The Detroit Tigers (20-21) come to town tonight to kick off a three-game series, and while we’ll surely become very familiar with the preseason AL Central favorites by the end of the season, this is the first time we’ve seen them in 2012. So I talked to Walkoff Woodward‘s Josh Worn about the Tigers’ slow start, the Prince Fielder deal, and the pitchers Detroit will send out this week.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: We’re more than a quarter of the way through the season and the Tigers are in third place and under .500. Are you worried?
JOSH WORN: No, I’m not worried. I don’t really like to compare year-over-year records, but last season after 41 games the Tigers were 22-19, in second place and 4.5 games back. They then went on to win the division by 15 games and I fairly certain that this team is better than last year’s.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: It’s old news now, but Detroit’s biggest move of the winter was signing Prince Fielder to a $214 million contract. What did you think of the deal? Has your opinion changed now that you’ve seen him in a Tigers uniform?
JOSH WORN: As a Tigers fan I love the move. Did then and still do now. As a writer who looks at the long term effect this contract could have on the team, I am really worried what this could do to them when they need to re-sign Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Austin Jackson was playing like an MVP candidate before his injury last week. Was it just another BABIP-fueled fluky start (as in his rookie year) or is his success sustainable?
JOSH WORN: Jackson had a hitch in his swing last year: a big goofy leg kick. He spent a ton of time in the off season eliminating this leg kick and it has really helped his contact rates this year. I’ll say this: if he maintains this improved approach at the plate he can continue to have success because the talent was always there.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: Who’s pitching for Detroit this week, and what should Tribe fans look for from them?
JOSH WORN: Rick Porcello, Doug Fister, and Justin Verlander will toe the white slab this series, so you can look for ground balls, ground balls, and whiffs. Also, look for low scores: these are the three best arms the Tigers have, in my opinion.
WAHOO’S ON FIRST: What’s your prediction for the series?
JOSH WORN: I hate to be a homer (no I don’t), but I think the Tigers come in and take two of three, beginning with a solid start from Porcello tonight. The team hasn’t won two straight games in over a month. They won on Sunday. I think that trend ends.