Detroit Tigers: Daniel Norris Is Back
It’s been a long time coming. Daniel Norris made his Detroit Tigers debut start today in an exciting win against the Seattle Mariners.
Norris’s spot in the rotation came as a small surprise after Matt Boyd was demoted to Triple-A Toledo. This announcement was tempered with the announcement that Anibal Sanchez would also be returning to the rotation.
For the time being, the Tigers rotation will include Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Fulmer, Sanchez, Norris, and Mike Pelfrey. The six-man rotation was designed to give Fulmer some relief.
How big will Norris’s role be in the rotation after today’s win against the Mariners? Even though he did not get the win, he was certainly happy to be back with the big boys. When asked about Norris’s future with the team, Brad Ausmus said: “There’s no move on the horizon. We’re going to wait and see how guys pitch.”
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His outing was far from perfect. He pitched in five innings, making it look easy in the first three. The problems started when Nelson Cruz (traditionally a Tigers killer) hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning. Then, the fifth inning arrived and Norris allowed Chris Iannetta and Leonys Martin to hit back-to-back dingers. It was clear that Norris’s day was over at this point.
Norris still has plenty of work to do to secure his spot. Since coming to Detroit at the trade deadline last July, he has rarely pitched more than five innings per start. He pitched 7.1 innings in his first start of 2015 against the Baltimore Orioles on August 2, where he earned his first win. The only other time he threw more than five innings was against the Kansas City Royals on August 12 when he pitched 6.1 innings in a no-decision.
Other than Verlander and Zimmermann, the Tigers have a problem with their starting pitchers getting through the sixth innings. This is why the Tigers bullpen has so many issues – when the majority of the starters leave four innings in three out of every five games. In every 5 starts, that is 12 innings of bullpen work – or 1 1/3 games.
With Norris’s start today and the one inning he pitched back in May, he currently has a 4.50 ERA with a WHIP of 1.17. Hitters have an average of .250 against him.
Norris was supported by double from Justin Upton who scored Nick Castellanos and a double from Steven Moya who scored Upton in the second innings. He was also supported by a two-run home run from James McCann that scored Moya.
Norris was set for the win until Bruce Rondon allowed Cruz to hit a second home run, tying the game. Kyle Ryan earned the win after the fluke walk-off wild pitch to Ian Kinsler that scored Cameron Maybin.
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With this win, the Tigers swept the four-game series. The team is three games above .500, but four games back from the Cleveland Indians. The Royals are in second place ahead of the Tigers by one game. Hopefully, the Tigers will continue winning when the Indians come to town tomorrow.