Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: The very bad, terrible, awful end-of-May schedule

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May 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matthew Boyd (48) delivers in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matthew Boyd (48) delivers in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Imagine being a member of the Detroit Tigers and having to play several games without enough sleep to let your body recover.

The Detroit Tigers have been unlucky when it comes to the schedule and the weather. Both have combined against the team to make it more difficult for them to win.

Baseball players may be physically fit professional athletes, but they are still human. And, traveling with very little sleep will make physical work more difficult than it already is.

The Tigers played in Houston on May 25 with a game that started at 7:11 Central Time. They finished the game for 3 hours and 30 minutes ending close to 11:00. Then, they got on an airplane and flew to Chicago. It’s about 2.5 hours to fly non-stop from Houston to Chicago, but we have to factor in driving to and from the airport. Even if the Tigers left by midnight (which they most likely did not do), they would not have arrived at their hotel any earlier than 3:00 AM.

May 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (31) celebrates with teammates after he hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (31) celebrates with teammates after he hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Sitting around makes it worse

Friday, the Tigers were scheduled to play a doubleheader that started at 4:10 PM. They usually arrived at the park at least four hours prior to a game’s start time, so they left their hotel in Chicago around noon. These guys don’t just get up and get on the bus, either. They get on the bus looking neat, clean, and professional, which takes time.

So, it is safe to figure that the Tigers did not get a good, relaxing amount of sleep that professional athletes need to recover. They had to sit around in that battleship of a baseball park waiting for the rain to stop. Finally, their single game didn’t start until after 8:35 PM the and weather was still rainy, cold, and windy. I was there and can confirm how horrible it was outside. That weather can’t be good for anyone who needs muscles warmed and stretched.

Saturday, the Tigers were up and ready to go to play the doubleheader that did not happen on Friday. After a late night, they were up and on the bus by 10:30 AM. It’s no wonder that they have not performed to the best of their abilities in the past few days.

How this all started

Keep in mind that this whole week of not playing well began after the Tigers played the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park with an 8:09 PM start time due to the game airing ESPN  This game lasted 3:35 minutes. Normally, Sunday games are playing in the afternoon, to allow for travel the next day. But, this one was different. That same night, the Tigers had to get on the plane to Houston to play the Astros for four games in a row. Yes, MLB players know they are getting into a 162-game grind, but travel schedules like this can be overwhelming.

The team has to finish up the White Sox series then travel to Kansas City for a three-game series before they get a day off on Thursday, June 1. If you do the math, that is 16 days and 17 games without a day off.

When asked about the Friday night loss Anthony Fenech with the Detroit Free Press recorded Brad Ausmus saying:

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"“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”"

Whether that was a dig on Mike Pelfrey, who got another win against the Tigers, is something we will ever know. The Tigers are a much better team than they’ve been showing and hopefully, they can pull themselves together – especially with Ian Kinsler and James McCann on the DL for the next 10 days.

Next: Tigers bring up AAA players due to several players on the DL

The team should get some respite after tomorrow’s day game against the White Sox. The flight to Kansas City from Chicago is only 90 minutes and Monday’s game is at 7:15 PM. As long as the weather cooperates, the team should get enough rest to play like professional baseball players.

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