The road back to .500 baseball will continue for the Tigers as they welcome the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates into town. Detroit will play two against the team from Pennsylvania before traveling to Washington to take on the Nationals.
Taxing the Bullpen
The Detroit Tigers have to get better starting pitching. While their offense was nothing to write home about against the Mariners, their starting pitching had trouble getting outs. That started on Friday when Matthew Boyd failed to complete two innings before being chased by a struggling Mariners offense. Boyd has now given up 23 earned runs in just 32 innings, which checks out to a 6.47 ERA. The 32-year-old’s stats don’t look great, but Boyd’s advanced numbers show he has been a bit unlucky. Boyd’s expected ERA is 4.30 but his walk percentage sits at 10.3, the second highest of his career. If Boyd can find his control, his numbers should come back down to earth, and he will look like the pitcher the Tigers though they were getting.
Alex Faedo held his own on Saturday, just getting burned by a couple of Mariners home runs in the process. Faedo went six solid innings, giving up three runs and punching out seven. Unfortunately, another young Tigers pitcher, Joey Wentz was unable to follow up Faedo on Sunday. Wentz failed to get through three innings, as he gave up three runs and five hits in the third inning alone.
Luckily the Tiger bullpen was up for the job on Mother’s Day, as they gave the Tigers 6.1 of scoreless baseball on Sunday. The Tigers bullpen has an ERA of 3.91, good for 11th in MLB. The bullpen has been rock solid, but you would start to worry about the mileage this bullpen can have on it if the starters continue to fail going deep into games.
Don’t Let the Record Fool You
Are the Pittsburgh Pirates truly a 22-19 team. After a surprising April where they finished the month in first place, the Pirates are 2-10 in May. Their offense has fell off a cliff, to the tune of a .180 batting average and a team OPS of .545. Pittsburgh’s pitching has shown up all season though, as their team ERA sits at 3.76.
Mitch Keller, a former top prospect has finally figured things out for the Pirates. He dominated the Orioles on Sunday, shutting them out for seven innings and striking out thirteen. Thankfully Detroit will not seem him take the mound at Comerica and will instead face Luis L. Oritz and Rich Hill. Detroit will send Michael Lorenzen and Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound against Pittsburgh.
What to Expect from the Tigers Offense?
After a hot start to the month, the Tigers bats have come back down to earth in May. One player that has not slowed down is Riley Greene, as he continues to rake, hitting .383 in May. Javier Baez has also been rock solid as well, slugging .500 in May and just striking out five times in 48 at-bats.
The Tigers are still hitting .251 as a team in May, a considerable improvement from the first month of the season. Matt Vierling and Nick Maton will look to get going, as they both started the season strong but have scuffed as of late. The Tigers have drawn just 26 walks as a team in May, the least in all of baseball.
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