Tigers make surprise pitching change ahead of Friday's game vs. Blue Jays

May 13, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Tigers pitcher Matt Manning (25) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Matt Manning (25) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Tigers were not exactly forthright about who'd be getting the start Friday night against the Blue Jays. As recently as a day prior, right-hander Matt Manning was listed as the starting pitcher for the contest.

Detroit announced Friday afternoon that would no longer be the case. Manning would be headed to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, and Kenta Maeda would be activated from the injured list to take his spot.

At this point, neither of them have given particular confidence with recent performances.

Filling in for Maeda, Manning made two starts totaling 10-2/3 innings, in which he allowed a combined seven earned runs. He struck out six and walked four. Against the Diamondbacks on May 19, he struck out just one against three walks in a 6-4 defeat. Manning carries a 4.88 ERA for the year after making a couple of spot starts in weather-forced double-headers in April.

Maeda went no the 15-day IL on May 11 with a viral illness, which might explain his last start, a seven-run, two-inning affair on May 7 that sent his ERA rocketing to an astounding 6.75 and his fielding independent pitching number to 6.53, showing it really wasn't a fluke.

Before that, Maeda carried a 5.02 ERA through May 1 with a 6.07 FIP. Across seven starts, of which the team actually won four, Maeda has 23 strikeouts an 10 walks in 30-2/3 innings.

The Tigers really need Maeda to snap out of it soon. Maeda signed a two-year deal worth $24 million before the season, making his case a little bit different than a player who was only signed as a rebuilding project.

Add to that the team's current five-game losing streak, putting them 10 games out of first in the AL Central, and the Tigers are in desperate need of something positive to happen.

The Tigers host the Blue Jays at 6:40 p.m. at Comerica Park.

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