Tuesday, July 17, 2018

All - Star Break Review

I expected to post way more this year, but I get busy and don't make this blog a priority. We're halfway through the season and I thought I really needed to put some thoughts out on our season. Here goes.

The Team

I 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 Surprises

We 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 Martinez

If 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). 

If you have not signed these petitions yet, take a look. If you like what you see, please send them on to others who would be interested as well. Thanks!

Tell The MLB Commissioner "No Pace-of-Play Rules"

https://www.change.org/p/joe-torre-stop-major-league-baseball-s-in-game-rule-changes

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pitching

I am blown away.

This is not what I expected. It's not even what I hoped for.

Our pitching is... dominating.

Let's be honest for a moment. There wasn't a lot certain about our pitching going into this year. You know what you'll get from Fulmer, but he has to stay healthy. Boyd you had a pretty solid idea of, and in the bullpen, your only certainties were Alex Wilson and Shane Greene. The rest? Huge question marks. 

Would Zimmermann be the pitcher of the first month of his career with the Tigers? What would new acquisitions Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano do? Who would get the fifth starter job? And the bullpen was even more unknown.

I almost wonder if all the low expectations and rejection of sorts of the Tigers are making the guys want to prove something. There are zero expectations for this team. That hasn't been the case in years. Maybe that makes a difference. 

Our starting pitching is strong. Yes, we're losing, but it's early and unusually cold for this time of year, so I'm not worried about our bats. But our pitching is keeping us in every game. During the spring, based on what I was reading and hearing from Jim and Dan, I was not happy about Fiers and Liriano. They sounded like they were going to be hindrances. Not as such so far. They have turned out two solid starts each. 

The bullpen has been quiet incredible. There has been a hiccup here and there, but overall, guys are shutting down the opposing batters. We really didn't know what a lot of these guys were capable of, or they had been so up and down, you never knew what you'd get. 

It's early. Pitching is going to go into slumps. But look at how these guys are doing when it's cold and they can't feel their hands or grip the ball. I think there performance in these conditions are very promising for us going forward. 

No one is expecting anything great from us this year. I just wonder if these guys have set out to prove the baseball world wrong.  

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Let's Talk Opening Day 2018

I love Opening Day. Even this year, with all the new faces and the realities hanging over us, it's still a brand new season and a fresh start. I'm going to discuss my thoughts about the game, the season, and a few other things too. 

OVERVIEW
We'll start with the season at large. I'm an optimist, but I'm also a realist. I don't see us making the post season. They could surprise me, but I don't see that as a realistic expectation. However, I don't think we're going to be as bad as everyone thinks. I see no reason why we can't have a winning season. One thing that I think sportwriters and others view as a downside is our young, fairly inexperienced players (though that's what they've been wanting for years). People say that they are too much of an unknown. 

Exactly.

They might blow up or they might blow us away. It's 50/50 and I'm going to lean on the side of them surprising us.

THE GAME
We won Opening Day. It won't say that in the record books, but it's like Galarraga's perfect game. Everyone knows it happened. We'll talk about the win/loss in a minute. But first, there was a lot of encouraging things in that emotional rollercoaster of a baseball game. 

Jordan Zimmermann - I'm not a Zimmermann fan. He's here and it is what it is, and I get that he's been hurt. I was pleased that he did so well yesterday. Hopefully, he'll be a decent pitcher for us (finally) this year. It was a positive performance that he can build upon. 

Baserunning - The Tigers new baserunning strategy started already. I'm sure we'll make mistakes, as this is something we haven't done a lot of before, but each time an extra base is taken successfully, confidence grows that, hey, maybe we can do this. 

Defense - We made some errors, but we also made some terrific plays! Ian Kinsler will be deeply missed, but I think Iglesias and Machado will be able to hold down the fort. McCann threw out his first two basestealers of the season. 

A disappointing outcome, but we battled. We missed some opportunities and made some mistakes, but we fought and scrapped and that's encouraging to me.

INSTANT REPLAY
I'm reeeaaalllyyy hoping replay improves this year, but this was not a good start. I was excited for it when they introduced the system, but it's gone downhill each year since the first one. I'm not sure about this, but is there a way to let New York know what you want them to review? Like, to say, "we want you to look at whether Cervelli tagged Castellanos, rather than seeing where the runner's foot was?" If you can't do that, it needs remedied NOW. And, I'm sorry, but when both teams know the runner was safe, when the radio and TV guys, who know their stuff; all these people said Nick was safe. They can't all be wrong. Instant replay needs fixed or it's doing more harm than good.


MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
In case you missed the post, I have a petition to the Commissioner about his pace of play initiatives. Please read it and if you agree, sign and pass it along to others who you know would care about this. 

https://www.change.org/p/the-office-of-the-commissioner-of-baseball-tell-mlb-commissioner-no-pace-of-play-rules

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dear Sports Writers, Please Make Up Your Mind



I think that people just like being pessimistic and depressed. There's something to be said for being realistic, but you can be realistically optimistic. What on earth am I talking about? Baseball projections.

All the projections are predicting a terrible season for the Tigers this year. But not just this year, no, Tigers fans are being told to buckle their seatbelts for several years of heartbreak. I am so frustrated by this for several reasons.

The standard line for the past few years has been that the Tigers are too old; we're an aging team. Guess what? We're young now, and suddenly it's an issue. Which is it? Are young teams good or bad? This is what I'm saying; these people will never be satisfied. We had a team of veterans and youngsters, but we were "too old" and that was a problem, if you listen to the writers. Now, we have a team where the veterans include James McCann and Nick Castellanos (who only have four or so years each under their belts). It's a little weird, to be sure, but hey! We're young now. This is good, right?

Apparently not. I mean, it's good to get young, but that also means that we have to wait for the guys to grow and mature (become veterans) before we'll be any good. But hold on? At that point, who wants to guess what the narrative will become? Right! That we're getting "too old". And the cycle repeats. 

Let's tackle this idea that a young team has several years of tough knocks to endure. I take you back in time to 2014, when the Royals went to the World Series. Everyone was talking about how many young guys were on that team. Sixteen of players on their roster were 25 or younger. Their average age was 31.5 years old. Looking at that team, they were a great mix of youth, prime, and seasoned veterans. The next year, when they won the WS, fourteen of their players were 25 or younger, but their average age was 30.3. 

How about the Cubs from 2016? All anyone was talking about was their youth! Twenty of their players were 25 and younger and their average age was 29.4 years old. Tell me again that young teams can't do well.

I'm not saying that I think we'll win the World Series this year. I'm not even saying that we'll make the playoffs. This is where realistic optimism comes in. No one wants to set themselves up for disappointment. A lot of our players this year are relatively unproven. So we really can't say one way or another how they'll do, because we just don't know. That drives a lot of people nuts, so they just say we'll be awful to keep expectations low. I get that. I'm not expecting a postseason run. But I do expect us to play well. I'm hopeful for a winning season. 

If you build hopes up too high, you'll be destroyed when things crash. But if you don't hope at all, how is that any way to go through a season, much less life? People swing from one extreme to another. I try to live in the middle, with realistic optimism.



 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Commissioner Manfred is proposing new pace-of-play rules

I was in favor of video review. I didn't care one way or the other really about time limits on commercial breaks. When they announced the automatic intentional walk, I was annoyed, but it wasn't major. Now things are getting crazy.

New changes proposed by the Commissioner will change fundamental aspects of the game of baseball. I have started a petition with the objective to get the Commissioner's attention and let him know that the fans are not in favor of these new measures. 

Please sign and send it to everyone you know will care. The more signatures we get, the more likely it is that the Commissioner will pay attention.

Thank you.

https://www.change.org/p/the-office-of-the-commissioner-of-baseball-tell-mlb-commissioner-no-pace-of-play-rules?recruiter=853081846&utm_source=petitions_show_components_action_panel_wrapper&utm_medium=copylink

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Nightmare Is Over



I never thought I'd be glad to have a baseball season end. I hope to never feel this way again. My friend, trying to be optimistic, said, "The Tigers get the number one draft pick." Yes, and it's nice that they get something good out of this mess, but I'd rather not have the number one draft pick, if given the choice. 

This year was a nightmare. But even in the middle of that, there was good. The best and biggest things happened at the end of the season: the Tigers first triple play in sixteen years and Andrew Romine becoming just the fifth player in MLB history to play all nine positions in one game. Those were moments to treasure amidst upheaval and heartbreak. 

You might wonder why there is a picture of a sunrise. To me, the sunrise is a symbol of hope. Despite projections, despite anything anyone says, next season is a fresh start. To borrow from Anne of Green Gables, "the next season is always fresh, with no mistakes in it". I look forward to next season with anticipation. Maybe more than in previous years because of how badly we ended. 

February is a new start.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

After Sixteen Years


Oh yes we did. The Tigers turned a TRIPLE PLAY last night in Toronto. (Can we just pause for a second and be amazed at how many Tigers fans were at the Rogers Centre last night? It sounded like Comerica Park). Drew VerHagen did what he does best, got a ground ball right to rookie Candelario who snagged it, stepped on third, fired over to Kinsler, who quickly turned to throw to first and just barely got Kevin Pillar. Absolutely incredible and SUPER EXCITING!!! We have not done it since 2001. Take a look:

https://www.mlb.com/tigers/video/must-c-tigers-turn-triple-play/c-1820956383?tid=