Friday, April 13, 2007

Early Impressions Of The Tigers

We have had a little bit of time to see the 2007 Tigers. I was with the team in Baltimore, so I saw them up close. These are my early impressions:

- They have won close games. To me that’s a good sign - a sign this team knows how to win. Even though the Tigers haven’t been hitting well, they make less mistakes than other clubs and are able to outlast and outpitch them.

- Their relief pitching, which I didn’t like the first week of the season, has been better. I thought Fernando Rodney threw the ball well in Baltimore. Wilfredo Ledezma continues to be impressive and Todd Jones isn’t getting enough credit. Joel Zumaya is terrific. Even thought Bobby Seay threw well in Kansas City, although I thought Jim Leyland was flirting with disaster by bring him in the 12th in Baltimore.

- Justin Verlander is incredible. Anybody who can triple up on his changeup and then reach back for a 98 mph fastball when necessary is special. 12 innings and zero earned runs says it all. Guess spring training doesn’t mean much, eh?

- I don’t know about Gary Sheffield. You have to figure he will snap out of it, but his age is a concern. Time will tell.

- Placido Polanco is one of the most underrated players in baseball. He is an outstanding situational hitter and a steady fielder.

- Brandon Inge and the 5-4-3 double play just don’t seem to get along. For some reason, he struggles with that throw to second. Must be faulty footwork.

- Hope I am wrong, because he seems like a good kid who has paid a lot of dues, but Chad Durbin looks like a Triple-A pitcher to me.

- Then again, there may be hope for Durbin. I didn’t think Nate Robertson was that good, remember? He obviously is.

- Is Omar Infante still on the team?

- Marcus Thames playing first base is a stretch. He doesn’t look comfortable there.

- I get the feeling Sean Casey will hit .300 this season and the fans of Detroit will come to like him. He is solid in every way.

- Craig Monroe is the Tigers most underrated player. I don’t get it from people who bag on his defense. He seems pretty good out there to me. And he is a very good clutch hitter.


Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, good 10 game review of the Tigers. Seems like they are in every game - good thing!
I just took a break from watching Durbin in Toronto. Yikes, think you are right.

Verlander is maturing more than I expected this early.

Sheff, hope he comes around. They all say the bat speed is there.

Omar just singled to third.

OK, still can't stand to watch Rodney pitch. Had to watch the Pistons last night when he came in, with Tigers in a small PIP window. Geez, man...bad things happen. Everybody in the park, including Rodney, knew they would bunt. Maybe he should locate the pitches differently, huh?

Cheers, back to game.


2:07 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rodney was bad last night. He can't field his position when he needs to. Those type of meltdowns aren't good. But hey, they've already rallied twice in the late innings to win games, they have played mostly on the road and are 7-4. A pretty good start, I'd say.

5:32 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were tough on Grilli before. He was great last night. I like the bullpen.

10:12 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The bullpen has been better of late. Grilli did throw very well Saturday.

8:21 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Book, I know you don't have the regular evening shift on the X, (aw, when I was a young man that woulda made you an air ace on WABX) and I do like D. P.'s show but I just can't quit that wall-to-wall baseball talk you do. In the dead of winter, when you were talking with the man, the myth, the legend, the one and only Ernie Harwell, that kept me from making a hole in the ice big enough for my expanding girth to dive through.

Alright, to the present, spring has sprung and C-Mo is without a doubt underrated. I might be thinking this because they are both men of African descent, but Craig Monroe does remind me of Willie Horton. Both left fielders hit with power, drive in runs, and maintain a decent BA. While maybe not gold glovers in the field they don't ever look like Man-Ram when a ball comes their way.

In fact, I remember watching on a B & W TV with rabbit ears when Mr. Horton set the PO mark for an outfielder or was it for a left fielder? Pretty sure that the Tiges were playing the Indians (at home?) and Sam McDowell was pitching for them. I'm drawing a blank on who was pitching for the Tigers that night and the final tally of fly balls Willie caught that night. I know it was in double digits.

One more outing for Chad Durbin like the last two and the Wizard will have to conjure a different fifth starter. Otherwise the corner retailer is going to be doing a brisk business in fifths on Chances with Chad night.

I'm all for Marcus Thames in the line-up. He already looks better at first then either Shelton or Young looked last year in the field. I don't believe anyone needs to bother questioning his major league hitting credentials.

A little confidence can go a long way. Confidence is like dating Lady Luck. When you're with her, guard her with your life because when she's gone, you may never see, hear or even smell her again. I hope that Marcus gets a little confidence playing first base. He already has it in the box.

11:32 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
You're right. Thames is no worse at first base than Young at first. Shelton is better defensively, I think, but he did struggle there last year. Willie Horton was a better hitter than Monroe. He had a great season in 1968 (36 home runs and a .285 average when it was fourth in the league). He also had two 100-plus RBI seasons very early in his career. Monroe is a better defender, although Willie did make that great throw during the 1968 World Series.

12:15 AM 
Anonymous Joe E. said...

I know Leyland is trying to protect his young pitchers, but it seems like it is at the expense of wins. Twice with Bonderman (Toronto and K.C.) he removes him when Bondo could have given him another inning. I would like to see Leyland rethink his strategy on occasion and let some of these guys go a little longer. Wins in April are just as important as wins in September.

8:39 AM 

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