45-38, 1st place again, 0.5 ahead of Cleveland.
Happy 4th of July, everyone. Let us pause to appreciate the value of civil society and all that it took to get here. Let us pause to admire America the Beautiful. Let us pause to consider the possibility of America the More Beautiful.
Max Scherzer is 13-0. Wow. Question: Would we as easily recognize how out of this world consistent and consistently good he has been if he was, say, 9-4 right now? Probably not. It’s one thing to recognize how overrated a stat the W-L of a starter is, and another thing entirely to overthrow how programmed we are to ooh and aah about it. Let me throw something out there: 31-6. If you know what that is, and I’m sure you do, it proves my point. These things end up tattooed on our brains. Recognize 24-5? I’m sure there are others you could pull out of your hat with ease. Do you know Denny McLain’s 1968 WHIP, SO/BB, or FIP off the top of your head? Me, either.
Justin Verlander v. Esmil Rogers tonight. On the face of it, this is a mismatch, but Rogers has been pitching well of late, while Verlander… hasn’t been pitching like Verlander for a while now, notwithstanding all the excuses made for it.
No Miguel Cabrera in the lineup tonight. His back needs the rest. Is it really a turf thing? Don’t know. Being an alarmist, I worry about the possibility of a nagging injury that Miggy will insist on playing through that will drag him down to greater and lesser degrees for the rest of the season. The Tigers can absolutely not afford that. Their lineup has consisted of The Big Two, The Little Five, and the Flat Tire Two. Let there be no doubt that Cabrera and Fielder have carried the offense on their considerable shoulders through 83 games, and Miggy has been the consistent one.
No Omar Infante tonight, either, following his left shin contusion from last night’s game. If that’s all it is, he shouldn’t be out long, and I speak from personal experience on this one. I’m not sold on the “dirtiness” of the Colby Rasmus takeout slide, myself.
It’s nice to see Alex Avila and Victor Martinez having good games. Two months of consistently good performance and I’ll be sold on it, and not until. Half the season is in the books, and these guys are way in the red.
It’s nice that Jim Leyland thinks the bullpen situation is shaping up nicely. To me, the bullpen is still Smyly, Benoit, and Next Please. So much to-do about Which Inning and How Often. What an unnecessary diversion the Valverde Experiment has revealed itself to be, eh? The true cost of all that was using a spot on the staff that would have been better devoted to What’s Working Now and Next Please. Oh, well.
I’m pretty sure that this is the time of year when the Tigers catch fire and start to run away with the division. That’s the script I got, anyway. It all starts with a remarkably successful road trip on the heels of a disappointing home stand.
Jim hasn’t called me back about the lineup yet, so I’ll take a stab at it myself and correct it later. Feel free to join me in the guessing contest.
Tonight’s Independence Day lineup guess: