Coming from behind

I spent the last 4 days enjoying Up North Michigan, specifically the Petoskey area. I haven’t really seen Alex Avila do his thing yet, and I missed another Carl Pavano gem. I tried to keep up the best I could but I know I’m lagging behind so I’ll at least try and tie the score today.

Alex Avila

Speaking of Alex Avila, the kid had a mighty fine debut. After 2 games people are ready for him to have the starting job, relegate Gerald Laird to the bench, and make statue plans. I’m thrilled with his debut and I do think that Avila is the catcher of the future, but let’s not jump to too many conclusions after 2 games – except for the conclusion that Avila’s place in the organization isn’t based on nepotism.

I do like Leyland’s plan to have Avila start 40% of the time and I think that will benefit both catchers. His decision to do it based on his starting pitcher as opposed to the other team’s pitcher is a little curious though.

The Return of the Offense

I don’t know if it was just the homestand, favorable match-ups, regression, or luck, but the offense had itself a decent homestand. Averaging over 5 runs a game is a welcome change, and Pavano even pitched in one of those games. Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera all had positive weeks. You know, like they were supposed to be doing all season. The offense couldn’t come at a better time because of the…

Faltering Pitching

Tigers pitchers have allowed 55 runs over the last 8 games, the worst 8 game stretch of the season by far. Justin Verlander has been tagged for 5 runs in consecutive starts. Armando Galarraga has people questioning whether he’ll make his next start. Jarrod Washburn has seen the ball leave the yard with regularity (his home run/fly ball rate was ridiculously low before arriving here – instant regression). Is it a bad stretch or is the pitching fading? It’ll be tough to gauge over the next 4 games because…

Red Sox are next

The Red Sox are a team that is struggling. They were just swept by the Yankees are now tied with the Rangers in the Wild Card race. They are traditionally a good offensive team, but after scoring 18 runs against the Orioles they only plated 14 runs in their next 6 games. But like the Tigers they are a much better home team taking 2 of every 3 in Fenway and their slump could be cured with home cooking.

Links Galore

A bunch of stuff you should read and see from the last few days:

11 Comments

  1. ouchudied

    August 10, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I’m also in northern Michigan in the Petoskey area and been here all summer… great area minus the fact I have no TV and can’t watch any Tigers games. Unfortunately this summer has been uncharacteristically rainy and cold.

  2. Anson

    August 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I happened to be looking at Eddie’s Elias rankings (http://www.scribd.com/doc/18014543/Rankings-080109) and noticed that our top two relievers (according to the rankings: Rodney and Lyon) are both B’s and free agents after this year. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I know Perry could probably step in a fell the set-up man’s role if he can get his control down but losing our closer and set-up man might be a bit much.

    • walter55

      August 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm

      Actually he has Rodney as a type A is his most recent rankings and Polanco is a the top rated Type B and is very close to a type A. I would imagine both will be offered arbitration no matter what their rankings. It will be interesting to see what the Tigers decide to do with Rodney but I think Polanco is gone and will get a multi year deal with another team.

  3. Keith (Mr. X)

    August 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    7 Games again this week. Here are the pitching match-ups-

    Game 1 Jackson (8-5, 2.62 ERA) vs Penny (7-6, 5.20 ERA)
    Game 2 Porcello (10-7, 4.30 ERA) vs Tazawa (0-1, Only 1.2 innings in MLB. 10.80 ERA)
    Game 3 Galarraga (6-10, 5.24 ERA) vs Beckett (13-4, 3.12 ERA)
    Game 4 Verlander (12-6, 3.45 ERA) vs Buchholz (1-2, 5.33 ERA)
    Game 5 Washburn (8-7, 3.12 ERA) vs Greinke (11-7, 2.43 ERA)
    Game 6 Jackson (8-5, 2.62 ERA) vs Hochevar (6-5, 5.38 ERA)
    Game 7 Porcello (10-7, 4.30 ERA) vs Davies (3-8, 6.37 ERA)

    Good news is that we miss John Lester, bad news is that we run into a red hot Josh Beckett. We also have to face Zack Grienke, who we actually beat the last time we faced him.
    I think we should have a legitimate chance to win 3 of the games in Boston and all 3 of the games at home vs KC.

  4. Mark in Chicago

    August 10, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    The Galarraga-Beckett matchup is almost unfair, I do not have a good feeling about that one. I do like the fact that Boston gets our top 3 starters, though.

    KC has been playing terrible baseball for 2 months, so we SHOULD win all 3 of those games, but something tells me we’ll drop one of them. I think we’ll play pretty solid against Boston, though.

    I looked at the schedule, we have 25 road games and 27 home games remaining. If we can go .500 on the road (12 wins) and .600 at home (16 wins), we would finish with 87 wins, which should be enough to sneak into the playoffs. We are on pace now for that many, so I don’t think it’s a stretch. The really nice part is that we are 4 games up on the White Sox in the loss column, and have played 2 fewer games. As long as we continue to do well against the division (we’re 25-19), we should be ok. However, a nice 6-7 game winning streak sure would be nice. ;-)

  5. 63 Tiger

    August 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    [I do like Leyland’s plan to have Avila start 40% of the time and I think that will benefit both catchers. His decision to do it based on his starting pitcher as opposed to the other team’s pitcher is a little curious though.]

    Makes sense to me. The kid has only been catching for 2 years. Why over load him with learning 5 pitchers instead of 2. Also why mess up a good working relationship Laird had going with V and J?

    • Andre in Chi

      August 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      The curiosity revolves around the two players respective hot/cold batting splits. Laird hits LHs much better than RHs, while Avila hits RHs very well. If the move was made with an eye towards offense, it would have made more sense to split them according to the opposition pitching.

      Your point about not messing with whoever is catching JV and EJ is valid though, but again, they were bringing Avila up for his offense…why not maximize it?

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        August 10, 2009 at 7:07 pm

        In theory it sounds good to play the splits, but we face 7 right handed pitchers this week and haven’t faced a lefty starter since Matusz last Tuesday.

  6. Coleman

    August 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    It would be nice to have another game with some doubles; singles and solo HRs probably won’t be enough against Boston (and I’m not holding my breath for walks).

    I was just having some XBH-envy looking at Pujols’ stats: Pujols is out of his mind this season. He’s at 100 RBI already and already has 36 HR; his SLG % is a ridiculous .682 (his previous career high is .671). Joe Mauer has been bashing the ball and is slugging at a mere .615 to lead the AL.

    Which is making me think, you know what would have been fun? Watching the Tigers in Hank Greenberg’s heyday. How about this run of slugging % from ’37 – ’40: .668 .683 .622 .670. (And in ’37 Rudy York slugged a mere .651 to boot). In other words he put up 2 seasons like Pujols, one Mauer, then another Pujols. (Yeah, I know, Barry Bonds…so I’d rather watch Greenberg, he was a Tiger, sue me).

    (Highest by a current Tiger: Ordonez for CWS in ’02, .597 (and he had the 2nd highest, .595 in ’07, while a Tiger).

  7. John

    August 10, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Its a joke to say Avila is not in the Mlb because of his dad! Give me a break!
    What planet do you live on. He was 3/33 when he got called in to get the call up. He thought he was going to be sent down. He took a job from some one who earned it. Sad!

    • billfer

      August 10, 2009 at 10:01 pm

      What planet do you live on? Why would they possibly call up a kid in a pennant race just to appease the Assistant GM? And who earned it? I like Ryan and thought he should have played more but Leyland clearly didn’t think he had earned it.