Drew Smyly did what the team needed, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs while striking out 7 and walking only one. The offense and the bullpen failed to support him though. The Tigers only scored in one inning – the 4th – thanks to a two RBI single from JD Martinez and a 2-run homer from Austin Jackson. The bullpen failed to hold the lead Jackson’s homer secured though. Evan Reed walked the bases loaded and Brad Ausmus made the move to bring in Ian Krol. Krol rewarded his manager’s confidence by allowing a grand slam to Marcus Semien. The lead, was gone, never to be regained despite a few almost hits from JD Martinez, Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila.
For a team supposedly built to win now the Tigers bullpen is a glaring hole. How can Ausmus know who to trust down there…they all seem willing to throw gasoline on the fire this year. Either several guys are going to need to step up or Dombrowski will be forced to do so by trading for some reliable pen arms.
The bullpen can’t take the full blame though. The offense, outside of that 4th inning, just seemed lost. So far the Tigers only have three regulars with an OPS over .800 (and Miguel Cabrera is not one of them). Ian Kinsler has been the best hitter on the club, followed by Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez. Martinez is tied for the team lead in home runs with Torii Hunter.
Right now, this club doesn’t look like a team that is supposed to walk away with a Central Division title. Once Miguel regains his usual Miguel form and someone in the bullpen decides they want to throw strikes (that the opposing players don’t hit) Tigers fans can maybe breathe a bit easier. Hopefully that happens soon…