After an impressive 8-4 start and winning three series while splitting another one, the Detroit Tigers are starting to fall apart. The Tigers were already without slugger J.D. Martinez to start the season, but he could be nearing a return in the coming weeks.
In his absence, Mikie Mahtook (3-for-19, 1 XBH) and Tyler Collins (11-for-43, 1 XBH) were tasked with handling right field. At the very least, they’ve been serviceable until J.D. comes back.
However, because J.D. was injured, that opened up a spot for JaCoby Jones, who is 0-for-14 in the last week with 9 strikeouts, in center field, along with Andrew Romine, who’s for 1-for-20 in the last week. While JaCoby’s defense has been above average, for the most part, the Tigers need more from the center field offensively.
Now joining J.D. Martinez on the disabled list is Jose Iglesias, who was placed on the 7-day concussion DL after a bad feed from Ian Kinsler which cost the Tigers a win. In his absence, Dixon Machado will take over, who’s able to fill in adequately on defense for a week.
Also, today, the Tigers announced that Miguel Cabrera will hit the 10-day DL for a right groin strain. This will be a big blow for the Tigers, since it’s unknown how serious the injury really is. John Hicks was recalled by the Tigers today to man 1B against left-handed pitchers. Hicks has yet to play first base this season, as he’s primarily a catcher. Some thought that an actual first baseman such as Efren Navarro or even James Loney, who the Tigers recently signed, should be recalled instead.
So, that covers the lineup where the Tigers are missing 3 All-Stars and are having no offensive production from the center field position. Splendid.
Now about that bullpen.
Simply put, overall, the bullpen has been atrocious like any other year. Outside of Justin Wilson’s 7.1 no-hit innings and perhaps Shane Greene’s 5 IP with 1 ER, no one has been consistent. Alex Wilson is probably the best of the rest with a 3.86 ERA in 7 IP. K-Rod has blown 2 saves already with a 5.40 ERA. Kyle Ryan has an atrocious 7.71 ERA in 4.2 IP. Anibal Sanchez, the former starter turned long reliever, has given up 15 runs in 10 IP. Bruce Rondon was sent to Triple-A after allowing 6 ER in 1.1 IP. Joe Jimenez had a masterful debut, but gave up a big three-run home run last night after entering the game after Justin Verlander had walked the bases loaded. The Tigers could really use Blaine Hardy to pitch clean innings, allowing the Tigers to demote Kyle Ryan once Iglesias returns in a few days. The Tigers also need Joe Jimenez to put last night’s outing behind him and bring him in situations where there aren’t runners on, at least until he gets a better feel of the majors. Anibal Sanchez needs to go and be replaced by Arcenio Leon who has pitched very well in Toledo.
The starting rotation started off relatively strong, but need to have better outings as of late, though that could be due to Tropicana Field messing with the entire team. The kids, Norris, Fulmer, and Boyd, all have sub-4.00 ERAs in the young season while the veterans, Verlander and Zimmerman, have ERAs around 6.
All in all, the Tigers are in a four-game slide, now a game behind Cleveland in a weak division so far, missing Cabrera, Martinez, and Iglesias, having a bullpen that is unable to hold a lead, and the Tigers need better pitching from Verlander and Zimmerman.