Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tigers Should Be Thinking About Mazzone

And so Jim Leyland is standing by his man, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez.
Leyland said all the right things before the Tigers lost - again - Tuesday night in Kansas City.
About how Hernandez was a great pitching coach in 2006 - when the Tigers had the best pitching staff in baseball.
And how he is being perceived as a horrible pitching coach by many fans and pundits these days - because the Tigers have the worst pitching staff in baseball.
It’s about the pitchers, Leyland said. When you have good pitchers, the pitching coach is a genius. When you have struggling pitchers, he is a bum.
I agree that right now the primary objective of many Tiger fans is to find a scapegoat for the club’s horrible play - and Hernandez is a convenient one. And I’m not a believer in scapegoats.
That, however, doesn’t preclude making a change. Leo Mazzone, who coached Atlanta’s brilliant staff for so many years, is available. Erik Bedard also thrived under him in Baltimore. It’s also true the Tigers’ young guns, Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander, have regressed under Hernandez - not made progress.
Mazzone was fired by the Orioles with a year left on his contract and is making $1.5 million - a staggering amount for a pitching coach - for essentially doing nothing. But, honestly, could he help the Tigers? At the very least, that’s a question Leyland and Dave Dombrowski should be asking themselves. And it’s not an unfair one in regard to Chuck Hernandez.

Random Thoughts

- In truth, there weren’t many empty seats at The Palace Tuesday night for Game 5 of the Pistons series with the Magic. It was about equal to the number of the empty seats at Joe Louis Arena for the first two games of the Red Wings’ series with the Stars, which weren’t many. Seldom has so much been made about nothing regarding the Red Wings attendance for the playoffs. The crowds have been terrific. This area has nothing to apologize for - it drew more than 400,000 for Red Wings, Tigers and Magic over an eight-day period ending Sunday. All venues were essentially sold out for each game. People nationally, and in Canada, just love to pound us about everything, especially the economy. Seems like the way the Red Wings and Pistons are playing is poetic justice in that regard. Could it be jealousy?

- This is the best basketball I have seen Richard Hamilton play since 2004. The Pistons needed him to amp it up with Chauncey Billups out of the lineup. The question now is whether he will be able to sustain it when Billups returns.

- Seems like only a matter of time until Cleveland breaks open the American League Central race because the emergence of Cliff Lee has made the Indians’ starting pitching easily the best in the division.


Blogger Barry said...

Pat great research, I do agree that the Tigers should be talking to guys like you mention and that is not slam Chucky in anyway. Pitching coaches should be change just for a sake of variety. As the words Jimmy used in the DFP " He is the same pitching coach we have in 2006". I would underline the word same. Pitchers want to fool hitters and not let hitters sit on certain pitches and the Tigers deliver those pitches. Other teams have scout too as equivalent to ours. They probably know Chucky pitching style just as much as they know the Tigers' pitchers. Cheers to Chucky in 06 but this is 08 and baseball has move on. I really interested In DD next move will be with the surplus of outfielders and infielders being develop in the minors and Tigers bench players.

1:36 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


I don't think the Tiger's only problems are pitching. Although I agree with your radio colleague Mike Valente that the pitching staff has only gotten worse under Hernandez.

Our lack of bats is excruciatingly frustrating. Our fielding is like a collection of blooper reels.

Robertson actually pitched what I heard on the radio to be 7 good innings.

So where do you start fixing? Pitching coach? Hitting coach? Fielding coach? All three? All four and say thanks for coming by Jim? Maybe let the bat boy go to?

The torches will catch fire, for some reason they're just damp right now. But they will catch. And I am a believer of finsihing the dance out with the girl you came in with.

Zetterberg's goal Monday was a beaute. I don't want to call it before its over, but I can't wait to see Red Wings vs Penguins.

And I'm pulling for Celtics over Cleveland just because I don't want to watch LBJ. Although to see Tayshaun slap away a couple of his poster slams would be great. But it has to play out to be the Celtics.

It's a great time to be laid up at home sports wise. But our Tigers are making me pop my stitches.

2:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think you always have to look at ways to improve your team. I'm all for loyalty, but if the Tigers can find a better pitching coach than Chuck Hernandez, they should hire him. But don't just fire Hernandez for the sake of firing.

5:52 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
It's not their only problem, agreed, but pitching is their most glaring weakness. They have the worst pitching staff statistically in baseball. More than any other reason, in my opinion, is why their record is so bad.

5:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i dont believe that chuck hernamdez should be taking much praise for 2006, it should be bob cluck, it was bobn cluck that got these guys young and going..bondo, robertson, and verlander....bob cluck was never appreciated here, cause of the tramell debacle......

10:52 PM 

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