Detroit Tigers rally to tie, but fall to Chicago Cubs, 7-6: Game thread recap

Detroit Tigers (57-67) vs Chicago Cubs (64-59), series opener

When: 6:40 p.m. Monday.

Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.

TV: Bally Sports Detroit.

Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1 in Detroit; Tigers radio affiliates).

Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Alex Faedo (2-4, 5.16 ERA) vs. Cubs RHP Javier Assad (2-2, 3.11).

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Box score

Tigers lineup:

1. LF Akil Baddoo.

2. RF Riley Greene.

3. 1B Spencer Torkelson.

4. DH Kerry Carpenter.

5. 3B Matt Vierling.

6. CF Parker Meadows.

7. Javier Báez.

8. 2B Zach McKinstry.

9. C Carson Kelly.

RHP Alex Faedo.

Who to follow: Evan Petzold, Free Press beat writer on Tigers.

Game notes: Six weeks ago, the Cubs looked like toast — five games under .500 going into the All-Star break — and losing their first game out of the break didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Since then, however, they’ve been one of MLB’s hottest teams, with 22 wins in 33 games (including Sunday’s victory over Kansas City). Only the Orioles (23 wins), Mariners (24) and Dodgers (25) have more victories in the second half. (The Tigers are 18-17 over that span, by the way.)

The Cubs’ (not-so-secret) secret? Runs. So many runs. Chicago has averaged 6.15 runs a game on the strength of a .277/.352/.482 slash line since the break. That’s thanks to monster performances from Cody Bellinger (a free agent after the season), Patrick Wisdom and — uh, Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris might want to look away — Jeimer Candelario. Bellinger has 11 second-half homers, with a 1.101 OPS, Wisdom has six homers and a 1.099 OPS while dealing with injuries and Candelario — the ex-Tiger freed from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline (and he’s a free agent again this offseason, too) — has four doubles, a triple and a home run for the Cubs over 15 games, for a 1.044 OPS. (Don’t worry, the world hasn’t gone completely crazy — former Tigers catcher Tucker Barnhart only has a .686 OPS in the second half for the Cubs, though even that’s far superior to his .518 OPA before the break.)

The Tigers will send Alex Faedo to the mound for the 10th time this season; he’s coming off one of his best starts of the season, in which he allowed just one hit over five innings of shutout ball while striking out six against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. Since getting shelled for seven runs in his return to the rotation in early July, Faedo has been solid, with a 1.72 ERA over 15 2/3 innings in three starts. He’s probably due for a bit of regression; the 13 strikeouts over that span are solid, the seven walks are not and the six hits allowed is probably not sustainable the rest of the way.

Just one active Cub has faced Faedo in the majors. Yep, you guessed it: The lefty-hitting Candelario, who went 1-for-2 off the Tigers righty in a May matchup in Washington, with a 390-foot pull shot off an 87.6 mph changeup. That’s a pitch Faedo hasn’t thrown much — just 102 times in 728 pitches (14%) — and for good reason: Opposing batters are slugging .483 off it. Then again, Faedo made it work against righties in that start against the Twins, so what do we know?

The series against the Cubs continues Tuesday and Wednesday with 6:40 p.m. and 1:10 p.m. starts, respectively. The Tigers then get a day off before hosting the defending World Series champion Houston Astros (and old friend Justin Verlander, who’s lined up to pitch Sunday) for three games beginning Friday, while the Cubs head east for a four-game set in Pittsburgh starting Thursday.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers lose to Chicago Cubs, 7-6: Game thread recap