Playing baseball in March is admittedly absurd. Playing baseball in early April isn’t so smart either, but by the time you hit the middle of the month you shouldn’t be dealing with the types of weather issues the Detroit Tigers and other teams are facing right now. We are just a few weeks into the season, and Detroit has been postponing games at a rate that would make Morrissey ashamed. Let’s hope things start warming up soon.
Until they do, here are some links to keep you occupied.
Wilson’s rough start
Reliever Alex Wilson is perplexed. After putting in work as a dependable mainstay of the bullpen in recent seasons, he’s off to a bit of a rough start in 2018. As Chris McCosky of The Detroit News writes, Wilson feels like he’s doing things right, but he is still coming out on the bad end of his early matchups.
Here’s my take on this, and it’s going to be a bit of a theme through your links today: small sample size. Wilson has pitched nine very unfortunate innings so far this year. I have faith he is better than what we’ve seen.
Is this that defense thing I’ve been told about?
I’m of the opinion that it’s still too early to draw any conclusions on much of anything, but Lynn Henning of the Detroit News is ready to apply the glowing label of “decent” to the defense at this point in the season. Henning writes about how manager Ron Gardenhire is tinkering with things to try and make it work better.
One of those things is limiting Nick Castellanos’ cut-off options down from Miguel Cabrera and Dixon Machado to just Machado. Apparently, having two dudes to choose from is an issue. There seems to be a need to limit the choices after Castellanos airmailed a throw over both cut-off men earlier in the week. I’m no expert, but this seems like less of an issue of choosing the right cut-off man and more of an issue with using your cut-off man at all.
For whom the bell tolls
Pitcher Chad Bell is the most recent call-up for the Tigers as he came up to help out when a struggling Mikie Mahtook was shipped down to the Glass City on Wednesday. Bell says he’s ready to give the team extended work out of the bullpen, and he got his first chance to prove it on Thursday when he gave the team four decent innings. “Chad Bell” and “extended work” are two things I put together with no small amount of trepidation, but it looks like he’s going to get his chance to prove himself, and his first opportunity wasn’t terrible. Let’s see if he keeps that up.
Follow the leader
Right fielder Nick Castellanos isn’t just adjusting to his transition to a new position this season. While learning how to play the outfield, he’s also learning his fair share about what it means to be a team leader. In the span of about six months, Castellanos saw himself go from one of the younger guys on the team to a veteran with one of the longer tenures in Detroit. With that comes some level of responsibility, and while he appears to be taking it seriously, there’s always room for improvement.
According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, after a bit of a perplexing play on Friday night where Castellanos let a double carom off the wall in right field, he was asked what happened. In a position where some of the more veteran guys like Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter — who he has looked to in the offseason for guidance — would admit they messed up a play, Castellanos was not yet in a place to make that admission. Gardenhire and the brass in Detroit have faith in his abilities as a right fielder and as a leader. As Fenech writes, admitting you let one get by you is something that a team leader would do, and that mindset is one Castellanos needs to work on just as much as his defense.
A slow start
Ryan Ford of the Detroit Free Press takes a quick look at the Tigers so-called cold start to the 2018 season. It’s an interesting read in that he compares this start to how other teams have come out of the gate this year and in the past, and while I’m not going to deny that the most recent handful of games has been frustrating, I have to maintain my philosophy that stats are like your weight. Checking it daily isn’t very helpful, but checking it every week or two is fine. Detroit has played 13 games. If this current cold spell is still around at the 20 game mark I’ll be a little more concerned. This is a team that scored 37 runs through its first seven games so I’m not so sold on the whole cold bats business.
Around the horn
Freddie Freeman is Joey Votto now. Joe Mauer may be the last of a dying breed. Baseball is leisurely, don’t try to make it over. Most of baseball’s unwritten rules are stupid and strange.
Baseball is awesome
Bartolo Colon, the 44-year-old pitcher also known as Big Sexy, threw seven perfect innings on Sunday night.
Bartolo Colon, Throwing Program. pic.twitter.com/oSDJOJDkel— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2018