The Detroit Tigers' starting rotation from Justin Verlander to Rick Porcello has lived up to the preseason hype from their pitching performances in the 2012 postseason.
So far in the 2013, the starters have picked up where they have left off. The Tigers currently have an overall team ERA of 3.47, which places them at fifth in the major leagues. However, when looking at the starting pitchers, they have a 19-10 record.
While No. 1 pitcher Justin Verlander has a 3.17 ERA, the No. 4 starter—Anibal Sanchez—is quietly sporting the fourth lowest ERA in the majors with a 2.05.
Even though Sanchez's ERA number will get most of the fans' attention, behind the stats is a complete pitcher, who is improving in all aspects of the game. He has the best strikeout to walk ratio of his career and has only allowed one home run this season. He even set a Tigers franchise record for strikeouts per game on April 26 with 17. That is why the Tigers feel very confident with any pitcher on the mound.
The Tigers' No. 2 and No. 3 pitchers, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, are also pitching strong and are each excelling with a sub-3.70 ERA.
In my eyes, Scherzer has followed up his 2012 breakout season with a solid sequel performance so far and has put the theory to rest that he could possibly only be a one-season wonder.
Eventually, the Tigers will need to decide how to proceed with Scherzer's future as he approaches free agency, but for now they should be thrilled that they have him as a part of this special rotation.
If there is one question mark, it's No. 5 starter Rick Porcello, who has had a few tough outings. However, he has been pitching better lately and looks to have rebounded nicely after his awful pitching against the Los Angeles Angels.
Against the Angels on April 20, Porcello allowed nine earned runs in 0.2 innings, which caused him to have a bloated 6.68 ERA. Without that game, Porcello's ERA would be in line with his career ERA of 4.65.
As the season progresses, the starting rotation will be relied upon even more so to keep the pressure off the bullpen. So far, it appears that each starter is up to the task, which will make it fun to watch during the remainder of the season.