Monday, May 01, 2006


Last week: 4-2
This week: KC (5/1, 5/2); LAA (5/3, 5/4); at Min (5/5-5/7)


If any team has slaughtered another in a three-game series to the tune of 33-1, as the Tigers did to the Minnesota Twins over the weekend, then I'd sure like to know when, and who, and how.

It was as if the Tigers finally got their chance to gain vengeance against the bully that has been stealing their lunch money for years, those Minnesota Twins. In my mind, they couldn't have picked a better team to destroy last weekend. The Twins have used the Tigers as their personal punching bags for just about all of this decade.

What strikes me as most impressive, however, isn't necessarily the wins, but the way the team is handling its new-found success. There's a business-as-usual tone in the clubhouse -- kind of an understanding that, yeah -- we're supposed to win. A quiet confidence.

It all starts at the top, of course. Manager Jim Leyland is the one who instills this attitude.

"He's getting the most out of his players because they respond to him," backup catcher Vance Wilson said after yesterday's 6-0 win. Wilson had three hits, spelling Pudge Rodriguez.

Others have said similar things about their new boss: Magglio Ordonez, Rodriguez, Todd Jones, Nate Robertson, and Dmitri Young are among those who've extolled Leyland. This is the real deal, this new-found confidence and belief. And when the pitching is there, as it's been all month, it makes the game that much easier to play. And to manage.

The Tigers have five more divisional games this week -- two against the Royals and three more against the suddenly mediocre Twins. In between are two games against the Angels. This could be another winning week. 5-2 is possible, which would put the Bengals at 21-11. That's a pace that has been unheard of in Detroit in over a decade.

And the more the team responds to success with its business-like approach, the more they'll get that feeling of "we're supposed to win."

Because Tigers teams lately haven't.


Blogger Ozz said...

I like the mindset that he's instilling in the players. It's like there's an understanding that what happened in the past stays in the past.

12:06 AM  

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