Monday, June 18, 2007

Telling Series In Philly For Tigers

The three-game series in Philadelphia went very well for the Tigers. This is a very good team. That much is clear. The Tigers hitting attack is so much better this season it takes me aback sometimes. It was apparent throughout the series in Philadelphia just how small the margin for error was for the Phillies pitchers. Magglio Ordonez has been a much smarter hitter this season. He has been brilliant at taking pitches the opposite way. He has been the classic example of a run producer relying on extra base hits - but not just home runs - to get RBI. I thought Placido Polanco played exceptionally well defensively in the series. His glove is underrated. Not only doesn’t he make errors, but he has decent range. Andrew Miller lost his start, but was nonetheless impressive. He gave his team a chance to win in a bandbox ball park, on the road, against a good lineup, and on a night when he clearly wasn’t at his best. Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander continued to impress. They are 15-2 combined. What needs to be said other than that? Fernando Rodney’s fastball was much better Sunday. He kept it down and threw it for strikes. He was at 92 mph where he was at 95 mph or higher last season, but he doesn’t necessarily have to be overpowering to be effective. Commanding his fastball is much more important. And he commanded it well Sunday. That allows Rodney to setup his change up. The key will be winning this series against the Nationals. Getting at least two games. The Nationals are a bad team, but they have been a little bit more competitive lately. Also, the Tigers clearly aren’t the same club in games started by pitchers other than Bonderman, Verlander and, to a degree, Miller.

Random thoughts

- The statistic I am tired of hearing and seeing is how Tiger Woods is 0-for-29 in winning major championships when he is trailing entering the final round. He is barely in his 30s and has 12 major titles. He is in the Top 5 in just about every major. He is well on his way to surpassing Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer of all time. And it doesn’t matter one bit if he every comes from behind to win a major. Don’t believe it? Just ask Phil Mickelson.

- Carlos Defino was perplexing. Sometimes he looked like a great athlete and a pure shooter. Other times, he seemed disinterested. I know his trade to Toronto was probably just one of several moves the Pistons will make this off season. I just wonder if they will replace Delfino will a player who is better. Ideally, the Pistons will replace him with a superior spot up shooter.

- Dmitri Young has turned his career around in Washington. He ranks among the National League leaders in batting average, taking full advantage of replacing the ailing Nick Johnson at first base. He should be motivated for this series. I still think the Tigers did the right thing by cutting him loose. His last couple years with the Tigers, Young was a horrible influence in the clubhouse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get real tired of the press and their hunger to annoit upcoming players as superstars and "the best ever". Let's see how Lebron and Tiger hold up over some time before we shove Jack or Michael out of the way.

Why are we so quick to do this? Is it the marketing that is so different today? Superstardom used to be assumed by a player. Today it seems to be bestowed by a PR firm.

7:58 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think it is natural for people to keep looking for the next one. I think Jordan gets his due next to LeBron. LeBron hasn't even won a title yet. As for Nicklaus, I think sometimes when people talk about Tiger being the greatest golfer of all time, they forget how brilliant Nicklaus was. Their careers are very comparable to this stage, but Tiger has a long way to go.

10:31 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Tiger has earned his diety role. Nobody can deny him that. He has won all 4 majors in one calendar year. He has single-handedly redefined golf. They started rebuilding / reconfiguring courses to Tiger proof them! What other athlete can have that stated about him.

Please There are many levels of greatness between Woods and James.

Unless your James Woods, then I don't think your so great.

Nicklaus was the greatest golfer in the world in his day - like Palmer, Hogan, and Jones before them - but none of them redefined the game like he did. Without Woods - the course is still set up to be won at -10.

Tiger-bashers. Please. Appreciate the great ones while you got em. They go - like Mike - away and then you miss them.

Speaking of Bashing Tigers - I thought Rodney did a good job last night. But when we get excited about Rodney not having a bad outing - it is a telling sign.

Comparing Nicklaus to Woods is like saying Tyson would have creamed Ali. And then there is that Batman vs. Superman fight. I pick the Man of Steel myself.

2:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Tiger has earned everthing he has gotten. The guy is a wonder. And unlike Tyson, he isn't about to waste his talent. He's kind of like the late, great George Knudson in that way (LOL. Your point on Rodney is well taken, but I looked at it like he has to start somewhere. Maybe that is where the turnaround begins.

5:22 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book, like always you are bang on.

in the fith innining of the Nats game (1) , Price eluded to the fact that it has not been uncommon for Tigers to miss signals. This happened when Polanco couldn't make out the signal when at bat.

So far, so good - so far - here comes the bull pen.

9:23 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Freddy - no ones bashing your Diety. Just in case you hadn't noticed it though, it's not Tiger who has changed the courses. It's something called t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y. You fall victim to hype.

Tiger's not the longest hitter out there. Nore is he the most accurate. He has god-given ability, Hollywood good looks, a trophy wife, millions of dollars, has captured the prevurbial world as his oyster but forgive me if I don't bow down to his godness given the cast of characters he is competing against just yet. Maybe I will, catch up to me in 10 years or so and lets see how it plays out.

Maybe it's just me. I see a media campaign about "We are witness" and I stifle a choke. Greatness does not require a PR firm to promote it.

10:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

There have been times, too, when I have gotten sick of Tigermania. But there aren't a lot flaws there. Even if he doesn't win, he is right there. The streak he had at the end of last season was incredible. Golf is fickle. It comes and goes even for Tiger. He had a long streak where he didn't win a major, but so did Nicklaus.

8:33 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The silver lining in the cloud Monday night was the scoreless inning de la Cruz pitched. They need a young guy or two to come through for them in the bullpen. Perhaps he is the answer.

8:35 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


As the Book would say, "we should agree to disagree".

The technology has changed - but it changed for everybody.

The longest hitter is rarely the best player - look at Big John Daly. But he would have been funner to have a beer with after the round than Tiger no doubt.

All that matters is he gets it done more often than anybody else. Often with a couple of WOW shots. His numbers are better - his ranking is higher. His wife is hotter.


5:50 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Hey Book, Tigers fan now living back home in Philly...went to the game on Saturday night! Quick it more important for the Tigers to find a shut down lefty (like Jamie Walker) or late inning bullpen help? After watching Miller stay out against Utley and Howard, I'd say a lefty is vital to the 6th-8th innings right now.

9:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
Both are important, obviously. I do think the Tigers have the answer for the situational lefty in Bobby Seay. Left-handed hitters are batting just .135 against him, but they haven't been able to keep him in just that role because of the bullpen drama. As for the setup guy, I don't see an apparent one with Zumaya out. That makes it a more urgent matter. Oh, and have a cheesesteak at Pat's for me would ya?

12:21 PM 

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