Tigers’ offense shut down again by Angels

The Tigers' Yoenis Cespedes strikes out swinging, with the bases loaded, to end the top of the eighth inning Friday.

Alex Gallardo/AP

No one wants to hear about the Tigers and their lack of offense anymore, yet that seems to be the unrelenting storyline.

After Saturday night’s 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the Tigers have now scored two runs or fewer 24 times and in eight of their last 12 games.

Against Angels starter Hector Santiago, the Tigers appeared mostly helpless, managing just three singles in 7 1/3 innings.

Without taking any credit away from Santiago, FOX Sports Detroit analyst Craig Monroe said on the postgame show that he sees the Tigers pressing.

"Everybody wants to be the guy to turn this thing around," Monroe said. "It’s just not going to happen when you take that attitude. You have to look yourself in the mirror and you have to realize that the more pressure you put on yourself, the more you’re going to fail.

"Enough’s enough, get back to basics, get back to grinding out at-bats."

A few weeks ago, J.D. Martinez was really struggling at the plate, couldn’t buy a hit. But you could tell Martinez was coming out of it when he started to take some walks, getting on base that way.

The Tigers as a group could follow that lead, doing a better job of taking what the pitcher is giving them and working walks if they’re not getting something they can drive.

Ironically, Martinez was close to tying the game at 2 when he hit a long fly ball to left field that was caught at the wall.

That’s just the way things are going at the moment.

"This too shall pass," FOX Sports Detroit analyst Rod Allen said. "This team’s going to be right where it needs to be at the end of the year. But somehow, some way, they’ve got to figure out a way not to press when they get themselves with runners in scoring position.

"They’ve got to have better quality at-bats than they’ve had on this current road trip."

The Tigers have scored a total of six runs in the first five games of the road trip.

"You can’t tell someone who’s struggling with the bat, ‘Hey, go hit,’" Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told FOX Sports Detroit’s John Keating. "That’s not going to make a difference. Telling them that they’re not hitting isn’t going to make them any better.

"You just keep working on the things that they need to work on and just stay positive."

Despite the loss, the news was not all bad. Anibal Sanchez, who was coming off two straight starts in which he had allowed seven earned runs, was much improved.

Sanchez did give up a home run to Albert Pujols in the sixth inning, the second for Pujols in two games, but his overall line was good. In seven innings, Sanchez allowed two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out nine.

"He seemed to have a determination," Ausmus said. "Even when he came off the mound between innings, you could tell there was kind of a different look in his eyes.

"He needed to prove to himself that he wasn’t the pitcher that people had seen the last start."

If Sanchez can stay on track, the odds are decent that the Tigers will eventually get their offense going.

It just can’t happen soon enough.