Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Morning Manager Is Back -- New And Improved!!

Week of 4/6-12: 4-3
This week: 4/13-15: CWS; 4/17-19: at Sea

Monday Morning Manager is back! Yes, my weekly take on the Tigers, appearing here every Monday, returns now that the regular season has kicked off.

But instead of freehand prose, I'm going to segment it -- to make it easier for me, frankly. And, I hope, to be more interesting to you, as well.


Goat of the Week

Relief pitcher Brandon Lyon, and I hope he doesn't appear in this space very often -- nor anyone in the Tigers' pen. That wouldn't be a good sign.

But Lyon earned Goat status, big time, for taking Edwin Jackson's gem last Tuesday in Toronto and defecating all over it. But he earned some trust back after pitching two perfect innings on Sunday.

Dishonorable mention goes to manager Jim Leyland, for getting bullpen happy to begin with, when Jackson seemed to have things under control.

Texas manager Ron Washington pulled the same stunt Sunday, when he obliged the Tigers by removing starter Kevin Millwood, who was cruising along.

Why managers don't make the other team knock their starters out of the game, instead of meekly removing them, thus taking the other team's hitters off the hook, is a mystery to me.

Hero of the Week

You'd think it would be 1B Miguel Cabrera, who blistered the ball out of the gate and who grand slammed the team to victory in the home opener.

But the choice here is 3B Brandon Inge, who was brilliant with the glove, as usual, but also clutch at the plate -- not so usual. Inge bookended the six-run rally in the eighth inning Sunday, starting it off with a home run then capping it with a two-run single that put the Tigers ahead.

Inge already has four homers this season, including one in each of the team's first three games.

Anyone can pick Cabrera as Hero. He'll get plenty of shout outs.

This week was Inge's.

Quick scouting reports: White Sox and Mariners

The White Sox are a team in transition, trying to get younger without falling out of contention in the hotly contested Central Division. They're trying some kids in the infield and are hoping to squeeze some more production out of aging vets like Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski, and Jim Thome.

The pitching in Chicago is still good, though -- and they have closer Bobby Jenks.

The Mariners are beyond transition; they're in full rebuilding mode.

But flying in the face of the rebuild is the return of Junior -- Ken Griffey Jr.

The M's brought Griffey back to provide some veteran presence and, let's face it, a boost to the box office. Griffey is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and his return to Seattle is a boon to the fans in the Pacific Northwest.

But they'd better enjoy Griffey, because the rest of the team isn't much.

Under the microscope

Lyon. With the rest of the bullpen on a roll -- 24 straight batters retired -- Lyon will stick out like a sore thumb if he doesn't start getting guys out (again, Sunday helped). His struggles extend back to the second half of last season, and reared their heads in the second half of spring training last month.

Remember him surrendering four straight homers against the Red Sox?

Lyon is as advertised: a late-innings reliever who "pitches to contact", i.e. he doesn't strike guys out. Another Todd Jones type.

And that's fine, except the contact has been pretty solid for too long now.



Post a Comment

<< Home