Monday Morning Manager
This Week: TB (8/9-11); at CWS (8/13-15)
So What Happened?
The Tigers' freefall down the chute of the AL Central continued in earnest last week.
Last Monday, MMM said that if the Tigers were still in this race, there was no time like the present to make their case for such consideration.
Four games against the first-place Chicago White Sox, at home, provided the Tigers with a sort of mulligan, to partially retrieve some of their first half bluster.
But the Tigers took that mulligan and sliced it into the woods.
They lost three of four to the Chisox, then two of three to the previously-struggling LA Angels.
Good night, nurse.
The Tigers are now the spoilers in what should be a whale of a race between the White Sox and Minnesota Twins. The only drama around these parts is whether the Tigers can finish at or above .500.
At the All-Star Break, the Tigers were second place, a half-game out of first. They were some 15 games in front of the fourth-place Cleveland Indians.
This morning, they are nine games back, in third place, and just seven games ahead of Cleveland, to whom they've lost eight games of their lead in about three weeks.
Hero of the Week
Or, as it's been known lately---He Who's Screwed Up the Least.
But in keeping with the spirit of this designation, here's one for you: 3B Brandon Inge.
Inge returned last week, about two weeks after suffering a broken bone in his hand after being hit by a pitch. This was an injury that was supposed to knock him out for 4-6 weeks.
Typical Inge, who tends to heal quicker than most players.
Not only did he return, he had some hits and didn't look all that rusty. It was a feel-good story for a team and its fan base that desperately needed one.
Goat of the Week
GM Dave Dombrowski.
Watching the Tigers anymore these days is a painful exercise. Runs are scarce, success with RISP is even scarcer. One by one they traipse to the plate---minor leaguers who weren't supposed to be Tigers this season, if ever (*cough* Jeff Frazier *cough*). And one by one they head back to the dugout, having struck out or popped up.
It's hard not to think of Dombrowski when you watch the Detroit Mud Hens on the field.
How could Dombrowski have so badly mismanaged things that a couple of injuries could blow such a gaping hole into the Tigers' roster depth?
This has been a storm brewing for a while, but MMM indicts Dombrowski this week because the Tigers have not only dropped out of the divisional race, they aren't even competitive, and may be headed for 90 losses---something that was unthinkable three weeks ago.
All because they were stunningly thin in terms of big league depth on their 40-man roster.
Just because a guy gets hurt doesn't mean he should be automatically replaced with a AAAA player. That's not the case with other big league teams.
Upcoming: Rays and White Sox
The Tampa Rays are scuffling. The last time they were in good shape was when they four-game swept the Tigers two weeks ago.
Think they'll get well in Detroit this week?
The Rays have lost five in a row and are struggling to tread water in the AL East; they're 2-1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees.
Yesterday, the Rays came within one out of being no-hit yet again, which would have been the third no-no they've suffered in 2010. No big league team has been no-hit three times in one season.
The 1973 Tigers were no-hit twice---by Nolan Ryan and Steve Busby. They were the last team to suffer that fate until the 2010 Rays.
The Tigers then travel to Chicago for the weekend, to attempt to gum up the Central race as best they can.
Seems like every time you break down the Tigers against a Central opponent, the Detroiters come up short. There doesn't appear to be a team the Tigers match up well against; even the Indians beat them up, with a four-game sweep after the All-Star break.
The White Sox have given the Tigers fits for years, a la the Twins.
Some good news: the Tigers get 2B Carlos Guillen back from the disabled list. Will Rhymes was sent back to Toledo to make room.
That's all for MMM this week. See you next Monday!
Labels: Monday Morning Manager