Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal paused as he talked about his last game against the Boston Red Sox last Wednesday.
He was asked if he could identify anything that would lead to his six earned runs allowed in 4⅔ innings on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
“I don’t know the answer to that question,” he said.
Skubal has had no answers on the barrow lately either.
One of the best pitchers in May baseball, Skubal has crashed in his last three games.
In those starts, he gave up 15 earned runs in just 13 ⅔ innings while allowing 21 hits, seven walks and 14 strikeouts. During this time, his ERA increased from 2.33 to 3.63 as he suffered three consecutive losses.
“I mean, I can be upset all I want, but it doesn’t matter,” he said last week when asked how difficult this period was. “What matters is what I do on the field. I don’t do my job and this is the most annoying part.”
Part of what went wrong is that he backs out of a long pass again. In 2021, he hit 35 homers in 149⅓ innings, the second most of his rookie season.
He seemed to be taken out in early June, keeping the ball out of the park in nine of his first 10 games and allowing just two in 58 ⅔ innings. But he hit one home run in each of his last four starts.
Then there are the free passes. Allowing just 10 walks in 11 starts, Skubal has given up seven in his last three starts.
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“Execution will always be key,” Hinch said of Skubal’s recent missteps following his last performance. “And there were more than usual, and obviously a few big moments where he gave up a hit that cost him a couple of runs.”
Perhaps the biggest problem of late is Scubal’s inability to land a key pitch in high leverage situations. When a runner is in a winning position, his WHIP for that season is 1.57. When there are two outs, it’s 1.29.
By comparison, nobody on base (1.08 WHIP), runner on first base (0.91 WHIP), no outs (1.16 WHIP), or one out (1.00 WHIP).
“I’m going to go see a movie, what I did well and what I didn’t do well, and I’m just picking up on that and applying it to my daily work,” he said of his eagerness to make adjustments.
This fight has just begun, and neither Skubal nor Hinch say they are worried about the long term. Skubal allowed just eight earned runs in 45 innings in seven games before this last stretch, and the Tigers were 7-4 in his first 11 starts.
And his advanced performance is good. According to Baseball Savant, his expected ERA (73rd percentile), strikeout rate (74th percentile), barrel speed (72nd percentile), chase rate (71st percentile) and walking speed (85th percentile) are at the top level of the league.
Although his hard hitting rate (33 percent) was closer to the bottom, this was not the case in his last game, when the average exit speed of 15 balls put into the game was only 85 mph and only three hits were stronger. than 100 miles per hour.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the game, so what did you do?” he said. “There’s nothing you can do about it as a pitcher, so you just keep working hard, get better every day, learn from it and go from there.”
On Tuesday, he will play with the giants, where there will be two tests.. One against their offense, who is tied for sixth in runs scored, eighth in on-base percentage, and 10th in on-base percentage.
Second, take on one of the best left-handers in the game, Carlos Rodon, who has a 2.70 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and is number six in baseball with 101 strikeouts in 80 innings.
The Tigers, who are 7-7 when Skubal pitches and 21-37 when he doesn’t, have no choice but to get in shape if they’re going to make any push.
“We’ll get back to that,” Hinch said. “He is definitely good enough to make adjustments and get back in the win column.
Contact Tony Garcia at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @realtonygarcia.
This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press: Tariq Skubal of the Detroit Tigers is set to return to action today.