My weekly take on the Tigers.
Week of May 4-May 10: 4-2
This week: May 12-14: at Min; May 15-17: OAK
Goat of the Week
I hate to do it to catcher Gerald Laird, but I’m going to place the MMM Goat Tag on him for last week. Actually, with him in a 1-for-32 slump, he could be two weeks’ worth of Goat.
But the reason I hate to do it to Mr. Laird is that he’s still backstopping well and calling good games. It’s just that he’s been a disaster at the plate. Then again, my being pleased at his acquisition had everything to do with defense and little to do with offense.
Plus, no one expected him to remain in the rarified air of .300+, as he was in the opening few weeks.
That said, someone has to be Goat of the Week at MMM, and for last week it’s Gerald Laird.
Hero of the Week
If you’re a Tigers pitcher, especially a starter, then you’re likely a Hero of the Week for last week.
My, how the Tigers pitched, especially in Cleveland over the weekend.
Justin Verlander repeated his Hero performance from last week’s MMM by twirling a gem on Friday night. Edwin Jackson followed with more mastery on Saturday. And rookie, 20-year-old fuzz-faced Rick Porcello was solid as a rock on Sunday.
Armando Galarraga had a bad first inning in Chicago on Thursday, but recovered. It’s just hard to make any headway when the other guy is flirting with a perfect game, as Mark Buehrle was.
The bullpen was good, too–despite a couple rocky ninth innings from Fernando Rodney.
But the official Heroes are the Tigers starters.
Quick scouting reports: Twins, A’s
The Tigers’ sweep in Cleveland was their first since 2006, and there weren’t too many before that, believe me. Now the Tigers go into Minnesota with that damned Metrodome, which I’ve frequently railed against.
It’s no use trying to figure out what will happen in that atrocious stadium this week.
But if the Tigers keep pitching (their team ERA is in the top three in the A.L.) then good things should happen.
As for the Twins, catcher Joe Mauer is still on a tear, batting .485 since returning from injury. Justin Morneau is at .322 with eight home runs. But the Twinkies are 15-18, and as usual, it revolves around pitching.
The starters’ ERAs are in the fives and sixes. The bullpen has been volatile. Only closer Joe Nathan (five saves, 1.64 ERA) has been consistently good.
The Oakland A’s are scuffling along even worser.
Yeah, I said worser. Deal with it.
The A’s are 11-18, and have lost seven of their last ten.
In Oakland, the troubles are on the mound and at the plate.
Only one Athletic is batting over .300: catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Pitching-wise, after Dallas Braden (2.79 ERA) and 21-year-old rookie Trevor Cahill (3.82 ERA), the rotation drops off dramatically. Of course, with the limp noodles the A’s are swinging in the batter’s box, you’d need five Cy Young Award winners to keep up.
Under the microscope
We put Carlos Guillen under the one-eyed monster at MMM last week, and he went on the DL, as expected.
So the focus now turns to Magglio Ordonez, who last week was dropped to sixth in the batting order by manager Jim Leyland. The power has waned, and the batting average is mediocre. He had two hits Sunday, so we’ll see.
But the production Maggs has given the Tigers in the cleanup spot has been virtually nil.
The Tigers are 17-13, but the big guns still have to be the big guns.
That’s all for this week’s MMM. Join me every Monday!