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Tigers vs. Mariners Preview: Notes from Detroit’s Saturday doubleheader

The Tigers made a few roster moves prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, including calling up Louis Coleman.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In lieu of a full game preview for Saturday’s doubleheader — it appears the game one matchup is still what we analyzed for Friday — we have a few different news items and other notes to tackle before the Detroit Tigers take on the Seattle Mariners at 4:10 p.m. ET.

First, the Tigers made a few roster moves prior to Saturday’s games. Righthander Louis Coleman was recalled from Triple-A Toledo, where he managed a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings of work, all in relief. He noted eight saves for the Mud Hens in that span, and struck out 15 hitters while allowing eight hits and five walks.

Coleman, 32, was a fifth round pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2009. He has 225 13 major league innings under his belt, most with the Royals. He made 61 appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, when he allowed a 4.69 ERA and 4.31 FIP in 48 innings. He spent the 2017 season in the minor leagues with the Diamondbacks’ and Reds’ affiliates, and signed with the Tigers in late February 2018.

To make room for Coleman, the Tigers designated lefthander Chad Bell for assignment. Bell has given up seven runs on 14 hits in just 7 13 innings this year, with seven strikeouts and two walks. He wasn’t much better in 2017, allowing a 6.93 ERA in 62 13 frames. He also has a 4.35 ERA in 10 13 innings for the Mud Hens this season.

The Tigers also brought up lefthander Ryan Carpenter as their 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader. Carpenter has had mixed results in the minor leagues this year. He has allowed a 5.01 ERA in seven starts, but has strong peripheral numbers, with 42 strikeouts and 12 walks in 41 13 innings. He made one start for the Tigers earlier this season (also in a doubleheader), when he gave up three runs in three innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Seattle Mariners (21-15) at Detroit Tigers (15-21)

Time/Place: 4:10 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation site: Lookout Landing
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP Marco Gonzales (3-2, 5.19 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Boyd (1-3, 3.00 ERA)

Game 37 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Gonzales 34.2 25.5 4.0 3.08 0.8
Boyd 36.0 17.9 6.2 3.72 0.7


Dee Gordon - CF Mikie Mahtook - LF
Jean Segura - SS Pete Kozma - 3B
Robinson Cano - 2B Victor Martinez - DH
Nelson Cruz - DH James McCann - C
Kyle Seager - 3B John Hicks - 1B
Mitch Haniger - RF JaCoby Jones - CF
Ryon Healy - 1B Niko Goodrum - RF
Mike Zunino - C Jose Iglesias - SS
Guillermo Heredia - LF Dixon Machado - 2B

Game 2 - whenever Game 1 gets over

Pitching Matchup: RHP Felix Hernandez (4-3, 5.28 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Fulmer (1-2, 3.51 ERA)

Game 39 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Paxton 47.2 34.0 9.6 2.96 1.3
Hardy (AAA) 24.1 35.3 4.7 1.42 /shrug

If you’re not utterly blown away by what Justin Verlander has been able to do in his mid-30s, take a look at Felix Hernandez’s last few years of work. King Felix has fallen off in a big way since his Hall of Fame caliber prime, as age and injuries have sapped his velocity and movement on most of his pitches. He still gets nice fade on the changeup and enough break on his curveball to generate a few ugly swings today, but with a career-worst 7.6 percent swinging strike rate in 2018, nobody is fooled for long anymore. His numbers are somewhat inflated by a rough outing against the San Francisco Giants in April, but he has yet to work seven full innings in a single start this year, and has only made it through the sixth three times.

Key matchup: Ron Gardenhire vs. using his entire bullpen

The numbers themselves don’t really seem to indicate that Gardenhire is burning through Detroit’s bullpen at an unsustainable pace. The Tigers’ bullpen actually rank in the bottom third of baseball in innings pitched, and their most-used arm sits 27th among MLB relievers with just 20 innings worked. However, both Daniel Stumpf and Joe Jimenez are just off the MLB lead in games pitched, at 20 apiece. Those warm-up pitches also add up, and both players have had up-and-down seasons so far. Jimenez, in particular, has looked a bit sluggish lately, though his 3.50 ERA is still just fine for a pitcher in his first full season of big league work. Shane Greene has also been used frequently, including in both halves of a doubleheader already this year.

Granted, the rest of the bullpen has been pretty brutal. Buck Farmer is acquitting himself well — I’d like to see him in more high leverage situations — but just about everyone else has stunk, giving Gardenhire little reason to trust them with the game on the line. However, someone like Farmer, Coleman, or rookie Zac Reininger may find themselves on the mound in a tight situation today. Here’s hoping they come through.


The Tigers lose both halves of the doubleheader because they seemingly always do.