Friday, July 03, 2009

Three Huge Games For The Tigers In Minnesota

The Tigers are 2.5 games up on the White Sox and three games ahead of the Minnesota Twins.
This is an absolutely huge series from the standpoint the Tigers must not leave Minnesota after three games no longer in first place in the American League Central.
If they do lose the lead, there will be a momentum shift that will be difficult to reverse. The best chance is obviously Saturday with Edwin Jackson going against Francisco Liriano.
The White Sox have won six in a row and are making a strong move. They are the one team in the division that is winning on the road.
Lefty Luke French is starting tonight for the Tigers and is not overpowering. A lot has been made about the Twins’ left-handed hitters Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, but French isn’t going to overpower them. He is a sinker-ball type, who hasn’t had that much more success against left-handers than right-handed hitters during his minor league career. Mauer is "only" hitting .351 with an OPS approaching 1,000 against left-handers, Morneau is hitting .359 with an OPS above 1,000 against lefties.
French was called up because he was the only starter at Triple-A or Double-A who was pitching reasonably well in the Tigers’ system. And Alfredo Figaro clearly wasn’t good enough. Period.

Random Thoughts

- To me it’s a no-brainer Avery Johnson for as the Pistons’ next coach. Not sure if Joe Dumars and Company feel the same way, however.

- Too bad Scott Sizemore isn’t an outfielder or catcher. He’d be in the major leagues by now. The Tigers don’t need a middle infielder, though.

- I think Rasheed Wallace would be a great fit for the Celtics. He can still play. That’s not been the issue. The bigger issue has been whether he wants to play. He needs a change of scenery. Boston would be perfect for him.

- The Dodgers sure have missed Manny Ramirez. Hah.

"Caputo and His Boss" video from Friday about Tigers

My column in Friday's Oakland Press about Pistons:



Anonymous Steve V. said...

Pat, Everbody keeps saying the tigers need to take 1 and get out of town in Twin Cities, Why with the day off yesterday are we not moving up the starters and going with Jackson,Porcello and Gallagra for the Freeking Sweep or at least 2 out of 3. Why is Leland Pitching French?

1:07 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, looks like French keeps improving as he moves up the ladder, wonder why? Hopefully he benefited from of better D at the higher levels. I hope Inge and whoever is playing ss got lots of sleep last night with a left-handed sinker on the mound.

3:08 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

I'm with Steve V, why French?

But I think the real pitching key is Zumaya right now. We need him consistently shutting down hitting in relief roles. 5th through 8th innings.

Since most likely the pitching isn't going to win 3 straight in Minny - it has to be Tiger's hitting, and those bats seem to go to sleep on the road. Especially in that horrible Minny dome.

Normally I would jump right on board behind the importance of momentium going into the All Star break, Pat - but I see a very tough secon half of the season staring the Tigers in the face - and the only bright spot is that they will have more home games than anybody else in the division - and they play great at Comerica.

My fingers are crossed, but I'm not holding my breath. I think we as fans need to rest up over the All Star break - because it's going to take everything we got to "will" these guys through this second half.

Where did I put my friggin rabbits foot? And I guess I better get a passport.

5:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Steve V.
They are probably concerned about making sure they aren't overused - especially Porcello. They did want a lefty in there against the Twins, too, although I'm not sure it will matter that much.

7:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Probably because his command has gotten better. He is striking out more hitters than in the past, too, a sign he is getting ahead in the count rather than behind.

7:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Agree with you about Zumaya. It's not so much the fifth starter as how the bullpen handles it after they leave the game. Zumaya is the setup key. Don't think Seay or Lyon would do well in the role long term.

7:21 PM 

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