When the 'Tigers' and 'bullpen' are threaded into the same sentence you can generally add a third word: anxiety. There is simply little confidence the Tigers will have a clean close-out to a game in which their back-end relievers are involved.
It is one thing to conceive a script for winning. It is quite another, as this team has displayed through much of 2014, to play in a manner envisioned or idealized.
Players dressed in heavier blue and white togs were handling the 61-degree chill as they took batting practice ahead of what was expected to be a standing-room-only crowd for a game against the Indians and sizzling starter Carlos Carrasco.
A year ago, Ausmus worked in San Diego. His title sounded like something from a big-league version of a Dilbert cartoon: special assistant, baseball operations. Today he is running field operations for a Tigers club trying to win a fourth consecutive American League Central title.
Spicing up Tuesday's pregame baseball conversation was a debate made for Detroit. It had to do with Castellanos and critics who don't buy the Tigers third baseman's version of defense.
Taking apart a game Monday in which the Tigers took apart the Royals, 9-5, during a playoff-flavored series opener at Comerica Park, story subjects included:
They have ceded first place to the Royals, who arrive at Comerica Park today for a three-game series that will help determine if Detroit cracks the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, or heads home for a tough offseason of reflection and retooling.
Saturday's loss to the Giants reinforced a reality on display since the Tigers arrived for Opening Day. Starting pitching, a team's supposed calling card, has too often been knee-capped by a team and its shortcomings. And that's combining to make the playoffs a fading proposition.
Looking past a pennant race for some necessary moments, the Tigers already are dealing with present and future plans at catcher. Three are on the team now, and those same three could arrive at spring camp in five months as the Tigers sort out their 2015 roster.
A day after J.D. Martinez might have gotten the biggest hit of their 2014 season, the Tigers are either dealing with, or delighting in, their usual mounds of issues.
Lynn Henning joined The Detroit News sports staff in 1979 after 3½ 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 email@example.com.
Lynn Henning's favorites:Favorite movie: Fargo
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