Monday Morning Manager: My Weekly Take on the Detroit Tigers
Last Week: 5-2
This Week: CWS (5/17-18); at Oak (5/19-20); at LAD (5/21-23)
So what happened?
A slap in the face of the East Coast bias when it comes to its death grip on big league baseball.
First was a nifty 3-1 series win over the Yankees, which featured not one but TWO shutouts of the Yanks’ mighty bats.
Then the Tigers came back and took the last two games from the Red Sox after dropping Friday night’s opener.
Take that, ESPN! And Ken Burns!
The Tigers showed that teams sometimes can play a good brand of baseball outside of the Bronx and Beantown, contrary to urban myth.
The good week leaves the Tigers 14-5 at Comerica Park, which is suddenly a House of Horrors for visiting clubs.
Hero of the Week
First, an apology.
A few weeks ago, on “The Knee Jerks” podcast I co-host with Big Al Beaton, I mocked manager Jim Leyland and took him to task for simply inserting rookie OF Brennan Boesch in the No. 5 hole left vacated by injured Carlos Guillen.
Why is he (Leyland) putting a rookie behind MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera, I fussed.
I fuss no more.
Boesch is MMM’s Hero because whenever he hits the baseball, the cover threatens to tear away from the core.
Boesch is driving in runs in Cabrera-like fashion, and his left-handed stick is giving the Tigers as good a 1-thru-5 batting order as any team in baseball.
Boesch is hitting .380 with 19 RBI in 71 ABs. He went 4-for-6 in Saturday night’s win over Boston. He already has two triples.
So wonderful has Boesch been that when Carlos Guillen returns from his injury, Guillen will play 2B, just so Leyland can keep Boesch, 25, in the lineup.
Sorry for all the fuss.
Goat of the Week
Tie: Max Scherzer and his battery mates.
Last week, MMM was getting annoyed with Scherzer because his starts were beginning to resemble crash landings. Friday, Scherzer stunk up the joint again and was optioned to Toledo to get his act together.
The men catching Scherzer and the rest of the staff are wearing MMM’s patience thin, too.
Gerald Laird and Alex Avila, combined, make one Adam Everett.
I don’t expect Johnny Bench, but these guys are making me long for Vance Wilson.
I won’t disclose Laird’s and Avila’s batting averages before notifying their next of kin.
More Tigers rallies this season have ended or stalled with the bats of Laird and Avila than with anyone else on the roster by far. They may as well be lugging fire hoses up to the plate the way they’re dousing potential big innings.
The Tigers need more offensively from their catchers than what Lairavila are giving them. And I have just won the Understatement of the Year Award.
Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies! It’s Brother Leyland’s Traveling Salvation Show!
The Tigers once again will criss-cross the country more than a presidential candidate on the last leg of a campaign.
It starts in Motown with a couple quickies against the stumbling, limp noodle bats of the Chicago White Sox. Then it’s on to Oakland for two with the A’s, then since the American League is running out of Left Coast teams for the Tigers to visit, the Dodgers welcome our Bengals this weekend.
As usual, all will occur sans a day off. Heaven forbid.
The White Sox offense is Paul Konerko and…waiting for Paul Konerko to come up again.
Konerko has 13 home runs, but the rest of the White Sox’s offense is horrendous. Their team BA is .230. They have just 152 runs (4.1 per game) and 279 hits (7.7 per game).
The A’s have lost five in a row, are 18-20, and they’re no offensive juggernaut, either. No one on the A’s has hit more than four homers. The team BA is .248.
The Dodgers are another story.
They’re red hot—winners of seven straight. And they boast OF Andre Ethier, who’s leading the majors in hitting (.392), and who has 11 HR, 38 RBI, and who has scored 25 runs.
Ethier is 18 for his last 40 with 12 RBI.
He’s a little warm.
Fun fact: He’s on the DL, but the Dodgers have 41-year-old catcher Brad Ausmus on their roster, the former Astro/Tiger/Astro/Tiger.
That’s all for this week’s MMM. See you next Monday!
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