Saturday, August 23, 2008

Detroit Tiger

Detroit Tiger
Originally uploaded by ElaineHudson
Can the Tigers turn it around in 2009?

Can the Tigers be fixed for 2009?

The Detroit Tigers season turned out to be a disappointing failure for 2008. What must they do to turn things around in 2009? Can GM Dave Dombrowski come up with a solution? I believe it's going to be a tough haul , but do you have faith in the Tiger's organization? Let's look at the problems to be solved. I, like most analysts thought the Tigers would be a shoo in for the playoffs with the power line-up they fielded, only to watch them lose time after time due to a myriad of bad pitching and untimely hitting.

We'll start with the pitching debaucle. The ace of the staff Justin Verlander is having the worst year of his short career with nine wins and thirteen losses as of today. His E.R.A is at 4.60. Not what we expected from the 2006 Rookie of the Year recipient. With his contract up for grabs in 09, will the Tigers sign him for big money? Probably. He is too young and has too much potential to be let go as of yet. He must get better in 09.

Kenny Rogers had a better year than Verlander with nine wins and ten losses , and an E.R.A. at 4.94. It's not to bad considering his age and the Tigers seem to go into a slump everytime he takes the mound. Don't expect him back next year. I believe he will retire.

Armando Galarraga was the only bright spot in the rotation this year at twelve wins and four losses. Sign him up for next year. He is the true ace of the staff this year by far. And one of the only players that came over in a trade that didn't embarass our beloved GM.

Jeremy Bonderman will have to go through the painful rehab comeback trail. We all our hoping for the best in 09 for him. Only time will tell.

Nate Robertson was another disappointment never really finding his groove and giving up way too many base hits. In his defense the Tiger bats never helped him much. With an ERA at 6.09 its time to cut him loose for trade bait or maybe the bullpen.

Zach Miner was so-so as a starter late in the season, but in the bullpen he struggled. He is one of the only pitchers out of the bullpen that has more than two types of pitches, sadly. We may still see him around next year and maybe not. I would use him for trade bait.

Dontrelle Willis was the biggest disaster of the year. This guy couldn't find the plate if he was sitting at the dinner table. Maybe if he learns how to throw again he'll be back next year. Right now we're stuck with him. The guy could hit pretty good, put him in left field.

The bullpen. Wow! What a train wreck! Most games they could not hold a lead by four runs. To fix that mess it's going to take a miracle. Bobby Seay looks okay. Keep him. Denny Bautista can go away. Joel Zumaya has to go to instructional league to learn how to throw something other than a one hundred mile an hour fastball.
Aquilino Lopez is okay unless he is in a pressure situation, then he falls apart. Get rid of him. Freddy Dolsi is supposed to be our closer of the future. If he is, he better learn some control real fast. Walking 22 batters in 38 innings ain't gonna get it done. Lose him.

Fernando Rodney has a great change-up but can't throw it over the plate. Opposing hitters just sit on the fastball and knock him around the yard. If he only had another pitch. Send him packing.
Clay Rapada wasn't up long enough to get shelled, good thing.

Todd Jones was good for most of the year until injury caused him to give up his ghost. He should retire as a Tiger. I will miss him.

Ivan Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth which turned out to be an insignificant deal for both sides. Farnsworth can go away too. My point is that not one reliever stepped up and showed Jim Leyland that he was the guy. I would not be surprised to see the whole lot of them in the minors or somewhere else by next season. And they deserve it. Leyland says you have to earn it to win it. This bunch earned a lot of runs and too many losses.

The hitters.
Infielder Ramon Santiago is showing some promise of late batting .321 out of 78 at bats. The Tigers should keep him around a bit, he should get better in time.

Magglio Ordonez had a down year compared to last year when he won the batting crown. The real question is if the Tigers will make a blockbuster trade with him or give him another go in 2009. I think you had best keep that .300 plus batting average around a while longer. He has a few more good years left.

Placido Polanco should remain a staple at second base for the Tigers in 2009. Period.

Curtis Granderson is still improving, and I look for him to have a great season in 2009. As long as injuries are not a factor.
Miguel Cabrera is starting to adjust nicely and is turning out to be the player to build this team around. Get used to him at first base for the next eight years.

Carlos guillen is aging a bit but not at the plate. The Tigers must keep his bat in the line-up as much as possible. I would have him DHing next year or at third if his fielding improves.

Clete Thomas needs to improve at Toledo before the Tigers bring him up to stay. I think he will be just fine in years to come . He is a good young player. Just wasn't ready for the bigs this year.

Matt Joyce I believe is the first choice for the starting left field job at this time . This kid hits for much needed power and is young and will improve tremendously in the next couple years. Most importantly he is a left handed bat.

Edgar Renteria was a bit of a disappointment this year,but all in all he got the job done . Sure he could have hit a bit better with runners on,but it was the boneheaded errors at shortstop that was bothersome. He could be trade bait, we'll have to see what Dave Dombrowski has up his sleeve.

Ryan Raburn is a utility man at best and has just not come around with his bat. Cut him loose.
Marcus Thames was a nice surprise for the power numbers he put up. I would keep him around another season even if he is platooned in left.He makes for a better designated hitter than Gary Sheffield.
Gary Sheffield should retire with some dignity before he ruins his lifetime average. He is not helping this club batting.234. Complaining about the DH role is not going to help. He was signed up on this team with a huge contract to be the designated hitter. Conform or die. It is a tough job to be a DH in this league, we all know that. Excuses and injuries is not what this team needs. With that contract, he is going to be hard to get rid of . I'm afraid we may be stuck with him for now. Deal him if you can. If not we'll be eating Sheffield pie for years to come.

Brandon Inge should be the starting catcher for the Tigers period. Yes, he needs to hit better, but give him a fresh start next year at a solid position and see what happens. Keep him. But shop for a better catcher and good luck with that.

Dane Sardinha ain't gonna get it done in the big leagues, you'll find him in Toledo.

It will be interesting to see what the Tigers do early. Dave Dombrowski has a very good track record up until this season, and he is a great guy doing wonderful things for Detroit. Will owner Mike Illitch turn him loose like last year? Will he allow him to dip in to the money box again? I don't think so. Dave Dombrowski will be forced to work with limited resources in the off-season.
Bottom line is: Keep the hitters and trade for good pitching. The pitching staff needs an overhaul.

We all knew the Tigers could hit and they do. At this point they are second in the American league in runs scored. The rotation needs work and the bullpen needs to be completely revamped. As I said we need a miracle.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by shawn_rodriguez
I see more and more empty sandlots, unlike when I was a kid.

Sandlot Ballgames and Bubblegum Cards

A hot, sunny, summer day in the old neighborhood usually meant that it was time to go round up the ol' gang of bubblegum chewin', baseball card tradin' buddies of yours, and head out to the nearest ball field in your hometown for a sweet escape from reality.

Those days seem like a thing of the past.

I can drive by my old neighborhood anytime of day in the summer and look at an empty ball field. I know that this neighborhood is filled with kids. Where are they?

Video games, iPods, and computers could be a part of the finger pointing, but they're not entirely to blame. Being overweight and not exercising seems to be on the rise also.

What I really notice is that kids have so many options nowadays.

Especially if both parents are working. When I was a kid, we breathed baseball. Mom was a housewife, and I can tell you that on a nice day, you weren't layin around the house. You were outside. At least until lunchtime or until the street lights came on.

The truth is we wanted to be outside. "Let's get Tommy, he's got an extra mitt!"
And Tommy had a pool for after the game. Bonus.

I know that after I got older, I would get tired of playing baseball in the summer, mainly because I was playing organized ball at school. It turned into a chore. Then it turned into a dream of yesterday.

Where are the sandlotters like when I was a kid? And as for bubblegum cards, most kids can't afford them them anymore, and most of them don't come with that gnarly gum that splintered into a thousand pieces of sugary bliss and tasted too damn good to be true anyway.

It truly is a different era. I would put a Whitey Ford or a Tom Tresh in the spokes of my bike cause everybody hated them and you couldn't give them away much less trade for an Al Kaline or a Bill Freehan card.
I didn't put them in a binder to sell off later on eBay when the market was right.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN

The Detroit Tigers vs The Metrodome

The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins have both been hot teams of late, however injuries are beginning to plague both clubs.
With right fielders Magglio Ordonez (Tigers) and Michael Cuddyer (Twins) out with injuries, the teams have had to fill in these holes with players from their respective triple A affiliates.

With this series tied at one game apiece, today's game turns into an important rubber game for these two American League Central Division rivals.
The first two games have each been decided by one run, the Tigers taking the first 5-4, and the Twins taking the second 6-5.
Each of these games were very exciting to watch, having all the elements of great Major League Baseball, clutch hitting, pitching, base stealing, bunting, and home runs.

Minnesota is a very good small -ball team that can manufacture runs seemingly with ease.
Rising star Carlos Gomez continues to be a threat on the base paths as well as in center field.
Justin Morneau has always been a big powered bat for the Twins.

The Tigers on the other hand seem to be trying to emulate the Twins style of play. Are the Tigers a small-ball type of club? Not really. The Tigers tend to depend too much on power hitting and free swinging.
Sure they can set the table pretty well with players like Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco, but usually depend on Marcus Thames or Gary Sheffield to deliver the big hit, which more often than not come up short. There has been countless times they hit into a double play or hit a lazy fly ball, when they should be pushing runners over or putting the ball in play instead of free swinging their way into a strikeout.
With the injury list getting long, the Tigers will need the younger players to step up and deliver.
Newcomers like Clete Thomas, Matt Joyce, and Dane Sardinha are still just getting their feet wet in the Major Leagues.
The bullpen for Detroit is beginning to shape up a little with Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, and Casey Fossum all being called up in late June and have been pitching some solid innings in relief.
Playing in the Metrodome is a whole different type of baseball. Ground balls seem to die or scoot by infielders that normally seem playable anywhere else. Infield hits are quite common. If you have runners on your best bet would be to hit the ball on the ground because there is a big chance that the ball will do funny things. Advantage Twins. The Twins know how to play at home and will continue to eek out hits with their good speed on the base paths.
I like the match up with these two teams, it makes for some pretty exciting baseball to watch.
With Detroit in the Metrodome you never know what to expect. A comedy of errors could turn into some pretty outstanding defensive plays.
The Metrodome is like a box of chocolates Forrest, ya never know what you're gonna get.
Right now the Tigers are playing the Twins and the Metrodome.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Todd Jones the Rollercoaster

Todd Jones the infamous closing pitcher for the Detroit Tigers is at it again, giving the fans a reason to sweat, cheer, and boo at the same time.
The guy they love to hate and hate to love is still the top pitcher in the bullpen whether fans boo him or not.
Get used to it Tiger fans. The aptly named "rollercoaster" is going to be your thrill ride on the mound for a little while.
He blew one save opportunity in sixteen tries and you would think most fans would give him a break or a free pass if you will.
Uh uh no way.
They treat him as if he just shot Justin Verlander in the foot!
Jonesy has three wins and no losses, fifteen saves out of sixteen opportunities and a 4.91 earned run average.
Detroit fans are bar none the greatest baseball fans in the nation, but they sure are strange.
At the ballpark Todd Jones is a true fan favorite.His sense of humor and rain delay antics, as well as his make it or break it attitude on the mound keeps us all entertained and reaching for are anti- stress medication.
Todd Jones is what he is. A closing pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.
Why Todd Jones? For one he can throw strikes, and he doesn't walk very many and has an uncanny ability to give us all a heart attack. Typical Todd Jones.
I like this guy and I wouldn't have anyone else on the mound with the game on the line.
So if you are ever at Comerica Park, take a look out in the bullpen and you will usually see him standing up chatting with fans, signing a few baseballs or practical joking with other players.
In the ninth inning look to the pitchers mound, once he's there he's all business.

Todd Jones

Todd Jones
Originally uploaded by christopher.creamer
Tiger closer Todd Jones talking to fans.

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