I can’t fathom how bad the Detroit Tigers have been this season. When you rewind a few months and recall just how optimistic most of us were about the team this year and look at what they’ve provided us thus far, it is enough to make a person nauseous.
Sure, the organization has been stricken by injury at what feels like a record pace, but injuries are part of the game. Manager A.J. Hinch mentioned earlier in the season that opposing teams will not feel bad for this club, and the healthy players need to go out and perform. That’s the problem, though; essentially, no one is performing well.
Before the start of the 2022 season, if you were to ask me what my biggest concern is surrounding the Tigers, I would have promptly answered with; their bullpen. Little do I know. Ironically, their bullpen has been basically their only strength this year aside from starting pitcher Tarik Skubal.
The Detroit Tigers, despite missing their entire Opening Day rotation aside from Skubal, are getting solid contributions from a mix-and-matched starting rotation. The Tigers are not losing games due to the laundry list of injuries to Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Eduardo Rodriquez, and Michael Pineda. They’re losing games due to their abysmal offense.
We’re heading into the Memorial Day Weekend, and the Detroit Tigers have won exactly one series this season.
What is wrong with the Detroit Tigers?
This was supposed to be a team hovering around .500 and within striking distance of a Wild Card spot throughout the month of September.
A couple of months ago, I looked up and down Detroit’s starting lineup and was excited. Was I worried about a recession from players like Akil Baddoo, Eric Haase, and Robbie Grossman? Sure, but what we’ve seen is more than a recession, plus it’s a lot more than just those three. The Detroit Tigers are getting basically no consistent offense for anyone.
You quickly realize just how bad this season could potentially be as the summer wears on. Baddoo is in Toledo; Haase doesn’t even appear to be a fraction of the threat at the plate he was last season. Robbie Grossman, who hit 23 home runs last year, isn’t hitting with any type of power. Then you add the struggles of Jonathan Schoop, Javier Baez, Jeimer Candelario, and Spencer Torkelson. Of that group, the only player hitting above .200 is Baez at .201. There is no reason why Miguel Cabrera is pacing any MLB offense at this stage of his career, but that is just what’s happening in Detroit.
Cabrera takes a team-leading 18 RBIs into tonight’s game with Cleveland. He’s also slashing a team-best .300/.346/.753 among the regulars.
Also, I hate to break it to you, but the Detroit Tigers can’t even look to Toledo for help because there are simply no players worthy of a promotion aside from Kody Clemens, who should have been recalled weeks ago now.
Help is on the way for the Detroit Tigers, but will it be enough?
Sure, Riley Greene is on his way back, but I don’t expect he will make much of an impact on the offensive side of things this season. The hope all along was for both of Detroit’s top position players (Torkelson and Greene) to get their feet wet in 2022 and prepare for takeoff in 2023. What I mean is, I expected they’d play every day, get a feel for what life and expectations are in the big leagues, and hit the ground running next season. Don’t forget that highly touted players like Mike Trout and Barry Bonds struggled as rookies. We need to curb our overall expectations for these top prospects in year one but look forward to what they will provide the organization with in the future.
If you’ve been following the MLB this season, you’re likely aware that offense has been down across the league due to a ‘dead ball.’ That being said, Detroit is currently on pace to score just 460 or so runs this season, well under what this franchise achieved back in 2003. Just the thought of that is cringe-worthy. Are you mentally prepared for a 100-plus loss season?
There are plenty of questions to ponder as the year goes on, but one thing is for sure, the Detroit Tigers need to make some profound changes this offseason if they continue this pace for the remainder of the season. Do you think manager A.J. Hinch will exercise the opt-out in his contract and skip town following the season? Al Avila can’t survive this, can he?