Walkoff Woodward

Concerning Detroit Baseball
June 29, 2014

Tigers Week In Review: June 23-29

RECORD: 4-2

Monday: Off
Tuesday: W, 8-2 at Texas
Wednesday: W, 8-6 at Texas
Thursday: W, 6-0 at Texas
Friday: L, 4-3 at Houston (11 innings)
Saturday: W, 4-3 at Houston
Sunday: L, 6-4 at Houston

Winning weeks are winning weeks, and when you tack on last weekend’s sweep in Cleveland that’s a 7-2 road trip, which has to be considered a success no matter what measure you’re using. Both of their losses to the Astros were winnable games, too. (Or, if you prefer the glass half empty approach, they very easily could have been swept.) That said, the Tigers are 8-2 in their last ten, and it seems safe to say The Funk is over. Any extended losing streak now would have to be considered a New Funk.

Today’s game also marked the close of the team’s second 39 game stretch of the season. In the first one, they went 27-12. In the second, they went 17-22. The reality likely falls somewhere in between. Hence, 44-34. Seems reasonable to me.

It was a week to remember for…

  • Ian Kinsler, at least I sure hope so. He’s probably had that return to Texas circled on his calendar since he was traded, and he hit a home run in his very first plate appearance of the series. He went on to torment his ex-team for three days before hitting a game-winning home run Saturday in Houston. Coming into today, he had seven consecutive multi-hit games. Mildly impressive.
  • Max Scherzer struck out 13 yesterday. He only allowed two runs and pretty much dominated. I was saying even when he was struggling that the numbers he could control – namely, strikeouts and walks – were still great and it would only be a matter of time before he got back on track. It seems as though he has.
  • J.D. Martinez makes another appearance on this list as he, too, helped dominate the Texas series along with his not-brother Victor. I’ll keep saying it: he’ll cool off eventually, but for now, ride the hot bat…

It was a week to forget for…

  • It’s time for your weekly Joe Nathan update. After it looked like he turned the corner, he has allowed runs in three consecutive outings again. None of them cost the Tigers a game, but still a bit gulp-worthy. He’s still getting more strikeouts than he had been, so we’ll see.
  • The Tigers have to figure out how to alleviate the Austin Jackson problem at some point. He was actually decent when playing against Texas but he had a series to forget against Houston. He seems like he’s a bit out of whack mentally, and Brad Ausmus’s approach has been to shuffle him all over the lineup, culminating in a return to the leadoff spot Sunday that saw him go 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and a crucial rally-killing double play. I do not know Austin Jackson and I am not privy to any insights into his mental state, but I’m not a fan of the approach Ausmus is taking to “get Jackson going.” Pick a lineup spot – sixth or lower, preferably – and keep him there. Let him work through it, because believe it or not, his peripheral hitting numbers aren’t really that bad. Playing a constant game of Lineup Spot Roulette with him just strikes me as panicky.
  • Torii Hunter is still bad.

The Week To Come

Oakland comes to town to start a nine game homestand, followed by four games against the struggling Rays and two against the surging Dodgers. It should be a tough homestand, but it’s imperative that the Tigers start taking advantage of their home field – they’re 19-19 at Comerica Park this year, having won 50 games or more at home in every season since 2009, which is pretty much par for the course for most playoff teams.

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