Once again the Tigers turn in a decidedly uninspiring performance away from Comerica Park. Once again the offense doesn’t do nearly enough. Once again the White Sox drop a couple games so nothing really changes in division. Once again the Tigers are treading water. They aren’t making progress but they aren’t drowning either. However, until they start making progress either towards shore or someone comes by to rescue them, fans are left wondering how long the team can stay afloat.
Friday night the Tigers manage to score just enough to squeak by the A’s and set-up what could have been a rewarding weekend. That managing involved to solo homers from Ryan Raburn and an RBI single from Clete Thomas. Hardly a juggernaut.
Saturday was one of the worst offensive efforts of the year and the type of performance that one could use to point to Lloyd McClendon’s struggles this year as a hitting coach. Trevor Cahill’s numbers are thoroughly unimpressive and yet the Tigers made things easy after plating a run in the first. Through the first 3 innings the Tigers took 4 called strikes. I don’t mind an aggressive approach, but there is a difference between aggression and impatience. In the first 4 innings the Tigers swung at 9 pitches out of the strike zone. Either it was a flawed game plan or flawed execution. This wasn’t a “tip your cap” game, it was a failure.
Sunday the Tigers couldn’t muster much, but the 4 runs was an offensive explosion and actually reassuring that the Tigers fought to get it to a 1 run game before an uncharacteristic bullpen implosion turned the Tigers best offensive outing of the series into a blow out the wrong way. And the Tigers lost another series.
A series that was the very definition of winnable. But sloppy play and bad luck and questionable decision making combined to put the Tigers in a 1-2 hole as they head into a much tougher series. Outfield errors, baserunning blunders, strange pitching decisions, running to stay out of the double play only to have line drives hit instead of ground balls, it was damn near a disaster.
Other thoughts on the state of the team:
- The Alex Avila statue may have to wait a little bit. He posted 0’fers in his last 2 games. Certainly excusable, but for those clamoring for him to play everyday a reminder he isn’t an All Star yet. And really, with the Angels and their eagerness on the basepaths coming up I wouldn’t mind seeing Laird getting 2 of the 3 starts this series
- Aubrey Huff has looked like the second coming of Sean Casey with his “ground ball to second” tendencies so far. I guess that means he’ll come up huge in the World Series right?
- The addition of Huff and the key hits from Raburn and Thomas have kept the bullpen at only 6 pitchers meaning that Jim Leyland has an extra bat on the bench and better L-R balance. The good news is he’s shown a willingness to mix and match late in the game.
- Ryan Perry looked awesome on Saturday night turning in a “wow” type performance. The type of performance you want to see from your top draft pick. Sunday…not so much.
- The Ordonez vesting countdown is at 67 plate appearances.