2015 Detroit Tigers
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2015 Detroit Tigers / Franchise: Detroit Tigers / BR Team Page
Managed by Brad Ausmus
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2015 Detroit Tigers set an American League record by starting the season without allowing a run in their first 24 innings, on their way to a 3-0 start. They beat the old AL mark of 22 innings, set by the 1947 Chicago White Sox, but fell shy of the major league mark of 32, dating back to the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals. But not only were they keeping opponents from scoring, their offense was firing on all cylinders as well, especially when they followed that initial sweep of the Twins with a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. Their 47 runs scored in their first 6 games were the most by a Tigers team since 1929, when they had scored as many; only the team's original edition, in 1901, had scored more, with 50. They were outscoring opponents 47-16, with the 16 runs allowed the lowest since the 1984 World Series-winning squad had given up only 10 runs in its first 6 games.
The Tigers reached an early peak on May 16th, when they were tied for first place in the AL Central with a record of 23-14. However, they began to fall starting with a loss the next day. At first, the fall was gradual, but starting on May 28th with a 12-2 beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they lost eight consecutive games to find themselves in third place and playing at .500 on June 5th. It was their longest losing streak since 2005. The season really turned on July 3rd, however, when superstar Miguel Cabrera suffered a calf injury and had to be placed on the disabled list for an extended period. Even though OF J.D. Martinez was hitting as well as anyone in the majors at the time, the Tigers could not overcome the injury and were below .500 as the trading deadline approached. They decided to be sellers and on July 30th made two big trades, first sending ace David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for three pitching prospects, Matt Boyd, Jairo Labourt and Daniel Norris, and then sending closer Joakim Soria to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league shortstop JaCoby Jones. On July 31st, they shipped LF Yoenis Cespedes, a key off-season acquisition, to the New York Mets in return for two pitching prospects, Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. When all the moves were done, owner Mike Ilitch fired General Manager Dave Dombrowski and replaced him with Al Avila, father of starting catcher Alex Avila. Dombrowski had been in the position for 14 years.
In August, the Tigers lost two-fifths of their starting rotation in a couple of days. First, the recently acquired Daniel Norris hit a home run in his first career plate appearance in a start against the Chicago Cubs on August 19th, but had to be taken out of the game in the 5th inning because of a strained oblique and was immediately placed on the disabled list. The next day, it was Anibal Sanchez's turn to go on the DL with a rotator cuff strain. However, Alfredo Simon started against the Texas Rangers that day and pitched an absolute gem, with a 4-0 one-hitter that was the first complete game and shutout of his career. They also made a move to add some pitching that day, purchasing 39-year-old veteran Randy Wolf from the Blue Jays' AAA affiliate. The losing continued in the following weeks, however, with the team dropping 15 of 20 games in one stretch in late August and early September and falling into last place in the AL Central. Rumors then began to emerge that manager Brad Ausmus was going to be fired at the end of the season, but a on September 26th, Al Avila confirmed that Ausmus would be back next season. On September 22nd, the Tigers came close to recording a collective no-hitter as Norris, back from his injury, pitched 5 hitless innings in a start against the Chicago White Sox. The game was still scoreless when he left, and Buck Farmer, Ian Krol and Drew VerHagen each pitched a hitless inning in relief. The Tigers held a 1-0 lead entering the top of the 9th, but Neftali Feliz allowed a one-out triple to Tyler Saladino to end the no-hit bid; Saladino eventually scored, but the Tigers won the game in 10 innings, 2-1.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Iglesias, J.D. Martinez and David Price
- AL Gold Glove: Yoenis Cespedes (LF)
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Miguel Cabrera (1B) and J.D. Martinez (OF)
- Anthony Fenech: "Tigers release Dombrowski, promote Avila to GM", USA Today, August 4, 2015. 
- George Sipple: "Source: Tigers to fire Brad Ausmus at season's end", Detroit Free Press, September 11, 2015.