Angels 2 Tigers 0

Randy Wolf pitched a gem. Unfortunately, Matt Shoemaker did him one better. For some reason the Tigers just can’t hit Shoemaker, even the Mighty Miggy.

No conniption shots today.

The Tigers dropped another game and another series. There wasn’t much to get excited about other than Wolf’s pitching and two nice throw outs by Alex Avila. A Squared Money displayed a Bazooka and Kinsler helped him out on the back end with a nice pick and tag on the first one.

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Royals 5 Tigers 1

Well this game was a cacophony of nonsense.  Verlander was just short of terrible.  The hitting was horrible. The fielding was sub-par and the base running was embarrassing.  The Tigers, tonight, were hard to watch.

The big news, however, was the release of general manager Dave Dombrowski.  I wasn’t completely surprised.  I figured that since he hadn’t been extended he was probably gone.  I just didn’t expect it to be now.

I don’t know much about Al Avila but I was hoping Dombrowski’s replacement would be an advanced metrics person. Perhaps the former Angels’ GM?  I’m sick and tired of the same old thing. I want to see something new; a change of direction. I want to see new ideas.  I’m afraid we are going to get more of the same.

Or perhaps the Tigers could get a real old school GM that believes in good base running, moving runners over, scoring runners at third with less than two outs, not bouncing into five double plays a game. I want to see something other than the garbage I’ve watched this season.  I want to see another World Series champion.

Twins 7 Tigers 1

I’m late with this post.  I was under the weather most of last week and the weekend.  The Tigers play didn’t help any either.  They finished the theoretical first half .500 and were fortunate to do so.  The first few months of the season they couldn’t score consistently. Their pitching, including the bullpen, paced them to an impressive early season record.

The bats woke up the first week of June. The starting pitching imploded and the bullpen had a Fukushima like meltdown.  Since May 16th the Tigers have the worst record in the American league.  In June the Tigers bullpen ranked 29th in ERA. In July, so far, some how, they rank only 28th.

What has this taught me?  An old lesson that I guess I need to learn over and over no matter how much baseball I watch. If you can’t pitch you can’t win.  It is a lot more entertaining to watch a team that hits until you wake and realize you team sucks and isn’t going anywhere.

If your team can pitch it can win no matter how crappy the hitting is.  I guess we’ve seen this in practice over the last five to six years.  We had sit through an inconsistent offense that would score 10 runs one game then nothing for a week and they found a way to make it to the post season.  Granted, we are still waiting for a World Series but we are looking at a team right now that is scoring over six runs a game but can’t pitch a lick.  We are seeing a tale of two seasons in one this year.  The first two months of the season the Tigers could pitch and couldn’t hit but were winning.  The last month and a half they are hitting and can’t pitch and are one of the worst teams in baseball.

Here’s another conclusion i’ve come to.  I don’t want to trade Nick “The Quick” Castellanos.  I’ve been critical of him.  However, He’s young. He’s show’s flashes.  He’s homegrown.  They need somebody on this team that’s homegrown. Geez.  Look around this team  Avila and Nick.  That’s it.

Speaking of A Squared Money.  There’s no hope that Avila is going to hit if he stays behind the plate.  I don’t know why they didn’t leave him at first and leave McCann behind the plate.  They’re not getting anything from Kraus offensively.  His .135 is worse than Avila’s .192.  What exactly did they think Kraus was going to give them?  Put Avila back a first. McCann behind the plate.  Wait for Miggy to come back.  Get what you can for Price.  He’s not staying.  The Tigers aren’t going anywhere this year. Start planning for 2016.

FYI:  You need a whole bullpen.

Mariners 7 Tigers 6

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the Tigers have no answer for the 3-5 starting slots and unfortunately Kyle Ryan doesn’t provide one.  The offense staked him to an early three run lead that he promptly squandered.

Ryan couldn’t complete three innings and he departed the Tigers were down 5-3.

All things considered the pen did a good job. They were called on to pitch 7.2 innings, allowing 9 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks, and struck out seven.  If that were the starters line the outcome would have probably been different.

Alex Wilson pitched another 2.1 strong innings last night and, ‘where would the Tigers be without him’? How many more times can they call on him and ask him to pitch multiple innings?

I’ve been very critical of Nick “The Quick” Castellanos. Last night, he followed up the first four hit game of this career with a two run shot.  I hope he stays hot and consistent. I really don’t want to see him traded.  I’d like to see some home grown talent on this team.

Blue Jays 10 Tigers 5

The Blue Jays avoided a sweep by putting 10 runs on the Tigers pitching staff, seven off of former Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander. For four innings JV looked pretty good. He surrendered only one run in the first off of a bloop double and a ground ball single then retired 13 straight.  He got into trouble in the fifth and that was all she wrote.

Ausmus found no relief in the pen either. VerHagen, Wilson, Hardy and Farrell didn’t look very sharp collectively. That being said, when a team scores seven off the starter you probably aren’t going to win too many of those games.

I was really impressed with former Tigers prospect and current Jays second baseman Devon Travis.  It is a small sample size but he looks like a keeper. I’m not sure if you saw Mike’s comment, from Minoring in Baseball, from yesterday’s post.  Yesterday when McCann picked off Travis at first it was an “all Whitecaps play, McCann to Avila, picking off Travis.”  There is something nice about homegrown talent.  Unfortunately there is not a lot of it on the Tigers.  Which brings me to another thing I’ve been thinking about.

Dave Dombrowski’s philosophy seems to be draft power arms then trade them for what you need to fill out the roster.  It is hard to argue with the success he’s had with the trades he’s made.  The Tigers have gotten the better end of the vast majority of his deals.  However, shouldn’t baseball be littered with former Tigers pitchers?  The only one I can think of that is still around is Andrew Miller?  Is the scouting that bad that nobody the Tigers scout and draft ever pans out anywhere?  I guess Cameron Maybin looks like he’s turned things around but he’s not a pitcher, but who else?

Tigers 8 Blue Jays 3

Make it two in a row over the Blue Jays and two in a row scoring eight runs.  The highlight of the game however, was a fantastic catch by Alex “A Squared Money” Avila who played his first game at first base filling if for the injured Jose Miguel Cabrera.

Avila was 1-3 at the plate with a walk and a K and didn’t exactly tear the cover off of the ball but I think there is an outside chance the his bat could come alive if he continues to play first base.  There is no chance he is going to hit playing catcher but a first there may be a glimmer of hope.

Home run derby contestants, fear not, you don’t have to be on a major league roster to pitch.  If you remember, a few years ago Bryce Harper’s father pitched to him in HRD so I’m pretty Joba is still available.

Alex Avila 7/4/2015
Alex Avila 7/4/2015

Pirates 8 Tigers 4

There’s an old saying in baseball, ‘if you can’t pitch, you can’t win’, and right now, the Tigers can’t pitch.  I spent the first two months complaining, rightly so, about the offense, and now the pitching staff can’t hold opposing teams to under five runs a game.  Guess what, Toronto comes to town tomorrow.  It isn’t going to get any easier.

A reliable source and friend of this blog, Nebraska, has passed along an unsubstantiated rumor. He heard that the Tigers are going to send Nick “The Quick” Castellanos, Alex “A Squared Money” Avila, and a third player to the Cincinnati Reds for Johnny Cueto.  If the trade happens, Nebraska’s sources are usually pretty good, I’m not sure what the purpose is.  I’m not going to cry about losing Nick the Quick or A Squared Money, but what do the Tigers need with a rental like Cueto?  Is the front office delusional? Do they really think this team can compete?  I don’t.

McFly, is anybody home?