By:  Kurt Snyder

As June heads into the final week of baseball, we have reduced the list of Tiger problems to one. It’s become clear. The Cleveland Indians.

My 20 Thoughts for June begin and end with the Indians.

1. As the Central Division has struggled with mediocrity, one team has finally separated itself from the others; and it’s not the Tigers. It’s the Indians. The problem is, it’s the one team in the Central Division the Tigers have failed to beat. And that’s no way to stay in the race.

2. Were you happy with Anibal Sanchez’s first start in his return to the starting rotation? I only needed to see the first inning to confirm the answer. As suspected, he’s back too soon.

3. When I attend games, there are 2 players I look forward to watching. Miggy, of course, is one. And Iggy is the other. So to my disappointment on Friday night, who’s playing shortstop? Andrew Romine. The Tigers should have called.

4. In the interest of reducing the innings for Michael Fulmer, the Tigers have decided to move to a 6-man rotation. Everyone ok with that?

5. The injury to JD Martinez turns out to have hurt the Tigers more defensively than offensively. Don’t be mistaken, the Tigers miss his bat. But Stephen Moya hasn’t dazzled in right field.

6. OK, I am ready to join in now. Nick Castellanos, who has had a breakout season with the bat, is also having a breakout season with the glove. He’s made plays at third this season I have never seen him make and he’s shown a stronger arm I didn’t think existed.

7. What in the heck has happened to Mark Lowe? When the season kicked off, he was one reason I felt good about the pen. I didn’t think he would be the #1 reason why I don’t.

8. The Tigers most important starter? Anibal Sanchez. It’s real simple where we are headed if he doesn’t start to produce; (a continued carryover). Status on that? It’s not good.

9. A word about Stephen Moya’s offensive ability. There is a lot to love here. The guy has unmistakable power for sure and is now showing he has a future in this league. But when the team gets healthy, who knows what happens with him. Because once again, he will be a man without a place at the table.

10. Jordan Zimmermann has gone from a pitcher we thought might be our ace to someone so inconsistent, we are not sure what we are going to get from one start to the next. He’s been unhittable one start followed by getting smacked around the next. Pretty puzzling.

11. Speaking of aces? It’s Justin Verlander. My, oh my, JV has been good. Whoever gave up on him should be ashamed of themselves.

12. The Indians have shown us that they have the best pitching in the division. It’s been painfully clear this weekend as the Tigers still try to figure out how to beat them. Well, we can start by actually pitching well ourselves.

13. Count me out as someone who is concerned about Miguel Cabrera and how much time he spends goofing around on the field.

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

15. Shane Greene has found his niche on this team, and none too soon as Mark Lowe has fallen off the face of the earth. My jaw dropped Saturday when I realized that his ERA is over 10.

16. Jim Price continually pounds the drum about the art of pitching. It’s one of his favorite topics. But the art of pitching will always include not throwing the ball over the plate. Yeah that’s right, sometimes strikes are mistake pitches, and Mark Lowe is suffering from that more than anything else.

17. How good must it have felt for Rajai Davis to finish off the Tigers Friday night with that incredible play in centerfield? That game was getting away from the Indians real fast, but in bizarre fashion, Davis stole the show.

18. A reader pointed out this weekend a desire to keep Moya around when JD comes back; mainly for the purpose of spelling the corner outfielders and Victor at DH. It’s something to think about. But would this scenario still give him the at-bats he needs?

19. Chet Lemon was honored during June. It was good to see Chester again. It definitely brought back a lot of good memories of Lemon roaming centerfield. But I haven’t forgotten. Still waiting for the ultimate honor for Tram and Lou. When are we hanging those numbers? What exactly are the Tigers waiting on?

20. One final (repeat) thought. And the most important. The Tigers need to start beating the Indians starting Sunday. Because the formula has become real simple. They are falling out of the race real fast because of their inability to beat the division leader…even once.

10 thoughts on “20 JUNE THOUGHTS

  1. I understand your disappointment about not seeing Iggy play Friday but you could argue that Miggy hasn’t played (batted) for some time. It disconcerting for me to see the shear number of 0 for 4’s and 0 for 5’s the following morning when I review the box scores. I hope that he’s due for one of his breakout streaks where every pitch hits green or the seats…


  2. Number 19 really gets to me as well. Again, the Tigers don’t honor, commemorate or celebrate Tigers of HOF-worthy recognition. They do honor opposing players though which is bass-ackward logic. The Tigers need to push the envelope on this and not wait for a HOF decision.


  3. I don’t mind Miggy’s clowning around. But what I want to know is if he is physically unable to hustle to 1st base after he hits the ball or if he just doesn’t feel like it.


  4. Great set of reflections. Your points about Moya particularly cogent. He has a sweet swing, but can be completely baffled by liners hit to RF– He has DH written all over him. My only quibble: that you said Sanchez was “back too soon.” Pelfrey, Sanchez and Lowe in mop-up roles. Time for a costly DFA?


  5. No way do I condone Miggy’s clowning act. Trade VM and move Moyà to 1b and have Miggy DH next year. MLB destroyed art of pitching by scrunching the strike zone to size of cereal box. When will Ausmus learn to hook a starter quicker. Gotta be a boatload of loses due to “Ausmus stubbornness!”

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    • Remember how bad Prince was (is) at 1B? My guess is that other than being taller, Moya would make Prince look good. He is a DH and not much else waiting to happen, there have been no indications at ANY level that he can play in the field (for a good team).


  6. If the tigers had a real manager Miggy would not be clowning around like he does. Maybe if he focused on trying to get the win he would be able to field potential DP grounders hit right at him.


  7. Your post appropriately begins & ends with the Indians as does our quest to stay in the race. Anibal’s debut as new & improved was premature. As he goes so go the Tigers. Miggy’s playfulness is not an issue. His lack of focus at the plate is. I wrote JV off believing the red carpet took precedence over the mound. I’m shamefaced. Great post!


  8. The Indians pitching success does not surprise me, but their offense does. With Brantley out, Lindor is the only position-player who would start for the Tigers, yet they have led the league in runs scored over the last five weeks. Is it creative lineup construction. Francona looks like a magician these days.


  9. Back in the 90’s when smith was the gm. He was interviewed about his plans for a new stadium. Said he wanted it huge-were he’d get the best powerhitters to out slug the other teams. Pitchers and defense don’t matter. We’ll just out homer them. That’s the way it’s been!


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