Is it too early to say this is a must win series for the Detroit Tigers?
The above headline is rather tricky. The Detroit Tigers are sitting at 6-9, two games out of first place in April. It is way too early, granted, to complain about the lineup shuffles, early bat struggles (league average is the lowest in history) and anything else that is attributed to a shortened spring training, but why is it important for the Tigers to beat the Twins in this series?
Detroit Tigers have won just one series.
This one is pretty obvious, but this goes a little further than that. Detroit went 30-46 against the AL Central last season. The run differentials stand out against Chicago and Cleveland as the white Sox outscored them by 25 runs and the Guardians by 37, most by any division rival. Minnesota comes in third at -11.
They have to winning against division teams more often. They have not been swept yet this season and minus the game against the White Sox back on April 10, in which they lost 10 to 1, they have had one other loss that they have lost by 4 runs or move and that last came on Sunday against the Rockies, 6 to 2. If they can start the road trip beating Minnesota, it bodes better when they head out to Dodger Stadium, where lifetime they are 4-7 at Chavez Ravine. The last time the Tigers played at Dodger Stadium was on April 9, 2014, and lost in extra innings, 7 to 6.
Stop Byron Buxton.
Recently, I posted an article on the Detroit Tigers “villains” and one name that may rise through the ranks soon is Byron Buxton. Jeff Passan of ESPN tweeted out on Monday about how important Buxton is to the Twins, when healthy.
In 186 plate appearances against the Tigers, he has put up a slash line of .302/.346/.550 with an OPS of .897 (51-for-169)
Two struggling bats get moved down in the order tonight.
Jeimer Candelario and Jonathan Schoop are scheduled to bat 5th and 6th against Chris Paddack. What has been noticeable about Candelario this early in the season is he could not catch up to fastballs yet, batting .258 against the pitch and has one hit against breaking pitches (1-for-21) so far in 2022. However, he is hitting the ball harder, as so far this season, his exit velocity is up to 90.3, compared to 88..7 last season. But looking at the data on Baseball Savant, he should have at least one home run. Still, along with Schoop, moving both of them down in the lineup should help them with their current slumps.
Get ready for the Correa vs Baez matchup posts.
The endless amount of social media posts about Carlos Correa vs Javier Baez in terms of numbers so far this season will be out and about this week.