Monday, October 02, 2006

MONDAY MORNING MANAGER: Week 26

Tigers Season In A Nutshell: 112 Games of Greatness Followed By 50 Games of Mediocrity

(my weekly take on the Tigers)

Last Week: 1-5
This Week: (10/3,4: at NYY; 10/6: NYY; 10/7: NYY if nec; 10/8: at NYY if nec)

Here's what I don't care to hear this morning: "Oh, the Tigers had a great season, and they did better than anyone expected, and we should all be happy, blah, blah, blah..."

Shut up.

The Tigers choked. They gagged ingloriously. They had a 10 game divisional lead on August 7, and a 3-to-5 game lead for most of September, and all they had to do was win two games this week, at home, to clinch the division and score home field advantage in the ALDS.

Like I've said repeatedly, the Tigers apologists would be correct to be warm and fuzzy if the team's collapse had happened in May or June. But when you are 76-36 and have a 10 game lead, then you're supposed to win the thing. Not blow it and finish as the Wild Card. This is because you never know when you're going to have the chance to win it again. Nothing's guaranteed in sports, no matter how much young pitching talent you seem to have.

The Tigers were marvelous for those first 112 games, and just 19-31 the rest of the way. They struggled mightily to drive in runners from third base, played suspect defense, and their ability to win games in the late innings vanished. It was as if their pact with the devil expired, abruptly, on August 8.

It will take Jim Leyland's best clubhouse job to get his team ready to take on the vaunted Yankees after this terribly disappointing finish. He must burrow his way into his players' heads, convincing them that they can win the ALDS. If I was him, I'd play the underdog card to the max, because riffraff like me aren't giving them a chance in the Yankees series.

Speaking of the ALDS, come back tomorrow for my Tigers/Yankees preview. Bet you can't wait.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ozz said...

I'm right with you on that 'chokers' stance. As stupid as it is to be pissed off about the results of a sporting event, I can't help but feel that way about the series with the Royals.

I'll be rooting like hell for them in the ALDS, but how can we really expect much? That last weekend collapse was just the culmination of some lousy baseball that we'd been seeing for almost a couple months now.

They'd better snap out of their doldrums, and they'd better do it fast.

9:14 PM  

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