Detroit Tigers Week 2 Trend: Bullpen Pitchers & Hits
The home runs are continuing for the Detroit Tigers offense, but another trend is occurring: bullpen pitchers are allowing too many hits and (home) runs.
In the second week of spring training, the Detroit Tigers hitters seem to be getting more comfortable and more successful. They are still knocking the balls out of the park and they are starting to get the hits that move runners. This is a welcome sight.
What is not so welcome is the trend happening on the mound, especially with the future bullpen pitchers. Many of them are allowing hits and too many runs.
Yes, it is early. Yes, they are probably trying new pitches. Yes, it is spring training. Yes, many of them are young pitchers. But, they are getting hit, some rather excessively and in the form of the home run. This trend has been building for two weeks. This is not about the young guys with non-roster invites, but about the guys who have experience pitching in the major leagues. Guys like Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson, Bruce Rondon, and Blaine Hardy.
Fortunately, the Tigers have shown some amazing offense; but looking at the scores from the previous week, there is a trend developing. In the first inning or two, most of the opposing teams are not scoring runs, until the bullpen arrives. But, on Saturday in the game against the Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run – in the top of the third inning. But, it opened the flood gates. Then, in the bottom of the third, Rondon allowed a home run, in his only inning pitched. The other runs were allowed by minor league pitchers. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost this game.
When the Tigers played the Mets on Monday, several pitchers who will make the 25-man roster also allowed a few too many hits and runs for comfort. Lowe and Justin Wilson allowed home runs in their respective innings. For a pair of guys who are expected to rescue the bullpen, this is a bit disconcerting.
Then on Tuesday, the Shane Greene and Daniel Norris battle struck again. Greene started the game against the Tampa Bay Rays and he allowed three runs in the second inning. Norris allowed two more in his inning. These two guys were an issue in the first week, too. Does this start to count as a trend? To make matters worse, Brad Ausmus – in an interview during the game – admitted that the pair were dueling against each other for a spot in Detroit.
Wednesday, it was Hardy’s turn to allow runs. He did so against the Washington Nationals. Prior to the two runs being scored on a double by Daniel Murphy, he allowed to runners to get on base. The Tigers did win this game. Like Norris and Greene, this is not the first time that Hardy did not deliver.
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Thursday, the fault belonged to Zimmermann. He allowed to two runs to be scored on a home run in the first inning. He then allowed a second home run in the bottom of the fourth. The only starting pitcher at this point to not have allowed a run is Justin Verlander (and Anibal Sanchez since he hasn’t pitched yet). To be fair, the starting rotations on the other teams have allowed runs, too. But, I don’t care about the other teams. Players, professional and amateur, show what they are made of during their practices.
Then, today happened. In the game against the Houston Astros, the Tigers pitchers gave up a total of 10 runs. Ouch. Michael Fulmer, prospect number one, gave up three runs (including a home run) in the first inning. Then, the bullpen fell apart. Justin Wilson, Lowe, and Rondon thoroughly disappointed.
Next: Tigers Week One Spring Training Analysis
The time is ticking toward April. These are the guys who need to be able to come into an inning, get outs and move on. So far, fans have not seen much of this. Fortunately, the bats are working.
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