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Unraveling-What does the recent West Coast Road Trip tell us?

I am apalled by the performance of the Tigers in their recent six game road trip against the Mariner’s and A’s. They were coming off two very successful series against the White Sox and Twin’s and with the healthy return of Placido Polanco were about to feature their best and most ideal lineup for the first time this season. Yet, to use an euphemism, they pissed down their legs.

How else can you analyze the run of recent poor performances by their starting pitching? Or their fielding and baserunning errors? Or the complete lack of timely hitting? The team constantly gets shut down by pitchers like Kirk Saarloos, Shawn Estes and Scott Elarton because it has an absolute inability to refrain from swinging aggressively at pitches out of the strike zone, or to use Jim Price’s term, “pitcher’s pitches”.

The recent road trip doesn’t bode well for the future of Alan Trammell as the team’s manger in my opinion. The team should have been highly motivated and competitive for the duration of it’s west coast journey, but yet Trammell was unable to yield respectable results from their increasingly aging and high- priced roster. Trammell promised upon his hiring that the team would play solid baseball and throughout his tenure the team has been rife with poor execution on the base paths, poor situational hitting, fielding errors and a general inability to build upon their successes on the field.

Even if the team ends the season with a better record than last year, is it really a victory? Mediocrity would seem to be the worst curse to bestow upon a rebuilding franchise. It would be better for the team’s long term development, in my opinion, that they sacrifice the season (and a marginal record) to continue to advance the development of young players like Chris Shelton, Curtis Granderson, Roman Colon, Fernando Rodney, and Justin Verlander. This prospect probably would disappoint many fans, much like the trade of Kyle Farnsworth. I don’t blame the front office for waving the white flag at this point. The team could have either Kyle or Jeff Farnsworth as it’s closer and would make no real difference at this point. The last thing I want to see is a lineup filled with Dmitri Young, Rondell White, Jason Johnson and anybody else who no longer remains in the team’s long term plans playing in September as the team languishes to keep a .500 record. To me, neither the team or it’s loyal fans benefit from that ominous scenario.

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