May 30, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielderAustin Jackson
(14) singles against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The last couple of weeks have not been that pretty for the Detroit Tigers. On Sunday, the Tigers just seemed tired and like they did not want to be in Seattle. If the Tigers were Tired, I honestly couldn’t blame them all that much. They had two off days in May and just finished playing 17 games in 17 days. The Tigers have played 16 of their last 20 games on the road which included trips to Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Oakland, and Seattle.
The Tigers got back from Seattle Sunday night and where they just looked worn out after Saturday night’s loss where they put men on first and second with nobody out, but could not break through against former Tigers’ closer Fernando Rodney. In their last two games, the Tigers have scored 2 runs and looked lost against Roenis Elias who shut the Tigers out on 3 hits and 1 run while compiling 8 K’s. Elias entered the game with a 4.02 ERA, but had strong starts against the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers and a solid start against the Oakland A’s. Elias’s stuff looked good, but I still believe the Tigers should have done more, especially against a rookie left-hander.
The off day should do the Tigers good in a lot of ways. First, it just gets this team away from baseball for a day which it looks like they need desperately. There were some sloppy plays made by the Tigers, specifically by Nick Castellanos and Torii Hunter on Sunday that looked like mental lapses of a team that is mentally drained. Getting the playesr away from the game should recharge the mental batteries, especially in the batter’s box. As a team, the Tigers saw a total of 111 pitches in Sunday’s game, an average of 12.33 pitches per inning is. They saw 72 strikes and only had three hits to show for it. The strike total is high either due to a lack of plate discipline because of swinging at pitches out of the zone or they just were not hitting the strikes they saw. Austin Jackson is coming off of a May where he has a .200/.239/.295 split and looks lost at the plate.
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The Tigers better make the most out of this day off, because they have a very difficult week ahead as they face the Toronto Blue Jays who are 34-24 and have won 14 of 17 games and the Boston Red Sox who have won 7 straight games after losing 10 straight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It all starts with starting pitching. Anibal Sanchez faces Drew Hutchinson on Tuesday night to start this 6 game home stand before the Tigers play 14 straight games against the AL Central through mid-June. The Tigers still have a 4.5 game lead in the AL Central, so there is still no need to panic, but this home stand should be a good indicator as to where the Tigers now stand. Enjoy your off day Tigers’ fans, you need the mental rest from baseball as much as the players.