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Mar 29, 2024 1:27 pm

Colt Keith, Tigers chasing additional success vs. White Sox

Colt Keith

Detroit Tigers rookie second baseman Colt Keith struggled to sleep on the eve of his major league debut on Thursday.

With that game — and first career hit — under his belt, Keith will look to keep producing on Saturday afternoon as the visiting Tigers vie for a series win over the Chicago White Sox.

Detroit prevailed 1-0 in Thursday’s opener, as the Tigers’ Tarik Skubal outdueled Chicago counterpart Garrett Crochet in a game that took a tidy 2 hours, 3 minutes to complete.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Keith said. “I went out there and it was just overwhelming with all the people and how big the stadium was. After I got up and had my first at-bat, I settled in and it felt like any other game.”

Perhaps one day Keith will feel as seasoned as right-hander Kenta Maeda, who is set to make his Detroit debut Saturday. A veteran of 190 major-league games, including 155 starts, Maeda signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Tigers on Nov. 28 as the team bids for its first postseason appearance since 2014.

Maeda spent the past four seasons with the Minnesota Twins, although he missed the 2022 campaign following Tommy John surgery.

Skubal got Detroit off on the right foot with six shutout innings on Thursday afternoon. Crochet yielded the lone run of the game in the third. Skubal and three Tigers relievers limited the White Sox to singles from Luis Robert Jr., Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn while striking out 11 and issuing zero walks.

“Pitchers did a phenomenal job and we played really good defense,” Vaughn said. “The bats just didn’t get going.”

The refrain, really, was similar from the Detroit clubhouse. The Tigers managed just six hits, including a pair from first baseman Spencer Torkelson.

Still, the White Sox aren’t sulking after being blanked on Opening Day.

“We hit some balls hard and we didn’t catch a break,” catcher Martin Maldonado said. “But I think it is a good start. Even though we lost, there’s a lot of positives.”

Chicago hopes Saturday starter Michael Soroka can become another reason for optimism. The right-hander, who started on Opening Day for the Atlanta Braves in 2020, is set to make his debut with the White Sox.

That was one of just 10 appearances for Soroka since 2020, as two ruptured Achilles tendons have hobbled him in recent years. He had a productive spring, pitching to a 1.38 ERA in four starts.

“This is special,” Soroka said. “It’s a good feeling, so I’m very lucky to be here.”

Soroka defeated the Tigers in his lone career appearance against them, allowing four runs (three earned) and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings on June 1, 2019.

Maeda was 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts versus the White Sox last season as a member of the Twins. In seven career starts against Chicago, he’s 3-2 with a 5.02 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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