Detroit Tigers Could Have Won the Central
As it has been for most of the season, the Cleveland Indians had their way with the Detroit Tigers on Monday night. If it weren’t for the complete and utter domination of the Indians, the celebration at the mound Monday night could have been completely different.
The Detroit Tigers had the talent to win the AL Central.
But they simply could not get the job done.
After watching nearly every Tigers game on TV and occupying a seat in over 30 games at Comerica Park this year, I have seen that the Tigers definitely possess true talent. They have the hitters, the speed, and the pitching to win.
But, the Tigers always seem to get in their own way.
The Weekend Defined the Season
The weekend series with the Kansas City Royals was a perfect example. During the Saturday night game, the Tigers were up by two runs through the entire game. Then, the 9th innings happened. With two outs, the Royals managed to score five runs. Of course, Francisco Rodriguez did not plan to single-handedly lose the game. But it happened. And there was nothing the Tigers could do to stop the bleeding.
Then, Matt Boyd did it in the next game. He could not even get an out before the Royals were already up by four runs. The Tigers simply continued to play catch-up and even a grand-slam home run by Victor Martinez could not help the cause. The pitching staff gave up four home runs and the hitters only managed one. There is nothing that the team can do on defense when pitchers have troubles like this. The team could hit more, but that’s a subject for another blog post.
And, of course, there was the Monday night game against the Indians. This was a must-win for the Tigers and the Tigers came prepared with the “best” pitcher they could find to face Corey Kluber. While Buck Farmer did not pitch horribly, he did give up a two-run home run to Coco Crisp. (In my opinion, Farmer was not the guy who needed to be on the mound in a game of this magnitude.) The Tigers tied it up with J.D. Martinez‘s two-run home run. The Tigers remained neck-in-neck with the Indians until the 8th inning when two more runs were scored – again, with only one out remaining.
The Three Big Issues
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There have been three big issues that have haunted the Tigers all season. One is baserunning. Even in the Monday night game, Jose Iglesias was thrown out at second and right after that, Kinsler got a hit. The other issue is leaving men on base. In the Monday evening game, the Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with two outs remaining. Not one of the men on base crossed home plate as James McCann flied out, but not deep enough; then, Iglesias grounded out. This has happened all too frequently – especially with the biggest and best hitters like Miguel Cabrera at the plate.
The last big issue has been the number of home runs the pitching staff has allowed. Two starting pitchers have given up 30 home runs. Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander. Sanchez himself has given up 100 earned runs this season alone. Don’t forget about Mark Lowe, who has only pitched in 49.1 innings, but has given up 12 home runs. Michael Fulmer has only given up 16 and only Verlander has pitched more innings than the rookie phenom.
Next: What the Heck is Second Deck?
There is still time for the Tigers to get into the playoffs, but the race is hot and tight. Fortunately, now that the Indians have the Central under their control, they do not have to play hard against the Tigers. The Indians’ lineup for the Tuesday night game looks like a who’s who of minor leaguers – so if all goes well, the Tigers will end their three-game losing streak. As the off-season approaches, the Tigers know what they need to do to prove what they really can do, rather than what they should have done.