Hot start: Scott Sizemore is off to a .387 start with Toledo this season.

In five of their 16 games this season the Detroit Tigers have been held to two or fewer runs.  They are 0-5 in those games.

On eight occasions this season the team has scored three for fewer runs ans has a 2-6 record in those games. Factor in Friday’s game in which they only scored one run in the first nine innings before a huge scoring outburst in the 10th, that is nine times where the Tigers bats haven’t really done much.

Detroit ranks eighth of 14 American League teams with a .240 batting average and ninth of 14 with a .312 on-base percentage. They clearly will need to find a way to generate some offense if they hope to contend in an AL Central that has seen surprising starts from the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals through the first few weeks of the season.

Getting leadoff hitter Austin Jackson going will certainly be a key to improving offensively considering the Tigers will need his defense in the spacious outfield at Comerica Park. Jackson is batting .175 with 19 strikeouts in in 16 games in his sophomore season, but his strong rookie year provided a sign that he can hit and be a strong top of the order hitter for the Tigers. Victor Martinez is also off to a slow start but he has a track record and is a former All-Star and will eventually round to form.

Which leads us to Will Rhymes, who has manned the No. 2 slot for much of the season. Rhymes is  batting .222 with no extra-base hits and has scored just two runs. While Rhymes did hit .300 in limited action in the majors last year, he has a replacement that is off to a hot start in Triple-A Toledo and the Tigers should look his way if they continue to struggle at the plate. Scott Sizemore, who battled Rhymes for the second base job this spring, is batting .387 (12 for 31) through his first nine games for the Mud Hens this season. While batting at the top of the Toledo lineup he has scored eight runs and has a pair of doubles, four RBIs, five walks and six strikeouts.

With the Tigers offense struggling, it wouldn’t hurt to call up a hot hitter like Sizemore in order to possibly provide a jump start and be a way to ignite the team. If the Tigers were hitting, it would be fine to leave Rhymes in and give him a chance to work his way out of his early season struggles. Since that isn’t the case the Tigers should opt with Sizemore to see if he can provide a spark.

The Tigers made a move with their bullpen last week with the promotion of Al Alburquerque to the bigs. Alburquerque was effective in his debut with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts during Friday’s win over the Athletics.

Detroit should in turn make a similar move with its struggling offense since there isn’t much else to lose. With its starters giving quality outings of late, its a shame a lack of offense has been the cause of several recent losses.

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