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.

Jake Arrieta was not a fan of Bryce Harper’s behavior last night

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As we noted, Bryce Harper was ejected in the Phillies-Mets game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the ejection with a fairly aggressive argument in which he sorta shoved his manager into the ump, had to be held back by teammates and may very well have earned himself a suspension.

We’ll see about the suspension part, but even if he didn’t anger Rob Manfred over all of that, he did annoy his teammate, Jake Arrieta, who was on the mound last night. Here were Arrieta’s comments after the game:

“Look, I mean, [Harper’s] got to understand we need him in right field,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts.

“We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn’t good. Didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat. We started at 8:45. I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play.”

For Harper’s part he was contrite after the game, echoing Arrieta’s words about needing to keep a level head and about him being more useful in the game than in the clubhouse. Still, he got told by his teammate. And seems to know he got told.