It was not the start to the season Detroit Tigers fans wanted to see as their team was swept by the Tampa Bay Rays on the road on opening weekend. While there were a couple of bright spots, they merely serve as a silver lining for an otherwise abysmal overall performance — particularly on offense.
In fact, the Motor City Kitties’ ineptitude reached a historic low. According to Baseball Reference, their minus-18 run differential through the first three games of the season is the worst in the history of the franchise besting the previous low of minus-15 set last year. Suffice it to say, it looks to be a long summer of this keeps up but keep in mind that the Rays are a very good team and Tropicana Field is a weird place to play.
That said, the Bless You Boys staff convened for a roundtable discussion following Sunday’s loss to give each person’s respective take on the slow start. Take a look below at what we had to offer.
Mr. Sunshine: [Fart noises] About like that. The team played like they forgot it was no longer Spring Training. Bullpen got beat up consistently, and the offense just sputtered. Great team, the Rays, but still. Not the greatest first showing for the new Harris roster.
Cameron Kaiser: The Rays are a great team but the Tigers were sleepwalking through the series. The offense had no pulse. The defense was a mess outside of Javy. The bullpen looks like a typical Tigers bullpen. Very little competent baseball was played across three games, and that’s unacceptable. E-Rod, Wentz, Carpenter, and Rogers were the only real bright spots.
Adam Dubbin: I have to be honest, this was pretty much the outcome I expected from the opening series but it wasn’t as bad as I think many are making it out to be. The game on Thursday wasn’t terrible — after all, we matched the basic stats with our opponents – but just did that thing the Tigers tend to do, i.e. not score runs. Long story short, it’s WAY too early to be concerned, but at the same time, I can’t fault those who are ringing the doom gong.
Peter Kwasniak: I’m not ringing the doom gong. I’m diving head-first into it Adam.
No noticeable differences from last year. Yeah, it probably wasn’t as simple as a new GM coming in and clapping his hands. But I was hoping for some small grain of hope that you could point to and go “ah, that’s different than last year”. But so far, it looks like the same offense with a worse bullpen. That’s not good. I may need to revise my season prediction from 91 losses to 100 losses.
Brandon Day: I don’t really feel any differently than I did on Thursday morning. The schedule is tough this year, and the main goal for the first month is to not get buried by a 10-20 start or something. If we think in football terms the team had a really bad first quarter of the first game of the season. Still, A.J. Hinch is going to have some questions to answer if the lineup swings the bat like they did in Tampa all month and the team stumbles out to an awful start for the third straight year under his leadership.
Brady McAtemney: Can’t we talk about something more pleasant, like getting teeth pulled or neighbors mowing the lawn at 7 am?
Okay, I acknowledge it’s only been three games. Hardly enough time to give up on the season and say we’re going to lose 120 games, especially since they were road games in a weird park to a great team. That said, the team looked like minor leaguers. Very few players played like they belonged. Brutal defense, brutal pitching (save for ERod and Wentz, who both looked good). A few hitters showed flashes but clearly nothing that could get the offense going. Getting outscored 21-3 in a season-opening sweep is just miserable. But oh well. Onto the next series against… oh. The Astros. In Houston.
Zane Harding: We’re going to lose 120 games.
In all seriousness, not a fun weekend, but the only conclusion I can draw is that I’m tired of Schoop looking incompetent to begin the year every single season, really, and that’s because this is the third time in a row that I’m experiencing this deja vu all over again with him
Need to give Maton and Vierling time to settle in, and Turnbull time to settle back in from surgery, and me time to not place any Tigers in any starting lineup for any fantasy league I ever play in.
(I have had enough years to learn not to do that, I’m doomed)
A lot of things to be disappointed with from those first three games, though. As limp as I’ve ever seen us come out the gate, and I joined the BYB corps beginning in the 2018 season. Yeesh.
Cam: I think that some of the players should have a much shorter leash than last season. If this is truly a “prove it” season, then the fringe players should be churned over throughout the season if they aren’t going to show anything. Schoop gets another couple weeks before they should pull the plug. Same with McKinstry. Kreidler deserves a longer look due to his youth. This philosophy can apply to the bullpen as well as the rotation, though I do think Boyd and Lorenzon will have something to give. If you’re a veteran not named Miggy and you’re not contributing, there’s no reason to be on the team.
Ashley MacLennan: Bad.
Rob Rogacki: It’s a long season and there will be series like this. If this happened in June nobody would really bat an eye, especially given how weird games can be at the Trop. Sucks to start the season like this though.
Frisbee Pilot: Look, we know the offense is shaky, so there was nothing really surprising this weekend. (Frankly, I’m surprised that people are surprised.) There are plenty of hitters that need to turn corners and they haven’t yet done so. On the other hand, the Rays’ pitching staff is always stingy with the runs, so it isn’t just the Tigers that would ever struggle against them. Aside from Spencer Turnbull’s first outing of any kind in a regular-season game in a year and a half, the pitching mostly held up over the weekend against a pesky lineup that will kill you with papercuts and the occasional well-placed extra-base hit. So... not great, obviously, but it didn’t take The Amazing Kreskin to predict this.
David Rosenberg: I drove across the state of Florida to see the Tigers get walloped 12-2 on Saturday, and boy what a mistake that was...
Jokes aside, it’s going to be a long season for this Tigers club. No one on the team seems comfortable with a bat to start the year, and the pitching staff isn’t drawing rave reviews either. There seems to be a lot of unrest among the fanbase — perhaps rightfully so — but it’s still the beginning of the season, which means it’s not the time to lose our heads just yet.
Scott Harris signed up for one of the toughest gigs in baseball, and there are going to be growing pains. We knew this team would struggle heading into the season, and the new front office deserves more than three games before fans give up on them. I know it’s hard to hear “be patient,” as a Tigers fan right now, but that’s all this team can offer after being horribly mismanaged for the last five.
However, if Detroit fails to shake anything up over the coming weeks and appears content to ride out losing streaks, then it might be time to get loud...
Now that you have read our takes, tell us what you think in the comments below!