Defense shaky early
This is more an observation than a concern at this point, but the Tigers defense just hasn’t looked good in the early going.
The Tigers pitching staff received many accolades for keeping runs off the board last year. But the stat-minded folks pointed to the the lower strike out numbers and wondered how they were getting it done. A great deal of the credit deserved to go to the defense which led the AL in defensive efficiency (the rate at which balls in play were converted to outs).
However, in two games I’ve already seen a couple pop-flies fall in between the outfielders and infielders. I’ve seen Magglio Ordonez battle the wind and lose. I’ve seen 2 runners steal off of Pudge Rodriguez. I’ve seen a couple wild pitches, that didn’t look that wild, sneak past Pudge. I also saw Pudge not try for a likely double play on a foul pop-up. I’ve seen Brandon Inge fumble a routine ground ball and make 2 bad throws that were rescued by Placido Polanco and Sean Casey.
I’m not worried at this point, but more disappointed. The team played so crisp right out of the gate last year, seeing the lack of communication and execution is a little disheartening.
Not everything has been bad though. Carlos Guillen has played exceptionally well with a handful of “wow” type plays already under his belt.
I know it’s only 2 games, and the wind was definitely a factor, but if the pitchers hope to replicate their success from last year they’ll need help from a stalwart defense.