Just a few weeks ago, I told Tigers fans Brad Ausmus didn’t need to be fired, and in turn said there was nothing to worry about. I feel like now is as good a time as any to say I may have been wrong. At that point, we were less than two months into the season, and didn’t have a large sample size of this year’s team. Now, with a bigger sample size, I think it’s fair to say you can worry.
BUT, there is no need to push the Panic Button. Not even close. Nope. Not one bit. Okay, now I’m trying to convince myself too. At 30-33, there is some cause for concern, but being just 3 games under .500, and just 4 back in the AL Central, there is still hope. I promise!
For starters, Miguel Cabrera isn’t Miguel Cabrera yet. He has started the season cold, like always. However, this season is a different story, he’s struggled greatly at the plate this season. Through 50 games, Cabrera is hitting just .272 with only 5 home runs. But that’s just it Tigers fans! Cabrera is struggling. Once Miggy gets hot, there’s no telling what this team can do, especially if he stays healthy for a majority of the season.
Victor Martinez is another case of the early season blues. Since his huge 32 homer, 103 RBI 2014 season. In the two full seasons since then, Martinez has hit a grand total of, get ready, 38 home runs, and driven in just 140 runs. It makes you wonder, “Was 2014 just a fluke?” You are not wrong to think this, hell, you probably aren’t even wrong. Since that 2014 season, Martinez’s strikeout rate is increasing. Going from 7.4 percent in 2014, to 15.7 so far in the 2017 season. THE MAN HAS DOUBLED HIS STRIKEOUT RATE. Calm down. Calm down. He’s older, and has a slower reaction time. V-Mart just needs to find his groove.
The bullpen has sucked. Like, really really bad. The only good pitchers in the bullpen this season have been Shane Greene, who is tearing it up with a 1.82 ERA, Alex and Justin Wilson, I doubt that they’re brothers but who cares?, Warwick Saupold, and Chad Bell. Five. Five flipping pitchers. In the grand scheme of things, the bullpen probably wouldn’t look as bad if you take away Anibal Sanchez and K-Rod’s stats. Along with William Cuevas’ 108.0 ERA. If Detroit has at least two more wins if not for K-Rod, but that’s neither here nor there, and boy oh boy what happened to Anibal Sanchez? Since leading the AL in ERA with a staggering 2.57 in 2013, Sanchez has fallen off. As to be expected when you have an ERA that low, but it wasn’t a small change, it was big. In just three years, he more than doubled that number and brought it to 5.87 in 2016, his most recent full season in the majors. Detroit needs to have a strong showing from the five guys mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph the rest of the season if they have any hope of making the playoffs.
Last, but most certainly not least, JD Martinez. The man who had last season cut short by injury, and missed the first 30 or so games to injury as well. In just 29 games this year, Martinez is tormenting opposing pitchers. Batting a .303/.393/.717 with 11 home runs. JD has lit it up, and may be a hot commodity at the trade deadline if the Tigers decide to sell. Hell, even if they decide to buy, he’s a player they should get prospects for anyways. He’s already shown that he doesn’t want to sign an extension with the team.
Basically, there is some cause for concern. However, when you have one of two of the better pitchers in baseball starting every 5 days, two of the best hitters in baseball, and a decently average bullpen, there is no need whatsoever to press the Panic Button.