Pedro Martinez wonders if bad chemistry is the reason the Tigers and Mariners are out of contention

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Pedro Martinez is whip smart when it comes to baseball, but we all have bad days I guess:

 

 

We’ve already talked a lot about team chemistry this week and it’s relative importance so I won’t rehash it all here. I will, however, default to Occam’s Razor and prefer the simplest explanation which explains a phenomenon over a more complex explanation. And in this case it goes like this:

  • Robinson Cano has been far below his usual level of production for most of the year, Seattle has one of the worst offenses in the AL and, unlike the past couple of years, now has the fourth worst pitching staff in the AL in 2015;
  • Justin Verlander was gone for the beginning of the season, sucked for a decent chunk in the middle and has only recently returned to form;
  • Miguel Cabrera missed a month and a half on the DL and, even when he was there and was awesome, was not, unfortunately, a member of the Tigers awful bullpen and could not start games in place of the back end of the Tigers rotation which, for most of the year, has been a tire fire.

I will also note that, during my visits to Comerica Park over the summer, I specifically asked Justin Verlander, Gene Lamont, Al Kaline and some other Tigers about their clubhouse culture and the like. All of them, particularly Verlander, talked about how great a clubhouse it is, how supportive the veterans are of the kids and how, even when they were losing like they were then and even when trade rumors were swirling, everyone kept an even keel. And it was born out in their behavior too. Guys joked and laughed and played video games together and all of that. If there are chemistry issues in Detroit, they’re really, really well-hidden.

Chemistry is a thing. I’ve never argued that it’s not. But it’s not a big enough thing to cover for the aforementioned issues with the Mariners and Tigers, and it’s certainly not as clearly explanatory as those things are.

Star players can carry a crappy basketball team. They can’t carry a baseball team. Especially when the star players themselves do not perform like stars.

Video: Edwin Encarnación grounds into 5-4-3 triple play

Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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The Yankees threatened early against the Twins in the top of the first inning of Monday night’s game in Minnesota. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge drew leadoff walks Martín Pérez, bringing up slugger Edwin Encarnación. Encarnación battled Pérez, ultimately rolling over on the ninth pitch, a change-up. Third baseman Luis Arraez gobbled it up and stepped on the third base bag, then fired to Jonathan Schoop at second base for the second out. Schoop got the ball over to Miguel Sanó at first base just in time to complete the 5-4-3 triple play.

It’s the second triple play turned this year, as the White Sox also accomplished a 5-4-3 double play on May 22 against the Astros. The Twins’ last triple play occurred on June 1, 2017 against the Angels, also a 5-4-3 triple-killing.

The Yankees were eventually able to generate some offense in the third inning on a Gio Urshela solo homer and an RBI single from Encarnación. It’s a 2-2 game as this gets published.