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Another Series, Another Sweep

The Tigers, like the Energizer Bunny, just keep going, and going.  They swept the Royals in their two game series, and while that’s nothing spectacular in and of itself, I am pretty happy that the Tigers took care of business against the worst team in baseball.

Mike Maroth continues to pitch very well.  While his strikeout to walk ratio isn’t anything to write home about (12/10 in 30 1/3 innings), he has a very respectable WHIP (1.25) and he’s given up only two homeruns.  Guess it goes to show how a better defense can improve a softer throwing pitcher.  The ball gets put in play, but more are converted for outs and right now, the Tigers lead the league in defensive effeciency.

Believe it or not, the White Sox lost so the Tigers are now a half game back of Chicago.  I’m not sure what’s more surprising, that the Tigers have the third best record in the majors or that the Reds have the best record.

Now I’m going to leave this to commentors, but one thing I was wondering the other day was, if Alan Trammell were still in charge, would this team have played this well for him?  I know we’ll never know, but it’s not like Jim Leyland has done anything spectacular out there (please correct me if I’m wrong).

The Angels roll into town for two games.  Hopefully we do a little better then when we faced them out in Anaheim.

I think Leyland and his staff are a much better group than Trammell and his staff and they should make a difference. That being said, it’s still the players who win and lose ballgames and the Tigers are a different team this year with Guillen and Ordonez healthy and the additions of Rogers, Verlander, Zumaya and Granderson. I’m not sure what their record would be but I think the Tigers would be playing well for Trammell this year. I think Leyland helps but I don’t see him as the biggest difference from this year to last.


Posted by Lee Panas on May 3rd, 2006 at 10:57 am

I can’t help but think that if Tram were managing this team right now and he made some of the decisions that Leyland has made (such as leaving a white hot Shelton in the 6th spot in the order) hw would be getting skewered from all angles. I understand that Leyland is a much more experienced manager and it’s very hard to say what the Tigers would be like if Tram was here but perception changes everything.

Posted by Joe on May 3rd, 2006 at 11:06 am

Those are good points, There’s simply no way to know what Trammell would have done differently, and how it might have affected the team’s record. My instinct is to say that the manager can’t possibly make that much difference, but that being said, Trammell was a horrible manager, so who knows?

All we can ask Maroth to do is to keep the ball in the ballpark and not let the walks get out of control. If he continues with those walk and K rates, his success cannot be sustained. Even if you have the best defensive efficiency in the majors, it’s not going to turn a guy with that kind of ratio into Cy Young. His BABIP is .260, so we can expect that to go up some, though perhaps not a ton if the Tigers defense really is that terrific. But hey, what do I know? I thought Maroth was going to be horrific this year. I am overjoyed to be standing corrected so far!

Posted by Dan on May 3rd, 2006 at 12:36 pm

“My instinct is to say that the manager can’t possibly make that much difference, but that being said, Trammell was a horrible manager, so who knows?”

Was he really that bad? Again, I feel like Leyland’s decision making thus far hasn’t been any better than Trammell’s. Seems like the biggest differences between this year and last are a preponderance of ABs for Polanco, Guillen, Ordonez and Shelton (which didn’t happen through 25 games last year) and a markedly improved starting rotation. Neither factor can be attributed to manager.

As far as expecting Maroth to be horrific this year, methinks you are relying a little too much on statistical analysis, which is a trap many baseball fans fall into.

Posted by Joe on May 3rd, 2006 at 4:26 pm

I could be wrong about this, and I admit that I haven’t gone back to research whether it is true, but my impression is that under Leyland the best players play. A lot. I don’t recall seeing any games this year with the kind of Toledo-like lineups that Trammell used to run out there.

Certainly, sometimes that was based on injuries or the talent at hand, but I still got the impression that Trammell gave his guys an unusual amount of rest, certainly more so than Leyland has. We’ll see if this changes as the season goes on, especially with guys like Guillen and Ordonez, who have had injury problems in the past.

Posted by Brian Hammond on May 4th, 2006 at 6:17 am

Trammell would have a club over .500 with these players, but I fully believe Leyland’s experience, his staff, and his skewering make this club better than it would have been otherwise.

Posted by Kurt on May 4th, 2006 at 8:28 am

Trammell was awful, particularly with respect to managing his pitching staff, and even more specifically, with the way he “managed” his bullpen. Leyland left Todd Jones out there in an effort to lose to Kansas City the other day, and luckily it didn’t work. Oher than that he’s been fine. Would Trammell have entrusted Granderson the way Leyland has? I don’t think so. I think you’d still see Nook Logan’s sorry ass out there. Also, would Thames have been given any playing time, even as a platoon player? It’s doubtful he would have even been brought north.

Posted by Dan on May 4th, 2006 at 8:45 am

Speaking of bad managing, can someone tell me what Leyland’s fascination with Alexis Gomez is all about? He’s playing right field and batting 3rd today. Huh?

Marcus Thames kills the ball. He’ll get a couple of hits a couple of days in a row, and then he sits. No one has ever given me a reasonable explanation as to why Thames doesn’t play regularly. If he took all of Monroe’s playing time, would the Tigers be worse or better? Thames has done nothing but hit the snot out of the ball, and he is never given a chance. Alexis Gomez sucks.

Posted by Dan on May 4th, 2006 at 9:28 am

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