The Tigers had the prime time game on Sunday, and nearly embarrassed themselves. Then a funny thing happened ... Detroit scored five unanswered runs to win the game and the series. They're off today, before heading to Chicago on Tuesday. Is this the start ... OK I'm still not going there.
Prince Fielder has been stellar. It seems to me that some out there have a view of Prince Fielder that is out of line with realty. The reality: He's been pretty good for the Tigers, especially for the past month. In the 28 days leading up to Sunday night's game, Fielder batted .381 with a .436 on-base percentage and .649 slugging average. For the prior two weeks, he batted .311 with three home runs and a .992 OPS. With runners in scoring position this season, he's batting .396 with a 1.036 OPS. Sure, his fielding has left a little bit to be desired. But why, exactly, are people harping on Prince Fielder?
Quintin Berry has cooled dramatically since his first week. I maintain that there's a place on the team for Berry. He does provide the Tigers something they need: speed. He also fields better than most of Detroit's corner outfield options. But, as Big Al pointed out over the weekend, Berry's results lately have not been nearly as good as some people seem to think. In June, he was batting .222 with a .300 on-base percentage and .370 slugging. During the seven games prior to Sunday's, he hit .135. Sunday, he went 1-for-3 with a double. When you consult his career norms -- he batted .267 during his minor league career -- the past 10 games are probably a lot closer to what you should expect for Berry than the first 10.
The Tigers have been the worst team in the A.L. since starting the season 9-3. They swept the Royals on April 18 to reach that high water mark. Since then, they're 18-29. That's a winning percentage of .396. Even the Twins have a winning percentage over.400 since then (At 20-26, it's actually .435.) No wonder it's so hard to find anything good to say about this team. It truly has played awful. But at least it's not Cubs bad (16-31 since April 18).
The Detroit Mud Hens? Again, as I stated last week, no one is going to feel sorry for the Tigers if they have a few injury issues. It happens to a lot of teams. Of course, a lot of teams lose, too. So did the Tigers. But it's getting pretty ridiculous to think about just how bad things have been for Detroit. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, Detroit had nine players who started their season with the Mud Hens on the active roster this week. Over the weekend, a player made the jump from Advanced-A Lakeland to the MLB.
The Tigers look so much better with Austin Jackson back. Sunday Jackson showed just how much he's been missed, as he was missing for nearly three weeks with a strained abdominal muscle. He batted 2-for-5 on Sunday with a solo home run and a game-tying two-run double. All that, and he plays stellar defense? Detroit has to be glad to have him back.