It was necessary to ask Dave Dombrowski during a Monday phone conversation about a player who no longer works for the Tigers. Steve Lombardozzi, specifically. Why, a scribe wondered, did the Tigers general manager insist on including Lombardozzi in last November's fan-delighting deal that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals?
This was one gruesome slump Avila was trying to subdue Monday. And he might have gotten closer to crushing it when he put together four strong at-bats, which included his first RBI of the season as well as a long, ninth-inning double to right-center in the Tigersí 3-1 loss to the White Sox.
Baseball's schedule-maker appears to have issues with the 2014 Tigers. Heading into Friday evening's tussle against the Angels, on a day when the sun mercifully shined and temperatures pushed 60, the Tigers were in the middle of a 10-game homestand that was not exactly in the box office's interests.
They hit. They don't hit. They pitch great in some games. Their bullpen comes apart in others. They supposedly are a team built on speed and defense. But they make three errors against the Indians and nearly lose before chugging to a 7-5 victory.
Anyone who follows baseball, particularly baseball in Detroit, knew a game was approaching when Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Motown's wide world of Ausmus-worshipers would have their first squabble.
Consider the Tigers and a handful of luminaries who will reach free agency either this autumn or 18 months from now: Victor Martinez, Austin Jackson, Rick Porcello and Alex Avila, even if fans at the moment are not inclined to think of Avila and his batting woes as a matter for renewal.
Statistics tell the story of a teamís fortunes, good or bad. While delving deep into the science of the first two weeks of the Tigers regular season, one number stood out.
Relief pitching threatens to ruin what great starting pitching and a talented batting order have combined to craft through the early and mid-innings of a big-league game.
This particular West Coast trip against National League teams will offer its own five-game clue on whether a team can trust its radiant starting pitching or be sabotaged by a scary bullpen and by flux at a place no team wants issues: shortstop.
What pleased Ausmus most Friday was a moment on the basepaths. He appreciated how Victor Martinez took second on a ball in the dirt during the Tigers' four-run fourth inning.
Lynn Henning joined The Detroit News sports staff in 1979 after 3Ĺ years as a sports writer and columnist for the Lansing State Journal. A lifelong Michigan native (St. Johns) and a 1974 journalism graduate from Michigan State, Henning has specialized through the years in covering baseball, as well as Michigan and Michigan State, Lions and Red Wings, and in writing about the outdoors. Henning spent seven years during the 1990s as editor of PGA Magazine and as a writer for the national weekly, Golfweek.
- Lynn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynn Henning's favorites:Favorite movie: Fargo
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