In what a lot of people thought would be a cake walk season for the Detroit Tigers; some are coming to the realization that a baseball season is a 162 games long. Your going to go through your up’s and down’s of a season but the good teams battle through and come out on top.
22 games into this young 2012 season the Tigers are a surprising 11-11. Although the record is not flattering to the eye, considering the talent that is on the team, there are some bright spots, some not so good, and some things that are downright ugly.
Since everyone likes to hear the good first, lets start off with the good things about the Detroit Tigers.
Justin Verlander- Five starts in Verlander has a 2-1 record with a 2.41 ERA. Verlander could very well be 4-1 right now, but a bit of bad luck has hurt Verlander this season and held his true numbers back. Furthermore proving why last season was such a special year.
Drew Smyly- What a pleasant surprise this young south-paw has been. Only pitching as high as Double-A last year, Smyly has mowed through MLB line ups like a 10-year vet. Smyly has only allowed three earned runs in 22 innings this season, and finally got his first major league win in New York on Saturday.
Octavio Dotel- The only arm in the bullpen that hasn’t walked almost every batter he has faced. Through his first 8.2 innings in a Tigers uniform, Dotel has allowed no runs and four hits.
Miguel Cabrera- After going through a 0-22 slump last road trip, Cabrera has really turned it around. In his last seven games, Cabrera is a batting a cool .348 with 3 HR’s and 7 RBI’s.
Andy Dirks- Being able to bring a left-handed-hitter off the bench that has some power and is a capable backup starter, is as valuable weapon as you can have. Dirks has done surprisingly well in his limited playing time. Dirks already has two triples, a homer and five RBI’s under his belt, in only 31 at bats.
Prince Fielder- He’s been as good as advertised. Leading the team in average, and has remained one of the more consistent bats in the line up since Opening Day. Once Fielder gets his power stroke down, he will be challenging Cabrera for the team lead in RBI’s next.
Collin Balester- With all the short starts this year by the Tigers rotation, Balester has done a great job eating up innings and saving the pen for the Tigers.
Duane Below- In 12 innings, Below has allowed no runs and has pitched so well he has earned himself a temporary spot in the Tigers rotation. Once Doug Fister comes back, Below will be a valuable asset in the pen once again.
Offense- For a team with so many good hitters, it’s almost unbelievable the Tigers rank 10th in runs, 16th in batting average, 17th in OBP, and 14th in slugging percentage. Once this offense starts clicking top to bottom these numbers will move up the rankings. As for now, it’s be real interesting watching the Tigers trying to score.
Alex Avila- Starting All Star catcher and won a Sliver Slugger at the catcher position in 2011, 2012 has not treated Avila so kindly. Avila is only hitting .220 and has struggled to find a consistent swing. After hitting .290 with RISP in 2011 — which is why he was able to drive in 82 RBIs in 2011 — Avila is only hitting .111 with RISP and has driven in only 8 RBIs this season.
Rick Porcello- After pitching two gems — one against the Chicago White sox and the other against the Rays — Porcello has been absolutely crushed since. In a start against the Texas Rangers, Porcello lasted only an inning and gave up eight earned runs. In his most recent start against the Mariners, Porcello gave up three runs quick and ended up giving up four in total.
Jose Valverde- After going a perfect 49-f0r-49 in save chances last year, Valverde has been anything but perfect this year. Papa Grande has already blown a save and has seem to of lost his command. In only 9.2 innings Valverde has walked 7 batters and has an ERA of 5.56.
Joaquin Benoit- After May of last year Benoit was as good as it got. Benoit has struggled yet again early in the season; especially with his command. Benoit has walk nine batters in 9.1 innings. He seems to has lost his feel for throwing his fastball for strikes and getting batters out with his slider. Benoit has been throwing nothing but change-ups and has come very predictable on the mound.
Doug Fister- Not having Fister in the rotation has been a nightmare. Trying to fill his spot has been an agonizing task for Jim Leyland. Adam Wilk tried and was lit up in two of his three starts and Below will test his luck in the rotation. It’s safe to say the Tigers can’t wait till this tall righty is back on the mound.
Jhonny Peralta- .299 AVG, 21 HRs and 86 RBI’s; when looking at those numbers it’s hard to believe how different Peratla has looked this season. Only hitting .236 with five RBIs and has yet to homer. Peralta’s swing appears to be his main problem. Hopefully after he gets his mechanics worked out, he can come close to the numbers he put up last year.
Max Scherzer- After his great start against the White Sox, Scherzer has been getting knocked around. After coming off a season where his ERA was nearly 4.50, Scherzer looked to rebound in 2012 but has yet to show he can remain consistent for a long period of time. Still struggling with his command, throwing too many pitches in an inning, and working himself into jams. This season has not started off well for Scherzer.
Ryan Raburn- Raburn’s calling card has been: struggle in the first half, kill the ball in the second half. Playing right to that, Raburn has been horrid so far, only hitting .157 with one RBI. Hopefully someone in the clubhouse can trick Raburn into thinking it’s July outside so he can put bat on ball.
Delmon Young- Considering Young has not been tearing the cover off the ball — only hitting .242 — Young got arrested early Friday morning in New York. Facing hate crime charges and assault, no one knows how long Young will be out of the line up.