The Reboot Begins

Well, it is about time. With one day until the trade deadline hits, the ball has started rolling. The Tigers have traded David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays for three top 20 prospects – including the Jays number one prospect, LHP Daniel Norris.

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Photo Courtesy of Robin Buckson / Detroit News

Bottom line, the Tigers needed players and instead of losing at least three free agents (Cespades, Soria, and Price) for nothing, they have started trading for multiple talents that will keep them in the running for a World Series run in a handful of years – instead of a decade of loss.

Although many may disagree with the trade, it makes sense for the Tigers to sell off their ace. The minor system is dry, with little to no major league talent. In fact, this minor league system is the worst in the MLB.

With this trade, the Tigers bring in three left handers to the system. Two of which are seen to be major league ready by next season, according to multiple reports.

Additionally, there was no real contract extension talks for Price throughout the season and a lack of resources to do so when looking at Detroit’s spending. The selling of Price opens up a lot of space for a lively free agency for the Tigers GM, who will look to re fil the ace spot in the off season.

Be Patient, Tiger Fans. Selling doesn’t mean the team has given up all hope, it means looking to the future and making sure they are long term contenders and not a team full of fallen aging stars, who will suck up all the teams’ capital in millions of guaranteed cash.

Time to Panic?

It is a tough time to be a Tigers fan right now. They are on a six game losing streak, they cannot score runs and the pitching is all around bad.

Is it time to hit the panic button? Not just yet, the season is still young and a slump was bound to happen. Look at Minnesota for example. They were in a similar situation as the Tigers and could not catch a break, in the first few weeks of the season. Now they sit comfortably at second place in the AL Central, with Detroit four games back. Coincidently, this slump may even line up to this time last year, when the Tigers slumped during the Zubaz fiasco.

They bounced back then and they are sure to bounce back now.

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Miggy reacting to a strikeout. Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
Injuries are also cause for concern. Two of our lefty bats – Victor Martinez and Alex Avila have been out for an extended time and as much as fans hate on Avila, he was a catalyst for starting scoring opportunities. However, Tyler Collins in his stint has been decent as a temporary left handed bat – batting .241 in a very small sample size with 2 runs scored and 1 RBI.

Detroit is tough town to play in, maybe one of the toughest in any sport. We boo our players and almost expect all of our players to bat 1.000 and pitch perfect games.

The silver lining to this slump is coming back to play against our division’s teams – teams that have been dominated in past series, including the AL Central last place White Sox.

If the slump continues though, cause for concern may be apparent and we could soon see new faces in the old English D.

 

 

Looking Toward the Future: Daniel Fields

Down in Toledo is the Mudhens baseball club, the Triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.

It is a place where rising stars get a chance to build their skills before wearing the old English D.

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Daniel Fields has been swinging a hot bat this season for Toledo. Photo Courtesy of The Toledo Blade/Katie Rausch.

This year’s Mudhens are filled with talent that just couldn’t make it to the Tiger roster, many feeling hopeful to get a few major league at bats or pitching starts.

One Tiger hopeful is outfielder and Detroit native, Daniel Fields. The left handed bat is in his first season at Toledo, having spent his first four years in Lakeland and Erie – other minor league affiliates for the Tigers.

Although Fields spent a majority of the 2014 season injured with broken hand, he has caught back up and has shown great promise.

In the 2015 spring training season, he had a stat line of .345/.394/.655 in 29 at bats. For comparison, Miguel Cabrera, in the same amount of at bats, had a line of .345/.412/.724.

Although it was just spring training, Fields batted strong and may have missed a spot in the 25 man roster due to an already deep outfield lineup – along with manager Brad Ausmus having a strategy of including two utility players and not a big bat, claiming he would unlikely pinch hit for a big bat and rather rely on defense and speed on the base paths late in games.

In Toledo, Fields has stayed strong. Playing in 26 games he has held a .312 average, with 19 RBIs and 19 walks.

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Fields makes a diving catch. Photo Courtesy of The Toledo Blade/Isaac Hale

Defensively, he seems solid with a .982 fielding percentage and one error. His range factor is 2.38, which is a bit higher than Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury 2015 factor of 2.20. However, that’s comparing a major league to a minor leaguer.

Although I haven’t seen him with my own eyes and defensive stats are hard to judge, it would appear he is a solid defender at center field.

If JD Martinez and the hobbling Victor Martinez continue to struggle at the bat, it would be a no brainer to give Fields a shot in the Tiger lineup – putting Victor on the DL or sending JD down to Toledo to fix his swing and gain some confidence.

Who knows, Fields could become the next Charlie Gehringer. Another Detroit native and Tiger legend whose number is retired on the left center field wall and has a statue to honor his legacy.

Tigers Go Yard, Beat Twins 10-7

The Tigers bench players came through in the best way as James McCann (3-4) and Andrew Romine (4-4) get the start in the last game of the series, helping propel Detroit to a 10-7 victory.

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James McCann went 3-4 and hit his first career home run. Photo Courtesy of AP Photo.

James McCann hit his first career home run, of the inside the park variety off a good bounce from the center field wall, tying the game in the sixth inning.

Romine came up next, hitting his fourth single of the day, knocking in the game winning RBI.

Aside from the strong second string batters, offensively, the Tigers bats were hitting hot and deep this afternoon. Castellanos had a double and JD Martinez got a relaxing trot around the bases.

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Miggy hit two long bombs in the victory Wednesday, at Target Field. Photo Courtesy of AP Photo/Tony Deja.

The slugger of the night award went to Miguel Cabrera (3-5, 4 RBI), who had two trips around the base paths, adding to the Tigers 17 hits on the day.

Both starting pitchers gained a no decision, with Shane Greene pitching 4 and 1/3 innings – striking out eight, giving up seven earned.

The Tigers fly out to Kansas City tonight, awaiting a four game series against the Royals.

Tigers Fall to Twins, 3-2

The Tigers continue their road trip with a loss, as the Twins comeback to win 3-2.

In an uneventful game that saw a combined total of 13 hits, the Tigers struck early – scoring in the third and fourth innings.

Anibal Sanchez took the mound, pitching six innings, striking out six and allowing nine hits. He showed good command, managing a low pitch count until late in his outing, where he found himself in a jam.

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Kinsler went 0-4 on Tuesday night. Photo Courtesy of Jim Mone/AP Photo

The trouble came for the Tigers in the seventh, as Sanchez gave up the tying run on a deep double and the go ahead run on a hard hit single up the shortstop side.

Offensively, the bats were quiet with only three hits recorded by the Tigers. However, they made the most of their hits, holding the lead until the troublesome seventh.

Al Alburquerque continued to struggle in relief, throwing 23 pitches in his inning, allowing three batters to get on base.

Shane Greene takes the mound tomorrow, he is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA.

Tiger’s Roar Turns Into Quiet Whimper

Well Tiger fans, the inevitable has happened. The Tigers are in a slump, losing their fourth straight game tonight.

In true Detroit fashion, when things get bad, they get about as bad as it can be. The hot bats in the beginning of the season have turned into fans and the unbeatable starters are beginning to look like pitchers seen in a coach pitch league. Is it time to hit the panic button? No.

True, losing four straight is never a good thing. However, it was bound to happen. When the Tigers slump, it is typically with everything failing. It’s not nice, but they either win as a full team or lose as one.

116tigersThe hits are still coming, they posted 26 of them in the Yankees series and eight tonight, but the heart of the order has been almost non-existent – stranding many men on base and taking away big power threats. Looking at the numbers, Miggy was 2 for 13 in the last series, while Victor Martinez failed to get a hit in those four games

Looking in the future, this Cleveland series, along with the next two are interdivisional – the last series being versus the Royals. All three of these series are important to separate from the pack, but getting back into the swing of things before facing Kansas City, in their park, would be ideal.

Baseball is a funny game, with everything coming down to timing. Luckily for the Tigers, the Twins will be coming back from a long road trip when Detroit comes to town and if history repeats itself, facing the Twins will give the Tigers the perfect boost for another hot streak.

 

Tigers Stay Cold, Lose 2-1

The Tigers took on the Yankees in the last game of a four game series. It was another cold day at Comerica, bringing out the winter jackets and masks for both players and fans.

Unlike the blizzard ball game, yesterday, this afternoon’s game was tame – with masterful starting pitching from both Anibal Sanchez and Masahiro Tanaka. It was 1-1 through seven, with the Yankees tying the game off of a balk.

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Brad Ausmus was ejected after fighting a balk call. Photo Courtesy of Mike Mulholland.

After the late balk call, Brad Ausmus came out to argue the call and was ejected – leaving the diamond with, what look liked, some fiery words for the umpires.

Back on the mound was Sanchez, who looked like his old self compared to his last start – where he gave up nine earned in couple of innings. This afternoon he pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up only one hit and eight strikeouts.

In the eighth, the Yankees posted their second run on a hard hit ball that Cabrera attempted to field. However, it was trapped sloppy and was only enough for one out – as Ellsbury ran home on the sacrifice.

The Tigers-Yankees series was the first series loss for Detroit on the year.

In other Tiger news: Joe Nathan’s season will be cut short due to a season ending surgery on his injured arm.

“Nathan underwent an MRI at the DMC yesterday which revealed a UCL tear and a flexor pronator tear,” the team said in a Free Press article. “He will undergo season-ending surgery at a later date.”

Tigers closer Joe Nathan leaves mound in pain

From Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

If looks are any indication, Tigers closer Joe Nathan did not respond well to what was supposed to be about one inning of work for Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday.

Nathan was scheduled to throw 25 pitches, but tossed just 10 before grabbing his elbow, talking with trainer Chris McDonald and heading into the clubhouse.

Nathan, who is rehabbing from an elbow flexor strain, was in obvious pain, per the MLive Media Group. His fastball was clocked in the high 80s.

Tigers Out Pitched, Lose 5-2 To Yankees

The rain fell, along with the runs, as the Tigers lost to the Yankees in 5-2

The bullpen worries became apparent after Kyle Lobstein was pulled after six innings. In his time on the mound, he walked four and gave up one earned run. 
 
Photo Courtesy of The Detroit Free Press
 
The relief pitchers did little to help a cold offense, giving up three runs — two from home runs. 
It took four different pitchers to end the seventh, with Blaine Hardy pitching out of a bases loaded danger. 
Detroit recorded 10 hits, scoring off a sacrifice by Cespedes and a bases loaded walk. 

 

Tigers Comeback, beat Yankees 2-1

The Tigers beat the Yankees 2-1 on a cool day at Comerica Park, with the bats warming up late against another tough pitching opponent.

Defense came through for both teams, keeping this encounter a low scoring game – with diving catches and pinpoint double plays made by both squads.

CC Sabathia made the start for the Yankees, pitching eight innings with five strikeouts.

Alfredo Simon took the mound for the Tigers. He threw pitches through 7 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits. Simon showed pretty good control, striking out seven, but did hurl two pitches at Alex Rodriguez which almost hit him hard.

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Iglesias once again made another astounding play at shortstop. Photo Courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/ Detroit Free Press

Jose Iglesias had another web gem in the sixth, showing extreme range, making a seemingly impossible throw with his momentum carrying him way from first, surely saving a late Yankee rally.

After an intentional walk of Victor Martinez, it was the Tigers turn to heat up, with JD Martinez tying the game in the seventh and Cespedes hitting a base hit up the shortstop side, giving the Tigers the lead.

Joba Chamberlain held the lead in the eighth, pitching into a double play. Joakim Soria came in the ninth, closing the game out for Detroit – marking five saves in five starts.