Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Morning Manager 2011, Edition 8

Last week: 1-5
This week: TB (5/23-25); BOS (5/26-29)

So, What Happened?

MMM is getting dizzy riding this roller coaster our Bengals are putting us on.

The Motor City Kitties went 1-5 following a 5-0 week, which was part of a 10-1 stretch.

They manage to beat the high-profile teams and struggle against mediocrity.

Last week featured two games in Boston played in London fog that were about as miserable and frustrating as any you'll see---if you're a Tigers fan.

The Tigers put base runner after base runner on the paths, yet had the maddening inability to drive said runners home. The result was two one-run losses against the surging Red Sox.

At one point last week, MMM saw a graphic that said the Tigers were in a 2-for-31 funk with RISP. They should just take the "S" out of that acronym, for a performance like that!

Oh, and the Indians keep winning, which didn't help MMM's mindset.

Hero of the Week

Seems like MMM is presented with a quandary every week, in this up-and-down season.

Either there are too many heroes to pick just one, or there are too many goats to pick just one.

This week it's the latter, which means it's not easy finding a hero.

But MMM is going with Jhonny Peralta, the smiling shortstop.

Peralta has a little bit of clutch in him, and he's driving the baseball with power. Plus, he's playing a competent, if not spectacular shortstop.

Peralta slammed another jack in Pittsburgh on Sunday, and with the way Rick Porcello pitched (a close second in HotW, btw), the homer gave the Tigers an insurmountable 2-0 lead.

One could make a good case for Ricky as HotW, but MMM is sticking with Peralta as a reward for his consistency of late.

Goat of the Week

Ahh, quite a menu.

Could it be the Tigers hitters, who were allergic to a clutch RBI?

Could it be the bullpen, aka Gasoline Alley?

Could it be Mr. Popup/DP/K Brandon Inge?

No, it's none other than Ryan Raburn, who is making MMM think the young man doesn't belong on a big league roster. At least, MMM would prefer it if RR wasn't on the Tigers' payroll.

Raburn is having a horrific May, but what has MMM up in arms is that we seem to see little to no improvement in his hitting approach. His strikeout ratio makes Austin Jackson look like Felix Millan (look it up).

Raburn is a butcher in the field, so it's not like you can live with his atrocious bat, a la Inge.

Here's an honorable mention to batting coach Lloyd McClendon, while we're at it. MMM couldn't help but notice the strides Curtis Granderson has made against lefties under Yankees batting coach Kevin Long. The Tigers have been a poor RISP-hitting team ever since Lloyd has been here, pretty much.

Under the Microscope

See above.

There have been whispers lately, which are growing into murmurs. Soon to follow might be rumblings and then outrage.

Why? Because of McClendon.

What's a struggling team and a frustrated fanbase without a scapegoat?

McClendon is looking mighty bad in the wake of Grandy's mega-improvement under Yankees batting coach Kevin Long, which has lit up the switchboard at sports talk radio with folks beginning to look at McClendon sideways.

You know what? MMM thinks those are valid concerns.

The Tigers have never, really, been a good team with RISP. They're even worse with a runner on third base with less than two outs. MMM hasn't seen any significant improvement under Mr. McClendon. The natives are getting restless, as they see a division there for the taking, the Indians notwithstanding.

Which is why Lloyd McClendon is UtM.

Upcoming: Rays and Red Sox

Here we go again. The Tigers slumping, about to entertain a powerhouse team.

First the Texas Rangers, then the New York Yankees breezed into town and both times the Tigers were scuffling. Both times, the Tigers lost the opening game of the series. And both times, the Tigers won the remaining games of the series.

Now here come the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, followed by the hot Red Sox. Same scenario: Tigers struggling, good teams invade Comerica Park.

In this season of ups and downs, don't be surprised if the Tigers get hot, inexplicably, this week.

MMM wants to call the Tigers the Six Flags Amusement Park of baseball: more roller coasters than you can shake a stick at!

BTW, the Rays series marks the return of one-year Tigers wonder Johnny Damon, who's having a good year down in Florida.

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



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