Better than he ever was
It’s a small sample size, sure, but Alex Avila’s second round with the Detroit Tigers is going even better than his first. With James McCann totaling 15 hits on the season so far, Avila has used a scorching bat to muscle his way into a near-equal timeshare behind the plate.
The regression will surely come, but the extra at-bats have done nothing to slow Avila down. He is hitting .360/.467/.640 in his 19 games. With key pieces missing offensively for the team, Avila’s bat has been a key contribution to the 2017 version of the Tigers.
We all remember the abrupt end to Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s hot start last year, but if Avila can continue to provide offense, catcher will turn into an unlikely run producer for this year’s team.
More like Stay-Away-Rod
First the good. As of Thursday:
Tigers relievers other than K-Rod in the last 8 games: 18 IP, 0 R, 3 BB, 19 K.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) May 10, 2017
That doesn’t matter, of course, when your closer is sporting a line of 2 IP, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 K recently. But Justin Wilson is now the closer and we have another reliever for low leverage innings so everything should be juuuuust fine.
Speaking of low leverage innings...
Obligatory Anibal Sanchez section
I’m not sure how many times I’ll be writing the same thing until someone mercifully ends this charade, but Anibal Sanchez gave up two more home runs on Wednesday night. Ausmus continues to ask for patience.
Sanchez hadn’t pitched in nine days.
“So we’ll give him a little leeway there,” Ausmus said.
I think there is a reason he hadn’t pitched in nine days. Of the reasons to be frustrated with this team, the complete and utter waste of a roster spot has to be near the top.
The best BP
When your coach is tired of throwing BP pic.twitter.com/n4v03Pu8Wq— Kent Murphy (@KentMurphy) May 11, 2017
Apparently, Rawlings, the helmet provider for Major League Baseball, invested in a new hydro dripping facility that could lead to more enticing helmets like the ones that the Braves have been using this year. ESPN enlisted the help of design hobbyist Angus O’Keefe to cook up some possible helmets. The Tigers option is especially attractive.
I’m less sold on the home helmet, but the away one above is all sorts of sexy. I am fully in favor of this. Swag on a hundred trillion.
I’ll just leave this here
For your free time
The Ringer identifies seven surprising teams a month and a half into the season. An impressively in-depth and fun profile of the Astros’ 30-year-old rookie reliever, James Hoyt. I don’t think the Tigers just realized its now or never.