What a difference a week makes, huh? The last time I shared some links with you fine folks, the Tigers were flirting with .500 and breathing down the necks of the Cleveland Indians. A week in Ohio, as it does with many people, has left the team in a bad way. After getting smacked around by the Reds and the Indians, the Tigers now find themselves mired in a five game losing streak, and are sitting seven games out of first place in the division.
The good news is the team returns home for a series against the Oakland Athletics starting on Monday afternoon. Detroit has been good at home so far this year. Let’s hope that’s still the case.
The hit phone is ringing and Nick needs to answer
Ron Gardenhire has an idea of what kind of hitter Nick Castellanos is, and what kind of hitter he wants him to be, and those two things seem to be lining up. Gardenhire is looking for a guy who is more likely to swing the bat than take a walk. He wants this to the point that, on at least one occasion, he has given Castellanos the green light in a 3-0 count to see if he can make something happen. The idea seems to be that this team needs somebody to drive in runs, and there aren’t a ton of guys to do it. That’s why walks aren’t really seen as a plus for Castellanos, because the guy behind him isn’t making it happen. More often than not the guy behind him is the shadow of Victor Martinez and his .635 OPS.
Here’s a thought; maybe find someone to slot in behind Castellanos that might make taking a walk a little more valuable, and don’t put the pressure on Nick to hit everything that comes remotely close to the plate. He seems willing to do that most of the time anyway, but why do anything to make him feel it’s necessary?
Victor is batting cleanup and we must abide
Speaking of Victor Martinez, if you’re tired of watching him flail in the cleanup spot I don’t know what to tell you. Despite the fact that he’s not doing anything you would expect a cleanup hitter to do, he’s going to remain in the four hole. Gardenhire contends that it’s because there isn’t anyone better available. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it’s the story Gardy seems content to tell.
Gardenhire says, “I feel really good with him. He gets a lot of hard contact and he gives you a quality at-bat. He doesn’t always get hits, but he hits the ball hard.” The only accurate part of that statement is the part where he says that Martinez doesn’t get a lot of hits. I don’t know where the rest comes from.
Strong men also cry about second guessing
The Ron Gardenhire honeymoon might not be over, but it looks like we might be packing our bags for the flight back home. Gardenhire was criticized earlier this week for not pinch-hitting for Michael Fulmer in a bases loaded situation in the sixth inning against the Reds. Gardenhire took umbrage with the criticism, and took to the press to kvetch about it.
While I understand not liking being second guessed, maybe instead of saying the thought of pulling Fulmer is dumb, you could acknowledge the thought process behind a choice like that and then state that you’re the manager and decided it was best to go the other way. It was a way that resulted in three runs in the next inning, but you know what they say about hindsight.
In non-fan related stuff Ron Gardenhire is pissed about, it looks like Johnny Barbato has been less than forthcoming with the Tigers management about his physical condition. This has left Gardenhire extremely disgruntled, and rightly so. It would seem that Barbato has been battling a sore shoulder for most of the season and waited until he got called back up to Detroit, put in a game, and shelled to take a moment to mention it to management.
I get wanting to compete, and the idea of hitting the DL in the big leagues as opposed to the minors is preferable for a variety of reasons [Ed.: More money, more money], but not being honest about injuries is rarely a good thing.
Anthony Fenech of The Detroit Free Press offers up the latest iteration of the “Who should the Tigers trade?” article. It contains all the usual suspects and speaks to the need to be aggressive so as not to miss a good deal while holding out for a great one. He suggests that Shane Greene and Francisco Liriano are the most likely, but he also bandies about last names like Martin, Fulmer, Castellanos, Iglesias and Boyd. Basically, if it isn’t bolted down the Tigers should think about trading it.
The Tigers haven’t employed the shift as much as they probably could this year, but data shows that when they have, it has been beneficial. Don’t tell Jordan Zimmermann that, though. He is one of a handful of guys who have had a problem with how the shift gets used. It’s a balance, I suppose, and while the team is figuring out how and when it should be used it’s good to see a willingness to use it at all.
Around the horn
Robert Osuna gets a 75 game suspension for domestic violence. Reports over the last several days had Hanley Ramirez being eyed in a Federal and State drug investigation. Turns out maybe he wasn’t. After a history of fan abuse, we have a first strike on behalf of Philadelphia mascots, the Philly Phanatic fires a hot dog into the crowd and hits a woman in the face. Part of a bourbon storage warehouse in collapsed in Kentucky on Thursday and I felt it like a disturbance in the force.
Baseball is awesome
and sometimes joyfully flukey.