Who’s the fifth starter? Who cares!

As the remainder of the season comes to an end and Justin Verlander continues to pace our rotation, Jeff Passan had an interesting view on the way teams set up their pitching rotation.  The focus was on should teams switch to a four-man rotation as opposed to the now traditional five-man rotation.  The one team that was a huge focus of the article was our Detroit Tigers and the struggles to find a fifth started throughout the season.

Before the July 31 trading deadline, Detroit tried Phil Coke, Charlie Furbush, Duane Below and Andy Oliver in the No. 5 slot. Their combined record: 1-11. Their ERA: 5.24. The Tigers went 4-16 in their 20 starts, and if you toss in a spot start from Jacob Turner, it drops to 4-17.

Now the thing that solidified the final position was the acquisition of Doug Fister and his 2.64 ERA in 44 1/3 innings as a Tiger. But the question remains, should the Tigers go to a four-starter rotation starting next season?  Passan in the article describes how to make the four starters work and our rotation would be: JV, Fister, Scherzer and Porcello with a guy like Penny or maybe even Jacob Turner as the fifth pitcher who would only make about 15 starts a season.

I think the Tigers would be much better off with only using the four starters.  My only wish for the team this season is that JV would be able to start nearly every game for the Tigers, and with only four starters going on average he would get an additional three to five starts a season.  Fister has been nothing short of phenomenal for this team and Scherzer and Porcello have been hot and cold throughout the season.  Turner has been solid in his time with the team, and getting to be around professionals like Verlander and Fister could only help his development.

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