Weather or not, Tigers ready to start playing again
Detroit — Nick Castellanos echoed what so many fans have been saying these past couple of weeks, as the Tigers have slogged through chilly, wet, miserable conditions with six postponements disrupting the rhythm of their season.
“It’s funny, you see on TV Houston playing Texas and you see Oakland playing Anaheim,” he said. “All of those warm stadiums and warm teams playing each other. It’s a shame we couldn’t open up on the west coast or in Tampa or Houston or Texas.”
There are a bunch of reasons why it’s not that simple to schedule all northern, cold weather-based teams in warm-weather cities in the early weeks of a season — the fact that it would unfairly require those warm-weather teams to have their road games back-loaded to September tops among them.
But those reasons are an extremely hard sell to the Tigers and other northern teams who have played the bulk of their games in sub-40-degree temperatures. Between the inclement weather and the postponements, it’s made for a disjointed start.
“There is no way around it,” Castellanos said. “It’s kind of tough. It’s been a very, very challenging first couple of weeks of the season, with the consistent rainouts and the terrible weather.
“But it is what it is. Just have to make the best of it.”
The Tigers had two-thirds of their series against the Yankees postponed over the weekend. They sat around the clubhouse Saturday and Sunday unable to do anything — hit or throw bullpens — on the field. The hitters took batting practice in the cage both days and the pitchers threw indoors Sunday.
Monday was a scheduled off day.
“They needed a day off so they could get rested from the days in the cage,” manager Ron Gardenhire joked.
He wanted to take batting practice and fielding practice before the game but it was snowing, the temperatures were hovering around 32 degrees with a 18-mph wind making it feel even colder.
Another pregame in the cage.
“I don’t remember anything like this,” Gardenhire said. “This is probably the biggest run of tough weather I’ve seen, but it’s not just us. All northern teams. You just have to deal with it.
“Baseball throws a lot of stuff at you. We’ve played on some ugly days and we’ve had to bang a few. We will have some doubleheaders coming up and that will be taxing. But it’s part of the deal.”
The offense has felt the sting of it more than the pitchers. The Tigers came into the game hitting .216, tied with Orioles for second-worst in the American League. Only the Royals had scored fewer runs (29) and only the Indians and Royals had a worst slugging percentage (.327).
“It is tough to evaluate anything at this point,” Gardenhire said. “You don’t want to make any rash decisions on anything. Just let it play out. We’re just trying to figure it all out. We’re just going to let these guys get at-bats. They need to go hit and go play and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Tigers hit the ball well toward the end of spring training, and they scored 10 runs in an Opening Day loss to the Pirates. But Mother Nature broke that flow.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been regressive,” Castellanos said. “But it does mess with your routines a little bit. If you have a defensive work routine or an offensive work routine and you need to work outside — you are not in the flow of things.
“It just makes it more of a challenge.”
The Tigers moved the start time of the game Wednesday from 6:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m., in an attempt to squeeze the game in ahead of another forecasted rain storm. They have a make-up doubleheader with the Royals set for Friday and the Yankees games are re-scheduled as a doubleheader June 4 — eating up an off-day for both teams.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to go away,” Gardenhire said.
Almost makes him long for the old Metrodome in Minneapolis.
“I’m not even going to go there,” he said with a grin. “But you knew you were going to be playing baseball every day unless the roof fell in.”