DETROIT -- Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd combined for 14 1/3 innings of two-run ball in their first starts for the Tigers since being acquired from the Blue Jays in the David Price trade, giving every hope they can hold their own in the big leagues.
Now comes the question whether the Tigers have to hold down their workload.
Boyd's seven strong innings on Wednesday night put the first Major League win on his resume, but it also pushed his combined innings total for the season to 128 1/3, five shy of his career high from last year. Norris' 7 1/3 innings last Sunday at Baltimore put his season total at 121 1/3, about nine shy of his 2014 total between the Minors and Toronto.
Even with an organization that doesn't have a set policy on innings jumps, it's worth watching. The Tigers don't necessarily have a target number in mind for either, but manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones both acknowledge they have to watch it.
"I just think you have to be sensible about it," Ausmus said. "You don't want to jump them too high, but I think every guy's different. Everyone tries to save innings because they think it's going to prevent injuries, but they've been doing it for years and people are still getting Tommy John [surgeries] at an unprecedented rate. I don't know that you can really connect those two dots."
Ausmus threw out a target range of 170-175 innings, which seemingly gives them a decent amount of leeway. Even so, they're considering using off-days built into the schedule to use four starters at stretches.
"We've got some off-days coming up on the next road trip," Jones said, "so we will probably skip somebody, or we might skip them both if we can. We just haven't sat down and looked at it yet."
The Tigers have two off-days in a five-day stretch, Aug. 13 and 17, giving them opportunities for rest. They would've had another off-day on Aug. 24, but lost that to a makeup date for the June 18 rainout at Cincinnati. Alfredo Simon's health -- he's dealing with a groin injury, but is expected to make his next start on Saturday against the Red Sox -- could also play a factor.
For what it's worth, Norris' innings increased by about 40 per season in the Blue Jays' system. Boyd, a 2013 Draft pick who didn't sign until late, hasn't had enough professional seasons to establish a standard.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.