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Tarik Skubal looks for repeat effort as Tigers host White Sox

Aug 29, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Tarik Skubal (29) pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Tarik Skubal delivered a sharp performance against the Chicago White Sox in his most recent start. The Detroit Tigers left-hander will try to duplicate that effort during the second game of a three-game home series on Saturday.

Skubal (4-3, 3.77 ERA) held the White Sox to two runs and five hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings. Detroit, now 64-77, held on for a 3-2 victory.

“He can get a lot of guys out in a lot of different ways,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He doesn’t need to do it the same way every time. He’s not a predictable pitcher. He’s starting to mature.”

Both of Chicago’s runs came in the first inning. Skubal then settled in and tied his season high by making 97 pitches. His seven innings represented a season high.

“That first inning, you don’t draw up a start like that,” he said, “but it’s about how you respond. I still had 80-some more pitches in the tank. Just try to eat as many innings as you can and give our team a chance to win. And we did that.”

Skubal used his fastball sparingly after the first inning.

“They were on the heater and they were hitting it good,” he said. “Teams can be on the fastball, but sometimes teams don’t hit it. I felt like they were hitting it good. (Catcher Carson Kelly) felt the same way, so we stopped throwing it.”

Skubal is 4-2 with a 5.40 ERA in seven career starts against the White Sox (55-86).

Former Tiger Jose Urena will make his White Sox debut on Saturday. The veteran right-hander most recently made four starts for Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate, Charlotte, posting a 1-1 record and 3.38 ERA.

He also started 15 games this summer for Washington’s Triple-A affiliate, Rochester, going 1-3 with a 6.31 ERA.

Urena began the season with the Colorado Rockies but was released in late April after five unimpressive starts in which he went 0-4 with a 9.82 ERA.

Urena appeared in 26 games, including 18 starts, for Detroit in 2021 and posted a 4-8 record and a 5.81 ERA.

He has only faced the Tigers once in his career, collecting a win while allowing three runs, two earned, in six innings on May 22, 2019.

Urena is taking the rotation spot of Michael Kopech, who was moved to the bullpen. Kopech walked five batters in 1 2/3 innings against Detroit on Sunday, and he has walked 89 batters in 125 2/3 innings this season.

“Ultimately, it’s been disappointing for me for a long stretch of this season,” Kopech said. “Can’t begin to describe the disappointment I have in myself. I’ve been working really hard to fix things, and to not see results is frustrating.”

Kopech will pitch in relief for the remainder of the season.

“We’ll start Urena (on Saturday) and we’ll back (Kopech) off a little bit and try to get some wins here and there with him going out there an inning at a time or two innings at a time and start building him up,” manager Pedro Grifol said.

Chicago’s Yoan Moncada will look to hit a homer for a fourth consecutive game on Saturday. He broke up a pitchers’ duel with a two-run shot in the seventh inning during the White Sox’s 6-0 win in the series opener on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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