Detroit Tigers: This hot and cold team is becoming difficult to watch

kris10bentley
May 9, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander reacts against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander reacts against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers are playing some incredibly unusual baseball and fans never know what team will show up each day.

The Detroit Tigers have moments where they are hot offensively and defensively, then the team completely falls apart.

Unfortunately, there just hasn’t been enough of those hot moments and those cold games are painful for fans to watch. And, when the hot moments happen, the heat is quickly doused.

Ruined by a bunt

Jun 21, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) misses catching a pop fly during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) misses catching a pop fly during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

Take the Justin Verlander start from Wednesday evening. He was on his way to a no-hitter and the team was leading the Seattle Mariners 4-0. Then, the stupid bunt. A bunt! Verlander’s no-hitter is ruined and the world seems to fall apart as JoseIglesias even manages to miss a play. The Tigers then lose 7-5. Three of those runs were credited to Verlander and the other four went to Shane Greene.

Nearing the bottom

That sixth inning was unwatchable. And, so was the seventh. This loss put the Tigers just about at the bottom of the ENTIRE American League. The Chicago White Sox have the same number of losses (39), but one less win (31) than the Tigers. The Oakland Athletics are at the absolute bottom with a record of 31-41. The Tigers are sitting uncomfortably at 32-39.

For a little perspective, all is not completely lost. Several National League teams have worse records than the Tigers. Most of the NL teams in the East have records similar to the Tigers – only the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals have better records. In the NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds have a worse record. And, in the West, where the battle for the top is fierce, the San Diego Padres are sitting at 29-44 and the San Francisco Giants have a record of 27-47.

The Philadelphia Phillies have the worst record in baseball with a record of 22-48. Their win percentage is .314 – losing seven of every ten games. The worry is that the Tigers are on their way to this quality of play.

Jun 7, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (31) hits a single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (31) hits a single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Every out counts

There are some serious problems that make the Tigers unwatchable. One of the biggest problems is James McCann. The “starting” catcher currently has a batting average of .182. Yes, he hit a home run in Wednesday night’s game, but in his 25 plate appearances in June, he has two hits. TWO! His batting average during June has been .083. It is safe to say that McCann is a guaranteed out. Alex Avila is batting .314 in June. John Hicks is batting .263 in June. There is an obvious reason NOT to play James McCann.

Players only get 27 outs in a baseball game and every single one of them counts. When three of them are already guaranteed because of one player, that player should not be playing.

Trends in pitching

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This seems almost needless to say, but the other serious issue is the inconsistency of the pitching staff. The entire pitching staff. No one can be counted on. I know the whole thing about “wins don’t count” but if you look at the pitchers and their win-loss records, there is a real trend. Almost all of the starting pitchers have a .500 win-loss record. Verlander is 4-4, Jordan Zimmermann is 5-5, Daniel Norris is 4-4, and Michael Fulmer is close with 6-5. Only Matt Boyd is far off the trend with a win-loss record of 2-5 and he’s pitching in Triple-A Toledo.

Right now, the pitcher with the best ERA on the team is Chad Bell. In 18 innings, he has a 2.45. Warick Saupold has the next best ERA with 2.53 and he has the best WHIP with 0.98. In comparison, Francisco Rodriguez has an ERA of 6.66 and a WHIP of 1.60. It might just be time to let the new guys get more time and send the old guy on a DFA adventure.

Next: Hypothetical J.D. Martinez trade ideas

There is still a lot of baseball games left to be played, but at this rate, the fans might find other things to do with their time.

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