Tigers’ Justin Verlander dismisses ‘crazy’ talk that American League Central is weak - Perry A. Farrell, Detroit Free Press
“People are crazy,’’ he said. “Obviously not baseball people, because at the beginning of the year they were saying that the Indians and the Royals and the Tigers — all three — they were saying we were one of the best teams in baseball, but they were saying in particular the Royals and the Indians could give us a run for our money. Well, if they’re saying that, they’re also saying that they are one of the best teams in baseball. Then all of a sudden if they don’t play well out of the gate, it’s because we’re so much better than everyone else. Everything turns on a dime. I can’t stand that stuff, man.
We hear at least a hundred times a season that the AL Central is the weakest division in baseball, and it’s not difficult to see why, especially with the way the Twins and White Sox played last season. But Verlander makes a good point as well, he’s definitely not wrong.
Don’t worry about rest of Justin Verlander’s deal, but do worry about rest of this season - Kurt Mensching, Detroit News
Aside from repeating platitudes like, “Don’t worry, he’s Justin Verlander,” there hasn’t been a lot of reason to feel positive after the first two months of this season.
But there might be reason to have hope Verlander will perform a little more like expected throughout the rest of his contract, though it doesn’t exactly give reason to feel positive about the likelihood of a big turnaround this year.
Look no further than his last game for an example. Verlander entered the sixth inning against the White Sox having allowed only a second-inning solo home run. The first three batters reached with singles, then Verlander seemed to escape harm having forced a double play. No such luck. Verlander gave up another two hits along with a pair of walks.
It’s difficult to watch Verlander’s struggles and not wonder how exactly he’s fallen off the way he has. People will always claim a big payday has made him complacent, but really. That argument is hard to believe of a world class athlete who has spent his entire life competing to be the best. That’s the exact reason that I think Verlander will figure it out. We may not see 2012 Verlander again, but late-2013 Verlander could be right around the corner.
10 reasons Austin Jackson will rake in 2014 - HookSlide, Bless You Boys
Every team has to have a goat, or so it seems. (This sentence sponsored by the National Goat Council.) Some teams even get to have more than one goat. Tigers fans can choose from perennial favorites like Alex Avila or Phil Coke, or newly discovered “talent” like Joe Nathan or Torii Hunter.
In years past, perhaps, Austin Jackson may have made that list. Twitter was full of #AustinJacksonStrikesOut hashtags last year, and the “KJax” meme enjoyed a long run.
But something has been happening with Austin Jackson lately, and while the results have not yet fully caught up with the underlying trends, there are good reasons to believe that 2014 will still be one of his best seasons on record. Here are 10 of those reasons.
Austin Jackson has what it takes to be solid, consistent hitter and the stats HookSlide has compiled shows that he’s not as bad as he seems. Both he and Avila are making contact and hitting the ball hard, unfortunately directly at the opposing team.