The Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates wrap up their brief two-game interleague series on Wednesday. The Tigers got working on Mitch Keller early last night, as he was responsible for 4 earned runs. Detroit scored 4 runs between the 3rd and 4th inning to put some pressure on the Pittsburgh offense to respond to a 4-1 deficit. The Pirates fought back to erase the Tigers’ lead. When you’re a bad team, blowing leads happen pretty frequently.
Barring a strong run by the Pirates in the second-half of the season, they’re not going anywhere, less than a year after trading for Chris Archer. The trade didn’t many any sense then and it doesn’t any sense today. Pittsburgh packed up Tyler Glasnow and Auston Meadows, sending them to Tampa in exchange for Archer.
The Pirates weren’t in a position to contend then, and Glasnow and Meadows were two young guys with potential. Meadows is a 24-year-old star this season, and while Glasnow has been injured, swapping Glasnow and Archer was a bad enough move for the Pirates. Including Meadows just made it an absolute disaster.
Now, the Pirates are likely in a position to listen to offers for Archer, and likely not going to be able to get a Glasnow and Meadows in exchange for him at this point. The Pirates took a big cut and came up tripping over themselves at the plate on that deal.
In any event, life goes on and the Pirates must live with their mistakes. Pittsburgh are banking on the future of Trevor Williams in the rotation. Joe Musgrove is currently atop the rotation on the depth chart and he has an ERA of 4.87. That pretty well sums it up for the Pirates.
Williams is being inserting back into the rotation after sitting out since his last start on May 16th. He was pitching well then and had to sit out the last month with a strain on his right side. It was unfortunate, but thankfully nothing too serious for him. Jordan Zimmermann of the Tigers will counter this evening. Zimmermann is the best option that the Tigers have in their stable this season. However, he hasn’t pitched since April, and is making a return to the mound just like Williams today. Head below for our free Tigers vs. Pirates pick.
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It always hurts to have to go on the IL at any point in the season, but it’s especially hard when you’re feeling it as a pitcher and you have to exit. Williams had just struck out a batter and allowed just 2 runs in 10.2 innings before coming up gimpy. He had to go get evaluated and luckily was only diagnosed with a strain. Williams recorded a career-high in his second season as a major league pitcher a season ago. He posted an ERA of 3.11 in 31 starts, ushering him into this season with plenty of promise.
Williams was on the same path this season, as he picks up from last month with a 3.33 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 54 innings. The Pirates don’t have the most reliable options in their starting rotation, and Williams is going to be depended on to be that crutch in the summer. Archer was supposed to be that guy, but one of the most overrated hurlers in baseball has a 5.85 ERA. In my personal opinion, he IS the most overrated pitcher in baseball. So much more was supposed to come of his career.
Along with allowing just 2 runs in 10.2 innings, Williams surrendered 2 or less runs in five of his previous seven outings. He got touched up against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but this is far from the Dodgers’ offense at Dodger Stadium this evening. The Tigers are next to last, in 29th, with respects to runs scored in the majors. They eclipsed their season average with 5 runs last night in their 5-4 win, but I expect Williams to jump right back in with a strong showing.
Zimmermann has been off longer than Williams, having had his last start on April 25th. He was getting absolutely plowed through before going on the IL. The veteran had allowed 5 runs in each of his previous three starts and the Tigers finally put him out of his misery and shut him down. In those three games, Zimmermann posted an ERA of 10.95 and 2.19 WHIP. Opposing hitters had a .443 OBP against Zimmermann.
His time in Detroit has been a major bust. Designed to be a replacement for Max Scherzer, Zimmermann has not lived up to his contract obligations. Note that the Pirates have hit well against him as well. They’re hitting .336 with a .370 OBP in 92 at-bats. That also includes 6 home runs and 25 RBI’s. Expect the home team to get it done after faltering on Tuesday.