Earlier this season I posted some snarky tweet about how few things in life have ever lived up to the hype as much as the Tigers’ terrible defense, which predictably led to tons of Tigers fans telling me that defense hadn’t actually hurt the team very much. Or something, I mostly just remember that there was a lot name-calling involved.
Now that we’re at the halfway point of the season and the Tigers are one of the most disappointing teams in baseball at 40-42 that whole “their defense isn’t that bad” stuff has quieted down, it seems. After all, among AL teams they rank 10th in errors and dead last in both turning balls in play into outs and Ultimate Zone Rating. In other words, the Tigers’ defense has been every bit as bad as everyone expected.
Anyway, today I’ve been watching the Tigers-Twins game and it featured this beauty from Detroit’s defense:
And not to be outdone, the umpires called that a foul ball even though Rick Porcello clearly touched it (and Prince Fielder and Gerald Laird) in fair territory.
Note: If you’d like to send me angry messages on Twitter–about the Tigers’ defense or just life in general–feel free to follow me @AaronGleeman.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.