Detroit Tigers: The Boy who cried Wolf
By Jim Kramer
After starting the 2018 season with a 1 – 4 record, the Detroit Tigers fended off the wolves at the door. All of the preseason concerns, pitching and timely hitting, were temporarily put to rest as the Tigers swept the Chicago White Sox.
The Detroit Tigers have a tough task ahead of them, facing the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees this week. Here is a look at how the team has done so far, with a look ahead:
Both Michael Fulmer and Mike Fiers pitched extremely well. On April 7th, Fulmer pitched 5.1 innings giving up six hits,3 walks while giving up zero earned runs. Once the Tigers scored in the 3rd inning, the game was really never in contention.
Relief pitching has been exceptional in all three games with Joe Jimenez leading the way.
On Sunday the 8th, Mike Fiers returned from a short stint on the disabled list. The Detroit Tiger pitcher (1-0) gave up three hits and one walk while striking out six in six innings of work. He has been masterful in every contest against the Sox and entered the game with a 0.91 era.
Of the three starters only Jordan Zimmermann‘s outing raised concerns.
While the Tigers gladly accepted a win, Zimmerman was once again shelled. The right handed pitcher gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
The question on Zimmermann’s future capabilities remains. Will the Detroit Tigers see the past all-star of old or a beat up journeyman type. There seems little hope, at this time, that Zimmermann will return to the “lights out pitcher” who was once a star for the Washington Nationals.
While commentators continue to call for the Detroit Tigers to send Daniel Norris down to the minors for more seasoning, he has looked terrific. White Sox commentator Steve Stone bubbled over with complements for the young Left-hander.
Norris did not fail to perform. In 3.1 innings, Norris gave up a single run on a walk and a base hit. If pitching continues to excel it bodes well for the Bengals.
While Tiger hitters managed to squeak out just a paltry five hits in the last two games, they did enough to win. The only exception, to the hitting malaise, was the opening game against the Sox where they managed 17 hits in their 9 to 7 victory over the pale hose. Spring training sensation Niko Goodrum hit his first major league home run to help topple the White Sox 9-7.
Currently Nicolas Castellanos, Jacoby Jones and Victor Martinez lead in team batting average. While the Tigers are 10th overall in MLB team batting average, six players are still batting under .208.
This series will not be a cakewalk. While the Minnesota Twins currently sit on top of the Central division, Cleveland has lost little over the past two seasons. They are projected to carry the Central division or at the very least contend as a playoff type team.
The Tigers will need not only great pitching but also great hitting to prevail in this series against the Indians.