Detroit Tigers: Ready or not, here comes Matt Manning

Detroit Tigers pitcher Matt Manning throws a pitch during summer camp at Comerica Park in Detroit, Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Matt Manning throws a pitch during summer camp at Comerica Park in Detroit, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. /

The Detroit Tigers are looking at Matt Manning to help out the rotation as injuries continue to accumulate.

During Monday night’s game between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals, Matthew Boyd left the game with a triceps issue after 2.1 innings. Then, the pitching injuries got even worse when reliever Alex Lange left the game with right shoulder discomfort.

However, Monday’s game was A.J Hinch using his bullpen to perfection to navigate a tough situation in the 10-3 victory. By using nine pitchers, the Tigers set a team record for most relievers in a nine-inning game.

With a taxed bullpen, Spencer Turnbull still out, and Julio Teheran more than likely not coming back this season, Detroit is turning to their first-round draft pick from 2016, Matt Manning, who was scheduled to start tonight in Toledo.

Manning is initially joining the team’s taxi squad, but he’s expected to take his turn in the starting rotation on Thursday evening against the Los Angeles Angels.

Miguel Del Pozo and Wily Peralta are also up from Toledo.

Is Matt Manning ready?

Manning is coming off his best start of the season against the Louisville Bats, in which he pitched six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out eight mainly. His fastball sat in the 92-94 range for most of the outing, but he jumped up to 95-97 in the 5th inning, and he also froze a few batters with his curve. He threw a handful of changeups, but they were mostly for show.

Overall in 2021 he has pitched 32.1 innings, and allowed 29 runs (8.07 ERA) on 40 hits, walked 10, and given up 11 home runs, the most by any pitcher in Triple-A. His pitch sequencing last week looked much better than in previous starts.

For Prospects Live, our own Jacob Boes went to his start for a live look at Manning against Columbus and said this about his third pitch.

"“The new breaking ball experiment appears dead or at least tabled; as he only warmed up and deployed three pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup. To put it lightly, the change is far from a finished product. In fact, it’s possible it has regressed since his Double-A Erie days.”"

What I saw on Wednesday night was similar. The change was more or less a pitch that was a get-me-over offering, where he grabs the outer corner a few times. He took advantage of a Louisville Bats team that could not hit his fastball, and got away with a few pitches that major leaguers may have hit.

Hopefully Detroit Tigers fans understand Manning is not a finished product, and it will take time for him to succeed. His MLB debut will make him the fourth pitcher from Detroit’s 2016 draft class to reach the majors, joining Kyle Funkhouser, Bryan Garcia, and the since-departed John Schreiber.

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