Good Monday morning, reader. We have officially closed the book on the first series of 2019, and what an interesting one it was. Christin Stewart opened the season with one of what will be many home runs this year to solidify the game one win behind some really solid pitching by Jordan Zimmermann. There were two bad offensive games and a workmanlike Spencer Turnbull start snuggled in the middle. The bookend on the back was a great Matt Moore start, a good offensive game from Jeimer Candelario, and an extra inning winner that helped the Tigers split the road series, which is exactly what you would ask a team to do.
The pitching has been unexpectedly good. The offense? Expectedly not so good. Fifty strikeouts over the course of the series and only three innings in which the team put numbers on the board is a little concerning. Next, the team travels to New York to take on the Yankees where we will see how these current trends hold up.
What’s this offense thing everybody’s talking about?
Despite the minor breakout on Sunday, this Tigers team is looking offensively anemic. After the second game of getting blanked by the Blue Jays on Saturday, manager Ron Gardenhire addressed it. He observed that the team was chasing balls out of the zone, and that at this early stage of the season, guys may be trying to do too much.
Asked when the Tigers not scoring runs would become a concern, manager Ron Gardenhire said, “When you guys leave the room. I’m going to cry and tear the pictures off the wall. I’m going to drink heavily.”— Anthony Fenech (@anthonyfenech) March 30, 2019
That’s funny in March and April. Give it a few months, and if we’re still dealing with this, it will be much less so.
Give him a hand
In Saturday’s game, we had a tense few hours while we waited for the results of x-rays on Miguel Cabrera’s hand after he took a pitch off the meaty portion of his palm. Results came back negative, but it was a reminder of what we as Tigers fans will be dealing with for the remainder of our time with Cabrera. His history over the last few seasons has left us waiting for the next injury that’s going to significantly hamper his ability to contribute to the team. Aging. It’s no fun.
Defining a season
Heading into the year, John Perrotto of Forbes took a look at the team and named five guys who will define the Tigers season. He has Nicholas Castellanos as the MVP — which tracks so far — Josh Harrison as the best addition, and Miguel Cabrera as the x-factor.
Nick getting defensive
I don’t know if you’ve been watching, but Castellanos has made himself some nifty plays in the few opportunities he has had in right field so far this season.
Nick Castellanos showing off his fielding skills! pic.twitter.com/YrKFMjVJ5l— Tiger Bites Video (@TigerBitesVideo) March 31, 2019
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News is of the opinion that Castellanos is starting to quiet his detractors. He is already looking better than last year, but that is admittedly a low bar to clear. To his credit, the coaching staff has been pleased with his work on the position, and early in the season it seems to be showing.
The new crew
Along with many of the new faces we are seeing on the field, we got our first taste of some new blood in the booth. Matt Shepard made his debut as the official television voice of the Detroit Tigers this weekend, and we all had the... well, we heard him joined by former Tigers great Jack Morris. Shepard is enjoying this opportunity and even got the chance to call a big moment on Opening Day when Christin Stewart hit the game-winning home run.
A few things differ from how the previous crew handled things. For instance, Shepard had no problem openly discussing Jordan Zimmermann’s perfect game as it was happening. That is a subject that would have been danced around considerably by former play-by-play man Mario Impemba. Despite having to drag the curmudgeonly fun-hating Jack Morris through every broadcast, Shepard seems to be enjoying himself.