Detroit Tigers: Concerns, injuries to Alex Avila and Drew Smyly
By Matt Pelc
The Detroit Tigers lulled many to sleep with their incredible performances in the season’s first week more than a month ago.
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The first week of the season is held up as a sort of measuring stick when we all know that baseball is a marathon and not a sprint. Teams that struggle in that first week receive more angst than they should and teams that excel in that week receive more praise than they should.
That first week saw perfect starting pitching for the Tigers and minimal relief pitching, historic hitting and great defense. Since all of those aspects were playing above where many of us saw this team, the holes were easily covered. Now in the middle of the second month of a long season you see those flaws playing out every day as Jeff Seidel outlines.
Bottom line, this team is nowhere near as good as they showed in the first week, however they have been playing decent enough baseball despite injuries, inconsistent hitting and starting and relief pitching getting blasted from time to time. That’s probably a good thing and they could be due for an extended hot streak like in the first week once again.
Some fans who are not fans of Alex Avila were likely a bit happy when it was announced he would miss extended time. Maybe not happy per se, but not thinking it would make a difference, however Avila’s defense and handling of a pitching staff cannot be understated. James McCann does a pretty good job but he is just a rookie and will have his missteps along the way. Avila is looking for, and hoping for, a mid-season return.
His former battery mate, Drew Smyly, might not be as fortunate. Reports out of Tampa on Sunday say the former Tiger reliever/starter will like need surgery which would end his season. It’s a bummer for Drew and the Rays. During his brief stint with Tampa Bay late last year and his rare starts between injuries this season, he has been solid and really coming into his own for the Rays.
Hopes for a speedy recovery!
Tigers have concerns beyond struggling starters – Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press
"But the Tigers are lucky to have James McCann, who shows so much promise and extended his hitting streak to seven games on Saturday. And Martinez is heating up, ever so slowly. Martinez hit the ball hard on Saturday from the left side, which was a great sign.So after you look at all of the injuries and question marks and troubling trends, there is concern beyond the starting pitching. And it’s growing. But after 31 games, the Tigers are still in a great position, a half game out of first.And if nothing else, they have proven to be resilient."
Alex Avila hopes to return in second half – ESPN
"“My expectation and my hope would be to be back and ready to go, good as new, for the second half [of the season],” Avila told reporters Saturday. “That would be my hope, and I think that’s a pretty realistic possibility.”"
Rays’ Drew Smyly likely to need season-ending surgery – Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times
"Smyly, 25, was placed back on the disabled list Friday after experiencing stiffness and tightness during and after his Tuesday start in Boston, his third since being activated April 24.Smyly said he felt fine in his first two outings after being sidelined since spring training with what was diagnosed as tendinitis, but that changed last week.“I started feeling it in Boston and kind of kept pitching through it, and the next day it didn’t respond well,” he said. “It was definitely getting tight and stiffening up. It didn’t feel loose, it didn’t feel smooth.”"