Detroit Tigers: 5th Starter Watch, 2nd Edition

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IMarch 8, 2012

DETROIT - AUGUST 04: Duane Below #64 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the seventh inning during the game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on August 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Rangers defeated the Tigers 5-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

This spring, I will be reviewing the performances of the six internal candidates for the Detroit Tigers' fifth starter.

This is the second edition.

So far, there has been very little to separate the six contenders.

None of them have given up any runs, and each has pitched at least once.

However, all isn't necessarily perfect in Lakeland.

Duane Below

Below has only pitched in one game, but is scheduled to hit the mound today in relief of Doug Fister.

Below, like his other competitors, has not given up a run. He has however, given up two hits in his two innings of play.

By all reports, he had solid control, and did not issue a walk while striking out one.

In today's game against Tampa Bay, it will be interesting to see how he battles Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, who should be in the Rays' lineup today (although you never know considering it is a split squad matchup).

Below needs to keep throwing strikes, which he certainly did in his first outing.

Casey Crosby

Crosby, the fireballer of the southpaws, also only pitched in one game this spring.

He struck out two in two innings of play, showing off his electric stuff.

However, he did walk a batter and gave up two hits, further illustrating his control issues.

Crosby needs to stay out of the opposing hitter's happy zones and work on using his secondary pitches earlier in the count to keep hitters guessing.

Adam Wilk

Wilk, perhaps the softest tosser in the bunch, has also only pitched two innings in one game.

He gave up two hits, but he struck out one and did not allow a walk.

The Tigers can live with the occasional hit allowed, just as long as he isn't allowing walks or runs.

So far so good for Wilk.

Andy Oliver

Oliver is probably the least likely to snatch the fifth starter spot, and in his one game so far he showed why.

He pitched three innings, and struck out three.

That's the good news. The bad news is that he also walked three. He didn't allow a hit, but walking a batter per inning is unacceptable, especially if he wants the job.

Drew Smyly

The dark horse of the group, Smyly also has only played in one game, going two innings and striking out one.

He didn't allow a walk, but did give up two hits.

Smyly's stuff is electric, so like Crosby, you need to pay attention to the walks and the strikeouts in particular.

But everyone that sees Smyly really likes this kid's makeup.

Jacob Turner

Turner is the only one of the six that has played in two games, and his most recent one was not a good showing.

His control was awful, and he was pulled early.

So far, he has issued a team high four walks to go with two hits and just one strikeout.

Turner still has the talent to win this job, but he took a slight step back.

Overall, nobody has really distanced themselves from the pack, but Turner and Oliver have so far been the least impressive.


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