Detroit Tigers: Look for Matthew Boyd to bounce back in his second start

July 29th, 2020 in Tigers By Bob Heyrman

Matthew Boyd will take the bump tonight for the Detroit Tigers looking to avenge his first start of the season in Cincinnati.

It wasn’t the start the Detroit Tigers had hoped from their ace to open the season.  Matthew Boyd struggled with his command all game, even hitting two batters, and was often found pitching from behind.  Just a season ago, Boyd fanned a career-high 238 hitters in 32 starts.  The year prior, the lefty struck out a total of 159 hitters through 31 starts.

The significant improvement leaves us optimistic that Boyd will be able to return to form.  One scary thing about the southpaw hurdler is making his first start of the year at home.  Comerica Park was anything but kind to Boyd last season.  Boyd allowed a whopping 26 home runs last year pitching at Comerica Park, compared to 13 on the road.  The Detroit Tigers, as a team, is currently tied with ten home runs on the season just five games into the season.  It took the Tigers nearly a month last year to hit ten bombs, so the ball is flying this season throughout the league.

Whit Merrifield has a career batting average of over .500 when facing Boyd, it’s a matchup to pay close attention to tonight.  If Boyd can locate his pitches and keep the ball down, the left-hander should have a nice evening against a below-average Royals lineup.

Boyd produced a 5-5 record last season at home maintaining an era of 4.59 and a WHIP of 1.228; his road numbers were very similar, having an era of 4.55 and a WHIP of 1.232 despite his 4-7 overall road record.

The left-hander isn’t exceptionally well facing left-handed hitters, even with his somewhat odd delivery to the plate.  His mechanics would make you think he’d be tough on left-handers, but that hasn’t proven true.  Last year he allowed seven home runs in 148 plate appearances and an opponent batting average of .231 versus left-handed-hitting batters.  Although not overly impressive, it’s much more effective than he was against righties.  He yielded an absurd 32 home runs to right-handers and a batting average of .250.  His 39 total home runs allowed led the American League in 2019.

In his first start of 2020, Boyd went just five innings taking the loss at the hands of the Reds.  Boyd allowed four runs on six hits.  Expect Boyd to be much better in his second start of the year, hopefully working into the sixth or seventh innings tonight.  If Boyd can string together a few nice starts, those trade rumors from a year ago will once again start to make headlines this summer.