Three Up, Three Down: May 3rd

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

The Tigers are in the midst of 19 straight games against Central Division rivals and beating up on their Central Division foes is something the Tigers have plenty experience with. During their four straight Central Division championships, the Tigers are 183-113 against the rest of the Central. Since 2006, the Tigers have had a losing record against the Central just once.

After losing the first two games against the Royals and falling more than one full game out of first place for the first time in 2015, they were able to bounce back after two strong starts from David Price and Anibal Sanchez to win the final two games of the series and re-take a half-game lead over the Royals.

Weekly Record: 4-3 (2-1 vs. Twins, 2-2 vs. Royals)
Season Record: 17-9 (First place in American League Central)
2015 Division Record: 14-5 (5-1 vs. Twins, 5-1 vs. Indians, 2-1 vs. White Sox, 2-2 vs. Royals)

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Three Up, Three Down: April 27th

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

The Tigers faced their first bit of adversity in the 2015 season; losing their first series of the season, getting completely outplayed in losing three out of four games to the New York Yankees. Not much worked in the Yankees series. David Price was shelled, the bullpen was awful and they only scored nine runs in the four games. They righted the ship against the Cleveland Indians over the weekend with two strong performances from Alfredo Simon and Kyle Lobstein and scored more runs in the final two games (12) then they had in the previous five (10). They have won all four series against Central Division opponents.

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Not using the DH is really, really stupid

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

The Lions open the 2015 regular season against the San Diego Chargers, a team that is in the opposite conference. Imagine the Lions now have to play this game without Calvin Johnson because the AFC has a rule that prohibits wide receivers from playing in the AFC. The AFC teams play 12 games a year like this so they have obviously adjusted to the rule and have specialized personnel.

The Lions would obviously be at a distinct disadvantage because their personnel is completely tailored to the other set of rules, especially considering that Johnson is the Lions best player.

Victor Martinez will most likely not start 10 games in NL parks because he's a DH

Victor Martinez will most likely not start 10 games in NL parks because he’s a DH

It would seem stupid and impractical for one professional sporting league to have two completely different sets of rules, especially when those rules would completely benefit one team over the other. Yet, that is the situation that has existed in Major League Baseball since the American League introduced the designated hitter in 1973.

The rule came about because pitching was dominating and the National League was the clear dominant league. In 1968, Denny McLain won 31 games for the World Series Champion Tigers and Bob Gibson won 22 games, had 13 shutouts and a 1.12 ERA on his way to the National League Cy Young. In response to those numbers, baseball lowered the height of the pitcher’s mound from 15 to 10 inches.

To increase scoring, the American League eventually implemented the DH and the rest as they say is history.

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Three Up, Three Three Down: April 20th

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

There is not much that’s not going right with the Tigers thus far. They are tied for in the American League in runs scored with 68, are third in total hits with 128, first in total bases with 204, second in batting average at .305 and first in team OPS at .855. The pitching staff is first in the AL with a 2.61 ERA, first with a .212 opponents batting average and second with four team shutouts. The Tigers have baseball’s best record at 10-2, the team’s best start by any measure since 1984 (we all know what happened then).

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The Tigers have an awful bench…again

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

Let’s jump in the way back machine and head back to the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park.

The Tigers trail the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 and are two outs away from elimination.

Bryan Holaday

Bryan Holaday

The inning had started with back-to-back doubles from Victor and J.D. Martinez off Orioles closer Zach Britton, just the Tigers third and fourth hits of the day, as the Tigers cut the deficit to one run.

The Tigers needed just one base-hit to extend the game at least one more inning and possibly to continue the rally and win the game to extend the season one more day.

That is situation and the Tigers lone option at the plate is Bryan Holaday.

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Tigers make many moves, what do they mean?

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

It seems like forever since Hernan Perez grounded into a double-play with Victor Martinez on second base and the Tigers were swept in the ALDS by the Baltimore Orioles, marking the first time since 2010 that the Tigers did not make the American League Championship Series, doesn’t it?

With those extra few weeks of offseason, the Tigers have had plenty of time to ponder roster moves to get ready for 2015 season. They mad a myriad of moves that will be largely ignored because today is Friday, it’s Halloween and the University of Michigan gave Dave Brandon $3 million to go away.

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Don’t fret about the trades, because Tigers ‘prospects’ usually suck

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

You would never think one simple transaction that occurred nearly 30 years ago would scar the entire fan base of a team for more than a generation.

Doyle Alexander

Doyle Alexander

August 12, 1987. The Tigers entered play 64-46 and a game and a half back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. This group of Tigers was the last stand of a veteran group that had played together for most of the 80s and that had won the 1984 World Series Championship. Team management knew they needed to make a move to try to get them over the top because most everybody knew that this was it for the “Bless You Boys” Tigers. (They were right, just two years later the Tigers lost 103 games and spent the next two decades as a laughing stock).

The move was trading for Doyle Alexander, who at the time was 37-years-old and would be coming to his eighth major league team, was in his 17th season and had won 165 games in the major leagues. To get Alexander from the Atlanta Braves, the Tigers a traded a 20-year-old pitcher who had been a 22nd-round draft pick the year before and had gone 11-18 with a 4.78 ERA in the minors who was not exactly considered a prospect named John Smoltz. The trade worked out great for the Tigers, Alexander went 9-0 down the stretch as the Tigers beat out Toronto and won the AL East and made what would be their last playoff appearance for 19 years.

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Breaking down the major trades of the Dombrowski era

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

It is that time of year again. The Tigers are running away with the American League Central, the bullpen is mostly unreliable and the Tigers are linked in trade rumors with just about any reliever that’s on a 25-man roster and has a pulse. Since he fired Randy Smith and took over as general manager on April 8, 2002, Dave Dombrowski has made a ton of trades. When compiling them, his total tonnage of trades filled up nine pages of Microsoft Word document. Most of them, as most trades are these days, were inconsequential moves that amount to both teams just shuffling deck chairs (especially pre-2006, when the team was bad and had nothing of value to trade). Despite that, Dombrowski has also pulled of a few major trades that have shocked everybody and has an immediate impact on the field. Dombrowski has made most of his major trades in the offseason while his in-season moves tend to be lesser deals as he often does not want to overpay at the trade deadline in what always is a sellers market. Here we will look at the major trades of the Dombrowski era (with all due to respect to the Jose Macias for Chris Truby trade in May 2002) in chronological order and how they turned out for the Tigers. Continue reading

The All-Star Game is broken, stop trying to fix it

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

This week is the four most boring days of the sporting calendar. It is the only four days of the year where there are no regular or postseason games of the four major North American sports (the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA). That being said, TV producers and sports editors across the country just can’t put up a metaphorical sign that says, “see you Friday.”

So, the lowest of the low-hanging fruit on the sports content tree gets picked and that fruit is MLB All-Star week and how to “fix it.”

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Don’t #PickRick

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

Of all the good things that Bud Selig has done in his two decades-plus as the commissioner of Major League Baseball (interleague play, the original Wild Card and now the expanded Wild Card, instant replay), but his tinkering with the All-Star Game will be a black mark on his legacy that will follow him like the Iranian hostage crisis follows Jimmy Carter.

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