TWO TIMES TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

It’s Tuesday, so two topics will be tackled by our writers. With one-third of the season put to bed, it’s time to talk about who’s done the most and what’s on the to-do list for continued success the rest of the season.

Did Kurt & Holly share their answers (you should know by now)? Nope, they are seeing them at the same time you are. Here are this week’s Tuesday questions.


1. With one-third of the season now completed, who is the team’s MVP so far?

KURT

Thankfully this is a difficult question. Nick Castellanos has improved immensely at the plate. VMart has come out of the gate looking healthy, hitting for average and looking strong, all real good signs for him and this team.

But I cannot emphasize enough the continued contribution of Ian Kinsler. His home run production is back after taking a year off in the power department last season. He jump starts the offense every night from the leadoff spot and seems to never have a bad at bat.

Defensively, he continues to be one of the best second baseman in the league. And he’s part of one of the league’s best DP combinations. What more can you say? He’s a leader on this team and the MVP so far this season.

HOLLY

My MVP appropriately has 2 of the initials in MVP – VMart. And it’s no surprise that he’s back to his pre-injury form so shame on anyone who ever doubted his ability to perform well again.

Out of all the players who have been with the team for most of the year, he is leading them in all categories except triples and stolen bases – and just a tetch behind in HRs. His stats of .352/.394/.553/.946 are just magnificent and he is second overall in both leagues.

But it’s also what he brings to the table every single day that doesn’t involve a bat or a glove – the intangibles.

No one is more determined or has a better work ethic than Victor. But it’s his leadership, passion and determination that help this team immensely. Granted, he’s one of two visible leaders on this team and has his work cut out for him. Even last week, he was working overtime, after hitting a HR, to jump into the dugout (a cardiac moment given his knees) and let out a scream while gyrating to get and keep this team motivated.

Imagine how this team would behave if he wasn’t part of it.


2. Given the expected close race in the AL Central, what one thing must the Tigers have if they are to stay competitive?

KURT

Between the white lines, starting pitching will always be the key in how far a team goes and how long they play. The Tigers have struggled to find consistency in their starting rotation and have had to jettison Anibal Sanchez to the bullpen.

Michael Fulmer has been a tremendous add to the rotation. I felt he had a chance to stay once he was recalled and it looks like he won’t go anywhere anytime soon. So with Verlander, Zimmermann and Fulmer, all pitching so effectively, that leaves Boyd and Pelfrey to carry the load at the backend.

I am not sure how long we can count on Boyd and I really expect Daniel Norris to make some starts at some point this season. But the best case scenario for the Tigers is for Anibal Sanchez to get things ironed out and earn back his spot. He is key.

This is a good time to address Anibal’s issues. But even having said that, the Tigers will have their ears open listening for any opportunities to add starting pitching.

HOLLY

Sunday’s clincher of the series sweep against a top team was the first time the Tigers showed what they are capable of doing. I’ve always believed they had the talent, especially offensively, although I had some doubts about the pitching.

So many of the pitchers have changed from last year that I feel it will take some time to see where everyone fits in best. But between the recent moves in the rotation and bullpen, I think the team will eventually have what they need once everything has gelled and a few pitchers have recovered fully from their injuries and returned. For the first time in 2+ years, the Tigers now have depth.

So what they really need is a killer competitive instinct. They need more leaders on the team who don’t know the word “quit.” They need to find the people, methods and motivation to stay focused and grind out every inning.

They have been wildly inconsistent but managed to put it all together for 4 straight days. Playing to win every day will be the key to staying in the race which is a much better need to have than lacking talent.

12 thoughts on “TWO TIMES TWO FOR TUESDAY

  1. How about an odd choice for MVP? He hasn’t even played the whole season. Cameron Maybin! This team has been a different ball club since he arrived. A new spirit, added some excitement and speed, filled the hole in centerfield, now appears ready to become the 2nd hitter the club has needed. To say nothing of a 400+ BA and OBP.

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  2. Kinsler is my MVP. I’ve read a lot of baseball history and watching him reminds me of someone from the old Cardinals Gas House Gang. Going forward the team needs to start getting some run support for Pelfrey. I don’t think there is going to be a let-down with Fulmer. Things aren’t looking too bad right now.

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  3. I don’t disagree with Holly and Kurt often, but today I do. The Tigers MVP is Maybin. Our Tigers were on the fast track to 4th place, with no life at all in the dugout. All that changed when CM arrived. As for Q2, everything starts with offense. Without offense, you cannot win. Pitching keeps you close, but offense wins games.

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  4. We have the luxury of having multiple candidates worthy of the title MVP. I’m going with Ian. He’s the total package. Offense, defense, energy, enthusiasm,experience, tenacity. He’s a natural. Pitching is crucial for contention. Anibal’s return to dominance is critical in achieving that goal. . .

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  5. Kinsler is the MVP; when you add his defensive contributions he eclipses VMart. The one thing the Tigers need to do to compete all season is stay healthy.

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  6. I agree with those who say Maybin has been the spark. Nothing was happening before he arrived. Speaking of Maybin, what is the meaning of the gestures he makes after getting a hit, like he’s eating soup from a bowl or looking through giant binoculars? Am I the only one who doesn’t know what that’s about?

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    • I’ve heard that the binoculars gesture is a take-off from the goggles needed to protect eyes from champagne in locker rooms after winning the World Series. I think he’s trying to get the other players focused on thee ultimate goal with that gesture – and it seems to be working as others are emulating his movements.

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    • The Tigers aren’t saying, but the theory is they are putting on goggles. So are they keeping focsed on a champagne party? The other… Feed off this? Feast on the pitcher? It reminds me of Reggie – the straw that stirs the drink, and Pence in 2014.

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    • I think the eating thing is him saying “keep feeding me”. I see others below have heard the goggles are related to champagne, but I thought maybe it was related to the Ian Kinsler binocular incident last season when he got on base and did that since the other team thought he was stealing signs.

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  7. As it usually is for a team with an older core, health is the number one issue with nothing else close. The TIGERS can sustain with a few injuries to their pitching but if Miggy AND VMart go down, it is over.

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  8. I’ve always thought Victor would be a good choice for player/manager if that idea was ever revived again. It just might work here.

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