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Detroit Tigers: Mike Pelfrey, Bryan Holaday Shine Early Against Yankees

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Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) throws a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers lost a wild game to the New York Yankees by a score of 10-9. Despite the loss, there were numerous positives to be had. Mike Pelfrey and Bryan Holaday starred for Detroit. 

At first, things went swimmingly for the Detroit Tigers. Ian Kinsler and Bryan Holaday went yard, and the team jumped to a seven-nothing lead. While the Yankees rallied to make it 8-7 and ultimately won the game 10-9, there were numerous positives for Detroit.

It should be stressed that it is extremely early, and the Tigers have plenty of time left before the real games actually start.

It was a bit of both the old and the new in terms of what players stood out early against the Yankees. Two of the players that made an impact for Detroit were new starter Mike Pelfrey and incumbent reserve catcher Bryan Holaday.

Mike Pelfrey

Pelfrey, who received the start, threw three perfect innings. He struck out two batters and seemed to be on a roll for the entirety of his time in the game. In addition to the strikeouts, the former New York Mets pitcher kept the ball down.

All three batters in the second inning grounded out, as Pelfrey cruised. This was against the majority of the Yankees starters, as both teams quickly turned to their respective benches and bullpens.

Even at 32-years-old, the veteran may be poised for a breakout season. He won 15 games while posting a 3.66 ERA in 2010, but hasn’t achieved close to that success since. Pelfrey has lost 40 games, while posting a 4.77 ERA in 554.1 innings pitched since. Despite those numbers, there is a very real chance that the pitcher can rebound. Keeping the ball down, inducing ground ball outs and staying sharp will help him post good results.

As mentioned, it is extremely early. However, if Pelfrey can continue to keep the ball on the ground, the starting pitcher has a chance to succeed in the Motor City.

Bryan Holaday 

Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday (50) works out prior to the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday (50) works out prior to the game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Tigers added Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the offseason to provide a powerful bench presence—not to mention to be a backup to James McCann. At first glance, that would leave Bryan Holaday without a roster spot, but the longtime Detroit catcher showed against the Yankees that he won’t roll over and surrender a roster spot.

The catcher smacked a grand slam early on to give Detroit a 5-0 lead in the second inning. Holaday later added a double before exiting as the minor league players, non-roster invitees and prospects took over.

Holaday certainly has potential with the bat, as he hit .281 with two home runs and 13 RBI in limited playing time last season. The 28-year-old also hit .296 in a short stint in 2013.

What’s more, his familiarity with the team’s pitching staff certainly helps.

If Holaday can continue to produce at the plate, the Detroit decision makers will have a tough call on their hands.

Next: Top Prospects Who Could Debut in 2016

Notes

Minor league pitcher Ruben Alaniz went out to throw wearing coach Gene Roof’s #85 jersey. Steven Moya hit a two-run, no doubt home run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Detroit Tigers the lead, but it was short lived as New York won the game after outfielder Jason Krizan dropped a routine fly ball out in the sun. That allowed the winning run to score.

In Conclusion

It can’t be stressed enough that it is early, but Mike Pelfrey and Bryan Holaday showed well early in Spring Training.

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