By:  Kurt Snyder

As we begin to put the finishing touches on May baseball, the Tigers find themselves under .500 at the 40+ game mark. As much as the team has struggled, they still are in the division race, but with lots of company.

So welcome to my 20 Thoughts for May. What thought is still a hold-over from April? There may be more than one.

1. I’ve been watching the standings. The White Sox were forecasted to contend this season and they are. The Indians were forecasted to content this season and they are. But the surprise for me has been the Twins. Expected them to be right in the mix this year. They are far from that.

2. Concerns in the starting rotation consist of these names: Sanchez and Pelfrey. One we expected and one we hoped would not make this category.

3. If you use the return of James McCann as an excuse for a struggling team, you’re just not paying attention. My dad used to pick one player he would focus on for an entire game; most of the time it would be catcher. I plan to do that one day this season. McCann is a heck of a catcher and the bat will come. The injury slowed him and he deserves time to work out issues at the plate.

4. As the fifth starter, I don’t think it’s unusual for 6 innings to be a pitcher’s ceiling. But here’s the difference. Mike Pelfrey was paid to be the 4th starter, not the fifth. Someone please describe for me what an innings eater is.

5. Players in the lineup we have to quit worrying about not including James McCann: JD Martinez and Justin Upton. These guys are going to continue to play and will produce. Because if they don’t, there won’t be anything really to worry about this summer other than what to do instead of watching the games.

6. Why are fans continually worried about how Nick Castellanos feels about being benched for a defensive replacement in the late innings? Who cares how he feels? Romine has made plays I am not sure Nick could and that’s the idea. Pretty sure Nick understands.

7. I haven’t checked the numbers (Holly’s job) but is anyone concerned about the amount of innings the bullpen is logging? We must be close to leading in that category. If we are not, please let me know. It would make me feel better.

8. The Tigers most important starter? Anibal Sanchez. It’s real simple where we are headed if he doesn’t start to produce. (Yeah, carryover from April)

9. Stephen Moya, a guy we have been patiently waiting for, can’t buy any luck. He got an opportunity and didn’t disappoint as he came out of the gate hitting. Along came Cameron Maybin and Moya found the bench. It’s great to have a guy with power coming off the bench, something we need desperately, but this guy has to play. But there just isn’t room in this outfield.

10. Speaking of Moya. Love the new open stance. It seems to work for him; he looks intimidating in the box and appears to be able to see pitches better giving him a better shot to drive the ball versus missing. He looked good. But now what?

11. Jarrod Saltalamacchia; a quality, veteran, switch hitting catcher with power from the left side of the plate. Just what we needed. Just what we got.

12. So what were your thoughts on the TV and radio announcing swap over the last week? I thought it was successful. What I determined was that Dan Dickerson might be better suited for TV. Since he likes to engage in dialogue outside of calling the game, he can get away with it on TV. He doesn’t leave fans hanging on what inning it is or what the score is; issues he has as a radio broadcaster.

13. I see the Tigers have switched up the studio analyst team by adding a female element.   Good move.   The current group is stale.

14. Exchanging Fielder for Kinsler was one of the best trades in Tiger history. (A holder over from April because it becomes more true every day)

15. I have hated the question. Is Justin Verlander back? What does that mean exactly? Is he back to winning? Yes he is. It’s all I need, how about you?

16. It’s a shame that Michael Fulmer will more than likely be the odd man out when Shane Greene returns. He has shown enough to stay in this rotation as the 5th starter and continue to develop. He has all the tools. Unfortunately, we are so financially invested in Mike Pelfrey, the Tigers are left to wonder what to do with him other than keep sending him out there and pray he pitches well. What a horrible signing that has been.

17. My thoughts on Brad Ausmus’ antics this week? Nice show! Imagine all the energy it took out of a guy so used to not showing any.

18. Miguel Cabrera. There really is nothing there to worry about anymore is there? Power outage? Nope. Not in the slightest.

19. I can’t let the week close without recognizing the death of former Tiger great Dick McAuliffe. Tough as nails at second base. Unmistakable batting stance. 1968 World Champion.

20. Sparky Anderson said 2 things (among many others) about a typical baseball season. You really don’t find out what you have as a baseball team until you play 40 games. And also, you can’t think about any future goals until you reach .500 baseball. So as we sit here in May, there are concerns and much work to do.

14 thoughts on “20 MAY THOUGHTS

  1. Re #13: Tigers adding “….bright shiny new blonde bombshell” for marketing purposes. Now I’m not big into PC. However, the phrase (and concept) are a bit on the, dare we say, “S*xist” side. Give her a chance without stereotyping. C-Mo wasn’t the best by any means when he started, but he has turned into an excellent analyst!

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  2. I think the most important development in May has been the disappointing performance of our seventh- and eighth-inning inning bullpen pieces. I had thought Avila had addressed that chronic problem brilliantly during the off-season, but now I am very worried. It is so important.


  3. Not too much to disagree with but the two at catcher are debatable. McCann is a nice young decent catcher. Great arm, long way to go defensively. On offense, nothing indicates he will give more than AA, better average by a little, same inconsistent power and he doesn’t walk at all. Salty provided some pop early, all from the left side. K machine in Avila’s class.


    • McCann’s problem is the Tigers are making him something he’s not, a FT player. He simply can’t hit RHP and never has. He’s at bottom 10 of 260 players in all key categories versus them including all-important SO/W ratio meaning he’s not going to hit against them either. Let him start against lefties only and maybe 1x/wk vs a right-hander and he will do fine.


  4. 21. Thank goodness that the team has become watchable again. I know the opponents are worse lately, but the Nationals / Orioles series were scary. 22. There seem to be about twice as many panhandlers around Comerica this year. Between them and the scalpers it is a bit like running the gauntlet.


  5. 19 relevant thoughts Kurt. #13 not so much but it is smile worthy 🙂 Sparky also said “It’s a terrible thing to have to tell your fans, who have waited like Detroit’s have ,that their team won’t win it this year. But it’s better than lying to them.” We have played 42 games. Is it too early to say we’re lying to ourselves or is still early in the season to remain optimistic?


  6. #3 – You could substitute McCann for Avila over the past few years, and it would work. So what does that tell us? #6 – Castellanos disagrees with the defensive replacements. He says he is working harder to prove he belongs out there. #16 – Fulmer has two more starts to show that his performance on Saturday is legit. If so, he replaces Pelfrey.


  7. Nice article, but I still have to take issue with the Pelfrey comments. The guy has pitched well enough to win in half of his starts (He’s actually pitched better than Sanchez so far this year). Also, I’m sure this was written before Fulmer amazing Saturday night peformance, but I doubt there’s any way he’s unseated by someone as bad as Shane Greene.


  8. Have you ever noticed Ausmus likes to rest players coming off great games, but refuses to rest high salaried, under performing players when they are struggling?

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  9. The Mike Pelfrey we’ve seen the last few starts is the one the Tigers wanted. This one gets a high GB rate, has decent control and throws a hard sinker while adding a splitter last year. Anything before last season wasn’t same as guy as he developed new pitch. Never be great but serviceable.


  10. We have two, no three new items to add to the list. 1. Zimmermans groin 2. Miggys knee 3. Zero confidence in Kevin Rand


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