Chris McCosky's final Tigers grades

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler

Go through the gallery above or HERE to see Chris McCosky's final Tigers grades for the 2016 season.

Detroit — Disappointing. Frustrating. Aggravating. Exhausting. Exasperating. It was certainly all of those things.

But be honest, the Tigers’ manic ride through the 2016 season was fun. At times even exhilarating. Through all the injuries, the inconsistencies, the incessant Sturm and Drang, every baseball game they played from the beginning of August to the last Sunday of the season carried weight.

Certainly the gut-punching losses leave scars. The 1-0 loss in Atlanta on Sunday. The tragic five-run ninth by the Royals on Sept. 24 that halted a five-game winning streak and triggered a critical three-game losing streak. The 1-0, 10-inning loss in Cleveland before that, a game in which eight different relievers hung zeros on them. Losing 11 out of 12 games in one ragged stretch in May.


And yet, time and again this team redeemed itself, fought back and in the end gave us just as many cheers and tears.

The dramatic back-to-back home runs in Baltimore by J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera that arguably saved the season back in May. Martinez, again, after seven weeks on the disabled list, hits the first pitch he sees from Chris Sale — a pinch-hit, game-winning home run into the shrubs in center field. Manager Brad Ausmus’ hoodie-shredding tirade against umpire Doug Eddings in May.

Back-to-back-to-back ninth-inning home runs off White Sox closer David Robertson by Nick Castellanos, Tyler Collins and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (which occurred, in true Tigers’ form, in a game they wound up losing).

Source: Tigers bringing Brad Ausmus back

Justin Verlander’s return to Cy Young form. It was must-see JV every fifth day. Rookie Michael Fulmer announcing his presence with 33 straight scoreless innings. The emergence of Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd, saving the Tigers’ rotation.

The clever genius of closer Francisco Rodriguez, 44 out of 48 save opportunities not throwing a pitch harder than 90 mph.

The scorching September by Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler — two veterans stepping up a crunch time. How about Kinsler, too, taking a ground ball hit with 101 mph exit velocity off his finger in the ninth inning of a one-run game in Cleveland — the ball ripping his fingernail completely off. Not only did he make the play, he calmly rubbed some dirt on it to staunch the bleeding and made the next play, as well.

And, as always, there was the greatness of Cabrera. Written off by many in May, he hit himself into the MVP discussion (38 home runs, 108, RBIs). We saw him this season pass Hank Greenberg into third place on the Tigers all-time home run list. We saw him achieve his 2,500th hit, 500th double and 1,500th RBI — essentially cementing his eventual place in Cooperstown.

And we saw him at his best in September when he hit .349 (getting 10 hits in 11 at-bats in one stretch), with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs.

That, alone, was worth the price of admission.

In the end, the Tigers fell short of the postseason. It was a season fraught with angst and anger. But it most certainly wasn’t boring.

Twitter @cmccosky