The Detroit Tigers executed one of the best tanks in MLB history last season.
The team stood at 30-32 on June 11, a respectable record putting them in position to still compete in the wild card race. However, the team realized it simply did not have the assets to make a late-season push, and traded away assets like Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila and Justin Wilson.
The moves put the Tigers into full tank mode, and they went 34-66 after June 11 to finish the season 64-98 — the worst record in baseball.
Detroit is going to relive their “stretch tank” all season long in 2018.
Miguel Cabrera still stands as the top bat in the order, but he doesn’t have the same protection as he had in previous years. Victor Martinez is still batting behind Cabrera but isn’t the same player he once was.
Nicholas Castellanos has been given a few shots to protect Cabrera, and looks like a better hitter than Martinez. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot of pop in this Tigers lineup this year. No more Ian Kinsler, who was dealt to the Angels, either.
The team was shut out in its last game against Jakob Junis and the Kansas City Royals ... yeah, the AL Central isn’t great.
Jordan Zimmerman got the Opening Day nod after factoring in whatever veteran/ cantankerousness/yearly salary components that also had the Chicago White Sox arrive at James Shields for their OD starter, but Michael Fulmer is the Tigers’ ace.
Fulmer will face the Sox Saturday, in what will be an intriguing matchup between he and Lucas Giolito. Fulmer looked really good last year, ending with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 35 games started.
Matthew Boyd, Francisco Liriano and Daniel Norris round out the rotation.
The Tigers’ bullpen is still awful, so adding to the fact Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit, the White Sox will be in every game this series, regardless if they’re down a few runs, or even more than a few.
Shane Greene is Detroit’s closer, and already has a 10.80 ERA in 1 ⅔ innings.
Probable Starting Pitchers:
Thursday, April 5
James Shields vs. Jordan Zimmerman
Saturday, April 7
Lucas Giolito vs. Michael Fulmer
Sunday, April 8
Reynaldo Lopez vs. TBD