There are several players in the American League that Detroit Tigers fans cringe at when they hear their names but in 2021, Tigers pitchers have seemed to neutralize “Tiger Killers.”
When the Kansas City Royals were in town over the weekend, there was one name that Detroit Tigers fans heard that perhaps gave them negative vibes. Whit Merrifield.
With an entirely new coaching staff at the helm, I was curious to see how manager A.J. Hinch handled five known “Tiger Killers” in 2021 as the season draws to a close this week. I will even include how a few continued to do well against Tigers pitching.
The Detroit Tigers “killer” criteria:
I went back to 2015 to get several seasons under the filter. The 2020 season will have an asterisk since it was a shortened season but I wanted to have it there since it was the last year under manager Ron Gardenhire.
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to the schedule. Last season, the Tigers faced only AL Central teams and Interleague play has also thrown the schedule out of wack. So the at-bats per season we look back may look a little strange.
Granted, the Tigers have Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize in the rotation and may have not faced a few players on this list but Matthew Boyd, Michael Fulmer, Derek Holland, and Wily Peralta have faced several of these hitters.
Some of these players you may remember that will not show up on a regular basis anymore include Francisco Lindor, who is with the Mets and in 2019, batted .300 in 70 at-bats in 2019 (21-for-70) and Eric Hosmer, who in 2017, batted .316 (24-for-76) while in Kansas City. Jorge Soler, who hit 10 home runs in 19 games spanning 71 at-bats in 2019, still stands out as the one who has done the most damage with the long ball.
Let’s start with a pair of Chicago White Sox players as they are in town for a makeup game.