Everybody hurts, even the Tigers/The Red Line
R.E.M. sang “Everybody Hurts” and it had nothing to do with the Detroit Tigers. It would make for good advice for their fans, too.
Of course, the Tigers may have lost half of an outfield platoon, an unproven bullpen set-up man and a great-fielding shortstop who would have hit eighth or ninth in the line-up and has 116 career hits and many of their fans believe the Bubonic Plague has set in down in Lakeland.
Take a breath.
It’s going to be all right and here’s a few reasons why.
1. Miguel Cabrera exists, and he doesn’t even have to do it at third base.
Cabrera has been the best hitter in the game for some time, and given that he’s currently 30 years old and likely to get his 2,000th hit (he has 1,995) before his next birthday (April 18), he’s going to be at it for a while. The Tigers have him under contract for the next two seasons at minimum.
Even better, with Prince Fielder gone, the only time we have to see Cabrera running around third base is when he’s hitting a home run. His second stint as a first baseman is off to a dramatically better start than his second stint at third. You might remember that as the Spring Training game in which he caught a bad-hop grounder off his face.
A player that good probably gets to go where he wants, but it’s nice to be able to offer a better suggestion.
“Hey, Miggy, why don’t you head back over to first. Hey, it’s a shorter jog back to the dugout after innings.”
“But what about road games?”
“Trust me on this one, buddy.”
2. Justin Verlander exists.
You know he allowed zero earned runs in spring training, right? Of course, Matt Hasselbeck can tell you preseason statistics don’t mean anything, but it is indicative of a good trend.
He’s under contract for a bzillion dollars and infinity years, the curveball’s nasty again and he’s even back with Kate Upton apparently. All is right with the world.
As for Max Scherzer? Still on the team for now. We’ll worry about him next winter.
3. The AL Central isn’t very good.
Here’s the field, folks: The Royals’ chances of contending are rapidly joining flying cars among those ‘things that will happen in the not-so-distant future.’
If you believe the Indians are going to repeat their 92-win season with the likes of Justin Masterson and Corey Kluber in the rotation, you might be crazy enough to work in the Browns’ front office. But they only finished a game behind the Tigers! Yeah, Usain Bolt only won the 100 meters in the 2008 Olympics by two-tenths of a second. Because he started celebrating 20 meters from the end … and his shoe was untied.
Remember the guy who “almost caught him?” Nope.
Joe Mauer may be filming shampoo ads, but the only Twins you need to worry about will be playing most of this season New Britain, Conn., (Byron Buxton in AA) or not at all (Miguel Sano, had Tommy John surgery).
The White Sox? YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD … LAST!
And if this is the only obstacle Detroit has to the postseason, it’s a good sign because baseball in the Wild Card era has become a game of getting to the postseason and getting hot.
4. It’s a very long season.
The pennant races and postseason will be moved by players and variables that haven’t even been considered yet, trades unrealized and minor leaguers still toiling away on the back fields.
I could sit here and make a World Series prediction for you, but all it would be is an attempt to sculpture smoke.
A loss on Opening Day and a loss on July 30 count the same, and make up .617 percent of the resume the Tigers will make for the postseason.
Everyone blows a save, everyone has a bad hitting week, and everyone has injuries. Just enjoy Opening Day.
Brandon Veale can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.