Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning Manager: Week 4

Last Week: 1-5
This Week: KC (4/30-5/2); CWS (5/4-6)

So, What Happened?

Nothing much that was good.

It's been a long and event-filled April, hasn't it?

MMM can't remember so much drama in April that didn't involve the Red Wings.

Unfortunately, the Tigers made news off the field, and when the season is already underway, that's usually not a good thing.

Brandon Inge was released on Thursday, after the Tigers were swept at home by the Mariners in a series that was eerily similar to Seattle's visit last April---which happened to be the last time the Tigers were swept in a series of three games or more.

So Inge was given the ziggy after 20 at-bats, two hits, and some shaky glove work. He apparently is set to sign with the Oakland A's.

The release of Inge was, as MMM alter ego Greg Eno wrote, more of a mercy killing than a transaction.

Then came Friday's wee hours.

Nothing good can be happening if the GM's phone is ringing at 3:30 a.m.

Yet that's what happened to Dave Dombrowski, as he was awoken to the lovely news that LF Delmon Young was under house arrest after a drunken verbal and physical confrontation that may have included some anti-Semitic remarks.


Oh yeah---the Tigers lost five of six games last week, which seemed to go hand-in-hand with the off-field goings on.

Hero of the Week
MMM's rule of thumb is that it's hard to find heroes in weeks that are either strewn with wins or strewn with losses. The former, because there are usually too many to choose from; and the latter, because there are too few.

So the 1-5 week doesn't provide a lot of pickings, but in this case, MMM doesn't need a lot of time selecting the HotW.

MMM is naming Drew Smyly, who stared Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Bombers down and cut through them like a hot knife through butter on Saturday.

It couldn't have come at a better time.

Smyly two-hit the Yankees in six-plus innings, then probably watched in horror as Jose Valverde almost frittered away a five-run lead in the ninth. But Valverde held on and Smyly got his first win. The kid lefty has a miniscule ERA of about one-and-a-quarter after four starts, in none of which has Smyly given up more than one run.

Smyly bailed the Tigers out one day after Justin Verlander labored through a second consecutive rugged start, only to see the bullpen ruin it.

Honorable mention: Austin Jackson, who's getting it back together after a hot start was followed by a brief nosedive. AJ also authored what MMM likes to call the Greatest Catch ALMOST Made, when he nearly robbed Curtis Granderson of a home run on Sunday.

Goat of the Week

You have to ask?

Delmon Young's future with the Tigers is tenuous on the heels of Friday morning's meltdown on the streets of Manhattan.

But, MMM asks: what if the player in question was one of the superstars? Would the local columnists be calling as profusely for that player's head, as they are for Young's in suggesting that he be released?

Things that make you go "Hmmm."

Dishonorable mention goes to that wild and wacky Brayan Villareal, who coughed up Friday night's game with a display of wildness that would have made Rick Ankiel, the pitcher, blush.

Under the Microscope
Not only is Delmon Young UtM, he ought to be suspended by MLB.

First things first, though. Today Young is set to be evaluated by MLB, to determine what, if any, actions should be taken. MMM feels that a suspension is appropriate, even though some reports indicate Young could be cleared to play as soon as tonight.

Regardless, Young's actions were so disturbing that the long-term effects could be, well, long. And unpleasant. MMM can't wait to see what kind of reaction Young gets from the home crowd the next time he steps to the plate at CoPa.

Stay tuned.

Upcoming: Royals, White Sox

The Tigers return back to intra-divisional play this week.

The Royals come calling to start the week, and they're already a mess, in a season where their kids were supposed to take a step forward. Hasn't happened yet---not even close.

The Royals already have suffered an 11-game losing streak, and they only recently picked up their first home win.

The Tigers broomed them two weeks ago in KC.

Then it's the White Sox in town for the weekend.

Rookie manager Robin Ventura has his team playing OK, and their cause is helped by the fact that Adam Dunn, while not tearing up the league, is having a much better season than 2011's debacle. Of course, it would be almost impossible not to.

Jake Peavy is pitching well and the bullpen has been solid.

To say the Tigers need a big week is MMM telling you something you already know.

The Tigers, after a 5-1 start at home, are 6-7 at CoPa overall. They need to re-establish home field, and there's no time like the present.

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



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