April clowns bring May frowns, as the old saying goes.
So what are the Tigers to do about their woeful offense? Jim Leyland says that they have to concentrate better with 2 strikes. Lynn Henning suggests they should offer some of their good pitching prospects to the Mets and replace Inge with David Wright. Sure, Inge isn’t hitting, but he’s the number 9 hitter. That tends to happen. But when your number 3 hitter is hitting .159 with 1 RBI, now THAT’s a problem. When your DH can’t get a ball out of the infield, that’s a problem. He is the designated hitter. He is designated to, you know, HIT. This might not be as obvious as it seems, since the Tigers haven’t had a strong DH since Leyland has been managing the team. He tends to use the DH spot as a place for semi-rest for the weary, instead of a place for a fearsome bat.
And as far as the concentrating with 2 strikes things goes, here are Ordonez’ ABs yesterday
- first pitch, ground out to 3rd
- first pitch, ground out to SS (runner left on 1st)
- first pitch, popup to 2nd (runner left on 2nd)
- 2-1 count, ground out to 2nd
- K, 3 pitches
- first pitch, ground out to 2nd (runner left on 1st)
The 3rd AB was particularly annoying. Austin Jackson had a good AB and worked a walk after a 1-2 count (good concentration!), and Leyland had Rhymes bunt him to 2nd. Really? You really just wasted an out to move him to 2nd with Ordonez coming up? Of course Ordonez grounded out, and Cabrera was intentionally walked.
For whatever reason, Ordonez is just not capable right now; it’s 2008 Gary Sheffield all over again. He at least needs some time off. I know Leyland is a players’ manager, and I know that this often pays off, but this can’t continue forever. It’s not fair to Magglio. Magglio is still a fan favorite, but eventually he will be greeted with boos when he steps up to the plate, and he deserves better than that.
This afternoon, Phil Coke (1-4) takes on the undefeated Justin Masterson (5-0) as the Tigers try to avoid the back-to-back sweep. And it looks like Maggs has the day off. Finally.
Player of the Pre-Game: Al Alburquerque
Yes, I know he will have the day off. But lost in the loss yesterday was a completely dominating 3 innings by Captain Querque. He threw strike after strike and slider after slider, and the Indians were helpless. Not only did he strike out 6 of 9 batters (the last Tiger reliever to do that was Willie Hernandez), but the other 3 batters couldn’t get the ball out of the infield. Good stuff.
Today’s sweep-stopping lineup:
- Rhymes 2B
- Santiago SS
- Kelly RF
- Cabrera 1B
- Boesch DH
- Raburn LF
- Avila C
- Inge 3B
- Jackson CF