By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
The remainder of the season has left us with lots of questions to answer. The team has hit rock bottom and how they have reacted to the recent failings have come into question.
So what can we expect of this team for the rest of the season? What is left to accomplish?
Well, in order to answer those questions, we have to address two others first.
1. Could the Tigers be looking at a 90+ loss season?
Holly – It’s going to be really, really close and we’re all counting every single win at this point. Since May, the Tigers have lost 2 – 4 more games every month than they have won. But the bottom dropped out in mid-August with the team finishing a full 7 games under .500 and the losing streaks were longer than the winning ones despite the return of Miggy and JV.
The team is 16 losses away from hitting the notorious 90 loss mark. There are 26 more games to this season and if the Tigers follow August’s pattern of losing 17 games, they could hit this performance marker.
And the remainder of the schedule is just as tough as August. At this point, only the A’s are worse but the Tigers do face the White Sox twice more. They also play the Rays.
But they also face the Indians again, as well as the Royals – and the surging Rangers and Twins (twice). Let’s hope that the role of spoiler inspires the team to play better than they have.
Kurt – With 26 games to play, the Tigers would need to lose 18 of those games. Can I see that happening? Absolutely! Like we have said in this forum before, the starting rotation in its current state, doesn’t give the team a great chance to win on most nights.
And with an offense that has been inconsistent, even when blessed with good starts, the offense hasn’t always been there. Just ask Justin Verlander.
The Tigers will only be as good as their starting pitching and 4 out of 5 nights, it’s nervous time. Verlander is the only Tiger, with occasional success from Alfredo Simon, who has kept the team in games.
But this team is a shell, playing out the string, without anything to play for. So there can’t be much enthusiasm for much other than the opportunity to put an X through another date on the remaining schedule.
2. Given their most recent poor performances, is it appropriate for the players to be yucking it up with opponents on the field and in the dugout during the games?
Holly – This is when I ask the question “What would Sparky say?” And we all know the answer to this one. It’s not so much an issue of how serious the players are about the game, it’s more about the lack of leadership and competitive spirit.
I understand the need to sometimes neutralize the horrors of a season with laughter, but this has become a daily occurrence. When your team loses 12 – 1 and then 15 – 7, you should at least be leaving the field with emotions that range from ashamed to mad – not exhibiting grins.
The dugout dust-up between McCann and Iggy showed management being AWOL so it’s not really surprising that Brad and his coaches have not put a control button on the “jock”-ularity shown during the beat-downs. Twenty-five players and 7 manager/coaches – and not a lick of true leadership among any of them.
But of greatest concern is the lack of fierce competitiveness – notoriously characterized by players such as Gibby and Nolan Ryan – both who refused to give up and hated losing more than anything. This is a quality that all championship teams possess and why the best teams are often given the tag “They always seem to find a way to win.”
Al Avila needs to add players and management next year who have the same attributes of that fierce, roaring tiger emblem.
Kurt – I really don’t think it is much of an issue for the team to be “yucking it up” on the field. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.
The team has been a huge disappointment this year and in the month of September, it really resembles more of a spring training type atmosphere. The games don’t matter. We are looking to develop young players and the veterans, unless there are big personal goals to accomplish, are just ready for the season to be over.
I don’t think there is anything unusual about a team, having had big aspirations, to mentally shut down. All that’s really left is to enjoy playing the game. In the end, it is a game, and when there are no meaningful games to play, having a little fun with some of the other players doesn’t mean much to me.
It’s just a distraction from the disappointments of a lost season. You can only brood over things for so long.