The altogether average Detroit Tigers – Kurt Mensching, SBNation
The thing about the Tigers is that they’re really not a great team. They can put on the costume of a great team — they were on pace to win more than 100 games and run away with the AL Central division at one point this season. Vegas pegged them as favorites to win the World Series. But the way they’re built, once you start to strip away the makeup, you start to get a different picture, sometimes a downright ugly one. They are somehow both teams at once, a team of stars that can dominate anyone yet lose to a bottom-feeder a series later. The result is a team that wins and loses in bunches, that has played .500 ball since June 1, has blown seven-game leads in the division twice inside a three-month span, and sits in second place behind the Royals today.
The Detroit Tigers have seen tough times before – Sean Heyboer, Bless You Boys
Before a game an infielder will take dozens of ground balls, repeating the same fielding motion time after time, convincing their brain of the easy fluidity in the transfer from the glove to the hand. Pitchers have regimented bullpen sessions in between starts, working on mechanics and developing muscle memory in order to repeat an effective delivery on every pitch. Hitters will work on their approach in the batting cages, and then again on the field, and then again on the on-deck circle. Swing after swing after swing, until they step into the box looking for one pitch. One swing will determine whether they get a hit or make an out. One swing after hundreds of practice swings.
As fans of the game, we look for patterns. A meaning to the seemingly random nature of events. If a pitcher on our favorite team can repeat the same delivery 49 times in a row with success, why does the 50th pitch spell doom when every factor under the pitcher’s control remained the same? Statisticians dissect and pick apart and theorize how and why things will happen. But sometimes things just are because they are.
Hey Joe, It’s Time to Look In the Mirror – Alexandra Simon, Walkoff Woodward
It’s time for Joe Nathan to look in the mirror and stop looking at his teammates when things go wrong. Yet again, the Tigers’ esteemed closer passed the blame after another awful outing, first appearing to criticize manager Brad Ausmus for ordering an intentional walk to slugger José Bautista, and then first baseman Miguel Cabrera for holding the runner on first and therefore being unable to make a play on the game-tying base hit.
This isn’t the first time Nathan’s apparently pointed fingers either. Earlier in the season he appeared to throw rookie Nick Castellanos under the bus for being unable to make a play on a base hit (that many thought should have been ruled an error). Nathan ended up blowing the save.