Despite a disappointing loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday that knocked the Tigers off their short-lived first-place perch, the season is still young, the scent of spring flowers still permeates the air, and hope still remains for the beloved boys in the blue caps. So put on your best Sunday fines, get yourself made-up, tap out your tobacco pipe, and wipe off your monocle as we take a trip through the fine arts gallery in today’s links.
JaCoby Jones to be displayed in Toledo
While JaCoby is champing at the bit to get back to the bigs, the Tigers brass intends to let him marinade in the minors a bit longer to get his bat better seasoned. The celeritous center fielder has missed all of the major league schedule thus far due to a shoulder injury incurred during spring training. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire suggested that he may move up to Triple-A Toledo sometime this week to continue his rehabilitation assignment. Hopefully, he can refine the art of hitting during his time there, because his maestro-level glove is very much needed up Interstate 75 in the vast expanses of Comerica Park’s outfield.
JaCoby Jones could take rehab assignment to @MudHens. Tigers would like him getting plenty of at-bats to make sure he's ready when he returns, likely not until next week.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) April 9, 2019
Jordan Zimmermann adjusts his pitch palette
Though it may not have been obvious yesterday when Jordan Zimmermann got air-raided by the Cleveland Indians’ offense, he has been refining his art of pitching (I see you, Jim Price) in recent years by adjusting his pitch usage to maximize results. His most recent success has been attributed to a radical change in his approach. The chart below illustrates that his four-seamer — once his primary power pitch — and his slider usage have evolved over time, and how this year he has flipped the script. There is still plenty of the season left to see how this works out for him despite the stumble in his last start.
Jordan Zimmermann starts today, and he's been good (0.66 ERA in two starts).— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) April 9, 2019
I wonder what's changed... pic.twitter.com/MVDnW1D5L9
The art of game preparation for the Tigers’ catchers
For our next exhibit, we have the art of catching. This article from The Athletic does a nice job breaking down how Grayson Greiner and John Hicks have prepared for each game this season. Between the repetition, the protocols they follow, and dealing with quirky pitchers, it makes for a very interesting lens into the daily grind in the life of a major league backstop.
The entire art of game-day preparation is interesting because sometimes the best way to retain information is still a little old-school, even though all the scouting is driven by numbers, technology and video. Catchers will sit in front of their lockers or even in bed, watching tape of hitters on tablets or computers. Then they usually write down physical notes they can refer to at any time.
Matt Moore tries to avoid the surgeon’s skilled scalpel
The results of Matt Moore’s MRI on his injured right knee revealed an injury he has dealt with before: a damaged right meniscus. However, Moore does not seem concerned with any discomfort he may be experiencing.
“You see guys who have a not favorable MRI, but they have no symptoms in that area... That might be the case with this. You might be able to see a signal there, but it’s not something that’s debilitating or limiting... At this point, we’ve got time to give (rehab) a shot.”
Hopefully for Moore and the Tigers’ sake he will not have to experience the artful hand of a surgeon to get himself back on the mound this season. Events can still quickly turn for the worse with the damage already present, so it will be a wait-and-see situation for the time being.
When Life Imitates Art
In case you missed it, a screen-captured image of a brawl between Yasiel Puig and what appears to be the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team was taken from a broadcast of the game and went viral on Monday. The picture bears a striking resemblance to a Renaissance masterpiece, which triggered the creative nerve of the baseball-loving corner of the internet. It resulted in both brilliant and hilarious interpretations of the scene — including Impressionist and Modernist renderings of the shot. Side note: Chris Archer, Yasiel Puig and Reds’ manager David Bell were all suspended for their roles in the fracas.
Film: “Detroit Tigers: Roar of ‘84”
Speaking of masterpieces, the Detroit Freep Film Festival will be running from April 10-14 at various venues throughout the city. Among the films featured by the event is a fifty-minute documentary about the Detroit Tigers told from the viewpoint of thirteen members of the 1984 World Series-winning club. Narrated by Motown legend Smokey Robinson, the movie expands beyond the magical year of the Bless You Boys squad and explores Detroit’s rich baseball history going back to the franchise’s first major league season in 1901, centering much of the narrative around the historic Briggs/Tiger Stadium venue. The documentary will be shown on April 11 at Beacon Park as well as on April 13 at the Detroit Film Theatre at the DIA.
Elsewhere around the exhibit
Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger heads to the injured list with a right upper back strain. Leonys Martin is excited about his return to Detroit, so excited that he hit a lead-off home run on the second pitch of his first game back in Comerica Park. FanGraphs now has a Legal Mailbag to address baseball law questions. Bless You Boys’ Ashley MacLennan goes behind enemy lines with SB Nation sister site Let’s Go Tribe. There may be more value beyond the dollar in Avila’s off-season signings. One study suggests that Major League Baseball umpires are wrong as often as most fans think.