It was a good run. After ripping off seven straight the Tigers went into Kansas City as excited as an Australian Olympic swimming coach. The bengal-striped Icarus that was Detroit baseball flew too close to the Kansas City sun and quickly returned to Earth ending up on the wrong end of a series sweep. Up next is Minnesota. Let’s get a new streak started.
Every day dude
The gradual evolution of Akil Baddoo as an every day player continues. The latest step is greater exposure to left-handed pitching — something he has struggled against in his rookie season. The overall goal is to turn him into a dependable every day “dude”, as AJ Hinch likes to say. His improved defense and getting a bit better against lefties should help.
Shutting out the noise
As the trade market continues to heat up ahead of the upcoming deadline, the Tigers clubhouse is doing a pretty good job of not paying attention. With names like Schoop, Cisnero, Funkhouser, Soto, Candelario and Norris all drawing some level of interest from around the league Hinch says that his players are “doing a good job of just playing the game and not making it a big deal.”
The most likely candidate to move in that group is Jonathan Schoop. For his part, Schoop maintains that he wants to remain a Tiger. How that desire fits into the plans of the organization is something we’ll have to wait to see.
Is Willi back?
Willi Castro didn’t have to spend a ton of time in Toledo before being granted his return to Detroit. He came in and made quite a bit of noise with the bat in his first two games hitting a triple on Thursday night and a home run on Friday. Those were bright spots in what has been a difficult season for Castro who was hitting a shade over .200 with an OPS of .619 when he was sent down. Castro acknowledged that all players go through ups and downs and he’s hoping he’s starting a trajectory toward up. I hope so too. He’s not much help if he isn’t hitting.
Best off season signing
When talking about the best signing of the off season, Jonathon Schoop is a pretty popular choice. Another choice that has been impactful is that of AJ Hinch. Hinch, who has presumably been given Cate Blanchett with roster decisions, has churned through the available bodies and despite injuries and other limitations that may or may not be related to the front office, has put together a team that could flirt with a .500 season. The other benefits of bringing in Hinch is the staff that has come with him. You can look at almost any particular area and see improvement. This is a team that’s a ways off from being good, but they arguably aren’t where they are today without AJ Hinch.
Not too long ago Joe Jimenez was a likely candidate for one of those guys you look back at and wonder what could’ve been if they figured it all out. Jimenez came into this season completely out of chances and didn’t look like he was going to pitch his way to anything but the minor leagues. To his credit, he focused on getting his pitches and his confidence back and now — with more velocity on his fastball and a retooled slider — we are seeing glimpses of what we were told he was going to be. Let’s hope this version sticks around.
Fulmer on the way back
After a strong rehab outing on Friday and what appears to be another satisfactory go of it on Sunday, the word is that Michael Fulmer is set to rejoin the team in Minnesota on Monday. When he’ll be activated officially is unknown, but it looks like we’ll be seeing him on the mound again very soon.
Around the horn
Padres pick up Adam Frazier from the Pirates. The majority of the players on the Dodgers don’t want Bauer back. The Mariners are reportedly making a push for Whit Merrifield, to which I say please God get him out of the AL Central. MLB to test an electronic device that would allow catchers to give signals to the pitcher.