Detroit Tigers' Jordan Zimmermann gets farewell start, rookie Tarik Skubal to piggyback

Evan Petzold
Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal was supposed to make the final start of his rookie season Sunday as the 60-game schedule concludes.

Not anymore.

Instead of letting Skubal, one of the team's rising prospects, take the mound, interim manager Lloyd McClendon is giving the nod to 34-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, who has only made two appearances because of a forearm strain in July's summer camp.

The four-game series finale Sunday against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium has been moved up two hours to 1:05 p.m. because of possible inclement weather.

[ Zimmermann's Tigers tenure began with dominance. Then it went miserably south ]

Detroit Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann throws against the Cleveland Indians in the seventh inning at Comerica Park, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

Zimmermann, who has a 9.64 ERA in two appearance this season, is in the final season of a five-year, $110-million contract the Tigers signed him to in 2015. He will become a free agent this offseason after posting a 5.65 ERA across five years in Detroit.

"We've been trying to find ways to get Zimm back in there," McClendon said Saturday. "It's awfully hard for him to get it going sitting four, five innings in the bullpen and then asking him to try to get loose and come into the game. He's been built as a starter his entire career. He's used to the routine, so we'll get him going and get him in there."

[ Zimmermann makes comeback, ready for 'fun experience' ]

Last season, Zimmermann was 1-13 with a 6.91 ERA and a 1.518 WHIP in 112 innings across 23 starts. He pitched the first seven years of his career for the Washington Nationals, where he had a 70-50 record, 3.32 ERA and a 1.159 WHIP in 178 starts.

The Tigers could make up a postponed doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, but it will only happen if the Cardinals need one or both games to make the postseason. McClendon said Zimmermann was never in the cards to start one of those games.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content