The Detroit Tigers took two of three from the Chicago White Sox this weekend, but they have played unwatchable baseball for the past week and a half and poor baseball for over a month. Six key pieces to the Tigers have been disappointing. You can vote below from these six, or add a comment below for your most disappointing Tiger so far in 2015.
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As Ian Kinsler goes, it seems the Detroit Tigers go. For the last month, Kinsler has hit .221/.292/.326 and .185/.255/.279 over the last 14 days when the tigers have played their worst. Kinsler has had a complete power outage with only one home run and 12 doubles on the season.
While on the bases, Kinsler has been picked off twice with Miguel Cabrera at the plate. Recently, Kinsler has booted some easy ground balls. He has been moved around in the order because he has not produced at an acceptable level. Flat out, the Tigers need more from Ian Kinsler going forward in 2015.
The most pleasant surprises of 2014 has become one of the worst surprises in 2015. After a career best .315/.358/.553 split, Martinez has descended back to the mean with a .254/.316/.437 split in 2015 and a /.191/.240/.255 split in the last 14 days. He has been dropped in the order twice from 4th to 6th in favor of Yoenis Cespedes and Tyler Collins.
The Tigers looked to Martinez most when Victor Martinez went down with his knee injury, but he has become pull happy instead of using the big part of the field. On Sunday, he hit his tenth home run on the season to the first base side of center field. Much like Alex Avila, J.D. is the most successful when he stays on the ball and hits it to center field and the other way. The Tigers need more of that for the rest of the season.
Some may think this is unfair because of his injuries, but Victor Martinez has been terrible by his standards in 2015. If he was hurt and knew he could not be a productive member of the Tigers’ roster, as a veteran, he needs to know that he needs to sit. Players want to play and produce, but when you are hurt and not serviceable, you hurt your team more than you help it. Tigers’ management needed to rest Victor earlier in the season, but he does not escape the blame.
While playing, Victor hit a combines .216/.308/.270 with one home run and 15 RBI in 34 games. As a right handed batter, Victor his a scalding .462/.516/.654, but from the left side those numbers were .141.242.153 with only one extra base hit. When he returns from the DL, the Tigers will need Victor to be a daunting cleanup batter for opposing pitchers to face.
The ERA king of 2013 has fallen and fallen hard. In 2015, Sanchez has a 3-7 record with a 5.69 ERA and a 1.305 WHIP. He has surrendered 13 home runs already and is at a career worst 1.57 HR/9 and 14.8% HR/FB%. He has been terrible inconsistent from start to start and cannot make it into the late innings because of his 5.59 ERA in the 6th and 9.95 ERA in the 7th. Sanchez is the Tigers second best pitcher in their rotation by stuff, but he has become a head case. The Tigers need to get Sanchez right mentally, and the return of Alex Avila should help with that. If Sanchez can steady the starting rotation, the Tigers’ season outlook becomes much less bleak.
Ausmus does not escape the blame, but he is not the main source of blame for the Tigers’ struggles. The Tigers’ front office and fans hoped he would take a step forward this year in his management for a team that is in the final year of “win now” mode, but he has not. He has left pitchers out to dry in certain scenarios and pulled others too early. He seems to be one batter too late when the Tigers need him to step up most.
That being said, Ausmus should not be fired and all of the Tigers problems are not his fault. The Tigers’ offense has scored 2 or fewer runs 26 times, the most in all of baseball. He tried shuffling the lineup, but the player have to produce. The Tigers have hit into the most double plays in baseball, so Ausmus tried running more to stay out of the double plays. It has not worked in percentage, but the Tigers are tied for the AL lead in steals at 46 with the Houston Astros. Ausmus isn’t a great manager, but he is not the source of all of the problems for the Tigers.
Offensively, Castellanos has not had a strong year with a .234/.286/.358 split and has struggled mightily with men on base with a .191/.257/.337 split. We need to remember that Castellanos is still only 23 years old, but the Tigers need more from him. The men in front of him are on base, but he needs to move them up and hit them in for the Tigers’ offense to be firing on all cylinders.
The good news about Castellanos is that he is the most improved player in all of baseball using the FanGraphs metrics. He isn’t a great third baseman, but he is solid and helped tremendously by the best defensive shortstop in the American League. He should get better as time goes on in 2015 and as his career progresses.