Old English Report: Can’t Get Over the Hump

Old+English+Report%3A+Can%27t+Get+Over+the+Hump

Baseball season is long, and it can feel even longer with the ups and downs of a Detroit Tigers season. That is why I am here to go over the past week of events for America’s most frustrating team. Maybe I’m over exaggerating since I’m writing this after the Tigers lost their ninth game in a row to the division leading Cleveland Indians.

This is the first installment of the Old English Report. In this report I’ll go over all the notable plays, keep tabs on who has been hot or not, analyze the games, and maybe go over some funny things that happened on the field. Thereby saving fans the time wondering why Detroit somehow ended up back at .500 after this week, but also keeping track of everything important as the boys of summer head into the second half of the year.

Overall Record: 38-38

Game’s out of First: 7

This Week’s Record: 4-3

Can’t Get over the Hump

The Tigers haven’t been able to string multiple wins together to keep their record over .500 all season and this week was no different. The Tigers welcomed the Indians into Comerica Park at a time when they were three games above even and right there in the mix for the AL Central. But the Tigers did not eclipse that hump in that series as they got swept, moving right back down to .500. This can’t keep happening if Cleveland keeps playing like they are.

Now a disclaimer, this is Cleveland, home of disappointment, so there still is that lingering hope they do something Cleveland-esque to ruin their year. But with the Cavaliers winning the NBA championship, maybe their city wide curse is lifted. Not only has this been apparent in the Cavs finally winning the title, but the Indians have overcome some adversity of their own in the 2016 season. The Tribe lost star Michael Brantley back on May 14, pitcher Carlos Carrasco took a DL stint after going down against the Tigers back On April 24 and later returning on June 2, and they’ve managed to lose two outfielders to PED suspensions. Yet, they still are on a nine game win streak.

It doesn’t help that Detroit is 12-16 against divisional opponents, and nine of those losses are all to the Indians. The recent three losses came by a final score of 22 to eight in favor of the “Windians.” Add another five losses coming from the Kansas City Royals. How can you even say Detroit is competitive in this division if they have already been exploited by the two front runners early?

On top of that, the wild card is no slouch. The Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros have found life after starting off cold, and the Boston Red Sox are a division-winning caliber team that sits at the top of the wild card standings. If you think Detroit is an offensive powerhouse, you should watch a Red Sox game.

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reported catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn’t worried though.

“Not at all,” Saltalamacchia said. “You can’t win it in the first three months of the season. You can lose it, but I don’t think we’re at that point at all. No one is running away with the division. Cleveland is playing really good ball, and we’re not playing our best ball at all and we’re still staying in striking distance.”

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus seemed to have a different take on the team.

“I’m glad it’s still June,” he said after meeting the media 20 minutes later than usual.

Ausmus was likely having a private, late June “what the heck is going on” conversation with the team as the series didn’t go as planned at all.

This was Ausmus just three days prior.

“We’ve got to find a way to win. I hope the guys in this clubhouse are a little ticked that we haven’t beaten them this year and have a little extra fire in their belly when we play them this weekend.”

The energy did seem down this past series. Before Friday the team seemed to be playing looser. And their “put on the goggles” (in reference to the goggles you wear while popping champagne when you clinch a playoff spot) seemed to create a bond among players, something Detroit needed desperately. But with the pressure on in a must win series, the Tigers cracked.

Four Game Sweep Over Offensive Mariners Should Not Be Overlooked.

Between Justin Upton, of all people, winning the game with his second homer of the night, prospect who never reached his hype, Bruce Rondon, performing as a near perfect setup man, the bullpen saving Michael Fulmer from a short start and keeping Seattle to one run, and a hard earned 10 inning win to give them their first four-game sweep at home since September 2012, the series versus the Mariners gave a lot of reasons to be hopeful.

All four of the games had a great combination of hitting and pitching. The bullpen didn’t blow it either, except on Monday when reliever Justin Wilson allowed a home run to tie the game.

One could argue the Tigers caught the M’s at the midpoint of their slump, but regardless, Seattle is seventh in runs and second in homeruns among major league teams, and shocking many with how well they are performing offensively this season. For a shaky Tigers pitching staff to keep this club in every game says a lot.

Noteables:

Third baseman Nick Castellanos had two hits in three of the games versus the Mariners. He seemed to come back to earth for a little after getting off to a red hot start to the season. Good to see it wasn’t all a fluke and he’s still a reliable middle of the order bat.

James McCann also had a productive series, going 4 for 11 with three RBI and three Runs. This makes me happy to see this type of production from the Tigers catcher. Typically, we expect the worst when he steps to the plate. He’s a great clubhouse guy and I want nothing more than for him to succeed and be an asset on the field and in the locker room.

Need More Miggy

The famous words “I see you Miggy” have not come from the mouth of Rod Allen in quite sometime. The “Big Fella” was a dismal 4 for 26 this week at the plate. Furthermore, he was .185 with runners in scoring position the past seven days, and a so-so .263 with RISP in the last 30 days. If the MVP award was an aura, Miggy would exude it year in and year out. I will always think he is one of the top-five greatest hitters of all time, but Detroit needs him to be the run scoring machine he can to be in order to be successful. All the best teams have some kind of super star and Cabrera is that for Detroit. Now this is the last guy that needs to be worried about, but I’m keeping my eye on him.

Moya Fitting in Nicely for J.D.

Last year’s Tiger top prospect, outfielder Steven Moya, has been an excellent replacement for J.D. Martinez, who is expected be out four to six weeks. He mashed three home runs and went 8 for 19 last week. I will add he drew three walks as well, which isn’t extraordinary by any means, but for a strikeout prone guy that stands at six foot seven inches like Moya, this is a huge plus.

There’s no replacing Martinez, but the Tigers are still getting some production offensively from Moya’s big bat.

Jose Iglesias Celebrated?

In the Tigers 12th inning walk-off win on Monday, the team stormed out of the dugout to swarm Upton at the plate, and a certain shortstop got a little too excited.

This Week’s Games for the week of June 27

Tuesday 7:10 p.m. versus Miami Marlins

Wednesday 1:10 p.m. versus Miami Marlins

Thursday 7:10 p.m. at Tampa Bay Rays

Friday 7:10 p.m. at Tampa Bay Rays

Saturday 4:10 p.m. at Tampa Bay Rays

Sunday 1:10 p.m. at Tampa Bay Rays