Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Morning Manager

(my weekly take on the Tigers)

Last Week: 0-6
This Week: 4/8-10: at Bos; 4/11-13: at CWS

There's no telling how much dough you could have made if you'd uttered these words a week ago Sunday:

"I think the Tigers will go out and lose all six games of this opening homestand. Yep, I think they'll go 0-6. Not one win in there to be had."

You could have cleaned up.

But that's exactly what happened, and that's baseball. Six-game losing streaks happen. They're filled with good-pitch, no-hit -- and vice-versa. The other guys don't let you get away with anything; every mistake comes back and bites you between the back pockets.

So it was again last night, before the whole world to see, thanks to ESPN's unforgiving cameras. In the sixth inning, the Tigers trailing only 3-1, and with one out and nobody on base, Paul Konerko hit a shot to 3B Miguel Cabrera, who fielded it cleanly. He threw it cleanly. Only, 1B Carlos Guillen didn't catch it cleanly. Actually, he didn't catch it at all. E-3.

Now, something like this, while a horrible play on Guillen's part, doesn't always boomerang back at you. But these are the '08 Tigers, Week 1, and as I said, they can't get away with anything. The White Sox jumped all over Guillen's error, and before you knew it, they'd scored six runs, five of them unearned.

Now it's on to Boston, of all places. And the Red Sox, swept this weekend, are likely to be in a sour mood.

It may have once seemed unthinkable, but the Tigers could duplicate the horror of 2003 and begin this season 0-9.

The 0-6 start, all at home, has spawned the cliche of, "Well, it might be good for them to get on the road." Just as it would have been "good for them to get home" if the 0-6 getaway had occurred on the road. Anything to make the Detroit baseball denizens feel better, I suppose.

It's just been a complete meltdown, and there's little I can inject that you haven't already read, heard, or silently thought as a stream of expletives shot through your cranium. The Tigers may not have another six-game stretch this year as bad as the one they are now currently experiencing. Really. But it's magnified when it's right out of the chute -- especially with the expectations being what they are. But you know how everyone else in baseball must feel, because it would be what we'd feel if the Yankees or Red Sox had started 0-6. In fact, we DID feel that way last summer, when the Yanks struggled mightily for the first 60 games or so. Then they caught fire and charged into the playoffs.

So there's still time to salvage the season, I'd say. Even if the Royals' magic number over the Tigers is now down to 153.



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