Kyle Lobstein gave the Detroit Tigers a sense of security on Saturday afternoon as he might be an interesting option to keep in mind in case Drew Smyly does not pan out as the Tigers’ fifth man in the pitching rotation.
Lobstein was nearly unhittable against the Houston Astros as he took only 21 pitches to get through three innings of work. He struck out four, walked one, and gave up no runs. In other words, he was completely dominant.
Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello are locks in Detroit’s rotation, but the only question mark comes with Smyly. He started 18 games in 2012, won four of them and had an ERA of just under 4.00 (3.99). He found a good amount of success in the bullpen last year, getting 21 holds in 63 games and striking out 81 batters in 76.
He is definitely not a bad option to be the last man in the rotation, but it never hurts to have a possible backup option in Lobstein. Also, having a heated competition for that fifth spot in the rotation always brings out the best in pitchers and can only benefit the Tigers moving forward.
Smyly has the clear edge on Lobstein as he has two years in the majors under his belt, while Lobstein has not thrown a single pitch above the triple-A level. But, if Smyly has a rough Spring Training or struggles during the regular season, it seems like Lobstein might have the making of being a decent fifth man.
Granted it was against the Astros, the worst team in the MLB last year, and it is only a Spring Training game; but if this is a sign of things to come, do not be surprised if Lobstein is pitching for the Tigers at some point in 2014.