Tigers weekly recap, look ahead to next week

Well….at least they finally won a couple games, right?

After going winless against Cleveland and Texas the week before, the Tigers had to go on a brutal seven-game road trip to Washington and Baltimore. The losing streak stopped at seven before winning the middle game in the series against the Nationals. But then a 20-strikeout performance at the hands of former Tiger Max Scherzer sparked a second losing skid that reached four games prior to their win on Sunday in the series finale vs Baltimore.

So on paper, the team did better this past week than the seven days before that, but what do the numbers look like?

OFFENSE STILL STAGNANT

Photo via Keith Allison on Flickr

In the six games vs the Indians and the Rangers, the Tigers hit just .233 as a team. Even with an extra game to help that department, it wasn’t much of an increase.

Last week, Detroit hit .236 as a club while going 2-5 vs the Nationals and Orioles. It may not seem like it, but there is improvement. They were outscored by 27 runs the week prior, and the run differential was only -9 this past week, which included a 9-3 loss to the Orioles on Saturday.

This all includes the jolt the team got from mid-week call-up Steven Moya, who went 6-for-15 in the series against the O’s with three extra-base-hits and one RBI. That performance at the dish along with playing an adequate enough left field earned him to stick around with Detroit a little longer.

DH Victor Martinez paced the club with a .520 BA (13×25). 12 of his 13 hits were singles.

Outfielder Justin Upton has hit the skids again. Upton went 4-for-29 (.138 BA) last week with 13 more strikeouts, giving him a league-leading 60 K. This includes a two-hit day on Sunday. Fellow corner outfielder J.D. Martinez also struggled with plate discipline despite hitting a modest .260 average (7×26, 4 BB), striking out 14 times.

STARTERS STARTING TO TURN THE CORNER?

Justin Verlander2
Photo via John (Baseball-Birthdays.com) on Flickr

The pitching as a whole has been inconsistent all season long, and by and large it has been the bullpen doing better than the starters.

That script has appeared to flip-flop somewhat.

Justin Verlander has put together back-to-back stellar outings. After hurling seven scoreless against Texas on Mother’s Day, Verlander threw a complete game on Friday, a 1-0 loss to Baltimore where his only blemish was a solo home run to Adam Jones.

Anibal Sanchez seems to be more comfortable with his old delivery to the plate, but is having trouble facing lineups the third time around. The last two outings, Sanchez has given up his runs in the 6th inning or later, even when his pitch count has been in great shape.

So far this season, Sanchez has pitched into the 6th inning or later six times. In his 4.1 innings logged in the 6th frame this season, Anibal’s ERA is 18.69. In the three games he’s gone into the 7th inning, his ERA is 18.00. Something may have to change there if he cannot figure out what’s wrong.

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Even Mike Pelfrey, who has the shortest leash of any pitcher on the staff, had a respectable outing finally. Pelfrey went 5.1 innings and was charged with only two earned runs.

The reliable law firm of Wilson and Wilson – Justin and Alex – were rocked this past week. The two combined to throw five innings (Alex logging four of those), yielding five earned in the process.

And it is safe to assume Mark Lowe is going through a rough patch. After surrendering five earned and a grand slam on Mother’s Day, Lowe this week gave up two more long balls, including another slam. On May 1, Lowe’s ERA was 2.79 and declining. Now it sits at 8.76.

LOOK AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK

Minnesota Twins

Seems like the Tigers have been on the road forever these days. They will finally return home for a nine-game stretch this week.

This might be just what the Tigers need to get back on track – seeing a team on the schedule they have already swept this season.

Now would be a good time for the team to start a new streak, but in the win column. The Tigers outscored the Minnesota Twins 19-8 in their road sweep back on April 29-May 1. They hit .342 as a team during those three games, and are hoping to continue that trend starting on Monday.

It would be nice for Detroit to gain some momentum in their own ballpark. They are just 5-9 at Comerica Park this season so far. Once upon a time, Comerica was one of the most feared places for visiting clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays

Detroit will also get their first look at the new-look Tampa Bay Rays in 2016.

Tampa has always been known for their little spending, yet they always have some of the best pitching in baseball and always seem to find themselves in the playoff hunt every year since they made the World Series in 2008. So far this year, their 3.74 team ERA checks in at 9th in baseball

The two teams split their six meetings head-to-head in 2015. Detroit won two of three at home against Tampa, but were outscored 19-13 in those games.

We can’t be shocked if we see the offense go quiet again this upcoming weekend when the Rays come calling. Sunday’s matinee matchup should be a good one. Jordan Zimmermann will be taking his second of two starts this week against former Tiger Drew Smyly. His record is just 1-4, but his ERA is a solid 3.63 and his 52 K’s are tied for 6th in the American League.

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