It had to end sometime. The Tigers dropped their first game of the season, and their solo hold on first place. Detroit is now tied with Cleveland at 5-1, but I don’t really think anyone is complaining. The roadtrip saw far more positives than negatives.
Kenny Rogers was hit around, and balls seemed to be just out of reach of Tiger defenders instead of being tailor-made double plays that we’d seen in the first 5 games. The defense also committed their first charged error when Carlos Guillen couldn’t cleanly pick a grounder in the hole. Ramon Santiago, filling in for Placido Polanco also appeared to neglect to cover second base for a force out.
And Chris Shelton didn’t continue to do what Chris Shelton does. He was 0 for 4 with 3 strike-outs. His last 5 at-bats have been K-K-K-pop out-K. I guess a .700 batting average is a little too much to expect Big Red to sustain.
So out of all the positives that we witnessed on the road trip, what was the biggest for you? Was it Chris Shelton mashing? The Tigers offense clicking and cranking? An entire trip through the rotation where the starters picked up the wins? The debuts of Joel Zumaya and/or Jordan Tata, or Justin Verlander’s dominant performance?
Granderson was an outfielder at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I saw him play college ball and was impressed. He had a smooth swing, good command of the strike zone, and to me at least he looked like he had good tools, decent speed that helped him on the outfield and on the bases. The only tool that didn’t look at least average to me was his throwing arm.
Granderson hit .483 with nine homers and 17 steals for Illinois-Chicago in ’02, ranking second to Rickie Weeks in the NCAA Division I batting hunt. So we had a guy with an excellent performance track record and good physical tools. I picked him in the second round of my Twins Shadow Draft. In real life, he went to the Tigers in the third round.
He lasted until the third round because scouts didn’t like his tools. The word was that his speed and athleticism were mediocre, and that he wouldn’t hit for much power with wood. But that’s not what I saw in him. I saw a player with solid tools, a good measure of refinement, and a fine track record. He also had a good work ethic and was intelligent.