Detroit Tigers: The future is now, Matt Manning set to make MLB debut


Tonight is a big night for Detroit Tigers fans.  Another one of the organizations’ top prospects is set to make his major league debut in Los Angeles against the Angels.

Thursday is exactly what we’ve been waiting for, but it’s still a bit premature if you ask me. Finally, we’re going to witness the final piece of what I hope becomes a three-headed monster in Detroit.  For the first time, we will see Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Matt Manning pitch in succession.

It’s more than just a debut; Manning is being thrown into the fire due to a plethora of injures to the Tigers pitching staff.  And if making a major league debut doesn’t create enough butterflies, how about making your debut pitching against the best all-around baseball player since Babe Ruth?

Manning will be apposed by Shohei Ohtani Thursday night in Anaheim.

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For the record, Ohtani currently has the highest hard-hit rate in the league as a hitter and the lowest hard-hit rate against as a pitcher.  Ohtani, the hitter, is stashing a line of .271/.350/.618 with an OPS of .968. He’s launched 19 home runs along with driving in 47 runs; remarkably, he’s also stolen 10 bags to date this season.

Ohtani, the pitcher, has made nine starts in 2021 and has produced a record of 2-1 with an ERA of 2.85 and a WHIP of 1.183.  Ohtani has recorded 68 strikeouts, 28 walks in 47.1 innings of work.

So not only will Detroit Tigers fans get to view the highly anticipated debut of Matt Manning, but Shohei Ohtani takes the hill for the Angels.

As previously mentioned, Manning will be forced into duty Thursday night after the injury bug has run rampant among the Tigers’ starting pitchers.

Detroit is currently without the services of Spencer Turnbull, Julio Teheran, and Matthew Boyd.  After taxing the bullpen a couple of times over the past week, manager A.J. Hinch will turn to Manning, hoping the youngster can eat up some much-needed innings.

I expect to see Hinch manage this game with a ‘all-hands on deck’ approach; understanding Manning hasn’t exactly earned this call-up. Manning has struggled mightily this season in Triple-A Toledo and gets the nod by default.  Good news if you are Manning, Angels slugger Mike Trout remains out of the Los Angeles lineup due to a lingering calf injury.

Manning has provided the Mud Hens with an ERA of 8.07 and a WHIP of 1.546.  Yikes.  The 23-year old has been scuffling since being promoted from Double-A Erie. However, in 2019, Manning pitched exceptionally well for the Seawolves, going 11-5 with a 2.56 ERA striking out a whopping 148 hitters over 133.2 innings of work.

In Toledo this season Manning has notched 36 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work.

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I sure hope Manning pitches well in his debut, but at this point, he clearly needs to put in more work with Toledo before he is ready to remain in Detroit.