In a big three game series against the defending American League Central Champions, the Detroit Tigers showed they can compete. The Cleveland Guardians came in as the favorite to win the division again this season, but the Tigers made a good first impression on the team from Ohio.
The Bullpen Shows Life
The Detroit Tigers bullpen has had a very rocky start to the 2023 season. In the series against the Guardians, to put it simply, they were lockdown. The bullpen has been led by Alex Lange & Jason Foley, two key pieces to a very strong Tigers bullpen last season.
Mason Englert, a young 23-year-old starter turned reliever, has struggled to start his year but looked impressive on Tuesday with three scoreless innings pitched against the Guardians.
The Veterans have stepped up as well as Jose Cisnero has not given up a run since April 6th & Chasen Shreve being a solid option so far in the early going.
E-Rod Looks Like an Ace
Eduardo Rodriguez has been regarded as the Detroit Tigers best starting pitching in 2023. In game two of the doubleheader on Tuesday, E-Rod was unhittable & showed fans he can be the ace of this staff.
Rodriguez tossed eight scoreless innings while giving up just four hits & walking nobody. He dominated the Guardians & looked like he was worth every penny Al Avila paid him last offseason.
On the season Eduardo Rodriguez has an ERA sitting at 3.00. Through four starts he has looked very sharp with his BB% being a career low sitting at 5.4%. Rodriguez has also had very little hard contact against him as his HardH% is sitting at just 26.1%, a career best.
The Offense is Improving
The Detroit Tigers offense still has a lot of improving to do. Their team OPS sits at just .621 which is second to last in MLB. Their home run numbers are up from last year, but they still sit at 27th in MLB with 14 homers through 17 games.
But with that being said there are some position players showing some signs of life in 2023. In game three against the Guardians, Spencer Torkelson had two hits including an absolute moonshot in the 7th inning that traveled 417 feet. Riley Greene the other Tigers youngster has scuffled out of the gate as well but did homer in game two of the doubleheader to help the Tigers secure a 1-0 victory.
While the offense is by no means one of baseball’s best, the Tigers are putting together better at-bats. After being benched by AJ Hinch, Javier Baez has a five-game hitting streak & has driven in six runs. Kerry Carpenter has led the Tigers offensively with three home runs & an OPS sitting at .876.
Looking Forward for the Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers will head into Baltimore for a three-game set against the Orioles starting on Friday. Baltimore is 11-7 on the season & has the eighth best team OPS in MLB. Baltimore is also seventh in baseball in home runs with 23 so far this year. They will be another tough opponent for the Tigers who are looking to win their third straight series.
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Photo Credit @ Kirthmon F. Dozier