Monday Morning Manager
This Week: KC (8/23-25); at Tor (8/26-29)
So What Happened?
The Tigers had a "sandwich week."
Their bread was a win over the Yankees on top and a sweep of the Indians on the bottom. In between there were three losses to the Yanks.
Kind of like good rye bread with head cheese inside.
Still, it was a winning week---4-3 when so many of them recently have been lopsidedly losing.
The week also showed the vast difference in competition between the Yankees, who might be World Series-bound again, and the Indians, who are among baseball's dregs.
But the Tigers will take their four wins and run, won't they?
Hero of the Week
MMM likes this Will Rhymes cat.
It's too early---far too early---to determine whether Rhymes can be a serviceable, everyday second baseman. But it's not to early to render an early, snap judgement on the kid.
MMM likes Rhymes' range, his arm, and the fact that he appears to be a throwback to the hard-nosed, pesky middle infielder of days gone by.
Rhymes was recalled last week as a replacement for the perpetually-disabled Carlos Guillen, whose knee took a hard slide from the Yankees' Brett Gardner on Monday night.
Rhymes rapped out four hits in Sunday's win over the Indians, and scored three runs. Since his recall, Rhymes is 8-for-17 with five runs scored. His batting average is up to .310.
Even better is that Rhymes swings lefty, and solid-hitting middle infielders who bat left-handed aren't aplenty.
MMM likes how Rhymes always seems to be in the middle of things---rallies, double plays, you name it.
But his time with the Tigers is still a small sampling.
If the Tigers make a splash in free agency this off-season, and pick up some offensive pieces elsewhere, maybe Rhymes can be the everyday second sacker in 2011 and beyond.
Close runners-up: the Tigers' starters in the Cleveland series, who made the Tribe look helpless most of the weekend.
Goat of the Week
The Tigers' bullpen's luster keeps becoming more of a distant memory.
With the exception of solid and steady Phil Coke, the relief corps has been as guilty as any for the team's freefall after the All-Star break. Leads have been lost and close games have turned into laughers, thanks to the guys in the pen.
It didn't manifest itself against the Indians, but it sure did in New York, and that was just a continuation of a nasty trend that's more than 30 days old.
MMM has been cranky with the bullpen for a few weeks, and this time it lands them as Goats of the Week.
Upcoming: Royals and Blue Jays
Things never seem to go according to plan when the Tigers play the Royals, whether it's in Detroit or in Missouri.
The Royals have a knack for taking series from the Tigers when you least expect it, and when the timing couldn't be worse.
Nothing is really all that crucial now, because the Tigers are out of playoff contention. Still, it would be nice to take 2-of-3 heading into Toronto---especially since the Tigers won't see Comerica Park again until Labor Day.
If the Blue Jays were a boxer, they'd be a slugger with no finesse. Their ballgames are like Marvin Hagler-Tommy Hearns battles.
The Blue Jays like to pound you into submission, slamming home runs at a dizzying pace. If you like four-baggers, the Blue Jays might be the most exciting team in baseball. Earl Weaver, who just turned 80, would love to manage them.
The Tigers don't play on artificial surfaces too much, and they're not really designed for such an environment. Yet they would be best served avoiding a slugfest with the Jays, whose entire lineup, just about, can take you deep.
Perhaps looking ahead to the Jays series, the Tigers reportedly are recalling slugging outfielder Casper Wells from Toledo today.
That's all for MMM this week. See you next Monday!
Labels: Monday Morning Manager