Miguel Cabrera is picking up where he left off last season, hitting .367 while in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak. Knock on wood. He’s part of one of the more dominating lineups in all of baseball. So, yeah, the Detroit Tigers bats have been decent, but the most praise should be heaped on the starting pitchers.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, it’s been a while since the Detroit Tigers starters have all been on the same page.
Anibal Sanchez tossed 17 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves April 26. He now holds two records: Most strikeouts in a game by a Detroit Tigers pitcher, a record previously held by Mickey Lolich, and most strikeouts in an interleague game. It should also be noted Sanchez threw 121 pitches that game. In his follow up start, Sanchez managed to pitch himself out of what could’ve been an ugly day. He ate up six innings, despite throwing 41 pitches in the first inning. The Venezuelan native punched out nine in the game, giving him 26 strikeouts in two consecutive starts.
Doug Fister, for the first time in his career is 4-0. He holds a 2.48 ERA and is the best number-four starter in all of baseball. If we revisit the 2011 trade with Seattle Mariners that sent him to the Detroit Tigers, we now know GM Dave Dombrowski knew something we did not. With every start, Fister gets better and better.
Max Scherzer is 4-0 and sixth in the league in strikeouts with 54. In his last outing on May 4, Scherzer allowed one run over eight innings, and struck out eight in his team’s win over Houston. Of his teammates, he is the WHIP leader at 1.04.
Justin Verlander hurt is thumb two weeks ago, but it hasn’t held him back a start. He flirted with history in his last start, losing his no-no bid in the seventh when Houston’s Carlos Pena singled with one out. JV finished the game with nine strikeouts in a 9-0 win. He currently sits first in the AL, third overall, with a 1.55 ERA.
The only starter not mentioned above is Rick Porcello. He is the weaker of the bunch, but he had a solid outing his last time on the mound, going seven innings in the Detroit Tigers 7-3 win over the Houston Astros May 2.
Combined, Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez, Fister and Porcello are 16-6 this season.
“It’s a very good roll,” catcher Alex Avila said. “It’s hard to think of a time where I think we’ve had all of our guys throwing as well as they have been. Everybody’s healthy and putting those quality starts together. It’s good to see.”
As of right now the Detroit Tigers starters are the best in baseball, something they and the organization has worked hard to achieve. Barring injuries, if this staff can continue to pitch the way they have, they will distance themselves from the AL Central pack. They sit atop the division right now (19-11) and are in the midst of a four-game winning streak.