By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
As much as we would love to run away screaming, this week’s edition of One Thought forces us to analyze the last 2 series played against the Angels and the Athletics.
The Tigers played at the Big A then came home to play the A’s, with all 7 seven games grading out as F’s for the Tigers, otherwise known as “the streak.”
So what did we see during this stretch? Well other than pure horror, I’m not real sure what our writers have come up with. The 7 game losing streak should make for some interesting discussion.
Its official – the wheels have fallen off the bus. All the doubts and rumors have come to the surface and we’re now witness to the entire team’s frustrations which include both the physical and mental games.
First it was the great hitting stats that somehow were not producing the runs needed. Over the past month, and especially this past week, the inability to get the necessary runs have slopped over into all facets of the team from the dugout to the bullpen.
The body language is horrible and there is no energy or passion on anyone’s faces. When runs do score, it’s not a celebration; it’s more of a relief.
We’ve watched both Price and Simon sit dejected in the dugout after fine performances that still weren’t enough to win. The photo of Price with his head down, hands covering it has made the national news.
But now there’s visible anger to go along with the dejection. Ausmus was seen chastising Rajai Davis in the dugout during a game and several days later, he threw two players under the bus in an interview, along with his boss in a thinly veiled criticism of the personnel he was given.
Other players have joined the chorus of Rajai and VMart questioning Brad’s strategy, while also calling each other out. This is getting ugly very quickly.
It’s clear that Ausmus has no instinct for managing, let alone handling a team when they hit a rough patch. Players are now calling their own plays independent of Brad. The biggest issue right now is that there is no leadership – no one to motivate players, keep them focused or to be the cement that holds them together as a team.
The signs of a pending slump became most evident while the Tigers were in Oakland as both teams struggled to score runs. Luckily for the Tigers, the A’s have shown that they are nowhere near as competitive as they have been the last couple years. But the signs were there. The Tigers struggled way too much and the victories were far more difficult to achieve than they should have been.
You know the rest, and even though the Tigers were swept in Anaheim, it wasn’t something that sent shock waves through the fan base as we have rarely had success there. But it’s when they got home that it got stupid. Getting swept by Oakland at home got everyone’s attention and June panic has set in.
The headlines during the streak have been all about poor hitting, but as one loss crept into another, the hitting plague began to spread into all the other areas, the defense and starting pitching.
But 2 things, both unavoidable, didn’t help. Simon was lost for a start as he tended to his ailing father and Rajai Davis had to leave the team to be with his wife during the birth of his son. These are guys having good seasons, and given our injury situation, removing 2 more key pieces from the puzzle, even for a few days, was felt during this very challenging detour.
Things have unraveled quite a bit during this stretch and hopefully the shipped will right itself and we can just get a win. It’s all about baby steps at this point. Forget the streak and the standings. And forget the elephant in the room, as hard as that can be.