Drew Smyly had his roughest start of the season so far after pitching 5 innings and allowing 4 runs on 5 hits including 2 hr’s and 1 walk and 4 K’s. He looked pretty good for most of the night, but allowed two 2-run home runs in the 1st and 4th inning on two pitches where he missed his location to the wrong two hitters. Other than that Smyly pitched pretty well and was still in position to get the win once he was replaced. He was replaced with Luke Putkonen who allowed 3 runs on on 4 hits and a walk in a third of an inning with one K. Not exactly a great showing for the rookie. Putkonen has looked impressive at times with velocity reaching as high as 97 mph and a very good curveball. Where has appears to struggle is when he throws the curveball too much because he can’t throw his fast ball for strikes. He might be better served to develop a change-up to go along with that curveball and fastball and of course not throwing as hard as he can without being able to place it.
As an upside the Tigers offense was very good for about 3 innings. The problem of course is that the game lasts 9 innings. They again showed a flash of the dominant offense they can be, but didn’t sustain it for long enough or score enough initially to pick up their pitchers. Prince Fielder had 3 hits and 2 RBI’s and raised his average nearly 20 points in one game. Cabrera also had 3 hits and Raburn and Young each chipped in 2 more. That’s right, I said Ryan Raburn had 2 hits in one game!! In May!! Of course he got both of them with no one on base, but he brought his average all the way up to .149 on the season. I can’t say with any semblance of logic or sanity and conceivable reason why a coach would continue to put someone 6th in the order that is hitting .149. The 3, 4, and 5, hitters are the ones most teams count on to drive in runs. This means they are also most likely to be on base if they’re successful in driving runners in. Why would a coach choose someone who has a total of 14 hits in 94 at bats (with 24 strike outs) and 2 RBI’s in one of the spots with the most RBI opportunities?! I truly can’t say what Jim Leyland is thinking. We’re all probably aware of what the definition of insanity is. If not, it’s repeating something over and over but expecting a different result. Is that not what the situation with Raburn is? The man has 5 years of statistics that say he is a fantastic hitter after the all star break. He also has three years of statistics that say he’s a horrible hitter before the all star break. Why not give him some at bats filling in for other guys on a day off during the first half and then gradually increase them until the all star break when guys who started hot will be struggling or there are injuries? Then after the all star break let him tear it up like he has shown he will do? I’m not mad about him being on the team or even getting playing time. I’m mad that he’s getting so much playing time at such an important lineup spot. He led the team last night in runners left on base with 5, although it;s tough to lay the blame squarely on him when the team left 27 runners on base. His total is nearly a fifth of those, but there were others with chances as well. Something needs to change and I’d say the most glaring issue is the bullpen come playoff time, but for now it’s the offense and it needs to step up.
About the Author
Written by Brett Decker
I'm a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Social and Political Science. I love talking sports and welcome sports related tweets @decker_brett.