This team was supposed to be better offensively. In today’s game both new additions to the Detroit Tigers line-up fell short of meeting expectations. To illustrate this let’s go to the top of the seventh inning. An inning that was a microcosm for the entire series.
The Detroit Tigers came to bat in the top of the 7th down 3-2 to the Minnesota Twins. Omar Infante starts the inning by drawing a walk. The next batter Austin Jackson doubles moving Infante to 3rd base. Now Torii Hunter is at the plate with nobody out.
This is exactly what the Tigers brain trust envisioned when adding Hunter to the second spot and moving Infante to ninth. Speed on the base paths with the heart of the order coming up.
With Josh Reonicke pitching (yes I said Josh Reonicke) Torii Hunter strikes out.
With Cabrera up next Ron Gardenhire opts to intentionally walk the Tigers Triple Crown winner. With bases loaded and one out Prince Fielder strides into the batters box. The crafty Ron Gardenhire makes another change bringing in Tyler Robertson.
LHP Tyler Robertson is the Minnesota Twins left handed specialist. Although he allowed lefties to hit only .190 against him in 2012 he still posted a 5.40 ERA in 40 games last year. Prince Fielder should at least be able to make contact against Roberston right?
Instead Fielder strikes out swinging. Next up is Victor Martinez. Certainly he will be able to drive the run in after-all V-Mart is a .318 career hitter with runners in scoring position. To counter this Ron Gardenhire has one last “ace” up his sleeve bringing in the unhittable (dripping sarcasm) Casey Fein. In response Victor Martinez pops out.
The Tigers had bases loaded, 1 out and the heart of the order coming to the plate and still couldn’t score a run. But that is how the entire series went. The Detroit Tigers took advantage of opportunities given to them by the Twins but failed to create their own.
The Tigers are a much better team than the Twins and had plenty of opportunities to prove it. But whimpered instead of roared. Dropping the opening series to the Twins is a dismal start to the season for a team that has the highest expectations.
On A Good Note
Other than the situation described above you have to consider Torii Hunter’s play in this series a plus. He showed extra base power and speed. Austin Jackson looked good working the count and showing patience in the batters box. Miguel Cabrera was a tough out chipping in with 4 RBI.
Around the AL Central
The Kansas City Royals won their first game today behind Jeremy Guthrie. The defeated the Chicago White Sox who also started the season 2-1. This should be an interesting season series to watch as the Royals try to establish themselves as division contenders.
The Cleveland Indians also had a strong start to the season by taking two from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Sky Dome.