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Know Your Enemy: Detroit Tigers

Definitely not real tigers

Tigers v White Sox Fight

One of the most common jokes I’ve heard about the Detroit Tigers revolves around something about Tigers not being native to Detroit, or someone having never encountered a live tiger in Detroit. Michigan is literally shaped like a mitten, so it gets pretty cold there. Ergo, tigers are smart to not live there. That could also explain why a lot of roadside zoos exist in southern states (well, that and lax animal control laws).

2020 Detroit Tigers: 23-35 (fifth in AL Central)

The Tigers finished dead last last year, 12 games back from first and minus one manager. This was their third and final year under Ron Gardenhire, who retired prior to season’s end due to health issues related to stress, prostate cancer, and a stomach virus resulting from food poisoning.

A couple highlights from their 2020 season (since they didn’t have much else) include:

  • Casey Mize almost had a no-hitter during the September 11 game vs. the White Sox. until Yolmer Sánchez ruined it in the sixth inning with a double
  • Matthew Boyd almost had a perfect game on September 20, until Carlos Santana ruined it in the fifth inning on a single
  • Isaac Paredes hit a grand slam as his first major league home run
  • Miguel Cabrera got his 2,000th hit on August 30
  • The Tigers hit four home runs in the first inning on August 8 against the Pirates
  • Their franchise-record 20-game losing streak against Cleveland was broken when they won 10-5 on August 21

2021 Manager: A.J. Hinch

This is A.J. Hinch’s first job post-suspension for that little infraction of massively cheating with the Houston Astros. The Tigers are stuck with him for three years, rain or shine, but as the Tigers are used to mediocrity, expectations for Hinch aren’t exactly high. Five years before Hinch got the job in Houston he managed the Diamondbacks for two years, before he was unceremoniously fired with a record of 89-123. Hinch’s overall record in Houston was 481-329, but any goodwill or good work he may have done is overshadowed by the whole pesky sign-stealing thing. And the weaselly trying-to-claim-he-had-no-power-and-couldn’t-stop-it thing.

It’s not exactly boding well for him right now with the Tigers still in the AL Central basement. So far, the highlight of Hinch’s season was the standing ovation he got when the team traveled to Houston. He did manage to defeat his old team in the opener, 6-2 (after he was honored by the Astros via video).

I guess he kind of apologized for the cheating, so whatever.

2021 So Far

The Tigers are sitting at the bottom of the AL Central. The also have Nomar Mazara. Need I say more?

Series Matchup: Two Righties and a Lefty

Today is going to be Jose Urena vs. Lucas Giolito. Giolito was originally set for Sunday, but got bumped a couple of days after cutting the top of his middle finger trying to open a glass water bottle, thinking it was a twist off (been there, to be honest). He’s posting a 1-1 record and 5.79 ERA with 26 strikeouts so far this season. Urena is 0-3 with a 4.57 ERA, but has been throwing strikes and inducing grounders lately (after walking nine over 7 23 in his first two starts of the season).

Wednesday is going to be Casey Mize vs. Carlos Rodón. This is Mize’s third career start against the White Sox (coincidentally, also the team he debuted against). The first two times the White Sox faced him Mize struck out 12 batters over 9 23 innings. In 2021, Mize is 1-2 record with a 5.23 ERA and 14 strikeouts, which could be chalked up to the regular struggles that young pitchers face when they first come up in the league. Rodón, meanwhile, has been off for a week. His last two starts, against Cleveland, included a no-hitter and a win, giving him a 3-0 record and 0.47 ERA with 24 strikeouts.

In Thursday’s finale Matthew Boyd is going to face off against Dylan Cease. Cease has looked shaky in his four starts this season, definitely lacking confidence. He has not completed five innings in any start, most recently going 3 13 against the Rangers. Cease has a 0-0 record and 4.15 ERA but is 5-0 against Detroit in his career, so this may be the boost of confidence that Cease needs to get back on track. Boyd, meanwhile, is 2-2 with a 1.82 ERA this season with 22 strikeouts. White Sox fans may remember Boyd as the pitcher that the White Sox met with back-to-back homers to begin back-to-back starts last August (Tim Anderson leading off both times). So it could come crashing down quick for Detroit’s de facto ace.

Why Does Everyone Hate the Tigers?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, including Justin Verlander, Cabrera, and the great brawl of 2000.


The 2000 fight, in all its glory: