Thursday, July 03, 2003

All good things must come to an end.
The Tigers were on a blazing two game winning streak including a 5-0 shutout yesterday, but that came to a screeching halt as Roy Halladay took the mound for Toronto and first half co-MVPs Carlos Delgado and Vernon Wells went yard three times between them. However, the silver lining shines bright once again as the worst hitting team in the league managed 9 hits on Halladay with everyone but Kevin Witt getting a base hit and Carlos Pena getting two. SP Adam Bernero gave up 5 runs on 7 hits and got chased after just 3 1/3 innings pitched. The loss was his twelfth to just one win. Next up is the Kansas City Royals for a four game set in KC. Jeremy Bonderman faces Jeremy Affeldt in the opener as Bonderman goes to avoid becoming the league's lone 13 game loser. The Tigers take a few hot sticks over the past week into KC: Pena (.429), Dmitri Young (.423), Craig Monroe (.308) and Alex Sanchez (.292).

White Sox designate D'Angelo Jimenez.
A day after acquiring Roberto Alomar from the New York Mets for prospects, the White Sox designated infielder D'Angelo Jimenez for assignment. They now have 10 days to trade him or he'll be waived. If the 10 days without any consequence, I would love to see the Tigers make the move to pick up Jimenez. He's just 25 and as good as, if not better, than Shane Halter, Ramon Santiago and Warren Morris:

Jimenez 25 73 .255 .332 .410
Halter 33 55 .225 .268 .352
Morris 29 25 .278 .321 .430
Santiago 23 65 .233 .308 .295

He's hardly knocking the lights out, but his closest competitor of that group has played just 1/3rd of the games he has. Halter and Santiago have distgusting on-base percentages and Santiago's inability to slug the ball is Rey Ordonez-esque. Since waiver wire claims work by W-L record, the Tigers will have first priority should Jimenez be waived. The season is clearly lost, so taking a shot at a young infielder like Jimenez makes plenty of sense. Let's hope GM Dave Dombrowski sees it that way.

This plays locally to those that hear Houston Astro broadcasts, but the funniest thing I've heard in months is Astro radio announcer, Milo Hamilton barking after a Richard Hidalgo home run. A soundbite for the ages by one of the premier broadcasters of our time ... Tony Korheiser's constant potshots at Jim Rome on his radio show are also good for a few hearty laughs. Kornheiser rips Rome for his inexplicable 30-second pauses in the middle of the show, the "clones", Rome's "rack 'em" shout after a call, his lame overuse of the word "epic", and also his tour stops. While admittedly fat, bald and orange, Kornheiser is also quite funny ... Delgado has 91 runs batted in and we're not yet at the All-Star Break. Yes, you read right: 91 RBIs. That's a season for most guys! ...

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Holy Maca-Roney!
When you cheer for the worst team in baseball and possibly the worst ever, you look for small victories. And yesterday's 5-0 victory over Toronto yesterday is definitely something for Tiger fans to be pleased with. Rookie Matt Roney shutout the hottest hitting team in the league in only his 3rd start of the season. He allowed just one hit in 7 innings while striking out 4 and walking just 2. Craig Monroe and Ramon Santiago supplied the offense with home runs, a two run and solo shot respectively. Monroe also added two other hits and a stolen base. Jamie Walker logged his first save after giving up 2 hits in 1 1/3 innings. Dmitri Young also added two hits to up his average to .297, pretty much solidifying his selection to the All-Star game as the Tiger representative.

These back to back wins for the Tigers are their first since June 3rd and 4th. Completing the hat-trick tonight will prove difficult as Adam Bernero goes up against Roy Halladay. With 20 wins against 61 losses, this season is far beyond lost, but I think ending the season with 60 wins would something to build on and would almost certainly avoid having 3 20-game losers. However, with a month left until the trading deadline, I wouldn't be suprised if the Tigers dumped Young, Bobby Higginson, Eric Munson, and/or Craig Monroe for prospects.

Benitez blows it... again!
Not even one day after I try to take a little heat off Armando Benitez and his struggles with closing out games, he comes through with this Jimenez-like line:


1.3 1 1 1 0 3 1

The blown save was Benitez's 6th, but he did manage to get his 2nd win. Meanwhile, Jimenez was brought in a non-save situation and gave up a hit and walk in 1/3 of an inning. That should be good for the ol' WHIP that already sits near 2.00.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

A truly Rocky Mountain High.
It needs to be said, here and now: Colorado Rockies "closer" Jose Jimenez is absolutely horrible. I can't understand why Mets closer Armando Benitez takes all the ink as the National League gas can while Jimenez continually gets destroyed on almost a nightly basis. It's hard to believe this guy once threw a 9-inning no-hitter when he can barely a manage a 1-inning no-hitter these days. His June ERA of 8.78 ranks 192nd in the National League while Benitez came through with a 2.19 (49th). And we can throw out everyone's favorite Colorado pitcher excuse because it's not Coors Field:

Home 24.1 6.29 1.64 11
Away 13.2 8.56 2.56 8

It's sad when a 6.29/1.64 are your better half of home/away splits. Given the propensity for day games in Wrigley, I think the Rockies should move Jimenez to the Chicago Cubs based on the these shocking day/night splits:

Day 17.0 2.12 1.41 10
Night 21.0 11.14 2.43 9

As it stands right now, I can't see how manager Clint Hurdle can continue to give Jimenez the ball in close & late situations and expect to win. Even Texas' Ugueth Urbina is at 4.24 with a 1.29 WHIP while Jimenez has an atrocious 7.11 overall ERA and puts on nearly 2 guys an inning (1.97 WHIP). One may wonder why Jimenez has any reason to smile as in the picture above, but the answer is clear: $3.6 million/year. When Six Flags unveils its next roller coaster, they really ought to consider naming it "The Jimenez" if they truly want to scare the patrons. Oh by the way, Jimenez was on my fantasy until this morning.

Monday, June 30, 2003

Breaking down the paper Tigers...
Everyone knows that the Detroit Tigers have three starting pitchers on pace to lose 20 games. What they don't know is that it isn't really their fault. Well, not totally at least. It would surprise many to read that the Tigers' 4.77 ERA ranks 19th in the league. Hardly a major achievement, but that ranks ahead of contenders like Boston, Kansas City and Toronto. The 1.43 team WHIP ranks 20th in the league, surpassing again Kansas City and Toronto. So what's the problem? It's run support. Or the complete and utter lack thereof. Of the 100 qualifying starting pitchers, the four main starters of the Tigers rank in the 90s in the run support:

Player RS
91st Nate Cornejo 3.70
97th Mike Maroth 3.42
99th Adam Bernero 2.62
100th Jeremy Bonderman 2.28

As you can see, it's pretty pathetic. The offense and defense, and I use those terms very loosely despite the Tigers being my favorite team, have been nearly non-existent behind the starting pitchers. The .978 fielding percentage is tied for 29th in the league with only Cincinnati below them (.976). Every major batting category finds the Tigers at or near the bottom as well:

Category		Rank (Total)

Runs 30th (247)
Batting Average 30th (.225)
On-base % 30th (.288)
Slugging % 30th (.342)
Home Runs 28th (60)
Walks 28th (222)
Strikeouts 24th (541)

Suprisingly, the Tigers rank 1st in the majors in GIDP, but that's most likely due to the fact that there is no one first to be doubled up in the first place. So with all the talk swirling around Maroth, Bernerno and Bonderman and their journey towards being 20 game losers, lost in the shuffle is the simple fact that these guys truly aren't that bad. The disgustingly low average of .225 and the ineptitude of the defense behind these starters has contributed a lot to their losing ways.

Unforunately, help doesn't really appear to be on the way. The AAA Toldeo Mudhens are barren in terms of hitters as major leaguer Carlos Pena has the highest average of anyone that's played for the Mudhens. He played 8 games in a rehab stint. The only other player hitting really well is journeyman DH Ernie Young. The 34 year old is hitting .296 with 12 HRs and a .866 OPS. Further down on the farm, no one with the AA Erie SeaWolves is hitting over .279 and one of the bigger pitching prospects, Kenny Baugh (0-5, 8.23 ERA), is struggling mightily. GM Dave Dombrowski has his work cut out for him, but until Mike Illitch starts spending of his pizza money on the Tigers and not just the Red Wings, Detroit will continue to flirt with breaking the 1962 New York Met record of inferiority.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Nomar is no mo'???
He goes 6-for-6 against Philadelphia and 5-for-5 against Detroit and yet when Boston rips off 25 runs against Florida, SS Nomar Garciaparra only goes 1-for-4. Now, I'm hardly trying to rip into Nomar, but I really expected 7-for-7 after seeing that score. I opened that boxscore and was massively disappointed. Everybody but the aforementioned Nomar and Doug Mirabelli and Freddy Sanchez, who were only pinch hitters, got 2 or more hits. So if you want to break it down, every position, but SS got 2+ hits! Amazingly, Johnny Damon went 5-for-7 and is still only hitting .265. Each of the five Florida Marlin pitchers gave up 4+ runs.

Miceli gets the save...
Newly acquired reliever, Dan Miceli got his first save in a Yankee uniform since coming over from Cleveland earlier this week. If I were a Mariano Rivera owner, I'd hardly begin worrying. Widely regarded as the best closer in the game, Rivera will still be the man in 99% of the Yankee 9th innings. On the flipside, I probably wouldn't run out and pick up Miceli for my team.