Detroit Tigers: Dave Dombrowski Has Made Things Interesting
By Matt St Jean
May 30, 2014; Toledo, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski in the stands against the Charlotte Knights at Fifth Third Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Dave Dombrowski has yet again put himself in an interesting spot.
After almost one month of baseball, the Detroit Tigers find themselves in first place by a half game over the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals. David Price was lights out once again on Saturday, and Anibal Sanchez pitched well Sunday, for the Tigers to not be swept out of Kauffman Stadium after two bad losses on Thursday and Friday.
Detroit Tigers fans, however, find themselves having no idea what may possibly come next. Ironically, for the first time in decades, the most comforting situation for fans is being up one run in the 9th when Joakim Soria trots out from the bullpen. Soria converted his tenth save out of ten opportunities Sunday Night in Kansas City and has been Manager Brad Ausmus only obvious bullpen phone call.
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Other than that? The Tigers relief pitching has been interesting to say the least, and what looms down the pipeline doesnt sound much better. Joba Chamberlain and Tom Gorzelanny have for sure been bright spots, while Angel Nesbitt has been solid. But you can not go another five months of baseball with only four relief guys.
Ausmus says he sent down Ian Krol because he had thrown too many days in a row and they needed an arm, and not because of the two meatballs he threw his last time out or his 4.76 ERA. Insert our best option in Toledo AAA, Alex Wilson, who has been putrid. In his three appearances he has a 5.06 ERA with only 3K’s and remains on the active roster.
Al Alburquerque apparently isnt going anywhere, either. His 9.00 ERA along with seven walks allowed are pathetic numbers for someone who has only pitched eight total innings.
But if Dombrowski did decide to bring up an arm, who would it even be? It sure wont be Bruce Rondon, who he put too much stock in again this season. The next names according to the Mudhens website are Astros throwaway Josh Zeid, Kyle Ryan, and Jose Valdez. Buck Farmer is also down there waiting for his call up, but will most likely be needed when Justin Verlander eventually sits out the season. He keeps getting any opinion he can on his “fatigued” tricep muscle turn strain, as he’s popping in another doctor for his third MRI while in Chicago on Tuesday.
Kyle Lobstein has done a great job filling in so far for Verlander, but it wont keep up. Just like Shane Greene, teams will eventually figure him out and fans will be looking for answers. Mostly from guys with little or no big league experience.
When it comes to offense, Miguel Cabrera has been on a tear, but remains our real only bright spot. Although JD Martinez is in the top five in home runs in the American League with six, his average has dropped to .240 while his OBP is a horrific .269. Wondering why the Astros got rid of him has become a bit of a reality, as he’s been chasing a lot of balls outside of the strike zone. Hopefully the couple of days off will help his mind a bit, as Ausmus says Martinez has been over thinking.
More sad than JD Martinez’s OBP is Victor Martinez in general. His average is down to .213 and he still only has one extra base hit. Barely being able to get the ball out of the infield and being a complete liability on the base pads, has to make you wonder why they have him in the lineup. He can’t even bat against lefties because he cant drive on the injured knee he is playing through.
Sure would be nice if the Tigers had a power bat so V-Mart could get some rest, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately his name is Devon Travis and he just won the AL Rookie of the Month for April for the Toronto Blue Jays. We traded him for Anthony Gose who plays most of the time.
It’s obviously very difficult to project the success of minor league players without ever being in the majors. However, along with the Travis trade and what is currently in the Tigers farm system, Dave Dombrowski has his work cut out in order to make this team World Series worthy. He’s fortunate the AL Central has been very underachieving so far this season, other than the Royals, but this team may need an every day hitter along with pitching help in order to even make the playoffs without much to give up in return.