Friday, January 11, 2008

Red Sox Still Rate A Slight Edge Over Tigers

The Tigers, after making the biggest trade in their history, have taken a dramatic leap forward.
The question is, how big is that leap when compared to the defending world champion Red Sox?
I still see the Red Sox as being a better club than the Tigers. Their lineup remains potent, their starting pitching strong, especially at the top with Josh Beckett, and I think the Red Sox bullpen is stronger than the Tigers, particularly at the backside with Hideki Okajima setting up Jonathon Papelbon.
Worrying about the Red Sox, though, is putting the cart before the horse. The Tigers still have to win the American League Central, which they did not last season. The Indians haven’t improved since last season on paper, but have several young players capable of improving within the team. Also, Travis Hafner wasn’t himself last season because of injuries. He will be stronger in 2008.
I don’t know what to make of the White Sox. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera is a top-line player, but giving up Jon Garland - a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher - for him was a steep price. The Nick Swisher deal was a good one. He gets on a base a lot and will hit some homers in that tiny ball park. The White Sox will score a tons of runs, their starting pitching should be OK and they have an excellent closer in Bobby Jenks. But they lack bullpen depth and still need a center fielder.
Each season takes on a life of its own. It’s the beauty of baseball. The day-by-day drama. A lot of factors can go wrong and right that aren’t anticipated. All we know is that the Tigers have put themselves in an advantagous position to reach the postseason, and possibly take it all this year.
At this point, there isn’t much more this town can ask.

Random Thoughts

- Twenty-three points? Fifteen rebounds? Holding Tim Duncan in check? That was "good" Rasheed Thursday night in San Antonio. Charles Barkley said at halftime on TNT he should be the best player in the league. That night, anyway, Rasheed Wallace played like it.

- The stellar play of Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek this season has left Jimmy Howard as a forgotten man. I wonder very much how good Howard really is. I thought he was terrific in college at Maine? I also wonder if we will ever find out.


Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: This should be a great pennant race or wild card chase. Tigers now can easily or be better than the Red sox and Indians when it comes to scoring runs. Tigers starting five can compete with the Red sox and Indians but the Tigers bullpen
is average at best. If Jones and Rodney is looking after 8th and 9th who is going to be pitching the 7th. I have confidence in the Tiger's lefties can get left-handers out but who is going look after the righties. Maybe Miner will step up and be the 7th inning guy. I think the key to the bullpen is Rodney. Rodney has a lot of potential, too bad he cannot develop into another Kerry Wood without the injuries. Wood has 96 m.p.h fastball, great change-up like Rodney but the difference between Wood and Rodney is Wood has good breaking ball for the righties. It is a darn shame Wood could not keep healthy.

9:42 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I talked to Jim Leyland at TigerFest and he is pretty confident in his bullpen. He said just getting two more outs or so per start deeper into the game from the starting rotation will be the key. We'll see.

11:25 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Your probably right Pat, maybe I have to realize last year was last year. Getting an extra two outs will be easier because Willis, Bonderman, Rogers and Robertson are moving down the pecking order in the rotation. Tigers will also be scoring a ton or runs, so I would not be surprise if all 5 guys throw 180 innings ,if healthy, and win a lot of games. Their era may not be great but better than last year.

11:59 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I still, like you, feel their bullpen is so-so, especially compared to the other top contenders in the American League.

6:18 PM 

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