For the third straight year, Tiger bloggers have voted and this year, the results for the three DIBS awards were pretty much unanimous. Magglio Ordonez was player of the year, Justin Verlander was pitcher of the year and Curtis Granderson was breakout player of the year. The only close vote was breakout player of the year where Ryan Raburn gave Granderson a run for his money.
I’m living in a hole these days and while I heard about the Joel Zumaya injury, I didn’t really follow up on it until Friday. Of course I’m now just getting right around to writing about it. He had a box fall on his shoulder (official story) and he went under the knife. He’ll miss at least half of next year although in some ways, the timing isn’t a bad thing. If it had happened in spring training, he’d be done for the season and now it lets us go out and rent an arm to fill the hole we know we have. It’s a drag because Zumaya’s career seems to be going the way of Matt Anderson, just in a more bizare way.
Billfer tipped me off to this but Chris McCosky must not have been able to come up with anything original to write today so he decided to bash bloggers. Bill handled the attack nicely so I recommend you read his column but it’s too bad because I actually like Chris McCosky and thinks he does a good job. To write something like this is a little juvenile. Yeah, you went to school to do what you do but a lot of bloggers don’t take themselves too seriously (i.e., they don’t come across as pompous asses), so to trash a group of people who are doing something for the love it and not to collect a paycheck is a little low. I’ll keep reading Chris but I view him in a whole new light.
And here’s a nice column on George Kell’s contribution as a broadcaster. I grew up listening to Kell and Al Kaline and while I know they take their share of criticism, I always thought they did a fine job. Kell is on the fan ballot for the Ford C. Frick Award as is one of my personal favorites, Paul Carey.
The Neifi Perez era may be over in Detroit as the veteran infielder filed for free agency yesterday. It’ll be interesting to see if Neifi will latch on after the drug suspensions or whether his illustrious career is now over.
That’s two pretty good bluechip prospects for Renteria. I’ll comment more on this deal
tonight. Make that tomorrow. I’m having some periodic internet outages so I don’t want to have to redo this several times.
It’s funny because a couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me what big move the Tigers would make this offseason. I told him they’d trade for Edgar Renteria, which was probably one of the worst kept secrets out there. Odds are good this deal was done a while ago, but the two teams were just waiting to make the announcement once the Red Sox finished things up yesterday.
Anyway, on the face of things, I think the Tigers gave up a little too much, but they gave it up at spots where they already have strengths. Jair Jurrjens would have been hard pressed to make a healthy Tigers’ rotation next year and while Gorkys Hernandez appeared to be a keeper, he’s following in the footsteps of phenom Cameron Maybin and is at best two years away.
In my opinion, Edgar Renteria is a bit overrated. In his past five years, he’s had two really good years, two pretty poor years and then a season that’s right in the middle. He’s won two gold gloves, but only one of those was probably warranted and in his past six years, he’s finished with negative fielding runs above average. And if you’re looking at range factor, he’s middle of the pack. I was going to compare him to Carlos Guillen in the field, but the Hardball Times site started getting glitchy. Anyway, fielding wise, Renteria vs. Guillen is probably a push.
Of course you can’t really compare him to Guillen because Carlos will be playing first base. Unfortunately, that’ll diminish his value a bit because now instead of being one of the better hitting shortstops, he’ll be a mediocre hitting first baseman. I thought they would have been better off finding a decent hitting first baseman and keeping Guillen at shortstop for one more year but all of those errors piling up must have been the driver behind the trade.
Basically what it comes down to is which Edgar Renteria shows up. If it’s the 2007 version and the Tigers win the division, the deal makes sense. If it’s the 2005 version and we don’t, then we got hosed. Regardless, it’s probably better having Renteria/Guillen then Guillen/Casey like we had last year so it is an upgrade but giving Thames another shot at first base would have been an interesting move. So, we’ll see in 2008.
Not sure why I picked today to end my little sabatical, but it is what it is. Jason Beck answered reader’s mail yesterday in his regular mailbag column and he talks about everything from Cameron Maybin to the differences between the Arizona Fall League and the Hawaiian Winter League.
Also, the Tigers made a front office move and you can check up on how the Tigers’ farmhands are doing in the AFL in this column.
Two Tiger draft picks are turning heads in this year Florida Instructional League. Rick Porcello is an obvious one because of the hype surrounding him in the 2007 draft and fifth round pick Casey Crosby is also making an impact down in Florida and it was very nice to read about how Porcello has a four pitch arsenal that he’s using. It’ll be interesting to see how high these two guys make it next year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Porcello at Erie by the end of the year.
The Tigers are going with Ivan Rodriguez as their catcher for another year. Look for my commentary tonight.
The Tigers picked up their option on Pudge today at a net cost of $10 million. He’ll make $13 million but the buyout was $3 million so the Tigers would have been on the hook regardless.
At the plate, Pudge had one of his worst seasons in his career. His EQA was a pedestrian .237 and while his lifetime EQA is just .270 because of his disdain for walks, the .237 was the lowest of his career since his rookie season was back in 1991. His defense was there though with ten fielding runs above average or, if you’re into Win Shares, he earned 7.2 of them on defense and that was good for fourth place in the American League.
What it basically came down to was, a mediocre Pudge is still better then a lot of other options. There’s no great free agent catchers out there and you a team like the Mets would have been all over him. Yeah, we’ll probably be overpaying him but it’ll probably be worth more then having a less expensive, yet ineffective platoon between Mike Rabello and Vance Wilson.
It looks like Jose Mesa is back to his old tricks. He was hammered for three runs in the Phillies’ loss to the Rockies yesterday. It’s almost kind of sad that he’s on a playoff roster.
Jim Leyland got his contract extended for an extra year and he’s locked in as the Tigers manager through 2009. Leyland’s has a very respectable 183-141 record since joining the Tigers.
Two former Tigers won both the NL and AL comeback player of the year. Carlos Pena won the AL comeback player of the year after belting 46 homers while Dmitri Young his a career high .320. Congrats to both on turning their careers around.
Alright, the Rockies became the final team to enter the playoffs this year with an exciting win over the Padres so the cast of eight is now set. There’s no baseball today, but tomorrow things kick off with three games. I’m kind of bummed because I’m working a contract job right now and while the money is nice, I was really hoping to enjoy being home to watch the playoffs. Then again, there’s usually just the one day game so I won’t be missing too much. Anyway, in yet another chance to make a fool of myself, here’s how I think the playoffs are going to play out.
American League Division Series
LA Angels versus Boston – This is a tough one to pick because you very well may have the two best team’s baseball going up against each other in the best round. Tough to call, but I’ll say the Angels win it in five games. They have the arms as do the Red Sox, I just think the Angels arms are a touch better down the line.
Yankees versus Indians – The two teams that the Tigers were chasing in September, I think the Yankees win this one. Their offense will just be too good for even the front end starters of the Indians and I see them winning in four games.
National League Division Series
Rockies versus Phillies – I’m taking the Phillies here for a couple of different reasons. One, I always look back at 1987 and see the Tigers having that dramatic push to get into the playoffs only to get spanked in the postseason. I think the Rockies will suffer some of that but to an extent, the Phillies face the same thing. I also think the extra game is going to hurt the Rockies so I’ll say Phillies in four.
Diamondbacks versus Cubs – It’s interesting because you have two franchises in the National League end of the playoffs that are known for their futility and they very well could play each other for a chance for that elusive World Series win. The Cubs haven’t won in 99 years, but I can see them getting past the Diamondbacks in five games.
American League Championship Series
Yankees versus Angels – At the beginning of the year, I picked the Yankees to win it all. I’m not going to change that and I think the Yankees will avenge their 2002 playoff loss to the Angels and beat them in six games.
National League Championship Series
Cubs versus Phillies – You have the 99 year drought of the Cubs and the 27 year drought and 10,000 losses of the Phillies. I think the Cubs have the arms though and that’ll be the difference in this one. Cubs win it handily in five games.
Cubs versus Yankees – You have a team who, in the past 84 years, has won 26 World Series and then there’s the team that hasn’t won one in 99 years. Still, I think the Yankees put it together and are just too much in an exciting seven game series.
So that’s it. One thing I always love about the playoffs is the usual high quality of the games. Take last night’s for example with a thirteen inning thriller. Still wish the Tigers were there, but I’ll be enjoying these final weeks of baseball none the less.
The Tigers closed the book on their 2007 season with a blowout win over the White Sox yesterday. I was in Toronto over the weekend so I wasn’t able towatch much of the action but Magglio Ordonez went three for four and he belted his 54th homer of the season. He finished the season with a .363 batting average and he’s the first Tiger to win the batting title since Norm Cash did it way back in 1961. His .363 mark is the highest for a batting title qualifier since Charlie Gehringer his .371 way back in 1937. The 54 doubles put him fifth on the Tigers single season doubles list.
Placido Polanco got one hit but that’s all he needed to reach 200 for the season. 1937 is the last time two or more Tigers picked up 200 hits and that year, four Tigers reached the milestone. Carlos Guillen also had a big game and he drove in four runs to cross the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his career.
Curtis Granderson finished the season with 84 extra base hits and that’s good for eighth on the Tigers single season leader list. Five of the seasons ahead of him are Hank Greenberg and the only other Tiger to have more extra base hits then Granderson had this year are Rudy York and Charlie Gehringer.
Anyway, at the plate, several Tigers did things that hadn’t been done in a while and despite missing the playoff, the Tigers did provide some excitement this year. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, the Tigers and playoffs in the same sentence were a joke and while you have to be a little bummed they didn’t make it this year, this is a team with a solid core that should be good for years to come. I’ll definitely be looking forward to 2008.
We get a bonus game tonight as the Padres and Rockies have a play in game for the Wild Card. Once things are set, I’ll do my annual playoff predictions most likely tomorrow.
Well, the Tigers chance to win 90 is now gone after losing to the White Sox last night. Kenny Rogers had a rough start but the highlight of the day was another solid game by Magglio Ordonez. One of his two hits was his 53rd double and he drove in his 137th run of the season. Just as important, he boosted his batting average to .360 and he has a ten point lead over Ichiro, all but locking up the batting title.
It should be a very interesting weekend in the National League. The Cubs finally locked up their division and the Diamondbacks clinched a playoff spot but four teams are still vying for those final two playoff spots. The Padres and the Phillies have the upper hand though.
The Tigers won last night in an odd, rain shortened game but they were also eliminated from playoff contention as the Yankees blew out the Devil Rays to clinch up the Wild Card. As a Tiger fan though, it’s hard to be too disappointed and in a way, I think they go their seasons crossed over and 2007 really should have happened in 2006 and vice versa. I know I got spoiled by what happened in 2006 too but if the Tigers win out, they’ll finish with 90 wins. The last time they had back to back 90 win seasons was 1983-1984. They played meaningful baseball in mid-September when just two years ago, that’s all we were asking for.
In addition, making the playoffs is tough. I know that sounds simple but look at the Tigers near 20 year drought before 2006. Teams can be good (i.e. the Tigers through most of the 1980s), but just miss the playoffs for several years so hopefully, this is just a bump in the road and they can get back in the mix next year.
On the game, it rained pretty much the entire time. The Twins jumped all over Jair Jurrjens for four runs in the first and the Tigers scored three in the second before the rain delay. I was out in left field so it’s hard to tell how a pitcher is throwing, but Johan Santana walked home a run and I don’t think he brought his best stuff in a game that, for him, didn’t matter. The Tigers got to face a new pitcher after a long rain delay and they jumped all over rookie Nick Blackburn for six runs. The Twins shot themselves in the foot with some errors too (and some hits that should have been errors). After five innings and change, the tarp came back on and once the Yankees finished their game over the Rays, it was called an official game.
Magglio Ordonez is hitting .359 and Ichiro seems to be stuck at .350. This is one of the few remaining stories for the Tigers while Placido Polanco picked up one hit leaving him with 196. Mike Hessman was the hitting star and he went two for three with his fourth homerun and four RBIs.
It’s a day off today, then three in Chicago. This is the last Tigers baseball we’ll be getting so I’ll be sure to tune in.
The Tigers kept their slim playoff hopes alive in a beatdown over the Twins. Yorman Bazardo was the star on the pitching side and he threw seven shutout innings to improve to 2-1. Joel Zumaya and Chad Durbin both threw a shutout frame to close out the game.
Curtis Granderson picked up his 23rd triple of the season. The last time a player had 23 triples was 1949 when the Indians Dale Mitchell hit the mark. It also puts Curtis Granderson tied for fifth with Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb for the single season triple mark.
Magglio Ordonez belted his 52nd triple and that puts him fifth on the Tigers single season doubles list. Ordonez also homered and with the two hits, he brought hit batting average up to .359. That gives him a somewhat comfortable nine point lead for the batting title. He also drove in three runs to bring his season total up to 136.
With the Yankees ten inning loss, the Tigers still have a very slim chance to tie for the Wild Card. Tonight, it’ll be Johan Santana going up against Jair Jurrjens.
The Tigers still aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but they’d need a downright miracle at this point as the Yankees magic number for the Wild Card is now down to just one. Carlos Silva and the Twins pen held the Tigers to just six singles and a double in a 2-0 shutout loss.
The one double came off of the bat of Magglio Ordonez, which gives him 51 on the season. That puts Ordonez by himself at fifth place on the Tigers single season doubles list. Two different Tigers have racked up 60 doubles in a season. The team record is 63 set by Hank Greenberg back in 1934 and just two years later, Charlie Gehringer belted 60 in 1936. Still, it’s the most doubles since George Kell hit 56 back in 1950.
Nate Robertson took another hard luck loss. He gave up just a single run on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts in seven solid frames. Fernando Rodney gave up a run in the ninth, his second inning of work, but it was an insurance run by the Twins that they didn’t end up needing.
One thing I forgot to mention was that on Sunday, the Tigers won their 85th game. It’s the first time since 1987-1988 that they’ve had back to back seasons with 85 wins or more. Tonight, it’ll be Yorman Bazardo going up against Matt Garza to try to make it 86.
The Indians clinched the American League Central over the weekend and the Yankees magic number is down to two for the Wild Car. At this point, the Tigers need to win their remaining six games AND have the Yankee lose their remaining seven to win the Wild Card outright. They can lose or the Yankees can win once if they want a one game playoff but I expect the Tigers to be mathematically eliminated tomorrow.
Not that yesterday’s win wasn’t a solid one. The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. The four run first was capped off by a two run homer by Marcus Thames, his first of two on the day. Ryan Raburn also made a nice contribution and he went two for four with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Thames second homer of the day came in the third inning and that brought his season total up to 17.
Justin Verlander won his eighteenth game of the season with a nice outing. He gave up two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings. Bobby Seay and Joel Zumaya combined to throw three innings of shutout relief to close out the game.
The Tigers final home series of the season begins tonight against the Twins. It’ll be Nate Robertson going up against Matt Garza. I’m going to the game on Wednesday and I kind of hit the jackpot. I’ll not only get to see Jair Jurrjens for the first time, but I’ll also get to see Johan Santana.
If you still had faith after Monday’s lost to the Indians, it has to be pretty much gone at this point. While the Tigers haven’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they face an uphill battle that looks pretty much insurmountable. The Tigers are now six losses back of the Yankees with just nine games to play.
Lack of run support once again haunted Nate Robertson against the Indians. He was given just two runs and both were driven in on a single by Ryan Raburn in the third inning. Carlos Guillen was the only Tiger with two hits and Magglio Ordonez went zero for four and he now trails Ichiro in the race for the batting title by a single point.
Nate Robertson had one bad inning. In the fifth he was tagged for three runs but he gave the Tigers seven frames. Bobby Seay pitched a shutout eighth to wrap things up for the Tigers.
It’s a day off today, and then the Royals come into town. Jair Jurrjens gets the start agaisnt rookie Billy Buckner. There’s just nine Tiger games left, so enjoy them while you can.
I’ll save the eulogy for when the Tigers are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it’s safe to say that the chances of Detroit making the postseason this year are very, very slim. They’re five losses back with ten to play for the Wild Card and the Indians don’t even have to play .500 ball to win the division regardless of whether the Tigers win out or not.
The Tigers had a three game lead in this one but it last for just a half inning. Justin Verlander was tagged for four homeruns and while I missed the Ryan Garko one, the homers by Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez and Franklin Gutierrez were pretty much no doubt about its as soon as they went off the hitters bat. Verlander dropped to 17-6 and it didn’t matter that Jason Grilli threw 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief the rest of the way.
The Tigers scored three of their four runs in the second inning and two of those runs came off of a two run single by Ramon Santiago. Placido Polanco and Gary Sheffield both had two hits and Magglio Ordonez picked up one hit and he now leads the batting race .356 to .352 over Ichiro. I forgot to mention this yesterday, but Ordonez topped 200 hits and he became the first Tiger since Alan Trammell in 1987 to do it. Placido Polanco needs just ten hits to join Ordonez.
The Tigers wrap things up with the Indians this afternoon. It’s an odd 12:05 game time. Nate Robertson squared up against C.C. Sabathia.
The Tigers let another game get away from them and at this point, even the most optimistic of Tigers fans have to be thinking that this game is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Up 5-2 in the eighth inning, Joel Zumaya was tagged for three runs that sent the game into extra frames. Then in the bottom of the eleventh, Casey Blake belted a walk off, solo homer off of Zach Miner to complete the Tigers loss. It’s too bad because Kenny Rogers saw a solid start go to waste. He gave up just two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in seven innings.
Placido Polanco had the big game at the plate. He singled, doubled and belted a solo homer in the loss. Carlos Guillen doubled twice and scored two runs while Ramon Santiago singled twice and drove in two runs.
Sigh, to make the loss worse, the Yankees won as well so the Wild Card deficit is back to 3 1/2 games. Even if the Tigers take their final two games against, the Indians, they’ll have just a slim chance to catch them and the Yankees magic number for the Wild Card is now nine. If the Yankees go 6=6 in their final twelve games, the Tigers will have to go 9-2 in their final eleven games just to tie.
Tonight, it’ll be Justin Verlander going up against Jake Westbrook. With C.C. Sabathia throwing tomorrow, this is our best chance to walk away with a win in this series.
The Tigers pulled off a sweep this weekend and Jair Jurrjens gave the Tigers another huge boost (and hopefully a glimpse of things to come) with a solid start to take care of the Twins for a three game sweep. Jurrjens didn’t give up a hit until the sixth inning when he was also tagged for his first and only run. The win pushed his record to 3-1. And then, Tim Byrdak, Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya and Todd Jones put the Twins down without giving up a run. Jones’ strikeout of Jason Kubel was nice. He got him looking on a nice curveball.
Curtis Granderson’s game was a microcosm of his season as he both homered and stole a base. The homerun led off the game while Magglio Ordonez picked up his 49th double of the season. Timo Perez continued his hot hitting with two more hits and he extended his hitting streak to six games.
The Yankees won so the Tigers still face a 2 1/2 game deficit with a three game series against the Indians. The Tigers could put themselves back into the division race with a sweep over the Indians but anything less then that isn’t going to do it. The Yankees, in the meantime, head home for a three game series with the Erik Bedardless Orioles. And looking at the Yankees schedule, it’s not looking good (for us). They have six against the Orioles, four against the Devil Rays and their only tough opponent will be this weekend against the Blue Jays.
Kenny Rogers takes the mound for the Tigers tonight. The Tigers will then have to contend with Paul Byrd, who’s won five of his last six starts.