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Detroit Tigers Links: The World Baseball Classic is better than we expected

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Fans of the Dominican Republic know how to take in a ballgame.

World Baseball Classic - Pool C - Game 4 - United States v Dominican Republic Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

While many of you were watching conference basketball tournament games on Sunday, the Detroit Tigers managed to cobble together a win against the New York Mets. Buoyed by a a home run from right fielder J.D. Martinez and a strong start from pitcher Michael Fulmer — who appears to be on the better side of his recent ankle injury — the Tigers got back on track.

Is this the spring training turn the Tigers have been looking for? Maybe. Does it matter? No, it’s still spring training. Some individual performances matter. Most of the rest of it doesn’t.

Speaking of individual performances, It looks like Mike Pelfrey may have grabbed the paddles on the metaphorical defibrillator and shocked a little life back into his chances to contribute this year. He threw three perfect innings in Sunday’s contest.

Daniel Norris settled in to a good performance on Saturday after giving up a home run to non-Rookie-of-the-Year Gary Sanchez. It was a loss for the hometown team, though, as the Tigers offense was yet again mostly a no-show. But it’s encouraging to see Norris having a good spring.

The WBC is on fleek, as the kids say

I don’t know if you watched the United States play the Dominican Republic on Saturday night, but simply put: it was lit. In a game I quickly became invested in once I saw Jim Leyland all uni’ed up in the dugout, the DR threw a party, and a baseball game broke out. In front of the largest crowd Marlins Park has ever seen, the Dominican Republic staged a comeback and pulled out the win. I would love to sit through a ballgame with the crowd they had in Miami on Saturday night.

The mensch on the bench continued to bring luck to Israel in their unlikely run in the Classic. Having advanced to the second round, they opened with a win against Cuba. Next up is the Netherlands, and I hope team Israel is enjoying this unlikely run. I wouldn’t continue to count on the likes of Ryan Lavarnway maintaining a 1.493 OPS through the rest of this shindig.

Other news out of spring training

Manager Brad Ausmus is a big fan of young center field candidate JaCoby Jones. In particular, he likes Jones’ power. He said this after Jones’ first home run of the spring:

If you put it in his swing path, he's going to hit it hard.

A telling quote. However, the problem is the pitches not in his swing path.

Another Ausmus favorite is pitcher Kyle Ryan. Tabbed as the most consistent lefty in spring training so far, it looks like the reliever, who held opponents to a .636 OPS last year, is cementing his spot in the 2017 bullpen.

From the world of minor tweaks I didn’t know were that big of a thing, the plan is to play left fielder Justin Upton in three steps this season. All Lynyrd Skynyrd jokes aside, it’s a little crazy how detailed some aspects of this game can be.

Old Friend Alerts are awesome

Phil Coke’s days in Major League Baseball may be over, but he has taken his talents overseas, and if there’s one language everyone speaks, it’s the finger point.

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