Found April 29, 2013 on
As the last week of April came to an end for the Detroit Tigers with a national showcase sweep of the Atlanta Braves on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball, fans can once again rest easy. But isn’t that always the case after a home stand? The Tigers are now a sultry 8-3 at home but just 5-7 away from Comerica Park. Add it all up and you have a solid 13-10 team that is just a half game back of division leading Kansas City.
With a full slate of games this week against the Twins at home and a 4-game road set v. the Astros, the Tigers could get even healthier in the win-loss column.
Most Important Outcome of the Week
Sweeping the Braves. Yes, the Braves were on the tail end of a long road swing. Yes, the Braves strike out like nobody’s business. And yes, the Braves are a really good National League team. When the Braves landed in Detroit they were sporting a robust 15-7 record. Not anymore. Tigers pitching struck out Atlanta hitters 39 times during the 3-games stretch and Detroit’s offense erupted all over a very good pitching staff by plating 25 runs. Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen, and Mike Minor haven’t been roughed up like that in a long time. The sweep will give Detroit confidence that it can rise up and dominate some elite competition.
Offensive Player of the Week
Miguel Cabrera was 9 of 20 on the week with a homer, 5 runs, and 8 RBI’s. He raised his season long average to .375 and his on-base % sits at .440. Cabrera is tied for 2nd in the American League in batting average with teammate Torii Hunter, trailing only Cleveland’s Carlos Santana. Honorable mention goes to Matt Tuiasosopo. He played all 3 games of the Atlanta series and was 4 for 10 with his first homer of the year. He had a 5 RBI game on Friday.
Starting Pitcher of the Week
Anibal Sanchez pitched one of the most dominant games in Detroit Tigers history Friday night by striking out a club record 17 batters over 8 shutout innings. Sanchez edged out Mickey Lolich who had K’d 16 hitters twice during the 1969 season. Being able to break an all-time Tigers’ single-game record of any kind is truly impressive. Any doubts as to whether Sanchez was worth the 5-year, $80M contract have been permanently erased. Anibal is now 3-1 on the season with a 1.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 41 K’s in just 33.2 innings of work.
Reliever of the Week
How could it be anyone other than Jose Valverde? The big fella pitched 3 scoreless innings in his triumphant return to the organization that let him walk after his 2012 postseason implosion. So far Valverde has pitched in good weather once and bad weather twice. Both of his bad weather stints were all fastballs all the time. He did bust out a few splitters on Saturday against the Braves. One short-hopped Alex Avila and bounded to the backstop. The other was a sharp breaker in and out of the zone. So he can throw it, at least when conditions so allow. But will Mother Nature be so friendly come October when the Tigers need him to miss bats? It does bear mentioning that 3 of the 9 outs he recorded this past week were warning track depth flyouts. Don’t get too comfy on that couch is what I’m trying to say.
Must Know Fact
Since the start of the 2008 season the Tigers have finished with a +.500 record on the road just one time, during their 95-win season in 2011. That’s 4 out of 5 seasons in which they are a subpar team away from Detroit. They are showing a similar trend early on in 2013. If this team figures one thing out in the near future it has to be the ability to hit with consistency on the road.
Unnecessarily Bold Prediction of the Week
The Tigers will go 7-0 this week, outscoring the Twins and Astros by a combined 25 runs.
Minor League Noise
Bruce Rondon got the call this past week due to Octavio Dotel needing some rest and rehab on his elbow. Rondon pitched on Thursday and gave up a run that tied the game. Detroit eventually lost in extras. He did average 98 MPH+ on his fastball during the outing.
Nick Castellanos is perking up in Toledo. He homered in 3 of 4 games during the week but is still hitting just .253 overall as he finished the week going 1 for 8 in his last 2 starts.
AAA reliever Jose Ortega still hasn’t been scored on. In 12 innings he has allowed just 5 hits, but 7 walks that he has mitigated with 15 strikeouts. He’s on the short list.
Avisail Garcia (injury) should be back in the Toledo lineup sometime this week.
The Tigers get right back to it on Monday with a 3-game series against the Twins. They will finally be blessed with some beautiful Michigan weather. Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Sanchez will go for the Tigers. After that it’s a 4-game tilt with the lowly Astros. If Detroit can’t hit in Houston, then we really do have a problem.
To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form
[Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]
BEST OF MAXIM
DETROIT -- Andy Dirks had been missing in action during the first month of the season, but the left fielder put a jolt into the Tigers on Monday night.
Dirks got Detroit on the scoreboard with his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the third, then started the game-winning, sixth-inning rally with a perfect bunt single.
The highlight reel hit will be Prince Fielders majestic...
DETROIT -- Al Kaline sat in a suite near the broadcast booth where his former Tigers teammate, Jim Price, analyzed Friday nights game against the Atlanta Braves with his radio partner, Dan Dickerson.
Forty-four years ago, Price sat in the dugout and bullpen at Tiger Stadium while Kaline played in the two games in which Mickey Lolich set the club record of 16 strikeouts in 1969....
Each Monday, good or bad, we’ll look back at the biggest theme of the week that was for the Detroit Tigers.
Forever, the biggest story in the young 2013 season for the Tigers has been the team’s troubles in the bullpen stemming from the lack of a closer. Last week, though, everything changed with the arrival of a familiar face.
Jose Valverde, sporting a...
One pitch, one hit, one Prince, and the Tigers are 14-10 and atop the division by a half game over the Royals going into this game. They’ve won 4 straight for the second time this season. Now it’s Verlander vs. Worley, also for the second time this year, and this time it’s in Detroit. In complete game weather, if you catch my drift. Though there is that JV right thumb blister...
A finger problem won't keep Justin Verlander from trying to help the Detroit Tigers record a season-high fifth straight victory.
The star right-hander doesn't seem too concerned about taking the mound Tuesday night when he tries to extend his recent dominance over the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Verlander (2-2, 1.95 ERA) allowed two runs and eight hits against Kansas City...
Prince Fielder hit a monster, game-winning, three-run home run against the Twins' Mike Pelfrey on Monday night. The ball landed near the flag pole in the visitor's bullpen, which is, like, far out, man.
Fielder, whose bat flip has been off to a hot start in 2013, decided to hang on to the bat for a little while this time:
The Detroit Tigers were scuffling a bit offensively through the early weeks of this season. A combination of solid pitching by their opposition, cold weather, and visiting some pitcher’s parks on their only West Coast swing of the season all spelled out a spate of games where Detroit’s lineup seemed very docile and apathetic.
The easy way to express the offensive malaise was...
Are you a struggling blogger who could use some free pageviews? Have a post you’ve been busting your ass on that deserves …
Prince Fielder's towering three-run homer in the sixth inning put Detroit ahead, and the Tigers held on Monday night for their fourth straight win, 4-3 over the Minnesota Twins.
Detroit trailed 3-1 when Andy Dirks reached on a bunt single and Miguel Cabrera walked. Fielder hit the first pitch over the wall in left-center for an opposite-field homer. That part of the fence is...
The Detroit Tigers had a miserable weekend just one week ago, but things turned around when the Atlanta Braves visited Comerica Park this weekend. Sunday night, Detroit broke open a close game with a pair of three run homers, which were the difference in a dominating 8-3 win and a series sweep.
A pitchers duel finally saw first blood drawn in rapid succession during the third and...
Miguel Cabrera is surging for the Detroit Tigers while Joe Mauer is enduring a very rare drought without a hit for the Minnesota Twins.
These superstars will be in the spotlight Monday night when the Tigers look for a fourth straight victory in the opener of a three-game home set against the surprising Twins.
The red-hot Cabrera brings a 12-game hitting streak into this contest....
Max Scherzer gave me a scare with some early struggles but eventually rebounded to post a more Scherzer-like 10 strikeouts and a win over the Twins. As I suspected, Matt Harvey in a road start, even against the Minnows, was a more challenging win opportunity than most people expected. While most of my offense did almost nothing, Brandon Moss had a banner day slugging two homers and...
15-11, in first place and leading K.C. by half a game still, and the win streak is at 5 games and counting. Anibal Sanchez got this thing rolling with a career outing against the Braves last Friday, and while we won’t see 17 strikeouts from him today, we might see a more subtle masterpiece here in his second 2013 outing vs. the Twins. Such as a no-hitter, for example. Just a suggestion...
Anibal Sanchez set the Tigers franchise record for strikeouts in a game on Friday night, fanning 17 Braves and getting 28 whiffs on the evening (good for a 23.1% whiff rate). Considering that Detroit currently features strikeout artists like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Mickey Lolich, that somehow makes Sanchez's accomplishment that much more awesome in context.