Detroit Tigers

Baseball is Back: Spring Training notes and more

Good Morning and happy Friday! There were three Spring Training games yesterday, all pitting Major League clubs against college teams. Thankfully, all were able to avoid an embarrassing loss to their amateur opponents. While the scores are largely irrelevant, it is fun to report a score and a few statistics. Spring Training action continues today with six games, five of which are exclusively Major League teams.

Back to yesterday:

Phillies 6, University of Tampa 0

Is that Mark Leiter? Yes! Mark Leiter, Jr. is a prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies and started the game yesterday. Leiter spent all of last year at AA, going 6-3 in 17 starts and 23 total appearances. Leiter pitched one perfect inning yesterday.

Leadoff hitter Roman Quinn spurred the Philadelphia offense, going 2-for-3 with a solo HR in the third. Quinn is listed as the Phillies 7th Overall Prospect by MLB.com, and even earned a cup of coffee in the Bigs last season. With an impressive spring, Quinn could be in Philadelphia sooner rather than later.

This game saw a collection of Phillies prospects, including JP Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Dylan Cozens and Scott Kingery take the field.

Red Sox 9, Northeastern University 6

The hometown (…kind of home away from home?) fans were treated to a number of Major League players yesterday when Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland and Pablo Sandoval played against Northeastern University.

In his first game action for the BoSox, Moreland hit a three run HR in the third. The Red Sox will be counting on Moreland to replace some of the power that retired when Big Papi retired at the end of last season.

I really wanted to write this article without talking about Pablo Sandoval. I’m sick of reading about how many calories he ingests in the fifth inning of Thursday games played after a double header…UGH. But give Panda credit, he is only 30 years old and is looking to bounce back after only playing three games last season.

LHP Brian Johnson (26 years old) started the game for Boston, hurling two no-hit innings while striking out three.

Tigers 8, Florida Southern College 0

Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus penciled in a number of Major League players in his starting line-up on Thursday, as the team defeated FSC.

Third baseman Nick Castellanos doubled and catcher James McCann drove in a run as the Tigers pitching held the Moccasins (the snake, not the footwear) scoreless.

 

Check back tomorrow for a comprehensive review of the games that are going on today and sometime this weekend for a preview of the NL East- the land of topflight shortstop prospects. Good day!

 

Mets, Tigers and how the jury on the Fulmer-Cespedes trade is still undecided

Just over a year ago the Mets and Tigers made a deal at the deadline that sent slugger Yoenis Cespedes to New York and top-prospect Michael Fulmer to Detroit. In 2015, Cespedes carried the Mets to a National League pennant while the Tigers finished a staggering 20.5 games behind the Royals, good enough for dead last in the AL Central.

When the two teams take the field tonight at Comerica Park, it will be hard to remember where these teams were just 10 months ago. Currently, the Tigers are charging up the standings, led by an underrated offense (4th in the AL in runs scored), a revitalized Justin Verlander and, of course, Rookie of the Year candidate Michael Fulmer.

Fulmer is 9-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 17 starts and a 1.08 WHIP. He has dazzled throughout his first season in the bigs with a plus fastball that sits around 95 MPH and a nasty slider. With Jordan Zimmerman sidelined for all of July, Fulmer has been the glue that has held this Detroit team together. With Zimmerman back, the Tigers are poised to make a run at a playoff berth and could be a scary team in October if Verlander, Zimmerman and Fulmer are healthy.

The Mets, who at the start of the season were the darlings of many media outlets to return to the World Series, are scuffling. Duda, Wright and Harvey are out for the season and the team is 8 GB of the NL East leading Nationals and 1 GB of the second Wild Card position. While Jay Bruce was a nice acquisition, the injury to Yoenis Cespedes and the ensuing mayhem around his decision to play golf while nursing a quad injury that landed him on the DL, is palm-to-face type of material. The Mets have been so dreadful this year with Runners In Scoring Position that they are hardly above the Mendoza line, .207. That is 17 points behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who are some sort of quasi MLB/AAA team.

When the teams square off tonight it will be Verlander against Syndergaard in a stellar match-up. If the Mets can survive this series in Detroit they have a fortuitous nine games in a row against teams the Diamondbacks and Padres and they could work themselves into a favorable position before mid-August. The Tigers will look to capitalize on the Mets before heading out to Seattle and the newly revamped Texas Rangers.

The full evaluation of the Fulmer for Cespedes swap will likely not be complete for a few more years, but this series and the next eight weeks will certainly shed some more light on the topic. Enjoy the weekend.

Sunday Morning Six Pack: Top pitching performances, walk-offs and one beer for a few tears

Two Beers: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers

Verlander had an interesting day yesterday at home against the Astros. Verlander was straight dealing for the first eight innings and entered the 9th with a 1-0 lead. Verlander would quickly surrender the lead and stood to take the loss as the Tigers took their turn at-bat in the bottom of the 9th. However, his teammates picked him up and scored two to give Verlander the win and propel the Tigers to their fifth straight win. After such a stressful day, we at BoT believe that Verlander should go home to his fiance, supermodel Kate Upton, and enjoy a couple of cold brews.

One Beer: Wade Miley, Seattle Mariners

Miley was dealing yesterday against the powerful Cubs offense in Wrigley. Miley did not allow a hit until the bottom of the 7th when Kris Bryant singled. The southpaw struck out nine en route to his 7th win on the year.

One Beer: Matt Kemp, San Diego Padres –> Atlanta Braves

Matt Kemp’s life kind of sucks today. He woke up playing for a team that is 14 games under .500, but at least he had the chance to live in one of the most beautiful cities in America, San Diego. Now, Kemp and his albatross of a contract, are headed to Atlanta, Georgia to play for the AAA Braves. Listen, Atlanta is a nice city, but when the team is 32 games under .500 and 25 out of first, the 92% humidity isn’t that enjoyable. Grab yourself a beer on the plane, Matt Kemp.

One Beer: Adam Rosales, San Diego Padres

In the bottom of the 10th, with the score tied at 1, Adam Rosales sent a 96 MPH fastball from Jumbo Diaz deep into left centerfield to give the Padres the win. Rosales was 2 for 4 on the night.

One Beer: Mitch Moreland

In Texas, Moreland slammed a walk-off homer on a night where Michael Young was inducted into the Texas Rangers’ Hall of Fame. The homer was Moreland’s 17th and the Rangers now sit five games above the second place Astros in the AL West standings.