Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers lesson learned in September: Starting depth isn’t ideal

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CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Manager Brad Ausmus #7 removes starting pitcher Myles Jaye #65 of the Detroit Tigers from the game during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 11, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Manager Brad Ausmus #7 removes starting pitcher Myles Jaye #65 of the Detroit Tigers from the game during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 11, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 4: Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers signals to the bullpen as he goes to the mound for a pitching change during the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 4, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

2018 and beyond

While the Detroit Tigers’ stats will likely matter little during the rebuild, reliable starting pitching would be helpful in building a team in which to eventually contend with.

Due to some of the shorter outings from the inexperienced starters, manager Brad Ausmus has had to rely heavily on an equally inexperienced bullpen.

Relievers like Joe Jimenez, Jairo Labourt, Zac Reininger and Victor Alcantara all have promising upside, but they’ve been hit around in their first extended looks in the Majors.

Each pitcher has thrown at least six innings—and while that’s a small sample size, Alcantara owns the lowest xFIP at 5.95.

As with the starters, it’s possible, even probable, that these relievers will begin to figure things out next season.

That being said, they’ve been part of a taxed bullpen that simply hasn’t produced.

Nine different Detroit relievers have a negative WAR in September. Meanwhile, the unit ranks last in the Majors during the month in WHIP (1.89) and second-to-last in SIERA (5.03).

Tigers’ relievers have also accounted for 111.2 bullpen innings in the month of September. As it stands, that’s the most in the Majors.

Rebuild or not, this kind of bullpen usage simply isn’t sustainable.

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