The Detroit Tigers are three games into their first Spring Training under a new regime. They have hit the ball well in their first couple of games, but the back end of their bullpen–made up of younger pitchers has cost them wins in two of their first three. This morning, according to Evan Woodbury, the Tigers released their starting pitching plan for the rest of the week.
Why it matters:
The starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers is pretty well set, barring some surprises. They'll be looking to keep the ship afloat as the two “big guns” Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal return from injuries at some point this season.
- The Detroit Tigers pitching staff was ranked in the bottom third of the MLB last season, with their starters ranking 28th.
- They used 17 different pitchers to start a game last season, which does not bode well for success.
- They have a list of depth at the starting pitcher position, especially when Mize and Skubal return.
The Detroit Tigers pitching plan for the Week of March 1st:
February 28th v. the Toronto Blue Jays – Joey Wentz
Joey Wentz will get his first action of the Spring against a stacked Toronto Blue Jays lineup. In split-squad action, the Blue Jays decided to roll with their big guns against the Tigers. 2022 was an up-and-down season for Wentz, though he did come on strong toward the end. He made seven starts and compiled a 3.03 ERA, 3.54 FIP, a 7.44 K/9, and a 3.58 BB/9. He's one of those guys that create the depth for the Tigers, and unless he's lights out, will most likely start the season in AAA.
March 1st v. Pittsburgh Pirates – Matt Manning
The key for Manning, who most likely is the youngest starter in the rotation to start the year, is staying healthy in 2023. He logged only 63 innings pitched in 2022, dealing with a couple of different injuries. The projections on FanGraphs aren't necessarily kind to Manning either, promoting his as only a 1.0 WAR player in 2023. His first start of Spring can go a long way to setting the tone for how his season will go for the Tigers.
March 2nd v. Baltimore Orioles – Matthew Boyd
Boyd returns to the Tigers rotation after a one-year sabbatical that found him rehabbing from flexor tendon surgery and a part of the San Francisco Giants organization and the Seattle Mariners playoff-appearing team. In a very small sample size–13.1 IP in 2022–he had a 1.34 ERA and a 3.19 FIP. Projected as only a 1.5 WAR player in 2023, Boyd is the type of guy Scott Harris and A.J. Hinch want around their younger pitchers, whether as a anchor of the rotation or in the bullpen.
March 3rd (SS) v. Philadelphia Phillies – Eduardo Rodriguez
Rodriguez will make his second start of the Spring on Friday, with his first outing going quite well. He threw two innings in his start against the Baltimore Orioles, giving up only two hits and striking out one. He threw 23 pitches in those two innings and 19 of them were strikes, a very welcomed site for the Detroit Tigers.
March 3rd (SS) v. New York Yankees – Michael Lorenzen
Lorenzen will see his first action in a Tigers uniform against the New York Yankees on Friday. An offseason signing that can provide rotational or bullpen depth, he will need a good spring to stay in the starting rotation, especially if younger guys like Joey Wentz are throwing the ball incredibly well. Look for Lorenzen to be a versatile arm for the Tigers in 2023.
March 4th v. Toronto Blue Jays – Spencer Turnbull
Spencer Turnbull is back! He faced live hitters for the first time in a long time earlier in team practices and felt good. Now, he'll see his first game action on Saturday, wrapping up the week for the Tigers. There's no doubt that the emergence and consistency of Turnbull will be key for the Tigers, though the progress may be slow in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. This is the first step in that progression though, throwing in a game situation.