Well, it’s the rubber match of the Mariners series as the Tigers bring their 1-6 record in games to decide a series to Safeco, before an off day and then a home stand.
We just got through the first inning of the season (18 games), and it wasn’t very good. Pitching-wise, the Tigers were just awful, posting a 5.02 ERA, worse than every AL team other than Boston (5.58). Their WHIP of 1.49 is worst in the AL, and they allowed 71 BBs, second worst in the AL. Our bullpen is 12th in the league with an ERA of 5.47, and the starters are marginally better with an 11th best ERA of 4.81.
Incredibly, our hitting is in the middle of the pack with a .244 BA (8th), .703 OPS (9th) and 16 HR (7th).
With all of that, the boys are only 2 games under .500. So there should be hope, right? I expect the bullpen to get better, and Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver look primed to contribute sooner than later.
On the other hand, despite an AL-wide hitting slump, I do not see our bats getting much better unless someone in the farm can step up and contribute. AJax has been exposed, Inge is Inge, and Maggs’ next XBH will double his 2011 total through 30+ ABs. That’s right, Maggs is on pace for 270 ABs, and I think he’s being overused now. Guillen should be an improvement at 2B, but there is still no timetable for his return. VMart’s 1st trip to the DL is unlikely to be his last, and Peralta is regressing as a hitter. Unless Raburn can turn into the above average hitter I think he is and we get some more help from below today, .500 baseball is going to be about right for this team.
Erik Bedard goes for the Mariners. After sitting out all of 2010 recovering from shoulder surgery, Bedard has been hammered in his three 2011 starts to the tune of 13 ER in 13.2 IP and 1.97 WHIP. Which sounds just like the type of pitching that has shut down the Tigers recently.
Porcello climbs the hill for the Tigers looking to follow-up on a strong start against Oakland last week. In that effort he only lasted 6 IPs (103 pitches), but allowed just 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk.
Fun stat of the day – did you know that Austin Jackson is tied for fourth on the team with 1 HR? That’s one more than Maggs.
Today’s Peralta is protecting Cabrera? lineup:
1. AJax – CF
2. Raburn – 2B
3. Ordonez – DH
4. Cabrera – 1B
5. Peralta – SS
6. Boesch – LF
7. Inge – 3B
8. Ghost – RF
9. OMirG I’m starting – C