Glad that’s over with
That was not the most fun road trip in the history of Detroit Tigers baseball. The team escaped with a 4-7 record and very little sleep. They salvaged the trip with a series win at Kansas City, but even that was marred by the Skoglunding.
Despite the awkward travel, rain in Chicago, and getting roughed up by a hot Houston Astros team, manager Brad Ausmus refused to supply excuses.
“It was a tough road trip, but we’ve got to win games,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. We’re not the only team to go through a tough road trip.”
The guy would make an excellent politician; he supplies the best non-answer/politically correct fodder in the business.
The good news is the schedule gets easier as the team moves from May to June. Here’s a little math for you.
May's schedule was against teams with a combined .520 win percentage vs. June's .486. Obviously still need to win but the road is easier https://t.co/z83Zel1kUT— Patrick Whelan (@PdiddyWay) June 1, 2017
Blogging pro tip: always embed your own tweets.
Anyway, the Tigers still need to capitalize on that schedule and win games they are supposed to, something they couldn’t do in May. But, at only three games back in the AL Central, it continues to be way too early to panic.
Know your history
#TBT Evolution of the #Tigers' Old English "D"— Tigers History (@TigersHistory) June 1, 2017
(images from Detroit Free Press, animation by Paige Pfleger for @MichiganRadio) pic.twitter.com/oCnArVl6gR
Weird, an injury
Justin Upton exited Wednesday’s game with a mild quad strain. It seemed precautionary and the Tigers had a timely off day on Thursday. We have not heard any word on his status for Friday’s game.
Upton has been a key contributor to the offense and one of the few consistent hitters. The team’s up-and-down performances have him feeling the frustration as well, but he echoed Miguel Cabrera’s sentiment from Monday: stay the course and do the little things.
“You can’t ever really put a thumb on it,” he said of the team’s recent slump. “At the end of the day, we have to start playing better. We have to have better at-bats, better defense — there are a lot of things that go into it.”
The article also talks about the possibility of Upton being more active on the basepaths which I would fully encourage. He still has plenty of speed to disrupt defenses.
My favorite minor league tradition
Time to Crush the Nuts! @LansingLugnuts come to town this weekend for a 3-game series.— Whitecaps (@wmwhitecaps) June 1, 2017
TICKETS: https://t.co/5TpvZvRs00 #wcaps pic.twitter.com/cGUxsIsjdf
Also, I am a child. Related: my second-favorite tradition just became Canada night. Any time you can go hang out with an 18-foot inflatable beaver, you have to do it.
After tanking turned into fringe competitiveness, the 2017 Astros are absolutely doing the damn thing right now. They went 22-7 in May, posted a +90 run differential and are standing four games up on everyone else in the league.
What makes them so scary is their balance. The offense has been the best in baseball and the bullpen has been spectacular as well. If you don’t hit their starting pitching, who have performed admirably, you are in a ton of trouble.
And does anyone remember that 2014 Sports Illustrated cover that anointed the Astros as 2017 champions. You know, the one we all made fun of? Well, SI might be able to take the biggest W of the year in October.
For your free time
Masahiro Tanaka has been terrible and yet the New York Yankees are still in first place. No one is sleeping on the Rays anymore, they might just be good. Paul Sewald is the most unlikely bullpen anchor in the league. No one is currently on the hot seat, but Jon Heyman offers up 14 names to consider. Obviously, Brad Ausmus makes the list.