Three weeks ago, it seemed as if the Tigers could do no wrong. They were king of the hill, owning a 27-12 record and enjoying a seven-game lead in the AL Central.
The starting pitching was arguably the best in the majors. The bats were lighting up the scoreboard on a daily basis. And the bullpen seemed to have finally sorted itself out.
So what happened?
That’s the question of the year…what happened to the Detroit Tigers? Maybe they were just overmatched by a surging Blue Jays team–that happens during the regular season (remember the Oakland A’s dominance against the Tigers at Comerica Park in the regular season which didn’t translate to the postseason). Then again, we’ve been waiting through Cleveland, Texas, Oakland, Seattle, and now Toronto for them to wake up.
Brad Ausmus makes it clear: Detroit Tigers need more production from bottom half of lineup – Carlos Monzarrez, Detroit Free Press
“The truth is we need production out of the bottom of the lineup,” Ausmus said, “or we at least need people on base out of the bottom of the lineup so when the lineup turns over and our sluggers come up there, there’s someone that they can drive in.
Remember fans debating if the Tigers offense from last year, which was very inconsistent but had a lot of power, would be better or worse this year with the added speed in the lineup. I think we have our answer. Its been weeks since we marveled at the Tigers’ base running skills.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus confirmed Wednesday that Nathan has not been removed from the closer role and said the 39-year-old reliever will be used in a save situation tonight if needed.
The Tigers are stuck with Nathan. They won’t eat that salary and they really have no other options. Joba Chamberlain could close, but then who takes his spot as set-up man? Nathan? That may change once Joel Hanrahan is healthy, but no one really knows when that will happen. In the meantime, the Tigers have no other choice than to let Nathan work through his troubles as the team’s closer.