By: Holly Horning and Kurt Snyder
Things are reaching a boiling point in this town. We have the best hitter in baseball, now completely back to dominating the league and we have the turmoil surrounding our manager. And, we’ve got 2 writers with one thought to concentrate on from games over the last week. That’s quite a challenge to hold it to one. But, let’s dig in as our team continues to flounder.
Miggy’s stellar performances were overshadowed by a full week of horrific managerial decisions.
It is with a very heavy heart that I have to write about this. We really should be focused on this history-making player and the talent he exudes every time he steps to the plate, including the national story of how he gave the sport a golden halo by his interaction with fans and creating lifetime memories for them – and us. But this is ONE THOUGHT and we have to go with the one theme that we saw repeatedly this week. (sigh)
It started with the first game against the Yankees where Justin Verlander was allowed to throw a whopping 117 pitches despite not having pitched a regulation game for 9 months and having only 2 rehab sessions. In his prime, JV averaged 113 pitches and now his back, the team and the rotation are all hurt.
Filed under “No good deed goes unpunished” was the game where JD was benched one day after hitting 3 HRs because Ausmus played a small sampling stat instead of the hot hand. But what makes this head-shaking, is removing two starters’ big bats and weakening the infield with two secondary gloves. While the Tigers won the game, it was because the opposing pitcher bobbled the ball and allowed Detroit to extend their inning instead of hitting into the expected inning-ending double play.
But as the week went on, the poor decisions picked up in frequency and magnitude. On Wednesday, Brad’s decision on JV’s last outing came back to haunt the team in the form of a AAA pitcher call-up and the decision to bench the one guy who holds the MLB offensive record for destroying one team. The national media was all over this with some proclaiming “Christmas in Cleveland”. And if that’s not enough, Ausmus ignored the importance of the sweep and the Tigers, despite their mastery over the Tribe, gained absolutely no ground in the standings.
I do not have enough words left in my writing quota to even begin to list the wrongs perpetuated in Thursday’s game. Let’s just say it started with removing one of your best players, putting bench players into the most important key roles, giving the ball to your shakiest reliever in a 1-run game, striking out with the bases loaded, players throwing team mates under the bus and ending with VMart saying “no comment” when asked about the manager’s decision to pull him from the game. That says it all.
JD Martinez has completed his turnaround at the plate; in fact he celebrated all week.
I had no intention after serving up a whole platter full of Ausmus pate’ on Friday, of following it all up with another round of crackers; not when we have a transformation of sorts going on in front of our eyes.
Weeks ago, many began to question whether JD Martinez’s success last season was just a fluke as he went into a swoon where it seemed every other at bat was a strikeout. Heck, if I did the math, there was a long stretch of games that may even support that notion.
But he has slowly made his way back and this week was a celebration of sorts, of a comeback that culminated with a domination versus the Yanks with a 3 homer game in the Bronx. And now with the continued shredding of the baseball by Miggy, followed by the return and warming of Victor Martinez, JD is thriving just fine behind Cespedes, his new home in the lineup.
The numbers for the week are mouth-watering; 7-17, 4 home runs, 9 RBI’s. JD has come all the way back from the abyss and is now leading the team in homers. Sorry, this just in … 2 more homers versus the White Sox.
The once feared lineup has been renewed as JD is swatting balls to the opposite field with power again. The Yankees were glad to see him go and the Indians were glad the Tigers sat one of their hottest hitters for the 2nd of the 3 games after following up his big series in New York with a 2 RBI performance in the opener versus the Tribe.
Thanks Brad. Sometimes, just sit back and watch. Because guys like JD are back to making this lineup a serious threat for as long as their manager will allow it.