Detroit Tigers: Offense And Pitching Woes Lead To Miserable Week 8


(To read Week 7’s issue, click here.)

Week 8 was an absolutely miserable week for the 2015 Detroit Tigers. It started off fine with a 2-1 series win over the Oakland Athletics (though they were outscored in that series), but the weekend set against the Los Angeles Angels easily set a new low point for the season.

The Tigers are amazingly terrible on the road against the Angels. Since 2012 they’re an outstanding 1-13 against them. After the Metrodome went down a few years ago it seems Angel Stadium is the Tigers new Achilles heel.

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Looking back on the week, both the Tigers offense and their pitching was a big part of their struggles. Over the 7 games during the week they scored a grand total of 14 runs and allowed 32. There is no way to win consistently like that.

The fan base has been up in arms recently and, honestly speaking, they have a right to be. The Tigers just haven’t been playing very well. The pitching hasn’t been consistent at all recently. Alfredo Simon missed his start this week and it partly led to some chaos within the Tigers starting staff.

One thing to look at is the base-running of this Tigers team. Last week the double plays were mentioned as a relative non-issue since the Tigers were still ranked highly in offensive stats.

But poor base running is really hurting them. While speed brings a new dimension to this team, they’re running into outs far too often. They need to be more selective when it comes to being aggressive so they don’t ruin their chances at a rally.

Scoring chances are increasingly becoming few and far between and it’s really hurting the offense. The Tigers need to step up their game when they come out to play in Week 9.

And now, here’s a look back at Week 8 for the 2015 Detroit Tigers.

Record: 2-5

@ OAK: 2-1

@ LAA: 0-4

Game of the Week: Wednesday, May 27th vs Oakland Athletics 3-2 W

With Week 8 being so disappointing any bright moments stick out for Tigers fans. This week’s Game of the Week was easily the game against the Athletics where Alex Wilson was forced to spot start.

Wilson and recently-recalled Kyle Ryan each pitched masterfully for three innings. Wilson has secretly been very good for the Tigers thus far as a versatile arm. He’s been lights out and has solidified whatever role Manager Brad Ausmus has him pitch in.

Ryan was told that he was being called up and pitched the next day. He arrived around only an hour before the game and threw three innings of solid relief.

But easily the biggest highlight of the game was by Yoenis Cespedes. After A’s Manager Bob Melvin elected to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera to get to Cespedes, the narrative was perfectly set up.

A batter in the homecoming series against his former team trying to get revenge for his current team? The result was too good to draw up.

Cespedes would go on to blast a line drive home run over the left field wall. That’s all the Tigers needed as they went on to win 3-2.

With such a rough week ahead of them the Tigers were able to squeak out a win against the hapless Athletics. With the offense scuffling Cespedes really needed to step up in that spot. And step up he did.

Tigers Pitching Performance of the Week:

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  • Anibal Sanchez vs Los Angeles Angels 5/29/15

    Line: 7 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 9 K, 6 H, 2 BB, 117 pitches, 78 strikes

    With such a rough Week 8 there was one positive the Tigers can take from this week. That positive comes in the form of struggling pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

    He was absolutely rocked in his last start before this against the Baltimore Orioles. With him pitching in such an important game against the Angels the results to this start had huge implications.

    After all, the supposed number two starter going into the season really needed to start picking things up if the Tigers were going to compete. Sanchez would go on to throw seven solid innings of two-run ball against the Angels.

    Perhaps the most encouraging part was his nine strikeouts compared to only two walks. He was throwing strikes and eventually led to an overall solid performance against the Angels. The Tigers are going to need performances like this from their number two starter going forward.

    While there were some other pitching performances that could have been highlighted (David Price, Alex Wilson over the week), Sanchez’s takes the cake for how important a start like this will be going forward.

    Starters not only have an impact on the game they’re pitching but also an effect on the bullpen. The Tigers will need Sanchez going six to seven innings consistently as well to get them through games.

    Biggest Takeaways from Week 8

    The few takeaways from Week 8 that must be looked at have already been loosely looked at already. Base running is one thing that the Tigers need to look at closely.

    The stats say that stolen bases need to be successful roughly 75% of the time to generate positive value. Otherwise it might end up hurting the team. While the team does have speedsters in Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose (and a few others that will attempt to steal) they need to know when it makes sense to run.

    Teams are adjusting their game plan to the Tigers now having a running game and it’s starting to slowly show. Sometimes setting the runners in motion isn’t worth it if it leads to a bad result consistently.

    Another place to look at is the return of Anibal Sanchez. As discussed before his re-emergence is really key to this club. He needs to pitch well and solidify the Tigers shaky rotation.

    Good news is coming on the way to the Tigers though. It looks like Simon will be on his way back to make his scheduled start. And with news that Justin Verlander made his rehab start he might be on his way to coming back to the rotation.

    Verlander’s results were somewhat sketchy (2.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 SO, 2 BB), but he needs to shake off some rust. His velocity seemed to sit around 91-93 mph around the early parts of the game which isn’t necessarily bad. He’ll probably need to make another start or two for the Tigers to feel comfortable inserting him into the Major League rotation again.

    Another pitcher who is currently rehabbing in Triple-AAA Toledo is Bruce Rondon. The young flamethrower is once again working back from injury. The only difference this year is that he seems to be near his return to pitching in the Majors again.

    While he’s had very minimal success (a solid stretch in September 2013), if he could come in and slide into the 8th inning role it would be huge. It’s been well-documented how poorly  Joba Chamberlain has performed in that role. While he’s maintained a low ERA this season, he’s allowing tons of inherited runners to score (which doesn’t affect his ERA) and hasn’t been striking many batters out.

    The Tigers luckily will be getting some reinforcements coming their way in Week 9. It should help after such a putrid Week 8. There really wasn’t too much that Tigers fans could have cheered for in the Tigers west coast swing.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Tigers players will react to this setback. They’re 3.5 games out of 1st place in the AL Central now and can’t afford to let and see that deficit grow.

    Upcoming Schedule 6/1-6/7

    vs OAK: 6/2-6/4

    Game Times: 6/2: 7:08 PM, 6/3: 7:08 PM, 6/4: 1:08 PM

    @ CWS: 6/5-6/7

    Game Times: 6/5: 8:10 PM, 6/6: 7:15 PM, 6/7: 2:10 PM

    The Tigers will travel back to Comerica Park for a quick 3-game set against the Oakland Athletics again. This should be absolutely be another series the Tigers should handily win.

    They were able to take the series against them previously this week and they really need to bounce back this week. The series against the Angels was brutal and a bounce back series against a team in the cellars would be huge.

    Afterwards the Tigers head over to the Cell to take on their division rivals, the Chicago White Sox. The Sox are in dead last in the Central standing at a record of 23-26.

    The craziest part of this all is how bad their record is. In other words, it’s really not that bad at all. They would only be a mere 2 games out of 1st place over in the once heralded AL East.

    The AL Central is starting to really look like the best division in baseball and that should be scary for the Tigers.

    The competition is arguably at its best all throughout the division and the Tigers’ recent skid is really starting to look bad. Their 11-2 start seems like a distant past now.

    The Tigers really, really need to get back on track this week. The sub-par competition is the perfect place for them to get things back together. The fan base is up in flames and they’re now sitting 3.5 games out of 1st place.

    Next: Tigers Linked to RHP Funkhouser in Mock Draft