And the Marlins are your 2003 World Champions.
Decent series, but it didn’t hold my interest like a Cubs/Sox series, or even if one of those teams go in there. And this year, the player who made a name for himself was Josh Beckett. Josh was pretty good during the regular season, but injuries limited him to 23 starts. And although his 9-8 record wasn’t impressive, his 152 strikeouts in 142 innings were.
So now we fast forward to the playoffs, and Beckett was exceptional. His numbers look really good (2.11 ERA, .139 BA against, 47 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings), they’re even better when you take out his one bad start in game two against the Cubs, and they look even better. Two complete game shutouts in the post season is no small task.
And although I didn’t write this on my board, some friends can attest to the fact that I thought McKeon was making a good move starting Beckett on short rest (and we’re still arguing about it). I felt that whoever won game 6 would go on to win the series, and that the Marlins needed their hottest hand in there to shut down the Yanks. It worked grandly for McKeon, and he can add his championship to his resume, including most likely a Manager of the Year award. Not too bad for a guy who coached George Brett when he first started in the majors.
So now the season is done, and for the Tigers we have a few important questions:
Will Dave Dombrowski stay?
Probably, but not by choice. Rumors are flying about Dombrowski and his problems with Denise Illitch. Hopefully they’re just that, and Dave can continue/being working on rebuilding this team like he did the Marlins.
Will Mike Illitch stand by his word and spend some money to improve the team?
This one is the classic “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Bringing in a guy like Luis Castillo would be a coup, and would be an immediate improvement. If they do more “hole filling,” then there are going to be a ton of disgrunted fans.
Will the Tigers be better next year?
I can say this with 99% confidence that the answer is yes, but only because they can’t be any worse. Even if the fielded the same team, everyone has a year under their belts. I think they could field the team they have, and probably only lose 110 games.
But something has to change. Since the Marlins became a team back in 1993, they’ve had a record of 797-918. Hardly impressive, but not bad for an expansion team. And when you take into account the two championships, then it’s even more impressive.
The Tigers during that same period of time has been 707-1,008. That’s winning percentage of .412. So an average season over the last 11 years for the Tigers is 67-95.
The more you look at the numbers, the more depressing things appear for the team. Something has to change, and hopefully the Illitch family can finally right some of the wrongs.