If it seems like Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann hasn’t been throwing like he normally does, your observation is correct.
Whether Zimm has just been “off” or he hasn’t fully recovered from his groin injury, he has had issues pitching lately. And, now, the Detroit Tigers ace pitcher will be spending more time on the DL.
This time, his DL stint is due to a “strained muscle on the right side of his neck.” This could not come at a worse time as Zimmermann was due to pitch against the Cleveland Indians this week.
It is clear that something was wrong with Zimm, especially in June. Prior to his groin injury, he was pitching at a mighty clip. In April, he had an ERA of 0.55 and in May he ended the month with a 2.52 ERA. On May 22, he left the game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He returned to the game for on June 3 against the Chicago White Sox. Even though the Tigers won the game, they gave up three runs to the White Sox.
June has been another story. He earned a 6.43 ERA in 35 innings of work. He allowed 25 earned runs off of 43 hits.
Now that Zimmermann is on the DL, Anibal Sanchez will return to the rotation in his place. The Tigers also called up Dustin Molleken to fill in the relief spot that Sanchez leaves open. Sanchez has been a reliable arm in the bullpen where he has pitched in eight games earning a 2.84 ERA and 1.184 WHIP.
To matters even worse in this must-win series against the Cleveland Indians, Daniel Norris left the game with an injury to his side. This is not the first time that Norris has been injured in the 2016 season. In the beginning of the season, Norris suffered from low back pain that ended up being non-displaced fractures in his spinal process. He has spent the majority of the season in Triple-A Toledo working his way back to Detroit.
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Norris finally returned to Detroit on June 23 where he pitched against the Seattle Mariners. He threw in five innings and gave up three runs. He also pitched on June 29 against the Miami Marlins, where he earned the win throwing 100 pitches in five innings.
The Tigers have had their fair share of pitching troubles this season. From Justin Verlander‘s rough April to Mike Pelfrey‘s struggles to get a win, the starting pitching seemed to be under control until today. The other problems have been in the bullpen, but since Shane Greene, Sanchez, Bruce Rondon, and Kyle Ryan have pulled together to maintain leads, the problems there have been halted – at least for now.
The Tigers need to get a win or two in this three-game series in Cleveland. With the Indians coming off of a two-game losing streak and the Tigers racking up a six-game winning streak, the time is ripe for the Tigers to get a leg up on the Indians.