Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday Morning Manager

(my weekly take on the Tigers)

Last Week: 2-6
This Week: (7/30-8/1: at Oak; 8/3-5: CWS)

"These are the times that try men's souls."

July started grand for the Tigers, and is ending graphically.

They got their tails kicked again by the Angels, 13-4, yesterday, and even Jeremy Bonderman couldn't stop the bleeding. He was, in his words, a "bottle of kerosene", giving up 10 earned runs in 2-2/3 innings. For the three-game series, Tigers pitching surrendered 34 runs -- and it was indeed every bit as ugly as that sounds.

It was a rare eight-game week for the Tigers, and they lost six of them to fall to just 16 games over .500, after peaking at 21 over following their three-game sweep in Minnesota, which seems like eons ago.

Nothing is going right at the moment. The pitching is atrocious -- starters and relievers -- the clutch hitting is nonexistent, and there just seems to be a collective "blah" hanging over the club. Maybe all the road games in July are finally catching up to the Tigers, who had prided themselves on winning away from home.

Somehow, though, the Tigers remain in first place by a thread, mainly because other teams keep helping them by beating the Indians, who are in a rut of their own. It's the division that nobody seems to want, right now.

More bad news: lefty Kenny Rogers on the DL with a sore elbow. His first three starts back from a season-long stint on the sidelines were amazingly good. The last three have been simply awful. He gave up four home runs in his last start in Chicago. That's when manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski sensed something was wrong.

Three more road games are on tap this week, at Oakland, before the Tigers FINALLY return home for some extended face play at Comerica Park.

The question, of course, with the non-waiver trade deadline looming, is, Who will be wearing a Tigers uniform on Wednesday that isn't wearing one now?

Next update on WHYGJG is Wednesday. I'll recap the Tigers' moves (and non-moves) and make the appropriate rants for yea or nay.


Some good news on the road trip was the contributions of Toledo call-ups Ryan Rayburn and Mike Hessman, especially in Chicago. They swung hot and heavy bats as the Tigers rested some people and dealt with injuries to Marcus Thames and Gary Sheffield (Sheff's is minor). Hessman is a 1B/3B with immense power, and Rayburn is a spark plug outfielder who sprays line drives. Both should be a big part of the future in Detroit -- unless one of them is traded tomorrow.



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