Four things we learned about the Detroit Tigers in May

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Detroit Tigers

 

1. The Detroit Tigers starting pitching staff is growing up

There was a question tweeted out  that summed it up nicely about Detroit Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter and that was simply put, “has there ever been a pitching coach upgrade as extreme as Rick Anderson to Chris Fetter?”

As far as some Detroit Tigers fans are concerned, the only comparison that may come to mind is when Roger Craig taught Jack Morris how to throw a split-finger and Johhny Sain with his pitching device changed the careers of Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, and Earl Wilson when he was the pitching coach in Detroit in the mid to late ’60s.

Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal had the best months of their professional career so far. I admit, early on in spring training, I thought Mize may need more time in the minors to start the year but he has blossomed into one of the better starters on the team.

Mize in May in comparison to April:

Skubal in May in comparison to his April: 

We already have seen Matthew Boyd return to form and based on his stuff, Spencer Turnbull has turned a corner and has been much more consistent.

What about the bullpen, which was way too inconsistent in April, it was a recovery period.

Rank: 30th

fWAR: -0.8

ERA: 6.70

FIP: 5.62

Now, here’s May numbers:

Rank: 12th

fWAR: 0.8

ERA: 3.77

FIP: 4.00

So, what changed? The Fetter effect is greatly described in detail by Cody Stavenhagen in the Athletic goes over the specifics more but the bullpen has one stat that stands out in May that may have surprised even the most cynical Tigers fan. Quick, who does this stat line belong to?

12.2 IP 6H 3R 1 HR 3 BB 11SO

Kyle Funkhouser, one of the first pitchers who was sent down at the beginning of spring training. That, right there, is an example of good coaching and instruction. Funkhouser has had the stuff and showed it in flashes but it appears it is coming together.

These stats really stand out above anything else.

 

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