The Detroit Tigers get swept by Houston

Call a spade a spade and call the Detroit Tigers what they are: They are the worst team in the American League.

The “fire Al Avila” chants across social media are getting louder. Detroit now has lost five in a row, three of the losses of which were by one run. They struck out 32 times in the last three games of the series. Despite threats early in games on Friday and Saturday, the Tigers could not cash in and struggled with runners in scoring position.

There was one stat that someone on Twitter brought up that got me thinking. “Tork Tank” tweeted at me this interesting tidbit about the Tigers with making contact. There have been a lot of ground balls. While the information below is not exact, it provides some level of insight.

Detroit is not hitting the ball hard enough. They are among the bottom third in barrel%, last in barrels and launch angle. When you look at the chart, you can see the Padres and Cardinals in the mix, but there is a vast difference after you look up barreling the ball. Hard hit contact.

Detroit by the numbers

Detroit is 28th in hard hit% at 34%. The Reds and Cardinals are just ahead of them. St. Louis is doing one thing Detroit isn’t that and that is hitting home runs, ranked dead last in the league at 11, and their ISO numbers are also last, at .087. The Cardinals are overcoming the hard hit by simply getting the ball out of the ballpark and their ISO numbers are ranked 20th.

While Detroit addressed all their free agent needs this offseason, if there is one thing not addressed and it is clear as day, was another power bat. Last season, the Tigers were ranked 23rd in home runs from their outfield, 24th from 3rd base and last from shortstop (enter Javier Baez).

While we all can play captain hindsight now, Detroit is not getting production from who they were expecting to. Jonathan Schoop, who got off to a slow start last season, at this point through 25 games, was hitting .198/.228/.279 with two home runs. (17-for-92) with four walks. This season, one less home run, 12-for-99 with a slash line of .128/.172/.181. The slugging percentage is 100 points down from last season.

The injuries have been primarily have affected the pitching. The Riley Greene injury has been devastating to the lineup but to what extent reminds to be unknown.

As far as the farm system goes, Kody Clemens has been swinging the hottest stick among Toledo and Erie and is on the 40-man roster.  He is a left-handed bat and, besides playing second base, can play both corner spots in the outfield.

Both Eduardo Rodriguez and Tarik Skubal pitched quality starts but the bullpen, which has done well all season, allowed Houston to come back.

What’s next?

Oakland for five games starting on Monday. They play a doubleheader on Tuesday for the third time this season.

If Detroit struggles against the bottom feeders in the American League, then Detroit may have bigger issues. After all, after this home stand, the Tigers will have played 35 games. It draws closer to what, according to Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson, an important mark, the 40 game mark.  Anderson once stated that was a benchmark for how the team would fare the rest of the season.

According to weather reports, it is looking to hit 80 next weekend in Metro Detroit. Let’s see how the bats will heat up as well.

 

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