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Detroit Tigers News: Matt Moore’s injury forces Daniel Norris into the rotation

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While the Tigers swept the Royals and have won five straight, there are injury issues and other things to address.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

First place. Seven and three. Just swept the Kansas City Royals. Winners of five straight. This is, somehow, your 2019 Detroit Tigers. This feels good. I’m going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Those last sentences are brought to you in no small part by the largely dormant lumber lugged about by one Christin Stewart. The type of lumber that, lately, seems to awaken only to feast on pitches that are soon to be parked in the outfield seats while young Mr. Stewart plates runs like a short-order cook plates hashbrowns on a Saturday morning. Add to that a starting rotation that is performing over its head right now, and we are in the midst of a nifty little run by a surprisingly entertaining ball club.

Welcome to the rotation

Matt Moore was off to a fine start on Saturday. That is, right up until he tweaked his knee and left the game early. What initially looked like a knee sprain that would have him missing minimal time is now a situation that has grown a fair bit more serious. The diagnosis remains a sprained knee. The treatment, however, now has the team looking at surgery as a potential option.

Regardless of the road ahead for Moore, the one thing we do know is that Daniel Norris is now, for better or worse, a part of the rotation. His three-plus innings of relief were not the most encouraging, as he gave up two solo shots and still appears to have trouble discerning where exactly the ball is going to go on most pitches. He’s in line to toe the rubber on Friday. Good luck, Daniel.

The same is different

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press takes a look at this iteration of the Tigers, and makes a few observations about how a team so similar to the one that played last year can be as different as they appear at this point in the season. There’s a healthy dose of cautious optimism both from the author of the article and from the Tigers players quoted in it, but there are many indications that this is a different team than we watched in 2018.

Opening day dirt

In the stuff I can’t believe people pay money for category, the Tigers were apparently selling bottles of dirt from the opening day field for $20 a pop. Golf Digest, of all outlets, took a pretty hard swipe at what a ridiculous idea this is.

Still, I’m sure there were more than a few folks who doled out the Hamilton required to take home a jar of dirt.

Ready to return

JaCoby Jones is anxious to return to Detroit. Ron Gardenhire? Not so much. Jones has been rehabbing a strained AC joint (shoulder) in Lakeland, and recently started a rehab assignment in High-A ball. He thinks he is ready to come back. Ron Gardenhire looks at Jones’ most recent 1-for-4 performance where he struck out three times and thinks the young fella needs a few more hacks before he’s major league ready. I tend to agree with Gardenhire.

Pitching turning heads

The story of the first 10 games of the season has undoubtedly been the Tigers’ starting rotation. Putting up strikeout numbers that are better than those seen when more recognizable names (like Justin Verlander) donned the Old English D, this staff has everyone pleasantly surprised.

The folks who aren’t as surprised are those in the clubhouse. Ron Gardenhire credits good pitch plans and input from the analytics department in helping what he already feels is a good pitching staff look that much better. Pitchers also give some credit toward a better relationship with Grayson Greiner now that he’s the full time guy behind the dish. There’s an acknowledgement here that strikeouts are up due to a change in how hitters are approaching things, but the team is still happy with where things are, and they look forward to continued success from the starting rotation.

Around the horn

WIllians Astudillo is a baseball enigma. Chris Davis’ hitless streak is only two at bats away from breaking the longest hitless streak for a non-pitcher. Can umpires really do anything they want?