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Tigers Small Sample Warning!

It’s early…like there is still 93.3% of the season left to be played. However, eleven games is enough to start recognizing some trends for the 2024 season. For the Detroit Tigers the season started about as well as it could winning the first five games, before losing four of the next six. The Tigers are on course to win 103 games, the Tigers are about to embark a stretch of 14 games in 13 days. If the Tigers are still above .500 at the end of that stretch, conversation about them completing for the central division will begin to pick up steam.

So far in 2024, the Tigers offense has struggled to up consistent performances. However, one thing they seem to do very well is score late in games.  The Tiger’s have already played in five one-run games this season, in those contests the Tigers are 4-1. Of the 38 runs the Tigers have scored, 22 have been scored in the 7th inning or later. Manager A.J. Hinch told reporters one-run games are not sustainable method of success, but it is a positive to see the Tigers hitters be able to retain their focus and discipline late in games, and as a fan it’s a refreshing to feel like your team is never out of the game.

Pitching was supposed to be the strength of the 2024 Tigers, and through the first 11 games that has been the case. The starters have had some rough starts, Kenta Maeda has had a rough start to his Tigers tenure. His second start was better, but the Tigers will need him to round into form soon. The other free agent starter, Jack Flaherty, has had one good start and one rough start, the Tigers need more good starts from Flaherty for the season to be successful. Tarik Skubal has looked like an ace and a possible Cy Young contender.

The bullpen has been rock solid, across 43 innings, the bullpen has allowed only seven runs, good for an ERA of just 1.43. With the struggles of the offense, having a bullpen that can protect a lead, or keep the team close is vital. Jason Foley may have supplanted Alex Lange as the “closer,” even though Hinch refuses to name a closer. Foley throws 100 mph sinking fastballs which has resulted in a 57.1% ground ball rate and a K/9 of 11.81.

The last early trend to talk about is the aggressiveness of the Tigers on the basepaths. During spring training, the Tigers said they were going to be aggressive on the basepaths and force opponents to make “perfect” throws. Well…they’ve been thrown out six times on the bases so far in 2024. With one exception, all of the outs on the bases have been close plays and it could be argued that all six required the defense to field a difficult ball and then make a strong accurate throw. The value in putting this pressure on the defense showed up against the Pirates when Zach McKinstry forced a bad throw from Michael A. Taylor, allowing the Tigers to come back against David Bedner and the Pirates. The Tigers won’t stop being aggressive, it will cost them some runners being thrown out on the bases, but it will also lead to runs being scored.

Joe Underhill
Joe Underhillhttps://mlbreport.com/
Joe Underhill is a high school administrator and diehard baseball fan and fan of the city of Detroit. Joe currently writes for www.mlbreport.com and HTP Newsletter. You can follow Joe on Twitter @TransplantedDet and @transplanteddet.bsky.social


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