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Prior to the season, there was quite a bit of excitement with Tigers fans.  When I’d talk to them, I’d try to stay positive as well and I’d say the Tigers are pretty much a lock to win their division and will probably have the best record in the American League if not in baseball.  Then they’d be surprised when I’d tell them that even with all of that, the Tigers were still probably only the fifth best team in the American League.

I might move them up a notch after their first two weeks of the season but then the Rangers rolled into town and like last year’s ALCS, all of our weaknesses were exposed.  On Friday, you had a mediocre outing out of what’s effectively our sixth starter (lack of depth) and then an implosion by the bullpen (lack of depth).  Then yesterday you had the poor start and while a lot of people want to jump on Brandon Inge for his error, that inning was already nasty to begin with.  It then took Justin Verlander to stop the pain and he came up with a good but not great start that forced the Tigers to go to their pen a lot earlier then they probably would have liked.

The good news is, the Tigers get a break before they head out to New York next weekend with the Mariners in town.  I’m also interested to see how Drew Smyly does today.  This Rangers team can rake and if he can pitch five or six strong innings today, I think we can say his rotation spot was well deserved.

Someone brought up defense to me the other day.  The Tigers are now 29th in defensive efficiency.  The only team that’s worse is the Yankees. We’re still in the “small sample” size category but that’s troubling and it’s going to have an effect on our pitchers.  So far it hasn’t because the Tigers have the fourth best ERA in the American League but we’ll see when that starts catching up to them.

Anyway, didn’t want to be too much of a downer.  Today is also the last day to help Jonnie Rae move on the to Exotic 8 in the 2012 WRIF Rock Girl contest.  Be sure to check out her website for details on how to vote.

Brian, I agree with your concerns regarding the Tigers. Everybody got really giddy after the acquisition of Fielder and didn’t want to hear anything negative. They do have a strong team and should win the AL Central, but they do have shortcomings and you summarized them well.

On the positive side, Cabrera seems to capable of playing at least a passable third base. If he keeps it up, that fills a huge hole and prevents the dilemma of how to juggle Cabrera, Fielder and, much later, Martinez.

However, that doesn’t solve the problem of poor team defense all over the field. That’s bound to affect their pitchers more as the season progresses.

Posted by Lee Panas on April 22nd, 2012 at 11:34 am

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