So a busy past couple of days, personal and professionally, have kept me away. Now a trip up to Michigan for Labor Day weekend will keep me away for another couple of days. So I decided to make an actual non-game recap post of things I've seen or have been on my mind this season. 9 seems like the perfect number for baseball. So here I go in no particular order.
1) While Miguel Cabrera is without a doubt the team MVP. A good case can be made for Placido Polanco. His bat has been below his career averages this year, but when the offense has been clicking Polly's been in the thick of it. In game in which Placido has scored a run, by my count (which may or may not be accurate)the Tigers are 38-12. It seems simple enough. If Polly gets on base, it's a good chance the Tigers win
2) I still cannot figure out why the Twins in second place scare the crap out of me. Maybe it's flashbacks to 2006. Maybe its the fact that the way this team just will not die, is like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhies, and Freddy Krueger rolled into one. Joe Nathan looking human today was a relief, but I wont be able to sleep at night until the Tigers lead in the Central is greater then the amount of games remaining.
3) I didn't except Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff to be a Cy Young candidate and a triple crown threat. But I expected a little bit more than a 6.81 ERA and .145 batting average. Solid Septembers from the both of you, please.
4) One thing about Magglio's contract, and other contract related issues. If the Tigers make the playoffs, and get at least 4 home games and it's paid for. My math figures average ticket price is around $100, times 4 sellouts of 44,000. That's $17.6 million, and that's not including merchandise, parking, etc. I know that it's not that simple and everything isn't pure profit. My point is if the Tigers win, they will make money. The City of Detroit is struggling. Mike Illich is not. If the Tigers win, he will sign the checks with a smile.
5) I've grown a bit weary of constant criticism of fringe players on the team. I've heard way much consternation about Adam Everett's bat. What are you really expecting from someone batting ninth? He's hitting .244, his career average is .245. The same with the fielding stats. Any offense he can provide is great. Yeah the Tigers don't have the world's greatest offense. That really didn't get them far last year.
6) 32 pitchers have recorded at least 10 saves or more in the Major Leagues. No one is perfect, but there are 3 with one blown save. Mariano Rivera, Huston Street, and...wait for it...Fernando Rodney. We all know that if the game's not on the line things can get dicey. Even when the game is on the line things can get dicey. 31 times out of 32 the job has been done. Sure who wouldn't like a guy who does it like Rivera, but those guys are few and far between. Here's a stat to repeat in your head next time Nando takes the mound: No closer has induced more groundouts then Fernando. His 80 edges Chad Qualls by one, in third is Rivera with 69. So have faith when that baserunner reaches, odds are that the double play is coming.
7) I would really like to see Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga bounce back. Nate had a promising start last Saturday. Armando's final rehab start is in Toledo tomorrow. If both can pitch at a high level, the Tigers could drop one into the rotation and use the other to spell Rick Porcello, or the apparently aching Jarrod Washburn. A healthy, rested starting rotation will go a long way down the stretch and into the playoffs
8) If Jair Jurrgens wasn't traded for Edgar Renteria, he would have been in the Cabrera deal. Let it go people. I for one am happy he's in Atlanta. I've seen him pitch in person as many times down here as I did when he was in Detroit.
9) Meaningful baseball in September. Welcome back. We've missed you. Go ahead make yourself comfortable. We've got a futon you can sleep on. Better yet, I'll take the futon. You're a guest, please stay as long as you like. Those jerks in Chicago don't know how to treat you. And have you been to Minnesota in October? Brrrrr. Stay here, I'll throw a couple brats on the grill. We've got some catching up to do.
So there it you go. Tigers 10 games above .500 and 4.5 ahead in the AL Central on the 2nd day of September. Pretty damn good if you ask me. Everyone have a safe holiday weekend, and I'll see you in about a week. Go Tigers!