By: Eric Thomas
It was three games of unwatchable baseball, unless you’re an Angels fan—the offense underperformed when it mattered, the bullpen was atrocious and Rick Porcello looked like the Rick Porcello we’ve known for the last two years. Anaheim left town with to some celebration from fans in Detroit, don’t let the aircraft door hit you on the way out. Local fans wiped their foreheads when Halos lifted off the tarmac. Good riddance, Mike Trout. Go beat up someone else.
The patrons in Comerica Park looked like sadists in the end, sticking around through rainy conditions and woeful performances. The Tiger’s early season sheen has begun to crack. Their taped together bullpen has been jettisoning parts, even Drew Smyly had a bad time. Some fans now have evidence of their worst fears: That the Tigers are a good team in a bad division and will be buzz-sawed when September ends.
There’s always a bright side, you just have to find one. Here are the five reasons you should feel good about that series with the Angels (other than they won’t be back this year).
1. It’s not like last year – Last year the Tigers had serious questions about the offense. They weren’t clicking, we all lamented the lack of Victor Martinez and the starting rotation was suspect outside of Verlander and Fister. There was a giant question mark at second base, and the bullpen stunk. The bullpen still stinks, but at least all those other problems have gone away. The offense needs to be more consistent, but there’s more hope this year.
2. Al Albequerque – His control problems MAY have been worked out. He was a sight for sore eyes. They need him desperately, especially since Phil Coke has apparently scheduled his annual meltdown. He pitched well in a series where everyone else was bad.
3. All Star Break – They all might need a few days off, and none more than Justin Verlander. His problem, it seems, is all in his head. Pop psychologists all around Southeast Michigan are having a field day on this one, but a few days off might be just what JV needs. Have a barbecue. Nothing soothes the nerves like cooking ribs.
4. At least we know what the problem is – Last year caused head-scratching. It was awful. They were shredded by no-name pitchers. They had holes in the lineup and anemic performances from everyone in the back half. That’s not the case this year. This year the problem is the bullpen. Fix that and the Tigers are well on their way.
5. Jose Valverde is gone – The only ones who miss him are opposing teams and sports talk radio show hosts. Phil Coke has admirably stepped up in this area, but it’s just not the same.