Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fundamentally, Detroit Tigers biggest issue is just bad baseball

You can debate the merits of the "it's early" and you must "be patient" or anything other sports cliches about the Tigers all you want.
Yet, I will guarantee this, they will not "snap out of it" if they don't play better fundamental baseball than did during their 5-3 loss at Cleveland Tuesday.
 - In the first inning, the Tigers didn't turn a routine double play ball hit by Indians' second baseman Jason Kipnis. Now, Kipnis has good speed and hustled on the play (sound fundamental baseball, by the way), and the ball was not hit really hard. But Kipnis isn't Usain Bolt, either. The double play should have been turned. Lets put it this way, the Rangers would have turned it. Routinely.
Ramon Santiago wasn't getting to the ball and then to Jhonny Peralta, and the relay throw to first wasn't particularly swift. It led directly to a run later in the inning, one that wouldn't have been scored. Lack of double plays is a major problem for the Tigers. They are last in the Major League with 26. It really hurts pitchers like Porcello and tonight's starter Doug Fister because they rely so much on ground ball outs. Later. Brennan Boesch dropped a line drive that led to another unnecessary run.
- The Tigers haven't played well defensively behind Porcello all season (the Brandon Inge debacle at second base vs. Texas very early in the season, Prince Fielder dropping a routine throw in the first inning of his last start vs. Minnesota, more Keystone Kops Tuesday). Yet, Porcello didn't help his own cause. When you have a team like the Indians just taking off running on pitchers like they did Tuesday, it's disturbing. Then, after Michael Brantley, who does have good speed, stole a base ridiculously easily off Porcello, he proceeded to tossed to first with the lead-footed Casey Kotchman there - and threw the ball away for an error. This issue of not holding runners must be paramount with manager Jim Leyland, and addressed immediately. Teams are taking advantage of the Tigers like they are a Little League team. And it not he catchers. Both Tiger catchers throw well.
- Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez walked six hitters. That was handing the Tigers the game. Other than one big hit, a 3-run homer by Alex Avila, the Tigers didn't nothing to take advantage of these gifts.
- It was also disappointing, with two runners on in the ninth inning and the game on the line, that neither Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder came through. But if it weren't for blunders earlier in the game, it would have, at minimum, been tied.
- The lumbering Tigers aren't going to win games with their fielding, but they can't afford to lose them, either. They must begin to make routine plays and execute the fundamental elements of the game much better, or this long spring will become a tortuous summer.
I have a commentary on "The Oakland Press News at Noon," a new feature at This one is on Michigan and Michigan State football:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat, you are 100% correct, and it goes way beyond even the things you mentioned. Moving runners from 2nd to 3rd with nobody out, scoring runners from 3rd with less than 2 out, successful sacrifice bunts. These things and many more are things a well-coached team is able to do. You can't just win games by bashing 3-run homers from time to time, as they tried to do last night.

1:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a softball team, Pat. Here's the real story: Tigers build Comerica for this speedy defensive team they were supposedly building. Instead, they put together a softball team.

2:02 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you're right, like an over-60s softball team with this speed. And other anonymous, you're correct too, Tigers couldn't play "small-ball" if they practiced for a year straight. And every fan had all the fantasies of Cabrera and Fielder hitting back-to-back homers all year long. Gosh, 75 homers between them!!

Still rooting and watching every game, though, but man is this frustrating watching this offense and all the men left on base. And watching Cabera lumbering around 3rd base.

5:27 PM 
Blogger section444 said...

More bad baseball Wednesday night. Prince Fielder can't make a short throw home and the winning run scores. Too much money, and committment,for a one dimensional player. I know Mr.Illich meant well, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Dave

11:58 PM 

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