Monday, September 10, 2012

On Jim Leyland, the Detroit Tigers and where they go from here

- The Tigers are on pace to win 85 games. Given their overall talent, large player payroll and no significant injuries the second half of the season, there is no excuse for it. There is no other way to present the Tigers than they are underachieving. They should be running away with the AL Central title.
- Manager Jim Leyland, working on a one-year extension signed last summer, has come under fire, and it is justified given some of the goofy lineups he has posted the last week, and his reaction to questions about it, which presented the wrong demeanor at the wrong time. There is a reason managers rarely are placed in situations that have them on the final year of their contracts. They are vulnerable to a groundswell of support for their removal. It is coming strongly from the fans, who are understandably frustrated. The Tigers have a good clubhouse, but it could at some point come from the players, too, even though they like and respect Leyland. He was already in a vulnerable spot to be a scapegoat, but it is even more the case now because of issues that have been self-inflicted. In the three games Leyland rolled out his unconventional lineups, and after he proclaimed the fans and media don't know "bleep" about making out the lineup, the Tigers not only lost, but they didn't score many runs. His moves simply did not work.
- People can't help but speculate about candidates to replace Leyland. At the head of the list will be Tom Brookens, the first base coach. He has strong Tiger ties, has managed successfully in the minor leagues in Detroit's system, but isn't tied to Leyland from the past. Brookens is also highly-regarded by Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
- A wildcard spot may be slipping away from the Tigers, even with two available this season, but they still have essentially an even shot at winning the AL Central. The White Sox have been equally bumbling lately. If the Tigers split or do better this week during a four-game series starting tonight at Chicago, they should be in good shape for the stretch run.
- The key is getting into the tournament. If the Tigers reach the playoffs, their chances, in my opinion, are as good to reach the World Series as any other American League club except Texas. The reason: Their starting pitching.


Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book, your bang on - - but I do think there might be something to the argument that Leyland is intentionally putting himself between the players and media - to take the pressure off the guys not named Cabrera and Fielder.

But regardless - this team now makes damned near every pitcher look like a Cy Young contender - and we have seen this seasons before - just not this prolonged.

12:39 PM 
Blogger Contrary Guy said...

I know you can't speak this plainly as your role as a sportswriter but Leyland is a hypersensitive clown with these lineups and his hostility to anybody that questions him.

Usually a GM will reign this nonsense in but I think Dombrowski and Leyland are joined at the hip because of their history going back to the Marlins so that isn't happening.

The loser? Illitch who so bady wants a championship.

10:55 PM 
Blogger Jim15032 said...

I'll bet those Tiger pitchers looked at the Angels' defense with envy. As for whose fault it is, it is Leyland's job to get the players to play better. It is his job to see that Cabrera and Fielder and Peralta don't carry around 10-50 plus extra pounds. It is his job to bench Peralta for trying to pull everything and hitting grounders to short with a man on 2B and no one out. It is his job to bench Boesch for swinging at balls that bounce before they get to home plate. Instead he makes loyalty a fault. Does anyone think Dombrowski didn't check with Leyland before acquiring such players as Gary Sheffield and Neifi Perez? Enough. Clean house.

11:01 AM 
Blogger Jim15032 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:10 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Pat, Jimbo just stuck a stick in your and the fans eyes with his lineup. Puts Rayburn in left and the rookie in right and Laird to let Avila get a rest. Rayburn pulls a 2-base easy fly error right in front of Jackson.

Realize that the manager has to give players a rest and it's done a few days in advance, but 3 players in a crucial game vs. Chisox?

Here goes Leyland again, it's panic or over-managing mode during the playoff. How can DD or Illitch watch this?

1:00 PM 

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