Monday, May 04, 2009

Baseball's Parity Could Greatly Benefit Tigers

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One of the things I love about baseball is that each season takes on a life of its own.
Predicting the outcome of given seasons in any sport is difficult, but in baseball it’s become next to impossible. The exceptions are the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League, but even that is starting to change.
Last year, Tampa Bay was in World Series. The year before, the Colorado Rockies - after they were basically finished in that season. In 2006, it was the Tigers. Nobody could see any of it coming. The Yankees didn’t make the postseason for the first time in eons in 2008, and the Rays outlasted the Red Sox in the postseason. Neither the Yankees nor Red Sox are imposing this season.
This year, it’s the Toronto Blue Jays that are out to a remarkably fast start. Do I see it continuing? No, not really. I figure the Blue Jays will get exposed next week on a West Coast trip - which is the gauge I usually use to separate the pretenders from the contenders. Roy Halladay’s a great pitcher, but I’m not sure if the rest of that staff will hold up. I’m also not convinced Aaron Hill will go Norm Cash on the American League and continue to hit .361 this season.
It’s more like every team is kind lumped together in the A..L. I don’t think you will see teams on either extreme of wins and losses this summer. That could bode well for the Tigers. Their start has been more encouraging than discouraging. Their starting pitching rotation could be very good. Joel Zumaya throwing well again is a huge bonus.
I honestly had no feel how this season would play out for the Tigers on opening day. Now? I get the sense they will be in contention this summer, and have a chance to reach the postseason.

Random Thoughts

- Speaking of the Blue Jays, Jason Frasor has been a savior for their bullpen with a 4-0 record. If only Dave Dombrowski could have the Hiram Bocachica trade back. Frasor was the player to be named later in it with the Dodgers for the long-forgotten outfielder. Ouch.

- It’ll be interesting to see if Mike Babock shuffles up his lines Tuesday night against the Ducks. The best bet: He puts Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk on the top line. Also, don’t be surprised if Darren Helm sees more ice time. He’s been playing too well to just be taking shifts with the fourth line.



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