Nothing like a litle winning streak. Three wins, all one run games, against the almost as lowly Cleveland Indians has seemed to allay people’s fears that the Tigers will only win 39, or even 41. We’ll see if the can keep it up.
Gary Knotts had a fine start yesterday. If you remember, Knotts started the season in the rotation. Then like all the Tigers starters, he showed some flashes of brilliance. But eventually he tapered off, and Tram put him in the pen. Less then a week after that, he was back down in AAA. Part of the problem with having three plan B guys is you can’t send them down to the minors with fear of losing them, so Tram didn’t have a lot of flexibility this year.
The more I hear about Brian Kingman, the more odd he sounds. From voodoo dolls, to actually showing up for Maroth’s start tonight, the guy seems like head case. I can understand wanting to hear your name mentioned on occasion, but this is a little ridiculous. Funny thing about Kingman was his ERA was only 3.83 the season he lost 20. Of course this was in a different era, and the park adjusted league ERA for him that season was 3.76 (ERA+ of 98).
Another fantasy football draft tonight. And it’s my wife’s birthday, so we’ll have to fit something in for her between all the house work.
Yesterday, Cody Ross hit his first career homerun. It was a grand slam in the fourth inning that was pivotal in the Tiger’s win.
Later in that game, he was carted off the field in the eighth inning. News came today that he tore his ACL, and he’ll need surgery to repair it. This will then require 4-6 months at a minimum to heal.
Cody was one of the closest things to a hitting prospect that the Tigers had. He hit .287, with 20 homers and 35 doubles. And at 23, you like to see those doubles, because as he ages, some of those should turn into homers. He’s also decent in the outfield.
I wish Cody a speedy recovery, and hope to see him next year.
In other news, Jeremy Bonderman was taken out of the rotation. Not a bad move by Tram, since at this point, he’d be pitching him to see how he handles the end of a season that doesn’t matter. He probably won’t be completely shut down, and I’m sure we’ll see him come out of the pen on occasion. He’s thrown a 148 innings so far, and we know he could be a good two or three guy down the line, with the outside chance of being an ace. And all of this from a guy who won’t be able to legally drink until October.
There’s some other good Tiger reads out there. Bilfer did a great job in his monthly review. And Aaron Gleeman touched on the Tigers no longer having the worst offense and talked about Dmitri Young, something I touched on a couple of days ago. Both are worth checking out.
Tigers are down 4-1 in the fifth, and have only managed two hits. Two of the guys on my Diamond Mind team, Casey Blake and Brandon Phillips, are having decent games. Nate Robertson has already thrown 101 pitches through 5 innings, so I can’t see him being in there much longer.
Football starts tomorrow. Another distraction.
The Tigers are up 7-6 in the top half of eighth inning. Both teams had four run innings. The Tigers go theirs when Cody Ross, a recent September call up, hit a grand slam in the third inning. The slam was his first major league homerun.
Brandon Phillips and Ben Broussard each hit two run shots in the fourth off of Mr. Bonderman. In all, there have been six homeruns throughout the game.
Jeremy Bonderman did not last long. He gave up 3 homeruns that resulted in 6 runs in 3 2/3 innings. That’s 10 homeruns in his last four starts. The good news is, he stays away from infamy, and won’t get the loss in this one.
And the Indians have runners on first and third with one out, so this one is hardly secure.
Mike Ilitch bought the Tigers in 1992, so his first full season owning the Tiges was 1993. As we know, since 1993, the Tigers have only had one winning season, and that was in that first year. This has been publicized, and everyone seems to know it. What a lot of people don’t realize is that in those now 11 years, the Tigers have lost 109 in a season during 1996, then lost 106 last season. They’re well on their way to beating both of those marks this year.
Prior to Ilitch owning the Tigers, the worst season record wise on the books was their 1952 campaign, where they lost 104. But prior to Ilitch taking over, and mind you, this is since 1901, the Tigers had three season where they lost a hundred.
Since Ilitch took over 11 years ago, he’s already matched that record, and he’ll do with the three very worst seasons in the franchise’s history.
Now I’m going to be here writing, among other things, about what moves the Tigers make during the off season. To date, I’ve been more forgiving. But no more.
And speaking of the off season, I appreciate all of the kind words people have sent me. I do plan on writing about a variety of things. I’ll track the Tiger’s movements in the free agent market, and a more grand task I’ll be taking on is I’ll delve deep into the organization, and do a nice detailed, position by position analysis of what the Tigers have. I’m going to go as deep as I can into the minors, and really try to find out what, if anything the Tigers have. I’ll also cover the Tigerless post season.
I’m also going to get historical. Although I did it on an informal and more brief basis in a past post about John Hiller, and have been doing some research for the Baseball Hall of Fame on the 1968 Tigers, I plan on taking a look at some Tiger greats. First of which will be Harry Heilman.
Now I don’t plan on posting everyday, but I’ll probably posting a couple of times every week. So if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, and don’t want to bother stopping by, sign up to be notified of new posts on the right under the links. I don’t use it now because I’m posting daily, but when I do post in the off season, I’ll use it more to make sure people can follow what’s happening with the Tigers.
Assuming there’s any fans left after this season.
In 1989, the Tigers went 59-103. Barry Bonds hadn’t won an MVP yet, and the AL homerun leader, Fred McGriff, did it by only hitting 36 homeruns. And on a team where no other player drove in 50 runs, Lou Whitaker was 7th in the league in homeruns with 28, and drove in 85 runs on a pretty pathetic team. He only hit .251, but his OBP was an impressive .361, and he walked 30 more times then he struck out.
Lou was always my favorite Tiger growing up. I remember affectionately when Lou would lead off the game, everyone would chant Louuuuuuuuu when he came to plate (and there’s was always some dope who sat near me who would ask why our guy was being booed). When at Fenway, I noticed the Sox fans had ripped this idea off of Detroit by doing the same thing when Lou Merloni came up to bat. I wonder if we stole it from someone else.
Lou was the consumate leadoff hitter. He’d take pitches even if it meant going down in the count, and was one of the better guys to have hitting with two strikes. I think it’s a shame he’s still not on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Now, what does this have to do with the 2003 Tigers? Well, like Lou in 1989, Dmitri Young is having a “good” season for a horrible team. Despite going 0 for 3 tonight, he’s still hitting .294 with no protection. He leads the Tigers in every offensive category that matters, and should finish the season with 30 homeruns, something that a Tiger has only done once (Higgy) since Comerica Park opened.
The big difference between the two is defense. Lou was a gold glove second basement. Dmitri is more of DH/1b type. I’d take Lou, but you have to give Dmitri credit. Without him, they’d probably have only 20 wins.
And yes, the Tigers played today, and lost to the Indians 7-4. Chris Mears got his first career start, and wasn’t quite on. He didn’t walk anyone, but he gave up 7 hits and 3 runs in four innings. The Tigers came back with four in the fifth to take the lead, but the pen didn’t the usual and let the opposing side get the lead back. The Tigers only managed 6 hits, and the only real highlight was Inge hitting his eighth homer of the season, which is a new high for him in a season.
The Tigers are 19 1/2 games back of the next to last worst team, the Devil Rays. They’ve almost mathematically eliminated themselves from being second worst. And they’re right back at .250 even.