Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: It’s hard to watch their fumbles and struggles right now

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May 5, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Andrew Romine (17) is unable to control the ball on a throwing error by third baseman Nicholas Castellanos (not pictured) as Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie (8) slides into second base during the sixth inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Andrew Romine (17) is unable to control the ball on a throwing error by third baseman Nicholas Castellanos (not pictured) as Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie (8) slides into second base during the sixth inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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I am a Detroit Tigers fans and I will be forever. But right now, the team is not making it easy to watch them.

Of course, the Detroit Tigers have been through low points before, but it is still difficult to watch something you love struggle so much.

It doesn’t matter if they are losing by one run or winning by ten, the Tigers seem to find ways to make me want to look away. But, like the proverbial train wreck, I keep on looking.

Then I remember that every single season is a marathon and all 162 games need to be played. So, I took a look at the stats and noticed something strange: so far in 2017, the team’s record through 52 games is a sad 24-28.

But, did you know that the Tigers had the same record after 52 games in 2012?

Do you remember what happened in 2012? The Tigers went to the World Series. They lost, but they were there. In that playoff year, they moved through the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees before being swept by the San Francisco Giants.

May 30, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Could history repeat itself?

I thought I’d look at a few areas of comparison.

Pitching now and then

In 2012, the Tigers had a rotation that consisted of a Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly, Doug Fister, and Max Scherzer. Very few of their starts were missed, so they were able to get into a nice little groove. Fister missed a few starts in April of that year; Adam Wilk filled in for him. Casey Crosby also took a few starts in June. Anibal Sanchez joined the rotation in July and they grooved their way to the playoffs.

So far, in 2017, the Tigers rotation of Verlander, Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann, and Daniel Norris have also gotten into a steady groove. Out of these 52 games, Buck Farmer has filled in during one game and that was only because of a double header. Despite the fact that the rotation has been “regular,” so have their performances. The expected pitchers have done well – Verlander and Fulmer. Boyd and Norris are still developing and have had ups and down. And, Zimmermann has been bad all the way around. Could the Tigers find a 2012 Sanchez in July or August to help the rotation move into late months? Maybe.

The bullpen was also up and down, but with more ups and downs. The name we remember from 2012 was Jose Valverde. Unfortunately, he was no longer the Valverde of 2011. He saved 35 of 40 games and finished 67 games. A few other names from 2012: Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, and Octavio Dotel. There were games when a large contingent of bullpen pitchers were used in 2012 – especially when a younger Max Scherzer was pitching.

Apr 29, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos (9) against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos (9) against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

My least favorite spot to watch

The other spot that I can’t stand to watch right now is third base. Nicholas Castellanos does not look like he is in his fourth season at that base. His weaknesses are glaringly obvious. Then, I looked back to 2012 and was pleasantly reminded why 2012 was so much fun to watch. Miguel Cabrera manned the hot corner while Prince Fielder was on first. Throughout all of 2012, Cabrera made a total of 13 errors at third base. So far, Castellanos has 11 errors through 52 games.

There is also the managing differences. I was not a fan of Jim Leyland and I remember that I was not alone. I’m not a big fan of Brad Ausmus either, but I’m of the belief that he is controlled from the wings by Leyland and the remnants of his cronies. I’m certainly not a fan of Al Avila, but Dave Dombrowski made a bunch of mistakes, too.

A “meh” outfield

And, if you look back at the outfield from 2012, it was about has goofy as the outfield is today. Austin Jackson – who wouldn’t dive – manned centerfield. Right field belonged to Brennan Boesch and occasionally Avisail Garcia and Andy Dirks. Left field was platooned by Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry, Delmon Young, and Ryan Raburn. Honestly, it’s not much different that today – except that J.D. Martinez is exceptional as a hitter and Justin Upton can be, too.

More from Detroit Tigers News

The jack-of-all-trades was Don Kelly, who is not quite the same as the 2017 Andrew Romine. Even the middle infielders of 2017 were better than Jhonny Peralta and the mix of Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago. Yes, Peralta was a beast at the plate – but we soon learned his dirty little secret.

Numbers of note

The overall team batting stats after 52 games in 2012 were .266/.329/.415 with an OPS of .744. After 52 games, the 2017 stats are .240/.325/.404 with an OPS of .728. The Tigers did hit better in 2012. Even though is a big difference between batting stats in 2012 and 2017, so far in 2017 the Tigers have 60 home runs. In 2012, they had 49. There are also 11 more runs scored now compared to then.

Next: Alex Avila should be an All-Star this season

This is the big difference in batting stats: in 2012, the Tigers had 354 strikeouts in 52 games and in 2017, there are 458 to date. Ouch.

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