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01.07.2019 04:09
The Tigers starter will try to add to his impressive Antworten

strikeout numbers."Spencer Turnbull did not win the final spot in the Tigers’ rotation until the final week of spring training Julio Urias Jersey , but he has looked worthy of the opportunity so far. The rookie has drawn some national attention with electric strikeout numbers to start the season, including his 10-strikeout performance during Detroit’s home opener. With 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings, Turnbull ranks in the top 15 among all qualified starters this season.The next challenge will be getting a little deeper into the game. Turnbull has thrown exactly 91 pitches in all three starts this year and is averaging five innings per outing. His 4.80 ERA sounds worse than his performances have been, but there is definitely room for improvement in terms of actually getting the results to put his team in position to win. Given his great strikeout numbers, he will have the chance to do just that against the Pirates.A 7-3 start to the year has been mostly wiped away, as the Tigers sit at .500 after dropping five of the past six games. The offense continues to struggle, and just about everyone is to blame. There is no mystery behind the funk: the Tigers’ bats rank in the bottom five in batting average, home runs, and strikeout rate. The task does not get any easier on Wednesday.Pittsburgh Pirates (9-6) at Detroit Tigers (8-8)Time/Place: 6:40 p.m., Comerica ParkSB Nation site: Bucs DugoutMedia: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio NetworkPitching Matchup: RHP Trevor Williams (1-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Spencer Turnbull (0-2 , 4.80 ERA)Game 17 Pitching MatchupPitcherIPK%BB%FIPfWARPitcherIPK%BB%FIPfWARTrevor Williams enters his third full season with two similar-looking seasons under his belt. Both his 2017 and 2018 campaigns featured below-average strikeout and walk rates, but a low hard contact rate and a low home run volume. Williams does not blow anyone away, but he has been worth a respectable 5.1 fWAR over the past two seasons.2019 has been kind to Williams, and he brings a 2.45 ERA over three starts into Detroit. Though his strikeouts are down from over 18 percent to 16.4 percent, his walks have dropped from 8 percent to 5.5 percent, and a .206 average against has contributed to his early-season success. His hard-hit rate again is low (23.2 percent) and has helped him notch at least six innings in every start despite the low strikeout numbers.The Tigers have been generally weak at the plate, but there is a chance that Williams is slightly over-performing this year. His fly ball and home run rates are both on the rise from past seasons and his FIP suggests a rise in his ERA may be coming. Williams has not always hit the strike zone consistently, so a little patience could go a long way for a Detroit offense that could use any help it can get.Key matchup: Tigers hitters vs. doing anythingThanks to the fierce rivalry between the Tigers and Pirates, this will be the third straight year that Williams has faced Detroit. The first two matchups have been quite good for the righty, who has surrendered one total hit and zero earned runs in 13 combined innings against the Tigers. Given the way the offense is currently hitting, the odds are not great for the home team.PredictionTurnbull looks good despite a modest number of strikeouts, but the offense stays silent again. Rob Carr/Getty ImagesJoe Kelly is gone. Craig Kimbrel is all but gone. The Boston Red Sox get the benefit of the doubt that comes with winning a World Series, but their offseason approach to building a bullpen looks like a big gamble.And that was before they signed Jenrry Mejia.On Tuesday Chris Taylor Jersey , Alex Speier of theBoston Globereported Mejia will earn $625,000 while he's in the majors, but the Sox gave him a minor league contract thatdoesn't even include an official invitation to spring training.It's a small gamble financially, although Mejia is the first player to receive a lifetime suspension from Major League Baseball for three positive drug tests. (Lifetime in his case meant a little more than two years, because MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred cleared him to return this past July.)Mejia hasn't thrown a major league pitch since July 2015, but he doesn't turn 30 until October.He's worth a chance, and there's nothing wrong with the Red Sox giving him that chance. It's far less risky than turning a championship bullpen over to a bunch of guys who have yet to prove they can handle it.It's less risky than not spending money on relievers while your biggest rival seems to be spending on nothing but relievers.The New York Yankees have signed Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino this winter, and they still have Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances, too. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have signed no relievers to major league contracts. Kelly left to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they've suggested Kimbrel will be far out of their price range.The Red Sox didnt want to pay big money to retain closer Craig Kimbrel, even after Kimbrel helped them win a World Series.Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesAnd while Kimbrel and various other relievers (but not proven closers) remain available on the free-agent market, Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski told Bob Nightengale of USA Today in early January , "We have not anticipated having a large expenditure for a closer."That doesn't make the Red Sox cheap. They had the highest payroll in the game last year and likely will this year, too. It doesn't make them stupid. It just means they've chosen different ways to allocate their money. That's a big risk.While Kimbrel was far from brilliant in October, no one else in the Red Sox bullpen had a save opportunity during the postseason. Others faced big late-inning pressure, but much of that went to Kelly, while some of it went to starters moonlighting as relievers.Kelly is gone, and starters typically don't appear out of the pen from April through September. Someone else will need to, and the 21 pitchers currently on the Red Sox's 40-man roster have a combined 29 career major league saves. That includes 12 from Chris Sale, who is not a candidate to close.Meanwhile, Mejia had 28 saves for the Mets in 2014. Perhaps he won't prove to be the same pitcher after all of the enforced time off, but maybe he will be.Mejia had some success as a closer, but it was a long time ago.Kevin Liles/Getty ImagesMaybe it won't matter. The rest of the Red Sox roster is strong enough that barring significant injuries or underperformance, they should be right in the middle of the American League East race. If the bullpen proves to be a problem, there are plenty of examples of teams fixing their pens at midseason.There's also the example of the 2018 Red Sox. When the postseason began Ross Stripling Jersey , the late innings looked like a potential problem. The bullpens looked like a mismatch when the Sox met the Yankees in the American League Division Series, except the Red Sox starters outpitched the Yankees rotation so drastically that late-inning runs didn't change the outcome.The Red Sox won that gamble, but Dombrowski knows all too well from his Octobers with the Detroit Tigers that gambling with the bullpen doesn't always work. And yet here he is, gambling again.Here the Red Sox are, taking a chance on a guy who already failed three drug tests and would be a major embarrassment if he fails another one on their watch. Here they are, taking a chance on a guy who has hardly pitched in the last four seasons.It isn't a lot of money. If it doesn't work out, the Sox can let Mejia go.But after neglecting their bullpen this offseason, the Red Sox put themselves in the position where they may need Mejia to have success.That's the big gamble. Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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