With the final score of 7-1 versus the Miami Marlins, the Detroit Tigers tried to get into the game, but Jordan Zimmermann made it difficult.
The duo scored after a single by Adeiny Hechavarria and a sac fly by the pitcher, Adam Conley. By this time, the score was 0-4, after only two innings. All of these runs were earned by Zimmermann who had difficulty getting pitches that ended up as easy outs.
Fortunately, Brad Ausmus could see that things were not going well for Zimmermann and he pulled him after the third inning. He finished his sixth game giving up 5 hits and 4 earned runs. He did strike out three batters, but not when it was really needed.
The rest of the pitchers who are making their way north fared well today against the Marlins. The only pitcher who did not do well was Paul Voelker who gave up the rest of the runs on a three-run home run to J.T. Realmuto in the bottom of the seventh inning. But, Voelker does not have a multi-million dollar contract that runs through 2020.
Jordan Zimmermann does have a multi-million dollar contract. But at the rate he’s pitching, he does not look anything like an $18 million pitcher. He looks more like a minor leaguer.
Zimmermann’s final stats for today’s game and the spring training season according to Anthony Fenech with the Detroit Free Press were:
"He threw 57 pitches. Zimmermann finished the Grapefruit League with a 9.42 ERA and 1.68 WHIP."
Take a look at his statistics prior to today’s start: He pitched in five games prior to today. In February, he threw in two innings giving up one run and striking out one. On March 4, he threw in two scoreless innings, but walked two batters.
Then, the madness began. March 10 and 15, he didn’t even pitch in two complete innings, but he gave up nine hits and nine runs, including a home run. On the 10th, he was pulled during the second inning and on the 15th he was pulled in the first.
By March 15, he had an ERA of 15.00 with a 2.67 WHIP.
His next outing was March 26 and he did throw in 5.1 innings. He allowed two hits and one run – much better than the previous outing. But, things fell apart today. He finished March with an ERA over 9 and a WHIP over 1.5.
His inconsistency is a far cry from the way he was pitching last year at this time. Remember, that he was the player of the month of April in the American League because of his 0.55 ERA with only four earned runs in 33 innings pitched.
I have a feeling that we aren’t going to see that Jordan Zimmermann for a long time.
If you take out the first three games of the season in 2016, Zimmermann would have finished the season with an ERA of 5.97 and a few other stats that are far from ideal. The batting average against him was .299 and the OPS was .866. As the season progressed, his ERA increased in every game. The current numbers look like this will continue to be the Zimmermann who pitches for the Tigers.
When he was signed in the 2016 off-season, he was expected to be the second starter after Justin Verlander. But after his neck injury that kept him off of the mound for most of 2016, he doesn’t appear to even be ready to be the fifth starter.
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Zimmermann’s nagging injury opened up opportunities for Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd, and Daniel Norris to get time on the mound. Where Zimmermann used to be a pitcher who could pitch the most innings in the NL, he can barely go two or three. It is going to be up to Verlander, Boyd, Norris, and Fulmer to get as many wins as possible because they aren’t going to come when Zimmermann is on the mound.
Of course, wins are not indicative of the pitcher’s performance. But in Zimm’s six games, the Tigers won two of the six games that he started. A 33% winning percentage is not good. Say he pitches in 30 games in 2017 and they only win 33% – that’s a total of 10 wins. The rest of the pitchers will not have perfect records either, but losing 67% of the games in which you start does not inspire any type of confidence.
If Zimmermann continues to pitch the way he has been, it is highly unlikely that the Tigers will not make it to the postseason. We can only hope that April goes better than March has. It can’t get much worse. Or can it?