What went wrong with the Tigers?


Posted in: Uncategorized by Chip Burch

I’m sure many will agree that the World Series was tough to watch if you were a Detroit Tigers fan.

Seeing the Tigers get swept out of the series by the San Francisco Giants after sweeping the New York Yankees out of the Fall Classic was something no Tigers fan expected.

If you would have told me the Giants would sweep Detroit after coming from behind in two different series to get to the World Series, I would have asked you to submit to drug testing.

But once the shock of the losing wears off, a lot of people will see what went wrong – that is if you didn’t see it already by watching the games.

The Bengals didn’t hit at all in the series against the Giants. That was obvious by scoring zero runs in two of the four games played.

The starting pitching was fine. The bullpen – not so much, but it wasn’t ungodly horrible.

But they weren’t the problem.

The main reason I thought the Tigers lost the series was they took the wrong approach to hitting the G-Men’s pitching.

It was personified in Miguel Cabrera, who had homered in Game 4 to give the Tigers a short-lived lead. Cabrera watched a fastball go right down the middle of the plate to end baseball season. Normally Cabrera would turn that pitch around and make it a souvenir to someone in the left-field seats.

It didn’t help that Prince Fielder, who signed a $219 million contract to hit the ball, did exactly the opposite in the Series, getting a whole one hit in four games.

The concern was justified. After all, look at the middle two games of the ALCS. The Tigers won those only because the Yankees were worse hitters than they were, scoring one and zero runs in those two games while the Bengals had a total of four.

And as fans kept waiting for Detroit to suddenly break out of the hitting funk they were in, the losses mounted. At no point in time was the hitting woes more evident than when the Tigers hit into two double plays in Game 3 with one out and runners on first and second.

What I saw was the Tigers were so concerned about hitting they started going after all the junk Frisco was sending up to the plate.

Mostly the Tigers were swinging at balls in the dirt, while the fastballs that came up there were watched like the house by the side of the road (to quote the great Ernie Harwell).

Had the Tigers been sitting on the fastball more, they would have taken a few more pitches than they did and they would have either walked more or hit better.

But the Tigers were impatient at the plate, and it showed in all those strikeouts.

So for now the Tigers will have to go back to the drawing board and see where they could improve the hitting again.

I don’t think making personnel changes will be the answer. I just think a better hitting approach will do more to straighten out the team than another big bat.

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