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Kenny Rogers, Devil Rays and Sean Casey

Another rough outing by Kenny Rogers.  He did cross another innings threshold in yesterday’s start (now has 130 1/3 innings) so it’ll be interesting to see whether he further regresses or can bounce back.  His ERA is now up to 4.63 and his WHIP (1.30) and batting average against (.266) are both right around his career averages.  He’s now only had one start in his last seven where he gave up less then four runs.  Probably the most distressing was the uncharecteristic four walks that he gave up last night.  Two of those guys ended up scoring runs so they came back to haunt as they usually do.

Wil Ledezma gave up a run and allowed an inherited runner to score in his two innings of work, but he struck out four batters.  So he was a mixed bag.  Those two runs didn’t end up coming into play, but after the two runs in the ninth, the Tigers would have been a lot closer then the 7-3 deficit they faced.

Casey Fossum made us look bad at times.  He struck out ten Tigers and it wasn’t until the Tigers got deeper into the pen when they finally put a couple of more runs on the board.  Craig Monroe and Dmitri Young hit back to back homeruns in the ninth but by then, the game was pretty much over.  The Devil Rays bunched all of their runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth. 

Today, Justin Verlander goes up against former Royal J.P. Howell.  Howell came over to the Devil Rays from the Royals in the Joey Gathright trade, and he was a decent pitching prospect who got stuck in the Royal’s farm system.  He makes his season debut in place of the injured Scott Kazmir.  Sean Casey will make his Tiger debut.

I know there’s been no comments yet in this thread, but this is addressed to Dan, the frequent and consistently negative commenter.

I read your concerns about the Tigers, and to be honest, I think all of them are valid. Robertson and Rogers pasts do scare me, and Bonderman and Verlander’s ages make me a little nervous as to what they have to offer the rest of the season. Plus, I think Zach Miner might be exposed as having used smoke and mirrors to get to his current record and I have no idea what to expect out of Maroth when he returns. The bullpen makes me a little queasy lately, too.

The lineup is usually maddeningly lacking in discipline, patience and concentration. And an injury prone lineup has lost a surprisingly small number of games to injury and that built up karma scares me.

All of your concerns may be valid, and this team may be teetering on the brink. I just wonder what is the point of screaming it all season long. Most of us expected a tad under .500 this year and spent April through June waiting for the collapse, but saying “We’ll enjoy it while it lasts.”

Well, it’s August and it would take what I believe would be a historical collapse for the Tigers to miss the playoffs and here your are still yelling from the mountaintop that they’re in for a spill. And for what? To be able to point and say, “I told you so.” Who cares?

Sports are entertainment, and if you haven’t been able to enjoy the season the Tigers have put together to this point for what it is, it seems to me you’re missing the forest for the trees. After all, I would imagine each win they accumulate from here on out will put them one beyond your own preseason prediction so each win should be gravy at this point.

My point is this team lost 119 games less than three seasons ago and TO THIS POINT they have been the best team in baseball. At the very least, this is a season that finally gives them something to build on, and it should be appreciated as such. At the most, this is a team that has a shot at the WS and as a fan, I’m going to cross my fingers hoping for that no matter how skeptical I am deep down. If I don’t do that, why am I even bothering with all this time I’ve invested?

I’m sorry to take up so much space on this, but negativity like this tends to suck some of the joy out of this season when joy is what seasons like this should – and really, sports in general – be all about. I know it’s all about the rings, but if you don’t appreciate the seasons in between, you’re in for a pretty bitter existence as a sports fan.

Posted by Matt on August 1st, 2006 at 8:31 am

If negativity sucks some of the joy out of it, that’s your problem. Give me a break. If what some jerk in Chicago has to say about the team diminishes the joy for you in any way, you have bigger problems than a possibly failing baseball team.

What’s the point of the negativity? I don’t know. What’s the point of talking about any of this? What’s the point of anyone giving his or her opinion about anything having to do with the Tigers? If it’s all about just enjoying the ride, then let’s stop having comments on web sites.

Maybe I’m trying to raise awareness, Matt. Maybe I’m tired of people living in a dream world, forgetting where the team came from and how it got there. It’s amazing how people delude themselves. Two hot weeks and a player is a god, Everyone forgets that he is no good. Marcus Thames did nothing but destory the ball for over two years before he was given a chance (and he’s often benched to this day) because people had a perception that he wasn’t any good, and that perception could have been cut through with a little dose of reality, a little critical thinking.

The world lacks critical thinkers, in all arenas. Maybe I’m an asshole. I’ll go ahead and say that I am, but it’s not because I want to be right. It’s because of the manner in which I express myself. Nothing was done to fix this team because everyone forget we weren’t supposed to be very good and no one, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON, seems to realize how easily we could slip back into that team. Baseball is a weird game for its long season, and improvements in marginal things add up in astonishing ways. Many people, incuding sportswriters, broadcasters, fans, and bloggers have no concept of how delicate the line is between success and failure.

Here is the difference between you and me. Actually, here is the difference between me and almost everyone who has ever come on this board or any message board having to do with the team: If the Tigers win I will embrace it and admit that I was too pessimistic. If it turns out that Dombrowski is a miracle worker who goes beyond just making more sound decisions than unsound decision, if he actually can see into the future to know that a player like Mike Maroth or Zach Miner or Carlos Guillen would far exceed expectations, then I’ll turn around and enjoy it, happier than I have ever ben in my life because I was wrong.

What will happen if I am right? Nothing. No one will say a thing, no one will learn, and I know that. I wish it were different, but it isn’t. People see what they want to see. No one will stop and say, “Hey, if we held those responsible to higher standards, maybe this wouldn’t have happened! Maybe if we give up tax money to a multimillionaire so that he can build a stadium that we pay to get into, we can put some pressure on for something to be done. When geting into the playoffs is worth upwards of $25 million, and we have a team that has promised to overpay for free agents, maybe we can ask them to make an earnest effort to shoot for the glory. Maybe we can think critically, go over evidence, and start looking at real possibilities regardless of whether or not they are what we want to hear.”

Maybe I am wrong. Let’s hope so. Until then, indulge me in the logical arguments and think for a second about how stupid it is to allow negativity, whatever the form, take away from the enjoyment you’ve had so far this year. Hell, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment I’ve had, and I’m the actual SOURCE of the negativity.

Also, you can’t speak to what I experience as a sports fan based on what I tell a Tigers message board. You’re not there with me when I’m watching the games, and you don’t follow me around as I do laundry after a Tigers win, whistling all the way, enjoying a beer. You don’t know anything about it, and when you think about what you’re saying, it’s completely ridiculous. You don’t like my opinions on a Tigers message board. You may pour your heart out here, in a sort of support-group atmosphere, but I come here to talk business and to talk facts. If you have anything like that to discuss go ahead and do so. If you want feel good rambling then start a website of your own, one that restricts the posts of cynics.

Posted by Dan on August 1st, 2006 at 9:32 am


well said.

Posted by Michael on August 1st, 2006 at 9:42 am

Well, I woke up this morning realizing that the sinking feeling I had before I went to bed last night had nothing to do with the Tigers bombing two games, it was only gas! Dan, I appreciate your perspective. I really do! You obviously come from a statistical point of view and you look at every players history and tendency and try to project that into how the team will perform. But don’t say I live in a dream world when reality is that the Tigers are currently sitting in first place with a 7 1/2 game lead on August 1st. That is reality! Now what they do from here on out is obviously open for debate. They could lose the next ten and be in third place in two weeks. Who knows!

As for looking at the numbers, like I said before, the numbers of certain players is well documented by the media. Contrary to what you think, I’m not ignorant of the history. However I will argue that on players like Robertson, Bonderman, and Zumaya especially there isn’t enough history to establish the kinds of statistical trends you’re trying to say exist. Now with Kenny Rogers, the history is established over enough time that I have no doubt it’s true. We’re seeing it before our very eyes. But particularly with the young Tigers who have grown up in this organization I don’t think you can build statistical trends based on just two or three seasons, especially considering the overall performance is this team over the past few seasons in particular.

So don’t get your panties in a wad. I appreciate where you’re coming from. I just happen to disagree with SOME of what your saying.

Here’s a question for you guys though: If the Tigers had so to speak mortgaged the future (traded Sanchez and Maybin)and acquired Soriano do you really think the Tigers could relax the last two months of the season? It seems to me from reading some of the comments on this site that the Tigers should have traded for a stud pitcher instead of the stud hitter, with the way they’re falling apart and all. As for Shelton, he was destined for AAA even if the Tigers had traded for Soriano. I’ve read in more than one place that they intended to try Soriano at first. Anyways, enough said for now.

Posted by Jeff on August 1st, 2006 at 10:03 am

first off no one said they should include Maybin for soriano. I would be against that.

By not making a few moves to soidify things leads me to believe that managment feels they have everything they need and that a collapse is not gonna happen. maybe thats the case. I hope it is. But if a collapse happens, I will not care that the tigers had an above .500 year. this year will be a complete failure if that happens. I expect them to win now because tiger brass expects them to win. If they didnt expect this team to win they would have made some moves…right?

Posted by Michael on August 1st, 2006 at 10:37 am

To use a (labored) analogy, let’s say the blog was a bar after a Tiger win in the 12th inning. Most everybody else was enjoying the ride and clinking bottles in celebration and from your comments all season long, you appeared to be the sullen guy clutching his beer and complaining that the game would have been over three innings ago if Leyland would have left in Ordonez or penciled in the right lineup. My post was the equivalent of somebody going up to that guy and putting an arm around him in an effort to coax him into just enjoying the win. Looking back, perhaps it was silly to think the persona you have established on this blog was an accurate depiction of your “fanhood”. When I said the negativity sucked some of the fun out of the season, it was just the same way “that guy” in the bar does. I’m still having a helluva time regardless; I just wish this guy could join everyone else. Clearly, you’re enjoying what’s going on just like the rest of us and I’m glad – really. You just appear to be a little more willing to voice your concerns, and are a lot more certain that your fears will come to be. That’s fine, too.

Now, for the baseball argument, over at my blog – perhaps I should call it Delusional Super Happy Tiger Fan – I did a preview of the Twins and in my research I was stunned to find how good they had become since the last time the Tigers had played them. Their numbers were truly frightening and I wasn’t sure the Tigers would take one game of the three. But they’re no juggernaut as the Tigers were able to expose a bit. Morneau has been playing at a rate I really doubt he can maintain, as have Jason Bartlett and probably Nick Punto. But even with all their improvement, they gained only three games on the Tigers and while they were going 34-8, they scored roughly the same number of runs as the Tigers over that span. The Twins are still shaky in the fourth and fifth slots of their rotation and in Santana’s last six starts, his ERA has been 4.74. Even you concede that the Tigers are a .500 team, and if that’s the case, the Twins will have to go 40-19 to pass them and that is a rate about 100 points higher than the rate they have established over the rest of the season. I, for one, think the Tigers have a little better than .500 in them, and I don’t think the Twins are going to win 100 games. I’ve been playing the “If they go .500 from here” game all season long, and I finally think they’ve gotten to the point where that would do the trick. What about the White Sox? I think their rotation may finally be getting exposed as not being as good as people thought, and I doubt they have the required run in them either.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I didn’t think the Casey deal was all that big of a deal either. It’s not going to make them and I doubt it’s going to break them. They’ll only be without Shelton for a month, and hopefully when he comes back after rosters expand he’ll be the hitter we saw in April.

Brian – again, I apologize if you see this as hi-jacking your blog. It just took a while to address the points being made in this conversation.

Posted by Matt on August 1st, 2006 at 11:29 am

Right. the casey deal does not make or break us. you are correct. So we stood pat. we kept the status quo. we needed to bolster not stand pat. The yankees bolstered. The twins are showing no signs of slowing. the tigers are leveling off. That could spell disaster. I say it could. It may not. Lets all hope it doesnt.

Posted by Michael on August 1st, 2006 at 12:01 pm

another thing to keep in mind. If we were 5 games over .500 right now I’d be “enjoying the ride”…and so would dan. But when your team is 70-35 you are expected to make a run for the entire shabang! not to get into the playoffs! by not making moves to compete with the yankees and the red sox we are showing that we arent really that intrested in winning it all. there is no way a lineup with monroe and young inserted daily into it are going to strike fear in the those teams. slider low and inside after slider low and inside to both of them will end that discussion.

Posted by Michael on August 1st, 2006 at 12:07 pm

Now you guys have finally joined the discussion, and you make some good points. I only wish I had time to address them! You’re right about a bunch of stuff. Anyway, I’ll be at the Cubs game tonight anxiously looking at the scoreboard all night. We should take this game, with Verlander going up against a rookie.

Hope to get back to the board soon to keep the discussion going. It’s nice to be talking with Tigers fans about the playoffs, in any case, so there’s some positivity for you…

Posted by Dan on August 1st, 2006 at 12:13 pm

Check that, Dan…

Should have said…”We should take this game with Verlander going up against a rookie who couldn’t crack the Royals’ rotation this year.”


Posted by Chris on August 1st, 2006 at 1:56 pm

I think maybe the Tigers’ demise is being a bit overstated. Yes they haven’t played that well the last couple of days, and no, I don’t think they have the horses to win once they make the playoffs.

But lets keep a little perspective on the big picture. If the Tiger’s are “leveling off”, you would expect teams to be catching up, and you would expect there to be some “4-6” or “5-5″‘s in the Tigers last ten games. But every day you see a “6-4″ or a 7-3” in the standings.

And in the last month (since July 1), exactly how much ground has the rest of the league gained?

The big leap has been from the Twins and Angels, who have gained a whopping 1.5 games. The Yankees have gained 1 game. Everybod else has fallen back even further. Boston 2 games, Chicago 6 games, Toronto 4.5, Oakland 2.5 . . .

So if you look at the big picture, the Tigers of July are much like the Tigers of May and June. Lots of strike outs, some ugly wins, rollercoaster bullpen . . . a steady “6-4” out of every ten regardless.

Posted by Ben on August 1st, 2006 at 2:36 pm

good way to start August. Lets have a great month.

Posted by Michael on August 1st, 2006 at 8:40 pm

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