The Detroit Tigers have had a season to forget thus far. What a waste the first half of the season was, as they threw away several wins because their bullpen blew game after game. For the first month, the Tigers’ bullpen was actually, believe it or not, in the top 5. It seems like I’m joking around, but it is true. Joba Chamberlain was one of the top relievers in all of baseball, and it looked like their issues with the bullpen were gone. Holding them back then was the offense, not the bullpen. Now we are seeing the bullpen that we expected to see from day 1. The offense is starting to heat up, but now the bullpen is in dire straits, leading to a 44-44 start to the first half of the season.
The Tigers can’t have both, and it feels like it has been that way for a couple of seasons now. When the pitching is dead on, then the bats are dead, when the offense is hot, the bullpen can’t protect a 5 run lead. The Tigers are still in the hunt for a postseason spot. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, with a long ways to go in the 2015 campaign, there is still hope for the Tigers. However, if the Tigers do manage to make the postseason, are we to believe their pitching is going to be up to the task? We’ve already seen in previous years, that no, it’s not going to be enough. The Baltimore Orioles are very familiar with this scenario, because they are the team that were able to take advantage of the Tigers’ bullpen last season in the postseason. Last night the Tigers were able to take game 1 of the weekend affair, as J.D. Martinez went off once again, leading the Tigers to a 7-3 victory.
Just a piss poor effort from the Marlins last night. I thought they were going to come out strong after a miserable first half, against a miserable team. Jose Fernandez was fairly strong, but a lack of offense and a late collapse from the bullpen did them in. Not an ideal start for the Marlins, as they look to turn things around.
Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers
Chris Tillman (6-7, 5.40 ERA) vs. David Price (9-2, 2.38 ERA)
One of two scenarios is going to play out with David Price. Either the Tigers are going to trade him away and be sellers at the trade deadline, or he is most likely going to sign a big contract with another team in the offseason. The Tigers have their hands full with big contracts, and I don’t see them willing to spend the big bucks to keep Price around. They let Doug Fister walk, Max Scherzer walk, and kept Justin Verlander on board. That decision isn’t looking so wise, as Verlander is showing signs of wear and tear, but they still have to pay him for the next several seasons. It appears to me the Tigers would be better served looking to add some young promising players instead of holding onto Price.
Nevertheless, Price is having a big season and by gauging last and this season, he’s going to be looking for his money. Price earned a spot in the All-Star Game as result of his efforts, posting a 2.38 ERA in the first half. In his last ten starts there has been only one rough spot, allowing 4 runs against the White Sox. But other than that, Price hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in those ten games. Consistency has been the name of the game for him thus far. Conversely, Orioles’ starter Chris Tillman has been searching for some of that. He enters with a 5.40 ERA, and even worse is how he has done on the road. Tillman on the road has a 6.03 ERA with a whopping 1.86 WHIP and .403 OBA. I see this price being a little short in favor of the Tigers. Price is the much superior pitcher here, and the Tigers’ offense has been playing well despite being without Miguel Cabrera. Take the Tigers to win again today. If you’re scared of that bullpen, just take the team total.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN -133