I’m not going to run this blog like I ran my sports blog a few years ago, that is, I’m not going to break down everything very heavy in stats to make my point.
Baseball talk will be limited to just that, a chat you have with your friend about baseball. I will throw in some statistical analysis every once in a while to help my sanity, but I won’t go crazy.
So the first couple weeks of the season are coming to a close and the Tigers look like one of the very best teams in the Majors. I don’t think this is a mirage, I think they will finish the season with another trip to the post-season. However, don’t be surprised when the hot streak goes cold for a lengthy time period, much like last year. Although, I don’t think they will repeat that futility either.
They’ve obviously been pitching above their heads. They’ve been pitching above everyone’s head, except maybe David Price. But the pitching won’t last and for a simple reason, strikeouts. The starting pitching has not been striking many guys out, and contact pitchers never dominate the game for long, even in front of a seemingly stellar defense.
The first week it seemed like the offense couldn’t be stopped but this last week runs have been scarce. I don’t believe this team, with this bullpen, is built to win a lot of close, low-scoring games. So far they have been very good at it but so far they have been very fortunate as well.
None of this is abnormal for a hot streak. Guys play above their head, pitching gets rolling, batted balls find gaps they don’t normally and even umpires make mistakes in your favor. But none of it is sustainable. That part is obvious.
The question is then, how far back is the retraction when this is over? My answer is: not that far. The offense is deeper than last year and so is the bench. The pitching staff is only noticeably weaker if Anibal lands on the disabled list. The bullpen can be straightened out if Soria is left in place as closer and Nathan and Rondon come off injury throwing well.
My prediction for the team was 89 wins and whether that wins the division or not, I have no idea. This is a good team, potentially really good and we should expect to see great things out of them.
Biggest surprises of the season: Shane Greene and Alex Avila. Both have markedly improved over last year in their approach and results. I figured this might happen to Greene but I honestly thought Avila’s career in Detroit was over.
Let’s see what next week and a bunch more division games and the Yankees coming to town bring!