(AP) Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila traveled with the team to Chicago for this week's four-game series against the White Sox as the organization anticipates the major league debuts of a group of promising prospects.
"I'm excited and nervous at the same time," Avila told reporters. "I'll be on the edge of my seat. I'm sure a lot of fans will be watching."
After Detroit third baseman Isaac Paredes hit a two-run single in his first game Monday, the Tigers' parade of debuts is set to continue Tuesday as left-hander Tarik Skubal starts against the White Sox.
A ninth-round pick of the Tigers in the 2018 draft, Skubal is ranked No. 50 in MLB Pipeline's list of top 100 prospects. The southpaw, who was sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic during summer camp, will try to help Detroit snap a six-game losing streak.
With Dario Agrazal, Ivan Nova and Jordan Zimmermann on the injured list, the Tigers needed reinforcements in their starting staff.
"Ideally, the guys who were here first could have done it and there would have been fewer injuries," Avila said. "That would have been the best plan, but obviously we've been struggling in that sense."
Tarik Skubal lived with Casey Mize at Tigers spring training. He calls him a good friend.— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) August 18, 2020
"We both didn't know that the other one had gotten the phone call," Skubal said. Once they realized it, "We both kinda had our little moment." pic.twitter.com/2cPV21uFvT
Right-hander Casey Mize, the top overall pick in the 2018 draft, will start Wednesday against the White Sox in his first major league action.
Avila said Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson would closely monitor Skubal and Mize, both 23, adding that the pair would have the opportunity to control their own destinies in the rotation.
"It's performance-based from here on out," Avila said. "But like I've said before, when we bring these guys up, we want them up to stay."
White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease can attest to the emotions Skubal and Mize are experiencing. Cease, who is Tuesday's scheduled starter for Chicago, defeated the Tigers in his major league debut in July 2019.
Cease (3-1, 3.26 ERA) has maintained success against Detroit since that outing. Entering Tuesday, he is 4-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four career starts versus the Tigers with 25 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Chicago won the series opener 7-2 on Monday behind six home runs, including two apiece from Tim Anderson and Luis Robert. Anderson and Yoan Moncada opened the game with back-to-back homers against Detroit's Matthew Boyd, duplicating the feat Moncada and Eloy Jimenez accomplished against the left-hander in his Aug. 12 start at Comerica Park.
The White Sox are the first team in major league history to twice connect for back-to-back home runs against the same pitcher in the same season. Chicago has homered 24 times in 12 games at Guaranteed Rate Field this season compared to 13 times in 11 games on the road.
"We are dangerous," Anderson said. "Everyone from top to bottom can swing it."
Catcher Yasmani Grandal is day-to-day for the White Sox after leaving the Monday game in the sixth inning with lower back stiffness.
Tigers infielder Willi Castro, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Monday, is in an 0-for-12 slump with eight strikeouts.