Detroit Tigers third baseman, Nicholas Castellanos, is having an unfortunate weekend.
Against the Chicago White Sox, the Detroit Tigers have not performed well and he’s done more to prevent the Tigers from winning than any other individual player.
Yesterday, against the White Sox, Castellanos had three errors and today, he went 0-4. He walked once and struck out twice.
His first error on Friday night was in the top of the sixth; Yolmer Sanchez earned a free base after Casty botched a play. Fortunately, Matt Boyd and John Hicks had Casty’s back and picked off Sanchez while Leury Garcia was batting.
Bad Luck in the Eighth
But, the Castellanos’s luck ran out in the eighth inning. With Alex Wilson pitching and getting batters to hit into what should’ve been easy plays, Castellanos made two errors. The first error was committed with one runner on, Todd Frazier reached on an error. Then, the very next batter, Avisail Garcia reached on another error.
With the bases loaded, Jose Iglesias took charge and set up a play. In what was the highlight of the game, Matt Davidson hit right to Iglesias who then charged the ball to Alex Avila, getting Melky Cabrera out at home. Then, Avila made a quick transfer to John Hicks at first to get Davidson out.
But, Castellanos’s two errors were still on base. Frazier on third and Garcia on second. Yolmer Sanchez then was intentionally walked so Wilson could get to Leury Garcia. With the bases loaded, Garcia singled to left field and the two errors scored.
Tigers fans were livid with the performance of Castellanos. After his third error, he was heavily booed. Honestly, it was a bit of a surprise that he was left in. Andrew Romine was on the bench and he is used to taking over third base in late innings.
Trouble at the Plate
So, yesterday, Castellanos’s gaffes cost the Tigers two runs. Fortunately, he scored one run on a Justin Upton RBI off of Mike Pelfrey. In what should have been a blowout against the former and disappointing Tigers pitcher, the Tigers rocked him hard in the first, but couldn’t get the job done after that inning passed.
In Saturday’s game against the division rivals, Castellanos fielded his position well, but he offered nothing in the form of offense. The only time that he threatened to score was in the first inning when he was walked and ended up on third. Of course, none of this was his fault as the batters behind him could not move him.
Castellanos had two big chances to make an impact on the team. The first was in the bottom of the eighth. At the time, the Tigers were down 4-2. Ian Kinsler and Tyler Collins both struck out. Obviously, had any of them gotten on base, it would have been nice. But, getting on base with two outs is clutch move. Castellanos struck out, just like the two men before him did.
His second opportunity to be a hero happened in the tenth inning. After the Tigers tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, the tenth inning belonged to Kinsler, Collins, and Castellanos. Kinsler popped out, but Collins walked. At this time, the Tigers were down 6-4 (after a few big hits in the top of the inning). Casty struck out, leaving it all up to Victor Martinez with two outs. But, Martinez already had his hero moment of the game when he hit is first home run of the season in the exciting bottom of the ninth. During Martinez’s at-bat, Collins stole his way to third base, but Martinez could not hit a second home run to drive him in and tie the game again.
According to Anthony Fenech with the Detroit Free Press, the last Tigers player to have three errors in a game was Ryan Rayburn, who did it on August 16, 2009. When asked by Fenech about the bad defense, Brad Ausmus said:
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"“You can’t give guys extra outs and extra at-bats and that hurt us. It doesn’t happen very often. Obviously, Nick’s not happy about it.”"
Ausmus’s assessment was right on. It did hurt. Those errors on Friday helped seal the loss. And, it seems like when the Tigers are down, they stay there. These position players have to know that their defense and offense are vital to the success of the game because the bullpen needs to have a cushion.
Hustle Needs to Improve
The perfect example was today. A tie ballgame in the bottom of the ninth just wasn’t enough of a lead. Even the rock-solid Justin Wilson could not protect it. The hustle in the ninth was deeply appreciated by the fans at Comerica Park, who were on their feet during the comeback. The team needs to keep this hustle going, in every game.
With the offense, defense, and pitching having deeply troubling issues, the words of many fans seems to be ringing true when they say: “This could be a very long season.”