Tigers Baseball Outsider

a thinking fan's perspective

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Starting Lineup To Start 2010

It looks like Jim Leyland has pretty much solidified his starting lineup to open the 2010 season:
  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Johnny Damon, LF
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Carlos Guillen, DH
  6. Brandon Inge, 3B
  7. Gerald Laird, C
  8. Scott Sizemore, 2B
  9. Adam Everett, SS
 In my opinion, there are no real surprises here.

Just sighs of relief.

Relieved that Austin Jackson appears poised to pan out as a solid center fielder with the potential to get on base more often than Curtis Granderson did. I'm already warming up to the nickname "A-Jax". That's a keeper.

This means more ducks on the pond for Damon, Ordonez, and Cabrera.

And if Damon does happen to be hampered by the larger outfield at Comerica – he has just as good a shot at his hits dropping in and being on base right after Jackson.

And if Maglio continues where he left off in the latter days of 2009, and Cabrera steps up his clutch hitting with runners in scoring position – we have a strong front loaded offense.

Toss in Carlos Guillen for good measure.

But that line up once we get past Guillen and down to Inge, well, it goes pretty limp.

Don't get me wrong. Inge has been known to step it up a notch in clutch situations. But a career .240 average always finds it's level.

The one potentially bright spot could be Sizemore. After all, he is still an unknown. A rookie. And who knows. We may look back one day to this line up and remark "Can you believe Sizmore started the season hitting eighth?".

Or not. Time and Scott Sizemore will have to play this one out.

Defensively I think we are not as weak up the middle as we thought we thought earlier that we would be.

Laird is an excellent catcher. Hate his bat all you want, but this guy is good at the plate, a very good receiver who can holds runners, and getting them when they go.

Everett at shortstop is not a weakness defensively. And again we have to wait and see how Sizemore matures in the two bag spot.

But Austin Jackson has impressed defensively in Lakeland. Perhaps not a Granderson … yet. But who's to say he won't be someday ... now that we have seen him.

Again time will tell.

Piching - it looks like the rotation is pretty much set too – except for that fifth spot.

  1. Verlander
  2. Porcello
  3. Scherzer
  4. Bonderman
  5. Willis or Robertson
I caught a little heat from people last week about my putting Willis in the fifth spot of that rotation. Justifiably so. Both Willis and Robertson had good springs - but Robertson defintely has the edge when it comes to holding it together when the pitches count for something.

The wise old  manager sage in Jim Leyland seems to know how to milk a bull pen for all it's worth.
But what is that bullpen worth now?

Seay is out with a torn Rotator Cup. Miner also starts the season on the DL.

Zumaya can give you an inning, maybe two?  Fu Te Ne is pretty reliable. And the loser of the Willis / Robertson battle.

The Skip might need to keep his stool and bucket set up to massage the utters of this bullpen.

And now we have Valverde to close. This year our closer should be a welcome treat. Hopefully the ninth innings with a lead will not be the rollercoaster thrill ride of recent years under Jones and Rodney.

So as the boys of the old English D arrive back up North to open (Kansas City is still north of Lakeland) to open the 2010 campaign for the AL Central division – once again I feel comfortable with our offense, our defense and our starting pitching.

But the bottom of our order is weaker, and our bullpen is again in question.

There is a good side to this. We open against the Royals. And then we open at home against the Indians.

So we have a pretty good shot at starting the season on a winning roll.

But I don't want to invoke the hex of the 2008 seven game losing streak to open the year.

So lets just say it looks pretty good ... for now. Maybe a little weaker – but maybe not.

It's up to the Rookies Jackson and Sizemore and the bullpen.


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