Wintry conditions forced a delay in the three-game series between Pittsburgh and Detroit.
Their game in Detroit on Tuesday night was postponed and will be made up as part of a split, seven-inning doubleheader on Wednesday. With both teams having had an off-day on Monday, the pitching staffs will be fresh for the series.
Michael Fulmer (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will start the afternoon game for Detroit. Fulmer, whose career was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery, won his first game since 2018 in his first start this season at Houston. He lasted five innings and gave up two runs on April 14.
He faced the Pirates twice early in his career, holding them to one run in 14 innings.
He’ll be opposed by Tyler Anderson (1-2, 4.02 ERA), who collected his first victory this season on April 14. Anderson held the San Diego Padres to one run in 5 1/3 innings. He’ll be facing the Tigers for the first time in his career.
The second game will feature the season debut for Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull. He’s been on the COVID-19 injured list since spring training.
Turnbull pitched 4 1/3 innings against Cincinnati’s alternate site squad in his final tuneup last Thursday. He was the Tigers’ most effective starter last season, posting a 4-4 record and 3.97 ERA in 11 starts. He’s 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two career starts against Pittsburgh.
With Turnbull joining the rotation, left-hander Tarik Skubal will have up to three scheduled stints out of the bullpen before manager A.J. Hinch makes another adjustment.
Skubal is 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA in three starts.
“It has nothing to do with performance or health,” Hinch said. “It’s a long-term view and a long-term plan for trying to get these guys through the season. It’s a plan, not a reaction to anything.”
Skubal likely will be the first reliever in the second game.
“We don’t think (Turnbull) is going to step right in and go six, seven, eight innings,” Hinch said.
Pittsburgh’s second game starter, Mitch Keller (1-2, 8.74 ERA), got hammered in his last start by San Diego. He gave up seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings on Thursday.
The Padres had four extra-base hits in the first inning and scored four runs.
“I was all around the zone where I wanted to be, I was throwing pitches where I wanted to, just the first inning had some bad pitches there,” Keller said.
Keller has faced Detroit once, giving up four runs (two earned) in five innings in a no-decision.
Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who has played only two games due to a left wrist strain, could return in the series.
That could force shifting around a number of positions, including a move by hot-hitting Bryan Reynolds from left field to center. Reynolds reached base eight times in a three-game weekend series at Milwaukee and scored five runs.
“He’s definitely comfortable out there,” manager Derek Shelton said. “He takes balls out there, and he’s played center field in the past. So my comfort with him out there is very strong.”
Reynolds also likes having the responsibility of patrolling center field.
“I felt comfortable over there,” he said.
–Field Level Media