Friday, April 04, 2008

This Is Why You Want Great Pitching First

It’s just a fact about baseball that hitting comes and goes as if almost on a whim. Even the best lineups have slumps. Long ones, too.
That is why the ideal situation is to have great pitching first, rather than be so reliant on hitting. Pitching is much more of a constant than hitting. And it leads to consistency.
Look at the Tigers in 2006. Their pitching was the best in baseball. And even when the hitters slumped late in the season, or were spotty during the postseason, pitching still carried the Tigers through the rough spots.
Well, their pitching isn’t what it was. They matched the Royals - a marginal hitting team - for awhile during the last couple games of that series, but not in the end. The Tigers pitching wasn’t good enough to steal a game in that series as Detroit’s hitters slumped.
The Tigers’ lineup is still formidable. They will score runs. But early season losses can snowball and be difficult to makeup later. The sooner the Tigers nip this in the bud, the better.
Having said that, there are some concerns about certain spots in the lineup. Jacque Jones hasn’t looked good. Neither has Pudge. Has the end of the line hit for Gary Sheffield? He seems to get hurt a lot. But Curtis Granderson will be back, and the rest of the lineup will eventually score runs and have impressive seasons statistically. But it can’t be too late. The last thing the Tigers need is to get behind the 8-ball early in the season. The American League is too formidable.

Random Thoughts

- With all due respect to the many emerging great players in the NHL, Alexander Ovechkin is the one that is over-the-top brilliant. Every shift he takes on the ice is exciting. And to score 65 goals in a season during this era is a remarkable accomplishment. The NHL needs the Capitals in the playoffs. Ovechkin sure belongs there.

- I know, know. I keep selling Memphis short, and Derrick Rose is an incredible player, but I still see a North Carolina-UCLA final. It would be fitting. Those are clearly the two best teams in the country, as far as I’m concerned.

- The best thing about the start of this baseball season: No Barry Bonds.

9 Comments:

Blogger Barry said...

Pat, I agree 100%, spend your money on pitching unless you can sign stars like Cabrera, Maggs and Guillen ect. The last two games, the Tigers were going to experience hot pitching or their bat go cold throughout the year anyway. The only thing that bothers me were the mistakes made in Game one. Tigers have to win these close games. I wish northern baseball teams would spend the first two weeks on the road to help to keep the cold weather away. The World Series should be played in a neutral spot but I guess cities like Detroit would lose too much revenue if they did not hold World Series themselves.

12:25 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Book,

Tigers do need a victory today plus they need to take two of three this weekend. I wonder if we'll ever see the projected pre-season line-up this year. Sheffield's injury is what really concerns me. I'm waiting to hear how badly his finger his damaged.

It appears it will be May before Tiger fans actually witness the line-up Dombrowski put together this winter. Keeping my healthy fingers crossed that the Tigers will be able to tread water until Granderson returns.

As of today, the Penguins will be playing the Capitals in a first round match-up. Gary Bettman must be pinching himself to make sure he isn't dreaming. Crosby vs. Ovechkin, oh my. Of course things could change over the weekend.

It's that potential Habs/Bruins match-up that wets my whistle. Given these two organizations history, especially in the playoffs, I'm picking Les Habitants to advance.

1:28 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Book I tell you I am not in panic mode at all. I went to 2 games this week. Am I disappointed. Yeah I think so. You can tell just by watching these games this team is just not in sync. There have been some positives. Clete Thomas has been very surprising. I like the way he swings the bat. No need to panic about the hitters it will come. Jaque Jones is a 280 career hitter.

The one spot that is really ticking me off with people. OK you can say all you want about Grilli is not in his role. I am sorry but that is BULL CRAP!!! Today proves my point. You are suppose to come in and get 3 outs. Weather you come pitch in long relief or short relief you need to get 3 outs. I am just saying I think right now he has to be the odd man out if Rodney or Zumya get better. I would definately keep him on the short leash. There is no excuse. You been in the majors for 3 years now. Velenti said who would I want in there. I would have trusted miner one more inning, I would have taken Bazardo, Bautista or Seay. I just don't trust Grilli. I'd trust grilli in a game that didn't mean anything with no pressure. Like were were up 5 or 6 runs or if we were down lie 7 to 2. It's jsut me and I say if you get rid of Byrdak then Grilli is next.

I agree on your thoughts on Ovechikin. I wouldn't say he should be there, as much as I would say the NHL needs him there. What a great first series to see the NHL's top 2 dogs in the playoffs.

8:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
I don't think you can use cold weather as an excuse. It was equal for both teams. There is no excuse for the Tigers start. Any team can slump, but they have not played with a sense of urgency. And that's disappointing.
Caputo

9:56 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
The Tigers didn't get that victory. Look, it's a long season. I'd suggest that Jim Leyland might want to look in a different direction than Jason Grilli in the seventh inning on. But the Tigers did little after the White Sox took the lead. They haven't played well in any area.
Caputo

9:57 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat,

Game 5 is now over and we are now oh sh**-for-five.

Unbelivebaly - I seem to have access to the MLB package on the satellite and am enjoying watching the boys on TV. But that is little compensation.

I have a theory - feel free to laugh at it. But I (the biggest Inge fan going) think Inge is the 400 lb. (181 kilos for the metric inclined) Gorilla in the clubhouse.

I have this gut feeling that there is a group of the boys for Inge. And this feeling - albeit a silent resentment - is getting fuel now. The better Inge does (and he's doing damned good) - the harder the feelings. And this has to stop.

And Brandon has to go.

Otherwise these boys won't unite to the solid group they were before.

Man, it breaks my heart to say that. But we should now have the fuel in Inge to get that reliever role filled.

I know it's week one. I know.

But this can't go on. This is poison.

What do you think? Am I completely screwy? The other side of me thinks I am.

But if so, explain to me what the hell is going on here then?

The bullpen didn't blow it. Willis wore out. Maybe Skip didn't want to go to the bullpen until he absolutely had to. But Inge was the only offense today?

Find me a couch and a Shrink - I'm grasping at straws here.

Thanks for listening, man.

7:00 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

book i have to say people are on crack.. Yeah it is very disappointing the way the tigers have come out of the gate. The big concern is the bull pen. I think our lineup is just a matter of getting the timing and everything down. It was 1 stinking week. There are still 150 plus games left. People need to relax.

I am concerned about the bullpen. However, I think it will be a mistake for both Inge to go somewhere else as well as for the Tigers to get rid of him. Everyteam would love to have a guy like that on the team. Inge is goin to get a ton of playing time. This team needs spells. I think people are trying to make Inge a pain in the ass and get more angry the more he goes about his business. Let it go people. Know what I am saying. If there is guys necks I'd be calling for that would be folks in the bullpen. I.E. to many chance Grilli.

Personally the guy I think we are going to miss the most is Jurgens. I say that cause I thought he was quality. He is showing that so far for the braves.

I know people want to kick me for this, but I think we could solve our bullpen whoas if we stuck Robertson in the Pen. the guy is fired up and to me can give that intimidation prescence this BP needs. I don't think there would of been a big drop off with Jurgens for Robertson. Just my opinion.

All I am saying is people need to relax. Yeah it is disappointing ,but no need to call for heads yet. Accept Grillis lol.

10:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Having been in the Tigers clubhouse, I can tell you that Inge is not cancer in there. To the players, his situation is a non-issue. He gets along with his teammates.
Caputo

12:18 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Maddog52,
I understand your point. It is a long season and most of the other teams the Tigers are likely going to be contending with are also out to slow starts. But 0-5 is disappointing. And each game lost now is difficult to recover later. Also, a slow start can set the tone for a disappointing season. The sooner the Tigers start winning games and push their record towards .500, the better.
Caputo

12:24 PM 

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