Different Style, Same Results
The Tigers are winning at a torrid clip again this season, but for different reasons. Where last season, pitching was the main reason why, this season they are outslugging teams. Even with injuries to Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman, their starting pitching has been OK. Justin Verlander has been dominating and Nate Robertson pretty good. Mike Maroth hasn’t been as effective, but the Tigers have won with him starting. They have gotten a lot of Chad Durbin - a lot more than I expected, that’s for sure. But their bullpen has been awful. I can’t believe how many high-scoring games they win by one or two runs. Part of that is Joel Zumaya’s injury, but a lot of it is just inconsistency. Yet, they win because they can slug the ball. The budding story is Magglio Ordonez. He has been the best overall hitter in the American League this season. People say he has returned to the form he had in Chicago, but he is much better. He’s right on so many pitches. He is rapidly developing into an MVP candidate. The Tigers have a really good middle of the batting order this year because Ordonez is much improved, Gary Sheffield is there and so remains Carlos Guillen. Added with the strength, still, from No.1 through No. 9 in the order, and the Tigers have emerged offensively.
They can match Cleveland’s firepower now, they have at least as good starting pitching (although Cleveland’s is pretty good). Both bullpens are weak, though. That could make for a lot of fireworks this weekend at Comerica Park, and next weekend in Cleveland. No lead is safe with these two teams. Or bullpens.
- Call it The Caputo Jinx. I praised Tayshaun Prince in my blog and he immediately goes 0-for-8 shooting in the next game. Oh well...
- Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine have started to legitimize ultimate fighting. Both have had the sport on covers recently. I don’t know if that is a good thing. Seems like many of the best ultimate fighters are too old to be legitimate if the pool of athletes in the sport is really elite.. The way it is staged, however, makes it the ideal made for TV event.
- Jason Maxiell was an outstanding draft pick. He plays bigger than he is, and he is extraordinarily aggressive. If he can consistently hit a short jumper and improve his free throw shooting, it would not surprise me to see Maxiell become a15-point, 10-rebound per game producer in the future.
- A couple of the football magazines are already out. Lindy’s College has Michigan ranked third in the country and winning the Big Ten. Michigan State is picked to finish eighth in the conference and is ranked 59th in the nation. Pro Football Weekly’s season preview has the Lions going 6-10.