What are the six take-aways we have learned so far about the Detroit Tigers in the first home stand?
by Rogelio Castillo (Twitter @rogcastbaseball)
Besides looking at the first homestand, we preview the first road series against the Kansas City Royals.
The Detroit Tigers are off to a 2-4 start against two playoff teams from 2021. The Boston Red Sox reached the ALCS last season before falling to the Houston Astros and the White Sox are the defending AL Central champions. While being under .500 to start the year is not what Detroit Tigers fans want to see, there are several items to highlight during these first six games. So let’s start with three good takeaways from the homestand.
1. Spencer Torkelson is fine
Whether there was some sort of “panic” involving the slow start of Spencer Torkelson, perhaps some stats will make Tigers fans feel better.
The American League Rookie of the Year race will be a tight one, but after six games, he is seventh in OPS and has an OPS+ of over 100. As Chris Brown of Motor City Bengals mentioned, the amount of pitches he has been taking lines up to his numbers last season in the minor leagues.
2. The play of key Detroit Tigers pickups in Austin Meadows and Javier Báez
Detroit Tigers left fielder Austin Meadows (17) catches a fly ball by Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo (99) during first inning Monday, April 11, 2022, at Comerica Park in Detroit.
The homestand would have had a different look without the play of Meadows and Baez. The trade for Meadows gave the Tigers another veteran in the lineup who can hit for power. He leads the team in OPS and is tied for team lead in walks with three. Baez’s glove and the flair for the late inning heroics with some clutch hitting have given fans something to cheer about.
An honorable mention to Eric Haase. Defensively, he held his own in left field and has been taking more pitches. His career average is 4.09, but so far this season, it is up to 4.76.
3. Hitting Harold Castro
While the excitement of Detroit Tigers minor league prospect Ryan Kreidler is warranted, there was a small segment of fans who wanted to change out the “Castros.” But what Harold Castro has been able to do under manager A.J. Hinch is thrive as the team’s utility man. He is off to a good start, offensively, hitting .429/.500/.429 (3-for-8) and has already drawn a walk, which is a rare feat for “Hittin” Harold Castro. But to play any position Hinch needs him is helpful during the long season. He played first when Torkelson needed a day off and sub in for Baez at short so far already this season.
Now, let’s look at three take-aways from the homestand.
4. The Detroit Tigers bullpen
With injuries to Andrew Chafin, Kyle Funkhouser and Jose Cisnero to start the season, the Tigers’ bullpen was starting the season with new faces. But to be fair, to ask rookie right-hander Elvin Rodriguez to go three innings in his first major league appearance against the White Sox was a tall order. The velocity drop of Michael Fulmer in spring training was the same as this year and he was out there throwing gas. With a short spring training, this was expected, but for the Tigers to finish .500 for the month of April, someone will have to step up. RHP Wily Peralta should get a call up soon to provide some long relief. Interested in seeing how the Tigers will approach who gets sent down.
The Tigers have given up 34 runs this season, six of which have been unearned. Jeimer Candelario’s throwing error in the 4th inning with two outs allowed Christian Vazquez to reach. The next three batters all had doubles, which led to five unearned runs. Akil Baddoo and Baez have also committed errors. It’s early in the season but worth noting.
6. Starting Pitching
While it is expected for now for the starters not to go as deep in games because of the shortened spring training, outside of Matt Manning, no Tigers starter has gone six innings. Eduardo Rodriguez has gone just 7.2 innings in two starts and the rotation has after six games, the lowest K per 9 in the league at 5.79.
Random Detroit Tigers Factoid:
Miguel Cabrera is among the 93% percentile in hard hit contact and in the 95% in average exit velocity.
Series at glance: Kansas City Royals
The Tigers travel to Kansas City for their first road trip of the series. Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning and Tyler Alexander are the scheduled Detroit starters. The Royals have not yet named their starting rotation for the weekend.
Friday is “Jackie Robinson Day” so all the players will wear the number “42”. Detroit swept Kansas City on the road back in June, but the Royals took the series 11-8. Here are the game times for the series:
Friday: 8:10 p.m.
Saturday: 4:10 p.m.
Sunday: 2:10 p.m.