Rebuilding Tigers have been competitive so far
DETROIT (AP) The rebuilding Detroit Tigers are winning more games than expected – and they’re having some fun along the way.
On Wednesday night, a Canada goose crashed into a third-deck scoreboard and fell down into the stands . The goose was treated by veterinarians and eventually released into the wild, but the Tigers were quick to embrace their flying friend with a #RallyGoose movement on social media. Detroit won four in a row after the goose showed up, a streak that ended Sunday with a loss to Toronto.
Even before the goose’s visit, the Tigers had earned some respect from local fans by lingering not far from the .500 mark. Detroit finished tied for the worst record in baseball last year after trading Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton. This season wasn’t expected to be much different, but the Tigers are 28-31 under new manager Ron Gardenhire.
They’ve been respectable despite the fact that Miguel Cabrera has played only 29 games because of injury problems.
”There’s a lot of good things happening that we’re happy with, but of course we have a long way to go,” said general manager Al Avila, whose team picks No. 1 in Monday’s draft. ”Obviously, we need that minor league system to keep on going.”
Detroit’s pitching staff has a 4.28 ERA, over a run better than last year’s 5.36 mark that was the worst in the major leagues. Credit the defense for some of that improvement. The Tigers are fifth in the AL in defensive efficiency ratio after ranking last a year ago.
Michael Fulmer has struggled on the mound, but Matthew Boyd (3-4, 3.23 ERA) has been solid, and newcomers Francisco Liriano (3-2, 3.90) and Mike Fiers (4-3, 4.45) have been decent. A pitching staff that was awful last year now looks like it might be pretty average – and that’s a significant improvement.
Some more developments from around the majors:
Speaking of Detroit, how would Tigers fans feel if the starting pitchers for the All-Star Game were Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer? Those two former Tigers appear to be in the running. Verlander is 7-2 with a 1.24 ERA for Houston, and Scherzer is 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA for Washington. Other candidates to keep an eye on: Gerrit Cole of the Astros, Corey Kluber of the Indians, Luis Severino of the Yankees, Jacob deGrom of the Mets and Aaron Nola of the Phillies.
The Cubs and Mets were scoreless in the seventh inning Sunday when Chicago’s Javier Baez stole home. With men on first and third, New York lefty Steven Matz made a pickoff throw to first. Baez took off for home and beat the throw coming in from first. To make matters worse, the Mets didn’t get the runner on first either. He ended up on second. The Cubs won 2-0.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Eddie Rosario of the Twins hit three home runs Sunday, including a game-winning two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth that beat Cleveland 7-5.
Honorable mention to St. Louis righty Michael Wacha, who took a no-hitter into the ninth Sunday before allowing a leadoff hit. He left the game after that, and the Cardinals closed out a 5-0 win over Pittsburgh.
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