Monday, June 11, 2012

Many thoughts about the Detroit Tigers after their three-game series at Cincinnati

- The criticism the Tigers receive for their mediocre drafting is usually valid, but they made a terrific decision in 2004, which has shaped the franchise for years to come.

With the second overall pick, they selected Justin Verlander. The Tigers had strongly been considering Homer Bailey, a high school right-hander from Texas, who pitched against the Tigers Sunday night for the Reds. Bailey is 26, has a 29-27 career record and never posted an ERA below 4.43 for a full season (he is at 4.35 this season). His career WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) is above 1.4. Phillip Humber, now with the White Sox, was taken third overall that year by the Mets out of Rice University. His perfect game this season was just one of 13 major league victories he has so far. Bailey, who had the option of pitching in college, dropped to seventh overall that year. The best other pitcher taken in the that draft by far was Jered Weaver 12th overall by the Angels. Verlander wasn't a no-brainer at the time. He had a 21-18 career record at Old Dominion. There was much debate about taking Bailey. The Tigers scouting director at the time, Greg Smith, won out on that debate. Greg Smith, now an assistant general manager with the Pirates, was also the force behind the Tigers taking Curtis Granderson in the third round in 2002. He turned out to be far better player than the Tigers first two picks that season, third baseman Scott Moore (who was drafted the pick after Prince Fielder by Milwaukee) and outfielder Brent Clevlen, who did have his 15 minutes of fame with the 2006 Tigers.
 - Austin Jackson's return to the lineup can't emphasized enough. His home run was an important hit when it looked like the game might be slipping away from the Tigers early. His two-run double later was the key hit of the game. No Austin Jackson Sunday, no Tigers victory. Period. Quintin Berry can't come close to providing the Tigers what Jackson does offensively or defensively.
 - Left-handed hitting Brennan Boesch's key pinch hit single off extremely hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman shouldn't be that much of a surprise. His career batting average is .308 against left-handers and .249 vs. right-handers. His career OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) vs. left-handers is .795 compared to .723 vs, right-handers. This season, he is hitting .270 vs. left-handers and .228 vs. right-handers
- There are a lot of reasons the Tigers won Sunday night. None was bigger than the bullpen. Brayan Villarreal has stopped being this wild card entry in the bullpen poker game and provided much needed consistency. Joaquin Benoit got a huge strikeout. Jose Valverde has quietly simmered down and started to provide the Tigers with quality late-inning pitching.
- The worst umpire in the history of baseball might be Angel Hernandez. His inconsistent strike zone is an embarrassment to the game. It's amazing they would put him behind the plate during a nationally televised game like that.
Replay of my live video chat today Got into whether Tigers will win AL Central and if Lebron "hatred" is legit. We do this every Monday around 12:30. Check it out:

Video streaming by Ustream


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, I wish Boesch would take the Joe Mauer approach to hitting. Take the first pitch unless it is in Boesch's power zone.

4:25 PM 
Blogger Contrary Guy said...

"Loved" the Angel Hernandez "double safe" call on the Berry run. One when he scored and one when he came back and touched the plate again. Errrrrrr, was the play still "alive" in his mind? He is going to get himself in trouble with that stuff.

10:37 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Hernandez does seem to strengthen the argument to replace the men in black with robots.

"The batter is out" says the soft female voice over the loudspeaker

Can we still scream "kill the umpire" or is that another breach of homeland security?

The good news is the good breaks went the way of the Tigers - and that hasn't happened for a while ... I hope it continues

12:35 PM 

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