It's been almost too easy for the Tigers starting rotation this spring. There have been 12 starts so far without a hint of trouble in any of them. It's been smooth sailing for all five starters - Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Phil Coke and Brad Penny. Even their two rookies - Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver - have been rock solid in early action. The numbers tell the story:
It's been so good that there is nothing to even analyze. You can say it doesn't mean much and you would probably be right. Still, I can't remember a spring where every starting pitcher started out so strong. Even though we know there is little correlation between spring performance and the regular season, I'd rather have them pitching well than struggling.
This is better than having Nate Robertson get hit hard in every appearance It's better than Jeremy Bonderman giving up five runs in the first inning because he's trying to learn a change-up. It's better than Dontrelle Willis walking a batter an inning and saying that he feels great. It's better than hearing Leyland scold the staff because they aren't throwing strikes. It's certainly better than reading that one of the starters has a sore arm and that the MRI is clean and trainer Kevin Rand says he'll be OK but it still hurts.
In the past, we worried about bad spring pitching performances because we feared it would carry into the season. And it usually did because they had starters who were either bad or injured or both. This year we are hoping that the early spring pitching DOES carry into the regular season. Even though we tell ourselves it doesn't matter, it still feels good.