Monday, June 16, 2008

Tigers Getting Contributions in Familiar Places

Much has been debated about the Tigers trades during the off season. And that’s the way it should be, given the Tigers rough start, and when it is considered just how much they gave up in those deals.
But reality has set in as this season has moved along. The Tigers are playing much better baseball, picking up an astounding five games in less than a week on the American League Central Division-leading Chicago White Sox.
And it’s not Miguel Cabrera or Edgar Renteria or Dontrelle Willis, who are making or breaking the Tigers’ season.
It’s the core of the 2006 pennant-winning team that is the gauge.
Take Sunday’s 5-4 victory over the Dodgers as an example. Brandon Inge - no longer stewing and gladly catching - and Marcus Thames, key players in 2006, homered. Nate Robertson pitched well. Todd Jones closed the game. Carlos Guillen had three hits and is fielding better. Placido Polanco had two hits. Even the seemingly forgotten Brent Clevlen had two hits.
None of the above-mentioned players, with the exception of Jones, was performing nearly as well as they did in 2006 until recently.
Same with Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander, who have gotten their act together as well.
Another revelation has been the Tigers’ minor league system. It was supposed to be devastated by the departure of the organization’s top prospects. Yet, the Tigers have received numerous shots in the arm from the system. It was a great deal with Texas that brought Armando Galarraga to Detroit for a Class A outfielder. Clete Thomas, Michael Hollimon, Freddy Dolsi, Matt Joyce and Jeff Larish have all, at various times, made important contributions. None were, really, on the radar at the start of the year.
It’s all bought some time for Renteria and Cabrera, in particular, to get their feet back on the ground.
And it appears as if it might have saved what was rapidly becoming a lost season.

Random Thoughts

- That was truly one of golf’s great moments when Tiger Woods sank that birdie putt on the 18th hole of the U.S. Open Sunday. He is not only well on his way to becoming the greatest golfer of all time, but he has to rank as one of the greatest competitors ever - regardless the sport.

- How ironic was it Saturday when Jason Grilli contributed to the Tigers from afar by beating the White Sox with 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief.

- This is an odd week, isn’t it? I mean three games in San Francisco and three in San Diego for the Tigers. The Giants are playing poor baseball. I watched most of their loss Sunday to the A’s and they just aren’t hitting. They have lost six straight games to the American League this season, having been swept by both the White Sox and A’s. All those games were at home, too.


Blogger Fred Brill said...


I was at that game yesterday vs. L.A. - sitting in the upper deck by home plate to the 1st base side dugout. What a great view up there. I was really impressed.

And the knee climbed all those stairs no prob. But when it rains - the upper deck has no place to hide.

I think you nailed our position right square on the head, Pat. Save two comments - its great to be getting the wins from the NL right now - but so is most of the rest of the AL. It's been a while since I said "Thanks for the great outing Grilli!".

Bobby Saay gave Jones the save opportunity - this is the first weak bullpen bullpen performance for some time now. Lets hope it was a blip.

I do hate 10:30 pm starts though - this will be a long week.

PS - Woods is tough - no matter what Woody Austin thinks. Please everybody - enjoy those who are great when you get the rare opportunity to see them while they are great. Tiger will get old one day.

Then he will just be Elderick T.


12:28 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

What a great home stand! I was holding my breath (and few other anatomical parts) yesterday during the ninth inning. Now can the Tigers win on the road?

Hopefully, our "Boys of Summer" will be able to take two out of three for the next four series. That will put them with a record of 40-41. One game under .500 going into the Twin Cities. As the wise Yogi claims, "It's deja vu all over again." But this time the Tigers sweep, go above .500 and into second place. Ya gotta believe!

When the All-Star break arrives the Tigers should be a handful of games over the water line. Taking a peek at the schedule, after the break is down right brutal. I see that they'll be playing 17 of 20 on the road.

If the Tabbies can leave Chi-town in August with a winning record, the last seven weeks of the season should be riveting, down-to-the-wire baseball.

1:20 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, Galarraga was a great pick up. Tiger management do not use stats in anyway to help make their decisions. They must look at pure stuff and I am cool with that. They should keep an eye on their control for future pitchers. I think Joyce and Larish and Dolsi (great moving fastball) need another year at AAA. I like to see C Thomas a little more. I think Thames has turn the corner has he is covering more of the plate. He should be in there almost everyday. He is our version of Adam Dunn.

3:38 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I like the panoramic view from the upper deck sometimes. It's cool. The Tigers can't take beating NL teams for granted. Seemed like they almost did Monday night.

9:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
To me, the key is getting to .500 asap, if for no other reason that it can help emotionally. And not falling too far behind. But the Tigers can't afford to blow games. I felt like they let one get away Monday night - for no reason.

9:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The Tigers aren't a "Money Ball" type of organization. Dave Dombrowski loves power arms. I think Dolsi has done well and doesn't need any more minors time unless he falters. Getting Thomas back will help a lot because he is a left-handed bet - and they need one.

2:22 PM 

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