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Home Sweet Home

If you would have asked me before opening day whether I’d be happy with a 5-4 start, I would have said I’d take it.  That kind of puts the whole thing in perspective for me.  I’m not going to change my opinion of this team based on their first five games, or for that matter, their last four.

The defending World champs came into town, and despite the fact that they were struggling, they left with three wins (and they’re no longer struggling).  The Tigers offense pretty much went away in the first two games of the series, and by the time they got it back, their pitching wasn’t there.

The Tigers had 21 hits today, yet they still lost.  In fact every Tiger except for Curtis Granderson had at least two hits.  I didn’t expect Justin Verlander to throw like he did in Texas, and nobody else should have either and the seven early runs he gave up ended up being the difference.  The pen wasn’t there either, and three different relievers gave up runs and cost the Tigers a comeback win.  The 23 year old took his lumps today, and hopefully he’ll bounce back when he pitches again (most likely on Tuesday against the A’s in Oakland).  With all three games being afternoon games, I only got to keep track of the Tigers home opener so I can’t really say what might have gotten Verlander into trouble.

Chris Shelton continues to hit the ball extremely well.  He hit his seventh homerun of the season and now has 14 RBIs.

A topic of conversation, both here in the comments by Dan and on sports talk radio, was Leyland sticking with Omar Infante late in the game yesterday with Dmitri Young and Marcus Thames on the bench.  Young’s been good as a pinch hitter in the past and Thames has had a nice start.  I heard a two pronged excuse.  That Leyland was playing the percentages (which percentages?) and that he wanted everyone in the lineup to be tested in key moments.  I’m also not quite sure why Infante would ever be a viable option at DH, although he had four hits today (his first four hits of the season) when he gave Brandon Inge a break at third base.

The Tigers host the Cleveland Indians in a four game weekend series.  The Indians are off to a very good start, and if the Tigers leave for the west coast with a split in this series, I’d be pretty happy.

I’m actually not to disappointed with the four losses. Sure, we gave up a lot of runs early today, but at the end of each game we were in contention to possibly win. Considering that these past three losses were against the defending champs I’d say the fact that we at least contended late in each game is a sign that the Tig’s are moving in the right direction.

Posted by phil on April 13th, 2006 at 5:56 pm

That fact that Leyland said that should be putting up giant red flags. That’s just stupid. It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s the type of answer you get from a “baseball guy” because he doesn’t know any better. Sure, let’s “test” Infante. You’re also “testing” Thames and Young, seeing how much you have to do to infuriate them. Marcus Thames should have been at the plate. It’s a bullshit answer from Leyland, and he should have to answer for himself. It’s his job to not make mistakes that egregious. Garbage.

Posted by Dan on April 14th, 2006 at 6:30 am

“I’m actually not to disappointed with the four losses.” says Phil

Well I am. I have been sitting through one continous 12 year season with this team. Leyland is out of his mind. He clearly conceaded defeat early yesterday when he went to Grilli and Spurling. He wanted guys to just eat up innings. Meanwhile, hitters racked up 21 hits. When you score 9 runs on 21 hits and lose you look directly at the guy running the ship. He is easy to spot. he is the guy in the clubhouse smoking cigarettes. on a side note, I also remeber when Leyland was hired he said he promised his daughter he would stop smoking. He said the pack in his pocket was his last. he lied to daughter. how can we trust him with a pitching staff.

Posted by Michael on April 14th, 2006 at 6:42 am

also, leyland better grow some balls and move shelton up in the order. He should be hitting 3rd or 5th. not 6th. You bloggers just watch how many double plays pudge will hit into this year hitting 3rd.

Posted by Michael on April 14th, 2006 at 6:43 am

Re: the pinch-hitting thing… Infante had looked awful in that game (pop out to 2B, foul out to 1B, ground out to 3B) before coming up in the 9th. He’s not your regular, and you’re only 1 run down. It shouldn’t bruise his ego much to have him grab some pine.

And, in yesterday’s game… Guillen had brought in a green lefty for the 9th inning, and there they were with the bases loaded, Granderson at the plate. Now, I think Granderson’s gonna do some good things eventually, but…. He was 1-for-5 coming up there, and his one hit was an infield hit. And it was lefty-on-lefty. Now, I don’t remember, maybe Guillen had Bobby Jenks ready in the bullpen, but still… Leyland had Inge and Thames available rather than a rookie lefty facing another rookie lefty… and chose to sit on his hands.

I wasn’t real happy with that, and I’ll be watching…

Posted by jeff k on April 14th, 2006 at 6:57 am

Agree on the record.It is still a winning pertcentage .555 that extrapolated would give 90 victories.Leyland’s master plan is to rotate the 4 infielders (Inge,Infante,Polanco and Guillen).Spurling and Grilli are not the answer in the pen.Let’s expose them early.

Posted by tigers1901 on April 14th, 2006 at 9:51 am

Michael –

First off, let me say I didn’t mean I was happy with the losses, just that things could and have been worse. I still think things are looking up for the Tigers. Also, I disagree with your assessment of the lineup. First off, have you checked out Pudge’s stats so far this year???? While not quite on par with Shelton’s, he’s putting up very respectable numbers. I think that Leyland is doing the right thing keeping him in the 3 spot. Nothing against Shelton, but this early in the year, I think its the right move to put the experienced hitter in the more stressful position. If he doesn’t produce, or Shelton doesn’t cool off, switch it around, otherwise, I see nothing wrong keeping Pudge as the number 3 hitter. Also, about the pitching, who do you expect him to go to, the fact is Verlander needed to come out and he went to who we had available.

Posted by phil on April 14th, 2006 at 2:37 pm

Pudge is going to ground into 30 double plays this year, most of them hard grounders ot the second baseman. Factor that in with his pure hatred for walking, and you have a very sub-par 3 hitter. Stress has nothing to do with it. They’re major leaguers. They want to do well and keep their jobs, and they all have stress.

Pudge is hitting .325 right now, but if (rather, when) that average drops to .280 we are in trouble.

Posted by Dan on April 17th, 2006 at 6:59 am

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