The Detroit Tigers experienced a game against the Kansas City Royals on their second outing of the season that seemed all too similar to a lot of their games from the year before. They got shutout pitching from their starter Max Scherzer, very little run support and a terrible showing by their closer.
Sound familiar? That last part was supposed to be different this season with the addition of Joe Nathan, but apparently he’s adopting the local traditions already. This offense cannot be this unproductive with the amount of talent and now MONEY being spent on it (Miguel Cabrera). Tigers’ fans can at least thank their lucky stripes for the addition of Ian Kinsler because without him this game would have been a loss.
Not only did Nathan allow the tying run, he did it off of allowing multiple runners on base. After the run, he even balked for good measure. This wasn’t the case of just one bad pitch and giving up a homer to a good hitter, this was a full inning of poor pitching.
As for Scherzer, he really looked good. He forced a ton of ground balls and racked up eight strikeouts. He held the shutout into the ninth inning, where Nathan, doing his best Jose Valverde circa 2013 impression, swiftly gave up the only run needed to tie the game.
The offense was non-existent for the Tigers throughout the game. Kinsler’s solo homer in the bottom of the fourth was the Tigers’ only run scored before the 10th inning. Then, in the 10th, Kinsler ripped a hard liner into the gap in left-center field to drive home the game winning run for the Tigers’ second walk-off hit in as many games.
The bottom line is, it’s great to get two wins to start off the season against a team that should be giving the Tigers trouble in the division throughout the year, but this offense has to step up to support their incredible pitching staff, and Nathan needs to be solid, or one of these upstart division rivals will eclipse the Tigers with ease.