DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers managed to split their opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays, but it was certainly no thanks to the offense.
Detroit was shut out twice in four games and had very few scoring chances throughout the series. It's only been four games, but here's a look at some of the team's worst offensive numbers.
The most obvious takeaway from the opening series is that the Tigers need to do a better job of putting the ball in play.
With 50 strikeouts in four games, the Tigers have the second-most whiffs in baseball, behind a Seattle Mariners team that has played six games.
The only player who has as many hits as strikeouts is Niko Goodrum, who had four hits and four strikeouts so far this season. John Hicks is the only Tigers player who hasn't struck out.
One of the most useful statistics for a hitter is OPS: on-base percentage plus slugging percentage. It takes into account a player's ability to get on base and hit for power.
A league average OPS is around .750. The Tigers' team OPS is currently .480. There were four pitchers in the National League with at least 50 plate appearances who finished with an OPS higher than .480 last season.
Goodrum and Nicholas Castellanos are the only Tigers players with an OPS higher than .750.
It was a rough weekend for most of the Tigers' hitters, but nobody struggled more than Mikie Mahtook.
Thrust into the starting lineup because of JaCoby Jones' injury, Mahtook failed to reach base in all four games, going 0-13 with seven strikeouts and no walks.
The 29-year-old is coming off a rough season after a surprisingly productive 2017, and the first series of this year did little to justify him taking playing time away from Jones when he returns.
8 strikeouts, 0 walks
Jeimer Candelario salvaged his opening series numbers with a five-hit effort Sunday, but the numbers weren't always pretty.
After singling in his third at-bat on Opening Day, Candelario went 0-9 with seven strikeouts in his next nine trips to the plate. The rough stretch was highlighted by a four-strikeout game Friday.
Candelario is one of the most important players in the Tigers' lineup because he could be a part of the next competitive core. While his numbers look just fine after the five-hit game, Ron Gardenhire would like to see more consistency from his young third baseman.
One of the most appealing tools in Candelario's minor-league history was plate discipline, but strikeouts were a major issue in his first full season. It's only been four games, but it was not a positive sign to see Candelario strike out eight times without walking against an average Blue Jays pitching staff.
.100 batting average
Batting average isn't a great gauge for hitters, but there are very few useful players who hit as low as .200.
The Tigers would love to be hitting .200 right now, though.
Out of 12 players who have taken at-bats for the Tigers, more than half of them are hitting below .100 after the first series. Dustin Peterson and Gordon Beckham have only played one game, but John Hicks, Jordy Mercer, Josh Harrison, Mahtook and Christin Stewart are all batting below .100 with at least seven at-bats.
Those seven players are a combined 2-60 this season, good for an .033 average.
Only five players are batting better than .100 for the Tigers, including Miguel Cabrera at .133 and Grayson Greiner at .167. Candelario, Castellanos and Goodrum are the only Tigers with respectable batting averages.
36 scoreless innings
The Tigers have only played four games this season, and the offense has already put up 36 zeroes.
On Opening Day, it took extra innings for the Tigers to get on the board. Stewart's two-run home run was followed by a 24-inning scoreless drought.
If not for Jordan Zimmermann's masterful performance on Opening Day and Joe Jimenez's struggles in the series finale, the Tigers wouldn't have played extra innings and would have scored in one inning of a four-game series.
Again, the Blue Jays' starting rotation isn't expected to be very good, so the Tigers' struggles are even harder to justify.
It's not unusual for an offense to start the season slow, but the Tigers took that to the extreme in the first series.
If not for Goodrum going 4-13 with three doubles, the team would be hitting .139 with four extra-base hits and only 11 walks to 46 strikeouts. Goodrum, Castellanos and Candelario combined for 15 of the team's 21 hits.
Cabrera went 2-15, Stewart went 1-13 and Harrison went 1-11. Those are expected to be three of the team's better offensive players this season, so those numbers obviously have to improve dramatically.
Even though it might be tough to beat the Yankees this week, Tigers batters might be relieved to see Yankee Stadium, one of the most favorable hitter's parks in the league. Only Coors Field at Globe Life Park in Arlington yielded more hits than Yankee Stadium last season, and it was also among the most favorable in terms of runs and home runs.
The Tigers were happy to leave Toronto with a split this weekend, but the bats need to wake up if the team hopes to make any noise in April.