Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tigers swept by Royals, Sheffield hurt

Could the Tigers have gotten off to a worse start? They have been swept by the Royals at home 5-4, 4-0 and today 4-1. An offense, which many predict will be the best Tigers offense since the 1930s, has scored just 5 runs in 3 games. I did not see today's games but from most accounts it was another lackluster performance. Zack Greinke held them to just 1 run on 6 hits over 7 innings with the only Tiger run scoring on a solo home run by Brandon Inge in the 7th.

Starter Jeremy Bonderman gave up all four runs in 6 1/3 innings, one of the runs scoring after he left the game. Bobby Seay and Aquilino Lopez finished it off keeping at 4 runs. That's 4 straight games the pitching staff held the Royals to 4 runs. With the Tigers offense that kind of pitching should win most games but not way they are hitting right now.

As if the weak hitting was not bad enough, the injuries are starting to mount. With Curtis Granderson already of the disabled list, Miguel Cabrera missed today's game with a sore left quad, the same one that bothered him in spring training. He will try to return tomorrow. Then, during the game, Gary Sheffield hurt his finger on an attempted steal. Sheffield says he'll see how it feels tomorrow but the description does not sound encouraging to me:
He injured his left ring finger sliding into the bag. He said he tore a tendon in there, and he couldn't use it to grab a bat later in the game, so he wouldn't have been available. The finger was in a splint after the game to try to contain the swelling.
All of this suggests that we might see Cabrera at designated hitter and Inge at third base this weekend. Clete Thomas would probably continue to play center field but I imagine he could be platooned against left-handers.

Speaking of Thomas, he went 1 for 4 and hit another ball really well in his first major league start. He learned less than two hours before the game that he would be starting in center field (with Inge moving to third to replace the injured Cabrera) and leading off. Thomas faced former Team Florida USA teammates Greinke and Billy Butler.

The Tigers will stay at home for a three game series versus the White Sox this weekend. Tomorrow afternoon's series opener will feature a match-up of Nate Robertson versus Jose Contreras.

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