Detroit Tigers players, like Michael Fulmer, have surprised during first half , while others have disappointed, such as Justin Upton. Which players will have a big second half and which will under perform?
The second half of the season is now upon us and the Detroit Tigers are looking pretty good. They currently sit in second behind the Cleveland Indians, behind 6.5 games from the Tribe. They are also just three games out of the wild card.
The Detroit Tigers have a number of home games remaining on their schedule, and an opportunity to take over a playoff position if they play well over those games. The question is, who will the Tigers be able to depend on over these remaining games?
Justin Upton could be due to have a strong second half of the season. Upton is one of the streakiest hitters in the majors and in the first half he was in one of the deepest slumps of his career.
He only hit .235 with nine homers. This has been his worst play since his rookie season in Arizona. He also struck out 112 times which is only 54 away from his average per season. But as Tigers fans saw, towards the end of the first half, he seemed to be getting his swing back.
In fact, over the last 15 games he has been hitting .290. Detroit Tigers fans should be excited for the second half Upton could have.
Michael Fulmer had a fantastic beginning of his major league career. He finished the first half 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA. He surprised many with his pure dominance at the start of his career, but the nostalgia of it is about to end. Fulmer will pitch around .500 for the second half of the season. Fulmer no longer has the element of surprise against teams anymore.
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He has already pitched at least once to all of the teams in the AL Central, and teams will grow accustom to his pitching in the second half. The Detroit Tigers will be able to depend on him for a few wins, but don’t expect him to go 9-2 again in the second half.
Jordan Zimmermann is another pitcher who performed well over the first half. Zimmermann is currently on the DL, but he will hopefully be back in the next week or two. Zimermann was 9-4 with and ERA at 3.95.
Unlike Fulmer, Zimmermann could come back as strong as ever. Zimmermann’s injury caused him to not pitch very well over his last five starts where he had only one win. Although, in two of those starts he went to the the seventh inning or deeper.
Prior to his last five starts, Zimmermann had been dominant, he only experienced a few slip ups. Once he comes back, he could be right back on top of this rotation. It may take him one or two starts to recover, but he has the potential to lead the Detroit Tigers into the playoffs.
Along with Zimmermann, the Tigers have another star that will be returning from the disabled list soon. J.D. Martinez is set to come back sooner rather than later after injuring his elbow on June 17th.
Detroit Tigers fans should expect him to come back and play very well. Before his injury, J.D. had started to turn his season around. In fact, in his last 15 games, his batting average went up from .245 to .286. Martinez may take awhile to get back into the swing of things after he returns from injury, but expect him to finish around .280 and be an integral part of the Tigers offense.
Detroit Tigers fans should be ecstatic about the returns of Jordan Zimmermann and J.D. Martinez as they could really benefit the team for a late push at the AL Central and the wild card.
Justin Upton also has a chance to show in the second half why it was a good decision to pay him all the money we did, but people also need to be prepared to see Michael Fulmer struggle and lose some games. The Tigers have another half of the season to show what they are really capable of, hopefully that will be making the playoffs or even more.