Wily Peralta signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers over the winter.
He’s emerged as one of their best starters at the major league level.
Peralta (4-3, 3.04 ERA) carries a 16-inning scoreless streak into his start against the visiting Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Peralta started regularly for Milwaukee from 2013-17, then was converted into a reliever full-time when he joined the Royals in 2018. He made 79 relief appearances over two seasons before sitting out last year’s abbreviated season.
“He’s been very important to us,” manager AJ Hinch said. “Not just logging the innings, but the quality that’s come with it. The guy has come on a mission. He wanted to start. He made that known when he signed. He was emphatic about wanting an opportunity to start.”
He limited East Division leader Tampa Bay to three hits in seven innings last Sunday. In his previous start, he blanked Milwaukee on two hits in six innings. On Sept. 7, he pitched four scoreless innings against Pittsburgh after allowing a first-inning run.
“I think I’m in a really good rhythm right now,” Peralta said. “I’ve got a really good feel for all my pitches, and I feel strong.”
In two outings against Kansas City this season, he’s allowed a combined five runs in seven innings.
For a staff ravaged by injuries and filled with rookies on innings limits, Peralta has been a very welcome addition.
“No one really gave him a chance or a look based on he didn’t pitch last year,” Hinch said. “Who would’ve thought at the end of the year we’d be talking about him as somebody who stabilized things at a time when we really needed it?”
Kris Bubic (5-6, 4.80 ERA) will oppose Peralta. He won his last start on Sept. 18, holding Seattle to one run on two hits in 6 1/3 innings, although he did walk four batters.
Bubic’s confidence in his curveball has helped him keep hitters off-balance.
“That’s been the biggest point of growth I’ve seen with him this season,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “Just the faith that he has in that pitch now. He’s paying attention to what the hitters are telling him. They’re not doing a lot with it. … It just makes him more dangerous. It’s really hard to guess what direction he might go. It’s a great addition to an already good repertoire.”
Bubic has given Tigers batters fits in three outings this season, including two starts. He’s 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA while striking out 13 in 16 innings. For his career, he’s 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA in four meetings (three starts) against Detroit.
The teams split the first two games of the series. After Kansas City (70-84) snapped Detroit’s four-game winning streak on Friday, the Tigers (75-79) responded with a 5-1 victory on Saturday.
Miguel Cabrera was the hitting star, driving in four runs.
“He had really good at-bats and key at-bats, even better as the game went on,” Hinch said. “Obviously, a big night for him and we needed him. That was a tough game to win, even though it looked like we won a little comfortably at the end.”
Kansas City had seven hits and drew three walks but scored only an unearned run.
“We had a couple of opportunities during the game, but you’ve got to take your hat off to them, they threw a good ballgame over there,” Royals outfielder Hunter Dozier said.
–Field Level Media