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Detroit Tigers Need One Good Day to Get Things Back on Right Track

April 25th, 2015 at 11:42 AM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT — When the New York Yankees left town on Thursday afternoon, the casual thought was that things couldn't possibly get any worse for the Detroit Tigers. The temperatures were trending up, and the Cleveland Indians, a team the Tigers have dominated, were coming to town.

Baseball, though, can be a humbling sport, and Friday night proved that. The Indians came to town and thrashed the previously untouchable Shane Greene in the series opener, racking up 15 total hits and 13 runs in another ugly rout.

The warts remained the same for Detroit. Offensively, the Tigers left 11 players on the bases, struck out 13 total times and didn't show any patience against Danny Salazar, who worked seven innings without much stress. The Tigers' bullpen also showed weakness, as Alex Wilson and Al Alburquerque combined to allow five earned runs and three home runs.

It's one of those stretches right now for Detroit that come in baseball, and a reason that the Tigers' 11-2 start was a bit of a mirage. They didn't face much adversity over the first week of the season, but things were never going to remain that easy for the whole of the schedule.

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Cold Air Helping Playing a Role in Detroit Tigers’ Offensive Chill This Week

April 24th, 2015 at 12:51 PM
By Max DeMara

Sunday, back when the weather was still warm, the Detroit Tigers scored nine runs against the Chicago White Sox in their series finale.

That, of course, led to optimism given the New York Yankees would come to town, and sandwiched between CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka would be two pitchers the Tigers might be able to feast on. After they managed to scratch across enough runs to beat Sabathia Monday night, that was even more the case.

Except Mother Nature and the Yankees had other plans. For the next three days, the air became randomly frigid and damp. Balls that would normally find the seats fell well short of the warning track. David Price even battled snowflakes as has struggled through a tough first inning on Wednesday.

Detroit's offense, meanwhile, felt the chill. In four games against New York, they scored only nine total runs, and had more strikeouts (33) than total hits (26). Against anyone time at any time, those are tough totals to digest.

Certainly, the Tigers, who did not struggle throughout the first few weeks offensively, felt the sting of some hot pitching. Brad Ausmus confessed as much Thursday afternoon after Tanaka and company had finished off his team for the third straight game with relative ease.

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Detroit Tigers’ Bats Iced by New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka and More Chilly Temperatures

April 23rd, 2015 at 5:01 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT — As temperatures have once again taken a turn toward the freezing mark, so too have the Detroit Tigers' bats. Offense was hard to come by again Thursday, helping Detroit drop a 2-1 decision to the New York Yankees.

Things didn't appear terribly bleak for the Tigers early on. After a quick first inning by Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers scored the first run for the first time in the series. Anthony Gose led off with a double and two batters later, Victor Martinez brought him home with a sacrifice fly for the quick 1-0 lead.

Sanchez worked himself into a bit of trouble in the third via the walk with runners that eventually advanced to second and third, but he got a strikeout of Carlos Beltran to end the threat. Detroit's hitters, despite the early surge, had the squeeze put on them by Masahiro Tanaka through the middle innings.

Detroit only had two doubles to their credit entering the fifth, and had only cashed one in on the scoreboard. Sanchez continued to carve his way through the New York lineup, setting down eight in a row before walking Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth. Ellsbury would come around to score to tie the game after a balk by Sanchez. The call was a bit controversial because it came late, but was correct.

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Joe Nathan Will Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Ending His Season for Detroit Tigers

April 23rd, 2015 at 12:35 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT — Thursday morning, the Detroit Tigers had some new news on Joe Nathan following Wednesday's abrupt exit from a rehab assignment in Toledo, and it wasn't good.

Nathan underwent an MRI yesterday in Detroit that revealed a UCL tear and a flexor pronator tear. Thursday morning, it was announced he would undergo Tommy John surgery, which would effectively end his 2015 season nearly before it ever began.

Prior to the rehab start, Nathan struggled with the elbow flexor strain following an opening day appearance against the Minnesota Twins in which he collected a save and a strikeout. He was attempting to work himself back in relatively short order.

MLB.com's Jason Beck has the specifics regarding the surgery news.

The tears are believed to have occurred during his rehab appearance Wednesday for Triple-A Toledo, where he left the game after 10 pitches holding his arm. He had been on the 15-day disabled list for the past two weeks with an elbow flexor strain but was hoping an inning Wednesday for the Mud Hens would be his final step to a return as early as Friday.

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Joe Nathan Suffers Apparent Injury Setback in Toledo, Leaves Game with Arm Pain

April 22nd, 2015 at 5:41 PM
By Max DeMara

Wednesday morning, the question seemed simple if not luxurious. How would the Detroit Tigers deal with the re-emergence of Joe Nathan?

The closer was making a rehab start with the Toledo Mud Hens attempting to come back off a right elbow flexor strain and seemed destined to find his way back to the Tigers by this weekend. From there, he would certainly be in the mix to resume a role toward the back end of Detroit's bullpen.

By Wednesday afternoon, however, the game changed once again. When throwing for the Mud Hens in the morning, Nathan only managed to fire 10 pitches before departing the game with arm soreness. Afterward, things didn't sound particularly good for the reliever, who admitted to feeling a pop.

MLive's James Schmehl was there, and had more of the gruesome quotes in the aftermath.

"It feels like I broke my arm," Nathan said. "I never have broken my arm, but I would assume this is what it feels like."

Nathan wasn't willing to speculate about the severity of the injury after the Mud Hens' game, but acknowledged he felt a sharp pain in his right forearm after throwing a strike to Louisville Bats outfielder Bryson Smith in the seventh inning.

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