Tigers’ pitching staff finally looking solid for stretch run

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A younger rotation might not have been what Tigers manager Brad Ausmus envisioned at the start of the season, but he’s finding little to complain about these days. With Mike Pelfrey and Jordan Zimmerman crowding the disabled list, rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer and sophomore lefties Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris have bolstered the rotation, while tried-and-true veterans like Anibal Sanchez have shown signs of consistency in the second half.

Since July, the Tigers’ rotation has played off of a collective 3.43 ERA, good for second-lowest among major league clubs. Their 2.12 BB/9 is also good for second-lowest in the league, although their 7.49 K/9 skews more toward the middle of the pack. Much of the credit can be given to Justin Verlander, and deservedly so, as Detroit’s ace halved his ERA to 2.04 during the second half of the season. The club has benefited from an airtight bullpen, too, one that doesn’t appear to have any major holes in it despite a couple of sub-par outings from left-hander Justin Wilson last month and a lingering blister that moved Shane Greene to a relief role earlier in the year.

On Saturday, the Tigers added to their ranks with left-hander Joe Mantiply, another promising rookie out of Triple-A Toledo. Prior to his Triple-A promotion, during which the 25-year-old allowed one home run, one walk, and struck out seven in 8 ⅓ innings, Mantiply worked a 2.47 ERA with Double-A Erie, polishing off a 62/11 K/BB rate through 51 innings. As for his role within Detroit’s pitching staff, Ausmus envisions Mantiply in middle relief, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com:

Mantiply certainly isn’t the only important cog in this machine, but with Verlander leading the charge, a slew of young, talented arms in the rotation and the ‘pen, and the eighth-best run percentage in the majors, he’ll help keep it running smoothly.

Report: Mike Clevinger agrees to 1-year deal with White Sox

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox bolstered their rotation, agreeing to a one-year contract with right-hander Mike Clevinger, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.

The 31-year-old Clevinger went 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 games, including 22 starts, for San Diego this year. He missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.

Chicago is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season, when it went 81-81 and finished 11 games back of surprising AL Central champion Cleveland. Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa stepped down in October and Pedro Grifol was hired on Nov. 1.

The White Sox got a big lift from Johnny Cueto this year, but the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent after going 8-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 25 appearances. Clevinger slots into a rotation that likely will include Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech.

The move puts the 6-foot-4 Clevinger back in the AL Central after he made his major league debut with Cleveland in 2016. He went 42-22 with a 3.20 ERA in four-plus seasons with Cleveland before he was traded to San Diego in a multiplayer deal in August 2020.

Clevinger was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth round of the 2011 amateur draft. He was traded to Cleveland in 2014.

Clevinger is 51-30 with a 3.39 ERA in 128 career big league games. He also has 694 strikeouts in 656 2/3 innings.