Detroit is a major sports town in America and its’ fans are very knowledgeable and loyal. That has been the history of the city. Baseball have always been popular sport among the fans.
As it turned out, 2017 was a year that Tiger fans would to forget. The major reason for the disaster of a season was the pitching staff, which most people knew before the season started that it was mediocre to say the least. The Tigers were dead last of the thirty major league teams with an ERA of 5.36; dead last in the category of WHIP (walks allowed plus hits per inning) at 1.50. They gave up more runs (894) and hits (1,587) than any other team. They said good-bye to Justin Verlander, the long-time ace of the staff at the end of August. Verlander was one the pitchers that help those statistics from being worst.
What can be expected to change in 2018 is unclear at this point. One thing that is a good sign is that Michael Fulmer’s recovery from arm surgery is on track as he now becomes the ace of the staff. Most of last year’s staff returns that includes starters, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris. That leaves one spot in the rotation open. The Tigers payroll which is well above $100 million for 2018, makes it real tough for a team trying cut payroll.
Last season, the Tigers had 20 pitchers with ERAs above 5.00 and 16 with ERAs above 6.00. Many of whom will be on staff for 2018. The team feels that Boyd and Norris, who both had ERAs of 5.27 and 5.31, have enough talent to be better in 2018. GM Al Avila is hoping to add one or two big league arms to the staff without rushing any of the farm-system arms who most feel won’t be big-league ready until 2019. So with outlook bleak at best, it looks like the Tigers 2018 will be one that will land them the number one overall pick in draft in 2019. Hope the loyal Tigers fans are patient!
General manager Al Avila spoke with reporters before the team’s regular season finale on Sunday afternoon against the Twins and said he has already interviewed two internal candidates — first base coach Omar Vizquel and third base coach Dave Clark. Expected to interview soon is hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who is considered the strongest in-house candidate.
The Tigers should be considering getting more involved with the analytics of the sport if they want to be successful in the game as it is today. The previous manager, Brad Ausmus had indicated that the organization was for the most part very deficient in the terms of analytics. There was no analytics department.
Sports analytics is the collection of relevant, historical, statistics that when properly used can provide a competitive advantage to a team. With the use of analytics, it can be helpful in decision-making both during and prior to sporting events. The two key aspects of sports analytics are on-field and off-field analytics. On-field deals with improving the on-field performance of teams and players. Off-field analytics deals with the business side of sports.
Detroit Tigers GM Al Alvila made the announcement that Tiger manager Brad Ausmus will not return next season as the manager of the Tigers. It’s an announcement that has been expected by Tiger fans. For the most part it was a bad move from the beginning. Ausmus never had a chance from the start. Detroit is a sports town and its fans are knowledgable as well. They were never comfortable with Ausmus from the beginning.
Brad Ausmus liked to read. Almost from the beginning, that intellectual pursuit worked against him outside the ballpark. That and his Ivy League background. Fans like smart. But a certain kind of smart. Which meant Ausmus was forever managing against his image. Well, he won’t have to worry about that anymore. Not that he ever did. As he told reporters Friday afternoon after the team announced he wouldn’t be back next year, developing thick skin is critical to surviving the dugout. If nothing else, Ausmus leaves our city knowing he rarely took anything personal. At least not publicly.
Justin Verlander gets a standing ovation from Tigers fans at Comerica Park after pitching the top of the eighth inning against the Dodgers on Aug. 20, 2017. The Tigers won, 6-1. It was Verlander’s last home start as a Tiger.
With the trading of Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros marks the end of an era for the Detroit Tigers. Verlander had an excellent career in Tigertown. In his 13-year career, he had 183 wins with a 3.49 ERA and 2,373 strikeouts. It’s great that he is going to a winning team with a chance to be champions. He will get another chance to pitch in a World Series.
It’s unfortunate for Tiger fans that they couldn’t win the World Series with All-star staff of Verlander, David Price, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, but it’s good he may get another shot.
With the trade of Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels, it appears that the Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. Upton has been the team’s best hitter this season, leading in homers and RBIs. It was pretty clear that Upton would exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and head to free agency. Any player in their right mind would do the same in the this situation: head to a team with that has a goal of winning.
The front office has hinted at rebuilding dating back to last year, but didn’t implement it. Now there is no reason not to. With Upton gone, this team has no chance of competing next season. There is an almost certainty that other veterans will follow him out the door. In the off-season, the Tigers will move Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, leaving the only names recognizable in Miguel Cabrera and Mike Fulmer left.
The front office further implemented their plans to rebuild by notifying their season ticket holders of what will be going on in the foreseeable future.
With a little more than a quarter of the regular season left, the postseason participants are becoming clearer. Two teams, Houston in the American League and Los Angeles in the National League, appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in their respective leagues.
Houston, with 71 wins and 13 games ahead of their nearest competition in the American League West, are on a pace to win a 102 games. In the National League, Los Angeles has 80 wins and is 15 and a half games ahead of second place Colorado in the National League West. They are a pace to win an amazing 115 games.
If the season were to end today, the ten teams participating would be New York, Seattle, Boston, Cleveland and Houston in the American League and Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in the National League. The one division that appears to be up for grabs is the National League Central with Chicago leading, but St. Louis and Milwaukee both a game and a half behind and Pittsburgh three and a half games behind.