Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Love Him Or Not, It's Difficult To Dispute The Tigers Won't Miss Inge

No Tiger player invokes more cut-and-dried emotion from fans than third baseman Brandon Inge.
He is either loved to the point, that even when he doesn’t perform particularly well, he still gets a considerable amount of text votes for player of the game during the Tigers’ telecasts. And he is sometimes compared to all-time greats such as Brooks Robinson for his prowess with the glove by talk radio callers.
Or he is viewed as a nice guy, who does much for the community, but is vastly overrated as a player because he fits this certain mode Tiger fans tend to adore.
The reality about Inge is somewhere in the middle. He is a better-than-average third baseman, who sometimes makes spectacular plays and has good range, but makes his fair share of errors. He is a below-average hitter for percentage (a lifetime .238 hitter), but he does have good power. And he is a streak hitter. When he gets hot, Inge does have a significant offensive impact at the bottom of the order. It’s just the hot streaks tend to be too far and between for the liking of his detractors.
Regardless of where you stand on Inge, however, it is indisputable the Tigers are going to miss him for the 4-to-6 weeks he will be out with a hand injury. He suffered the injury during Monday night’s loss to the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park.
The Tigers have no obvious replacement. The Triple-A third baseman, Jeff Larish, is a converted first baseman with very limited skills defensively. Also, he has not hit nearly as well during brief stints in the major leagues as had been hoped. The Tigers tried Ryan Raburn at third base last season briefly. He played there extensively in the minor leagues, but made an incredible number of errors. Raburn initially was a third baseman, but was moved to second base after he made 61 errors in his first 169 professional games at third base.
The Tigers could move Carlos Guillen or Miguel Cabrera to third, but that seems to be the ingredients for a recipe for a disaster, doesn’t it?
A trade? Inge is going to be back in four to six weeks, so it doesn’t seem likely for anything but a journeyman player - if that.
It’s just not a good situation for the Tigers. Inge at third base every day was an important part of the way they set up. Not only will they miss him defensively, but at the bottom of the order, which was already a glaring weaknesses.

Random Thoughts

- Bottom line is Johnny Damon cost the Tigers that game Monday night because of a base running mistake. He is a veteran player, and normally a very instinctive base runner. Getting faked out like that is inexcusable for a player of that caliber.

- The bright spot the last few days has been the way Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry have pitched.

- Are the wheels coming off Brennan Boesch? He has no home runs and seven RBI in his last 68 at bats.



Blogger Barry said...

Too bad Inge got hurt because he was having a good year. Looking forward to seeing how well the back-up do.

11:23 AM 
Anonymous Rob said...

Don Kelly at 3rd base is like one of the extra position players in the movie Major League. There is nothing remarkable or memorable about him. Kelly is a .250 slap hitter.

I hope they give Larish the spot for the next month because at least I see some potential power. Kelly can remain as a defensive replacement.

How about Will Rhymes (if he could play 3rd)? He's built like David Eckstein or Craig Counsell and maybe his hard-nosed attitude could be a needed spark for the club? I can't wait until some team gives this kid a chance.

12:11 PM 
Anonymous Rob said...

Brennan Boesch is 10 games away from not hitting a homer in July. He is hitting nearly .100 since the break. Boesch is definitely in a slump. Even the few balls he hits hard are line outs or ground outs.

The good news is Boesch has more walks than strikeouts in July. He's hitting .281 overall for the month. He still sprays the ball to all fields.

Boesch's MLB career is too short and his first slump is even shorter for any fair appraisals. Trying to battle out of it is his first good test. It will say a lot about what kind of player he will end up. My hope is the Tigers at least have a guy who will put up Carlos Pena-ish numbers. (I've got my fingers crossed that he is Ted Williams version 2.0)

12:39 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the game was blown when Carlos Guillen, hit into a DP with bases loaded after the Damon mistake. The count was 2-0 and the pitcher was struggling with his command. Why not force the pitcher to get it over,for at least a couple more pitches? Instead he gets the green light and there goes the game. David

12:46 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I was surprised doing my radio show the last two nights how many people don't think Inge is that important to the Tigers. He is - because there is no viable long-term replacement for him at third or bottom of order.

2:54 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

He played defensively there Tuesday, but I doubt on a regular basis Kelly would hit .250 - or close to it. Good athlete who doesn't hit well.

2:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

This is the first real test for Boesch. There are some tools there, so maybe he can come out this tailspin.

2:56 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That is a fair point, but Damon would have scored what would have been the go-ahead and winning run.

2:57 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home