Detroit Tigers: Matt Boyd’s Starting Rotation Outlook

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 1: Matthew Boyd /

Manager Ron Gardenhire has selected Michael Fulmer and Francisco Liriano as starters for the 2018 Detroit Tigers. Three spots remain to be filled.

Has Matthew Boyd already secured a spot in this year’s rotation for the Detroit Tigers? Fulmer and Liriano have already locked their spots in this year’s starting rotation. Manager Gardenhire has said that there will be a “cat fight” to fill the remaining spots.

Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Boyd, Mike Fiers, Daniel Norris and Ryan Carpenter are all in the fight. To date, Zimmermann and Fiers have been rocked in their spring training outings.

In three games, Zimmermann currently has a 1-0 record but sports a 6.75 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP. In his game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was hit hard but the hits were off of a cutter. It was a pitch that he was “working on”.

In the off-season, the Detroit Tigers signed Mike Fiers to a one year deal.  Fiers had logged the most innings of any Houston Astros pitcher but he was not re-signed.

Although Fiers had an offer for a longer-term deal, he selected Detroit under the pitching coach Chris Bosio. While in the Milwaukee Brewers system, Fiers had great success under Bosio’s tutelage. That success has not carried over this spring. He currently has a 1-2 record with an 8.59 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.

One of the bright spots in this year’ spring training, has been the pitching of Ryan Carpenter. In five games this spring, Carpenter has 12 strikeouts in 9.2 innings pitched.

“He’s only pitched in a handful of games, but so far Ryan Carpenter is doing exactly what got him noticed in 2017: throwing strikes”. Observant fans have clearly noticed Carpenter’s presence so far this spring.

While Carpenter is slated for Toledo, his work in Florida cannot be overlooked. Another pitcher currently in the fight is Daniel Norris.

While Norris has recently pitched out of the pen, he clearly is in the running for a starting spot. He currently sports a 3.60 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

Matt Boyd

Aside from Fulmer and Liriano, Matthew Boyd has pitched well this spring. After Boyd’s outing on Monday, March 12th, he carries a 2-0 record with a 4.09 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.

His ERA is somewhat deceptive as he was hit hard in his first two outings. Since that time, Boyd has pitched six innings while giving up a single run.

One of Boyd’s strengths has been his curve and slider. While the “hard hit rate” against Boyd’s off-speed pitches was around 3.00 just a few years ago, that has dropped considerably.

While Boyd continues to perfect his off-speed pitches in spring training, his “hard hit rate”, last year, was second among qualified starters. It is his hope to use these off-speed pitches to “challenge hitters less frequently with his fastball”.

On the day that former Detroit Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander made his first start for Houston, Boyd took a no-hitter into the ninth. With two outs in the last frame, the no-hitter was broken up by White Sox hitter Tim Anderson.

While Matthew Boyd will never erase the memory of Justin Verlander, he clearly has the ability to be a sound starter in the major leagues. He already has done enough to secure a starting position on this years Detroit Tigers.

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What is your opinion of this springs Detroit Tiger’s pitching rotation? Will Zimmermann and Fiers make it through the year as starters or should pitchers such as Carpenter be given the chance to succeed? We would love to hear your opinion.