The TeamI think that our record does not accurately reflect our team. We are way better than we were expected to be at the start of the year, and we have played really hard. The argument can be made that a good team would win the close games that we've lost, but when you look at all the young guys we have on our team, exacerbated by all our injuries, and I think we are doing well, all things considered.
The losses are frustrating. I get it. I feel it too. It's no fun to listen to us lose all the time. But I focus on the positives, like the young guys learning and improving game after game. Like the scrappiness and fight that the Tigers show so often. The "experts" were predicting years of suffering for Detroit baseball. But based on what I'm seeing this season, I don't see it taking years. No, I don't think we'll be in the World Series next year, but a year or two, at the most, and I think we'll be back in contention; a team to be reckoned with. Maybe that's my optimism speaking a little bit, but I think the projections are on the negative side. We'll just have to wait and see.
The SurprisesWe all can agree that there have been some major surprises on this team. Leonys Martin, Victor Reyes, Jeimer Candelario - who are these guys? There were question marks up and down the lineup and in the bullpen. It's not been the smoothest sailing, but I've been impressed at where the help has come from over this first half. I honestly think that's why the projections were so bad. We had all these unknowns, so people were giving us low expectations. But the Tigers don't like low expectations. These guys aren't accepting the defeat written out for them at the beginning of the season. It might be inevitable, but they aren't going down without a fight.
Two of the biggest surprises might be Jordan Zimmermann and Joe Jimenez. Let's just be honest - most people, including me, wondered if Zimmermann would ever be good for us. Even now, I'm a bit wary of crying 'victory' just yet, but the signs are definitely encouraging.
After what happened with Rondon, I was cautious with my expectations of Jimenez. I'm wondering if he saw all that occurred in the situation with Rondon and learned from it. He's looking like he might actually make it as a closer. I hope he can because that would be amazing for the team moving forward in this rebuild.
Miguel Cabrera and Victor MartinezIf you want evidence that life is not fair, look no farther than baseball. Miggy is finally healthy for the first time in a couple of years, and he has a season-ending injury in a year when we already have enough to deal with. These types of frustrations make me half wish Jim Price's "baseball gods" were real so I could have something to be mad at.
The other side of this coin is, like in the past couple of years, the Tigers are getting a taste of what life without Miggy is like. No one wants to really think about this fact, but Miggy won't be here forever. We have to learn to hit and win without him, or we're really going to be hurting after he retires. I hope we don't have to live without him permanently anytime soon, but these stretches that he's been on the DL are a taste of what will be coming, whether we want it to or not.
Victor Martinez is the new Anibal Sanchez for me. I appreciate him as a player and all the things he's done for us in the past. But now he's just hindering the team. Starting last year, I've been saying that one thing that might help Miggy is not playing nine innings in the field. He'd make a great DH, but he can't move there as long as we have Victor. I like Martinez. He was a great player. But I'm ready for him to retire.
Those are some of my thoughts at halfway through. What do you think? Let's talk (please keep things clean and civil).
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