From Start to Finish: 2015 Detroit Tigers Pitching Staff


Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher

Joba Chamberlain

(44) starting pitcher

Justin Verlander

(35) relief pitcher

Joe Nathan

(36) and starting pitcher

Max Scherzer

(37) during player introductions before game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With the expected departure of Max Scherzer finally realized, the 2015 Detroit Tigers pitching staff begins to reveal itself for what it is. From start to finish, this will be a staff built on promise and compromise. There are holes riddled throughout the big league roster as well as its feeder system. This will be an integral element in the construction of the team and its eventual outcome in September.

More from Detroit Tigers News

The vaunted Tiger rotation still has Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and David Price who can all dominate opposing hitters. JV and Anibal are 30+ and only Price has avoided the injury bug. That leaves two newcomers, Shane Greene and presumably Alfredo Simon to round out the starting five. Arguably we are looking at 4 question marks out of 5.

Some fans question Price’s commitment to Motown, suggesting he is unhappy with his new digs. I actually doubt that.

Other fans thought he wasn’t all that good since the trade. I dispute that. Disregard that one unbelievably, horrific start at the end of August against the Yankees, and his ERA as a Tiger drops from 3.59 to 2.75. He is surely our ACE.

This is a pitching staff that has issued good-byes to Max, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister and Drew Smyly in the last 13 months. Those are four guys who are NOT question marks. This will be a very challenging season for the rotation.

The bullpen has been an albatross for years now. It is a difficult role for a pitcher to fulfill and the nature of the beast sees relievers struggle one season and shine the next. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Joe Nathan is our closer. That is a frightening thought.

More from Motor City Bengals

Based on his results last year and being at an advanced stage in his career, we can’t expect miracles. Joakim Soria will provide insurance, hopefully, though we all remember what we saw from him last year, too.

Somewhat ironically, Al Alburquerque, was the stable component in the bullpen last year. We are lucky to have him and if he would only learn how to command his fastball, he too, could close. He has the demeanor and he has the talent. I admit he would be a last resort. The composition of the rest of the pen is pretty much like throwing you know what on the wall and hoping it sticks. Bruce Rondon is inexperienced and coming off significant surgery.

Ian Krol is a remnant of the “He who shall not be named” trade, and looks to be feeling the pressure. He has some good stuff though and the potential to absolutely demolish left-handed batters. Tom Gorzelanny is a journeyman swing-man who will likely see time from a dugout perspective as well. What’s left? I have a feeling that if the Domincan, Jose Valdez, can get a “grip” he may surprise.

The 2015 pitching staff is not going to breeze through this year nor will they make things easy for 2nd year manager Brad Ausmus. From start to finish, we will see a lot of names come and go.

Next: Departure of legendary Don Kelly; more Scherzer fall out