Detroit Tigers, 37-39, 4 games behind Chicago. Tiger record with Toby Harrah as Special Co-Hitting-Coach-Consultant-Guy: 2-0.
So what kind of genius thing was that anyway, the Toby Harrah deal? I’m not talking about the 32 hits in 2 games, that is most likely mere coincidence. But there was this dilemma: the Tiger offense was woefully underperforming, and fans wanted the head of Lloyd McClendon, if nothing else to “send a message” (although to whom, and about what, was less clear).
On the other hand, there was Leyland’s legendary loyalty to his coaches (and players), so at the same time, the scenario of a McClendon firing was almost unimaginable. Then someone had a truly brilliant insight: you don’t need to fire McClendon (loyalty intact)–just hire another hitting coach. In fact, they may be hiring more, who knows? There are no limits on the number of hitting coaches you can have (although they can’t all be in the dugout)…just wish I knew whose idea it was.
Or maybe the key to the offense is more hitting slumps. Leyland seems to think they are a good thing.
Max Scherzer leapfrogged Justin Verlander back into the AL strike out lead. This is a less frivolous thing than you might think. With Detroit’s gloveless wonders in the field (sorry Austin, but you can’t cover the entire field), every ball not put into play is a blessing.
Alas, poor Max, your lead will be short-lived, for The Man himself takes that mound tonight: it’s V-Day again. Justin Verlander is not in the mood to lose games. You can see it from his Game Post picture.
But Verlander will have to contend with Batman; former Tiger Will Rhymes (who we jettisoned because we had too many second basemen) is in the Rays’ lineup.
It’s not V-Mart day though: the news on Victor wasn’t bad per se, but it doesn’t look like an August return is in the cards . More mid-Septemberish.
And what’s up with Andy Dirks? This one has flown a bit under the radar. But Andy Dirks is actually 4th on the team in OPS (right between Cabrera and Fielder…think about that), and can actually glove it in the outfield. I think his absence from the team is vastly underrated.
Things are looking better for Al Alburquerque. If Al-Al could actually come back as anywhere near the pitcher he was last season, the Tiger bullpen could turn into something very special
Stat of the Day: Detroit and Texas are the only AL teams without a single at bat this season by a player 36 or older. Where have all the old dudes gone?
(The Tigers blow the tie with a September call up of their hot shortstop prospect, 43-year old Cale Iorg).
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Toby Harrah.
Today’s Berry-Stays-In-With-A-Lefty Lineup: