Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Did Dombrowski Do Enough During Off Season?

Look, I see the Tigers having a good season. I see the Tigers being competitive. I don’t see any way the Tigers are going to fall totally flat on their collective face during 2008. And I am fully aware it was just one game.
But opening day, on the heels of a spring training that was more than little disconcerting because of injuries, didn’t play out too well for the Tigers.
They had a 3-0 lead late against Kansas City, which remains one of the bottom feeders in the American League, and they lost the game.
I understood what Dave Dombrowski was saying during the off season about the bullpen. That you find your best middle relievers often in oddest spots, that it’s not really a position you trade for, or sign premier free agents to fill.
But did he do enough to bolster the bullpen? I believe that is a fair question, one that begs to be asked.
The Tigers had a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, and when Justin Verlander tired, their best option was...Jason Grilli.
That’s the one thought I can’t get out of my mind. He is OK as a long reliever, but not in that role. Until that changes, I don’t see the Tigers being as good as had been anticipated. You know, of championship caliber.
Teams don’t trade the first month or so of the season. It’s when they find out what they have - both at the major leagues and in the higher minor leagues - and then start making adjustments.
The key for the Tigers will be surviving this first month with that bullpen. It can’t be a disaster. Then the next key is Dombrowski doing something to help the bullpen because right now it is clearly not good enough.

Random Thoughts

- No, I didn’t think it was a very good Tigers debut for either Edgar Renteria or Jacque Jones. Seems like Renteria’s range at SS wasn’t very good.

- Even though he lost the game, I thought Denny Bautista was a bright spot. He seemed poised and threw very hard.

- Pudge just doesn’t seem to be much of threat at the plate anymore.

- Even on a team of stars, Carlos Guillen seems to be the Tigers MVP. He is a really good clutch hitter.

- I wouldn’t have bunted Brandon Inge after Clete Thomas’ double I don’t like giving up an out there. There is no excuse, however, for Renteria not putting the ball in play in that situation and driving Thomas home.


Anonymous Marty said...


I disagree about the bunt. I think it was the perfect call; it just didn't work out. You move the player to third with the player that has the most chance of striking out; and you have two of the best players in all of baseball at putting the ball in play coming up right after him. I think that call was almost a no brainer, even if it didn't work out.


12:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I can see your point and I know a lot of people like that, I'm just not a big bunt the guy over person. The out seems to valuable. We both can agree it was surprising and disappointing Renteria wasn't able to get Thomas home.

1:03 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I couldn't agree more about the bullpen - as we have been talking about it here for the last month or so. I was extremely dissapointed our fears were realized so quickly.

I would have agreed with Marty about the bunt except for one minor detail - Inge was not an "automatic out". He already had a base hit - got a walk - and was coming off a not-so-bad spring at the plate with some confidence and something to prove.

I'd have let him swing with a chance to be a hero.

That being said, I was confined to watching the play-by-play when I could sneak a peek at Yahoo sports online at the office - so take me with a grain of salt.

1:29 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat I know it is only one games but there is some bad signs not with the player either, three bad decisions by non-players. I thought JL did a good job yesterday, he tried to keep the Byrak on the team and because he know he needs two lefties. Did you see how Lopez looked against lefties?DD could not had vision that Rodney would be on the DL and Cruceta stuck in DP. He was suppose to be ahead of Bautista. The major blunders I saw yesterday and I have seen it before is with Gene. How could he send Maggs so early in the game against Guillen's gun in RF? That run was important because not only it could won the game but they could really open the game up. You make the starting pitcher make extra pitches. He seems to stop people when they could advance and send people when they should be stop. I have seen Gary and experience Pudge last year run right through the stop sign at 3B and score easily. Secondly, who is calling the pitches? I do not think it was Grilli's fault that he threw 4 fastball in a row in the generally the same location on the one base hit that lead to a run. Half the people in Baseball America could hit the ball hard given the same pitch 4 times. Grilli also has a good slider which should be effective against righties. Thirdly, I hate the bunt play being used to tie the game, you play to win you don't play to tie. Thanks Pat for making me a baseball fan not just a Tiger fan.

2:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grilli is the 12th pitcher. Pin the loss on Leyland. Miner or Bazardo should have been in there instead of Grilli.

3:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Hey, I also had to work on opening day, Fred, so I feel your pain. Except my job was covering the game. And it was great to see a baseball game again. Can't wait for Wednesday.

5:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree they need another lefty in the bullpen. It would give Leyland much needed options in order to get the most out of his limited bullpen. I also agree they made too many mistakes - little and big - to win that game.

5:46 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You mean ABG - Anybody But Grilli? In fairness to him, that was a rough spot to be put in.

5:48 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...


Guillen is extremely clutch. I think before too many games that Grilli's and Bautista's roles in these situations will be reversed. Bautista's future is looking like he needs to buy shades.

I wonder if Dontrelle Willis flounders as the fifth starter if Leyland and company might consider moving him to the bullpen, ala John Smoltz with the Braves?

Pudge at the plate? Let us discuss this on May Day or Mother's Day. A few walks, hopefully at least one a week, should do wonders for him and the Tigers.

1:12 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
They need Willis to come though desperately as a starter. I can't him moving to the bullpen when he is having command issues.

7:05 PM 

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