It’s been a while so now it as good a time as another to get all nostalgic about the All Star Game. Most of my memories of the game are from the 1980s and my favorite game is still 1987. The Tigers had some solid representation (Alan Trammell, Matt Nokes and Jack Morris) and there are also some other interesting names on the rosters. Namely Larry Parrish, who’s managed for the both the Tigers and their minor league affiliates. Larry Parrish got a hit in only at bat as a pinch hitter and his only All Star Game was in 1979 where didn’t get an plate appearance and only came into the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement (so he’s a lifetime 1.000 hitter in the All Star Game, blame the sample size). Matt Nokes went 0 for 2 in his only All Star Game that year and Tram was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter. Jack Morris threw two shutout frames and he was the second pitcher in the game after Bret Saberhagen got the start. And the game was 2-0, thirteen inning nail biter.
Now, the All Star Game doesn’t have quite the appeal. Back then, I hardly got to see National League players. Heck, you hardly got to see anyone other than your home team where you got to see 40 or so games on the television. The leagues weren’t so watered down either and with inter league play, you have National League teams playing American League teams on a regular basis. Some years I’ve watched the game, other times I haven’t. This year I probably will catch at least some of it because I’ll be up north and won’t have the work distractions.
Now on to the Tigers. Most of my conversations in the spring went like this. i thought the Tigers should run away with their mediocre division and probably won’t. I also thought the pen was going to be a problem and I’ve also gone out on a limb by saying we won’t win a World Series with Jim Leyland as the manager. This team is the Jekyl and Hyde that we’ve had the previous two seasons. They’ll look like world beaters and the best team in the league for a week or two then they won’t be able to beat even the standing’s bottom feeders for a stretch of time. So in short, the same old frustrating Tigers.
The emergence of Max Scherzer has been nice. Taking away the 13-0 record which is more of a novelty (like Jose Valverde’s 49 for 49 saves two years ago), Scherzer is tenth in baseball in WAR with 3.9. Chris Sale leads the AL oddly despite his 6-8 record but he’s not even a full win behind Scherzer. Only Yu Darvish has more strikeouts in the American League and he might top Justin Verlander for the first time since joining the team. More importantly, he’s pitching almost seven innings a game. Durability has always been a problem and he’s still never had a 200 inning season in the regular season. That should change this year if all things hold.
And the offense is the same as in years past. We have some studs (Miguel Cabrera) but the bottom of the order has some holes. The Omar Infante injury hurt and we also may have to deal with a Jhonny Peralta suspension. Keeping things together in the second half could be interesting.
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