Game 2016.8: Tigers at Pirates

Today the Tigers finish off their 4-game set with the Pirates, as they take the field at the unfashionable early time of 12:35, which may have caught some napping.

The Tigers have an opportunity to get to 4-0 already against National League teams in National League parks. (Last season they went 6-4).

Is it too soon to worry about Cabrera’s hitting? (Yes. But still). The light .423 slugging % and swinging at bad pitches both seem uncharacteristic. I am still waiting to see how much fun it is when the streaky Justin Upton gets hot while Cabrera is in characteristic form.

Today’s Early Bird Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Upton, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. JD Martinez, LF
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Collins CF
  7. Wilson,  C
  8. Romine, SS
  9. Zimmerman P

The hot-hitting Saltalamacchia takes the Castellanos seat on the bench today, as the Tigers give newly-acquired Bobby Wilson a shot at catching. Andrew Romine gives Iglesias the day off at shortstop. Jordan Zimmerman takes the mound hoping that the top half of the order can give him some runs.

Game 2016.7: Tigers at Pirates

Today the Tigers hop on the train to Pittsburgh, to finish off that annual MLB-manufactured-rivalry home-and-home thing with the Pirates. By the end of this series the Tigers will have started the season with 67% of their games as Interleague games, and 44% of them playing without the DH.

Today’s Interleagueal Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Upton, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. JD Martinez, LF
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Saltalamacchia,  C
  7. Iglesias, SS
  8. Gose, CF
  9. Greene, P

Shane Greene has never had a hit or a sacrifice in his career. No matter, Gates Martinez is on the bench for late-inning heroics.

Game 2016.6: Pirates at Tigers

Today’s lineup.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Justin Upton, LF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. J.D. Martinez, RF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

8. Anthony Gose, CF

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.5: Pirates at Tigers

Well, the Tigers find themselves 8 days into the regular season with only 4 games played, due to some scheduling quirks and a rain-out (cold-out) last night. But that just means lots more baseball to come. Three other teams have only managed 4 games played thus far as well. If you can’t tell, I hate it when we don’t get a full slate the first week of the season.

Anyway, first pitch for the Pirates series is just about 30 minutes away. Verlander gets his second start after a so-so first start. JV was dominant through 5 innings last week, and really pitched better than the final box score demonstrated, but last week’s 6th inning was all too reminiscent of last year’s struggles.

Two game set in Detroit followed by two more in Pittsburgh.

Today’s lineup:

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Justin Upton, LF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. J.D. Martinez, RF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. James McCann, C

8. Tyler Collins, CF

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.5: Yankees at Tigers – POSTPONED

So much for that nationally televised game, as April in the D continues to be a cold and rainy one. No makeup date has been announced yet. Monday we are back to interleague play (Again already? What’s up with that?), weather permitting of course.

Game 2016.4: Yankees at Tigers

It seems almost inevitable at this time of year that the Tigers aren’t quite living up to expectations at the plate, and that it is almost obligatory to throw out the old cliche, they will start hitting better once the weather warms up. Columns, blogs, comments, you find this everywhere, often accompanied with the old one about how, you know, Latin players can’t be expected to play well until it is 90 degrees or something.

Well it was 29 at game time yesterday, and the Tiger bats seemed just fine, as Nick Castellanos (Florida native) went 4-for-4, Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela) hit his first home run of the season, and Jose Iglesias (Cuba) knocked in a key insurance run. The Yankee bats were ice cold though, as Jordan Zimmerman (Wisconsin), Justin Wilson, and Kyle Ryan (short sleeves!) held the Yankees to 3 hits and no runs.

Today is another chilly one, as the Tigers send out Mike Pelfrey for his Tiger debut, and the Tigers face old nemesis C.C. Sabathia., as flurries begin to fall on Comerica Park.

Today’s Chill Lineup:

  • Kinsler, 2B
  • Upton, LF
  • Cabrera, 1B
  • V Martinez, DH
  • JD Martinez, LF
  • McCann,  C
  • Iglesias, SS
  • Avails, 3B
  • Gose, CF

Pitching: Mike Pelfrey

This was a scheduled day off for Nick Castellanos, and a chance to get Mike Aviles some action. But do you really want to pull a guy who just went 4-for-4? Schedules can always be changed. Brad Ausmus acknowledges that he considered that, but thinks that sticking with the plan is the best thing in the long run.

Game 2016.3: Yankees at Tigers

What could be better for Detroiters than perhaps one last chance to see the legendary Iggy Pop perform at the Fox Theater? Rolling out of bed at noon to Opening Day festivities.

Finally, the Tigers get their home opener, and it’s gonna be a cold one: the temperature at game time looks to be about 29. At least Jordan Zimmerman should be used to a little cold (he is from the Wisconsin farm land) as he makes his Tigers debut.

The weather may not be cold enough to slow down the hot-hitting Victor Martinez, who gets his first start of the season against hard-throwing Luis Severino, the guy who broke Cameron Maybin’s wrist in Spring Training.

There are perks to playing the Yankees: tomorrow afternoon’s game will be broadcast on MLB Network, and the Sunday night game is ESPN’s Sunday Night feature.

Those lucky enough to be in attendance today have a plethora of new food items to sample at Comerica, including fried bologna sandwiches, hot dogs topped with mac and cheese, and deep fried Oreos. I think I’ll stick with my ham sandwich and Stroh’s.

Today’s Undefeated Home Opener Lineup:

  • Kinsler, 2B
  • Upton, LF
  • Cabrera, 1B
  • V Martinez, DH
  • JD Martinez, LF
  • Castellanos, 3B
  • McCann,  C
  • Iglesias, SS
  • Gose, CF

Pitching: Zordan Zimmerman

 

Game 2016.2: Tigers at Marlins

It’s a brand new season, but is it the Same Old Tigers? It sure looked at first glance like the SOB (Same Old Bullpen), as Francisco Rodriguez, or FRod (pronounced “Fraud,” per PHToy) had absolutely nothing in the 9th inning, and was a highlight Justin Upton catch away from handing the game to the Marlins. It’s easy to put too much importance on just one outing, and the first outing of the year at that, so we need to see a few more before getting too excited about our closer situation. But it’s hard to be rational having seen all this before—the Tigers have had a knack for having a closer who has just then lost his effectiveness, and then sticking with him for way too long after.

Lost in all of that is how good the rest of the bullpen was, which is definitely not something we had too many occasions to say last season. Together they combined to give up only 2 hits and 1 walk in 5 shutout innings, and Shane Greene looked unhittable. Would this be the worst idea in the world: when Daniel Norris returns from the DL, let Shane Greene close out games? Not that it would ever happen, since we have A Closer. (I see Stormin’ Norman beat me to that idea).

The other SOB of the game was the Same Old Baserunning, as JD Martinez may have cost the team a run by sleeping on 2nd instead of advancing, as he easily would have, on a long fly to right, then Iglesias ran into a rundown situation, which found Martinez asleep again (instead of moving toward home with Iglesias in the rundown, he stood on 3rd with his hands in his pockets, making the rundown easy for the Marlins). And then of course the inevitable pickoff (the Tigers lets the league in runners picked off last year), with the usual suspect being the batting hero of the game, Ian Kinsler. At what point does Omar Vizquel start taking heat for this stuff?

Anyway, the Tigers will have a lot less room for error in today’s game, with Jose Fernandez on the mound, who has never lost a game at Marlins Park. Anibal Sanchez is no slouch himself, undefeated at Marlins Park since 2012.

Today’s Undefeated Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Upton, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. JD Martinez, LF
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Iglesias, SS
  8. Gose, CF
  9. Sanchez, P

Game 2016.1: Tigers at Marlins

Happy Opening Day Everybody!

Miguel Cabrera carefully selects the bat the will bring to the plate, while across Marlins Park Dee Gordon does the same, in the much-anticipated, historic Opening Day meeting between league batting champions, for the first time in Major League Baseball history.

Thanks to ESPN for that one, I never would have guessed it on my own. Not that Opening Day should need any extra hooks to pull you in, but I must admit it’s a bit odd to start the season out with an interleague game, and on Tuesday at that. So much for every team starting the season in first place: the Tigers are already in third. Never mind though, the 2016 Tiger season is here. Play ball!

Of course, being an interleague game in a National League park, there is no designated hitter, so the Tigers will start the season with a not-everyday lineup. Originally, Brad Ausmus had planned to go with Cabrera at 3rd base and Victor Martinez at first, but a tweaked Martinez hamstring changed his mind on that.

After losing the honors to David Price last season, Justin Verlander will take the mound again in his 8th Opening Day start, as he edges into Jack Morris territory (Jack Morris has the franchise record with 11 Opening Day starts). If I weren’t afraid of heights I’d go out on a limb here, but I’ll settle for throwing out a hunch that this season Verlander will show that he’s not quite done yet. New manager Don Mattingly gives Wei-Yin Chen the honors for the Marlins, and will start off with a challenge—Ian Kinsler has a career 1.045 OPS against Chen.

Tonight’s 2016 Opening Day lineup:

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Justin Upton, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. JD Martinez, RF
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. James McCann, C
  7. Jose Iglesias, SS
  8. Anthony Gose, CF
  9. Justin Verlander, P

I’m mildly surprised to see Kinsler in the leadoff spot in the lineup, I would have predicted Gose. Is Ausmus taking advantage of the Kinsler-Chen history?

Your 2016 Detroit Tigers

Here is a look of the team the Tigers will be sending out on Opening Day tomorrow:

Detroit Tigers 2016 Opening Day Roster

Pitchers:

Starters:

  • Justin Verlander (R)
  • Jordan Zimmerman (R)
  • Anibal Sanchez (R)
  • Mike Pelfrey (R)
  • Shane Greene (R)

Relief Pitchers:

  • Buck Farmer (R)
  • Logan Kensing (R)
  • Mark Lowe (R)
  • Drew Verhagen (R)
  • Francisco Rodriguez (R)
  • Kyle Ryan (L)
  • Justin Wilson (L)

In the starting rotation, Zimmerman and Sanchez replace Price and Simon from last year’s Opening Day roster, but it’s the relief corp where the greatest turnover has happened; in fact the entire bullpen has turned over. It’s hard to imagine this group not being able to improve on what Alburquerque, Chamberlain, Gorzelanny, Krol, Nathan, Nesbitt, Rondon and Soria provided last season, but then again things didn’t look as bad at the start of last season as they turned out to be, so keep the seat belts fastened and trays in an upright position. The starting rotation looks solid, or maybe solid-ish, and should at least be able to burn a lot of innings. Sanchez’ health is suspect, as usual, but the Tigers have Daniel Norris parked on the DL as another starter.

Other pitchers on the 15-Day DL: Jeff Ferrell, Blaine Hardy, Angel Nesbitt, and Alex Wilson.

Position Players:

Starters:

  • C James McCann
  • 1B Miguel Cabrera
  • 2B Ian Kinsler
  • 3B Nick Castellanos
  • SS Jose Iglesias
  • LF Justin Upton
  • CF Anthony Gose
  • RF JD Martinez
  • DH Victor Martinez

Bench

  • C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  • INF/OF Andrew Romine
  • INF/OF Mike Aviles
  • OF Tyler Collins

There has been less turnover on the position player side, with the most noticeable difference from last season being Justin Upton in left field instead of Cespedes. McCann should be a big upgrade from Avila offensively, with a solid backup in Saltalamacchia, who can also spell Cabrera at first. The CF position looks very week, with only Anthony Gose—who thinks analytic stats are a scam—and some non-CF-type backups. Goes had a good spring training at the plate, but then again he started well last season also. Cameron Maybin is on the DL for a bit, and will probably bump Collins then. As usual the key to the lineup will be the health of Victor Martinez.

One other big change between the 2015 and 2016 Tigers is the man putting the roster together. It will be interesting to see how Avila handles in-season roster changes. His acquisitions of Upton and Zimmerman were very Dombrowski-esque.

Welcome to Spring Training 2016

“Old, poorly managed, and have no depth.”

Sigh. That date went even worse than expected.

Oh wait…that was the Kevin in Dallas summation of the Tiger franchise. He is in Dallas, after all, so perhaps there is something Dallassian in the view, but, maybe that is really where we have gotten ourselves to? What do we think?

At any rate, while the turtle clears its throat, it’s time to start cranking up the ol’ DTW post machine. Special thanks to the stalwarts (an underused word, by the way) who kept the comment section going over the cold dark months, StorminNormin, jud, Tony de Florida (Lakeland, per chance?), JimEggersUSMC, Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi, Angus, and all the others. Time to scare up some more of the old names and a score of new ones.

With the first game of Spring Training just around the corner, it’s time to start taking a look at what we think this 2016 team will look like. I will, unless Kevin beats me to it, put up separate posts where we can take a look at the lineup and the pitching, which looks like it already has a big issue, as Anibal Sanchez seems to have gotten an early start this year on the annual injury thing. Any other suggestions you might want to shout out from the dugout are welcome.