Detroit Tigers Weekly Recap: Bad Weather, Worse Baseball
By Andy Patton
One of the few positives for the Tigers last week was the starting pitching. Particularly the pitching from veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano, who tossed six innings while giving up two runs on just three hits. He walked three and struck out four. Liriano now has a 2.13 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP through his first two starts of the year. While this won’t last, it has been good to see the veteran bounce back from a tough 2017 and look like a solid starting pitcher once again in Detroit.
Another positive this season has been fellow left-hander Matthew Boyd, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball, with that one run courtesy of a first inning homer by Jose Ramirez. Boyd settled in after that, only giving up three hits and one walk while striking out four. Boyd has a chance to break through as a solid mid-rotation starter this season, which would be a nice boost for a rebuilding Tigers team.
Jordan Zimmermann only threw seven pitches before a line drive off the bat of Jason Kipnis hit him square in the jaw, causing him to exit the game. He says he is fine and expects to make his next start. In his stead, Daniel Norris threw two solid innings of relief before running into trouble in the fourth, giving up four runs on six hits and getting relieved by Drew VerHagen.
It was bizarro world for the Detroit Tigers, as Liriano and Boyd looked lights out while All-Star starter Michael Fulmer got lit up by the Indians. He only lasted three innings, giving up nine runs (six earned) on eight hits, including two home runs. He only struck out two. Outings like this will be rare for Fulmer, but it was a very unfortunate time for him to implode. Chad Bell, who had recently been recalled, threw four scoreless innings in relief – although he did give up six hits and one walk.
After an excellent debut, Mike Fiers went backward in his second game. He threw 5.2 innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits and one walk. He struck out four. Fiers had a bad spring, but seems to have a solid grasp on a rotation spot.
Overall it was a good week for the starters. Cleveland’s hitting has been as cold as the weather, so outside of Fulmer’s blow-up it was nice to see Detroit keep them in check. Once the hitting comes around, Detroit should be able to hang around with most teams.