Welcome to Talkin' Tigers, a weekly piece recapping the most important talking point from the week before about the Detroit Tigers while taking a look ahead.
The defeats were driven by a lack of offense, of course, but more so by a lack of pitching. Sans Anibal Sanchez on Friday night, Tigers' starting pinching did not put together a quality start, from Rick Porcello to Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Thanks to that, their losing continued.
Plenty will take this bad week as some type of harbinger of doom. Detroit's ERA, which was hovering at gaudy marks early on within the American League, skyrocketed to 3.80. Outside of Scherzer, Detroit, no longer has a pitcher in the top ten of A.L. pitching statistics. The bullpen has given up runs.
What's the best description of Detroit's latest problems?
Baseball. It's that simple.
Don't take that declaration as an attempt to minimize Detroit's struggles on the mound and elsewhere, but once in a while in the game of baseball, strange things happen. What's up is down, and what's down is up. Detroit can look like the best team in baseball against Baltimore and Boston, then fall flat just as fast against Cleveland and Texas. These things happen.
For justifiable concern to begin to creep in, the Tigers will have to have another week or two of horrible outings on the hill, combined with untimely hitting and bad bullpen performances. Detroit wasn't going to roll along at their fast pace all season, and slip-ups, no matter how ugly, were bound to happen.
Save some energy and quit worrying about the Tigers in mid-May thanks to one ugly week. Until there's a reason for consistent concern, remember that such things happen during the course of a six month marathon.
Player Of The Week: Ian Kinsler. All of a sudden, Kinsler is leading the American League in hitting, and had an outstanding series against the Texas Rangers. Friday, Kinsler pounded three doubles, and is hitting a robust .330. He has also continued to score runs in bunches. It's been fascinating to watch Kinsler transform the Tigers' lineup with his speed, contact hitting and aggression.
The Challenge Ahead: Rediscovering momentum. The Tigers are reeling, which means it's probably the perfect time for the team to hit the road and ideally for them, leave their troubles in the Midwest behind. Often times, all it takes is one play, one solid performance on the mound or one big hit to change the complexion of an ugly losing streak. On the west coast, Detroit will try to find that combination.
Question For This Week: Is Oakland ready to pummel Detroit? The Tigers take on the Athletics in a rematch of the last two American League Division Series. After falling apart last year, are the Athletics ready to make a statement and kick the Tigers while they have fallen down a bit? Such a move could help Oakland with their confidence for later on, and a reversal could help the Tigers remain in their collective heads.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.Tags: Anibal Sanchez, Baseball, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Ian Kinsler, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, MLB