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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Tigers series preview

This is the Cubs’ final interleague series of the 2023 regular season.

Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This will be the first time the Cubs will see Javier Báez play against them since he was traded away in the Big Selloff of July 2021. Javy is having a terrible year, batting just .223/.266/.326 with 103 strikeouts and that’s even worse over his last 19 games: .194/.275/.242 with 18 strikeouts.

Ashley MacLennan is a writer and associate editor here at BCB, but she also works as an editor for our SB Nation Tigers site Bless You Boys. So I asked Ashley to write up some thoughts about the Tigers.

What to say about the Tigers’ 2023 season? It has certainly been a complicated whirlwind with moments where fans get an inkling of possibility seeing what could be the club’s bright future, followed by weeks of misery where it feels like they can’t win a single game. This is not the historically bad Tigers club we were seeing just two and three years ago, there are certain things that make the team watchable and sparks of positivity. Eduardo Rodriguez (who the Cubs won’t be seeing) has been a dynamic and quality starter for Detroit, and even opted to stay with the team rather than letting himself get traded to the Dodgers.

What the Cubs will see is a very hot and cold trio of Alex Faedo, Reese Olson, and Tarik Skubal. Faedo has looked a bit better in recent weeks, and Olson is something of a wild card. When he’s good he’s VERY good, and when he’s bad his command is somewhere in a different state. In terms of offense, there are some bright spots in the roster with Spencer Torkelson swinging a very hot bat at the moment, and the likes of Kerry Carpenter and Matt Vierling showing some impressive recent numbers. And the Tigers have plenty of sneaky offense in their lineup with guys like Akil Baddoo, Riley Greene, and even old Cubs’ friend Javier Baez performing well in fits and starts.

The problem with the Tigers is a miserable lack of consistency. They’re smack dab in the middle of one of the worst divisions in baseball, and while both the Twins and Guardians are winning more games, the Tigers have actually already won their season series against both clubs, a first in years. The Cubs and Tigers are two clubs that have a very similar feel to them: competing in a consistently mid-tier division (at least for the last five years) where they struggle to approach first, and have plenty of talent but can’t seem to find consistent wins or recent trips to the postseason. That said, in terms of 2023 the Cubs are doing better than the Tigers overall, and they should have a slight upper hand in these coming games. There could be trouble if the Tigers bring quality starts, and the Cubs would do well to try to get to their bullpen early. A.J. Hinch is narrow-minded in his role use of the pen, and continues to give opportunities to middling relievers and especially turns too often to Alex Lange in tight games to close. This could prove advantageous to the Cubs.

That said, despite poor performances in recent years, the Cubs shouldn’t expect to mop the floor with these Tigers, they have a little bite in them this season.

Fun fact

The Cubs have played 18 regular-season games at Detroit, second most at any American League city other than Chicago .They have played 21 at Minnesota. But the Cubs have played more total games at Detroit than anywhere else: 29. They played 11 games there in four World Series: 1907, 1908, 1935 and 1945. The Cubs were 8-3 in those games, as they won the first two Series and lost the last two .They are 7-11 in regular-season games, so in all games at Detroit they are 15-14. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Monday: Javier Assad, RHP (2-2, 3.11 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, 4.42 FIP) vs. Alex Faedo, RHP (2-4, 5.16 ERA, 0.993 WHIP, 4.83 FIP)

Tuesday: Drew Smyly, LHP (9-8, 4.92 ERA, 1.367 WHIP, 5.03 FIP) vs. Reese Olson, RHP (2-5, 4.83 ERA, 1.232 WHIP, 3.99 FIP)

Wednesday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (7-8, 5.56 ERA, 1.373 WHIP, 4.67 FIP) vs. Tarik Skubal, LHP (3-2, 3.76 ERA, 1.070 WHIP, 1.99 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 5:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Tuesday: 5:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 12:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Tigers market territories)


These pitching matchups aren’t the best, but the Cubs are clearly the better team and only the A’s have scored fewer runs than the Tigers this year. The Cubs will take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs head to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates in a four-game series which begins Thursday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Tigers?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    (79 votes)
  • 60%
    (185 votes)
  • 11%
    (35 votes)
  • 2%
    (9 votes)
308 votes total Vote Now