Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Morning Manager 2011, Edition 9

Last week: 3-3
This week: MIN (5/30-6/1); at CWS (6/3-5)

So, What Happened?

MMM looks at last week's record, sees 3-3, and shakes his head, because it didn't "feel" like a .500 week. It felt much, much worse.

Let's start with losing three straight to the Red Sox over the weekend, which only accentuated why MMM doesn't believe our Motor City Kitties are ready for prime time.

Then there was the strange Scott Sizemore trade, and the demotion of Ryan Perry and the handing of the 2B job to Ryan Freaking Raburn.

All that, and yet the Tigers played .500 for the week. Go figure.

The week began with a pair of victories over hot Tampa Bay, if you can remember that far back, because everything described above happened after the Rays left town.

The Tigers also lost an opportunity to gain ground on the Indians, who have lost four of five.

Hero of the Week

MMM is tempted to give the honor to young lefty Andy Oliver, who pitched well in his 2011 debut on Sunday.

But it's tough to go against Justin Verlander after what he did on Sunday night in the DH nightcap.

The Tigers were semi-reeling, looking like they were about to go off on another of those long losing streaks (it was at three and looking ominous) and be swept in four games at home to Boston, when Verlander came to the rescue.

JV shut the Bosox down, throwing a career-high 132 pitches and allowing zero, zip, nada runs.

He did what he had to do, when he had to do it---especially given the Tigers' popgun offense.

Anyone else want to argue that Max Scherzer, not JV, is the Tigers' ace?

Goat of the Week

MMM can't understand, nor stomach, manager Jim Leyland's stubbornness.

Why he continues to bat the consistent Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila in the lower third of a batting order that is on life support is beyond MMM's comprehension.

MMM says top load the order with Austin Jackson, Peralta, Avila, Miggy Cabrera and Victor Martinez and see what happens.

Then Leyland declared that Raburn was his everyday second baseman on Friday night, and said the season for RR "starts tomorrow."

Well, on Opening Day, Raburn did his usual strikeout boogie, and ended Sunday's first game by being emasculated by Jonathan Papelbon on three pitches.

MMM is making Leyland the goat for his refusal to shake up a batting order that badly needs it.

MMM is tired of seeing the likes of Don Kelly and Andy Dirks (no offense, kid) in the two and three holes.

Under the Microscope

This week it's not a player, per se, who's UtM, but an entire position.

While you could make a case that that position ought to be 2B, MMM is putting 3B UtM.

This is because suddenly there's a pseudo platoon going on at the hot corner, with Brandon Inge and Kelly taking turns, against lefties and righties, respectively.

Inge told the media the other day, "I think (sitting out the last two games) was a way to get me fired up and to bear down."

After which Inge promptly went out and put on another couple of feeble offensive displays.

Neither Inge nor Kelly can hit. Kelly's RBI single late in Sunday's nightcap was just his THIRD ribbie of the season---and Don's been on the roster since Opening Day!!

Eyes should be trained on 2B, too, because there may be a trade a-comin'.

But for now, let's focus our attention on 3B and see what plays out there. Why? Because MMM is a masochist!

Upcoming: Twins and White Sox

The 17-34 Twins invade CoPa for three games. The Tigers must make sure the Twinkies leave town at least 18-36.

That's all MMM is going to say about that series. Nothing more needs to be said.

As for the White Sox, they've been showing some life lately, though they're still "scuffling," as Rod Allen would say.

The Tigers, for whatever reason, have owned the Chisox in a winning streak over the South Siders that goes back to last season. MMM has lost track of how many games in a row the Tigers have won between the two teams, but it's a lot.

Will the streak continue through the upcoming weekend?

You'll never get MMM to put a bet down where the Tigers are concerned. They're more unpredictable than a woman choosing a pair of shoes.

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



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