Monday, September 03, 2007

Back From Vacation

No, I haven't given up on the Tigers. I just got back from Vermont where I had no internet access for the weekend. I did have cable in my hotel room and XM in my car but the only inning I actually heard was the 9th inning on Sunday and I wish I hadn't. Because I saw so little, it would be pointless for me to try to offer any analysis of the last 2 games. Sunday's game was a killer though especially given that they had a chance to gain on the 3 teams they are trying to catch.

They are now down by 6 games in the AL Central so a division title is not looking too realistic right now. The wild card looks like a better opportunity. the Yankees lead the wild card by a game over the Mariners and 2 1/2 games over the Tigers. The Yankees have been the strongest of the 3 teams since the all-star break but their shaky pitching staff makes them vulnerable. The Mariners don't look very strong to me. I think the Tigers can win this thing if they finish strong.

What I'm not too confident about is the Tigers finishing strong. They have gone 16-28 since July 19. That's more than a quarter of the season which is a pretty long "slump". They are not healthy. They are not playing consistently well in any phase of the game. They have resorted to desperate measures such as promoting the exciting but very raw and unready 20 year old Cameron Maybin. Jim Leyland is juggling unproven rookies and mediocre backup outfielders in the third spot of the line-up. Ramon Santiago is their new starting shortstop. This is a move of which I approve give the alternatives but the fact that they have forced into such a move shows how the season has unraveled.

Up next is a 3 game series against a team that has actually played as poorly as the Tigers over the last month and a half. The last place Chicago White Sox come to Comerica having lost 8 out of 10. Game one will be tomorrow night with Jeremy Bonderman facing Jon Garland. A lot of things need to go right if the Tigers are going to get into the playoffs. One of those things is a strong finish by Bonderman. Hopefully, he can build on his strong performance versus the Royals last week.

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