In our last article, we summarized the first 15 games of the Tigers season, and we were quite impressed with Detroit starting out with a 9-6 record. However, they had a test to pass. Did they pass that test? It’s a complicated answer.
After starting 9-6, Detroit started to struggle, and mightily.
They went on an 8 game losing streak in combinations of games against the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians, where it seemed like our pitching could not get any worse as the Tigers had a team ERA of 7.375 during this stretch, while we averaged 3.125 runs scored per game, which is subpar but not the worst possible.
However, after this stretch, the Tigers started to pick things back up. After a 10-5 victory against Cleveland that snapped a 20 game losing streak to them, they won that series 2-1. They also proceeded to take 2 out of 3 games from the Chicago Cubs who are currently atop of their division.
On August 29th they played their 30th and 31st games, (a double-header against the Minnesota Twins who we had not faced prior to these games this year), and won them both, pushing their record to an average, but above expected, 15-16.
This puts the Tigers at 4th in the AL Central and 1.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the final playoff spot in the conference.
Also very notable during these games, they called up prospects Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Isaac Paredes. However, CJ Cron is now out for the rest of the season.
In 7 2/3 innings pitched, Mize currently has an ERA of 7.04 with 12 hits, but has struck out 9 batters this season so far. This isn’t an ideal performance in two starts, but this is his first experience in the MLB so he can definitely improve.
Skubal hasn’t started great either, having an ERA of 10.38 (also in 2 starts), and 4.1 innings pitched. While he’s given up 10 hits, he has 6 strikeouts, and not to mention this is a very small sample size and these are his first appearances.
Isaac Paredes on the other hand has gotten off to a solid start on the plate. He has a batting average of .269 with an OPS of .790. Isaac has also hit a lone home run so far to go along with 6 RBIs.
(Before I go over the team leaders, keep in mind that I am only going to count people that qualify to lead the league in that respective statistic.)
Very surprisingly, Jeimer Candelario, who struggled during the first quarter of the season, is now leading the team in batting average at .298. Johnathan Schoop is now our home run leader at 7, and Miggy is Detroit’s RBI leader at 19.
Spencer Turnbull is still providing good starts, as he has an ERA of 2.98 and 3 wins to lead the team, while Matthew Boyd, who won his first game today, is leading in strikeouts at 39.
As a team, our stats aren’t too special. We rank 23rd in runs, 19th in batting average, only 27th in on-base %, and 13th in slugging %. Pitching is even worse, as we are 29th in ERA, T-28th in quality starts, 23rd in WHIP, and 27th in batting average against.
Are you currently happy with the Detroit Tigers?
Richard’s Take: Even though we started to struggle, I’m happy with the way they never quit on themselves. Even after their losing streak, the Tigers proceeded to win 6 out of their next 8 games, which is huge for our playoff push if we want to show that we can be a solid team.
Benji’s Take: I could not be more happy with the Tigers so far in the 2020 season. They went on a major losing streak, but they really turned it around by getting series wins VS. the Indians and Cubs, and also a doubleheader sweep over the Twins. At 15-16 31 games in, I can’t be disappointed.
Like was asked last time, which players are you most impressed with?
Richard’s Take: At the plate, Jeimer Candelario. The dude went from not being able to hit a baseball to save his life to leading the team in batting average. I am genuinely amazed at the fact that he never quit on himself and improved that much in such a little time span. In terms of pitching, Jose Cisnero. His ERA is an insane 1.53 with a WHIP of 0.85 with 18 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings pitched.
Benji’s Take: After a slow start as starter, Daniel Norris was moved to the bullpen and since then he has been dominant. He currently has a 2.40 ERA and a 1.000 WHIP. Norris was slotted in at the long reliever role and has been great. Hopefully, Al Avila doesn’t force him to be something he’s not and that’s a starter.
Do you think the Tigers have a shot at the playoffs?
Richard’s Take: Definitely. They are only 1 and a half games behind the last wild card spot, and if they can continue to string some Ws against the Twins, Brewers, Cardinals, and White Sox in the next upcoming series, I see no reason why they can’t be 3-4 games above .500 by the time the 45-game mark arrives.
Benji’s Take: Time will only tell if the Tigers will make the playoffs. This team has a lot of young and inconsistent pitchers and it will probably hurt them down the stretch. Guys like Skubal and Mize have been inconsistent as expected but if they want to make a playoff push, Boyd and Fumler will need to take a step forward.
Photo Credit: Mike Mulholland / MLive