Beau Brieske & Young Guns Have To Adjust To Survive

Detroit Tigers, Time for some adjustments

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Thoughts

A.J. Reilly: So my thoughts for the week all stem around our young guns and our pitching. Because recently our pitching has not been great. Our starting pitching needs to get deep into ball games. And I think the last time a pitcher went past six innings as a starter was when Beau Brieske went seven innings against the Texas Rangers

This is not great because what that’s inevitably doing is taxing the bullpen. It’s creating a situation for the bullpen, where there just is not enough stamina. And more opportunities for a disaster to happen. Like it happened on Sunday against Arizona. If we look at our big three young guns, right? 

Our big three, Casey Mize is on the shelf with Tommy John. That means Beau Brieske is put into that young gun conversation. Alex Faedo looks like he’s getting tired coming off of Tommy John’s surgery. He had massive control issues starting even in the first inning against Arizona in game two. And it really reared its ugly head in the fourth inning where he just could not find the strike zone and locate.

Faedo has 11 and third innings pitched over his last three starts and gave up 14 runs. In his first seven starts in the major leagues, he went at least five innings pitched and gave up two runs or less. So something is going on. And I think part of it is something that I’m going to say for all of these guys is adjustments.

The league has adjusted to them. They have to find a way to adjust right back. Because now there’s video. Now there’s tape on them. Now there are ways for opposing pitchers to learn their tendencies and see what they throw in these counts and what they really like to rely on. 

For Beau Brieske it’s his change up. He’s gotta find a way to make that an effective pitch through adjustments. Let’s talk about Beau Brieske. Even though he still competed in his outings, he is beginning the descent back to earth too. In June, in his first three starts, he went 18 and two-thirds in pitched and only gave up two runs total in those three starts.

But in his last two starts, he’s only gone eight and two-thirds innings and has given up nine runs. Teams are adjusting. He has a very effective changeup, but he’s not adjusting to the point where he can use that changeup effectively for this team. 

And then we get to Tarik Skubal who is arguably the best pitcher on our staff, even when fully healthy, a lefty that throws mid to high nineties.

Has decent off-speed stuff, but he has struggled with command and location and almost trying to be too fine with his pitches. He started June with back-to-back seven-inning outings with three or fewer runs in each of those outings and in his last three outings he’s only gone 13 and two-thirds innings and has given up 15 runs.

So for me, the conclusion is really clear. They must make adjustments. We have to find a way to execute a game plan that is maybe a little bit different than what we did when we had success. Because clearly, the tape on these guys has led teams to adjust. In order to not be put away with two strikes, they found a way to make these guys throw more pitches.

They have to find a way to adjust. They have to find a way to make sure that they are getting to the point with this season that they’re taking that next step forward. Because what ends up happening is it’s havin a trickle-down effect. When the bullpen has to be called on to get five, four, and two-thirds innings each game, eventually it’s going to wear down.

And I’ve told you in The Corner that, the water’s gonna find its level with the offense. Okay. But water will also recede to its level. The bullpen specifically if they have to be relied on consistently to get long outings accomplished. For our starters, it should be imperative that they get at least to the sixth inning.

If they get to the sixth inning, that’s an opportunity to put our best three pitchers in the bullpen, out to win a game. And if the offense is scoring runs and our starting pitchers get to the sixth inning, then Joe Jimenez comes into the seventh. Who’s phenomenal this year. Then Michael Fulmer comes in the eighth. Who hasn’t given up a run in 11 and two-thirds innings pitched over 12 outings.

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And then you come in with Gregory Soto. Who’s probably the less reliable of those three, but who in Arizona was very dominant. He looked really good. Commanding that slider, getting the fastball over the plate. If we can get to a point where we’re getting at least six innings. Which is not a tall task force starting pitcher, or at least it should not be, then that puts us in a good position to win baseball games.

But specifically with Alex Faedo, I wanna be very clear about something. This is a guy that’s coming off of Tommy John surgery. And A.J. Hinch even said, and they talked about it a lot in the broadcast, in his start in Arizona, that he seems like he’s fatiguing a little bit. Okay. I understand that he’s a young guy.

We need to protect him. We need to make sure that he doesn’t have a ton of issues moving forward, especially when it comes to arm fatigue. And you can tell that he’s already very much on a short leash when it comes to that. Go with the analytic thought, which I know turns some people off a little bit, but do what you do with Daniel Norris. Have Faedo go out and pitch one time through the order and make it a bullpen day.

You got Michael Pineda coming back. He should be back relatively soon. So move Ronnie to the day that Faedo would pitch. Pineda take Ronnie’s day and just go with an opener scenario to get Faedo the experience. Get some innings logged on the arm, but not overextend him. Because if we overextend him and if he can only give us four innings, every outing, when we’re relying on him to give us more, it’s going to be problematic.

These young guns can be good and I’m not writing them off. Beau Brieske is a late-round pick and what he has done in his first stint in the MLB has been fantastic. He just needs to adjust. They have to find a way to get that command back. And that might mean going to an opener situation and saying, hey, we need two to three innings out of you.

That’s it. That’s all I’m asking for. Give your best pitches for three innings. And Tarik Skubal has got to find the command. Tarik Skubal has got to adjust. He’s got to get more around the plate and make his pitches more effective. Just by adjusting to a league that has clearly adjusted to them and let them be more effective moving forward for our team.

Look, I’m excited about these guys. And when Mize comes back and Spencer Turnbull, that’s coming back, the future is bright for this pitching staff. No doubt about that. Alex Lange in the bullpen. Will Vest in the bullpen. Who knows if we will hold onto or trade some of our bullpen pieces. Like Soto, Fulmer, and potentially even Joe Jimenez, with the trade deadline coming up towards the end of July.

It’s really going to be interesting to see. I would not hope that they would trade the biggest arms that we have and hopefully keep some of them to build around like a Joe Jimenez who we have under control for a few more years, but Fulmer’s gonna be a free agent Soto’s gonna be sought after.

So maybe those two guys aren’t there at the end of the season. And that gives opportunities for Alex Lange or Will Vest to step up and take on more high-leverage roles in the bullpen. Right now the defense and specifically the pitching is something that Detroit Tiger fans can hang their hats on. And it is exciting. And it does give us hope for the future. 

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