Monday Morning ManagerBy
Last Week: 2-4
This Week: at Min (6/29-7/1); SEA (7/2-4)
So what happened?
A disappointing, though perhaps predictable week on the road.
The Tigers, 13-19 away from Detroit when last week began, traveled into the hornet’s nests of New York and Atlanta, where neither home team loses all that much.
The result? An unsurprising 2-4 record, with the Tigers needing to win the final game of the series both times to avoid sweeps.
It all began in the rain and muck of Citi Field on Tuesday night, when Justin Verlander pitched two very shaky innings before the skies opened and a lengthy delay ensued.
The trip ended on a high note, with a 10-4 shellacking of the Braves, who’ve lost just eight times at home all season.
The good news? The Twins didn’t do much, either, and the Tigers actually stayed within a half-game of first place.
But the White Sox have been re-animated, and are suddenly making the AL Central a three-team race, which seemed an absurd notion just a couple weeks ago.
Hero of the Week
You can’t stop Brennan Boesch, folks—you can only hope to contain him.
And opposing pitchers aren’t even really doing that.
Every time I look up, Boesch is standing on second base—or rounding third in a trot.
This is getting ridiculous now.
Boesch, the Tigers’ rookie dropped from baseball heaven, could be the team’s left fielder for the next 10 years. He might combine with Miguel Cabrera to form one of the sickest hitting tandems that you’ll ever see in any big league batting order.
The future is exciting to contemplate, isn’t it?
Boesch kept slugging last week, and he was, again, a big factor in the Tigers’ wins.
You keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, i.e. the inevitable cool down, but until then, just enjoy the ride.
Goat of the Week
It’s time someone wrung their hands over Johnny Damon.
The 36-year-old left fielder/DH is looking every bit his age, and then some.
Damon is in a 6-for-37 slump, and he was invisible offensively last week. He did steal a couple of bases Sunday, but aside from that he’s been popless.
Damon’s average was .294 two weeks ago, and it’s now plunged to .269. And where’s the power? Damon has three homers in 253 at-bats.
Maybe the Yankees knew something when they dragged their feet in negotiating with him after last season.
I was a proponent of bringing Damon to Detroit. And he may yet right the ship. But for the last several weeks, that ship has been banging against the rocks.
Upcoming: Twins, Mariners
Have plenty of Pepto Bismol and aspirin on hand. Prepare to be put through the wringer.
The Tigers are in Minnesota this week.
The Tigers couldn’t beat the Twins in the Metrodome, and they can’t beat them at new Target Field, having been swept there in May.
But the Twins must look at the Tigers as gnats that won’t go away.
Here come the Tigers, just a half-game back in the Central Division and tied in the all-important loss column.
The Tigers were nipping on the Twins’ heels in early May, too, but the sweep knocked them back. The Twins’ lead has been as large as 5-1/2 games, but their play of late has opened the door for all comers—including the surging White Sox.
As for the Mariners, they are woeful—except when they play the Tigers. The M’s are another weak sister the Tigers seem to have trouble handling.
But the Tigers may have shed that label with their 8-1 run against the horrid Pirates, Nationals, and Diamondbacks a couple weeks ago.
Be prepared to hear more about lefty Cliff Lee when Seattle comes to town. The brilliant pitcher has been rumored to be on his way to the Twins in a contract-shedding.
Radio blowhard Mike Valenti of 97.1 The Ticket says if the Twins get Lee, “the Tigers’ season is over.”
This is a week where the Tigers could find themselves in first place once it’s done.
That’s all for this week’s MMM. See you next week!