The Tigers starting pitching has been nothing less than sensational, but you can’t say that about the offense. Hitter after hitter are swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, so why should pitchers even try to throw it across the plate. The normal fan reaction is that there has to be a scapegoat to blame….Jim Leyland or hitting coach Lloyd McClellan. But the plain truth is no coach can go to the plate…it’s up to the players themselves. I know I said the same thing in my last post…but it’s still the case. These are big boys and are supposed to be among the best in their chosen profession, so there isn’t a whole lot they can be told or taught at this point.
During the Tiger Winter Caravan I remember Tiger President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski talking about how impressed he was with pitcher Drew Smyly. I really wasn’t all that familiar with him and the opinion wasn’t that shocking. I mean, what’s he going to say…he stinks? Boy was he right. Smyly shows maturity way behind his years and doesn’t get rattled when things don’t go his way. Of course the big test comes when he faces teams a second or third time and they’ve made adjustments.
There is simply no way for Justin Verlander to look as dominating as he was last season. This season he has started merely good and not super-human. He has had trouble controlling his fastball and at times has seemed to be uncomfortable on the mound. JV is pitching well enough and usually is a slow starter, but turns it on in May.