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.
- 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.