Velocity no concern in Boyd’s fast start for Tigers

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — If you are fretting about Matthew Boyd’s decreased fastball velocity, stop.

First of all, Boyd, who will start against the Orioles on Wednesday, has been razor sharp in his first two starts, allowing only two runs in 13 innings.

“I just focus on hitting the glove,” Boyd said. “I focus on changing speeds. My goal is to hit my spots right now and change speeds on all my pitches — add and subtract with all my pitches and keep hitters off-balance.”

Secondly, Boyd’s velocity has for the last three seasons started down and gradually rose throughout the season.

“Velocity is a product of doing things right,” he said.

Last season, his average fastball velocity was 92.7 mph. He was at 90-91 in April and gradually got to 93 by August. This season, thus far, he’s been at 89.8 mph, touching 91. When you factor in the cold temperatures, it’s not a cause for alarm.

“Everything is fine,” he said.

Better to focus on how expertly he’s weaved his five-pitch mix through his two starts. Opponents are hitting .159 against him with a .191 on-base percentage. He’s allowed two extra-base hits in 13 innings.

More:Weather or not, Tigers ready to start playing again

He’s thrown 19 change-ups and 24 curveballs, and hasn't given up a hit with either. He’s thrown 59 sliders, which opponents are hitting .100 against.

“James (McCann, catcher) and I are on the same page,” Boyd said. “And it speaks to the reports that Boz (pitching coach Chris Bosio) has put together for us and the game-planning we’ve been doing.

“It’s really a collaborative effort.”

Bosio is back

He was supposed to be home, convalescing for another week with what is still an unrevealed medical issue. But Bosio couldn’t stay away that long.

He returned to full active duty with the team on Tuesday.

“He told me he couldn’t take it,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He called me over the weekend and said, ‘I’m coming back Tuesday.’ I said is everything OK? He said, ‘I can’t take it anymore.’

“So Boz is back in the house.”

Bosio started feeling poorly in Cleveland last week and left the team Friday.

Stretching out

Chad Bell, Warwick Saupold and Blaine Hardy — three relievers who have been or figure to be working in the Tigers’ bullpen this season have been used as starting pitchers at Triple-A Toledo.

That is by design.

“We’ve talked about all sorts of guys being able to (go) multiple innings,” Gardenhire said. “Plus, I think down there they need innings. They need to stretch people out. It was the same thing with Bell (who is up with the Tigers now).

“It’s good for them to stretch out and get the innings they missed all through spring training.”

Around the horn

Gardenhire announced that left-hander Daniel Norris, who has been used in long relief, will get the start in the second game of the doubleheader Friday against the Royals. Michael Fulmer will pitch the first game.

… Gardenhire said another pitcher will be recalled from Toledo on Friday to serve as the 26th man — which is allowed for makeup doubleheaders.

… By using Norris in the nightcap, Gardenhire was able to keep is rotation in order.

Orioles at Tigers

First pitch: 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM

Scouting report

RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 6.60), Orioles: A perennial slow starter, he’s been tagged for 11 runs in 15 innings in three starts. His fastball, which he throws 60 percent of the time, is averaging 92.7 mph, down from 95 last season. Right-handers always have hit him better than lefties (.282-.251, slugging .462 to .406).

LHP Matthew Boyd (0-1, 1.38), Tigers: Impressive start, allowing just two runs in 13 innings. He hasn’t allowed a hit against his change-up or curveball this year, and opponents are hitting .100 off his slider. The Orioles beat him up in two starts last season, scoring 10 runs in 62/3innings.