Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Morning Manager

My weekly take on the Tigers.

Week of 4/13-19: 3-2
This week: 4/21-23: at LAA; 4/24-26: at KC

Goat of the Week

Not much of a "goat week" for the Tigers. But we have to give it out to someone, so my choice is starter Zach Miner, who didn't give the Tigers a chance to win in his start last Monday against the White Sox.

Miner was skipped in his next start, but that was mainly due to off days. The Tigers won't need a fifth starter until next week.

Justin Verlander's line didn't look good on Friday, but he pitched pretty well, save for the fifth inning.

So last week's goat is Miner, though I suspect that's an aberration. Zach should do OK as the No. 4 or 5 starter.

Hero of the Week

I like Edwin Jackson here. The Tigers got smacked around on Friday, and their decent start was being threatened. A loss Saturday to the Mariners, and you might have been getting squirmy.

But Jackson, pitching through flu-like symptoms, was masterful, pitching into the eighth inning and shutting the Mariners out. He had terrific movement and location. You never would have known he was as sick as he felt.

The only thing sick about EJ, that I could tell, was his stuff.

Close runner-up: rookie starter Rick Porcello, who was also brilliant in getting his first big league win on Sunday. But the nod goes to Jackson because of the physical discomfort he overcame.

Honorable mention: I've always liked Ramon Santiago. His glove is sweet, and the dude can hit a little bit, too. He's got underrated power and can hit the gaps. He cleared the bases yesterday--a bases-loaded double that put the M's away for good.

Quick scouting reports: Angels and Royals

The Angels, despite the Mariners' fast start, are the class of the West. Even with the loss of closer Francisco Rodriguez. Mike Scioscia's team keeps the pressure on you with aggressive base running, the hit and run, and base stealing.

So why are the Angels piddling along at 4-8?

A very pedestrian .250 team BA, for one. One home run and three RBI from Vlad Guerrero, for two. A mediocre 4.67 team ERA, for three.

But it's early. The Angels are the best team in the West, and the Tigers should know that at any moment, they might start playing like it.

The Royals won't be the pushovers that they've been because they have pitching. Plain and simple. Zack Greinke has been lights out; he hasn't allowed a run in 20 innings this year. The Tigers will face him this weekend, I'm pretty sure. Gil Meche (2.25 ERA) and Kyle Davies (2.89) form a heck of a trio, along with Greinke.

The Royals are still offensively-challenged, but with a team ERA of 3.14, they've managed a 7-5 record.

Under the microscope

Marcus Thames hasn't smacked a homer yet, which is odd for him. Magglio Ordonez isn't dazzling us yet (no homers, four RBI). Curtis Granderson is hitting in the low-.200s.

What's nice to write about here is what's not under the microscope--namely, the bullpen.

After an Opening Day hiccup in Toronto, the pen has been just fine, thank you.

Ryan Perry needs to be more familiar with the strike zone and all its benefits, though.

Maggs and Grandy, I'm sure, will be fine. Thames might go off on a home run hitting binge, for all we know.

But so far, not so good.

And that's why they're under the scope at MMM (Monday Morning Manager, for all you un-cool people!)



Blogger Andrew Godfrey said...

It is strange that Granderson has four times as many homers as Ordonez.

I saw John Grubb play minor league baseball in Alexandria,Louisiana in the 70's. 12 players off one year's roster made the majors. Awesome record for any AA team to have. Randy Jones went on to win the NL Cy Young Award.

10:53 PM  

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