Through the first 40 games of the 2019 season, the Detroit Tigers hold an 18-22 record currently sitting in fourth place in the AL Central.
Being below .500 through the first 40 games of the season should not come as a shock to Detroit Tigers fans. With the team still in the midst of a rebuild, we all knew coming in what type of season 2019 would be, and so far it has gone pretty much as expected.
Detroit’s 18-22 record has them currently sitting in fourth place in the AL Central, seven and a half games back of the division-leading Twins. However, the Tigers are just three and a half games behind Cleveland for the second AL Wild Card spot, but Detroit fans should definitely not get any hopes up for a postseason appearance.
Now that we’re 40 games into the season, let’s take a look back and some of the highs and lows for the Tigers from the first chunk of 2019.
Detroit Tigers- Unexpected Hot Start
The Tigers got off to an unexpectedly hot start at the beginning of the 2019 season. They defeated the Blue Jays on Opening Day in Toronto thanks to Christin Stewart’s two-run HR in extra innings but went on to split the four-game series at two games apiece.
Detroit then went on to take two of three games against the Yankees in New York and swept a three-game series against division rivals Kansas City at Comerica Park. This led the Tigers to start the season 7-3 through the first ten games and give the fans some hope that this team could be showing some promise for the future.
One factor that largely contributed to Detroit’s hot start was some impressive performances from starting pitching. Jordan Zimmermann had a stellar start on Opening Day surrendering just one hit and shutting out Toronto in seven innings and allowed just one run on six hits in his second start against New York. Lefty Matthew Boyd looked nearly unstoppable early on in the year striking out 23 batters in his first two starts.
Detroit Tigers- The Injury Bug
Speaking of starting pitching, the early season success of the Tigers’ rotation quickly faded away. Losing Michael Fulmer for the entire season due to Tommy John surgery before the year even began was a tough blow to start.
The next major blow to Detroit’s rotation came on April 6th when Matt Moore left his second start of the season with a knee injury. Moore left after three innings in that game but was yet to allow a run on the season and was showing some real promise until the Tigers learned he would be out for the year after requiring surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Jordan Zimmermann has not made a start since April 25th being sidelined with a UCL strain in his right elbow. Earlier this week starter Tyson Ross was placed on the 10-Day IL with an elbow injury as well, leaving the Tigers’ starting rotation ailing and in shambles.
Christin Stewart has been one of the only hitters for Detroit to miss significant time so far in 2019. Stewart was placed on the IL on April 18th with a quad strain but has returned to the Tigers’ lineup as of just a few days ago.
Detroit Tigers- Offense (Or Lack Thereof)
Probably the biggest takeaway from the first 40 games of the season for the Tigers is the fact that this team really has a tough time scoring runs. Detroit scored a total of 139 runs in their first 40 games of the season, the second least amount of runs scored by any team in the major leagues so far (thankfully the Marlins are just a bit worse).
Getting the ball out of the park has been a major struggle for the Tigers as well. Detroit ranks second to last (again just ahead of Miami) in the MLB in home runs with just 33 long balls through their first 40 games. Ronny Rodríguez leads the team in HRs with six despite not making his debut until mid-April and former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is still searching for his once-coveted power having hit just one deep ball so far this season.
The young bats of Rodríguez and Stewart have been a couple of bright spots of Detroit this year. Rodríguez currently leads the team with 17 RBIs while playing in just 21 games, and Stewart held the lead in RBIs for much of April and early May despite not even playing.
We all knew what kind of season this was going to be for the Detroit Tigers heading in, and so far it seems safe to say it’s gone mostly as expected. The team cooled off after a hot start and has had to try and stay afloat through some injuries, which has led to some young players getting a chance to show they are ready to compete at the major league level. With about 3/4 of the season left to go, if the Tigers stay on this track, it may not look great but fans shouldn’t necessarily be disappointed either.
What would you like to see from the Tigers in the next 40 games? Feel free to let us know in the comments section down below.