Monday Morning Manager
This Week: WAS (6/15-17); ARI (6/18-20)
So what happened?
You gotta love those Pittsburgh Pirates---Helping Teams Get Well Since 1993.
The Tigers were weezing and gasping, having lost 12 of 18 after dropping two of three to the White Sox in Chicago.
Enter the Pirates.
The Pirates, who haven't had a winning season since the ORIGINAL George Bush administration, came to town and all was good again in Bengal Land.
The Pirates are a team that you don't wait on to show up; you dispatch limousines and a motorcade to Metro Airport. You drive them to their hotel and make sure they get checked in and have everything they need.
Then you make sure they make it to the ballpark unscathed.
The Pirates came to Detroit on a five-game losing streak. They're always on a five-game losing streak, at least. They're the Washington Generals to the rest of baseball's Harlem Globetrotters. Any team that doesn't take a series from the Pirates ought to wear Dunce caps instead of their regular lids.
The Tigers didn't make it easy---they hardly ever do---but they swept the Bucaroos to suddenly be 6-4 in that wonderful "Last 10" column in the standings.
God Bless the Pittsburgh Pirates!
Hero of the Week
Tigers starters not named Rick Porcello. And Miguel Cabrera (yawn) again.
The Tigers are getting strong starts from everyone except Porcello, who will be skipped in his next start in an attempt to rediscover his sinker.
Justin Verlander is, well, Justin Verlander. Jeremy Bonderman is looking more and more like the Bondo of 2006-07. Max Scherzer's demotion to Toledo has apparently done wonders for him. Armando Galarraga is pounding the strike zone and has an ERA of under 3.00 since being recalled.
That leaves Porcello as the rotation's sore thumb.
As for Cabrera, he's simply on another plane of clutchness. He's making Kirk Gibson look like a choke artist.
Another three-run jack in "nut-cutting time" yesterday, turning a 1-2 deficit into a 4-2 lead in the 8th inning. Another ho-hum, 400+ foot drive to the opposite field, with one flick of his wrists.
Cabrera isn't a baseball player, he's a force of nature. And a freak of it, too.
Goat of the Week
Ryan Raburn is, I'm sure, a nice guy and everything. But he doesn't belong in the big leagues---not even with the Pirates. Maybe the Orioles, but that's about it.
Though I'm not sure who's the bigger goat: Raburn, or manager Jim Leyland, for writing Raburn's name beside the number "3" in the batting order.
Raburn has regressed as a ballplayer.
To paraphrase legendary Tampa Bay Bucs coach John McKay, Raburn can't hit---but he makes up for it by not fielding.
Raburn was at it again last week, either ending innings or functioning as a wet blanket on the Tigers' developing fires. Thank goodness for the guy hitting behind him---Miguel What's-his-face.
I'm not sure what Raburn's value to the team is right now.
And I'm not sure where Leyland's head is at, penciling Raburn in the number three hole in Magglio Ordonez's absence.
Upcoming: Nationals, D-Backs
It's Homecoming Week at Comerica Park.
First, Pudge Rodriguez returns to Detroit, as a member of the Washington Nationals.
Pudge came off the DL literally hours before catching Stephen Strasburg in the kid's MLB debut last Tuesday night.
Rodriguez proclaimed Strasburg amazing. And he should know.
Later this week, Dontrelle Willis and Edwin Jackson return, and both will start this weekend.
Dontrelle won't get to bat, though---and that's almost the best part of his game.
Jackson has struggled in Arizona, continuing a trend that began after last year's All-Star break.
The Tigers will miss Strasburg's next start by a day. Tough luck---for the fans. I'm sure the hitters aren't crying about that too much.
Speaking of the Nats, they're flirting with .500---and respectability. Having Strasburg start every five games certainly won't hurt that continuing effort.
More Homecoming stuff with the D-Backs: they're managed by former Tigers catcher A.J. Hinch, and don't forget Gibson, who's the bench coach.
That's all for this week's MMM. See you next Monday!
Labels: Monday Morning Manager