On missing hitters and pressing ones

The frustration level in the Tigers clubhouse after Sunday night’s loss was high, probably the highest it has been all season. It was clearly visible, and I wrote about it last night on the site. So the sense that players don’t care and have shut it down is a bit off, based on clubhouse atmosphere compared to dugout demeanor.

There was another sense coming out of last night’s clubhouse, and something that hasn’t been so chronicled: A lot of hitters are doing a lot of pressing with Victor Martinez out of the lineup and the numbers sagging without him. And the longer the offensive struggles go, the more pressure builds, even on a veteran club like this one.

Asked if hitters are pressing, Miguel Cabrera believed so.

“I think everybody,” Cabrera said. “That’s the thing. When you put a lot of pressure on yourself, you overdo it. You overswing. You want to make the extra play. You want to take the extra base. And that’s when you make mistakes, when you try too hard.

“I think we have to cut down a little bit. We still have to play aggressive. We have to go out there and play aggressive and play better, man. We don’t play good right now.”

Cabrera knows what it’s like, because he had to learn how to play with added pressure from the time he got to Detroit, if not sooner. He struggled with it his first few years as a Tiger, then broke out when he learned how to handle it. Few guys have handled that pressure as well as Victor Martinez.

“When you press, you try to do something you’re not used to doing. That’s when you make mistakes,” Cabrera said. “That’s when everything goes wrong.”

When whatever good at-bats hitters have go unrewarded, the frustration compounds it.

“Not an excuse,” Cabrera said, “but we try and we play to make something happen. But you see we hit a line drive right at them. We have good at-bats and strike out. When you put that together, you see we aren’t doing good.

“We have to keep battling. It’s not going to be easy but we have to go out there and try to do our best. We have to try to do better.”

Ian Kinsler referenced that as well.

“You have to take your at-bat for what it’s worth,” Kinsler said. “However many at-bats you get every night, you need to be prepared for those at-bats. When you start adding extra pressure on yourself because the way the team as a whole is swinging, then it becomes difficult. You’re adding unneeded pressure. Everybody needs to take their at-bats one at a time, quality at-bat after quality at-bat, and then start rolling.

“But also, there are plays that happened that sucked the wind out of us. Hitting into that double play [Saturday] with first and second, nobody out, it seems like that’s been happening a lot lately where the wind’s kind of getting taken out of our sails. That’s part of the game.”

The double plays, of course, are a big part of their game lately. Somehow, though, they have to try to create something.

One of manager Brad Ausmus’ ways of trying to ward off pressure is to trust in the numbers. The track records suggest slumps will fade, numbers will rebound.

“When you sign a player or acquire a player or bring a player up, you’re doing that based on what you think he can do over six months of baseball,” Ausmus said. “When things aren’t going well for a month and a half, or a month, you assume that over six months it returns to the norm.”

Even Ausmus, though, is showing concern over the struggles, even if he sees them as short-term blips. Asked at what point he gets worried about the offense, he said, “I’m a little worried about it right now.

“I still think long term the offense will be fine, but with every passing day, it becomes more of an issue.”

With every passing day, meanwhile, the pressure builds, even on guys who have been used to it.

“We want to win,” Cabrera said. “But if we keep thinking like we’re thinking right now, I think we’re going to be in trouble.”

22 Comments

THIS!

Aumus making it easier to lose ballgames…dumb decisions….he’s a numbers guy!
Does a lot spitting…where does he put when he’s home? I’m sorry …just frustrated watching what could be a very good team….going down the tubes.

ElTigre…Last night, I saw Miggy throw up his hands and a nearby Cespedes(?) also demonstrate frustration, which I thought was good because it showed passion. That stuff occurred after a hard hit liner to LF was caught. In no way did it appear denigrating to Gose in my estimation.

Fans here did not like it, for them he is showing up his teammates and breaking the clubhouse . They perceived frustration after the Gose SO.
For me, I did not want to said it but Jason did it shows they care and the opposite of apathy .
He is taking the leader role vacated by Victor and demanded by Dotel.
His swing after Kinsler got caught was bad, even if the ball were is his usual weak point
He hates when someone steal a base with him batting and takes the bat away from him
It happened before, two years ago, shortly before the final demise of Valverde, Miguel was slapping his glove against his leg.

I won’t be redundant, but I responded to this similar comment by you on Jason’s last post. I think we are talking about different video takes.

Yes, for sure

Guillén when Scioscia walked Iglesias to face his former player:
“Why is he doing that ?… Guillermo Cellis , also in the booth, mentioned the GIDP and the averages and Guillen said:”who hits into more DP is not the bad hitter but the one with more runners on”

BTW: still the Wild Card is their with the fourth best record in the AL

Still to early to pay too much attention to the standings. I have been guilty of it like others. Since they are playing far below their potential it is easy to focus on the standings. I know every game counts, but other teams in the division will hit a bad patch and no doubt the Tigers will have a winning streak. It won’t always be the Tigers losing.
Enjoy the day off Tigers, clear your heads.

Sounds like Tony took all the thoughts and suggestions people have had and rolled them into one article. I’ve thought of Wilson in the rotation, changing the batting order, and starting Romine more, along with other suggestions he made.
I don’t agree with using Soria in the 8th on a routine basis, as Tony seems to suggest. I also wonder who pitches the 8th if not Joba. Brad has mixed and matched, but it usually involves Chamberlain anyway.
Acquiring Ryan Howard and moving Miggy to third is one I did NOT think of. That’s original thinking at least.
Good stuff for an off day that’s almost over.

The 8th inning will bde Rondon’s. I think that is pretty clearly the way they want things to go.

Must admit I am not wild about a Ryan Howard. Moving Miggy off first really weakens the infield. He is playing a Gold Glove calibre 1B this year IMHO.
If they are going to give up on Castellanos (who himself will likely end up a first sacker) then get something for him. My choice would be Chase Headley. We would have a rock solid infield and a guy who has shown leadership skills and a power LHB (switch hitter). The problem would be the Yanks giving him up but they might like the idea that Nick has a pretty attractive salary and some youth.

On Soria–I agree with Rich about routinely using Soria more than one inning. But I sure would have used him on Sunday with two outs in the 8th.

Howard? His is known as one of the worst contract in baseball.
Sullivan at Fangrpahs:
“just a mediocre player on a hot streak.”
And again, the LHB is not missed Miguel, JD and Cespedes are better against RHP. Cespedes is unable to hit LHP

Couple of points on the Howard idea, which I raised before. By many accounts, the Phillies would be willing to assume lots of salary. Also, there are those who say his injured knee, which V-Mart proved can be can disabling for a hitter, has healed and now allows him to once again be highly productive. And, his power stats and walks were pretty darn good in the NL last season.

As far as Headley goes, I say no go. The Tigers need bats, not another glove in the infield. Headley had only one nice year with the stick (2012) and is 31. Nick is much younger and may still prove to be at least a 20 HR and 80 RBI guy (DD thinks 30 and 90). The issues with him are defensive reliability and whether the Tigers can withstand his on-the-job growing pains.

Dan…I must say, you can really stir the pot with your ideas.

And since we need bats,how about Jobu from the movie Major League? I think he must have hit waivers by now.

“Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.” – Pedro Cerrano

I actually wouldn’t mind making Gose do twenty pushups every time he hits a ball in the air.

I understnd Darline. I think I am hard on Nick because I was so hopeful for him and his hitting skillset solving an almost perennial 3B problem in Detetroit. But— His at bats have been so awful and his swing so absurd that it is difficult to a envision a correction anytime soon. I also think he is a bit more of a “me” guy than a “team” guy. That is based solely on my PVO system. As to playng 3B-from what I have seen he is ball shy. Extremely awkward and doesn’t have real feel for the position. I honestly think first base is a possible landing spot for him and obviously that would mean on another ball club. I can’t even imagine how brutal he would be as an outfielder.
Nick was a guy that I kind of identified with and was actually the guy I was excited about coming up to bat. My expectations were too high, as are my criticisms.

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