Monday, April 23, 2012

What the series against the Rangers revealed about the Tigers

The Tigers series against the Texas Rangers was an early litmus test, and it revealed good and not-so-good aspects.
The good: It appears they found their fifth starter in Drew Smyly. The Rangers lineup, with many really good right-handed hitters, should have been a difficult matchup for Smyly. It wasn't. He throws his off-speed pitches for strikes early in the count, which makes his fastball much more effective later in the count. Also, he displayed the propensity to make an "out" pitch when needed.
The Tigers bullpen isn't awful, but it is not as good as the Rangers. It could be a problem if they meet in October.
Brandon Inge's performance Saturday, both offensively or defensively, was alarming. The Tigers face two left-handers this week, Jason Vargas of the Mariners Tuesday, and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees Sunday. Those figure to be the two games Inge starts. He is 1-for-6 vs. Vargas and  is hitting .217 lifetime against Sabathia. Rick Porcello's start Saturday was disappointing, but also misleading. He received little support defensively. It was going to a rough outing no matter what, but could have been more presentable with some defensive support.
A couple other things. The series might have gone differently if Doug Fister started one of the games rather than Adam Wilk. The Tigers need to do a better job of running the bases. They can't afford to run themselves out of innings against the better teams. Miguel Cabrera, in particular, must run the bases better.
There is concern about the Tigers' lack of offense in the last week, but rest assured, eventually they will post big numbers.
On a side note: The White Sox might be better than expected and could push the Tigers this summer. Their starting pitching looks surprisingly solid. Ozzie Guillen might have been the problem there. The Indians aren't playing bad baseball, either. It looks the Tigers will have to earn their divisional title


Blogger Scott_Joel said...

The Tigers have played, according to ESPN, three of the top 9 teams over the first three weeks of the season. They are 4-6 against them. If you consider Boston to be better than their current record, Detroit's record moves to 7-6. They have come up against some impressive pitching during this time as well. After the Yankees series, the schedule lightens up and they should be able to hit better. But 10-6 is not too bad considering the quality of the staffs they have faced.

1:18 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, that series didn't mean much to me. The most important thing was Verlander beating Texas.
Texas is not really to see Wilk or even Smyly in a playoff as a starter. Tigers have a good 1 or 2 punch going into playoffs. I would not rush back Fister until he is 150% healthy.

4:24 PM 

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