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Another Day, Another Loss

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.

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