The series now even-IngeBasher, the Tigers (28-16, 1st place Central, 1st place AL) seek the advantage over Texas (23-25, 4th place West. 11th place AL)) in a game to be broadcast throughout the solar system, with Nick “Don’t Call Me Cy” Martinez on the mound for the Rangers and Rick “Don’t Call Me Frederick Alfred” Porcello for the Detroit. Yes, the Detroit. I left that in there because it looks so stupid. Anyway, I wish I could be of one mind on W-L records for pitchers, because I really do think that they’re practically meaningless, but still feel that great ones are cool, so I’ll feel as dazed and delighted as you will if Porcello can push it to 8-1 today. You may recall that Rick was stellar against Texas (at Arlington) last season in salvaging one win in an otherwise dismal series.
I recall a discussion this past offseason or the one before about players likely to be on the hot seat for criticism. This season has been such a success that there has been nothing on the Inge, Sheffield, or Renteria level, nothing close. Nor even the like of the Cold V-Mart impatience or the Fielder murmurs of 2013. (I’m sorry, but I can’t take the occasional scathing critique of Ausmus as more than venting in frustration. I think he’s been flat-out brilliant.) But the favored whipping boys on a more subdued level have clearly been Phil Coke, Alex Avila, and more recently Andrew SombreRomine (trademark Coleman). Now that the Bullpen As A Whole has essentially redeemed itself, that is. Wouldn’t you know it, Avila has really been swinging a better stick lately, and Romine just hit a HR. Which leaves us with Phil Coke.
On the positive side… well, we’re not really raving about anyone, are we? It’s hard to miss the more eye-popping stats of Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera (who has been on an absolute tear that is somehow flying a bit under the radar), and we recognize them, but the most fearsome 3-4 combo in baseball has been taken for granted to some extent. Even before the recent four-game blemish, I think the starting pitching had been… a
little lot taken for granted. Could be a side effect of success. Team success. But Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Ian Kinsler, Rajai Davis, and Torii Hunter can be added to the list of those who deserve a little more raving about. Adding any of the bullpen guys to that list is probably tempting fate, so I’ll wait.
Speaking of tempting fate, I tempt the Tigers to make a monkey out of me by losing after I’ve said it, but my, what a fun team to watch. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. You wouldn’t think it could keep getting better, but it does.