Blue Jays look to continue hot streak against Tigers: Full series preview

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Jun 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) celebrates with Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) after defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) celebrates with Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) after defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Across the Diamond: Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have been a very streaky team so far this year. At the beginning of May, against the Indians, Rangers, Nationals, and Orioles, they lost 11 of 13 games, including seven in a row. Following that, they won nine of eleven games. More recently, they lost four in a row against the Athletics and Angels, only to turn around and sweep the White Sox.

This team clearly has the talent and ability to win ball games, but they’ve been unable to consistently put series wins together over a large stretch of time.

Offensively, they have the players to do a lot of damage. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Nick Castellanos all have had productive years and have wRC+ marks above 120, as they’ve led the team to a mark of 105.

It’s their pitching that has let them down. Their team ERA of 4.51 is nearly a full run higher than the 3.58 Jays total. That 4.51 ERA is the seventh worst in the entire league. Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, and Michael Fulmer have been the only sources of value in the rotation.

Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey have been downright pitiful, putting up ERA’s of 6.67 and 4.76 and FIP’s of 6.28 and 5.47 respectively. They’ve dragged down the rotation, and the Tigers have been forced to go with Matt Boyd from AAA in order to have a decent shot at a quality start.

Fulmer has been a boon for their rotation in seven starts since getting the call up. In those seven starts, he’s thrown 41.2 IP, posting a good 3.24 ERA, followed up with a strong 3.58 FIP and good peripherals.

Without him, this rotation would be even more of a mess than it already is. Zimmermann has been good, but his peripherals suggest he’s due to regress.

The Tigers have been pretty bad defensively, ranking in the bottom five in Fangraphs’ defensive value statistic. As a whole, they have the ability to win games in bunches due to their strong offensive capabilities, but flaws in their pitching staff and defensive structure create a team that has struggled to stay above or at .500 for the duration of the year.

Now, on to the game-by-game pitching matchups…

Next: Game 1: Happ takes on Detroit's strong rookie

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