Sunday, August 05, 2007

Tigers Season On The Brink

To put his foot down, or not to put his foot down, that is the question. Is it nobler in the mind of Tiger fans that manager Jim Leyland takes the high road with his floundering club? Or should he lash out at them like he did last season after a lackluster performance against Cleveland?
I think it is a tough call. Hitting is such a fickle aspect of the game. It comes and goes on a whim. And the Tigers not having Gary Sheffield in the middle of the lineup does hurt. Oh, and they could use Marcus Thames about now, too. But starting pitching, the kind the Tigers are reputed to have, is supposed to be the one constant. Kenny Rogers and Andrew Miller are hurt, but Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman are not. Bonderman, in particular, has been puzzling. There is no reason he should be having the problems he does during the first inning. It is the one factor keeping him from becoming a truly great pitcher. That needs to change.
Leyland can’t will that happen. Or his hitters to start hitting. Just keep plugging away is the proper answer. But it doesn’t guarantee a solution. The Tigers season is on the line during the next three weeks. Period. They must make hay against the woeful Devil Rays. And they have to hold their own against the Indians and those damn Yankees, who have made up eight games in just 17 days on the Tigers. They sure could have used a boost at the trade deadline on any number of fronts. Too bad that didn’t get done.

Random Thoughts

- Winning 300 games is an amazing feat. Thing is, I have never viewed Tom Glavine as an amazing pitcher. His average season is 15-10 with a 3.49 ERA. I do believe he is a Hall of Famer. But I do wonder how successful he would have been had he spent his entire career in the American League instead of all of it in the National League.

- What is Bud Selig doing? He only made a weird situation even stranger when he reacted the way he did when Barry Bonds tied Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record.

- I really enjoyed Charlie Sanders’ Hall of Fame speech. There was a lot of genuine emotion. He is a bright guy with a proper perspective on life. There are a lot of people in the Lions front office, which is by far the worst I have been around, that could learn by observing how Charlie goes about his business.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, I agree that the word on the Tigers is "puzzling". With the injuries obviously they are not as good, especially with Sheff not in the 3 slot. But they ain’t this bad!

The Bonderman thing used to be mildly amusing, but now it is just ridiculous.

Series against the Devil Rays should tell a lot. Tigers have shown they CAN beat the good teams. Can they get the consistency back? I am optimistic.
Verlander needs to get really serious and pitch a big game tonight.

Cheers,
Danny

11:58 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

There are two professional Detroit athletes that I remember from my youth that set the standard for great hands: Mickey Stanley in CF and, of course, Charlie Sanders playing TE.

Whenever I see a pass dropped that should of been caught, I utter to no one in particular and anyone that cares to hear, "Charlie Sanders woulda caught that ball." Especially, it seemed to me, when it was third down and da Pussycats were driving. I still remember that Thanksgiving Day game against the Raiders. I'm glad to see Mr. Sanders get his due.

As the Tigers season is coming unraveled, I hear the blues singer lament, "I got a bad, bad feeling." At the All-Star break I would've told you and anyone else that the Tigers had two stoppers. Both Bonderman and Verlander appeared to be capable of coming up with big starts to curb any prolonged losing skid.

I'm gonna be a little snide now as I write to you, "I told you the Yankees were like the villian in bad B-horror movie." That prediction might go under the category of, "Even a blind squirrel will find an acorn occasionally."

12:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Glavine will make the Hall of Fame Pat. 300 wins is an almost a guarenteed ticket in. He has won a world series with Atlanta, he's a definite hall of Famer. They should not only ban Barry Bonds from the hall of fame, but put a astriek by the record, they did it for Roger Maris when he broke Babe Ruths record for homeruns in a season. Barry Bonds is a cheater, an they should do the same to him to.

2:14 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

avg W-L stats for HOF/300 winners

Seaver 16-10
Spahn 17-11
Carlton 15-11
Sutton 14-11
Maddux 16-10

Glavine's 6 top 5 Cy finishes is pretty distinguishing as well.

And Pat, I'm not arguing...just saying :) Especially since 150 of Glavine's wins came against my Phils, or so it has seemed.

2:38 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
I thought Bonderman was over it last year when he went through the same type of thing and then came on like gangbusters during the post season. Guess it is a lingering problem. Verlander is another key. We'll see how much how much competitive charater he has. He has shown a lot of it in the past.
Caputo

4:00 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
This is more proof you can never count the Yankees out. Or the Twins. The Tigers and Indians better be careful or the Twins will pass them both. Funny how teams live up to their reputations, eh? As for Mickey Stanley, he was a truly great fielder. He was so flawless and smooth out there in center field. What an athlete.
Caputo

4:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Glavine will get my vote on the first ballot. But 300 wins is a strange category. Don Sutton? Phil Niekro? Were those guys really that good or was it all about longevity? Jack Morris and Mickey Lolich were better than both those guys.
Caputo

4:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
You make great points. I was just pointing out that 300 wins is a weird category. It involves longevity more than actual worth of a pitcher. Glavine is the real deal, obviously. But what about Phil Niekro and Don Sutton? Jack Morris and Mickey Lolich were better.
Caputo

4:07 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Book I think there are a few issues for the tigers this year and nobody has touched a ton on. Generally we been killing the bullpen all season. At the same time the bullpen has been used differently all year. #1 the so called stellar rotation we have has been extremely inconsistent. A lot of the wins we got early on was cause the offense was out of this world. Guys like Bonderman and Verlander need to give this club some at least 6 solid inning starts. Then I bet you this bullpen improves. With or with out Rodney and Zumala :). Leyland has to like dip into this pen a good majority of the games around the 6th sometimes the 5th innings. Another thing I think has been evident is the Tigers Debth isn't as strong on the bench as we would hope. I think it is evident with the recent injuries and are decline in performance. Omar Infante has disappointed me greatly. He doesn't take adavantage and prove his worthiness of playing. Craig Monroe I feel is pressing to much to do what he did last year instead of doing what got him there.

I think this series against the Devil Rays the tigers need to get the season turned around and take at least 3. I really think Bonderman and Verlander need to have good stong outings. Mostly to get this ship turned around and the confidence back in the rest of the club house. Another guy I think needs to be solid is Robertson if not i think he should be auditioning for the pen in the playoffs.

Glavine was he the number 1 starter going up against all the aces when he was with Maddux and Smoltz? I think pitching behind those guys really helps cause you get to oppose that third or fourth stud from time to time.

I tell you what about the lions. Nobody cares. Yeah fans are enthused cause the offense could be decent, but it doesn't matter what happens the first 3 quarters. Especially if you can play with your head on straight in the 4th and your defense can't stop anybody. I think this weekend should be kalimba's only chance. If he looks like a goof then I say go after a simeon rice.

Last thought with Webber on the verge I hear signing with the Mavs. Personally I think the Pistons could make it to the playoffs but I think they got to make one more move for the front line. Otherwise I think it will be a long season with an early exit. Hope fans are prepared.

7:28 PM 
Anonymous lennyw1971 said...

The morale seems low throughout the ballclub. I wish it was only one thing that the Tigers are doing badly. When it's all aspects of the game that go south on you, how do you reclaim the magic? Book, maybe you've heard something regarding internal strife or conduct issues that the rest of us don't know about.

Pat, the Glavine feat is the real deal. Smoltz may be the last guy to have a legit shot at 300 for a long while to come. Johan Santana is almost 30 and go off to a late start. Sabathia is on track, but his hefty physique doesn't lend itself to longevity. Maybe Beckett or Cole Hamels hold the key.... I know I'll be knocking on 50 before I see it again.

Pat, you're on point about Selig. I'm one of the few black guys that thinks Bonds is scum, but Selig is no better. This game that he chooses to play doesn't match up with a man in his 60's. The way that he installed himself as commissioner years before officially being appointed never sat right with me. I anxiously wait for Steriod/HGH boy and Selig to retire!

7:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
The starting pitchers have been among the culprits. If Bonderman and Verlander had combined to just win two more games, the slide wouldn't seem so ominous. It doesn't seem like teams are lining up for Rice. I wonder why? Maybe they feel he is done. The Pistons seem to think a lot of Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell. We'll see how that works out. Webber doesn't have much left in the tank.
Caputo

8:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Lennyw1971,
I was in the clubhouse Sunday and I don't agree the morale is bad. They are slumping and perplexed, but their attitude remains pretty solid. I don't like Bonds much, but I like him more than Bud Selig. I think he has done at least as much damage to the game as Bonds. Forget about canceling the World Series and the All Star tie fiasco. He turned a blind eye on the whole steroids issue until he his hand was forced.
Caputo

8:27 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Thanks for the props Pat! I'm 28 and certainly don't have the wisdom (I think I'm being cynical there) of a HOF baseball writer/voter, but in my mind when I think of a player being Hall worthy, for any sport...I ask myself "did this player dominate, and did they do it for an extended period of time" Off the top of my head...Priest Holmes was unstoppable, but for too brief a period of time.

Morris' numbers look HOF worthy, why isn't he in? Will his 254 wins becoming more alluring as we see fewer and fewer pitchers come close to that as the years go by?

avgs on him are 16-11, a GREAT AL era of 3.90 and 1.2 WHIP. Excellent #s. Can I get a HOF vote??? lol

11:38 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I don't know Pat. Puzzling seems too light. Perplexing has too many sylables.

Bummed. I guess that is it.

But I am not sure my dissapointment is justified. Should I expect our line up to bat .300 for an entire season? Of course not. Should I expect Bondy and Verlander pitching Cy Young ball every night? I want to.

Should we expect everyone healthy all year? That was our hope.

It looks like August-September of 2006 came again in July of 2007. Now if we can have July of 2006 in August-September 2007, that would be a treat.

Selig - Bonds. I can't stand either. The difference with the asterik after Marris record is that they played more games than Ruth did when he set the original. There was no cheating on Marris' part.

Bonds should be listed with the word 'Steroids' beside his name.

I feel bad for his son.

1:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I don't know if they will snap out of it. Sometimes a kind of strange win like the one Monday does the trick. We'll see. And I do wonder what is going through the mind of Barry Bonds family.
Caputo

7:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
Morris, I believe, isn't in for one reason above all others: His ERA. It would be the highest in the Hall 3.83 by Red Ruffing is the current high. But it doesn't take into account that ERAs were higher overall during Morris' era.
Caputo

7:03 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Guys,

Glavine, Schmoltz (great beer name) and Maddox were/are all the real deal. I believe all 3 should be in.

They kept the braves in the post season for a string only beaten (I think) by the Yanks.

Their offenses changed but that rotation stayed consistent.

I Met Phil Neikro once. He was at my High School try-outs - his son / nephew / somebody he knew / was trying out. What a great guy he was.

As a pitcher he was the knuckle-balling nail-biting kind. If a knuckler doesn't - you get killed.

10:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I admit this is convoluted reasoning, but I never thought all that much of Niekro and Sutton as Hall of Famers because it always seemed like when they were pitching against the Tigers, the Tigers had a pretty good chance of winning that night. Especially if Morris was pitching. Good story about Niekro. Everybody raves about what a good guy he is.
Caputo

10:54 AM 

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