Detroit Tigers: Winning Solves Everything… For Now
By Matt St Jean
Tiger Woods said back in 2013 that winning takes care of everything. Unfortunately for him, he’s right. The only Tiger’s that have been winning lately call Detroit home, and so far this season they’ve been doing plenty of it.
This can’t keep on forever, can it?
The Tigers offensive onslaught along with their dominant starting pitching have been a nice cover up so far this April. Nobody expected the performance shown by Shane Greene, while Yoenis Cespedes has been better than advertised. Add in Jose Iglesias’s all-around dazzling play and the teams overall improved defense and speed, the first thirteen games have been fun to watch.
But let’s be honest here. The Detroit Tigers will come back down to earth eventually, and the smoke signals being thrown up by management will quickly evaporate. Even the 1998 New York Yankees, arguably one of the best teams ever assembled, had a couple slumps during their 114 win season. That team also managed to stay healthy all season.
So far this April, Joe Nathan and Justin Verlander have combined for one strikeout. Nathan comes back from an elbow flexor strain sometime in the near future after beginning to throw off the mound this weekend. Of course this couldn’t come at a worse time, as current replacement Joakim Soria has been absolute lights out, converting his fifth save in his fifth attempt Monday Night vs the Yankees.
“We kind of never really put out there how long we thought it was going to be. We just said we’re going to take him various steps and as he’s progressed”-Kevin Rand
Speaking of strains, Justin Verlander’s right arm finally has a diagnosis. After still being sore from a simulated game on Wednesday, Verlander finally underwent an MRI on Monday. The results came back with a strain, which for some reason was being hid from us. From Tigers trainer Kevin Rand via Ashley Dunkak, “Everybody thinks it’s taking a little bit longer,” Rand said with a laugh. “We kind of never really put out there how long we thought it was going to be. We just said we’re going to take him various steps and as he’s progressed. Well, when he wasn’t able to make a step that we wanted, that’s when we decided to [do] testing at that point in time because it gave us a little bit more concern, but turned out everything was as we had expected from the beginning.”
Except you did put out there how long you thought it was going to be and we were told this was no big deal. He was supposed to be back April 12th and now is not allowed to touch a baseball. Interesting progression to say the least. Latest word is he is not seeking the opinion of Dr. James Andrews because apparently the Tigers no longer tell him what to do.
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If Verlander does indeed need to visit Dr. Andrews office, Victor Martinez can give him directions. Already stopping in for a quick medial menisectomy in February this year, Martinez looks like he could be back there in any minute. Running the bases with an obvious limp while even admitting to reporters that he is “uncomfortable” are not positive signs I like to see from an aging DH with 3 more years to go on his new deal.
As with Verlander, apparently the Tigers are no longer using doctors opinions and going solely off how the player says they feel. According to Victor, he has to play for it to get better. Miguel Cabrera said the same thing last season and his base running inabilities ended up hurting us more than helping us.
Apr 19, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) hits a ground rule RBI double in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
I don’t need V-Mart over extending himself the first month of the year and missing extensive time because of some silly injury that could have been prevented by simple rest. His one extra-base hit so far this season and overall lacking power would make this a perfect opportunity for him to take a breather, however everyone seems to do what they want.
It all makes me wonder if Manager Brad Ausmus even speaks to his players. I got the feeling from day 1 when he said to call him Brad that he wanted to be the cool uncle who buys you illegal fireworks for your 6th birthday. Your parents let you hang out for a few hours but you can never sleep at his house kind of thing. Not telling your players to shut their mouths about their self-diagnosis and allowing them to hurt themselves more is not how to win championships.