Monday, June 23, 2008

Is It The Tigers Or The National League?

Now that the Tigers have rapidly moved into a position of contention, what will it take for them to remain there?
Pitching is the obvious answer to that question. Marcus Thames aside, the Tigers have been winning lately because they are pitching better - period.
They are getting a decent start pretty much every game. Their bullpen - save for Fernando Rodney - has avoided disasters. They have also been fielding better, which has benefitted the pitching staff. Carlos Guillen is playing much better at third base. So is Miguel Cabrera at first.
What I don’t know yet is whether the Tigers surge is the result of just beating up on bad teams. Cleveland wasn’t playing well when the Tigers won two of three to begin this. The White Sox were - and sweeping them was encouraging. But the Dodgers, Giants and Padres are teams with little life right now.
We’ll know a little more about the Tigers this week. St. Louis won two of three in Boston over the weekend. The Cardinals are thriving despite injuries. Yet, we’ll really know when the Tigers get back to knocking heads regularly with their American League Central rivals come July.
I do think the Tigers are in the race for the long haul. I don’t believe any club is going to run away with the A.L. Central this year. This might be one of those seasons when 90 or less victories nets a division title.

Random Thoughts

- I think it’s being overlooked just what a monumental accomplishment it is that Tayshaun Prince was named to the United States Olympic basketball team. That’s rarified air he is breathing by hanging with such a star-studded cast. Wonder why all these people want him traded from the Pistons. Doesn’t make sense to me.

- People still don’t seem to have much faith in Todd Jones. Why? Hasn’t he converted every save opportunity this season? Isn’t that what matters?

- What do Dan Haren and Cole Hamels have in common? They rank 11th and 12th in the National League in ERA - just behind Jair Jurrgens, who is No. 10 with a 3.20 mark. By the way, Brandon Webb is 14th.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Hollis Keys in Detroit said...

Book,in watching every game when the Tigers played the Giants and Padres it seemed like they played as if those games would make their season if they won especially the Padres-they were diving for every ball that was close, they pitched like they had not done all year except for Maddux and the 1st Giants starter because they had been good all year-At&t Park and Petco Park were either sold out or close to it. It seems to me that maybe the Tigers had to raise their effort in every game to match the raised effort of every one they were playing against to turn this around-especially the starters and they finally realized it. Now to raise it against the Royals is the next challenge. Ps: Fernando Rodney looks like he has "THE THING!" and the only team that Carmelo Anthony could play for in Detroit is the Shock!

1:17 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

I also don't understand why people want to trade away Prince. He and Sheed are the best two players on the team (both are really good at every facet) and he doesn't have the issues that Wallace has. I do wonder what is going to happen with this shakeup though. I am nervous about it because I doubt they can get fair value from any trade.

On a side note, I appologize for the last thing I wrote about the Tigers draft. I sounded like an ass, like I was mocking you. The truth was that I agreed that the drafts all seemed different, but while I was writing I started to think about why the drafts seemed so different. I started to realize that each draft was about the same in that they always picked the guy with the most talent, regardless of position. It seemed like each was a crapshoot because each player was so different each year, but each was also the defacto most talented player available. Verlander had better stuff than Jared Weaver, even though he wasn't nearly as accomplished. Maybin was far and away the most talented player available in the draft when the Tigers pick came up, even if he was a highschool position player. Miller was about equal in raw talent to Clayton Kershaw, but he also had a history of success to go with that talent. Porcello was head and shoulders the most talented player available last year - even more so than Maybin in 2005. Ryan Perry was arguably the most talented player available when the Tigers picked this year, even though he is a reliever.

I am sorry for the way I came off the last time I responded to you. I actually almost called in to your radio show to appologize, since I would rather do something like that in person than in writing, but I figured that wouldn't be a very good idea. I have to say that I don't listen to sports radio very often, but now that I have heard you, I can say that you put on a good show. You always seem calm in the face of such emotional sports fans that call in, and that is really impressive. If you tell me what your radio schedule is, I will try to listen more often.

-Marty

1:24 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

It seems that the Cubbies and the Cards are the best the NL has at the moment - and luckily the White Stockings played the Cubbies.

I think St. Louis will be a litmus test. I hope we test positive.

I think the sense of urgency we are seeing from the boys right now is encouraging because they are getting rewarded for it. If we can win both the series with the Cards and Rockies - the boys attitude will be very psyched for Minnesota.

It's not absurd at all to say we have a great shot at having a great shot at the AL Central.

Unless the August doldrums comeback - but that is a different worry for much later down this yellow brick road we are traveling on right now.

4:57 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Prince made it because someone on that "team" has to play defense. I really thought we were over this DREAM TEAM type roster and we'd see a true TEAM. If the Pistons have taught us anything over the years, it's that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Wouldn't the bull dog rebounding of a Tyson Chandler or Reggie Evans be useful? Ok, so Bruce Bowen is too old? How bout James Posey as a stopper who can also nail a three too! Hasn't USA Basketball realized there's too many egos and not enough balls for a team of superstars to be successful in the Olympics?

5:22 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: JJ also have good stuff and potential #3 pitcher. There is a concern if can throw 200 innings year in and year out. His WHIP of 1.39 is a bit high for the National League. Tigers should have been more patient and waited for Orlando Cabrera to hit the trade market because the Angels only got Garland I think. I not bashing Renteria because he has gotten key hits, good arm, and is a good fielder when he gets to the ball. Geez wheez we might have a chance to THE _ _ _ _ Bomb.
Mr. Jones must be doing something right because his Whip of 1.39 and low strikeout total doesn't make you real comfortable of his streak lasting too much long. His career save precentage is at 81%. Quick throw Mr.Jones into a bottle. Why don't the Tigers work with pitchers that do not have much of a chance to make it to MLB to start using a breaking fastball as a pitch (Riveria's type pitch)? Why isn't Riveria type fastball copied? I do not understand why this has not been done because it is not as hard as you think. The scouts should really take an extra look if they find a young pitchers (right-hander) that can move the ball right to left even if they throw only 85 m.p.h.

11:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

hollis keys in detroit,
I think you're right on. The Tigers played as if winning or losing really mattered in those series. They didn't play like that earlier in the season against KC. It might have been the different setting. Or the Tigers gathering momentum. But they have to take care of the bad American League teams, too. To me, KC is the gauge.
Caputo

12:10 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
First of all, I took no offense whatsoever to what you wrote. Those were valid points, which is what you always contribute - and it's appreciated. Prince made the Olympic team, so he must be the best in the NBA in his role. So why trade him. Wallace needs to go, but Dumars is in a precarious situation there because he doesn't just want to give him away.
Caputo

12:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
The Cardinals amaze me. They just keep winning - even without Pujols - and they just aren't that good. Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan are the best at what they do. The record speaks for itself.
Caputo

12:15 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
They really needed to look at roles. The days of the USA just showing up and pounding every team is over. That is especially true because of the 3-point shot They need a long player who can also defend on the perimeter to stop the 3-pointer. Prince is that guy.
Caputo

12:17 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
You bring up a point I have never been able to figure out, either. A lot of pitchers have thrown cut fastballs in the mid-90s and not been nearly as successful as Rivera. It's his only pitch. Yet, it's unhittable most of the time. Literally. Amazing.
Caputo

12:20 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Your right Pat, Riveria breaks a lot more. You cannot blame the college kids or future pitchers. They throw 97 m.p.h and they hit the jackpot and become instant millionaires after graduation.

10:52 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Pat - how does this roster look to you...

PG - Chris Paul
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Lebron James
PF - Rasheed Wallace
C - Dwight Howard

PG Deron Williams
PG TJ Ford (so they can run!)
SG Brandon Roy (so steady)
SF James Posey (DEFENSE!)
SF Tayshaun Prince
SG Matt Carroll (he can shoot)
C Brendan Haywood (finally gets it)

11:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
Rivera's cut fastball is one of the best pitches of all time.
Caputo

11:37 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
That is an interesting collection of role players. It would piece together pretty well.
Caputo

11:38 AM 

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