We’ve learned an awful lot about the Detroit Tigers over the past 4 days. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- They aren’t playing very well. Getting swept by the Mariners at home is nothing short of an embarrassment.
- Even their blind, obsessed, passionate love affair with Brandon Inge wasn’t completely immune. The longest tenured Tiger is no more. Clete Thomas be damned.
- Perhaps the Tigers shouldn’t drink alcohol anymore, ever. More to come on Delmon Young below.
Add it all up and you just might be asking yourself, ‘what the hell is going on around here’. Well, at least Mike Ilitch is asking that question while Dave Dombrowski is hiding in his office closet.
Addressing breakdown point #1:
The Tigers are 10-9, tied with Cleveland and Chicago atop the AL Central. The Tigers just got bushwhacked by the feeble Seattle Mariners. Seattle, who had just been no-hit, outscored the Tigers 21-9 in the series and outhit them 37-23.
This just in – Seattle’s offense stinks. It is easily one of the worst in the league.
The Tigers have churned their pitching staff yet again after this most recent debacle. Out go Adam Wilk and Thad Weber, in come Brayan Villarreal and Luke Putkonen. Look for Duane Below to start in Wilk’s spot the next time through the rotation. Please note: if you pitch well in Toledo for a few weeks you just might get the call-up.
Count the addition of Brad Eldred (see below for more) to the batting order and the Tigers have already rostered 32 different players this season. The bottom line is that the Tigers are in a funk and searching for answers.
This team will hit, and probably very soon. They will pitch better, and probably as soon as Doug Fister makes his triumphant return. They won’t play better defense though, just get used to that.
Regardless of the lackadaisical start the Tigers have put forth to their season of hope, I hereby urge you to breathe. The Tigers will win this division. Much like last year when I promised you that the Indians would fold and the Tigers would take the crown, this year will be no different. The Tigers have looked boring and flawed so far in 2012, but come late September, they’ll be atop the heap.
Addressing breakdown point #2:
Brandon Inge is gone. And it’s real this time. When he was demoted last season to AAA I thought for sure that it was the end of the road for the long-time Tiger. This time though, there’s no turning back.
While you celebrate his termination, we should also reach back and celebrate a fine career by Inge. Would you believe that, in my opinion, he is the 3rd greatest Tigers 3rd baseman of all-time? Click here to see the list. It’s a historically weak position for the Tigers, but there he is nonetheless.
Brandon became a man without a position when the Tigers signed Prince Fielder and moved Miguel Cabrera to 3rd. Detroit gave him every chance to earn regular time at 2nd base but his 2 for 20 start to the season along with sketchy defensive play were the straws that finally caved in the camel’s back.
Inge was a Tiger for parts of 12 seasons and participated in 2 playoff runs. He was here through the good times and the bad. And now he’s gone. Let’s not stomp on his grave but remember what a solid ballplayer he was, despite his inability to hit for average.
Had the Tigers not held on as long as they did, perhaps they wouldn’t have had to sacrifice Clete Thomas’ roster spot. With Delmon Young’s uncertain future and Brennan Boesch’s struggles, perhaps another outfielder would be nice to have around, if nothing more than for depth purposes. Which brings us to….
Addressing breakdown point #3:
Apparently Delmon Young spent the wee hours of the morning using his oversized tongue to yap at a New York City panhandler and eventually scuffling with some Chicago tourists. And then he sobered up while learning of his potential criminal issues.
Between Cabrera, Gerald Laird, and now Young, the Tigers have had their fill of alcohol related issues. This mainly gets sticky because the Tigers may be interested in moving Young via trade later in the year. Legal and personal issues might make that difficult.
In an unrelated move, the Tigers called up Brad Eldred on Thursday. The 31-year old journeyman minor leaguer has been on a mission for the Mud Hens so far in 2012. His 13 homers and 35 RBI’s lead the entire planet. Jim Leyland is going to slot him in at DH right away.
If Young is playing, which is the likely scenario, he’ll be in left, Eldred will DH, and Andy Dirks will ride pine. If Young becomes a mess and Eldred has truly found his swing after all these years, then Dirks can play more regularly in left and nothing really changes.
Roster questions aside, Delmon Young is a moron. He should be suspended, fined, but probably not jailed for what he did. This offseason we wondered if he would buy in mentally to the Tigers’ plan of attack in 2012. This is an ominous sign.
Athletes are paid millions and given special advantages in life. Why raising hell on the streets of New York long after midnight becomes a part of the equation will never register with most Americans. If the 26-year old Young takes his fame for granted and jeopardizes his career, he need not look far for answers. Many have fallen victim to a similar fate. Time to grow up DY.