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The More Things Change……

….the more they stay the same?  This was a tough series to lose.  While there’s no shame in losing to Johan Santana on Sunday, Saturday’s game didn’t sit to well.  They don’t call him the roller coaster for nothing and Todd Jones blew his first game of the season.  Already I’m hearing people talking on the radio about the Tigers supplanting Jones as the closer, but I don’t see that happening.  Also troubling in Saturday’s game was that the Tigers struck out ten times (and Scott Baker isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher) and didn’t walk at all. 

I was curious why Leyland didn’t walk at least one guy after Shannon Stewart tripled home Nick Punto.  That would have set them up at a chance for a double play, but I can also see Leyland’s logic in not doing so because he would have either had to face Joe Mauer or Torii Hunter.

Magglio Ordonez has been locked in the past few days.  He hit a homerun in each of the three games against the Twins and with two more hits today he’s now hitting .313.  It’s nice to see he’s finally getting around to earning that paycheck.  Hopefully he’ll be able to keep it up.

Joel Zumaya had another nice outing on Saturday. He came in with Joe Mauer on second base and two outs and struck out Torii Hunter to end the inning.  Then he put the Twins down in order in the eighth inning.  He touched 100 miles an hour a few times on the gun.

The Tigers are off tomorrow and play a three game set at Baltimore beginning Tuesday.  The Orioles have lost their last five games and eight of their last nine so hopefully the Tigers can get back on track against against a struggling team.  The Orioles are dead last in MLB with a 1.64 WHIP and they’re second to last with a 5.55 ERA so it looks like Leo Mazzone hasn’t been able to work his magic quite yet.

I’m curious as to why Young is still on this team. Last night against Baltimore Young came up early in the game when the tigers were down 2-0. Batter before him walks on 4 pitches. A balk sends the runner to second and starts Young off with a ball before he even sees a pitch! What would you do in this situation? would you take some pitches? well young hacks away at the next pitch in the dirt and ends up striking out on 3 pitches. he finishes the night 0-4 with 3 strikeouts! he has no plan at the plate. He is garbage. Im glad he was alowed to collect 8 million this year. Are we playing him simply because he is expensive? is it that we cannot sit high paid players?

Posted by Michael on May 10th, 2006 at 7:14 am

He’s a “professional hitter” and he provides a “Veteran prescence.”

I’m joking of course. And yes, if Young can’t hit and drive in runs, then he’s a liability. He had the good year in 2003 and a great opening day last year, but outside of that, he’s been either hurt or mediocre.

Posted by Brian on May 10th, 2006 at 8:06 am

Bonds for Dmitri and an etc. Win-win. Do it!

PS – Yes, he cheated. He’s clean now and would be always clean as a Tiger.

Posted by WPZ on May 10th, 2006 at 10:31 am

That at bat was horrible, Mike, I agree with you. You have to be a complete idiot to do what Young did. He is a guy who has always relied on his physical skills, and now that those have faded considerably he is left with nothing because he has absolutely no clue what he is doing at the plate. It’s maddening. He does not see a 2-0 or a 3-1 count as a situation which has optimized his chances for some kind of positive outcome in the at bat. He sees it as a chance to swing at the next pitch, no questions asked. He’s a moron.

You see a lot of this sort of approach on the Tigers. You have to wonder if it is some sort of an institutional problem. The entire organization is probably this way. Sure, Young didn’t come up with the Tigers, but it is very clear that coming to the plate WITH A PLAN and adjusting it during the at bat is not stressed in the Detroit Tigers organization. You see swings at unbelievably dumb times with this team. Sure, you see it with certain players on other teams, too, but still–watch a Yankees or a Red Sox game, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. By and large, they wait until they get something to hit, and they’ll often take as part of a plan. At times they are visibly taking all the way when it isn’t 3-0, which, along with the occasional first pitch (even when it doesn’t make sense), is the only time you ever see a Tiger taking all the way. There are probabilities to consider, most of the time, and the Tigers don’t get it. Do not expect the Tigers to keep scoring runs at their current pace if they can’t figure this out.

A good example is Craig Monroe, who it seems decides to take or rake on an almost completely arbitrary basis. I think he has figured out that if he decides to jump on a fastball or a hanger before it’s even thrown he has enough power to hit 30 or even 35 home runs, and to him that probably means he’s automatically a good player. The real result is that he way too often is behind in the count, and he doesn’t walk or get good pitches to hit often enough to sustain a reasonable batting average. He’ll pop the homers when pitchers hang sliders or groove fastballs, but other than that he is useless. You end up hearing a bunch of garbage about how he has led the team in HRs or RBIs, and no one addresses the fact that he IS A SUBSTANDARD BASEBALL PLAYER. Left fielders are supposed to hit. Right now he is at .228/.278/.463. He will have to raise his batting average 60 points just to approach the output of an average left fielder. Anyone want to bet that that’s going to happen? His career OBP is .310.

I know the Tigers are doing well so far, and I’m trying to enjoy it, but it’s hard to think it’s going to last when it appears that the Tigers have never even realized they HAVE this problem. Mike’s post brought this all to mind. Young’s at bat is indicative of the kind of terrible play we’ve been used to over the last decade or so, and it’s deeply etched into my mind, like an irritating, permanent scar. A month and a half of good play hasn’t been enough to erase it.

Todd Jones is a different version of the same story, by the way. He’s a problem the Tigers don’t yet even realize they have. To go along with this blown save, don’t forget about the one he tried his hardest to blow against Tampa Bay a couple of weeks ago. Now, alas, we’ll have to watch him blow a few more just to lose the job he wasn’t right for in the first place.

I’m an angry person, I know. Go Tigers.

Posted by Dan on May 12th, 2006 at 7:37 am

Okay, that was tactless to call Dmitri and idiot. I don’t mean to be so cruel. He just frustrates me, that’s all.

Posted by Dan on May 12th, 2006 at 7:41 am

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