Tom Greene | June 10th, 2019
Tiger fans like me know that in early June, this season almost seems to be a lost cause. It’s just a matter of time before this team will sell some assets in return for top-100 prospects… or so, it seems. Fans aren’t thinking too positively of this as two years since the J.D. Martinez trade, only Dawel Lugo has made the Major League club. This has people questioning Al Avila, and seeing what he will do this time around. As for now, let’s break down the struggles in 500 words or less (Oops, I’ve already used 96!)
Let’s start there. In a previous article I wrote, pitching was at the forefront of the struggles. It still is today. Ron Gardenhire is having to resort to any and all pitchers he can… except Casey Mize. There is a reason for this. Yes, he’s pitching well in the minor leagues, but remember, he’s still the #1 draft pick from last season. In baseball, this means a minimum of two years before he is ready, unless it’s an emergency. In September, he could become a call-up, as he could be an arm ready to go.
As for today’s pitchers on the big club, Gardy is asking for innings due to injuries. As four of the initial starting five are on the IL, anyone and everyone is available to take the hill. Spencer Turnbull, Ryan Carpenter and Gregory Soto have had to take starts. On other teams, these pitchers may still be in the minor leagues. However, on this depleted Tiger team, they’ve had to fill the void. The active starters’ ERA is a whopping 5.98. Sure, 1000 runs for your offense would be a great year, but asking them to depend on it is just unrealistic.
Yup, it’s still pitching, but it needs its separate subheading. The pen, minus Shane Greene, has a 6.80 ERA. Averaging the starter’s and pen’s ERA (Starters going 6), the pitching has been atrocious enough to where the offense has to average 8.25 runs per nine innings to win a game. If Greene is dealt in July, Comerica Park could become what it was for Bobby Abreu in 2005- the Home Run Derby.
Sunday was a precursor to what could be. The Twins hit four home runs on Sunday off Tiger pitching. The Tigers hit three home runs all series. While home runs aren’t what an offense should depend on, this season has seen its share of moonshots.
Needless to say, the Tigers and tiger fans are in for a long rest of 2019. Rumors have already circled around trades for Matthew Boyd and Greene. Avila, despite being questioned heavily by Tiger fans, has drafted well. Mize and Riley Greene will make their mark on the club, and hopefully sooner rather than later. But as for trades, it hasn’t gone well, and the rebuild seems to be leading the team nowhere. It could be 2021 before the team is competitive again. Strap on your seat belts, Tiger fans! A bumpy road lies ahead.
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