The Detroit Tigers have recorded back-to-back shutouts to start the season for the first time in franchise history. While pitching was a slight question mark coming into 2015 after losing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello in the offseason, the Tigers have shown no signs of setback so far. David Price took the mound on Opening Day and recorded 8 2/3 innings of shutout baseball while only allowing five hits. Anibal Sanchez got the start on Wednesday and posted 6 2/3 strong innings of work, allowing just three hits with six strikeouts.
Even the heavily-criticized bullpen has been outstanding to start the season. Joe Nathan recorded his first save of the year with a quick strikeout of Torii Hunter to close the game out on Monday. Ian Krol, Al Alburquerque, Joakim Soria, and Angel Nesbitt have also recorded outs in the young season. As a bullpen, the Tigers have only allowed one hit in 2 2/3 innings.
There is a slight bit of concern with injuries in the rotation, but none have been serious. Justin Verlander was recently scratched from his scheduled Sunday start against the Indians and placed on the 15-day disabled list. Kyle Lobstein is tentatively scheduled to take his place per the Tigers’ Twitter account. Lobstein had a 4.35 ERA for the Tigers in seven appearances in 2014, including six starts.
The #Tigers today have recalled the contract of LHP Kyle Lobstein and he is tentatively scheduled to start on Sunday, April 12 at Cleveland.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 8, 2015
Nathan was also just placed on the 15-day disabled list, opening the closer’s role for Soria for the next few weeks. Soria recorded 18 saves for the Tigers and Rangers in 2014.
While the Tigers are facing the rebuilding Minnesota Twins in their opening series, there is plenty of optimism in Detroit. The Tigers look to defend their string of four straight division titles and earn long-time owner Mike Illitch his first World Series.
Scheduled starters for the weekend:
Thursday April 9 vs. Minnesota – Shane Greene (0-0)
Friday April 10 vs. Cleveland – Alfredo Simon (0-0)
Saturday April 11 vs. Cleveland – David Price (1-0)
Sunday April 12 vs. Cleveland – Kyle Lobstein (0-0)