June 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

Terry Foster

Rookie's debut blast rekindles faith in Tigers' destiny

Detroit — Don’t get too excited but rookie shortstop Eugenio Suarez hit a home run during his first Major League start.

He got his first brush off from teammates followed by every funky celebration in the book.

“At first they say nothing,” he said. “Then they said, ‘congratulations’ and said, ‘you are working hard.’”

That one mighty swing came after losing pitcher Jon Lester tried to slip one too many cutters by Suarez. Instead of fooling the rookie, Suarez popped the ball over the left field fence, matching the entire number of home runs of the Tigers’ other shortstop Andrew Romine, who has been to the plate 122 times this season and does not deserve many more.

And how about the disappointment many of us felt when Stephen Drew signed with the Red Sox instead of the Tigers. Drew got his first hit of the season and is batting .091.

Don’t get too excited because it does not mean that Suarez may or may not be the long term answer to replace Jhonny Peralta. But it is a start.

“I feel very good,” Suarez said. “I feel like I am ready for this. I feel I can help the team offensively. I think when I get a chance I will be able to help our team. I feel ready.”

But do get excited because any time you see any production from a Tigers shortstop it is reason to celebrate. When you look at all of the positions shortstop is the one that causes the most concern.

Look on bright side

Don’t get too excited but the Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-6, Saturday night at Comerica Park. That gives the Tigers a modest two-game winning streak, just their second two-game winning streak since sweeping the Red Sox May 18 at Fenway Park.

A two-game winning streak does not mean that the Tigers are out of the 13 losses in 17 games funk that caused Tiger fans to panic and made you think the Tigers would never win a series again.

The Tigers are showing signs of life, though. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer did not give a vintage performance but at least he got enough key outs to win. It was not good but it was good enough.

That is all you can ask for at this point of the season.

The Tigers need wins. Pretty does not matter.

Scherzer is making baby steps toward getting his game back in order. Once again he wasn’t good, but he was just good enough.

In his last four starts Scherzer has an earned run average of 6.84 and a WHIP of 1.71. Those are not Mad Max numbers. Those are maddening numbers for a guy who has been the ace of this staff the past two seasons ahead of Justin Verlander.

But he believed he had his best stuff in a while, which is encouraging news.

It must be maddening for Scherzer to see teams hit every pitch. It was almost as if he was tipping his pitches or something. You don’t expect Scherzer to give up 40 hits in 26.1 innings as he’s done his previous four starts. He’s also given up a home run in each of those games.

The Tigers’ offense is back. OK. Two games is not exactly back but they’ve scored 14 runs the last two games, which is a far cry from the 10 runs they scored in the previous four.

The Tigers offense has been so anemic it has caused folks to talk too much about the back end of the starting lineup and wonder if prolonged slumps would never end.

Familiar foes ahead

Don’t get too excited but perhaps the Tigers are seeing the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. We can all be in agreement that they are the best team in the American League Central Division.

After Sunday night’s game against Boston, they play their next 14 games against division foes. Unless there are more wacky escapades with the team plane, which seemed to set off the last slump, you would assume the Tigers would play winning baseball against the division and pad their 4 game lead over the Chicago White Sox

“You’ve got to play your best baseball against everybody.” Scherzer said. “You have to play your best baseball every single day. That is why Major League Baseball is relentless. You have to try to win these series and it is great to pick up a series tonight.”

The Tigers are taking baby steps toward the team that began the season 27-12. They own Boston this season and if they can own the division one more time in the coming two weeks they can again take command of the AL Central, which would be reason to get excited about the Tigers again.



Tigers rookie shortstop Eugenio Suarez celebrates his solo home run in the fourth inning Saturday night. / Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News
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