By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
It’s a day or 2 early for New Year’s resolutions but we thought we should write ours now concerning the Tigers, while everyone’s heads are good and clear.
We’ve chosen 3 resolutions each that we would like the Tigers to try on for size next season. We feel they could be the answers to what’s holding them back.
Commonality between Holly and Kurt is a decent bet as the big issues are really no secret. But who knows, so read on.
Better Bullpen Management
The Nationals’ manager got fired for many of the same things that happened with the Tigers’ bullpen last year. Pitchers who threw too many warm-up sessions just to pitch to one batter, guys who were left in too long and ones who had designated innings no matter the lineup or situation.
Let’s stop with the cookie-cutter management and channel the ways of Bochy and Maddon. They don’t assign roles and they don’t save their closer for the 9th inning. Winning games is about using your best pitcher in the most high-leverage situation.
Improve Situational Hitting
The Tigers had one of the top team batting averages last year but a significant inability to score the runners they put on base. Bad base running, impatience at the plate, lack of fundamentals as well as strategy and individual-based rather than team-based priorities have all been identified as causes.
Is it a coincidence that the Royals had the best situational hitting last year? Their formula is one the Tigers need to follow – smart base running, working the count, lowering their strikeout rate and putting the ball in play. And the #1 way to make this happen, experts say, is for the manager to change the mindset of the players.
No More Walking Wounded
It’s just beyond silly for a team with so many expensive players to take such a cavalier attitude about keeping them in top playing condition. The Nats fired their entire medical/training team this year because they believed that injuries derailed their team’s chances. For the past 3 years, the Tigers have been one of the most-injured teams and with players who obviously were playing in great pain and coming back from the DL much too soon.
This is an organization that needs to catch up to the majority of teams in adopting a priority on recovery and not rushing a player back, but also a program that ensures proper conditioning and injury prevention. They need to adopt a policy of being proactive, not reactive – which is often too late.
Please Miggy Please
Dear Detroit Tigers, repeat after me. We will make a concerted effort throughout the course of this next 162 game season to give Miguel Cabrera as much rest as possible in the efforts of keeping him healthy.
Miguel Cabrera and good health have not been friends lately. But in order for the Tigers to make a run, it’s imperative that the big man lead us. He can’t do it from the bench and he can’t do it from the disabled list.
Bullpen must clean up the messes, not add to the pile.
The additions the Tigers have made on paper look solid. The names that have been erased were frankly, a waste of paper. The additions and subtractions along with the hold overs, should finally stop the bleeding.
Transferring what we see on paper to the mound is maybe the biggest goal for 2016. It certainly cannot get worse.
Verlander must validate the revitalization
Nothing was more encouraging down the stretch in 2015 then the resurgence of JV. He was a man earlier in the season taking a lot of hits from Tiger fans. Many were on their way to giving up on him or were there already. But he stuck to his guns and kept working and we began to see the man we knew and loved.
The ace had returned and he must continue to lead.