Remember when the Tigers had lost four in a row and five of six and found themselves at 8-9? Neither do we.
Detroit quickly turned things around last week, going 6-1 and averaging better than six runs a game during that stretch. With the exception of Mike Pelfrey, who allowed 5 ER in each of his two starts last week, the other starters for the Tigers did solid work and the bullpen helped lock down the wins in the process.
Time to go a little more in depth at the numbers from last week:
BRINGING THE LUMBER
The Tigers as a team hit an even .300 in their seven games last week, scoring 43 runs.
The hottest hitter was designated hitter Victor Martinez, who went 14-for-27 (.519 BA) with three home runs, eight runs batted in and eight runs scored. The eight RBI were tied with Nick Castellanos, who continues to lead the American League with a .361 batting average, for most on the team last week. Martinez’s three bombs were tied with Miguel Cabrera for a team high.
Speaking of Cabrera, he was hitting .206 heading into last Monday’s game against Oakland. Tigers faithful were ready to drive themselves over the edge of a cliff it seemed.
Then Miggy reminded those folks who he was and that all it takes is one week to get back on track. Cabrera went 12-for-31 (.387 BA) against the A’s and Twins last week. Climbing his average back up to .266.
Another guy who got off to a sluggish start but may appear to be getting back on track is Justin Upton. After a 9-4 win over Oakland on April 27, Upton’s BA was under the Mendoza line at .195. Since then, he’s gone 8-for-17 with a pair of three-hit games and launched a 3-run jack on Saturday.
The average is up to .242 now for Justin and hopefully it continues to trend in that direction. He appears to be seeing the ball better and not pressing as much, which is encouraging for the team and Tigers fans.
With all due respect to the offense seemingly finding a groove, the Tigers bullpen is hands down the most impressive and integral part of their success early on this season.
Last week alone, the relief core put together another dominant performance collectively. Here are some of the numbers of each bullpen pitcher from last week:
- Alex Wilson: 4 GMs, 4.0 IP, H, 4 K
- Justin Wilson: 4 GMs, 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Francisco Rodriguez: 4 GMs, 3 SVs, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 4 K
Seeing a trend yet?
- Kyle Ryan: 3 GMs, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 K
- Mark Lowe: 3 GMs, 2.2 IP, BB, 2 K
No earned runs by this group of pitchers.
Add in the work that Blaine Hardy and Drew VerHagen also put in last week and the relievers compiled a 0.83 ERA last week.
A big problem for Detroit the last two seasons has been finding multiple reliable options to bring into late-game situations to help shut down wins and solidify victories. The back end of the pitching staff has held their own through 24 games and has yet to take responsibility for any of the 10 losses the team has this season.
The starters are doing enough, and the offense is providing enough margin for error.
LOOK AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK
Detroit is off on Monday as they head back east to Cleveland. The Tigers will certainly be looking for some payback in the biggest way possible after the Indians swept Detroit at Comerica Park last weekend, outscoring them 18-5.
Ironically, it will be the same three pitching match-ups we saw the first time these two teams squared off with the exception of Thursday because both Shane Greene (hand) of the Tigers and Carlos Carrasco (leg) of the Indians are on the disabled list.
- Tuesday, May 3: Justin Verlander vs. Josh Tomlin
- Wednesday, May 4: Anibal Sanchez vs. Corey Kluber
- Thursday, May 5: Michael Fulmer vs. Trevor Bauer (subject to change)
After finishing the six-game road trip in Cleveland, the Tigers will head back home for one weekend series against the AL West leading and reigning division champion Texas Rangers.
Baseball fans are on a crash course for a star-studded match on the bump for the first game of that series on Friday, May 6 as Jordan Zimmermann takes his 5-0 record and 0.55 ERA to the mound against Texas ace Cole Hamels, who is 3-0 with a 3.30 ERA.