Monday Morning Manager
This Week: at Min (5/3-5); at Cle (5/7-9)
So what happened?
Lots of good stuff.
In no particular order, the Tigers got a strong-as-garlic outing from Justin Verlander; a solid start from Dontrelle Willis; a continued hitting orgy from rookie Austin Jackson; Johnny Damon's first Tigers home run (a walk-off one to boot); a history-making night from their rookies; more clutch RBIs from Miguel Cabrera; a series win over the Twins; a sweep of the Angels; and Jim Leyland saying he'll obey the new state smoking ban.
Did I leave anything out?
Probably---that's how grand of a week it was for the Bengals.
This week they'll make history, too----they'll get a freaking day off!!
The Tigers will be off Thursday, which is their first non-playing day since April 15, and will be their last until May 24. That's TWO days off in 40 days! Whatever scheduling rules the MLBPA has in place, the Tigers surely must be pushing those to the max.
But last week was terrific---6-1 and they shaved three games off the Twins' lead in the division, which peaked at 3-1/2 games last Tuesday. The Tigers are now a measly half-game behind the Twinkies.
Hero of the Week
Oh yeah---make me pick just one!
I'm giving the nod to Verlander, who had his first Verlander-type start on Sunday, retiring 23 straight Angels at one point in going 8-1/3 innings, walking none.
JV is the Hero of the Week because the Tigers have been waiting for him to be the ace for almost a month. His gem gave the Tigers a sweep of a good Angels team, and it is likely the start of a string of strong outings.
Plus, I love his game day demeanor: nasty, cranky and all business---kind of Bob Gibson and Jack Morris-like.
The Honorable Mentions are too numerous to mention.
Oh hell, I'll mention one: the Tigers rookies, as a whole.
What they did to the Angels Friday night was pretty much unprecedented.
Jackson went 5-for-5. Brennan Boesch hit his first big league homer (a grand salami). So did Scotty Sizemore---in the same inning.
It's enough to make a grown Tigers fan weep with joy of what might be.
Goat of the Week
I'm sorry, but I just can't abide Ryan Raburn's defense, which is offensive.
It's shocking that he's not more developed in the outfield than what he's showing every time he goes out there.
He doesn't get good jumps, he takes bad routes, and he sometimes just has trouble catching the ball, period---like what happened last week, costing the Tigers a run.
I know he's a part-timer, but his silliness with the glove is getting old.
Dishonorable mention: The Tigers' defense as a whole, which is the Bad News Bears of the American League.
Upcoming: Twins and Indians
The Tigers might miss Twins C Joe Mauer, who is nursing a bruised heel. What a shame.
This will be the Tigers' first look at Target Field.
Considering their horrors in the Metrodome, I think the Tigers would be happy to play the Twins on a rocky sandlot diamond at this point.
The Twins made like they were going to run away and hide from the Central Division pack last week, but the Tigers beat them 2-of-3, and the Indians bumped them off once over the weekend while the Tigers were sweeping the Halos. Net gain for the Tigers: three games, to pull within half-a-game back.
The Indians are a slapstick bunch right now, and may stay that way all season.
It's shaping up to be a three-team race (don't be fooled by the White Sox' slow start), and the Indians won't be one of those three.
This is a team in transition (read: rebuilding) with suspect pitching and pedestrian hitting.
But it's never comfy cozy in their ballpark, so we'll see.
That's all for this week's MMM. See you next Monday!
Labels: Monday Morning Manager