Friday, August 18, 2006

Monroe Left on Third

The Tigers lost to the Rangers 2-1 tonight despite some strong pitching from Zach Miner and the bullpen. Miner pitched 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 8 hits. He was followed by Jason Grilli and Wil Ledezma who combined for 3 perfect innings of relief. So they got a very well pitched game from three pitchers who were not supposed to be part of their plans this year. That kind of thing no longer comes as surprise.. When it comes to run prevention, everything has worked for the Tigers this year.

Unfortunately, their offense does not always work and tonight was one of those nights. The Tigers managed just 5 hits against Kevin Millwood and three Ranger relievers. They scored their only run of the game on a solo shot by Dmitri Young who now has 6 homers in 20 games since his return. They did have a golden opportunity to score in the 9th though. Craig Monroe led off with a triple against closer Akinori Otsuka. All they needed was a sacrifice fly or a bloop single to tie the game. However, Dmitri Young, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen all hit infield grounders. And Monroe was left standing on third.

Despite the loss, the Tigers kept their 6 1/2 game lead over the White Sox who lost to the Twins tonight. The Twins are now 7 1/2 games behind. In game 3 of the series tomorrow night, it will be Nate Robertson versus Robinson Tejada. on Sunday afternoon, Jeremy Bonderman will face John Koronka. Those are two favorable matchups for the Tigers but they will have to hit better than they did tonight.

Tigers Who are Not Hot

Last night, I made a list of Tigers who have been hot as of late. Tonight, I'll give you a list of Tigers who have not been hot:

Curtis Granderson is batting .232/.297/.312 since July 1. Apparently pitchers have adjusted to him and he now needs to make an adjustment. Hopefully, he can figure things out quicker than Chris Shelton. What saves him right now is his good defense in center field, something that is especially important in big Comerica Park. I still have a lot of confidence in Granderson and I expect a long solid career for him.

Magglio Ordonez is batting .256/.301/.365 since July 1 and his OPS for the season has dropped to .810. He does not save himself with defense either. The fact that their clean-up hitter has been in a slump for 7 weeks concerns me.

Marcus Thames has batted .183/.255/.409 since July 1 and has lost a good deal of playing time since the return of Young. Since the Tigers have never been tolerant of a Thames slump and there is really no place to put him right now, he'll probably have to wait for an injury before getting another chance to play regularly.

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