Monday Morning Manager
This Week: ASB (7/12-14); at Cle (7/16-18)
So what happened?
The Tigers took advantage of two things: another last place club coming to town, and a reeling Minnesota Twins team.
The Tigers finished a staggering stretch of home games in which all they played were last place teams from both leagues. No less than six straight bottom feeders visited Comerica Park (in between some road games) in successive series. The Tigers dutifully went 15-3 in those 18 games.
The latest last place victims were the Baltimore Orioles, who came in for their expected three-game sweep.
Then the Tigers roughed up the Twins over the weekend, taking two of three and stretching their (now) second place lead to three games over the Twinkies.
Meanwhile, the Tigers fell into second place by a half-game to the blazing hot White Sox.
Hero of the Week
Change the last word in the above title to "Year" and just leave Miguel Cabrera's name attached to it.
Miggy was huge last week. He's huge every week. The rest of the league is made up of Lilliputians compared to him.
Cabrera tied up the Orioles last Tuesday with a two-run jack in the ninth---a game the Tigers won in extras thanks to a Johnny Damon walk-off homer.
He got the ball rolling, so to speak, on Saturday afternoon on national TV against the Twins with a two-run homer.
He has 22 HR, 77 RBI at the All-Star Break. He's hitting .346.
Half of the players in MLB would like to be like him when they grow up.
A 5-1 week usually brings many heroes. But MMM goes with Cabrera because he was in the middle of most of the destruction last week.
Goat of the Week
Maybe Andy Oliver isn't ready for the big leagues after all.
Oliver, the lefty starter summoned from Toledo a couple weeks ago, hasn't really come close to matching his first big league start, when he pitched well in Atlanta on June 25.
Overall, he's 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA.
His latest rough outing came Sunday against the Twins, who tagged him for five hits, four walks, and four earned runs in 4.2 innings.
Manager Jim Leyland says Oliver is still on track to pitch next Sunday in Cleveland.
But beyond that, who knows. He's one rookie who hasn't knocked our socks off, like so many of them have this season.
MMM thinks Oliver is a talented pitcher, nonetheless; he just might need more seasoning.
The Tigers hit the All-Star Break one-half game behind the scorching White Sox, who are riding the crest of a 25-5 wave since June 9.
But the two teams are tied in the all-important loss column, with 38.
After the break, the Tigers get a chance to extend that break, because they play the Indians.
Only half-kidding here.
The Indians are a bad baseball team, made badder due to injuries to key personnel. This roster is little more than a glorified AAA group.
Just three years ago the Tribe was the class of the Central and one win away from going to the World Series. Today, they resemble those ghastly Indians teams of the 1970s and '80s.
The Tigers have made such teams pay, big time, when they've visited Detroit. On the road, the Tigers are far less intimidating.
That has to end this upcoming weekend in Cleveland. Teams generally don't win divisions by playing .390 on the road, as the Tigers are this season.
That's it for this week's MMM. Happy All-Star Break and see you next Monday!
Labels: Monday Morning Manager