The Tigers continued their dominant spring training today when they defeated the defending World Series champ St. Louis Cardinals 10-3. Among the interesting elements in this game was the fact that the Tigers pitching staff was composed of all 5th starter candidates today. Adam Wilk, Andy Oliver, and Drew Smyly all got to pitch in the game, and only one of them had a difficult time.
Adam Wilk started the game for the Tigers, and was roughed up the most. Wilk, who is championed by MCB’s own Chris Hannum, gave up all of the Cardinals 3 runs in his 3 innings of work. He allowed 6 hits, while walking two, and raised his overall spring ERA to 5.59. Matt Holliday touched the soft tossing lefty up for a home run, and when Wilk left the game, the Tigers were trailing 3-0 against Jaime Garcia.
Andy Oliver then stepped in for his turn in the 4th inning, and proceeded to do what he has done all spring and pitch two scoreless innings. Oliver made relatively easy work of the Cardinals lineup, only allowing one hit and not walking anybody once again. Oliver got 4 ground ball outs, and also had one strikeout when he caught David Freese looking in the 5th inning. At this point, I have to believe that Oliver is solidifying a position on this team, whether it be as a starter or as a reliever.
The Tigers offense got on track in the middle innings posting 9 runs in the 4th-6th. They scored 4 runs off Garcia, 3 off of R.J. Swindle, and managed 2 off of Jason Motte. Among the offensive stars for the game were of course Ryan Raburn, who is just killing the ball, and Delmon Young, who isn’t doing so bad himself. Raburn hit his 5th homer this spring, and Young also hit his 3rd homer, plus added a double. Prince Fielder went 3-3 on the day as well, including legging out a triple. Who says big guys can’t run?
The last of the 5th starter candidates Drew Smyly took over in the 6th. Smyly had an excellent day, going 4 strong innings, not allowing a hit, walking two and striking out 4. He lowered his spring ERA to 1.13. While the stat line is impressive, Smyly didn’t face too many guys that are considered starters for the Cardinals, so a little caution should be taken when looking at this numbers.
The Tigers travel tomorrow to go take on the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper.