Angels face Tigers' hard-throwing Fulmer (Jun 08, 2017)
DETROIT -- Bad news for batters facing Michael Fulmer: He is throwing harder than ever.
The Detroit Tigers right-hander, who won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season, averaged 97.8 mph on his fastball in his last start.
That is what the Los Angeles Angels will have to deal with during a Thursday matinee at Comerica Park.
"I'm getting stronger. I'm finally getting toward peaking," Fulmer said. "Last year, I peaked in April. I got a little tired toward the end of the second half, but I think I'm peaking at the right time right now. My body feels great, and I think that's a big part of it as well."
Fulmer wasn't dominant in his start last Friday against the Chicago White Sox, as he allowed five runs on seven hits in seven innings. However, he had the luxury of pitching with a big lead after receiving no run support in his previous two outings, as Detroit beat Chicago 15-5.
Fulmer (6-3, 3.00 ERA) will be coming off an extra day's rest for the second straight time, though he is not keen on the additional 24 hours between starts.
"I like to take the ball every fifth day, just like all the other starting pitchers," said Fulmer, who is 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in three career starts against the Angels. "They develop their routine, they know when their body peaks for their bullpen (session) and peaks for their start. But as long as I feel good on start day, I'm going to give 110 percent, compete and hopefully get a win."
Manager Brad Ausmus said he is not trying to space out Fulmer's starts in an effort to limit the 24-year-old's innings or skip starts. Fulmer has thrown 75 innings this year after tossing a combined 174 1/3 innings in the majors and minors last year.
"You try to give guys rest, especially in the first half of the season," Ausmus said. "You kind of move on to a regular five days in the latter part. I guess I'll work to that end (avoiding skipping a start) a little bit, but that's not the reason we're doing it. I'm not concerned about Fulmer's innings the way I was last year."
Angels right-hander JC Ramirez will oppose Fulmer. The converted reliever will be making his 11th consecutive start after working exclusively out of the bullpen in his first 111 major league appearances.
"It's been crazy, it's been wild," Ramirez said. "To be throwing one inning and now to be throwing five or six innings, it's just crazy. But I'm enjoying it right now."
Ramirez had a wild start against the Tigers last month. He allowed five runs in the first two innings, including two homers, then settled in and pitched five scoreless frames. Overall, he is 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in three career outings against Detroit.
Ramirez (5-4, 4.11 ERA) endured his roughest outing of the season on Friday, giving up a career-high seven earned runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. The Minnesota Twins hit three homers against him.
"I threw all my pitches where I wanted. I just faced a good team that's hot right now," Ramirez said. "They just hit me. I didn't feel anything was wrong. They just got me. It wasn't my day; it was their day. I just forget about that and come ready for (Thursday). I want to show I'm not that guy, I'm not that pitcher. I want to go back to throwing six or seven innings and give these guys a chance to win the game."