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Mar 31, 2024 7:16 am

Newcomers take center stage for Tigers, White Sox

jack flaherty

New Detroit Tigers right-hander Jack Flaherty thrives on repetition. It starts with his mechanics and ideally influences his results.

After enjoying a strong spring training with the Tigers, Flaherty hopes to translate that success to the regular season. He’ll get his first chance Sunday afternoon as the visiting Tigers try for a series sweep of the Chicago White Sox.

Detroit edged Chicago 1-0 Thursday on Opening Day before earning a 7-6 win in 10 innings on Saturday afternoon. Flaherty, who signed a one-year, $14 million contract after splitting last season between the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles, is eager for a fresh start with the Tigers. He was a combined 8-9 with a 4.99 ERA last season.

Good health and a dependable spring routine went a long way toward Grapefruit League success. Flaherty pitched to a 2.95 ERA while striking out 26 in 18 1/3 innings.

“Just the way my body is moving and the way that I’m able to repeat everything,” Flaherty said. “Last year, I would have some starts or an inning or a hitter that would be good, and then I wouldn’t be able to repeat it. The next time out, it was like, ‘Where is my body in space?’ This spring, I feel like I’ve been able to repeat things over and over and over again a lot better.”

Chicago will counter on Sunday with its own right-hander making his club debut. Erick Fedde is back in the major leagues after shining in Korea’s KBO last season, going 20-6 with a 2.00 ERA and capturing the league equivalent of the Cy Young Award.

Fedde, who made 102 appearances — including 88 starts — with the Washington Nationals from 2017-22, hasn’t faced the Tigers in his career.

He was 6-13 with a 5.81 ERA in 27 starts covering 127 innings for the Nationals in 2022 but is confident his season in Korea has refined his approach. Fedde made four spring starts for the White Sox, compiling a 3.86 ERA in 14 innings.

“Honestly, I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable with the stuff we’ve been working on,” Fedde said. “I feel like a lot of the stuff with me has been working on sequencing, how we’re really attacking lefties and righties.

“I feel more and more confident with it and comfortable.”

The Detroit and Chicago offenses seemingly can attest to that last part following Saturday’s slugfest.

After the clubs combined for nine singles and 22 strikeouts on Opening Day, they connected for a collective 22 hits, including five home runs, on Saturday.

As with Sunday, Saturday’s game featured opposing starting pitchers in the first outings with their new teams. Kenta Maeda (Tigers) and Michael Soroka (White Sox) both took no-decisions.

Spencer Torkelson is the lone Detroit player to hit safely in both games this season. Luis Robert Jr., Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn hold that distinction for the White Sox.

Robert hit a pair of two-run shots against Maeda on Saturday.

Flaherty struggled in his lone previous appearance against the White Sox. Pitching at Chicago for St. Louis on May 25, 2021, he allowed seven runs (three earned) and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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