Norris Loses Control, Tigers Lose to M’s

This time it was the starting pitching, rather than the bullpen, that put the Tigers in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. Starter Daniel Norris, who was also celebrating his 24th birthday, struggled with fastball command all game and found himself on the bench in the fifth inning. Norris had problems commanding his fastball in the zone and appeared at times to be rushing his delivery and/or glaring balefully at his landing spot on the mound.

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Tigers score 19 runs, still manage to make you hate them

The Detroit Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners 19-9 on Tuesday night at Comerica Park, with their bullpen trying to see just how big a lead they could blow in the process. Some thoughts:

  • Remember when we were a little worried by the offense’s slow start? Obviously, a lineup prominently featuring Jim Adduci, Andrew Romine, and Tyler Collins probably isn’t going to be banging out 24 hits on a regular basis in games started by Felix Hernandez, but don’t question it now. Justin Upton hit a particularly impressive bomb, and James McCann actually managed to take Hernandez deep (though it’s safe to say the pitcher was not himself and lasted just two innings thanks to a “dead arm.”
  • Jordan Zimmermann wasn’t terribly impressive, and he couldn’t blame the weather this time.  He gave up 11 hits in six innings, good for five earned runs. He didn’t walk anyone, which was the good news, but his one strikeout was evidence of the fact that the guy didn’t miss many bats. You’d have liked to see at least seven out of him after being staked to such a huge lead.
  • That bullpen. I’m not sure what else to say other than it’s utterly unforgivable that so many guys had to be trotted out there to get outs with a double-digit lead. Shane Greene walked two and gave up two hits while only getting two outs. Kyle Ryan walked two and gave up a hit in an inning. Joe Jimenez walked two in two thirds of an inning, and Blaine Hardy walked one and gave up two hits in just a third of an inning. In total, the Tigers’ bullpen pitched three innings, all of them with an enormous lead, and allowed five hits and seven walks in those three innings. It was atrocious and the only one who pitched tonight who shouldn’t be ashamed of himself is Alex Wilson, who came in to get one out and did so in characteristically controlled fashion. He and Justin Wilson are the only two trustworthy relievers right now.
  • It wasn’t Brad Ausmus’s fault, for what it’s worth. The fault lies with the pitchers themselves, who had no excuse for failing that badly in zero-pressure situations, and the folks who put together a bullpen with zero depth to speak of. Some of these guys don’t belong on a big league roster, but there just isn’t anybody better in the system lying around, so here they are.
  • Ultimately, the good outweighed the bad by about ten runs — but it’s amazing that this team can put up 19 runs and 24 hits and still manage to leave a sour taste in your mouth.

The series continues Wednesday in a battle of hard-throwing lefties: James Paxton vs. Daniel Norris.

Game 7: It’s a first place tie!

A few assorted thoughts after the Detroit Tigers edged the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Tuesday at Comerica Park:

  • I maintain that Matt(hew?) Boyd is a fifth starter. That’s not meant as a slur. Fifth starters are major leaguers too, and they’re inevitably going to be inconsistent and up and down. Tuesday was an up, and a welcome one. Boyd gave up one hit in his six innings of work, walking two and striking out six. Considering how well Minnesota has been playing of late, that’s not nothing. It’s completely unrealistic to expect him to pitch like this regularly, but if Boyd can eat some innings while putting up half-decent performances with the occasional stinker (last Thursday) and gem (today) mixed in, he’ll be good enough.
  • Shane Greene seems to have all the things you look for in a solid reliever, but the inconsistency is limiting his potential. He throws hard with movement, but his command was bad and he quickly found himself in trouble that Kyle Ryan had to bail him out of. I’ve long been a believer in Greene the reliever and still am, but outings like this make it hard to offer him the really high-leverage spots.
  • No, those should go to Justin Wilson, who seems to know what he’s doing now. He’s always had the stuff — almost 10 Ks per 9 and barely over 2.5 BB/9 look like a tantalizingly talented reliever, and his ERA was worse than his FIP by nearly a full run — but he seems to be mixing his pitches better now and being smarter with his breaking ball usage. As far as I’m concerned, he’s your primary setup man until further notice.
  • Ah, K-Rod. The nickname is a misnomer now. You can still see glimpses of what makes the guy effective still — some of the swings in the 9th today bordered on silliness — and the base hit he allowed to Joe Mauer was a complete fluke. However, Rodriguez’s game is more mental than anything else at this point. He doesn’t have the pure stuff to overpower guys anymore, so it’s a chess match of outwitting his opponents and disrupting their timing. If he fails to do that or misses with his location, bad things can happen. More often than not, he’ll succeed. Such is life.
  • James McCann’s OPS is about 700 points higher than Miguel Cabrera’s.
  • The offense really hasn’t gotten going yet, which is good and bad. It’s good because Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Upton have done absolutely nothing of note, and J.D. Martinez has yet to play in a game, and yet they’re still 5-2. Of course, the concern is that this is what they are. I don’t think that’s the case, but it’s something to watch, because the likes of McCann will inevitably regress.
  • How is Nick Castellanos only hitting .259? It feels like everything he’s swung at has been hit hard somewhere.
  • The Twins will win plenty of games if they pitch like that consistently. Problem is, I’m not all that sold on the notion that they will.

Next: Minnesota (Gibson) at Detroit (Fulmer), Wednesday, 1:10 PM ET

Tigers Secure Series Victory Over Sox Behind Ace and Timely Hitting

Everything that could go wrong for the Tigers went right today as the team got clutch hitting from a couple big bats and good pitching performances to take three of four from the flu-depleted Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers bullpen makes us sad too. (Photo by Alexandra Simon)

The shaky bullpen had been much of the story through the first week of the season, as set-up man Bruce Rondon struggled mightily and failed to lock down the eighth inning. Actually, pretty much everyone not named Wilson has had their struggles early on in the young 2017 season.

After two incredibly disappointing performances, Rondon was demoted to Toledo for wunderprospect Joe Jimenez early Monday morning and seemingly under a mandate to lose weight and improve his conditioning.

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Tigers Sink Sox on Opening Day

Opening Day in Detroit has become somewhat of a holiday for Tigers fans, complete with hours of tailgating, food and drink—lots of drink—and raucous fun. Oh, yeah, and some Tigers baseball, too.

Today’s home opener featured the 2016 Rookie of the Year winner—no, not Gary Sanchez—Michael Fulmer. Fulmer would be taking on a vaunted Boston Red Sox lineup that was recently bitten by the flu bug. Bitten so badly, in fact, one of their players had to be placed on the 10-day disabled list!

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Tigers’ Season Is Over an Unprecedented Two Games In

Yeah, Thursday’s game was a major dud. Matt Boyd struggled to throw strikes and got bombed, then Anibal Sanchez came in and got bombed all over the park. The vaunted offense couldn’t muster much off James Shields. The less said about today’s game, the better, actually.

(The season’s not actually over, though. It just felt like that on twitter.)

Stay tuned for today’s Game Graph. It’ll be a real humdinger, as Jim Price likes to say!

The Tigers looked soggy in every sense of the word—and your friendly neighborhood blog was bombarded by a couple randos and harangued for not giving up on the team two games into the season—but no matter. TOMORROW IS THE HOME OPENER.

Let’s Try That Again: Tigers Prevail on Opening Day 2.0

Justin Verlander pitched into the seventh inning and the Tigers got timely homeruns from rookie outfielder JaCoby Jones and third baseman Nick Nicholas Castellanos as the team rocked White Sox ace José Quintana to the tune of a 6-3 win.

Verlander was dominant, leaning on an overpowering fastball as he whiffed ten White Sox to set a personal Opening Day high. The Tigers’ ace limited the hapless Sox to 2 runs over 6.1 IP on 6 hits, while walking 2. Verlander then turned the ball over to the much-maligned bullpen and an entire fanbase held its collective breath.

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