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Same Old Problems….

I realize that the Tigers performance thus far is a very small sample of the what may occur during the entire season, yet, I am very troubled by the manner in which they are losing games. They are still losing close games. The starting pitching is still unreliable. In a very short time, I have lowered my expectations significantly.

In a pivotal season, I held very high hopes that the Tigers would make significant improvements. Instead, I have seen an unreliable bullpen that is issuing walks (something it can ill afford to do) and generally unable to slam the door shut. The team could have saved several millions of dollars and kept Esteban Yan and yielded similar results. Especially troubling, any perceived trade value for Ugueth Urbina may be being flushed down the toilet as he continues to perform terribly. The Twin series is a case in point. When they turn to their power arms in their bullpen, you may as well hang it up. The Tiger hitters absolutely can not touch the Twin’s bullpen pitching.

The performance of the starters is also discouraging. Someone on this staff will have to step forward and develop some consistency. Otherwise, it will be a VERY long season. I really like the triumvirate of Bonderman, Ledezma, and Robertson. Those three pitchers appear to have a future ahead of them. The team especially needs to be able to rely on the more seasoned arms of Mike Maroth and Jason Johnson. Neither of them has done anything to prove that they have improved one iota over past seasons. Again, a team like the Twins stands as a stark contrast of what the Tigers should be aiming for performance-wise.

Even more devastating when playing the Twins is their shrewdly technical execution of pure baseball. As soon as Percival walked the Twin hitter on Tuesday night, I knew that they would succesfully sacrifice him over to second and bring in that winning run. The Tigers really can mash the ball. Their team will give teams like the Yankees, Baltimore and Texas a run as far as scoring runs. Yet, as much as Alan Trammell seems to be a proponent of small ball, this is not the type of team who will be able to squeak out a much-needed run against quality pitching. Their execution is sloppy, and the bats remain just as inconsistent as their pitching arms.

The Tigers can ill afford to end the month 5 games out of first place if they intend remaining in the picture as contenders in their division. They have a lot of games against divisional opponents and have to win some of these series. What we have witnessed recently does little to instill confidence that they will be able to do so. I realize, that they have been without their best hitter, still all good teams have to face adversity and overcome it. It is a long season, I hope the Tigers find their groove before it is too late.

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