Monday, July 07, 2008

Tigers Are At A Crossroad

These next six games represent a crossroad for the Tigers. They are at Comerica Park. The Tigers are 25-11 there since beginning the season with six straight home losses. They are playing Cleveland, which has essentially thrown in the towel on its season, two straight nights. Then they go head-to-head against Minnesota four times. The Twins, who have beaten up on the National League and the Indians to move into contention, will be in the midst of their most difficult road trip in awhile (Boston and Detroit) and may be prime for a trip back down to earth. The White Sox will be on the road, at Kansas City and Texas. The White Sox are 19 game above .500 at home and five games below .500 on the road.
The All Star break is coming after this weekend. Where will the Tigers be? If they are still seven games or further off the American League Central lead, given the scenario presented this week, it will be a tell-tale sign they are unlikely to contend the second half of the season. Conversely, if they move up a couple notches, the second half of the season should prove to be quite interesting.

Random Thoughts

- There are two things, above all else, Jim Leyland must get in order. One is the Edgar Renteria situation. His lack of production is killing the Tigers. He hasn’t had an RBI in his last 54 at bats. He doesn’t have an extra base hit in his last 89 at bats. He has just two extra base hits - both home runs - in his last 207 at bats. All he does is leave runners stranded. It might not be a bad idea to bench him through the All Star break. Obviously, Renteria needs to regroup.
Second, is how to use Fernando Rodney. Leyland should not use him in setup situations if Joel Zumaya is rested. And even then, Freddy Dolsi should be the option ahead of Rodney.

- Tennis, including the ultimate marquee event such as Wimbledon, had fallen off the radar to a large degree. That could change, however, following what was an utterly spectacular men’s final Sunday.

- Brett Favre is a great football player, but count me among those tired of his drama king act. Either play or retire. This has gotten to the point of absurdity and has taken some of the luster off his legacy.

10 Comments:

Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat,

I don't see the White Sox coming back in the standings to us until we actually face them in 3 weeks. I'm taking some family and some friends to Ireland to one of those games, and it damned well better mean something!

It is possible that KC could surprise the White Sox - that seems to be their role this year - jump up and bite the stronger teams when they least expect it.

I think if we don't win the Minnesota games at home, as Ricky would say "you got sum 'splainin to do" Mr. Leyland.

I realize that telling you guys that Tennis is really a beautiful game at the highest level - and Wimbledon is what the Masters is to Golf - that all of my chest hair will fall off. But it is and the Wiliams sister's match on Saturday was almost as good as Nadal vs. Federer - just for the history, nostalgia, and sibling angles of that event.

"this serve is for match point at Wimbledon" she would think to herself as she stares down her sister accross the net playing her as a kid. Then to grow up and do it three (I think) times for real?

Pretty friggin cool if you ask me.

Yup - my chest hairs fell off.

5:17 PM 
Anonymous Spencer said...

Pat,
I think the tigers need to straighten up before its 2 late... i also think they will need a new closer soon. Jones is good but he is getting old and he is starting to lose his stuff. they really need to finish strong before the all star break

9:15 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, resting Renteria like they do Pudge is a good idea. That seem to work for Pudge. Renteria should have one game off per series until he gets hot at the plate again. He hits lefties very well. Then the Tigers can find out if next year ss comes can come from within the organization. Tigers should be active at the trade deadline to improve the club. If any team that wants one of our players who contract is expiring this year (except for Pudge) or any underachieving player they should be available. It would be nice if Pudge sign a one year contract next year because there is nobody else. If a club wants some of our prospects in order to get a player like Bedard that would be great. I like Bedard because he is sign through next year at a very reasonable price.

9:48 PM 
Anonymous JD said...

Why is Rodney still on the team?

8:30 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
We'll see how they do on the road. The White Sox haven't been nearly as formidable on the road, regardless the competition. They are a team built for their band box ball park. The Tigers need to beat the Royals and have the Royals have success against other AL Central teams. Everybody should beat the Indians right now.
Caputo

11:17 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Spencer,
I don't know what to make of Jones. He has a respectable track record, but lately he has hardly been impressive. It has to make Tiger fans uneasy.
Caputo

11:19 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

JD,
I still think Rodney can help them, but Leyland needs to go to Zumaya and Dolsi in the eighth, not Rodney. That much is obvious.
Caputo

11:20 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
It will take prospects to get somebody like Bedard - really good ones. Not sure if the Tigers are looking to make that splash or have the necessary parts to do so. I'm thinking Pudge will be back. He is still strong defensively, but at what cost. We'll see how his ego will handle the situation. He might leave for more money than the Tigers are willing to pay him. He'll get it, too, given the dearth of catching in the major leagues. Inge is the fallback plan. Is he willing to catch every day?
Caputo

11:23 AM 
Blogger Jim15032 said...

Regarding Renteria, not only does he have a bad bat, but his range at SS is very limited. The pitchers have all year taken bad raps for having to get 4 and 5 outs per inning, esp until Guillen started to get used to 3B and Cabrera learned some 1B. Polanco has a good glove, but his range is getting smaller. It would take Ted Williams's bat to make up for Renteria's lack of defense. Is it just Leyland's loyalty or does he not realize that the 1997 version of Renteria (and Sheffield) is gone? Even if you have to pay him, the Tigers are better off paying him for riding the bench while Santiago plays. Is there any hope that someone will take him off the Tigers' hands?

1:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

jim15032,
Great point about the defense. It has been an underrated factor in the Tigers getting back into it. Renteria has been a disappointment - no doubt about it. I'd have no problem if Santiago got a shot for a few days.
Caputo

10:43 PM 

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