The Tigers were seemingly on a role in Kansas City this week. Top position player prospect Nick Castellanos finished the Futures Game on Sunday night with an MVP trophy in hand after a three hit day that included a three-run homer for the USA squad. Prince Fielder took home the Home Run Derby crown on Monday night – the second of his career – by besting Toronto’s Jose Bautista in the final round.
Tuesday night was supposed to be Justin Verlander’s night. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young award winner was slated to take the hill for the American League squad in Kansas City. AL Manager Ron Washington had announced that he planned on using Verlander for two innings before going to his bullpen, but things didn’t go as planned.
Verlander began the game by striking out Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies on a swinging third strike, but the National League quickly rallied to get on the board. Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants knocked a hard single to left field, and Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun plated him with a deep double off the right field fence. Verlander settled himself down in time to get Cincinnati’s Joey Votto out on a called third strike, but the NL was just beginning to do their damage.no comments
Quintin Berry burst onto the scene in late May as a fill-in for the injured Austin Jackson. The month of May ended with Quintin Berry as the new superstar in Detroit with a nine-game (Major League debut) slash line of .333/.395/.436 that also included five stolen bases and nine runs scored. He wasn’t necessarily replicating the production that Jackson had provided, but he was helping the struggling Tigers stay afloat.
But naysayers popped up all over the net to tell us why Berry’s success wasn’t going to last. His minor league track record wasn’t particularly good, his .542 BABIP wasn’t sustainable, he was striking out too much (34%), and his walk rate wasn’t all that high (7%). He was surely going perform worse in the future.
But 14 games later, after a 5-5 day at the plate versus the Colorado Rockies, Berry’s numbers were actually better than they were on June1. His slash line now read .333/.409/.436. But his peripheral numbers were still concerning. His .473 BABIP was still unsustainably high, his strikeout rate (26%) remained problematic, and his walk rate (7%) was still below league average. There remained much doubt that Berry could be a successful big league hitter with those types of numbers hanging over his head.no comments
The Detroit Tiger fell below the .500 mark on May 16 after an 11-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins, and hadn’t been able to crack the break-even point since. Not until Friday night anyway – 47 games later.
We certainly didn’t expect to be “celebrating” the .500 mark in July. Not when the organization announced the signing of prized free agent Prince Fielder, and certainly not after a quick 9-3 start to the year. But that’s exactly what we’re doing now. There’s still a lot of baseball left, and still a lot of issues to fix, but it appears as though the team is back on the winning track.
The Tigers were six games below .500 after a series opening loss to the Cincinnati Reds on June 8. Since that game, they’ve won 16 of 26 games – winning five series, losing two, and splitting one. That’s the type of ball we expected this team to play most of the year. Let’s hope it lasts into the second half of the season.no comments
After losing the first two games of the series to the Minnesota Twins, the Tigers salvaged a split by taking the final two games. Justin Verlander tossed a complete game 4-hitter in the Tigers’ 5-1 victory on Wednesday. Then Prince Fielder hit the game-winning home run in a 7-3 Tigers win on Thursday.
With the two straight wins, Detroit moves back to one game under .500 at 41-42. They stand 4.5 games back of the division leading White Sox and 2.5 games behind second place Cleveland.
The Tigers host the Kansas City Royals for three games leading up to the All Star break.
Here are a few observations from the Minnesota series:no comments
It was shaping up to be another sad day for the Tigers. They couldn’t do much of anything against the Minnesota starting pitcher, Scott Diamond. Detroit managed to squeak out just five hits and two runs against the 25 year old southpaw, but the eighth inning saw the Twins bullpen enter the game, and the Tigers would rally.
Trailing 3-2, Ramon Santiago led off the inning with an unsuccessful attempt to bunt his way on base, but that would be the last out the Tigers would record before regaining the lead. Austin Jackson tripled to right field, Quintin Berry drew a pinch-hit walk, and Miguel Cabrera singled home the tying run. Then Prince Fielder stepped into the box with a chance to blow the game open.
I’m not sure any player shows the stark contrast between the traditional approach to baseball statistics and the sabermetric approach better than Delmon Young.
The traditional numbers on Young look solid. His career numbers (per 162 games) give him a .286 batting average, 16 home runs, and 89 runs batted in. Those numbers in isolation suggest an above average hitter with middle of the order potential.
The sabermetric approach, however, paints a different picture. His career 96 wRC+ tells us that his total value as a batter is actually 4% worse than league average.Delmon’s season to date has been a disappointment by any standard, but he has been recording more hits lately. In fact, in his last 29 games played he’s knocked out 35 hits. But, unfortunately, his 121 plate appearances during this stretch have been about as Delmon Young as any stretch could be. no comments
It was announced yesterday that first baseman Prince Fielder would start at first base for the American League in next week’s MLB All-Star Game, and today it appears that he will receive the honor of participating in the Home Run Derby as well.
Robinson Cano, the captain of the American League Home Run Derby squad, is set to announce his selections at 6:00 PM tonight, but indications are that Fielder has received, and accepted, one of the invitations to participate.no comments