Detroit Tigers, 54-49, 2nd place, 1.5 back.
With the trade deadline past and the Tigers standing pat, perhaps it is time once more to look at the Detroit DH situation. The Tigers still rank 13th of 14 teams in DH performance, which is exactly where they stood when we looked at this a couple of months ago. Tiger DHs have combined for a .248 average and a measly .646 OPS, underwhelmed only by Seattle (.600). To put that in perspective, Brandon Inge currently has a .664 OPS with Oakland. In other words, the Tigers would be an improved team with Inge as their DH.
In addition, the 5th spot in the batting order is also 13th best in the AL, tied with Texas (how did THAT happen?), better than only KC, with a .254 average and .670 OPS. Not coincidentally, the DH and 5th spot in the order are the same guy (who may also be the worst LF in the league, but we’ll leave that now that he is full-time DH), Delmon Young. Somehow, batting behind Jackson, Cabrera, and Fielder, Young has only managed 44 RBI, and has the worst RBI production of any DH.
Last night’s game featured a perfect microcosm of the problem with the 5th spot in the Tiger lineup. In the 3rd inning with one out and Cabrera and Jackson on 1st and 2nd, Boston pitched around Prince Fielder, and Young obliged by hitting into an inning-ending double play.
So what is the solution? I have a feeling Detroit may have been playing Waiting For V-Mart to solve the problem. But it now looks like that is not going to happen.
Here is one suggestion. When Dirks finishes his rehab (he hit a home run today for Toledo by the way), someone needs to go. I think most likely (in order) is Don Kelly, Quintin Berry, or Ryan Raburn (Raburn benefitting from Too Many Left-Handers). How about instead dumping Young and bringing back Dirks as the DH?
It may seem a waste of the best corner outfield glove on the team, but it would help protect his sore achilles. It would leave the team short one more right-handed bat, but Dirks hits left-handers pretty well anyway (.799 career OPS vs .771 against RHP), at any rate much better than Young has been.
Another option of course is still Soriano, who the Cubs are keeping as of the deadline, but should clear waivers for an August deal.
Stat of the Day: Detroit has the best stolen base success rate in the AL (40-of-50, 80%)–they also have the fewest attempts in the league.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Justin Verlander. With the offense still struggling, it’s time for Justin to come up with one of his classic Justin games.
Today’s Un-Traded Lineup: