Spring training: Let’s talk Tigers pitching

Spring training: Let’s talk Tigers pitching

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Spring training: Let’s talk Tigers pitching

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What I’m about to tell you won’t even seem real.

It’s officially baseball season. Well, kind of.

Yes, even though the weather outside is so cold that kids have a day off (that’s so soft, guys), pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training under sunnier skies.

It almost feels like last week when we were all griping about the Tigers bullpen like a pack of whining dogs. I feel like I was just having a conversation about Brad Ausmus’ rookie manager blunders. And I swear I just saw another Tiger go down with an injury.

Wait, that last one actually did happen this winter.

Anyway, ’tis the baseball season’s return. Before the first pop of the mitt is heard in Lakeland, Florida, let’s get this baseball yammering started up again with some pitching talk.

If we want a recap of last year’s bullpen, here’s how we’ll revisit that: Go find a full can of gas, douse your car and throw a match at it. Do that 11 times — or the amount of blown saves Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain combined for last year.

So, instead, let’s talk starting pitching.

Max Scherzer took the money and ran to Washington, D.C., like a shady congressman, but hear me out on this — I don’t think it will hurt the Tigers too much.

Scherzer only went beyond the seventh inning six times last season. For comparison, David Price went beyond the seventh inning seven times just in the final two months — 20 times all season, too.

Scherzer was shut down last year, but only for the first two-thirds of the game on nearly every occasion. With the bullpen, you need a guy to go into the eighth nightly like Price can.

The way I see it, last year’s Opening Day top rotation of Scherzer-Verlander-Sanchez doesn’t top this season’s Price-Verlander-Sanchez trio.

Now, of course, there’s the final two starting spots — the Holy Grail of gripe in this year’s rotation.

Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly have been dealt away, and this year Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene will likely take their places.

At the ripe age of 33, Simon logged by far his most innings with 196.1. That’s nearly 50 more innings than he threw the previous two seasons, combined. Will “Big Pasta” be able to stitch together another full season with all those innings on his arm? Stay tuned.

Can the Tigers get a solid season out of Greene, who only had 14 starts and a 3.78 ERA in his rookie campaign last summer? Who knows?

All I know is that I’m sick of being cold and not watching baseball almost every night.

Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or msheehan@gannett.com. He’s on Twitter @Sheehan_Sports.

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