Only time for a quick post tonight. Finals are over Wednesday so then we’ll be back.
Lately we’ve been keeping track of the number of times Bobby Cox has pulled Tim Hudson too early. Well, he did it again. It’s the bottom of the 8th, and the Dodgers are up 3-1. Braves are up to bat and Hudson, who has only 87 pitches and had been doing quite well, is leading off. But no – he’s pulled for pinch hitter Chris Woodward, who ends up making an out. Now it’s the top of the 9th, and 3 Braves relievers allowed 3 runs before they were saved by a double play. Hudson did give up a solo shot to none other than Wilson Betemit and his .125 average in the top of the 8th, so maybe Cox did make the right call. But I don’t really like it. Wouldn’t have been the biggest deal, but for two things. First, I get 10 points in my fantasy league if Hudson gets the win, and I’m fighting to go 5-0 this year. But, more importantly for the Braves, they loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th, when Kelly Johnson singled to bring home two runs. That made the score 6-3. Edger Renteria then grounded out to end the game. Had your stinky relievers not given up those three runs, you’re looking at a tie game. For some reason, Bobby Cox is just way too freaking quick on the hook for Hudson. Hudson early yank count this year: 3.
And a weird day in Texas. First, Kevin Millwood went on the DL, leaving Texas with the Padilla Flotilla as their Ace. You know, that guy with the 5.66 ERA this season? The rest of the rotation consists of McCarthy (7.96 ERA), Robinson Tejeda (3.89), Kameron Loe (7.04), and Mike Wood (5.45 last season). That’s really, really concerning. The bullpen isn’t doing too bad, but you have to ask yourself if that even matters. Anyway, Texas played the Blue Jays today, and Roy Halladay, all-time favorite, started. Usually this means you score 2 runs. Today, not so much. Halladay gave up 9 runs, real out of character for my Cy Young pick.
Somebody needs to pull Roy Oswalt off the Reds. After his latest win against the Reds, Roy is 19-1 against them in his career. Man is invincible.
Alright guys. Might not be back for awhile now. Finals until Wednesday, and then summer school starts Thursday. So it’ll be busy for awhile and we might get a little slow here. But stick around.
Well here’s what happened. Huddy, (who, as you may remember, we discussed recently,) had a real gem going. Whole sha-bang. 8 innings, 12 K’s (12!), 6 hits. Now we are entering the 9th and dude has a pitch count the wrong side of 100. The Braves are up 3-0 against the Marlins. On the one hand, it is the Marlins, and you’ve got Huddy on the mound and, after all, your closer is Bob Wickman. On the other hand, it’s only a 3 run lead, and Huddy is north of 100 chucks on the night. So if you’re Bobby Cox, do you keep Huddy in and let him go for the complete game shutout, or do you pull him for Big Bobby? Well Cox chose to keep Huddy in, who promptly gave up three consecutive singles. Now, with the bags juiced and no outs, he reverts to Plan B, and pulls Huddy for the Wickman. Well that was a smart idea. Miguel Olivo then doubled, scoring two runs. Wickman intentionally walks Borchard, re-loading the bases. Now it’s 3-2, Braves. Wickman then throws in three consecutive balls to Josh Willingham, all three of which looked, from the Game Day, to be in the dirt. He somehow pulled back to strike out Josh. Just when you thought the fire might be dying down, Amezega singles, bringing in the tying run. Dan Uggla’s up, and Wickman throws a wild one in the dirt to bring home the winning run. Fantastic.
Hudson’s line before the 9th:
8 IP – 12 K – 6 H – 0 ER
Hudson’s line after the 9th:
8 IP – 12 K – 9 H – 3 ER
Now, I could really go on a tear about this… except that Bob Wickman is a great guy – from personal experience (you’re going to want to go near the bottom of that post for this story) – and Bobby Cox is probably one of the greatest managers this century. So, I guess you could chalk it up to that simple point-counterpoint argument we had at the top of the post. Cox just figured it was worth the gamble to leave Huddy in. However, when Hudson allowed that first single, he should have been pulled. You don’t throw a guy like Bob Wickman in the mix when you’ve got the bags loaded, no outs, and a meager 3-run lead. If you’ve got Francisco Cordero , (8 saves, 17 K’s, 0 ER, 9.1 IP), then you make that move. But not with Bobby Wickman. The L goes to Wickman, thank goodness, but the W stays away from Huddy. And, the three runs Wickman let score stay with Huddy as well. Just not right.
Wow. Watching the new Yankee battery of Karstens and Nieves is just not doing it for me. But more on that in a few minutes.
Anyone see last night’s (Friday) Braves v. Mets? I was excited about this for a long time, for many reasons. First, the fantasy implications. I’ve got Jose Reyes, Brian McCann, and Tim Hudson. Reyes and Hudson are, of course, on fire. They’re both playing out of their skulls. So that was the second reason. The third reason was that, since TBS, ESPN, and FOX are the only channels I get that actually televise baseball, I would be able to watch this game. Now, back to my boys. Reyes is leading MLB with 4 triples, (remember when Steve Phillips predicted Reyes would hit 30 triples, and Corey Patterson would hit 40HR with 140RBI?) Reyes has 2 HR, is 9 for 11 in SB attempts, and has an OBP of .456. Yikes. And Hudson is an even better story. After he left Oakland prior to the 2005 season, he cooled down some. Especially in 2006. Which was disappointing, because he is one of my favorite guys. But this year he is insane – you just have to see the whole line for yourself. The point is, he is 3-0, with an ERA of .62, and 19 K’s in 29 IP. And of course, he was looking even better in person last night. All his off speed stuff was working perfectly. Guy had a perfect game going for 3.2 innings, (almost meaningless, of course,) and a no hitter going till the bottom of the 5th. He left before the 9th inning, (?) with a shutout, having thrown 107 pitches. Personally, I think they could’ve sent him out for one more, seeing as he had a 7 run lead and all. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Beltran, Delgado, and Wright were due up. Yeah, that was probably it. Now, I know that was only his fourth start of the season. And just like A-Rod won’t hit 120 HR this season, Huddy won’t finish with an ERA of 0.62. But a good start doesn’t hurt, and while I’m not going to say that the old Huddy is back, I’m certainly hoping. Anyway, for the 9th inning, the Braves sent out the arsonist Rafael Soriano and his 7.36 ERA. Needless to say, he poured the gasoline, lit the match, and fanned the flames. Braves still come out ahead, 7-3.
Interesting event here. Home Plate ump Bob Davidson, (we’re back to the Yankees v. Red Sox,) who I’m sure we are all familiar with, was miked for today’s game. Davidson went to give this little Bostonian Child a ball, but not before making him raise his hand and take an oath to never yell at an umpire. One fan at a time, eh Bob?
Now, I’ve asked before, but I have yet to receive an answer. When did Mark Teixeira become so bad? He started out last season pretty crappy, but he (almost) made up for it in the 2nd half. Dude is just 27 years old. That’s prime time. Finished last year with 33HR and 110 RBI, which isn’t half bad. Down 10 HR, 30 RBI, and .20 Avg points from 2005, but not a terrible year. Before the All-Star Break he had just 9 HR in 353 AB. After the game, which he did not participate in, he had 24 HR in 275 AB. So far this year, he has 2 RBI and just 1 extra base hit – a double – in 16 games. Dude is batting .214… but his OBP is .343, with 10 walks. Maybe he’ll step it up after the All-Star game again? Who knows… he’s on my fantasy team as well, so any thoughts on this would be welcome.
Back again to the Yankee game. The FOX TV crew is promoting Ortiz’s new book, written with Tony Massarotti, and they claim that the most interesting part of the book are the stats. He hit something like 58 HR in 6 years with the Twins, and was released because of his lack of power production. And then, he comes to Boston and hits 31, 41, 47, 54 HR the following years. Really? You guys think that’s interesting? So do I. Just a little PS – Tony wrote another book with John Harper, called "A Tale of Two Cities – The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for The Pennant." Excellent book, and strongly, strongly recommended. Well, after the FOX crew stopped talking about this, Ortiz went and jerked another out of the yard. This puts the Sox up 7-4. Well, after this Rocky and I took a nice trip to the range to decompress. So that was the last part of the game that I saw. But after looking at the box score it looks like that was pretty much the entire game. Ugh. This is what I meant when I said that we’d have trouble with this rotation.
Leave your thoughts. And another thing. BHGM logged it’s 50,000th hit a few days ago. That’s in about 13 months. And BHGM itself turns 2 on April 28th. So that’s that.
Been gone for awhile, no doubt. But, I’m back now because I’m waiting for the library to open – 11am – and don’t have much else to do until that time. Just because I know everyone wants to know, it’s been a busy semester. Right now I’m completing a research study on the differences between male and female study group formation, its relationship to the choice of studying alone, and hopefully the consequences of this behavior as it can be applied to different learning strategies. Meanwhile, my Organic Chemistry exam was moved up by a week because, "I wanted the exam to be before the drop date." Both research report and exam are now due on the same day; Tuesday. I just got back from a Writing Competence Exam that I’m required to take in order to graduate college. You pick one of 10 questions presented to you. I chose the question asking if, since the two teams with the best record in the AL were eliminated in the first round, should we increase the series to a seven-game format from the current five-game format? Let’s get something straight – these ten questions were all current event questions to be answered in typical, five-page, persuasive format. There were questions asking about the college’s upcoming ‘Coming Out’ week. There was a question asking about Congressman Foley’s "deplorable" behavior. Questions of great and worldly importance. And a question about baseball. Well, I think I passed.
Now, look where we are? The Tigers are up 3-0 on an Oakland team that I berated SI for rating as the "2nd best" in all of baseball. Looks like they weren’t that far off the mark. Actually, Oakland beat the Twins because, in the all-important Game 3, the Twins sent out tough guy Brad Radke. When your very existence in the post season is on the line, you don’t send out a guy with so many physical problems that, less than halfway through the season, he says "screw it, I’m retiring after this." If he’s you’re Game 3 stopper, you have no business in the post season anyway. Taking one step back, the A’s made it into the playoffs because, heck, they’re in the AL West. If you can take out the pitching-deprived Rangers, the talent-deprived Mariners, and the offensively-deprived Angels, you win. And I know the A’s finished with 93 wins, and the Angels with 89. Toronto had 87 wins in a heck of a lot tougher division. If Toronto had played say, eight games, against the Mariners instead of the Yankees, they might have 95 wins. But good job Oakland, I’m sure it means a lot to you guys, even after you get your brains beat in by a very good Tigers team.
This Detroit team is, quite simply, a team that is not going to be beaten right now. This is the kind of team that I play in MVP Baseball 2004, and they make every play. The pitcher will spot every pitch on the corner. The outfielders catch up to every ball. It’s like the team is playing on god mode. Now, I’m not saying that the Tigers aren’t a good team. They’re great. But they’re also hot right now, and the postseason is the right time to get hot.
Now, who saw last night’s Game 2 of the NLCS? First, let it be known that, in every conceivable way, the NL is a wreck of a league. I simply cannot find the entertainment in any NL Game. There’s something about it that just is not exciting. I know it’s crazy, but I feel like the parks are darker, the players are more formal, and the excitement level just isn’t there. I feel like I’m watching a golf match. I don’t expect anything exciting to happen. But when I watch an AL game, I never know what to expect. It’s like getting together the 2004-2005 Pacers team; some idiot is going to throw a punch, or fire a gun, or scream at Rick, or freak out at the media. You don’t know what will happen, but you know it will be big. In the AL, we have all the drama of Kenny Rogers and the Tiger’s bullpen limiting the A’s to two hits to go up 3-0 on them and on the brink of a World Series. Meanwhile, in the NL, we have Chris Carpenter pitching as well as John Maine; actually, worse, but only because he was in for one more inning. And then we have a tie game, broken up when the great So Taguchi – who didn’t even start – hits a home run. The Cardinals score twice more, and the Mets respond – as their own stadium empties – by striking out, and then grounding out twice more to end the game. Fabulous. Did you actually listen to So’s Home Run? It was morbid. Shea was silent. The announcers were mildly excited. Now the series is tied 1-1, while the Tigers are about to enter the World Series. It’s just boring. However, I won’t deny the fact that, since the only NL team I even come close to caring about is the Cardinals, maybe I just don’t like it because I don’t follow it. Oh yeah, and because every team is awful.
So where do we go from here? Is a well-rested Tiger team better off than a down-trodden, pitching deprived Cardinals or Mets team? The writing is on the wall, people. I just have one question – when is the parade?
I just (at 10pm) returned from Chicago. I have spend nine hours in a pickup truck, with 700 pounds of glass in the bed, which was covered by a
sail tarp, which was further covered by a light, 5×5 foot piece of wood. And then, riding along the wonderful parking lot that is I-90, we had to stop. Suddenly. Which caused the aforementioned 700lb of glass to come sliding forward, right into the back of the cab. I guess we were lucky that it didn’t go through. Anyway… in the end this whole ‘going to Chicago’ thing just became a 5-day, 55-hour long shift. Anyway, caught some Sportscenter this morning, because instead of going to Denny’s, I… watched TV. It wasn’t that I wasn’t hungry, because I most certainly was. Rather, I stepped out of my hotel room at 6.00am to find that the U.S. Army had invaded Denny’s and established a defensive perimeter surrounding the building. I mean, they really took care of business – HUMVEE’s, deuce-and-a-half’s, guards, the whole deal. I think they were really hungry too.
Now, I heard that the Royals won. Apparently Sportscenter heard this too, because they ran a pretty lengthy piece on it. Hilarious, really. Now, it went something like this. Royals "Starter" Kyle Snyder went 2 innings, giving up 9 runs on 10 hits. Ok, only 5 of them were earned. But by then, you’re splitting hairs. The pot is calling the kettle black. Does it really matter who was worse – the gloves or the arm? No, not really. Anyway, that puts the game at 11-4 in the middle of the third inning. The Royals had lost their previous nine home games. See as they’ve won a total of 6 road games – a marked improvement over the two they had won last time I checked – we can just assume that they hadn’t done a lot of winning of late. In fact, they were 4-21 prior to Thursday’s game. Which was, actually, an improvement over their previous pace – they now have a winning percentage of .271, which is slightly higher than the last time I took note, when it was below .250. Anyway, back to Thursday’s game. It’s 11-4 in the middle of the third, Royals on bottom. Then they score 4 runs. Then one more. Then another. All of the sudden, the Rangers went from up 7 in the third to up one in the 6th. Then, in the bottom of the 7th, the Royals drop a 6-spot on the Rangers. Just like that, the Rangers go from up 7 to down 5. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Hmm. Looks like the Rangers may not have fixed those pitching problems after all. But wait! The Rangers are not done yet. They put up one run in the 8th. Final score, KC 16, Texas 12. Now, there was more to it. Apparently, David DeJesus – him of sorely missed career numbers like a .280 career average, 16 HR in 855 AB’s, etc – went 3-5. Four RBI’s. Congrats, David. Now, I’m going to conclude on the same note that Sportscenter did. Manager Buddy Bell said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I don’t know where that came from." But don’t get too excited – your team is still 15-43.
This is great for me. I’ve talked in length about the Kerry Wood/Mark Prior information problem. Namely, Larry "The Magician" Rothschild, who has apparently sheltered Prior and Wood in some sort of Spring Training limbo/purgatory while the rest of the team struggles through the lost cause of the 2006 Season. Anyway, here’s the good part. Kerry Wood came back from the DL, and before I could even talk about it, he went back on the DL. Now, let me say something very important. Something that I’ve said here before, but that nobody seems to have remembered. Kerry Wood struck out like 20 Astros or something in 1998, right? Ok, great for him. In the last like, three years or so, he hasn’t done a thing. He’s an average pitcher, but he’s never healthy. I’m not saying Cub fan should throw him away, because he’s got gas – if he ever gets better. I’m just saying, you’re going to have to give him, say, a whole season before he gets ‘good’ again. Chances are, he won’t last that long. At least when Prior is healthy, he’s dominating.
The Tigers are something like 3-7 over their last 10. And Todd Jones is still the closer, but mainly because he is being called the closer. It’s one of those weird situations where some pitcher is being paid closer money, so he is getting in on closer situations. Mike McClary at Daily Fungo voiced a good opinion on his 6th Podcast about this issue. He can tell you more than I can, frankly, since I haven’t been able to see a single detailed game account in the last 2 weeks. But basically, Todd is blowing games left and right. He allowed three runs in the eighth to drop the Tigers from a 7-7 tie with the Jays to a 10-7 loss. You can expect that to be one of the last such appearances he’ll make… more on this issue later, I hope.
I said a few weeks ago that, with Gary Sheffield coming back, the Yankees needed to deal for a Pitcher, not an outfielder. Right now, it no longer looks like Sheffield is a lock to come back next year. Therefore, dealing for an outfielder is starting to make sense… and, as usual, we’re not hearing any specific rumors – which means that, any day now, we may wake up to find Barry Bonds trotting out to Left field, or something horrific like that. Remember when Alan Embree came out of the bullpen in a Yankees game last year? Heck, even the guys in the booth were shocked. I mean, no one knew what was going on. Embree was kind of like last year’s Terrence Long. I think Embree described it best, saying that he felt like he had parachuted behind enemy lines. Fascinating… can you imagine that? Anyway, does it make sense for the Yankees to deal for another outfielder now? I think that the two needs are about equal – we should trade for a pitcher or a hitter, whichever opportunity presents itself at a lower cost.
Chris Young has been on fire lately. I wanted to call everyone’s attention to that fact. 5/30: 8IP, 1H, 2BB, 8K’s. 6/04: 8IP, 2H, 1BB, 4K’s. 6/09: 6IP, 5H, 3BB, 12K’s. Let’s review – 24IP, 8H, 6BB’s, 24K’s. Not bad. One problem, however. The opponents. Colorado. Pittsburg. Florida. AAA team. AA team. AA team. But still, as I’ve said a million times here before, a bad pitcher can’t do amazing stuff against a bad team, if he’s still bad. But, you’re also gonna have your mediocre pitchers do amazing stuff against amazing teams. Like Don Larsen. You know how it goes.
That’s it for tonight. It’s midnight, which is about 4 hours later than I would like to be up. Tomorrow is my first day off in 16 days. I’m very happy about that… I’ll see you guys later. By the way… I’m really so tired right now that I have no idea what I’m saying, so I’m sorry about that.
I went to last night’s Yankee game, as many of you know. I actually had to leave the game early (top of the 8th,) to get on to some other things – but mostly because the guy who had the tickets and taken me wanted to head out. At that point, the Tigers were down by one run. They ended up tying it in the bottom of the 8th, but the Yankees blew them away in the 11th. Yankees win, 11-6. Well, the game wasn’t too big a deal. Evan and I were both pretty tired – I had been at work hauling dirt all day, while Evan had… well, woken up around noon, and done nothing for four hours. I’m not sure why he was tired. Basically, Ramon Colon started for the Tigers, gave up a few runs, setting us back. Aaron Small looked great for NY, but he had a bad 5th inning, giving up three runs.
Typically game-day posts are a lot longer than this, (see May 19th.) However, I just got off work and have to head out to Game 3 of the series in a couple hours. Meanwhile, the last six days have been insane for me. I’ve been working all day and busy with other things for the rest of the time. I haven’t really been home for more than a couple hours since last Friday. And, now it’s time for our big announcement…
As many of you know, I’m heading out of town tomorrow afternoon to Cincinnati until Sunday night. What you didn’t know – and neither did I until this morning – is that I’m heading to Chicago this Monday for three weeks. ACE Hardware, my ‘place of employment,’ is sending me down there to help take down a store – expenses paid. I get the weekends off. I also get all the nights off. I’m assuming that there will be plenty of games to watch while I’m down there. I’ll be there the nights of June 5th-8th, 12-15, and 19-22. Here’s where you guys come in – if anyone can get me tickets to either the Cubs or White Sox, get in touch with me – firstname.lastname@example.org. I haven’t checked yet, but I’m sure tickets are pretty hard to come by, especially at Wrigley. Anyway, we’ll see. Apparently it’s in "Metro Chicago.’" Anyway, I’m going to try to get a computer down there with me, so we should still see nightly posts and the like. Alright, time for me to go. We’ll (hopefully) be seeing a normal Gameday post for tonight’s action.
Now, it’s no secret that the Royals are bad. We all know this. In fact, I write about it nearly every day. And, of course, we’re all familiar with PFC Mark Grudzielanek, who, in probably the most used quote on this site, said, "We will not sit back and get used to losing.We’re fiery guys. I guarantee you we will not accept being a mediocre
team. If we start looking like one, we’ll fight against it all year." In other words, ‘we’re not going to be a bad team, but if we are one, we’ll fight it.’ Hence the birth of the storyline "Mark’s War," the Royals 2006 Campaign. Now, I’ve always said that Mark knew he would have to fight a fight – he didn’t know he’d have to fight a war. Today, the war escalated to an all-out nuclear holocaust.
The Tigers orchestrated a glorious come-from-behind win on Tuesday night. We talked about this in length. And today, they took to the field again, with Mike Maroth pitching for Detroit. Maroth entered the game with something like the 3rd-best ERA in the AL, at 2.45. Here is how his afternoon went:
- Esteban German singles.
- Shane Costa pops out.
- Reggie Sanders doubles. German to 3rd.
- Emil Brown doubles. Royals up, 2-0.
- Tony Graffanino homers. Royals up, 4-0.
- Angel Berroa homers. Royals up, 5-0.
- Doug Mientkiewicz homers. Royals up, 6-0.
- Ramon Colon relieves Mike Maroth.
Mike’s line? .1IP, 6H, 6ER, 3HR. His ERA went from one of the AL’s best at 2.45 to a very average 3.56. That’s a full 1.11 points. The Tigers are now down 6-0, and their starter is out of the game, having gotten one out. The game looks all but lost for the Tigers, and with that, their 5-game winning streak. And the Royals look like they’ll finally break that 12-game skid.
Here’s how the rest of the game went down. In the top of the 2nd, two walks and a hit loaded the bases for the Tigers with 1 out. An error allowed Brandon Inge to reach base, pushing each runner along. Royals still up, 6-1. Another single, another run, 6-2. Placido Polanco is hit by a pitch, 6-3.
In the top of the 4th, Craig Monroe singled and Marcus Thames hit a home run. Now it’s 6-5. Then, in the bottom, Esteban German homers for the Royals. 7-5, Royals.
Flash to the bottom of the 6th. Reggie Sanders walks, reaches 2nd on a wild pitch, and scores on an Emil Brown double. 8-5, Royals.
Now it’s the top of the 8th. Craig Monroe singles. Thames and Inge fly out. There are now two outs, and one man on 1st. Typically, not a tough spot for the defense. Well, you know what’s coming next. Curtis Granderson singles. Polanco singles; Monroe scores and Granderson gets to 3rd. 8-6. Pudge triples, two runs score. Game now tied, 8-8.
The Royals do nothing in the bottom of the 8th inning. Now, the Tigers come up for the top of the 9th, game tied. Omar Infante flies out. Then, Craig Monroe homers. Thames homers, again. Tigers up, 10-8. Inge and Granderson single, Pudge hits another homer. 13-8, Tigers, and that’s your final score.
Think about this for a second. Take a step back and look at the situation. The Royals scored 6 runs in the first .1 inning of the game, knocking out the starting pitcher in the process. Yet they still lost the game by 5 runs. Five runs. Five runs is a bad loss anyday. If you’re leading by six runs a third of the way through the first inning, a five run loss is unthinkable. Especially if you score two more runs in the rest of the game. On Tuesday, I said that if the Royals had won I would’ve expected the planets to collide. But, this time, I figured they just couldn’t lose. Yet, they managed to find a way. The Royals are now 10-35, having lost 13 straight. Next up for them are the Yankees, so make that a 16-game losing streak. Next is a 3-game set with Oakland. Maybe the Royals win a game, probably not. We’re looking at 19 straight loses when they arrive in Seattle on June 2nd. Now, is it possible to mercy a team’s season? Can MLB just take the Royals out back and shoot them, (metaphorically, of course.) They’re 10-35. They can’t even win a quarter of their games. Heck, you could sub in any club’s AAA team to play for the Royals the rest of the year – they’d probably do a lot better.
About the only dark spot for the Tigers, besides Maroth, was Jack Hannahan, who grounded out four times, and flied out twice. That’s 0-6. Hannahan was called up after Dmitri Young went on the DL again. Young, who is due in court on charges of domestic abuse, has had a rougher season than usual, batting .169 with a total of 7 singles and 3 doubles all year.
I predicted that the Tigers would do ‘well’ before the season started; that is well-documented. I knew they would surprise everyone, because they really weren’t a bad team last year – they were about 4 games under .500 on July 31st. But, as is detailed in the above link, the Tigers organization had a losing culture. Meaning, it was ok to call up young guys at the end of the season, because it was ok. Leyland has changed that, clearly. It’s not all him, because the best manager can’t make a bad team great. But between Leyland and a maturing team, the results have been much better. The Tigers are now 33-14, 1.5 games ahead of the White Sox. Next is a 3-game set with a Cleveland team that just hit .500, followed by 4 games with the Yankees (I will be there on May 31st,) 3 games with the Red Sox, and 3 with the White Sox. In other words, the best three teams in the AL. Those 10 games are going to tell us a lot about this team.
UPDATE: Kevin noted in the comments that there was no way I knew the Tigers would be this good. That is also correct. As I’ve said nearly as often, I figured we would be in contention throughout the year, but I didn’t think we’d be 33-14 on May 25th – not a chance.