1st Place in AL Central

  • Your Detroit Tigers have regained 1st pace in the AL central after a 2-7 win over the Indians last night. Going in to the game last evening the Tigers were half a game out of 1st place but with a victory and a Royal (pun intended) loss by the Kansas City Royals, we regained the lead. It has been a very shaky season for Brad Ausmus and hopefully this recent hot stretch can carry us into the playoffs. With the one game playoff system for the Wild Card now, it is much more important to win the division. We are still looking for bullpen improvements going down the stretch, as a rare hot streak from Phil Coke has helped in the 8th inning. Jim Johnson has been coming in when we are up (or down) by a lot of runs late in games. Ausmus is trying to get him back on track to where he was when he was with the Orioles. If he can be that good then we will have a guaranteed win with a lead going into the 9th inning. Now with Soria coming off the DL, our bullpen is looking better. Nathan has been getting better as well recently. Our offense has been extremely streaky as of late too. We have 11,0, and 7 runs in the last three games... V-Mart, JD, and Cabrera have been hot lately but no one else seems to be. Kinsler, Avila, and Hunter need to step up this month. And it's time for a playoff push so we need to be firing on all cylinders to get there!

Anibal’s Injury

Anibal Sanchez has had a setback in his rehab assignment and will most likely miss remainder of season. Anibal was a huge part to the rotation and without him we’ll need to continue this, what has been, awful carousel of minor league pitchers trying to pitch in the majors. It is said that he might be back for postseason…. If we make the postseason. Ausmus has had an Extremely disappointing second half of the season, having one of the worst records since the all star break. We are a game and a half out of first in the central and half a game out of the second wild card. At one point before the all star break we were 6 games up of the Royals, but with an awful bullpen so far and a lack of a 5th rotation man we have been arguably the worst team in baseball since the break. Ausmus has made a lot of managerial mistakes this season and hopefully the walk off in last nights game against the Yankees can give us some momentum going into the seven game away stand coming up against the White Sox and the Indians. With both of these 2 teams struggling this year, hopefully we can take advantage! We also want to thank Derek Jeter for all he has done for baseball and Michigan, as he is from Kalamazoo, and goodbye Captain! In Jeter’s last game in Comerica he went 0-4 with 4 groundouts but we gave him a standing ovation in his last at bat. Thanks Mr. Jeter!

Miguel Cabrera injury

Miguel Cabrera is out of the lineup today, Sunday the 24th for his ankle. He has been complaining about the ankle for about a week now and with the Tigers slipping as much as they have recently Ausmus has decided to rest him today. Cabrera has been struggling a lot recently so this could be an important day off. We have an off day tomorrow so he’ll get 2 days off which should help him if it’s as minor as he says. The Tigers have been one of the worst teams in baseball since the all star break. And since our division is one of the worst in baseball, if we get 2nd place we will not make the wildcard. 2nd place in the AL Central is equivalent to 3rd in what are considered “bad divisions” and 4th or even last in “good divisions”. Unfortunately we will need to gain the 3 game lead the Royals have on us if we want to make the playoffs. We will need Cabrera to do that. Our bullpen will need to improve and we will need production out of Anibal’s replacement(s) whoever that is that game. And most importantly our offense will need to actually score runs. Which as easy as it sounds with our stacked offense on paper, we have not been able to do that in the last 3 weeks. It’s crunch time and we need to step up! Go Tigers!

Record at time of post: 69-59

Jim Johnson called up; Melvin Mercedes sent down

Although Mercedes had a great MLB debut, it will only last one game for his first stint as Jim Johnson was called up. Johnson, despite a lovely career, and stellar last 2 years has been awful this year with a 7.1 era, being released by Oakland. In Toledo, he had a 3.86 ERA, but Toledo manager Larry Parrish says he looks better than his numbers. Johnson will try his luck once again In Detroit. With Johnson, Soria, and Nathan, the Tigers have 3 of the best closers in the last decade on their roster. But the fact that 2 of them are struggling majorly and the other is injured, the Tigers bullpen continues to be the worst (second worst. Sorry Astros …) in the MLB.

Melvin Mercedes called up

Melvin was recently called up from triple-A. He is a bullpen pitcher who at triple-A threw a pedestrian 4.33 ERA. Mercedes is a young bullpen prospect, with a triple digit fastball and a nice slider to fool hitters with. He lacks control however which is why he can’t find success at triple-A. Melvin will add right handed pitching depth to the back of the bullpen. The Tigers love hard throwing relievers. However this is probably another case of a reliever being rushed to the MLB. Like Bruce Rondon last year. Melvin has a nice future, if he’s not plagued by Tommy John surgery. On the bright side, Melvin may strike extra adrenaline upon the excitement of being called up and start to control the baseball more. But the chances of this are eclipsed by the chances that Jim Johnson is called up to replace him. Meanwhile Buck Farmer was sent to triple-A. You may see him again filling in for Verlander or Anibal (pending on Rays status).

Buck Who?

  • Buck Farmer is his name and as stated in our last post he made his major league debut yesterday. We thought it was weird considering he had only had two starts.... In double-A. In 18 Starts in Single-A this year he did very well with a 10-5 record and only a 2.60 ERA. His two double-A starts he went 1-0 giving up 2 runs in each game. We really didn't know what to expect from Buck, but he did very well considering he's never pitched above Double-A. He went 5 innings giving up 4 runs (all earned) on 6 hits with a walk and 4 K's. He got the no decision because of some 2 out heroics in the bottom of the 5th by Victor Martinez. Buck has done very well in the minors since being drafted by the Tigers in the 5th round in 2013. The future is bright for Mr. Farmer and maybe in a few seasons he'll be back in the Majors for good.

Tigers push Porcello back, Buck Farmer to make spot start tomorrow

After Porcello pitched in the 19 inning game, His start will move to Friday, and Buck Farmer will make a spot start tomorrow. This is an interesting one, considering Farmer has only pitched in low-A (2.60 ERA) and double-A (3.00). This is odd because spot starters are only used from triple-A usually, and Buck Farmer despite some success in double-A lacks experience there, let alone being MLB ready. It seems that Dombrowski’s oddest moves seem to be most successful. But the only chances of success are because scouting reports on double-A pitchers are invisible, therefore, hitters have no idea what’s coming. However, that fact Doesn’t matter if you’re a terrible pitcher, which double-A pitchers are (but let’s not forget that Farmer is inexperienced In double-A. His career has been 80% LOW-A a level In which nobody at no time is MLB ready). So the low chance Buck Farmer succeeds is only superseded by the low chance the front office gets out of this unscathed. Although the front office mayn’t need to worry about the criticism, considering Ausmus put Cabrera in the 4th spot today.

Tigers lose lead, DL woes

Anibal Sanchez was put on the DL, And will be out for a month. Robbie Ray, despite a less than stellar recent performance In triple-A was awarded the call-up, and will offer very inconsistent pitching for the Tigers, anywhere from a shutout to a blowout. This is a downgrade from Sanchez, and this will also flatten the lineup given Sanchez’s presence in the clubhouse, and the adrenaline produced by his strikeout ability. Soria was also injured. He won’t be a hit for the clubhouse but the bullpen. Kevin Whelan was the call-up, a 30 year old who has been phenomenal in AAA, with a 1.85 ERA and he hasn’t yielded a run for a month. He was their 9th inning guy too, doing well in saves too. His debut yesterday however made it appear he wasn’t MLB ready. The red hot Royals have overtaken the Tigers, and if that’s not scary Enough, Cabrera and JD’s average are on track to fall below .300. They’re at .304 right now. The lineup—everyone but Victor—is slumping or underperforming. The Pitchers are doing well, but are plagued by lack of run support and bullpen help. Ausmus himself is making mistakes these last 10 days. The Tigers have pulled out of slumps before, and the Royals have froze after hot streaks before. If they can’t this time however, this could be the end of the season, and the end of Ausmus’s career.

Dirks experiences another setback, Tigers increase interest in international free agents

Dirks strained his hamstring again, and is, yet again, going to be pulled from his rehab assignment. There will be no timetable for his return as of now, and a return by October is a flying down a wishing well at this point. This has increased interest in Cuban FA outfielders Rusney Castillo and Yasmani Tomas. Both players are able to sign at any point now and both are receiving attention from Tigers scouts. Castillo, the more notable one in terms of chances of signing with the tigers, won’t likely provide an instant impact but rather one next year, as Dombrowski is intent on Davis in center field while featuring Carrera at least for this season. Castillo’s been scouted by 28/30 MLB teams In his most recent Miami showcase. His stock is high considering the love scouts have for his all around ability (most notably speed and contact) as well as the successes of other Cuban defectors such as Puig, Cespedes, and Abreu.

Tigers get even better

This morning, the A’s got even better by trading Yoenis Cespedes, a fan favorite, for Jonny Gomes and Jon Lester. Their rotation now includes Lester, Samardzija, Kazmir, Gray, and Chavez. All of them having fascinating years. They became the best team in baseball by far this morning. Then, 6 minutes before the deadline at 4 o’clock, news broke out that David Price had been acquired by the Tigers, and Austin Jackson had to leave in the middle of an inning because he was traded to Seattle. The trade details are all below as well as Tigers 18 year old inf prospect Willy Adames sent to TB. Now, the Tigers have a rotation with talent very comparable to Oakland. Price has been outstanding in the last 2 months. This recent success mainly due to his xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) stat, an advanced stat that measures How a pitcher will do in terms of skill only, not the fielding or ballpark behind him. Considering Price now inherits a better defense and a huge ballpark, his tenure with the Tigers should be outstanding. It cost the Tigers Drew Smyly, a pitcher who the Tigers loved but he was taking on a large workload this year, and most likely would’ve had to have his innings limited, lest he get seriously injured. Doing so would’ve been a huge inconvenience and even so, Price was a huge upgrade. Austin Jackson was traded to Seattle, as well. Jackson was beginning to either get it together or flash in the pan, but either way, He still has been garbage in the playoffs, which is a problem for a serious world series bound team. The Tigers also gave up Willy Adames, an 18 year old prospect. He was in competition with another very young shortstop prospect. Overall, the Tigers got a steal. Price will replace Scherzer when he leaves. The Tigers and the Athletics are gonna have one interesting ALCS. Before this trade, it was uncertain that the Tigers would do well in the playoffs. Now, they show that they can. Trades can still happen now but they have to pass thru waivers, so backups and bullpen pitchers are the only ones traded during this period, so this doesn’t count out the possibility of acquiring Antonio Bastardo In August. In other moves, Ian Krol will be sent to triple-A in an effort to get him back on track. Pat McCoy will be reinstated from the DL to take his place in the bullpen. That leaves one more roster spot that will be taken by the call-up of Ezekiel Carerra, who’s batted over .300 the entire year in Toledo. The benefits of Carerra include great defense, many stolen bases, and a Left handed bat that’s been very consistently great in triple-A. He will share reps with Rajai Davis in center field.

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Tigers make trade

For Joakim Soria. Soria is 17/19 In save opportunities with a very impressive 2.70 ERA. It’s not clear whether he will immediately be inserted in the closer role (most likely not) but it is almost certain he will be eventually. Joe Nathan is way too inconsistent. The Rangers got Cory Knebel and Jake Thompson—a minor league RHP. Although Thompson is rather irrelevant, and will grow up to be an average bullpen pitcher, Knebel on the other hand could grow up to be a ligit closer or setup man. He struggled because he was rushed to the majors. He won’t reach his potential for a number of years. If Nathan gets his act together like he slowly is (I believe it’s just inconsistency. He’s not improving, just on and off sometimes) that means the Tigers have him, Chamberlain, and Soria for the 7, 8, 9 innings, hoping the starter lasts thru 6 (they usually do). This definitely secures them a playoff spot, but a lack of left handed hitting and a still rather weak bullpen do not constitute a deep playoff run. The trading deadline, however, is not yet upon us.