It’s been a trend all year. The working parts of the Detroit Tigers have issues functioning together.
The biggest issue with the Detroit Tigers as we approach the end of the season is the starting pitching staff. The problem with the starting rotation goes all the way back to August 26 – which is the last time that a Tigers starting pitcher actually got a win.
This doesn’t mean that the Tigers pitchers haven’t won, but it does mean that the last starting pitcher to get a win was Justin Verlander in a game against the Los Angeles Angels.
Yup, it’s been that long.
Since that day in August, the pitcher who has the most wins is Shane Greene who has three. Two against the Minnesota Twins in the latest home stand and one against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Park. After Greene, Francisco Rodriguez and Alex Wilson each have two wins. K-Rod’s wins were against the Chicago White Sox and Royals and Wilson’s were against the ChiSox and the Baltimore Orioles.
There have been 18 games since August 26. Out of those, the Tigers have a .500 average. So, there should have been opportunities for the starters to get wins. Unfortunately, many of the runs that have earned the nine wins have happened in the later innings. Unfortunately, the starting pitchers have not been able to get into those later innings.
In the nine losses, Tigers pitchers have earned losses. Michael Fulmer, who started the season so strongly, had the first loss on August 27 and he earned a second in his next start against the Royals. Anibal Sanchez got the next loss on August 28. Matt Boyd earned two losses in this stretch – against the Royals and the ChiSox. Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey both had their sad, sad losses with their returns. But, the worst loss of all came with Justin Verlander on the mound in the last game against the Baltimore Orioles.
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So, what has been happening with the Detroit Tigers starting pitchers?
The trouble is with home runs. The Tigers pitchers have given up too many and the Tigers batters have not hit enough. In Fulmer’s last three starts since August 27, he has given up one home run per game. The same goes for Matt Boyd. Verlander has given up five home runs in his three starts. Daniel Norris has given up four. Sanchez has given up three. Zimmermann gave up three in his last start. The only starting pitcher who hasn’t given up a home run since August 27 is Mike Pelfrey. This is 18 home runs given up in 18 games.
Since August 27, these Tigers have hit home runs: Ian Kinsler (4), Justin Upton (2), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1), J.D. Martinez (1), Miguel Cabrera (4), and Victor Martinez (1). The basic math shows that this is only 13 home runs.
This is an issue. There is nothing the team can do to help defend against the home run. The pitching simply needs to get better (and, the team needs to manufacture more runs to offset the plethora of dingers).