Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Morning Manager is Back!!

Another baseball season, another 26 weeks or so of the critically-acclaimed (work with me here) "Monday Morning Manager," my weekly take on the Tigers.

Like last year, the format will be: 1. So, what happened (a brief look back on the games played the previous week); 2. Hero of the Week (self-explanatory); 3. Goat of the Week (even more self-explanatory); 4. A Look Ahead (brief previews of the Tigers' upcoming opponents


Last week: 1-2
This week: at Bal (4/4, 4/6-7); KC (4/8-10)

So, What Happened?

You want to believe that the Tigers can hang with teams like the Yankees, who figure to be in the playoff mix again this year, but if the opening weekend was any indication, this might be a tall order.

But first, let's talk about Yankee Stadium, which is to ballparks what Verne Troyer is to people. The Yankees play in a mini-me ballpark. They don't have to be the Bronx Bombers---just the Bronx Bums---in order to hit one out of that bandbox.

The Yankees hit nine home runs in the three games, and about a third of them would have been caught in most other major league stadiums.

Still, the Tigers once again struggled a bit with runners in scoring position, though they did drive in two runners from third base with less than two outs in the opener. Austin Jackson still strikes out, Brennan Boesch still swings at anything within 10 feet of the plate (but it worked for him on Sunday) and Miguel Cabrera is still a beast.

Hero of the Week

I have to go with Boesch, who kept the Yankees at bay Sunday by going 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI. Cabrera hit two taters early, but Boesch was good all game long in helping to give the Tigers a much-needed win.

You think three games is nothing in a 162-game schedule? Then close your eyes and imagine the 0-3 Tigers starting a series in Baltimore today against the 3-0 Orioles. Not a pleasant image, is it?

Boesch is a free-swinger, but pity the pitcher who makes a mistake against this kid. His home run swing was majestic and very pre-All-Star Game Boesch-like. Yes, that's a lot of hyphens but I don't know of any other way to say it.

Goat of the Week

Like Mike Rosenberg said in the Free Press, starting pitcher Brad Penny didn't come close to doing what starters are charged with doing: giving their team a chance to win. Penny gave up eight runs and the Tigers never really had a chance in their nationally-televised game on Saturday.

That said, I thought Rosenberg made a little much of one game; Penny had a bad outing, but look who he was facing, and look where the game was played.

The Tigers had a bit of a rough weekend in the Bronx, but if I had to pick on one guy, I'm picking on Penny. The game was on national TV, the Tigers had a chance to get the bad taste of Opening Day out of their mouth, and A.J. Burnett, the Yankees starter, had an ERA of over 5.00 in 2010. But the Tigers never had a chance, thanks to Penny's fat pitches.

Upcoming: Orioles and Royals

The Orioles were one of the best teams in baseball last summer after making Buck Showalter their manager, and they are 3-0 after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend---in Tampa.

Too bad they play in a division that's dominated by the Yankees and Red Sox.

But the Orioles will be celebrating their home opener today and this isn't an easy team to play anymore.

The Royals are 3-1 after taking care of business at home against the Angels. And they KCers always play the Tigers tough, a tradition that's been going on since they ruined the Tigers' party on the last weekend of the 2006 season.

An interesting week ahead against two teams normally used as doormats for the rest of the American League.

Enjoy the home opener on Friday!

That's all for this week's MMM. See you next week!



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