What’s Wrong With The Detroit Tigers?


It can only get better right?

Detroit Tigers
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Tigers Troubles

AJ Reilly: The Detroit Tigers have won one series all year long against the Baltimore Orioles. It's time to win another series. And this is the time to do it. No more of the excuses, everybody's dealing with injuries. It's time to put up or it's time to shut up, but that's going to lead me to the final thing that I want to discuss tonight and that is, what is wrong with the Tigers?

Know, we came into the season on other shows that we have here at Detroit Sports Nation. We've talked about the Tigers specifically Straight Shootin’ that I have hosted with one of our co-hosts Matt Bassett. And we talked about the Tigers, especially during the lockout and as the season got started. One of the things that we talked about and said is this needs to be a 500 or a few games above 500 club.

Right now they're 13 games under 500. They are on pace to score fewer runs this year than they did in 2003. In fact, former player, Joel Zumaya through a Facebook post or an Instagram post up a social media post, we'll just call it that right up today, criticizing the Detroit Tigers, specifically their front office.

It's an article that you can find on Detroit Sports Nation. But there's a lot of blame to be placed.  One, we look at the construction of a roster. The roster has been built around arms. And guess what? Those arms are doing well, but you cannot win baseball games if you do not score runs. And according to fan graphs, if you look at the team's overall offensive stats, the Tigers rank dead last offensively in the MLB.

They are not a good offensive ball club. They're striking out about 24, 20 5% of the time, which is not going to bode well. Earlier in the week, they had a hard-hit rate of under 35% and a hard-hit rate is measured at balls that leave the bat at 95 miles per hour or higher. And the Tigers are doing that less than 35% of the time. This means they're not barreling up baseballs.

They're making contact very often with baseballs, cause they're striking out a ton and it can go back to the way that the roster is constructed. And the man that has constructed that roster. nobody complains that we drafted Casey Mize. No problem with it because Mize is going to be phenomenal.

We've seen him be phenomenal and we wish him a speedy recovery. When you continue to load up on arms in the draft and you fail to load up on offensive bats, you get the problem that we have now. Again, going back to the way the roster is constructed, I love Javy Baez. I love watching him play defense.

He's a great defensive shortstop, makes the crazy plays, and then makes the routine plays a little odd sometimes. I understand that. And you have to understand that when he comes to your team. But the one thing that is the most obvious thing is his approach at the plate and Javy's timing and the way that he is approaching his at-bats are not going to help this team. 

He's clearly pressing. Anybody that's hitting around 200. And has signed a deal that he signed in the off-season, is going to be pressing and Javy's gotta relax. But I go back to the way the roster is constructed and back to Al Avila. You've built all these arms in the system.

Great job they’re performing but you have not built a team. Because you have holes in your lineup and the one prospect, not prospect, but the one free agent that you win after in the off-season is a notorious free swinger. Now you made a trade. Isaac Paredes is for. Great trade on the surface. Meadows is obviously dealing with a medical condition.

And we wish him the speediest of recoveries as well because we need him in our lineup. But Meadows is also only around 260 to 280 hitter. We have not put people in our lineup that can make contact with the ball get on base, draw walks, hit the gaps, or hit singles. And it's starting to rear its head of how this roster has actually been constructed.

It's a problem. What's wrong with the Tigers is the way the roster has been constructed. And I don't mean to be hopeless because I of all people tend to be an eternal optimist when it comes to the Detroit Tigers. I had them at or above 500 to begin the season. I still believe that they're going to turn a corner and be closer to 500 this year than they are farther away.

Even took a bet with somebody that they're not going to lose 90 games this season. I am an eternal optimist. I get into arguments about how in the next 10 years, the Tigers are going to win more than the White Sox. And winning is a broad term. I will always back the Tigers and hope for the best with the Tigers, but we also have to be realistic.

We had to be realistic in the fact that this team right now is not playing well. Specifically, because they're not hitting well. Now, I don't know if the YouTube broadcast of the finale in Minnesota, but it was the free game of the day, on YouTube TV. And, the play-by-play guy had made a statement that Detroit's magic number is three. Because in games when they score three or more runs, now that they beat Minnesota in the finale, 14 and 7.

But when they score less than three runs, we know what their record is. They’re 1 in 21, which is not great. So what's wrong with the Tigers? They suck at hitting. That's what's wrong with the Tigers? If they want to turn the corner, they've got to get to a better approach at the plate. They have to be more disciplined.

They have to look to draw walks. But has their roster that has been constructive by the GM with player profiles that have good approaches, that draw walks, that put the bat to the ball? I know Candelario gets a lot of flack for his slow starts and his streakiness, but he is one of our more disciplined hitters.

He has longer at-bats and yes, he strikes out, but he also pops up. I get that, but he also has a really good gap to gap approach when it comes to hitting. For the Detroit Tigers, this is going to be a big weekend because after these four games with the Cleveland, and I almost said Indians, the Cleveland Guardians.

They then again, host the Minnesota Twins. That is, I think, 15 games in the last two weeks against two teams because Rob Manfred and his schedulers are just mensae. But this is a big weekend because you can build momentum going into a series early next week with the Minnesota Twins that could set you up to turn the corner and we're not looking for a wild card. 

We're not looking for a World Series right now. We're not even looking for, let's say, even above 500 baseball. All we're looking for is to be competitive. What can the Tigers do to get as close to 500 as possible this season? It starts with their approach at the plate.

It starts with getting the right players in the lineup who have the right approach at the plate so that they can put runs on the board. And so the pitching staff that has been constructed and is performing well, including the bullpen, which we never thought we would say in Detroit can continue to hold those runs from the opposing team down.

And if our runs start going up and their runs start going down, it does not take a rocket scientist to see how the corner will be turned.

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