October 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (28, left) grounds into a double play scoring right fielder Torii Hunter (48, not pictured) against Oakland Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt (21, center) during the first inning in game one of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers have not scored a run in 17 innings since scoring 3 runs in the 1st inning of Game 1 against the Oakland A’s. In those 17 shutout innings, the Tigers have 10 hits, 2 walks, and 16 strikeouts. Statistically, the Tigers had the 2nd best offense this season, so where did the offense go these last 17 innings? Here are some of the problems with the offense that have led to the lack of production.
As Austin Jackson goes, the Detroit Tigers go. Jackson led off game 1 with a double to deep right field. Torii Hunter followed that up reaching base after he was hit by a pitch. Miguel Cabrera drove in Jackson and moved Hunter to third with a single. That scenario is when the Tigers’ offense is at its best. Since then, Austin Jackson is 0-7 with 5 K’s. For a leadoff hitter, 0-7 with 5 K’s is absolutely unacceptable. The Tigers need to get Jackson on base that way Cabrera can drive him in. If the Tigers want to win this series, Jackson needs to draw some walks or at least make contact with the ball because a strikeout does not do anything productive.
September 24. That was the last time the Tigers hit a home run. The Tigers hit three home runs, all in the 4th inning, against the Minnesota Twins in a 4-2 victory. Those were the only runs scored in that game for the Tigers. In the 6 games since then which span 60 innings, the Tigers have only scored 7 runs. In this series, the Tigers have 2 extra base hits, both of which were doubles in the first inning of game 1. I know I am stating the obvious here, but the Tigers will have to have some extra base hits and hit some home runs to win this series.
Tigers fans love to make fun of players, especially Nick Swisher, who are awful in the postseason. In this series, Fielder is 1-8 with no RBI’s, no runs scored, no extra base hits, and no walks. He did drive in a run in game 1, but that was on a double play so no RBI was awarded. In his career, Prince Fielder has a .179/.268/.348 split with 5 HR and 11 RBI in 30 games. In a Tigers uniform, he has only hit 1 postseason home run and only driven in 3 runs in 15 games. Again, I know I’m stating the obvious, but this is pitiful and unacceptable. Prince has to be better if the Tigers want to get through this series and he has to be the player that the Tigers threw money at 2 off-seasons ago for the Tigers to win a World Series.
The Tigers are a free swinging team. A’s pitching yielded the 3rd fewest walks in all of baseball this season and the least in the American League. That does not excuse 2 walks over 18 innings of baseball. You cannot score if you are not on base. (I am the master of the obvious in this article.) You aren’t hitting very well in this series, you could at least work the count, work pitch counts, work something to score some runs. The Tigers keep swinging at pitches out of the zone, especially the curveball of Sonny Gray and striking out. The Tigers need to show more plate discipline, take some walks, and hit their pitches, not the pitchers’ pitches if they are going to be successful in the final games of this series.
With all of these things that are wrong with the offense, you would think that the Tigers are at least down 2-0, but they did what they needed to do in Oakland which was split. The Tigers did waste a spectacular outing from Justin Verlander, but if they can get pitching performances even close to the ones Verlander delivered in game 2, they will win this series. Anibal Sanchez takes the ball in game 3 against Jarrod Parker who the Tigers hit hard in the 2012 ALDS. The Tigers should turn their offensive ineptitude around in the coming games this series. If they do not, (watch out, here comes another obvious statement) they are in deep trouble.