Detroit Tigers Starting Pitching Must Carry Them to the Playoffs


The strength of the Detroit Tigers this year has been their starting pitching. On paper, you will be hard pressed to find a rotation that is better than Max Scherzer, David Price, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello when all of them are healthy. The problem is that they are not healthy and they have not performed as well as you think.

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Tigers fans know that the offense has been inconsistent at best this year and many would rather retake the SAT than see who is coming out of the bullpen next. If the Tigers are going to make the playoffs, they will need to rely on their starting staff to get them there.

Here is a breakdown of the starting rotation month-by-month:

  • In April, the Tigers went 13-9. The starting rotation had a .239/.298/.386 split with a 2.98 ERA and 1.206 WHIP.
  • In May, the Tigers went 17-12. The starting rotation had a .260/.326/.407 split with a 4.15 ERA 1.371 WHIP. The offense was on the upswing that month before the 9-20 stretch which aided the record.
  • In June, the Tigers went 14-13. The starting staff posted a .261/.309/.299 split with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.263 WHIP.
  • In July, the Tigers went 13-13. The starting staff posted a .256/.297/.406 split with a 4.06 ERA and 1.188 WHIP.
  • In August, the Tigers have gone 12-12 thus far. Before Sunday’s game, the starting staff posted a .240/.285/.375 split with a 3.94 ERA and 1.129 WHIP. This ERA is more inflated due to the recent starts by Robbie Ray and Buck Farmer who gave up 6 and 7 runs respectively in less than 2 innings of work.

The starting staff has not lived up to its potential since May. For reference, the Kansas City Royals’ starting staff’s stats since the All-Star Break are a .238/.295/.359 split with a 3.06 ERA and 1.181 WHIP. If the Tigers want to make the playoffs, the Tigers’ staff is going to have to outpitch the Royals’ rotation.

The above numbers show that the Tigers have been completely average since the start of June posting a 39-38 record and their starting pitching has been pedestrian over that same stretch. There have been injuries in the rotation to Sanchez and Verlander, but this team was supposed to win a World Series this year.

I am not saying that they cannot do that at this point, but I am saying that the starting pitching needs to be elite to do so.