Detroit Tigers: Patience is Paying Off
Just last week, Detroit Tigers fans were screaming for a complete revamp of the coaching staff and the players. This seems to no longer be the case, especially since the Tigers are performing against a team that is not horrible.
Even though the Detroit Tigers did drop their first game to the Tampa Bay Rays, it is becoming clear that the team is turning the corner.
The biggest sign of that corner being turned is the fact that James McCann actually hit a home run. He was the last of the Tigers to break out of a slump. He is now involved in a two-game hitting streak against the Rays. His home run put the Tigers in a position to win.
Ever since McCann made his way back from his time on the disabled list, he has been hitting right around .100. While his batting average is still at an unfortunate .155, his numbers are going in the right direction – up. Even his slugging percentage jumped up 80 points today. Along with his home run, he went two for three against Drew Smyly.
McCann not only had a day at the plate, he also had a day behind the plate. Even though he did have a pass ball that ended up scoring a run in the eighth inning, McCann did throw out Steve Pearce at second earlier in the game. This was one of the most exciting plays because of the way that Iglesias tagged Pearce before he reached the base. McCann’s ability to throw out runners continues to turn heads – in a good way.
Justin Upton is the other player who seems to have found his bat. Since the win in Baltimore, Upton has had a hit in every game, except today. Because he has played in all but one game this season, his batting statistics are not jumping like McCann’s are. So, he is still in the low .200s.
The other player who still needs to get his bat going is Jose Iglesias. He hit well against the Minnesota Twins, but he has gone hitless in the last three games. Of course, his fielding continues to be strong, but his performance at the plate does not fit with what he has shown the world he can do with a bat. He really is the last daily starter who needs to get it together.
Fortunately, several other players are on an upswing offensively. The most important (and expensive) bat on the team has also gotten going. Miguel Cabrera seems to have returned and with power. The proof came on Friday night when Mighty Miggy hit two home runs against the Ray. Despite going hitless today, Miggy did get on base with a walk. Friday night, Miggy hit two home runs and crossed a total of nine bases. Prior to the series with the Orioles, Miggy had a slash of .288/.360/.440. As of today, his slashed has improved to .302/.374/.509.
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The win against Baltimore seemed to have been a turning point for the team. After a number of non-J.D.-like performances, Martinez has hit a home run in the last four out of six games.
Along with the “returns” of some vitally important bats, one player has completely stolen the hearts of the fans. Cameron Maybin has outperformed all expectations. While his sample size of five games is still rather small, Maybin has had only one game with one hit. All of the rest have been multi-hit games. He hit his first home run of the season today and he scored two of the Tigers five runs today. Maybin is not only unstoppable at the plate, but he is stealing bases and fielding like he was born to do this. In five games, he has stolen four bases.
Next: Detroit Tigers and the First 40 Days
Fans should remember that the 162-game season is long and all teams have ups and downs. The Tigers and the New York Yankees have the same record of 20-22, but while the Yankees are six games back, the Tigers only have to make up 4.5 games. Once all of the cylinders on the team get cranking together (and it seems like its close), there is still a chance the team could move up in the standings – much to the surprise of fans everywhere.