Hello, and good Monday morning to you, reader. We’re down to four teams in the playoffs, and if this weekend proved nothing else, it showed that the Milwaukee Brewers are actually beatable in the playoffs.
If you are still on the fence about who you should be rooting for or why, you have a variety of reasons to root for any team. Actually, you have nine really good ones. With four teams left, there are nine former Tigers still playing baseball. That’s a neat stat, but mostly just makes me want to cry.
Not so hard core
The city of Philadelphia is known for many things; cheesesteaks, Gritty (a mascot only Philly could love), inaccurate recollections of interactions between Eagles fans and Santa Claus, you get the picture.
More recently, it has become synonymous with Detroit Tigers players getting their guts stitched up. If Dr. William Meyers is not yet on the Tigers’ payroll, he should be. The organization sent two more players, pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and outfielder Christin Stewart, to the land of the soft pretzel to undergo core muscle repair surgery. Stewart’s operation might have been expected, but Zimmermann was a bit of a surprise. I would imagine what little trade value he probably had going into the offseason slipped away right alongside his consciousness as the surgery began.
My only question is if it was a two-for-one deal where they went under holding hands like Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis at the end of Thelma and Louise.
The direction of a rebuild
If you are anything like me, you have never found yourself wondering, “I wonder what Anthony Fenech thinks about the Tigers’ rebuild.” If you have, though, you are in luck because he has weighed in with his observations.
Here are some quick hits for you:
- He loves Ron Gardenhire and thinks he should entrench more of his guys throughout our minor league system
- He thinks the front office should “zig where others are zagging,” whatever that means
- He thinks they are a long ways away from being done with the rebuild
Manager Ron Gardenhire sees a problem — or an ”epidemic” as Chris McCosky of The Detroit News puts it — with the Tigers’ current approach at the plate, and it boils down to strikeouts. It’s no secret that the league has trended toward more home runs lately. With higher home run rates across the league, the Tigers (and other teams) have seen their strikeouts rise in turn. The team struck out 22.2 percent of the time in 2018, which was good for 8.28 strike outs per game. That number was worse than only 10 other MLB teams, and that percentage was a shade higher than the 8.10 strike outs per game in 2017, or their 8.09 percentage of 2016. The Tigers were better than half the league in that category in those seasons.
I understand wanting to improve in any area that you can as a team, but I can’t say I see where strikeouts are that big of a problem, much less an epidemic.
Around the horn
Moneyball author Michael Lewis says analytics drained baseball of emotion. The bat that helped bring the Red Sox and Astros to an ALCS rematch. How Tex Winter nearly lured Gene Lamont to Kansas State to play basketball.