Tigers Baseball Outsider

a thinking fan's perspective

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hang On Baby, Here Comes Part Two

While we are slightly more than half way through this 2011 season, the All Star Break is pretty much viewed as the mid season intermission in Major League Baseball.

And if you thought the first half of 2011 was a roller coaster, well brace yourself my friend – because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

In a nutshell, the first half unfolded something like this.

The Tiger’s stunk, then they were great, then they stunk again, and then they were great again, and closing into the end they stunk and were just on the brink of being great aagian.

Did ya get all that?

The difference between this Tigers team and that of 2006 is that we have more great players, and we have more not-so-great players.

On the great side – we lead off with a powerfiul 1-2-3 combination of Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila along with Jhonny Peralata and Victor Matinez. And Brennan Boesch’s name should be added to this list as well.

Man, that does sound pretty good, don’t it?

And even though Jose “Papa Grande” Valverde has scared the bejesus out of Tiger Fans with ninth inning walks and hits – he hasn’t blown a save yet. He’s got the best stats in the American Leagues.

Really? Let me check that again … yup – son of a gun he does so.

Counter that with Old Man Maglio Ordenez, and his checkers partner Brandon Inge – along with decent bat but no glove Ryan Raburn, I just don’t seem to have it because I’m in my sophomore slum Austin Jackson, and Brad Penny and Phil “hey I’m not in the starting rotation no more” Coke throwing 4th and 5th in the rotation.

We are watching the changing of the guard right now as we witness the final games of Ordonez, Inge, and Carlos Guillen – should he ever come back up from Toledo.

Let me put it this way. Cleveland was supposed to be in a rebuilding year (exactly like our Tigers of 2006 were), and this was supposed to be the do-or-die season for our Detroiters.

But right now our Tigers are in more of a transition state than probably any other team in the Major Leagues. Manager Jim Leyland and and President / GM Dave Dombrowski are struggling to find answers for second, third, and the last two spots in the rotation.

And our bull pen has not been … stellar.

But there is hope Tiger fans. Indeed, there is always hope. But this hope is not so far removed.

We have some good players who slumped in the second quarter . Guys like Max Scherzer – who in the opening weeks was challenging Verlander for the title of Ace. And Rick Porcello has started picking up his end of the slack in his last two starts. Austin Jackson is much better than he has shown in the first half and hopefully he will rebound and return to his stellar “Curtis Granderson who?” form. Danny Worth and Don Kelly could both start to grow from their current 4A status into major leaguers.

And then there is the looming July 31 trade deadline. What the heck is going to happen there? A second baseman? A thirdbaseman? Reyes of the Mets? Baker of Chicago? If so, who do the Tigers sacrifice? Boesch?

As I sit here and type this now, the dastardly bastards that are the Chicago White Sox are about to start play here at Comerica Park. Verlander is to kick off the second half against Gavin Floyd. Miguel Cabrera is in the line up – although Austin Jackson is not.

And we always count on Verlander for a win. But now we are into the second half?

The Tigers have not played the second half of a season above .500 for the last ten years. The last five since we have called Jim Leyland “Skip”.

So all statistics from April until now go right out the window. The Tigers are starting fresh with a clean slate and a tie for first place with Cleveland.

And Chicago and Minnesota are not to be counted out just yet – not by a longshot.

Man, this is gonna be good.

Let’s just hope for a happier ending in 2011.

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