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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Cabrera needs to think of team rather than fans, skip Home Run Derby

By Joe Martinez
@JoeM3120

The annual home run derby the night before the MLB All-Star Game is one of the best events in sports.  Even though the event is way too long and we have to endure Chris Berman on play-by-play every year, some of the fondest memories from my childhood as a baseball fan were watching Ken Griffey Jr., Mark McGwire, and the rest of the steroid infused sluggers of the 1990s launch homers into the seats.

Miguel Cabrera has to reason to participate in the HR Derby

Miguel Cabrera has to reason to participate in the HR Derby

That being said, I want Miguel Cabrera nowhere the 2013 edition Monday night at CitiField. Continue reading

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be; April 22nd

The Week That Was
This week started off looking very good and then spiraled out of control and ended in a disaster.  The Tigers took the first two on the road in Seattle and were primed to sweep the Mariners with Justin Verlander taking the mound on Thursday afternoon against the M’s.  That’s where everything fell off the rails.  The Tigers were shut out by Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners bullpen, managing only five hits and wasting a 12-strikeout performance by Verlander.  Even with the loss, the Tigers had won four of their first six on the road and were looking at the propsect of a winning record on the nine-game West Coast road trip.

Then the team went to Anaheim and everything fell apart.  In the three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels, the Tigers went 3-for-26 with runners in scoring position and left 31 men on base were outscored 24-4.  The offense which was on fire in the previous week, turned in five consecutive awful performances.  In the past five games which spans 54 innings thanks to extra inning games, the Tigers have scored six total runs and were shutout twice and one of those runs was in the 9th inning on Friday night against the Angels while trailing 8-0.

Weekly Record: 2-4 (2-1 vs. Mariners, 0-3 vs. Angels)
Season Record: 9-9 (3rd place AL Central, 1.5 GB of Kansas City Royals
Division Record: 1-2 (1-2 vs. Twins)

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The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be; April 15th

The Week That Was
The Tigers 2013 season continues it’s pogo stick like trajectory, thus far.  The Tigers have not won more than two games in a row at any point thus far in 2013 but have yet to lose more than two games in a row and sat in a first place tie in the American League Central with the Kansas City Royals after action completed on Sunday.  The offense (especially Prince Fielder) is finally starting to click on all cylinders as Sunday’s win over the Oakland A’s got the Tigers to two games above .500 for the first time in 2013 but the work from the bullpen has been just awful, as they have blown leads and utlimately taken the loss in three of the five Tigers losses.

Weekly Record: 4-2 (2-1 vs. Blue Jays, 2-1 vs. A’s)
Season Record: 7-5 (T-1st AL Central with Kansas City Royals)
Division Record: 1-2 (1-2 vs. Twins)

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