Monday, June 30, 2008

The Truth About Interleague Play And The Tigers

It’s part myth and part reality the Tigers have gotten better simply because they have been benefactors of interleague play.
It obviously helped their record to go 13-5 against the inferior National League, but only minimally when it came to gaining ground in the American League Central standings. The White Sox went 12-6 in interleague games. Even the Royals 13-5. The Tigers actually lost a game to the Twins, who were 14-4 against the N.L.
In terms of the standings, the Tigers made a monumental move, gaining five games in just six days to suddenly move into contention. Since then, despite winning regularly and getting over .500, they have been pretty much been spinning their wheels trying to pick up ground in the standings.
That’s the beauty of the next month. There will be a lot more head-to-head competition for the Tigers against their A.L. Central rivals. Eighteen of their next 29 games, starting tonight in Minnesota, will be against the A.L. Central - including their next nine home games.
The competition outside the division isn’t that fierce - eight games, each a four-game series, at Seattle and Baltimore. But those games are on the road and, frankly, the White Sox don’t have a particularly challenging schedule outside the division, either. The Twins, however, do. They must make road trips to Boston and New York in July.
I don’t know how the Twins are doing it, to be honest. The Tigers and White Sox are comparable in terms of their talent, especially when injuries are placed into the equation. The Tigers can’t afford not to have Magglio Ordonez for an extended period of time. We’ll know more about the Twins and Tigers after this series.

Random Thoughts

- The American League has beaten the National League in interleague play every season since 2003. This year, the A.L. won the games by a 149-102 margin. It was 137-115 in 2007 and 154-98 in 2006. That’s 440-315 over a three-year span - a winning percentage of 58 percent. If that isn’t discernable evidence the A.L. is the better league, I don’t what would be.

- It would help the Tigers a great deal, with Ordonez out, if Gary Sheffield continues the clutch hitting he began last week. Also, it’s imperative Miguel Cabrera gets untracked. The loss of Ordonez can’t be minimized. Until Cabrera proves otherwise - and he sure hasn’t to this point - Ordonez is the Tigers best hitter.


Blogger Fred Brill said...

While I do enjoy interleague play, I think the current schedule has way too much. I do think there is great value to seeing each club play using the other leagues rules, and for sure matchups like the Cubs and White Sox – and the atmosphere in both Chicago venues seemed on TV to be as electric as post-season play. But the number of such meaningful match ups is limited and dwarfed by the number of meaningless ones.

I don’t care to see Arizona or Colorado during regular season play. Or the Dodgers or Giants for that matter – although Torre in a Dodger’s uniform was a sight to see. I would be more interested in a spring training game against the Mud Hens.

Such a rash of DL sidelined players due to injuries to the oblique (sp?) sounds like there is something – an exercise or a practice or routine – that the players are doing that is causing this. I can’t imagine three such injuries is just a coincidence? I am sure the trainers are trying to prevent this as well.

In my book, Book, this is day one of the season – it finally starts right now. And this year we're playing with a handicap. And while I am nervous about this Minnesota series – I am confident that the boys will be contending throughout the remainder – with the final days in September left to decide our fate.

1:04 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

I hope the Tigers keep playing well so maybe they can pick up a player at the trade deadline. Brian Fuentes or Marte would help Seay on the left side of the bullpen. Erik Bedard would be good candidate to pick up and he is signed next year. He not the best available but he makes a sensible pick up because the other guys like Sheets are free agents next year. But having Sheets, Haren, Maddux or even Street would look good in a Tiger uniform. The Tigers do have a few prospects left such as Ramirez (power and speed), Casey Fien, Skelton, Sizemore and few other pitchers at A ball beside Porcello. They have more ss in the minors than they what to do with. Maggs is only going to be a couple of weeks?

3:35 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

What a game tonight! I can't say enough about what a tremendous team effort was put forth for this victory. Galarraga and Polanco should both make the All-Star team. I don't care if Armando did get no-decisions in his last two starts. He pitched well enough to give his team a chance to win. Oh did they ever come through with a marvelous come from behind win.

Only thing I'm disappointed in was the short post-game show before going to the syndicated programming. I was really jonesing for some wall-to-wall baseball talk.

Tigers really need a good start from Nate Robertson. I have a dubious feeling about Eddie Bonine's first start in the HHH Metrodome.

Any info regarding Cabrera's ailment that caused him to leave the game? Please don't tell us that an abdominal muscle is involved. I thought I only needed to know how to spell "oblique" for Anatomy class.

12:31 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I'm with you on this one. It has great value where this is a natural rivalry, but far less elsewhere. I don't understand why the Tigers have had a number of injuries, but they need Mags and Miggy or they will be done.

11:08 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bedard is a talented pitcher, but they don't like him in Seattle. His attitude is awful. Doesn't seem like he likes the pressure. Fuentes sure didn't well against the Tigers. I would like to see them get a veteran starter, but haven't really found a good target for them to go after yet.

11:10 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
All I know about Cabrera's injury is that any time there is one like it, it always takes awhile before the guy can play. It wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't play again until the team comes home.

11:12 AM 

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