Familiar Faces in Playoffs for Tigers Fans

2010postseasonLogo.jpgNot sure if this makes the postseason more or less interesting to you, but if you watch each league’s division series you’ll likely to see lots of former Tigers:

Yankees

Rays

Rangers

Giants

Braves

Phillies

Tigers Today: September 7, 2010

BallBatGrass.jpgTigers’ Record:

68-70, 3rd Place; 13 GB

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. White Sox | 7:05 p.m. ET – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.61 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (11-5, 4.82 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

White Sox 5 – Tigers 4 (10 innings)

Continue reading Tigers Today: September 7, 2010

How are Former Tigers Faring in 2010?

Rearview Mirror.jpgLooking around the majors there are plenty of former Tigers doing well — and some not so well. Here’s a look at some of the more notable players and their current numbers:

  • Placido Polanco, Phillies: .314 avg., 6 HR, 42 RBI, .348 OBP. Currently fifth in the N.L. in hitting, which is just another reason the Tigers (and fans) are regretting his departure.

  • Omar Infante, Braves: .347 avg., 7 HR, 37 RBI, .837 OPS From Rob Neyer: “At the moment, he doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify [for the batting title]. To reach 502, he needs another 169 in the Braves’ 38 remaining games.”

  • Andres Torres, Giants: .287 avg., 13 HR, 57 RBI, .869 OPS. Torres is the embodiment of stick-to-itiveness. Nearly a decade after he was touted as a centerpiece of the Tigers new wave of young talent, he’s downright essential to the Giants offense. Good for him.

    Continue reading How are Former Tigers Faring in 2010?

Good Decisions by the Tigers? Huzzah!

flipacoin.jpgOn Monday, Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Heyman wrote a column in which he highlights the top-20 decisions made by MLB teams in the past year. In Heyman’s view, the Tigers made two of the top decisions:

3. The Tigers’ acquisition of Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Phil Coke in the three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
This was the most unpopular of moves at the time in Detroit. It’s way early to say for sure, but as of today it looks boffo, with Granderson starting slowly (.240 average) in New York and Jackson (4-6, 5.05 ERA) doing the same in Arizona. Austin Jackson is a Rookie of the Year candidate, providing Gold Glove-type defense, perhaps the most valuable piece in the deal that saved the Tigers beaucoup bucks. Scherzer has shown only flashes of greatness, and Coke is a middle reliever. But the Tigers look like they received a star, while setting themselves up to improve their offense (by getting Johnny Damon) and bullpen (Jose Valverde) with the money that was saved.

And, here’s the other:

11. The Tigers’ decision to let Magglio Ordonez’s contract vest.
They could easily have not played Ordonez to save themselves a lot of money, but they did the proper thing by fielding their best lineup, which included Ordonez, as they tried, ultimately without success, to secure a playoff spot.

[snip]

His wife was going through a cancer battle last year, so Ordonez understandably underperformed. And the Tigers did the right thing by standing by him.

Rob Neyer takes a closer look at this one today.

I wonder if the Tigers releasing Gary Sheffield last spring training and DFA’ing Dontrelle Willis last month were anywhere on Heyman’s list.

What do you think about Heyman’s assessment — and Neyer’s?

Fungo Flashback: May 27, 1980: The Day the Tigers Traded Jason Thompson

Thirty years ago today the Tigers traded my favorite player, Jason Thompson, to the Angels for Al Cowens. Here’s a piece I wrote two years ago about the deal. Get a load of my thoughts on Miguel Cabrera who had recently been moved to first base. Another gleaming example of why I’m not fit to be a GM.


JasonThompson.jpgTwenty-eight years ago today, Tigers GM Jim Campbell broke my heart.

On May 27, 1980, he traded my favorite Tigers player, first baseman Jason Thompson, to the California Angels for outfielder Al Cowens. (For more on Cowens, check out this post from the archives.)

The Hollywood native joined the Tigers full time in 1976 and played 123 games that year, hitting .218, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Two of the homers cleared the rightfield roof at Tiger Stadium. It was in 1977, though, that he made his mark: .270, 31 homers and 105 RBI — and earned an All Star Game selection.

Continue reading Fungo Flashback: May 27, 1980: The Day the Tigers Traded Jason Thompson

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.

Will He or Won’t He? Tracking the Dontrelle Willis Mystery

Dontrelle Willis.jpgIt’s almost as if the Tigers are afraid to talk about Dontrelle Willis, today’s starter against the Blue Jays in Lakeland. Maybe not to talk about him but rather carefully measure what they say about him.

Despite amassing some solid if unspectacular numbers this spring — 1-0, 0.82 ERA, 11.0 IP, 7 H, 5 BB, 7 K, heading into today — depending on what you read, Willis is in line for a rotation spot or a pink slip.

Let’s follow the bouncing ball and see where we end up:

Tom Gage of the Detroit News indicated last Friday that Wilis was “still in the running for a starting spot on the Tigers — because he threw three more scoreless innings … in a 5-4 victory over the Astros (on March 18).”

Continue reading Will He or Won’t He? Tracking the Dontrelle Willis Mystery

Monday Mankowskis: Are the Tigers the 2007 Padres?

We survived Stormageddon in Arizona and are delighting in the prospect of Cactus League games in five weeks. In the meantime …
PhilMankowski77.jpg

  • I was looking at my notebook of random Tigers thoughts and here’s one leftover from the fall. The 2007 Padres lost a Game 163 and began a downward spiral that’s still in motion, more or less. Are the ‘09 Tigers following a similar path? What might the Padres look like if they had beaten the Rockies — and has Matt Holliday yet touched home plate? How would the 2010 Tigers look had they beaten the Twins in Game 163?

    My initial thoughts on the subject led me to believe the Tigers’ competitive window was just about shut and locked. Now, I’m not so sure. A month after the Curtis Granderson trade, I’m more confident that the Tigers are on footing that’s much more solid than the Padres of recent years. What do you think?

    Continue reading Monday Mankowskis: Are the Tigers the 2007 Padres?

How It’s Playing in Arizona

Tigers-DbacksTrade az republic.jpg
Here’s how the Tigers-Yankees-Diamondbacks trade is covered in today’s edition of the Arizona Republic. The story appears above the fold but, not surprisingly, below the Suns-Mavericks game story. Here are some other Phoenix-focused opinions on the deal:

  • The Republic‘s Nick Piecoro (who, by the by, has one of the best team blogs out there): A long, hard look at The Big Deal. A snippet:

    Before we go any further: I’m not crazy about this deal, either. I’m not sure I hate it as much as some people; I’m just not entirely on board.

  • Long-time Valley sports-radio guy Dave Burns: Breaking down the trade with pros and cons.

    Pro: You just added starting pitching to your rotation without having to pay a lot for it.

    Con: Of the four guys the D-backs have just added or subtracted, none of them have as high a ceiling as Max Scherzer does. And it ain’t even close.

  • D’backs.com/MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert: Analyzing the Jackson Deal:

    [Scherzer] still needs to improve his pitch efficiency so that he can pitch deeper in games, needs to further develop his secondary pitches and also needs to show that he can cross the 200-inning barrier.

    The D-backs must have felt that the above were real challenges for him and felt more comfortable with the combination of Edwin Jackson and Kennedy.

    As for Schlereth, the potential is there, but there have always been concerns about his command.

As for yours truly, I got over the Jason Thompson trade. I survived Kirk Gibson‘s departure. And I guess I’ll eventually move past Curtis Granderson in pinstripes.