With a doubleheader scheduled for Friday versus the Kansas City Royals – and no off days leading up to that date – the Detroit Tigers will be in need of another starting pitcher. Jose Alvarez, who’s made four starts for the Tigers already this season, appears to be the odds-on favorite.
Detroit’s 40-man roster is currently full, so adding a non-roster player – someone like Kyle Lobstein – would be more difficult. The only other “starters” already on the 40-man roster (other than Alvarez) are Drew Smyly and Jeremy Bonderman, and they’ve both been pitching in relief for some time now. Bonderman was pitching as a starter for the Seattle Mariners earlier this season – so perhaps they could go with him if they really wanted to – but he’s not really stretched out, and it appears like they want to see him in the bullpen as much as possible as they whittle down the relief candidates for the last couple of spots on the postseason roster.
Alvarez started for Toledo on Sunday, so his normal rest schedule would have him on track to start again on Friday. That makes perfect sense for the Tigers.
Alvarez has made 20 starts in AAA this season with a 2.79 ERA and an 8.1 K/9 rate. He hasn’t been quite as dominant lately, but his last 10 outings still have him at a 3.52 ERA. In the big leagues, he’s made four starts with a 5.08 ERA and a 7.8 K/9 rate. Alvarez has pitched well enough both in the minors and majors to deserve another chance to start, but the Tigers don’t really have (m)any other options of minor league players they’d like to see. Pretty much all of their intriguing starting pitching prospects are in A-ball or lower.
The Tigers wouldn’t need to make a corresponding roster move to activate Alvarez ahead of Friday’s game since teams are allowed a 26th man for days with a doubleheader.