Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thoughts after 6 1-2 innings Tigers, Pirates Tuesday

- It took the Tigers longer than you'd expect to break through against Pirates' starter A.J. Burnett. The two-out hit by Rajai Davis was huge. I think it was a good decision by manager  Tigers' Brad Ausmus to not over-react there and pinch hit either Anthony Gose or Victor Martinez for Davis. It was a good piece of hitting by Davis to lay off Burnett's breaking ball and a high fastball that was close before delivering the hit.
- It continues to be obvious just how important the return of Jose Iglesias is to the Tigers. It's weird, but he seems like a more settled and consistent player than he was before forced to sit out the entire '14 season because of injury. Watching Iglesias and Ian Kinsler turn a routine double play is like watching some sort of baseball arm form.
- Shane Greene does have the ability to miss bats, but what is really impressive is how it doesn't seem like hitters get quality swings against him. It's a lot of weak grounders. The Tigers improved defense should help him. In fact, it has tonight. That was nice play by J.D. Martinez in the sixth.
- This could be the Tigers' bullpen first real test this season. We'll see if it passes.

My column. Tigers, Royals and how opposites clash in American League Central: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20150414/pat-caputo-detroit-tigers-kansas-city-royals-and-how-opposites-clash-in-al-central


Blogger Fred Brill said...

At this point - this very early point of the '15 season - the only clear weakness remains the bullpen. I know that's a Captain Obvious statement.

But as your article suggests - home grown vs purchasing known commodities - there are no real store shelves of relief pitchers.

Pitching is unique to all other positions (another Captain Obvious statement) where a Pitcher who is no longer considered a starter - either in the bigs or before that in the minors - winds up in the bullpen. It's not a player's first career choice to be a three inning stretch or a set up man or even a closer.

Those teams with strong bullpens nurtured and matured them all through their system. For the most part the Tigers don't do this. They go get them from other places - and quite often those pitchers leave those other places just as their productivity has started to drop - or is about to.

Can you be mad at Dave Dombrowski for not being able to go out and find quality bullpen staff in the offseason or during the regular season? Not really. Your scraps hunting from other teams garage sales (although JD coming from Houston was also a garage sale find).

Can you be mad at Dave Dombrowski for not creating an environment where bullpens are developed all through their system? I think this is where the more legitimate beef comes in.

That is about the only beef I personally can find with Mr Dombrowski. But that being said, for all the maginficent armour that shines on this Tigers '15 roster, just like Achilles - our pullpen is the only spot on this team that is not iron plated.

And again in '15 the bullpen will likely be the cause of the Tigers demise before the ultimate goal of the World Series is achieved.

1:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's amazing how different the approach Tigers and Royals take, but it fits each market and their ownership. Dombrowski has tried with the bullpen to the point he's fallen into the same trap as those who preceded him by drafting college closers high. What I don't understand is that he has not stuck with the power arms thing. The Royals and Orioles relievers throw much harder than the Tigers' relievers.

9:43 PM 

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