Tuesday Tananas: A-Jax Reality Check, CoPa Reviews and Inge’s Pop Outs

crabbydude.jpgSome thoughts and recommended reading culled during what sounds like another dreary day at Comerica Park.

  • Despite his 4 for 28 slump during the current home stand (at least through the fifth inning today), Austin Jackson continues to be an early favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Given Curtis Granderson‘s poor start and injury one would think Yankees fans would like a do over on that trade. Not exactly. Over at It’s About the Money, Stupid, Will breaks it down — and soars over my head on some of it — with a statistical view. The gist:

    [Jackson’s] batting average on balls in play is an outrageous .459. Regress that to league average (which is what happens when you add enough at bats to his resume), and here’s what happens to his numbers. His batting average falls from .331 to .216, and his OBP falls from .382 to .267.

  • Have you seen the website StadiumJourney.com? If not, take a few minutes to check it out. Paul Swaney and a host of others have produced detailed reviews of major league ballparks, NFL stadiums, and NBA and NHL arenas. You can become a member and add your comments to the reviews. Recently they added a review of Comerica Park and give the venue a five out of five in terms of return on fan investment. Take a look.

  • If a current Tigers player is approaching Craig Monroe-like status with yours truly it’s Brandon Inge. If the two batters ahead of him walk, you can guarantee Inge will swing at the first pitch and pop out. Or at least it seems that way.

    I looked at his outs so far this season and here’s how it breaks down coming into today: 32 strikeouts, 37 ground outs and 65 flyouts. (Unfortunately, ESPN.com doesn’t carve-out the popouts within fly balls.) Bottom line:

    • 64 percent of Inge’s outs on balls in play are in the air
    • 28 percent are ground outs
    • 24 percent are strikeouts

    I’ll need to dig deeper to see how this aligns with his teammates but at the very least I feel better knowing that Inge is a flyout machine.

  • Last week’s Fungo Pulse Check poll was either poorly timed or prescient. The flurry of roster moves made the question practically moot, but we kept it going anyway. The results:

    Who will the Tigers send down when Carlos Guillen returns from the DL?

    • Don Kelly (43%, 86 Votes)
    • Ryan Raburn (30%, 60 Votes)
    • Brad Thomas (22%, 43 Votes)
    • Alex Avila (3%, 6 Votes)
    • Brennan Boesch (2%, 4 Votes)

    If you haven’t yet, cast your vote in this week’s poll.

Take heart. There are only 17 more games against the White Sox this season.

Three for Thursday: C-Mo, Run Less, Tony Packo’s Edition

3 fingers.jpgStill fighting the flu, but always have time to offer three for Thursday:

  1. There are certain teams that I really pull for to turn it around once and for all. Among them, the Pirates and Reds. This afternoon I watched the Reds trump the Cubs at Wrigley and browsed the Web to see what’s going on in Pittsburgh. The first article I see is on The Detroit News site boasting of a Pirates resurgence with the help of Fungo Enemy Number One, former Tigers hack, Craig Monroe. I may need to reevaluate.

  2. I’ve always loved watching Mike Scioscia teams. Aggressiveness personified. Not afraid to squeeze at any point in the game. Rubber-armed Scot Shields. This Angels writer, though, disagrees with the take-the-extra-base approach and thinks it’s outdated…by 20 years.

  3. The Tigers’ (or is it Mud Hens’?) pickup of Jason Tyner is puzzling. Or maybe not. Perhaps the Hens need some depth. Anyway, today is Tyner’s 32nd birthday. Let’s hope he spends part of it at Tony Packo’s.

Game 8: Tigers 1-1 on Wednesdays in 2008

The Gist: It took more than a week, but the Tigers left the field with a win on Wednesday night, 7-2 over the Red Sox. Naturally, Todd Jones did his thing to make any level of comfort more than a bit tenuous. Huzzah, Marcus Thames! The man simply delivers when the Tigers need him. Jeremy Bonderman pitched five innings, gave up one earned run and nearly managed to walk a batter in every inning.
The Quote: “With Jones you’re not going to get many clean, 1-2-3 saves.” — NESN analyst and former Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy.

The Stat: 5. The number of men left on base by Gary Sheffield on Wednesday. Sheff must be channeling his inner Craig Monroe these days.

I’m Just Sayin’: This season has been so bizarre that it’s difficult to wrap the brain around it. Beyond the oh-fer start, the pitching has been sub-optimal and the hitting — oh, the hitting! But what in the world is happening when Placido Polanco starts, as Ian Casselberry said this evening, a new streak based on consecutive games with an error?

It’s been a while since Tigers fans hoped for a 2-7 record, but that’s the sitch tomorrow night.

Two for Tuesday

A couple of quick hits:

  • Buster Olney reviews the Tigers’ active — and decisive — off season so far.

    [W]e’re not even out of the second week of November, and the Tigers already have put together a lineup that will be formidable, and a rotation that has a chance to excel. 

  • We all know Magglio Ordonez is going to finish second to Alex Rodriguez for the A.L. MVP award, but that doesn’t mean he will walk away empty handed this winter. Fans can vote for Ordonez as baseball’s Hitter of the Year in the sixth annual MLB.com This Year in Baseball Awards.

So Craig Monroe‘s back in the division? Wait until Twins fans get a load of that one-handed-rally-killing swing.

No Tigers in the Playoffs, No Monroe Either!

This article explores the Cubs’ playoff roster, at least for the NLDS versus the Diamondbacks, and it appears Craig Monroe‘s on the bubble — at best.I wonder if the .208-hitting Monroe is panning out to be the veteran bat the Cubs counted on. With a home run and 4 RBI in 28 at-bats, I’m thinking not. 

Analyze This

One of the most enjoyable regular columns on BaseballProspectus.com is Transaction Analysis by Christina Kahrl. The Tigers rarely garner much attention in TA but this week is the exception. When you look at the number of roster moves Detroit has made lately you will a) be astounded, and b) amused by Kahrl’s take on certain moves, including the Craig Monroe trade. In this installment, Monroe gets double coverage (Detroit and, of course, the Cubs).

First, a morsel of Kahrl’s Tigers assessment:

[D]id hauling [Cameron Maybin] up really have to involve discarding Monroe? And what’s up with demoting Infante? In each case, my initial readiness to complain turned out to be pointless. Yes, Monroe’s really too good to be discarded this way, especially on a team that could use his bat against lefties, especially when that lineup’s carrying Casey’s carcass in one of its nine slots. 

Ouch.And now for the Cubs:

I’m as ready to bang on Monroe for his limitations as the next stathead, but I actually like this well enough for the Cubs. He’s coming over to the weaker league—just ask Jason Kendall if that hasn’t made a difference—plus he’s a guy who can play some center for a club that needs a center fielder. 

Monroe in center? Ooooh, Lou Piniella won’t much like the looks of that. This edition of TA is a must-read if only for the outstanding Gregg Jefferies reference — and half-hearted comparison to Maybin.

Putting the “Dead” in Trade Deadline

Those of us old enough to remember when Pat Gillick was general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays (before moving on to similar roles with the Orioles, Mariners and his current employer, the Phillies), may be thinking of him today when pondering the Tigers approach to the non-waiver trade deadline.In the late 1980s, Gillick earned the nickname “Stand Pat” primarily because he would do just that at the trade deadline and leave Blue Jays’ fans scratching their collective noggins until Opening Night at Maple Leaf Gardens.Now that I’ve had a few hours to ponder the Tigers lack-tivity, I’m surprisingly relieved. What I found throughout the day as I listened to coverage on XM Radio and on ESPN, was that I was more anxious to learn who the Tigers would give up in a trade more so than who they acquired.The Tigers were not giving up Cameron Maybin; No drama there. And, given how fragile the Tigers’ pitching staff has proven to be this season, I couldn’t fathom the Tigers peddling the solid arms currently tending the farms in Toledo, Erie, Oneonta, Comstock Park and Lakeland.I’ll admit I’m a little late to this party.Our man in Connecticut, Peter Fuhrmeister, commented in podcast #24 that he didn’t want to see the Tigers make a move at the deadline. He’s content to ride out this season with what the Tigers have to offer in the bully. John Milton, my brother and I all disagreed with Peter but managed to avoid calling him nuts.After watching the first game of the Angels series, we were stinging from the dismal pitching performance on Friday night. Two games later, you could not convince me that a better, reasonably priced bullpen solution wasn’t out there. Somewhere. (Could the Tigers swallow some pride — and salary — to bring back Jamie Walker?)Today, Peter, as usual, looks to be the wise man.And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m willing to accept that a pair of healed, experienced arms are on the way in Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya. If they are back to full strength, the Tigers should be okay. I’m also willing to concede (again) that this team is going through a particularly grueling stretch of baseball right now. A couple of wins, a day off and a healthy back-end of the bullpen should put the Tigers back in business.If not, maybe Dave Dombrowski can phone Gillick and see what arms he’s willing to part with for a package of Jason Grilli, Craig Monroe and Omar Infante.I can almost hear Gillick’s response now: “Well, Jose Mesa‘s available…”Update: Jason Beck tells us what the Tigers had brewing today. Wasn’t much.