Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
In 1984 there was a common word that came up when people talked about the Detroit Tigers – magical. The 35-5 start to the regular season was special. So were the seasons turned in by a host of players including Cy Young and MVP winner Willie Hernandez. There was just something in the air that told you the Tigers would not be beaten in any playoff series, and it turned out to be true. In 2006, when the Tigers broke a 22-year World Series appearance drought, there was a similar feeling of magic. The offense was carried by Pudge Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez. And remember Marcus Thames, Craig Monroe, and Brandon Inge? They combined to hit 81 homers that year! Talk about magical. On the mound you had rookies Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya raising eyebrows with their fastballs. Jeremy Bonderman, Kenny Rogers, and Nate Robertson anchored the rotation and Todd Jones saved 37 games. There was magic in the air that eventually swirled out of the balloon after a long pre-World Series layoff that arguably cost the Tigers their mojo and a championship. Nick Castellanos Last year, the Tigers were on the receiving end of a team full of chemistry and a no-lose attitude when the San Francisco Giants demoralized them in a 4-game sweep in the fall classic. This year, the Tigers are spinning their wheels. They enter play on Tuesday with a 43-38 record at the halfway mark. Multiply that by 2 and this is an 86-win team at season’s end. In a word – unacceptable. Do I expect the Tigers to only win 86 games? No. Their starting pitching will likely be dominant in the 2nd half and the bats have to wake up in a more consistent manner, don’t they? Last week I argued (or typed) until I was blue in the fingers that Bruce Rondon needed to be called up. The Tigers obliged Rondon supporters and then instantly watched him lose Saturday night’s game in the 10th inning (although why was Austin Jackson playing so shallow with 2 outs in the 9th?). Rondon gathered himself and pitched a perfect inning on Sunday. He can be an absolute difference maker in Jim Leyland’s wobbly bullpen once the sticker shock wears off. Rondon’s value might not simply be in his ability to dominate late inning matchups, but if he does pitch well then perhaps the Tigers won’t feel a burning desire to dump prospects for relief arms at the trade deadline, a proposition that rarely works out for the long-term good. As much as the bullpen needed a jump start that hopefully big Bruce will provide, the offense is in need of a spark plug. Is Nick Castellanos’ time approaching? The 21-year old has been honing his craft as an outfielder for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens all year. He got off to a sluggish start with the bat but has been on a tear of late. His season average sits right at .300, but that hardly tells the story. Castellanos, here on July 2nd, already has a career high in home runs with 11. Perhaps even more important than the power surge has been his increased ability to take a walk. He has already worked 42 free passes in 377 plate appearances. The most walks he has ever taken was in 2011 when he took 45 in 562 plate appearances. A hitter of Catellanos’ pedigree usually has one last hurdle that he has to clear at the minor league level. To me, it was his plate discipline. Check. I think we all have a soft spot for Andy Dirks but the .245 average and 12 extra-base hits for a guy who is often hitting 7th in the lineup just isn’t cutting it. Slide an impact, extra-base gathering bat like Castellanos’ into an RBI slot like the 7 hole and Detroit might see more consistent run production throughout a 9-inning game. Detroit’s offense ranks 4th in the big leagues with 399 runs scored. From the 7th inning on though, the Tigers are 2nd worst in all of baseball in terms of scoring runs. They hit just .226 in the money innings, also 2nd worst in the bigs. The 15 homers they have hit in the last 3+ innings is dead last. Add that all up and you’re not going to see the Tigers experiencing many walk-off wins and the ability to play catch up just hasn’t existed this season. They simply haven’t been clutch. Could a hungry young buck like Castellanos stir the pot, find some gaps, drive in some runs, and help this team feel a little late inning magic every now and then? His time is drawing near. To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form [Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
1 Comment:
  • I have to totally agree with you. what the Tigers need is something to Jump-Start there line-up and maybe this kid can be the ticket.I hope the management can SEE what we SEE,the Tigers need help Now and can't wait much longer.Come on Dave and Jim let's get it done and Let's Go Tigers!!!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

VCU G Briante Weber suffers major knee injury in loss

Short selling leaves hundreds of fans without S.B. tickets

Hamilton, Edmonds' spouses to appear on 'Real Housewives'

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trolls LSU over Kevin Steele hire

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jerome Bettis elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Report: Duncan suing financial adviser, lost $20 million

Bret Bielema wanted Dolphins to draft Russell Wilson early

Nick Diaz apologizes to fans for skipping open workout

NFLPA President compares Goodell to a 2-year-old

NFL explains how Super Bowl balls will be prepped

2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class announced

Anderson Silva beats Nick Diaz in return to octagon

WATCH: 'SNL' mocks Super Bowl

Sabres had a horrific month of January

Ole Miss uses Katy Perry as prop in recruiting

PHOTO: Ezekiel Elliott gets new national title tattoo

WATCH: Rondo takes brutal knee to face from teammate

Pig auctioned off at halftime of college basketball game

Should the Super Bowl be played on a Saturday?

Underwear company shows support for Marshawn Lynch

WATCH: WVU player flips opponent the double-bird

Five NFL players who could be cap casualties in 2015

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2015 Hall of Fame class announced

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Tim Duncan suing financial adviser?

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls

Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry at SB?

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.