Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Morning Manager

Last Week: 4-3
This Week: (4/16-18: KC; 4/20-22: CWS)

The signs are there.

The signs are there that the 2006 Tigers may not have been a fluke. The signs are there that this season, the team will pull games out of the fire with entertaining regularity. The signs are there that this is a ballclub that believes in itself more and more everyday.

The recently completed ten-game road trip is over, and the Tigers came out of it in good shape -- 6-4 on the trip and some one-run wins and late rallies tossed in. Already Craig Monroe is picking up where he left off last season, re-establishing himself as one of the team's more clutch players. His grand slam in the cold of Baltimore in extra innings Wednesday night was testament to that. Pudge Rodriguez slammed a three-run homer in the ninth inning in Kansas City a week ago Saturday. And then there was the improbable four-run rally in the ninth to steal Saturday's game in Toronto.

Sure, they lost a 2-1 match Friday night in ten innings, thanks to Roy Halladay's pitching, but for the most part, the Tigers are showing more and more of that swagger that all good teams have.

Nine Innings.

That's the mantra -- play a full nine and anything can happen. The fact that the Tigers are, this soon, displaying the uncanny knack of "stealing games," as reliever Todd Jones put it, is extremely encouraging.

The bad news is Gary Sheffield is 2-for-2. Huh? I mean, two Monday Morning Managers in 2007, and he's being mentioned in both for his slow start. Five-for-41 isn't what the Tigers bargained for when they traded for Sheff in November. But, as I pointed out in Friday's post, not to worry. Sheffield will heat up, and when he does, there'll be hell to pay for some poor pitching coach and his staff.

This week, more Central Division action -- the Royals and White Sox at CoPa. KC is strugging again -- though they have more talent than last year -- and the Chisox are scuffling along early. They limited the Indians to one hit yesterday ... and lost.

These gutty wins in April mean the same as wins in September. Maybe more so, if they build confidence -- which they clearly are doing.



Post a Comment

<< Home