The Detroit Tigers have hosted a conclave of criollos for years. Even their first base coach, Omar Vizquel, is a VZ baseball legend.
Today, Aníbal Sánchez started the game for Los Tigres, and Caraqueño Francisco Rodríguez finished it, each buffing their statistics against the Marlins of Miami.
Sánchez, coming off a couple of injury-plagued seasons, is a bit of an enigma. After a masterful 2013 season (14-8, 2.57 ERA), his first full campaign in the Motor City, the Maracay-born righty had 2014 and 2015 shortened by injuries and his ERA bumped up almost a run each year. I suppose the Tigers have their doubts about his durability at age 32.
No hay duda (there’s no doubt) about the abilities of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martínez, two of the purest hitters you’ll ever see. Cabrera’s career parallels that of Albert Pujols, with Albert of Anaheim preponderant in power, and Miggy the better hitter for average. Honestly, if either retired tomorrow, they’d be guaranteed Cooperstown.
V-Mart is quietly consistent, though, and pinch-hit home runs in both games against Miami. He’s 37, so we don’t know if he’ll crush it again as he did in 2014 (32 home runs, 33 doubles, .335 average), or if injury-riddled 2015 (.245 average) more of an indicator. He’s got bad wheels, for sure, but he can hit the snot out of the ball when he’s healthy. For $14 million, the Tigers are hoping that he returns to snot-whacking form this season—so far, so good (in corporate parlance, he’s batting .1000—literally).
Meanwhile, at the end of Tuesday’s game, there was K-Rod, who finished 66 games two seasons ago for the Brewers. He had 38 saves just last season, so the Tigers are banking that the 34-year-old righty still has some Tiger in his Tank. He blew the save on Opening Day ™ with a horrid ninth inning, but bounced back today, because that’s what relievers do, right? So should we all.
Sánchez, Cabrera, Martínez, Rodriguez. The Four Tigers of the Apocalypse, all in their 30’s, looking to bring a title to Detroit for the first time since 1984– before their time runs out.