May 13, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The pitching Staff Through 34 Games: Part 1, the Starting Rotation

Even though the Tigers have started off the season at 17-17, it’s not the starting rotation’s fault- that is for sure. They have been nothing short of sensational thus far. How sensational you ask? First, comparing pitching statistics through both the AL and NL is unfair, considering six of the top seven staffs in terms of ERA come from the senior circuit. Therefore, I’ll only be using AL statistics. Let’s see how the Tigers starting rotation stacks up in a myriad of categories:

O-swing%, swing%, swstr%-1st

In a wide array of statistics, The Tigers rank extremely well as a starting staff. Their peripheral numbers look fantastic, with the highest FIP, SIERA, and xFIP in the AL. They also have caused their opponents to chase the most pitches out of the zone, and swing and miss at the most pitches. In all other numbers, they still rank very well, in the top 5 of everything but IP, which should even itself out. This is another reason starting pitching wins do not matter. The Tigers staff only has a 10-11 combined record, as the bullpen has blown plenty of late leads, thwarting the chance for a W.

The scary part is that the staff hasn’t even gotten on a roll yet. Justin Verlander has been his usual awesome, same with rookie Drew Smyly,. However, Doug Fister has only two starts under his belt, Max Scherzer had an ERA of 8 three starts ago, and Rick Porcello is just starting to come into his own. There is potential for even more dominance down the road if all of these guys continue improvement, not to mention top prospect Jacob Turner in AAA. He may not even get a chance to crack the big league staff. If the staff keeps pitching like this, the ship will eventually right itself, and the Tigers will run away from the divisional competition, regardless of their hitting or bullpen woes.

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Tags: Detroit Tigers Doug Fister Drew Smyly Jacob Turner Justin Verlander Max Scherzer Rick Porcello

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