Monday, June 17, 2013

Detroit Tigers week in review: week 11

It is hard to complain about a first place baseball team. it is hard to look at the 2013 Detroit Tigers, who
have a 38-29 record, and say that the team has one if not two rather significant flaws. This team has one, and may have two but we can get back to that later. The Tigers are in first place by 4.5 games over the Cleveland Indians and look like they are good enough to run away with this division, however is a third straight divisional title the goal? I think not!

The Tigers have a good record, and they are 16-10 against the teams in their division. However, hen we look at the splits closer we start to see this team isn't 150 million dollars good. They are just 12-11 against teams with a winning record. While they are 7-3 over the last 10 they are still woefully below .500 on the road. 16-19 is not a good enough road record to carry this team to any kind of success in 2013. Remember the goal here is not to simply win the division. The goal for a team in win now mode, and spending the kind of money they are, is to win a World Series. This team, as presently constructed, does not look good enough to do just that. The plus side at 22-10 they are nearly unbeatable at home.

We could debate what the biggest issues is but with a 4-13 record the Tigers bullpen is amongst the worst in all of baseball and we have seen this pen give back far too many wins. If a move is gonna be made it seems that adding a closer and another late inning option are the two things the 2013 Tigers need most.

The Good:

  • Torrii Hunter- Torii was in a pretty big slump chasing his 300th home run. He got that in Minnesota yesterday and maybe he can get back to where he was in May. Big congrats to a kid who hit his first home run with the Twins against the Tigers at old Tiger Stadium and his 300th for the Tigers at Target Field. What a great baseball story. 
  • Drew Smyly- Drew has pitched the most innings out of the tigers pen this season, not a huge surprise since he is the long reliever but he has a 2-0 record with a 2.09 ERA. He also has 39 strike outs. He is the bright spot or a under performing unit. 
  • Prince Fielder- When you hit behind a guy like Miguel Cabrera it is a little easy to get overlooked even if you are a giant of a man like Prince Fielder. He is hitting .292 with 54 RBI and 12 home runs and the biggest minus for him is he has hit into 8 double plays (second most on the team). 
The Bad:
  • The bullpen- a 4-13 record is just not good enough. I do not want to single out Jose Valverde here, even though he should not be given any more chances to close out games for this team. The simple fact here is outside of Smyly and Joaguin Benoit this bullpen is terrible. 
  • Alex Avila- I am almost sick of saying this but his .172 batting average is not major league worthy. He handles the staff fairly well but he needs to produce more at the plate. This is one of the reasons the offense is so streaky, the bottom of the order guys are not consistent enough. 
Stuff to watch:
  • Anibal Sanchez- it looks like his shoulder injury is something to be concerned about. The Tigers skipped his start last week and then he only last 3 and a third the last time out. He may need sometime off and that means the Tigers will need to bring someone up from Toledo or try and get Smyly stretched out in the Minors to come in and make a start or two till Sanchez is right. Manager Jim Leyland is concerned and so am I. 
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