Friday, April 17, 2009

Is The Tigers' Start Really That Good Or Expectations So Low?

- Most people are breathing a sigh of relief the Tigers’ season isn’t over before it really got started - like last season. That’s especially true after the opening series in Toronto didn’t go well. While the recent homestand was much better, it should be noted the Tigers must also play respectable baseball on the road. This trip will be a good gauge.

- Jeremy Bonderman is iffy because of his health. Zach Miner is maddeningly inconsistent. Nate Robertson has been pitching well in the bullpen and is left-handed. The Tigers’ starting rotation is void of left-handed starters. Don’t be surprised if Robertson pitches his way back into the rotation sooner instead of later.

- Fernando Rodney has been really good, but I’d still be surprised if Ryan Perry isn’t the Tigers’ closer by All Star break.

- Brandon Inge deserves all the credit in the world for his hot start at the plate. He told the world he is a much better player at third base than at catcher. There were many - myself included - who thought he should be catching. He was right. We were wrong.
- Count me among those who feel Ramon Santiago would be exposed if he were the Tigers’ every day shortstop.

- Armando Galarraga has shocked me. I fully expected a dropoff. Instead, he is even better than last season.

- The American League Central is not a good division. Don’t be surprised if a ridiculously low number of victories - something like 85 - wins it.



Blogger Barry said...

Pat, Miner looks like he could be a starter with his three above averages pitches (moving fastball and change-up and good breaking ball). But like you said," He is inconsistent", or has control issues. He doesn't throw that hard so he got be more effective with his control. Miner is an additive to the staff not a hinder.
Santigo's bat has improved but I question his range at ss. If he hits well this year he could be the Tigers 2B next year.
Galarraga is doing what pitcher does best and just pitch with control and movement. He does hang the odd curveball. Good work on DD part.
You know Pat, F Rodney is the same pitcher as always, he is just on a roll. I would not sale the farm on Perry yet because he still has to go around the league a few times. I do like his fastball.

2:39 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...


I agree that Santiago would get exposed if he were the everyday shortstop. Mostly because he did get exposed when he was the everyday shortstop in 2003. He was great when they put him in for spot starts, but when he was out there every day he just couldn't hit. I guess he has some pretty big holes in his swing that are easy to attack if you know what they are. (I don't know that, but that was what some of the 'experts' were saying about him back then.)

Maybe he has grown past that though. Either way, I doubt he would be any better than their starter there. Both players are awfully similar though.


3:53 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I think it is way to early to tell to be honest with you on the Tigers. I think this road trip will be a good indicator as to where they are. I tell you one thing you have to be disappointed in Verlander so far. Which to me still proves the Tigers still should of went out this offseason to try and bring in a guy such as Lowe so verlander could be the number 2 guy. If this team is going to be successful they need to have him go 6 innings. We gave him a 3-0 lead. Usually when you do that for your ace chances are good. With Miner and the uncertainty of Porcello I am still not confident. Optimistic YES... Confident NO...

Miguel is as awesome as they come. even got him on my fantasy roster. Personally if i had to choose between everett and santiago I don't think it matter. I think there would be no increase or drop off at the position.

I don't know we will see. Our starting pitching has to be key. It is the 1 nothing 3 nothing games we need to win.

6:21 AM 
Anonymous Mike said...

- Fernando Rodney has been really good, but I’d still be surprised if Ryan Perry isn’t the Tigers’ closer by All Star break.

I wouldn't be, Pat. After spring training I would've agreed, but as long as Rodney doesn't implode (which is a possibility) I think the job will remain his for this year.

If you've noticed, in the majority of Perry's appearances he comes in and does well, but allows a baserunner or two to reach and then is replaced by a new pitcher. He's being protected.

If he was a closer he'd be expected to pitch out of these type of jams regularly, and yet even with big leads (8-1 today and others earlier) he's being taken out to let someone else try and pitch out of the jam.

If the plan was to get him into the closing spot soon you'd have to let him stay in to see how he'd do in tough situations and to let him practice pitching out of jams in the major leagues. Instead they seem more concerned with protecting his confidence for the long term.

Plus with his control problems (all the wild pitches the other day) and nerves of late, I'm not sure he'd be an improvement over Rodney right now.

6:51 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great points about Galarraga and Santiago. I fully expected a dropoff from Armando, but the guy can just flat out pitch. What's funny is that he pitches like a left-handed junk baller, only he can reach back and throw a 92-94 mph fastball. His mastery of the art of pitching his fascinating to me. I hope he keeps it up.

Many have hopped on the Santiago band wagon since 2007 when it became apparent that Guillen's time at shortstop was coming to a quick end. I, however, am totally with you. Nothing about his career makes me think he can continue hitting for extra-base power over the course of a greater part of the season.

After the series in Seattle with the great start by Verlander (minus the 5th inning), great starts by Jackson and Porcello, and strong relief pitching, I am starting to believe that the Tigers could have just enough pitching to make this division race interesting. If 1 of the injured trio of key pitchers is able to come back (Bondo, Zoomy, or D-Train), then I really like our chances.


12:41 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I know he is the flavor of the day and he deserves to be in the lineup while he is so hot, but Santiago is long-term answer only as a backup - in my opinion. The key with Rodney is his velocity. The difference between his fastball and changeup in speed. When his velocity is down, he is not as effective. He starts to nibble with his fastball. Rodney doesn't not pitch well with any kind of ailment. The best pitchers do.

5:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I like Perry because of the downward angle of his fastball. It makes him much more difficult to hit. I think he is going to be really good, but don't know if it will be this season or how many lumps he will take when put out there under pressure.

1:28 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's a great mystery why some guys are spotty like that. The same pitches somebody like Santiago hits when on a hot streak are the same ones that will get him out if he plays a lot.

1:30 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Verlander is puzzling. You know he knows how to win. He proved his first two seasons. He has great stuff. Something tells me he will figure it out sooner or later. The Tigers need it to be sooner.

1:31 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

No question they are protecting Perry. Not sure they can afford to do so for much longer because Brandon Lyon doesn't seem to be the answer to anything.

1:33 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think the Tigers will be in contention this season, too. For one thing, the AL Central isn't that tough. Secondly, I do believe their starting pitching will OK. Much will depend on the bullpen, though, and it's iffy.

2:00 PM 

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