It’s going to be feast or famine for me writing the next few weeks because I’m knee deep into my busy work season. Fortunately I’m past one big deadline and the next one isn’t for a month so I have a little bit of breathing room. I’ve watched/listened to some games, but haven’t followed the team as much as I like so in looking at the numbers and from what I’ve picked up from the games I’ve watched, here’s some of the highlights so far this spring.
1) The Tigers aren’t much closer to picking a fifth starter and who’s going to pitch in the fourth spot is a little less clear then this time a month ago. Jeremy Bonderman was labeled the fourth starter but he’s been roughed up so far. He has some time to redeem himself but both Nate Robertson (who’s pitching as I write this) and Dontrelle Willis (???) have had a decent spring so far. Armando Galarraga, who I probably would have predicted as the fifth starter, has also had a rought time. It’s still early and it’s the spring so things could still swing one way or the other but the Tigers could have some tough decisions to make.
2) Austin Jackson looks a lot better then I thought he would at this point. I though Jackson would struggle and start the season in the minors for the first month or two but he’s forcing his way into the leadoff spot on opening day with a .433/.528/.700 line so far this spring. He also has two triples and two steals and it’ll be interesting how he fills out Curtis Granderson’s shoes.
3) All three pitchers that the Tigers got in the Granderson/Jackson trade have struggled. The most important is Max Scherzer, who’s given up eleven hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. He does have seven strikeouts but his ERA looks pretty ugly right now. Dan Schlereth and Phil Coke have also had bad outings for the team.
4) I’m cautiously optimistic about Scott Sizemore now. His numbers aren’t great, but he’s playing after that broken leg. He hit his first home run on Monday during the telecast.
5) Magglio Ordonez is driving the ball. He has two home runs and a double along with six singles for a .615 slugging percentage. Having a 35 double/20 home run Magglio would be huge this season.
6) One of the biggest question marks is who’s going to be the backup catcher. Al Avila has been solid, but you wonder if they’ll want him at Toledo so he can play everyday. Robinzon Diaz has been okay at the plate so he could end up being the backup to start the season but he’ll be kept on a short leash with Avila in the wings.
There’s still almost three weeks left of spring ball though so a lot can happen. Stay tuned.