DETROIT — Tarik Skubal threw 39 pitches to Padres batters in the fourth inning on a wet Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park. Then he threw everything he could reach into the canoe.

” Can you feel it ? Did the building shake? manager AJ Hinch jokingly asked reporters after the Tigers’ 4-3 victory. “Because the dugout did.”

It was a snapshot of the frustration of a Tigers season that went against plan. It’s also why Skubal is worth hanging on to as the Tigers try to find a way forward past Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Skubal’s competitiveness has become increasingly evident since its debut two years ago. Even this year, as Detroit’s rotation crumbled around him, the 25-year-old southpaw refused to let team struggles envelop him and his breakout season.

The win, in which every run off Detroit was unearned, showed Skubal’s potential to lead a team. He refused to let Harold Castro’s dropped foul ball become set-up for a bad outing. Despite that fourth of 39 pitches, he pitched six quality innings on 98 pitches, allowing two unearned runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Castro’s error came on the seventh pitch of a 13-pitch walk to Manny Machado, putting out two runners with one out. Luke Voit’s eight-pitch battle for a sacrifice fly saddled Skubal with 21 pitches in a two-hitter span. A four-length walk to Austin Nola set up Ha-Seong Kim’s RBI single.

“I’m more frustrated with walking than I am [with] the ball dropped,” Skubal said. “Nobody tries to make mistakes. No one tries to drop the ball. At this point, there is nothing you can do or say except continue performing highs. And I didn’t do that.

Once Victor Reyes’ diving catch in right field finally ended the inning, Skubal took out his frustrations on the dugout wall.

“It’s good to let it out, I think,” Skubal said. “But that’s not where I did it. Usually I go down into the tunnel and that’s where I vent those frustrations. I watched the video, and I was really about to punch Riley Greene. We kinda joke about it, but you saw the other day in San Francisco [where Carlos Rodón kicked a bat and hit teammate Thairo Estrada]. Stuff like that matters, and I would never want anyone to be hurt like that.

Said Hinch: “Once he got out, he got out and we refocus. I welcome that kind of stuff.

Skubal retired the Padres in order in the fifth, then launched a two-out walk to Voit in the sixth. He closed the gap to Detroit’s relief trio of Joe Jiménez, Andrew Chafin and Michael Fulmer, whose three innings with an unearned run and five strikeouts helped Detroit rally to the two-run double de Reyes with two strikes and two outs. in the ninth.

“It’s a good test to see where you are mentally,” Skubal said. “When you are physically tired, let’s test the mental ones.”

The combination of competitiveness – both against his opponents and against himself – and Skubal’s five-land arsenal is what makes him so valuable. He would not comment on a report that the Tigers will listen to business interests on him and nearly everyone else on the roster. His release was a statement.

A handful of scouts Wednesday saw Skubal, along with three relievers mentioned prominently in trade interest. In Skubal’s case, there is a difference between listening to interest and talking actively. Former Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski rarely called a Tigers player untouchable because he always anticipated the possibility of an overwhelming offer. Tigers GM Al Avila learned under Dombrowski for nearly two decades.

In a tight trade market at the start, Skubal – with four more seasons of contractual control of the team – could attract a major package deal. But while Skubal could attract the kind of return that could revive the Tigers, perhaps build a roster to face, that would leave them without a front-row starter to take on good teams. Half the point of stockpiling high-level players in Detroit was finding those guys who could take on good lineups like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer a decade ago.

The risk is evident at the other end of the division. The Twins spent five years looking for a front-row starter to complete their formidable roster. In Skubal, the Tigers could have this guy. Games like Wednesday show why it would behoove them to keep him.