I was in the car listening to the Tiger game last night, and they were down 4-0. In any of the last ten years, I probably would have thought to myself, “another loss, sigh.” And that was regardless of who they were playing. This year though, with all of the winning, I’m starting to become a convert. My first thought was “The Tigers can come back from this.” And come back they did. The pitching buckled down and after the third inning, they gave up only one run. So despite a less then stellar start from Kenny Rogers, the Tigers walked away with yet another win. Hopefully they get it done tonight as they’re up 1-0 in the fourth inning.
With a lot of “surprise” teams, you usually have a convergence of career years by veterans with the emergence of some homegrown talent. Mike Maroth would be an example of a veteran who’s having a career year, while a pleasant surprise has been Curtis Granderson. He had three more RBIs yesterday, and that brings his season total 20. He’s walking as well. A lot of projections had him being a potential “20/20″ guy and if you would have asked me then which he’d be more likely to attain, I would have said 20 stolen bases. A pleasant surprise has been Granderson’s power.
He now has eight homeruns, and a couple of those have come at some pretty key times. So it looks like once again I was wrong. With only three stolen bases in six attempts, he’s probably not going to get to 20 steals. I could see him hitting 25 homeruns though and I’ll take that over the steals.
One area of concern is Granderson’s production at home. His home OPS is .676 while his road OPS is an impressive .903. Regardless, we could be looking at a leadoff hitter who hits 25 homeruns, scores a 100 runs and drives in 75. I’d take those numbers over what we’ve had the last couple of years (think Nook Logan and Alex Sanchez) in a heartbeat.
Granderson is also getting it done in the field. He leads all outfielders with 1.8 fielding winshares and he also has five fielding runs above average. Just to put that in perspective, Nook Logan, who was highly touted as a solid centerfielder, had seven total fielding runs above average and if Granderson keeps this up, he’ll probably double that.