Detroit Tigers: Joey Wentz's lack of consistency has been a problem

Detroit Tigers starter Joey Wentz (43) in the dugout after being taken out during the third inning.
Detroit Tigers starter Joey Wentz (43) in the dugout after being taken out during the third inning. / Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz has been inconsistent.

When it comes to the Detroit Tigers' starting rotation, they have been relying on Joey Wentz to help eat up some innings and try and settle into the big league rotation. But so far, he has been inconsistent and struggled to get things going, and snowball starts together.

The Detroit Tigers southpaw had refined some things and tuned up his stuff a bit, but he has struggled to go out and make his pitches in a few of his outings. It's been an up-and-down season, and he has been inconsistent.

The Tigers do not seem overly worried about Wentz, though. Their skipper, A.J. Hinch, backed up the left-handed saying that the team believes in him and will talk to him to work with him to be better for his next outing on the mound.

A week ago, Wentz only threw 2.2 innings for the Tigers, giving up six hits, walking one, and allowing three runs with three punchouts. He threw 59 pitches before being pulled, 40 of them being strikes. Not the best outing at all for him.

The southpaw's start against the Nationals on Sunday was not pretty either. He lasted just 2.0 innings, where he allowed ten hits, and six earned runs, with 2 of those hits being home runs. Wentz threw 62 pitches, with 41 of them being strikes.

Not a good stretch whatsoever. He has the stuff and making to be a solid big-league arm; he just needs to find more consistency in his outings. So far, snowballing good starts together has been challenging for him. The excellent news is command is not the issue.

Wentz is not going out there and starting a walk-a-thon; he's throwing strikes, and he just continues to get hit around. It's intriguing that he has been easier to hit for opposing hitters in 2023. His average fastball velocity is a tick up, and he's getting some better extension down the mound than in 2022, attributed to some mechanical changes.

The opposing hitters have driven the ball better off Wentz in 2023, with the percentage of line drives being up from where it was in 2022 and the percentage of flyballs being around the same as well. The only thing that stands out is that the fastball's movement profile is pretty close together in that dead zone range.

While he refined his arsenal to better tunnel his pitches, opposing hitters have been hunting fastballs and doing damage when he throws the heater. Opponents are hitting .344 on the pitch with a .623 slugging percentage.

The fastball's horizontal and vertical movement are near that "dead zone," which could be problematic. It might be time for a pitch-design session for Wentz, aiming to improve this. It could allow him to be more consistent and tap back into the success he's shown he can produce on a consistent basis.

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