We can’t exactly brag on our Detroit Tigers these days, can we? As fans, we have to savor every morsel of fun baseball we get this season. So far, despite the horrific weather conditions, the Tigers have been more fun than many expected. They are just 6-9 and on pace to win 65 games — and remember, these may be the good times. But so far, they have battled back to win several times already, and the pitching staff has kept them in just about every game. They aren’t getting blown out and there have been some nice early signs from several key players. We’ll take it.
Dixon Machado’s walkoff home run on Wednesday punctuated a nice display of power from the Tigers’ offense, and also helped to make Miguel Cabrera’s birthday a fun one. The Tigers are still languishing at the bottom of the league in home runs at the moment, but at least we saw the potential for some thump from this scuffling lineup. Machado has showcased some power in the early going, and is an easy guy to root for. It’s still possible that he could develop into the Jose Iglesias we always hoped Jose Iglesias would be. Either way, it has been fun to see Machado get out of the gate well after waiting his turn for a few seasons.
Matthew Boyd was strong again, throwing his third straight game of one-run ball with at least six innings pitched. As Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports, a Tigers lefty hasn’t gotten off to that good a start since 1908. Boyd’s velocity continues to worry people, as he’s down several ticks from 2017, but he says he’s fine and that some of it is by design. Of course, it has also been freezing cold, and different pitchers handle that in different ways. We can’t argue with Boyd’s results thus far.
Mikie Mahtook’s demotion to Toledo hit hard, but his teammates were there to pick him up. Daniel Norris will start the second game of Friday’s doubleheader with the Kansas City Royals. The Tigers still don’t have a clear idea of what to do with Norris, so the start, his first of the season, will heavily influence the decision from there.
MLB in Puerto Rico
Game one of the Cleveland Indians-Minnesota Twins series in San Juan, Puerto Rico starred Francisco Lindor, whose two-run home run sent Hiram Bithorn Stadium shaking with jubiliant fans as the Indians marched to victory. Unfortunately, most of the island lost power again on Wednesday and may be without for another few days as power providers search for the cause of the blackout. The show went on regardless, with the whole stadium running on generators. Jose Berrios starred for seven scoreless innings, and then a whole other game slowly emerged, as the contest stretched 16 innings before the Twins were able to pull out the victory.
Mike Trout or Mookie Betts?
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe knows some bad scouts. He quoted 10 in a piece on Mookie Betts and his potential as a future MVP. Three of these people said he was better than Mike Trout. I hope the Tigers don’t employ these people.
Meanwhile, FanGraphs Jeff Sullivan investigated Betts’ red-hot start, and makes a good case that his down year in 2017 was largely a matter of misfortune. Sullivan also dives into Betts’ incredible splits and why he can’t seem to use the opposite field with any authority at all.
Another analyst recently went looking for a weakness in Mike Trout’s game, and they haven’t been seen since.
Around the horn
Jose Berrios is emerging as a real force for the Minnesota Twins. Release dates for ‘Super Mega Baseball 2’ were revealed on Wednesday. Here are the six most oddball features in college baseball stadiums. Some ideas to compete with Rob Manfred’s efforts to “improve” the game. Cardinals prospect Tyler O’Neil was just called up to the majors and may now rank as the strongest player in the major leagues. The Oakland Athletics offered free parking and admission on Tuesday night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first game in Oakland. Attendance was reported at 46,028.
Baseball is awesome
The 9-hole hitter.... Dixon Machado ends it for Detroit! 1st walk-off of the year to move the Tigers to 6-9 on the year. pic.twitter.com/aeNSfmTxE9— Luke Edwards WWMT (@ledwardssports) April 18, 2018