Pat Caputo: Start Shows Some Current Tigers Part Of Long Term Rebuilt

Who would have thought it was even possible?

Pat Caputo
July 27, 2020 - 8:54 am

Congratulations to the Tigers. They have a pro-rated 5.4-2.7 record and are in first place in the American League Central.

But don’t dismiss the reason the Tigers surprisingly won two of three games at Cincinnati to open the 60-game sprint. It wasn’t a mistake. The Tigers did a lot of things right they did wrong in 2019 as the worst team in MLB.

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The Tigers hit with genuine power. They turned several key double plays. Their pitchers - starters and relievers - fought through the difficult moments rather than capitulating.

C.J. Cron is wonderful addition to the lineup. His two home runs were not a fluke. He is capable of such hot streaks. He pulled a 447-foot home run Friday. Impressive.

Niko Goodrum is getting a shot at shortstop and made several good plays. Spencer Turnbull and Gregory Soto have always had power arms, but lacked command. The Tigers’ patience with both is paying off. Hey, Miguel Cabrera struck out a lot over the weekend. So did the Tigers collectively. But at least Miggy made ‘em pay with a key home run off an I’ll-advised hanging breaking ball Saturday. It jump-started the Tigers’ offense, which destroyed the Reds’ bullpen.

Who would have thought it was even possible?

If the Tigers are going to emerge as genuine contenders, it’s still primarily going to be because of Casey Mize, Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and other prospects not currently with the big club. 

Yet, they also need a couple bolts of lightning out of nowhere. Soto looked like that Sunday. Jacoby Jones, whose homer won it Saturday, and Goodrum are athletic and could figure it out at the plate. Buck Farmer has morphed into a fierce competitor as a set up man and closer Joe Jimenez is coming on.

Now here’s the portion where we pump the brakes. Did you know the Tigers started out 7-3 last season? That after 10 and 12 games they were in sole possession of first place in the AL Central? And they went 39-110 from that point. 

That’s not meant as cold water. Just the facts.

At minimum, the Tigers have gotten your attention.

While it is certainly no ending, at least it is a start.

And an exciting one.