The Detroit Tigers have lost seven of eight series since the All-Star break (7-21) and are sliding further and further back in the Central Division. The White Sox visited Comerica Park the first week of August and took three of four games from the Tigers. During the series, Detroit’s record dropped under .500 for the first time all season and they fell a season-high nine games back of first place.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for a team that’s spent much of the year in first place, but the players aren’t spending a lot of time dwelling on their divisional chances or lack thereof.
“It’s easy to look at the bottom line after the game and say we lost that one or we’re losing ground, but you just got to relax a little bit,” Brandon Inge said. “I’ve been on teams that won a lot of games and been on teams that haven’t won a lot of games. The teams that haven’t press; they try to do too much every at bat instead of just doing your best.”
Defensive shift, Peralta to shortstop – “He’s going to anchor down that shortstop spot for us,” Inge stated.
Jhonny Peralta was acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians to play third base because of multiple injuries to Tigers infielders, but after Brandon Inge came back he was supposed to move over to more of a utility role.
Not so fast…
“Jhonny looked really good at shortstop,” Jim Leyland said. “He slows down the game pretty good. It’s obviously a more experienced lineup and we like that.”
The Tigers are playing a lot of young players and the 28-year-old veteran gives Detroit a player that has experience playing in big games. He was with the Indians when they made it to the American League Championship series back in 2007.
Peralta broke in with the Indians as a shortstop, but shifted to third base last season. Neither Leyland nor Inge is worried about him going back to his original position.
“Great defender,” Inge explained. “I’ve always watched him defensively. Anybody can be a pretty good hitter in this game, but I always respected the ones that take pride in defense.”
Besides bolstering the infield defense, Detroit hopes he can also add some pop to the line-up as well. Peralta hit over 20 homeruns three times in his career and traditionally has been a pretty good run producer. He showed flashes of that in his first game with the Tigers hitting homeruns in his first two at-bats.
Rounding the Bases –
- First – Strong arms; Tigers outfielders are making opposing runners think twice rounding the bases. As a group they lead the American League with 30 assists this season (through Aug. 13).
- Second – Brennan Boesch is struggling to find the form he had at the plate in the first half of the season, the rookie’s average has dropped over 50 points since the All Star break.
- Third – Tigers catchers might not be hitting that well, but Alex Avila and Gerald Laird are doing a good job of throwing out runners. The duo has thrown out 31.5% of runners this season, second best in the American League.
- Home – Jeremy Bonderman streak of allowing at least one home run in 11 consecutive starts (June 11 to August 3) ended last week in his start against the Angels.
Comments? Questions? E-mail Michael Niziolek at firstname.lastname@example.org.