As the MLB is working hard to draw more fans to the game, the Detroit Tigers relief pitching seems to be trying its best to make games unwatchable.
The Detroit Tigers starting pitchers (most of them) have the ability to get the fans involved with their effort and abilities
But, once the majority of the bullpen pitchers, especially a select few, completely drain the life out of the game. They become “fun suckers.”
Take for example, Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. Daniel Norris stumbled a bit through the game and was eventually replaced by Shane Greene. Watching Norris falter is tough, because he is still a young guy and his competitiveness is palpable. But, once Greene was sent out after Norris loaded the bases, it was practically impossible to find any reason to cheer.
I’ve enjoyed watching Greene in the past few years. But this season (like the end of last season), it’s become too easy to predict what he will do. Despite is 2.57 ERA, he is excellent at walking batters and allowing his inherited base runners to score. Unfortunately, this hurts his teammates’ statistics. At Comerica Park, when he took the mound on Wednesday, it was almost as if the crowd collectively groaned when he walked out. We all knew a run would score. And, yes, he walked a batter with the bases loaded.
Then, the biggest fun sucker of all took the mound for the majority of the remaining innings. As much as I have appreciated Anibal Sanchez over the years, he has no business pitching for the Tigers anymore. It is my understanding that he is a gracious and kind man, so I wish him no harm, but he has to recognize what is going on. After he gave up the home run to perennial Tigers killer Nelson Cruz, the seats at Comerica Park emptied. Fans looked fed up. And, rightfully so.
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At one point during the sixth inning, it looked like Sanchez was in a groove. Jean Segura nearly hit the cover off of Sanchez’s first pitch, but he only got to first base. Then, the next two batters struck out swinging. I had just turned my son to say that Sanchez wasn’t looking too bad, then Nelson Cruz hit that home run that looked like it was on a trajectory to break the scoreboard. I hadn’t even finished my sentence and two more runs were on the board. The stands emptied as the next batter hit a hard double.
While I’m not one to leave a game early for any reason, I don’t blame the fans for leaving. By putting Sanchez on the mound for not one, but FOUR innings, it was clear to the fans that the Tigers were not going to win. And, that the Brad Ausmus really didn’t care what the score was.
That’s the biggest problem. When Sanchez and Greene take the mound, the fans know that the team has already thrown in the towel. Who wants to watch that?