Even after a close knit, Detroit Tigers victory, there seems to be a lot to discuss – thoughts set ablaze as if the team went down in utter defeat.
So here goes:
So Delmon Young, who had a ball go off of his glove, a play that yes, was into the sun, but poorly routed, got him all turned around, and somehow wasn’t called an error – was the villain, at least for a few innings today (longer if the team loses). Injuries and the total disregard for the designated hitter in the National League yards is causing the Tigers to actually physically put Young in the lineup… AND at left field! It’s not a pretty sight. We all like to take the D out of his name when we speak of him in Twitter circles, mostly because he can’t play it. And never mind his numbers when he plays the field: he might hit better when he’s not DH-ing, but today he was 0-4 with a strikeout, and seeing less than 3 pitches per at bat.
The Reds made him work today. Hard. He threw 127 pitches today, in large part because the Reds fought off a lot of tough pitches, including a few 101 MPH Justin Verlander fastballs. Todd Frazier even poked one of those balls into right field for what ended up being the game tying single with the bases loaded (post Delmon Young “non-error”). Even Brandon Phillips worked a walk after fighting off a series of pitches in a 12-pitch AB. The combined effort saw the Reds see 174 pitches total in this game, compared to 121 for the Tigers. Yes, the Tigers saw 6 fewer pitches today than the total number that Verlander threw, in 6 innings.
There was some real talk on everyone’s Twitter machine this afternoon about the current state of the outfield. We did see the triumphant return of one Austin Jackson (who went 0-4 and struck out in his first plate appearance back), which relegated Quintin Berry to the bench. Except:
In an ideal Tigers paradise, a healthy Andy Dirks should play left field, Austin Jackson at his normal home in center field, and Brennan Boesch (yes, that Brennan Boesch) should play in right. And because the roster (and his salary) says so, Delmon should simply DH, and Berry should come off the bench.
What has people in an unnecessary uproar is the benching of Quintin Berry. That’s the part that confuses me the most. Mostly because Berry is currently batting .288, and is 3 for his last 22 at the plate. His speed means nothing if he’s not getting on base. And let’s not confuse that same speed with something that could work defensively in the outfield, either: bad routes to balls have created those really awesome, highlight-reel type catches. And with a Ben Revere-like arm, that doesn’t bode well in the corner outfield spots. And while Boesch is having a very-moderate run at the plate lately, his presence at the plate (not to mention his power) is more useful in the lineup than that of Berry. Berry should pinch-run off the bench, because yes: his speed is something the Tigers certainly lack. But we should all calm down before we let a career .270 minor league hitter into the lineup everyday unless he’s absolutely needed. And with Austin back, he’s not absolutely needed.
The Tigers could quell some of the more avid rabid fans by winning behind Drew Smyly tomorrow night. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking a win streak on the road to Chicago, where they could very easily add to that.