Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Tigers - A blog by 31-6 Denny McLain
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Is there anything really wrong with the Tigers?
There has been so much conversation, debate and conjecture as to what is wrong with the Tigers. What if there is nothing wrong with the Tigers?
Blaming Jim Leyland is not the reason that the Tigers have not played well, they have obvious issues like second base and relief pitching to name a couple. Sure there are things I would do that Leyland doesn’t, but of course Jim is managing to win ballgames and win another division unless of course he loses Cabrera, Fister or Verlander.
Several guys had “Career Years” last year, in other words the best seasons of their lives and more than likely will not have comparable years like that again because of the league catching up with them.
First of all as a team last year they hit 277, incredible team batting average and they all got hot in the 2nd half.
The division was the worse possibly in the history of baseball, no other team in the Central Division really had pitching, defense or offense. The pitching from the other divisional teams was to say the least, pathetic, no one will deny the lack of quality in the Tigers division. So with the other teams having horrible pitching, (essentially the pitchers throwing the ball down the middle or walking guys what seemed like every inning last year), the Tigers soared and soared big time.
Not one team in the Central Division besides the Tigers had a winning record---Hello? The closest team to the Tigers was Cleveland; 15 games behind at the end of the year.
Not one Central Division team had an ERA below 4. Even the Tigers gave up more than 4.04 runs per game.
And to say the least (with the exception of Kansas City), the hitting in our division was horrible.
Here are some stats from last year for you. All-Time career years for the following players:
Avila: .295 and 19 home runs.
Rayburn: .256 but hit 14 home runs.
Valverde: 49 out of 49 saves.
Verlander: 24 wins.
Peralta: .299 and 21 home runs (Hadn’t hit more than .270 since 2008 and not hit more than 20 homeruns since 2008.)
Bosch: 283 and 16 home runs.
This team is still the best team in the Division but to talk about play-offs and World Series appearances when you are struggling to stay above .500 is a bit of a reach at this point.
The pitching staff ERA is 4.19, we have all been pleased with Smyly and his ability.
As far as the guys they are really counting on, Scherzer (ERA 5.73) and Porcello, (5.18) they need to ramp it up, cause their inconsistency is really stopping the club from getting on a steady roll.
And finally, Fister, he is the real thing, he may not have the best “STUFF” on the team, but I believe he may be the best pitcher on the team right now.
He always has command and I have never seen him become rattled. He doesn’t have a Verlander fastball, but he has more than an adequate fastball and a real exceptional curve-ball, slider and change-up and he is not afraid to throw any pitch at anytime. Look out for him to really win a bunch of games, he has a few great assets that no one else seems to have, he challenges hitters, he throws lots of strikes quickly, he gets ahead of just about every hitter and he has consistency.
Your defense loves pitchers who throw strikes and work quickly, he doesn’t tease anyone and he pitches and pitches quickly. As long as Fister stays healthy, we win the division.
What would I do?
First, I would make sure that Verlander and Fister pitch every fifth day, moving a turn back because of weather or whatever. Who would you rather pitch every fifth day, Porcello, Fister or Verlander? Get your best guys out there all the time per their five days.
I would have Fielder hitting ahead of Cabrera. With Cabrera hitting behind Fielder, Prince is going to get a ton more good pitches to hit, no one wants to pitch to Cabrera with men on base, so Prince would get the benefit of pitchers having to challenge him more and more, no hitter in baseball right now is as good with men on base then our Cabrera, NONE!!
I would also move Bosch behind Cabrera. With Bosch hitting behind Prince and Cabrera he is going to get lots of pitches with men on base, cause you now pitchers are going to be much more careful and more than likely walking more and more guys to get to Bosch, but with men on base, and no where to put him, the pitching from the other teams will have to challenge Bosch more and more.
As far as the league, the pitching seems better around the league and since almost any hitter can be pitched, all of our guys have been seen now for a couple years by the league’s pitchers, so when you see a guy on a regular basis, the opposition will figure out how to pitch to hitters in different situations.
And it also seems to me that the schedule really favors our club now, we start to play more in our own division and while the division may have improved (at least early in this season,) the teams on the surface sure don’t look any different than last year, so we are a lock to win our division.
As for Inge?
The pressure is off Inge, he is not competing for a job and Oakland is not going anywhere, so they handed him a job, a .200 hitter at best and I believe that they are just hoping for the best. He will hit a couple home runs but can’t and won’t make a bit of difference where the Oakland team finishes this year, so let’s all move on.