American League among qualified starters, while his 0.86 WHIP leads the pack. Friday is his first career start against the D-backs.

Skubal went to high school at Kingman Academy in Arizona and was a Diamondbacks 29th-round draft pick in 2017. He did not sign, went back to Seattle University and Detroit drafted him in the ninth round a year later.

Gallen on Saturday will make his first start at Chase Field since April 14, as his last four outings have been on the road.

Diamondbacks-Tigers hitter to watch

Diamondbacks: Shortstop Kevin Newman is batting .424 over his last 10 games with a walk-off hit. He also has a home run in his career against Skubal.

Second baseman Ketel Marte is riding a 15-game hitting streak, one off from a career high.

Tigers: Torkelson was the fourth Arizona State baseball player to go No. 1 overall and is second in program history with 54 home runs. He has an .866 OPS over his last 10 games with two home runs.

Outfielder Riley Greene leads Detroit with nine home runs on the season.

Chase Field hosts Mexican Heritage Night

Saturday is Mexican Heritage Night, when the first 15,000 fans will receive D-backs Mexican flag hats. There will be a postgame concert from La Séptima Banda.

When are the Diamondbacks-Tigers games?

Friday: 6:40 p.m.

Saturday: 5:10 p.m.

Sunday: 1:10 p.m.

Catch all three games on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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Diamondbacks-Tigers preview: Pitching probables, Torkelson returns to the Valley