The Detroit Tigers starting rotation has taken a number of severe blows in 2019, losing three of its five members to injury so far this season.
Former American League Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer was the first to go down for the Tigers, and after being shut down in Spring Training, it was determined that Tommy John Surgery would end his 2019 for the Detroit Tigers before it even started.
The next starter to fall due to injury was Matt Moore, who required season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Jordan Zimmermann completed the trifecta, as the 32-year-old righty exited his start last week in Boston with discomfort in his right elbow. It was determined that he sprained his UCL.
Zimmermann was able to narrowly avoid Tommy John Surgery, but his status remains up in the air as the calendar flips to the month of May. But despite these crippling injuries, the starting staff has remained effective thanks to multiple contributions from young hurlers.
Turnbull tossed six innings of one-run ball to open the two-game series, only walking two batters while striking out five. He would pick up his second win of the season, shutting down the powerful Phillies lineup by being effectively wild.
The 26-year-old fell behind a number of batters and hit two, but never found himself in much trouble as he led his team to a much-needed victory to snap a four-game losing streak. Turnbull features great stuff, including a lively two-seam fastball, diving changeup, a curveball, and a slider.
Wicked movement on his fastball coupled with a deadly out-pitch curveball kept Phillies hitters off balance all night long, and at the end of his outing, Turnbull managed to lower his ERA to 2.53, good enough for 12th-best in baseball.
It can be argued that the rookie Turnbull has been the Tigers second-best starter this season, and after establishing himself early in the Spring and translating his success to the regular season, he’s certainly here to stay.
Daniel Norris, another starter tasked with picking up the slack caused by injuries, also continued his stellar start to 2019 in Philadelphia. He threw five innings of one-run ball in the Tigers loss Wednesday night, scattering five hits while striking out four.
Norris, who began the year in the bullpen after Moore was given the Tigers final rotation spot, has been effective in three starts since sliding into the injury-riddled rotation. The 26-year-old owns a 3.00 ERA in 15 innings pitched as a starter, gaining confidence with each outing.
The left-hander is pitching with a purpose, attempting to prove to the organization that he belongs in the starting rotation conversation moving forward. His resurgence after an injury-filled 2018, combined with the breakout season for Turnbull has softened the blow of losing three starters.
Matt Boyd and Tyson Ross are the only two starters left standing who broke camp in the rotation, and like Turnbull and Norris, they’ve also been effective. The lefty Boyd has emerged as a highly coveted trade chip, while the veteran Ross has been durable in five starts.