Because there were no recaps this weekend, we introduce a new feature here at Walkoff Woodward: The Tigers Week in Review, in which we take a look back at the week that was in Tigers baseball. This will become a regular feature – think of it as something of a weekly State of the Tigers assessment – and we’ll try to start posting it Sunday night instead of Monday morning, but here’s a nice little trial run:
Monday: L, 11-8 vs KC
Tuesday: L, 11-4 vs KC
Wednesday: L, 2-1 vs KC
Thursday: W, 2-1 vs KC
Friday: W, 6-4 at CLE
Saturday: W, 5-4 at CLE (10 innings)
Sunday: W, 10-4 at CLE
If you’d have told me Wednesday night the Tigers would come out of this week with more wins than losses, I’d have been thrilled. In fact, despite getting beaten up by their closest divisional rival, they actually expanded their division lead this week (1.5 up on Monday morning, 2.5 up on Sunday night). Of course, they did end up losing that division lead in the middle of all this, but they got it back just as quickly – with a big assist from the Seattle Mariners, who swept the Royals in Kansas City. It’s been quite a while since the Tigers won four in a row, too, so let’s enjoy this one.
It was a week to remember for…
- Joe Nathan. Okay, he blew the save on Saturday night, and that should not be ignored, but at one point, over a period of time from Thursday to Saturday, seven of his last eight outs were recorded via the strikeout. In context, it’s a big step forward for Joe, but it remains to be seen how he responds to that blown save Saturday.
- Anibal Sanchez. Most weeks are weeks to remember for Anibal these days, as he’s the best pitcher in the rotation right now. His odd start on Thursday saw him throw seven strong innings with no strikeouts.
- J.D. Martinez. So much J.D. Martinez. He hit four homers in seven games and hit close to .500. It could’ve been higher if not for a few circus catches by Royals outfielders earlier in the week. This clearly won’t last forever – guys with a career OPS around .700 generally don’t become Miguel Cabrera overnight – but ride him while he’s hot, guys.
It was a week to forget for…
- Several Detroit pitchers. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer’s second starts save them from getting their own entries on this list, but they were both awful against the Royals. Their struggles led to the middle relief having to pick up a bunch of innings again, and the middle relief is not very good, so that made it worse. Finally got Evan Reed off the team, though.
- Ian Krol does get his own entry, though this may not totally be of his own doing. He’s on the DL with some arm troubles now, but his outing Friday night was forgettable to say the least. Though he wasn’t exactly given a lot of help from…
- Brad Ausmus, who has definitely had better weeks. Between some questionable bullpen management Friday night – particularly his ill-advised attempt to drag a struggling Krol through the 8th inning Friday night despite the fact that he was getting obliterated by every righty he faced – and his even more ill-advised attempt at humor after Wednesday’s defeat, Ausmus has probably taken more heat from fans and pundits alike this week than he has in any other week during his tenure.
The Week To Come
The Tigers get a badly needed off day on Monday, which should allow them to recharge their batteries and get the bullpen back in order. After that, they’re off to Arlington for three against the struggling Rangers and then three against the suddenly resurgent Astros (when was the last time you could make a case for Houston being the better team in Texas?)