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Detroit Tigers News: The Tigers are in first place!

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As we roll into the Kansas City series, we look at expectations, illnesses, and bad reporting.

Detroit Tigers v Cincinnati Reds
pull hitter
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Well, what do we have here? The Detroit Tigers went as far south in the state of Ohio as one possibly could without dipping into Kentucky and stole their first road series of the season from the land of weird chili. It took some long ball heroics, and deep breaths were being taken in and out of paper bags all across the midwest in the waning innings, but things came out on the right end in two of the three matchups.

As we roll into the next series, C.J. Cron jerseys are flying off the shelves and Spencer Turnbull is being sniped off the waiver wire in fantasy leagues across the land. We are five days into the 2020 season and I am already enjoying it more than last year. Let’s keep that up. The Tigers open up a home series against the Kansas City Royals on Monday night. Here’s some stuff to keep you occupied until then.

Tigers might win the division for all the wrong reasons

This is all still a fast-developing story on Monday, but the outbreak among Miami Marlins players and staff has already brought the MLB season to the brink. They were in Philadelphia this weekend, and as a result of the outbreak, the Marlins-Orioles and Phillies-Yankees have both had their scheduled games Monday postponed. The Marlins themselves are currently stuck in Philly after their flight out was cancelled as well.

If this gets any worse, the league is going to have a lot of questions to answer as to why they let the weekend games go on as multiple positive tests were already reported. Apparently they were content to foist the decision onto Marlins players themselves, which is a patently deranged way to decide this. The whole plan to allow teams to play in their home stadiums, rather than gathering them all to isolate in multiple neutral sites for gameplay was also met with a critical eye, but as they couldn’t reach any agreements with the MLBPA, Commissioner Rob Manfred and the league pushed ahead.

Of course the real culprit is the American inability to handle the pandemic with any degree of efficacy, but that’s too big a topic for baseball. For now, we’re all waiting to see if MLB forges on with the season or not.

Bring me all of your Fulmers

On Saturday, the Tigers claimed right-handed pitcher Carson Fulmer from the Chicago White Sox with the intention of utilizing him almost immediately.

“I don’t think we would have gone out and got him if we didn’t think he could contribute now,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “This is a big arm and our people think highly of him. If he can figure it out, get his control – maybe Andy (pitching coach Rick Anderson) can help him out – he could be an impact guy.”

After more than three years of less-than-spectacular results, the White Sox decided that they were done. Detroit is hoping that one team’s loss is another’s successful reclamation project. There is no doubt that Fulmer throws hard. The problem is that no one has any idea where the ball is going to go. Detroit is hoping they can help the young hurler iron that little issue out. If he gets right, he is going to be a valuable part of the pitching staff. If.

Can Miggy still hit?

Ron Gardenhire knows Miguel Cabrera can still hit. Early looks during spring training went a good way to give everyone hope that Gardenhire’s opinion was correct. A slimmed down and healthy Cabrera was hitting the ball well. After a few months off, it took a little longer to tune up during summer camp, but early returns are promising. His home run on Saturday and his 10-pitch at bat in the ninth inning on Sunday that saw him fight off a glut of 99+ mph pitches to eventually work a walk might be a good indication that the bat is still quite dangerous for Mr. Cabrera.

Time to step up

If expectations hang heavy on the shoulders of any two players in this shortened 2020 season, they are on third baseman Jeimer Candelario and outfielder Christin Stewart. These two young players came in with some expectations they have yet to meet, and they will get plenty of chances to show the team what they are made of over the next few months. If production doesn’t come, there are bodies waiting to fill holes, but expect these two to get every chance to find their footing with this team.

Ron’s feeling nervous

After Reds infielder Matt Davidson tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and Mike Moustakas went on the IL on Sunday morning with an unspecified illness, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire expressed his nervousness about the situation.

It’s unfortunate and myself, a Tier 1 guy (with the highest team access) who’s been through a lot, when I started hearing that I get nervous. I really do. I can honestly tell you that. I start thinking about it awful hard.

That’s not changing how the Tigers are dealing with things this season, though. The team has established plans and protocols and moving forward they will abide by them. Having positive tests coming out of the opposing dugout makes players and managers alike a little wary, but Niko Goodrum expresses the general attitude moving forward.

“I think everyone is still concerned with it in general. So everyone’s being as safe and as cautious as they can be, in my opinion. We’re going to stay doing that and just hope for the best. I hope Davidson gets well soon and Mike gets well soon.”

A story in three parts

Part one: Credible news outlets tweet about the end of Justin Verlander’s season.

Parts two and three: Dusty Baker and Verlander himself jump in to state that the reports of the death of his elbow are greatly exaggerated.

Baseball is socially distant

Around the horn

Blue Jays pitcher Ken Giles will undergo an MRI on his right elbow. An all-day journey through baseball’s weird new season. Tres Barrera receives an 80-game suspension for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone; that’s a shade over 2.5 games for every letter in the word of the banned substance he tested positive for. FOX is using virtual fans in their broadcasts. It’s great if you like things that are weird and unnatural, which if you stop to think about it is kind of on brand for this season.