Monday, August 01, 2011

Monday Morning Manager 2011, Edition 18

Last week: 3-4
This week: TEX (8/2-4); at KC (8/5-7)

So, What Happened?

There was a week's worth of drama on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.

In a so-so week that saw the Tigers drop two of three to the White Sox in Chicago and split four games with the Angels in Detroit, the capper was an intense, nail-biting, angry pitching duel between the Angels' Jered Weaver and Detroit's Justin Verlander.

JV took yet another no-hit bid into the eighth inning before losing it with two outs on a clean base hit by Maicer Izturis.

But before that there were fireworks when Weaver got riled up after a homer by Carlos Guillen in the seventh inning and got ejected after throwing the next pitch at Alex Avila's noggin.

The Tigers won the game, 3-2, giving Verlander his 15th win by the end of July, putting him on pace for about 23 wins.

On Saturday, the Tigers acquired RHPs Doug Fister (starter) and David Pauley (reliever) from Seattle for Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush and minor league 3B prospect Francisco Martinez.

Hero of the Week

How can MMM go with anyone other than Verlander?

The guy wins two games in the week, both containing drama-filled eighth innings.

In Chicago on Tuesday, JV survived giving up four runs and held onto a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning by striking out Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn to end the frame with runners on second and third. It was great theater.

On Sunday, Verlander lost his shutout and his no-hitter in the eighth inning and suddenly a 3-0 lead was down to 3-2 when he blew Torii Hunter away with the tying run in scoring position.

Again, great theater.

Honorable mention: Brennan Boesch, who had a big series against the Angels and who countered Izturis's first inning home run with one of his own on Friday night, a game the Tigers eventually won.

Goat of the Week

You want a Penny for MMM's thoughts?

Yes, Brad Penny is last week's Goat for not giving the Tigers a chance to win on Thursday afternoon, thus robbing his teammates of a chance to get off to a good start in the Angels series.

The right-hander was simply awful on Thursday, giving up nine hits and seven earned runs in 3.1 innings. The brief outing elevated Penny's ERA to 4.89.

Wednesday would be Penny's turn in the rotation, but reports indicate that newly-acquired Fister will take that spot, shoving Penny back to Friday, technically making the veteran the Tigers' new no. 5 starter---not Fister.

Under the Microscope

Nothing like welcoming a new guy to Detroit by placing him under MMM's microscope, eh?

Yet that's exactly where Fister finds himself this morning.

It's hard for MMM to resist, as the 6'8" Fister makes his Tigers debut on Wednesday. But Fister won't be UtM this week only---this is a player the fan base will be watching intently for the remainder of the season.

Shockingly, the Tigers have only gotten two wins from their no. 5 starters this season. Enter Fister with his 3.33 ERA and hideous 3-12 record with the offensively-challenged M's.

The last time the Tigers tried this---nabbing a starter from the Mariners at the trade deadline, in 2009---Jarrod Washburn came to Detroit and was an abortion, posting an ERA over 7.00. But Washburn was hurt, as it turned out. Fister is healthy and a repeat of the Washburn debacle is unlikely.

Fister is UtM because how he goes might significantly affect the Tigers' chances to win the division.

Welcome to Detroit, Doug!

Pauley will be watched, too, to see if he can help stabilize a bullpen that has all the consistency of an EKG readout.

Upcoming: Rangers, Royals

If you thought the Angels were hot coming into town (and they were), it doesn't get any easier this week at Comerica Park.

The Texas Rangers come calling on Tuesday for three games, and all they've done is zoom to a relatively comfortable lead in the AL West over the past several weeks, despite the Angels' hot streak.

Back in April, with the Tigers scuffling, the Rangers visited and the Tigers won two of three, with both wins coming in walk-off fashion. That series was also memorable for Brandon Inge's only home run this season, which won game two of that series.

The Tigers are 4-2 against the Rangers this season, taking two of three in Dallas, too.

If it seems like the Tigers were just in Kansas City, they were---for four games just before the All-Star break. They'll be there again this weekend, for three games.

The Royals helped the Tigers out by taking two of three from the Indians over the weekend in Cleveland.

Saturday's game marks Verlander's next start.

KC's Billy Butler went wild against the Indians and he has had pretty good success against the Tigers in recent years.

The Royals series marks the start of a nine-game road trip for the Tigers (Indians, Orioles).

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



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