Not exactly what you’d expect.
Tigers 7, Indians 5
Justin Verlander (4 GS, 26 IP, 2.08 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 0.7 fWAR) and Danny Salazar were all set to provide us with a Thursday afternoon pitchers’ duel, and well, we sort of got that if you squint and pretend certain things didn’t happen. Verlander walked four in five innings, but also delivered seven strikeouts en route to three unearned runs. Salazar cruised through four innings and then melted down in the 5th as the Tigers hung four runs on him mostly due to a Ian Kinsler 3-run home run. The Tigers extended the lead to 6-3 and the bullpen shrank it to 6-5 before adding a run and slamming the door to secure the series split. The Tigers will welcome the Angels to town this weekend with Drew Smyly (0 GS, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1.54 FIP, 0.2 fWAR) actually getting a chance to start on Friday
The Moment: Kinsler puts the Tigers ahead with a homer to left center.
Last season, it seemed like the starting rotation would go through a cycle where the whole rotation would almost collapse for one turn through the rotation and then go lights out for six weeks. We’ve had three starts where Max, Sanchez and JV have been mediocre. I wonder if this is just another of these flukes like last year.
FWIW: A mediocre turn for them is really just a few too many walks keeping them from pitching very deep into games. 3.60 ERA, good K%, limited HR%. Not really a concern.
Also, I know it is early, but is there another off season deal that has been more lopsided in terms of results than the Fielder/Kinsler trade? I don’t know what Ian’s WAR is right now, but I can think of three games off the top of my head where Tigers probably don’t win without Ian Kinsler.
So far, it’s definitely going well for the Tigers!