Detroit Tigers: Pitching Concerns Creep Up In Disappointing Week 7


(To read Week 6’s issue, click here.)

All in all, the Detroit Tigers had a disappointing Week 7. While splitting a series at home against the AL West-leading Houston Astros could be called a win of sorts, losing the series against the hapless Milwaukee Brewers is disheartening.

And if it wasn’t for Nick Castellanosclutch triple in the bottom of the 8th in game 3 of that series who knows what would have happened. The Tigers just didn’t look that great this week.

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They won the first two games of the Houston series only to drop the next two. A lot of that can be pegged on Manager Brad Ausmus who seems to leave his starting pitcher in one batter too long. That came back to bite Ausmus and the Tigers as they dropped the last two games of the series.

The bullpen too–which has been surprisingly good this season–pitched a bit inconsistently this week. Joakim Soria blew his first save of the season and while that’s not close to the end of the world — the Detroit Tigers still managed to win that game — it should be noted.

The offense continued its inconsistent ways only to disappear when it was needed most. But that happens over a long season and it shouldn’t be too much of a sticking point for the Tigers and their fans.

One thing that should be mentioned is the amount double plays the Tigers have grounded into. They lead the Majors with 48, a staggering number. While it’s surprising how many they’re hitting into, it can also be argued that it’s just a matter of the number of opportunities they get with runners on base.

That means they hit into so many double plays because they have runners on base all the time. It shouldn’t be too big a concern as the Tigers still lead or are in the top 5 of MLB in many offensive statistical categories (first in OBP and second in SLG, for example).

And now, a look back at Week 7:

Record: 3-4


vs MIL: 1-2

vs HOU: 2-2

Game of the Week: Thursday, May 21st vs Houston Astros 6-5 W

The Week 7 Game of the Week is highlighted by James McCann‘s walk-off blast in the bottom of the 11th to send the Tigers home on a high note.

The other parts of the game weren’t always great though. David Price was cruising only to find himself in some trouble in the 7th. The bullpen lost the lead by allowing a run in both the 8th and 9th inning. Soria would go on to blow his 1st game of the season.

But after a tough Milwaukee series and long day, McCann’s blast in the 11th inning felt so much sweeter for the Tigers. They blew a 5-0 lead going into the 7th only to eek out a win because of their rookie backup catcher.

McCann has been huge for the Tigers thus far this season and this was probably the 1st huge highlight of his young career. He’s playing like a man who wants the starting spot at catcher next season.

It was huge for McCann to go ahead and save the game for the Tigers. Everything seemed to be going wrong for them that game only to be saved by a rook.

Tigers Pitching Performance of the Week

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  • Alfredo Simon vs Houston Astros 05/22/15

    Line: 7 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 K, 4 H, 1 BB, 111 pitches

    Simon pitched a game against the Houston Astros in Game 2 of that series. The only reason he allowed any runs was because of an Ian Kinsler error with two outs in the 3rd inning.

    He pitched a game where he kept the Houston hitters off-balance. While Simon did pitch a few meatballs to the Houston hitters, he generally avoided damage on his way to another successful outing.

    Simon has really pitched well this season to a tune of a 2.67 ERA. He’s making General Manager Dave Dombrowski look like a genius trading for him last off-season.

    A quick look at his BAA (batting average against) shows that he’s only a few percentage points behind his norm. He’s allowing .249, just a bit off his career average of .255.

    While it’s hard to say if he can sustain this kind of success over a whole season (Read: probably not, based on his career numbers), the Tigers will take any kind of starting pitching consistency they can get. Their starters have had problems all year and Simon has seemed to rise above that to pitch well.

    Biggest Takeaway from Week 7

    Easily the biggest storyline and takeaway form Week 7 is the Tigers’ starting pitching. Anibal Sanchez has struggled in all sense of the word this season allowing a 6.12 ERA. While ERA isn’t the end-all stat, a high ERA like the one Sanchez has screams problems.

    He’s allowing a ton of home runs compared to the past few years which has resulted in his struggles. Going into the season he was the Tigers’ #2 starter and he’s really only that against the Minnesota Twins.

    Along with Sanchez’s problems, Kyle Lobstein is headed to the DL after some shoulder problems. While MRI’s seem to point out nothing too bad it’s still a blow to the Tigers’ rotation nonetheless. He was supposed to be a replacement for the injured Justin Verlander and he’s hurt too now.

    The worst part is that Lobstein has pitched well in Verlander’s absence. From the Tigers #5 starter a 4.34 ERA isn’t bad at all. He’s even had a few bright moments like his start May 7 against the Chicago White Sox.

    Now the Tigers will have to rely on Buck Farmer. Luckily Farmer has pitched well down in Toledo so far. In 9 starts he has a 5-1 record along with a 2.98 ERA. He’s scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    The Tigers have been recently hit with the injury bug as Jose Iglesias had to take some time off because he banged knees with Houston First Baseman Chris Carter.

    They will need to play better though as they’re still 3 games out of 1st place in the AL Central. They’re now tied with the Twins in that regard. The Twins are actually percentage points in front of the Tigers now.

    While Week 7 may have been a bit rough for the Tigers they still finished with an overall record of 3-4. Not nearly as bad as this article and writer is making the week seem. This team does have holes, but they have tons of talent.

    They could have let the start of the Milwaukee series make a big blow on their confidence but they bounced right back to grab the first two games of the Houston series. While the rest of the games against Houston could have been better, teams have those kinds of stretches of mental lapses in a long 162-game season.

    All in all, Tigers fans should be concerned of the Tigers’ starting pitching problems. Their once mighty rotation has taken a blow and if they’re not careful, it could come back to bite them.

    But there’s no doubting this team’s talent. They’re different (better speed and defense, less power), but that doesn’t make them worse in any way, shape, or form.

    Upcoming Schedule 5/25-5/31

    @ OAK: 5/25-5/27

    Game Times: 5/25: 4:05 PM, 5/26: 10:05 PM, 5/27 3:35 PM

    @ LAA: 5/28-5/31

    Game Times: 5/28: 10:05 PM, 5/29: 10:05 PM, 5/30: 10:05 PM, 5/31: 8:05 PM

    The Tigers will now head over to the west coast to face the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The start times will be a bit tough on fans as 10 o’clock starts on the east coast are brutal.

    The Tigers though will have to take care of business when they’re on the road. The Athletics have struggled to the tune of a 16-30 start. They’re one of the worst teams in the Majors and the Tigers should win this series.

    Except after their disappointing series against the Brewers anything can happen in baseball. The Tigers need to be more focused when they take on the Athletics. A series win (or even a sweep) will be huge for them as they head over to visit the Angels.

    A nice add-on will a homecoming of sorts for Yoenis Cespedes who started his career with Oakland.

    Their 4-game series with the Angels will undoubtedly be important. While they sit at .500 with a 22-22 record this team is still dangerous. Mike Trout is a superstar and can do some real damage against this Tigers pitching.

    The Tigers for some reason seem to struggle against the Angels and they’ll really have to exorcise some demons. A series win against the Angels would be huge and a big bounce-back from a disheartening Week 7.

    Every game counts (even in May) and the Tigers need to realize this. They’ll have to be a lot more focused on the field as they look to catch up the division-pacing Kansas City Royals.

    Next: Anthony Gose's Performance Key Down Stretch

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