With James McCann sidelined with his lacerated hand, Tigers’ fans are getting what they wanted. Of course, they only recently decided they really, really wanted it. Alex Avila continues to murder baseballs and perform as the best catcher on staff, and oh boy have they needed him.
I won’t call him a hero, because, I mean, what’s a hero? But there is one catcher with 100 plate appearances or more who has a better—-oh, no one has a better wRC+ than Avila’s incredible 174 wRC+. Well then. Now, he’s not leading in home runs, because Salvador Perez and Austin Hedges, but he is third, tied with that Posey fellow out west, as well as one James Q. McCann, with seven. Pretty incredible production.
And I think we all agree it’s a very good thing Avila was signed this offseason. While the Tigers wait for their stars to get healthy or get going, the catcher position has been a surprising strength, offensively. And because of some of these injuries, Avila is getting plenty of playing time and making the most of it.
Avila launched his seventh bomb of the young season on Wednesday night, and it proved a big one as the margin of victory.
Alex Avila flashing that oppo power! pic.twitter.com/mlaggP3Z5Z— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) June 1, 2017
I won’t make any nepotism jokes here, because y’all should be ashamed of yourselves anyway.
Around the Central
Not a lot to report, though the Indians, White Sox and obviously the Royals, all lost on Wednesday. The Twins didn’t just lose, they were unmercifully unmanned, outgunned and dismissed by the Houston Astros for the second time in three games. The 17-6 loss was even uglier for Twins pitching that produced a late innings meltdown on Monday when the Astros paddled them 16-8.
In other words, the Tigers gained a game on everyone in the division last night, and with a lot more home games and off days in June, the time is now to get this show back on track. The team is just three games back of first place in the AL Central, and the parity many expected in the American League this year appears to be coming to pass so far. Apart from the red-hot Houston Astros anyway.
With the off day tomorrow, the Tigers will push Daniel Norris’ next start back to Tuesday of next week. Instead, they’ll go Fulmer, Zimmermann, Verlander in the weekend home series against the Chicago White Sox.
Random acts of baseball
This new mascot for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Nippon Professional Baseball league is everything and more. Fish. Man. Fishman?
Meanwhile Ryan Zimmermann continues to mash taters. Check your launch angle kids, and keep your powder dry.
Things continue to go quite ill with the New York Mets.
The Mets have issued a formal apology, and some random individual has likely avoided a hot summer spent in a stifling and ridiculous costume. Went out like a boss.
Meanwhile the snark is strong on ye olde interwebz...
Articles and analysis
Eno Sarris takes a look at the changing strike zone, particularly to left-handed hitters. Ian Kinsler joins the Players Tribune to name his toughest five pitchers to face in the AL Central. David Laurilia has a fine interview with the always interesting Joey Gallo up on FanGraphs.
Michael Daalder weighs in for RO Baseball on Harper-Strickland and the issue MLB can’t get a grip on. FanRagSports takes a look at Jorge Bonifacio and legacy of fathers and sons in the game. They also look at Padres standout reliever and prime trade piece, Brad Hand, and wonder who wants him? (raises both hands).
The Frisco Roughrider’s new promotion makes the take your dog to the park days look like child’s play. Take Meow Out to the Ballgame ups the ante to crazy levels by going with cats instead. Yes. Cats. Cats on leashes. All together in a ballpark. What could go wrong?
Apparently, and shockingly, I guess it went fine?