Monday, May 20, 2024

The Tigers vs. Run Support


The Tigers have one of the best bullpens in baseball right now. A lot of people are surprised by this, I'm not, seeing as they were also very good last year. All of Jason Foley, Alex Faedo, Will Vest, Andrew Chafin, Tyler Holton and Joey Wentz are all playing extremely well and have low ERAs. Foley has been an excellent closing option, and has 10 saves already. Even Shelby Miller was able to nab 3 wins before getting hurt. 

Together, the Tigers' bullpen has been responsible for 14 wins. As opposed to the starting pitching, who are responsible for...9 wins. And 6 of them belong to Tarik Skubal.

So clearly, it seems like a tall order for Tigers hitters to get anything done while the starting pitcher's on the mound. Forget that the bulk of the lineup is made up of people like Javier Baez, Spencer Torkelson and Gio Urshela, guys who are extremely okay. There are some good hitters on this team, and many of them, including Kerry Carpenter, Riley Greene, Mark Canha and Wenceel Perez, have been extremely good lately. But I feel like they don't think to show up during the first 5 innings. 

I think about Reece Olson and Jack Flaherty, two of the best pitchers on the Tigers that aren't named Skubal. Olson has a 2.09 ERA in 8 starts, he's got a 0.993 WHIP, and he hasn't given up a home run yet. Reece Olson is currently 0-4. Because he only really goes 5 innings, and he hasn't pitched in a game yet where the Tigers have done anything to outscore the competitor indefinitely while he's been on the mound. Similarly, Jack Flaherty's having a comeback year in the sense that he's striking everybody out. He's got 72 Ks in 9 games, which means he's on pace for 256 Ks if he makes all his starts and doesn't slow down [which is a tall order for Flaherty honestly]. Flaherty is 1-3, so at least he has A win, but he's run into the same run support issues as Olson. It's the whole rest of the rotation, too; Matt Manning's 0-1, and Casey Mize, in the midst of a lower-velocity comeback campaign, is 1-2. Yet none of these guys are pitching badly, or really deserving losses. They just don't have enough great hitters to fall back on yet.

The reason the Mariners are a first place team is that, even is Luis Castillo or Bryce Miller gives up 2 or 3 runs, they at least have enough hitters right now to ensure that it's close, or that it's not completely on the pitcher to do all the work. Well in Detroit right now it kinda is, and I think they'd prefer it if it wasn't.

This is a better Tigers team than we've seen in the last 5 or so years, but you can see they're still not 100% where they should be, and it will take some better hitting performances from people [Torkelson, Baez, Colt Keith] who have been trusted to carry the weight. Or else Reese Olson's gonna vie for a Cy Young with a negative record, and he's no Jacob deGrom.

Coming Tomorrow- He's 4-0 with a 1.49 ERA and that's not even the highest bar in this rotation. 

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