There is no other way to say it. All the sugar in the world couldn’t sweeten the foul smell that was produced by the Tigers play in the field on Sunday. The game was ugly. Mental errors were aplenty, and so were the physical ones. The multiple miscues led to a defeat to the Rangers on Sunday, and just continued the up and down season the Tigers can’t seem to get away from. The Tigers have now lost 4 of their last 5 games after winning 6 straight.
After today’s game, the Tigers are now on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. They certainly aren’t out of anything, and personally I still expect them to secure the division when all is said and done. However, today’s game is just another example that this team still has significant warts.
Rick Porcello didn’t pitch particularly well today in his quest to become maddeningly mediocre. He allowed 9 hits in six innings, and struck out just one batter. As we have seen before, pitching to contact with the Tigers defense isn’t always the best idea, and today the Tigers questionable defense reared it’s ugly head. Porcello himself was a part of that, as yet again, a Tigers pitcher showed some ineptitude fielding a baseball. But the play that stuck out even more was Brennan Boesch‘s inability to field a grounder to right field on a single.
Boesch had himself a difficult day all around. He also went 0-3 with the bat, leaving 4 runners on base, but it was how he got out that was most frustrating. Boesch in his 3 at-bats saw just 3 pitches. He swung at them all, prompting Jim Leyland to be baffled in post game interviews about what he is going to do with Boesch. That’s not a good sign for Boesch, and I even have a suggestion.
Send him to the minors.
That might sound drastic, but the fact of the matter is Brennan Boesch isn’t contributing to this club enough to warrant an every day spot in the lineup. Despite Quintin Berry starting to come down to earth a bit, he at least has the potential to contribute in some sort of fashion to winning baseball games. Boesch isn’t hitting for power, getting on base, and certainly isn’t playing defense. Having him in the 5th spot in the order isn’t working. He lacks patience, and he lacks power. No matter how hard Rod and Mario try to sell it to us that he is a power hitter. Boesch is slugging .388, which is not much better than Quintin Berry, who is at .376.
Boesch isn’t the only concern in the order either. Delmon Young isn’t much better in the plate discipline department either. He also sports a sub .300 OBP which is just terrible for a middle of the order hitter. It’s pretty much at the point where Jim Leyland needs to bite the bullet and put either Andy Dirks or Jhonny Peralta in the 5th spot. Against righties, Berry would be in the 2 hole, and against lefties, Infante would bat 2nd.
Boesch, Young, and the defense weren’t the only issues we saw from today’s game either. The relief pitching had it’s issues again as well. Mainly Brayan Villarreal. The problem isn’t so much that he had a 2nd consecutive rough outing. That happens over the course of the season. The problem is that his velocity was down a little bit and he complained of some elbow tiredness after the game. With Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, and Jose Valverde all struggling to some extent, losing Villarreal could be a big issue.
It’s one game in the standings, so today’s performance isn’t the end of the world. I’m sure the Tigers will come out today and try and bounce back. But the issues they had in today’s game are a reminder this team still has some flaws, and it might not be as set in stone as we thought that this is a playoff team.