Messing with Texas: CoPa factor plays again?

Inge (right) celebrates walkoff homer with Miguel Cabrera (Getty Images)Interesting point from Brandon Inge after Wednesday’s win when talking about the Rangers offense cooling off following its fast start over the previous nine games. He gave credit to the pitching staff, and he also gave credit to the ballpark.

To him, there’s a Comerica Park factor going on. And when you consider the home-road disparity that has been going on with this team since at least last year and maybe earlier, it’s worth consideration.

“These guys have been swinging hot bats,” Inge said. “This is where our ballpark plays in our favor a lot. A team like that coming in swinging hot bats, they had three or four balls hit in the last two or three games that probably would’ve been home runs in their ballpark, and that would’ve given them momentum and they would’ve just kept running the bases and putting runs up. But they don’t go out, and those guys now are scratching their heads when they come back in the dugout.

“Our pitchers have more confidence knowing they can go up in the zone and get outs, and you can see where the momentum transfers back over to us. A lot of people complain about this park, but it’s a big park, and both teams have to play in it.”

Ryan Raburn, of course, had the catch to take away a home run. Texas had a double off the right-field wall in the series opener and another that hit the wall on a hop. They had countless others that took Austin Jackson towards the warning track in center field.

The stats suggest this park plays pretty even over the course of a season. But it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest maybe this park plays a little diffferently before it warms up than it does during the summer.

As for both sides playing in it, Inge says he has talked with new Tiger Victor Martinez about the ballpark factor.

“Victor, he has hit a couple balls [that would've been out elsewhere],” Inge said. “But you know what, it’s not really a bad thing if you embrace it. Hopefully he’ll understand that coming into it. I’ve tried to talk to him a few times. I told him there’s a lot of RBIs to be had in these gaps right here. And that’s where we’re going to win ballgames.

“We’re not here for personal stats. No one should be here for personal stats. And if you get runners on base in this ballpark, and if you can swallow your pride and understand that your home run numbers are probably going to come down a little bit but you can get just as many RBIs by those gaps, it’s just a matter of understanding it and letting it happen.”

On a side note, I’ll be off for the next few days before rejoining the team in Seattle. I’ll be watching the Oakland games on TV and might chime in with a post now and then, but it won’t be the daily lineups and routines that I usually have. Please excuse me while I finally unpack some of the last items in the suitcase from the road.

98 Comments

Enjoy some time off getting settled for a few days – we’ll likely have 50 posts on this by the time you return!

Things I saw on TV last night:
Roy Halladay was in trouble in the 9th as the Nationals rallied. He then struck out two former Tigers, Matt Stairs and Pudge, on six pitches. Only one of those pitches appeared to be in the strike zone. It’s good to be the king………or the Doc. And yes, Pudge went ballistic.
Charlie Sheen on Drew Carey’s improv show. My TV nearly melted under my verbal barrage.
My first OT game of the NHL playoffs. Caps win, 2-1.

Last night I watched yesterday’s game at midnight. FSD usually has a repeat of the day game during the evening. One thing I noticed is that game was edited. As much as half an inning and more was scrunched into 2 hours. Someone, was it Dan? can’t remember) said they watched the replay of Tuesday’s game and didn’t seem that impressed. If that game had been edited, I might understand how you preceive it. But, that game on Tuesday had to be watched in its entirety. Even Henning called it a “passion play”. And, he was right. One of the best games I’ve seen the Tigers play with all the ins and outs in a long time. I wonder how we’ll do on the road trip.

Wasn’t me!

I complained in sT about DD not getting another power hitter for the lineup. In my mind, VMart was not enough to make ours a potent lineup.
we have had trouble hitting this year and today we have one bunt single going into the 5th.
It’s getting a bit stale.

Ooooohhh. Raburn is going to have to have better ABs than that hitting in front of MCab. Looked overmatched with 2 guys in scoring position.

BTW–This umpire is one of the biggest jokes in MLB. Laz Diaz.
I’m sure the every player on each team must cringe when they see he is going to be behind the plate.

These are two offensive juggernauts tonight! Second and third twice and a clutch hit nowhere to be found!
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Coco Crisp looks like an idiot with that fro!

Well, so far, Coke has been real impressive. Now, if we could just get some runs.

Man- VMart almost made them pay for the intenional walk of Cab. Missed a 3 run HR by a foot or two. Then promptly grounded out/ He’s struggling mightily right now.
Clutch hit clobbered by Raburn to drive in the games 1st run.Ramon has been good again and Cokle has been very good. They are bringing him out for the 7th.
that’s a lot to ask of this guy so early into his conversion.

Tons of gifts by the As pitchers but tons of guys LOB.
Gotta do better–top of 8 now but we are still only 1 run ahead.

Have mercy on Austin and Victor. Both in slumps.

There’s a few slumps going around. Boesch is not tearing it up either.
This team needs to start whackin a few out of the yard.
Tonight they got lucky. They were not hitting but were given so many opportunities anyway. They just don’t seem to hit with RISP.
Coke must feel pretty good about his outing.
Ramon comes up big for us again today and factored in all the runs scored.

Ramon and Raburn leading the way again.
I’m pretty sure our hitting will improve up to a point, as we doesn’t have weak hitters in the lineup anymore. That said, I think this is an offense that can be shut down quite a bit and we’ll need to win low run games like tonight. JL seems to be abreast of it, calling for more bunts than usual.
Coke has been very good. I had confidence he could make the switch and I hope he keeps it up.
I may have seen a bigger ‘fro than the one Crisp was sporting, but I’d have to go back some forty years. Oscar Gamble had a big one, but the helmets in those days didn’t have ear flaps. Coco definitely was listing to one side. My advice is to get that braided as quickly as possible.

If I’m saying “we doesn’t have” I know it’s too late to be writing.

Ramon and Raburn again? Couldn’t be.
Rich, did you mean “we doesn’t have no weak hitters in the lineup no more.”?
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Coke was very impressive last night, and Brandon made a couple of exceptional plays at third. Hitting well?? It could be better.
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Joe Mauer to the DL, I am sure they will pull an all-star catcher out of ther butts!

I watched in between closed eyelids last night and finally gave up after we went ahead by 3. Amazing how many walks they gave up, amazing we couldn’t score more with those kind of gifts, considering one score was a gift from an error. Terrific outing by Coke, I was terrified they were going to bring in the new guy from Toledo but am glad they did not – not the kind of game I’d like to see a newbie have to go into. Good for us though for having patience and realizing these guys were struggling to find the zone. And good for Ramon and Ryan, they pulled us through.

Coco was a trip with that do – didn’t even realize it was him.

Mud Hens had an home opener doubleheader and lost both. I watched part of an inning on tv, just in time to see both Danny Worth and Scott Sizemore make terrible errors, those kind of plays will not get you into the bigs guys. They lost both games, tough way to start the home season. The new coach got tossed as well in that short glimpse of the game, he was a riot kicking dirt on home plate although they got a little too close with the cameras, could tell exactly what he was telling the ump, no wonder he got tossed in about 5 seconds!

My bad, it wasn’t Worth but Iorg with the error

Yeah Pup, for a guy who has been touted as a fielding wizard, Iorg has sure made a lot of errors.
Speaking of which, Inge ows Cab big time this year. His throws have been less accurate and less strong as in previous years. Cab has already dug at least 4 out that I can remember–2 last night.

I think last nights performance cements my thoughts about the 1st week of the season. Phil Coke should have started game 2 in New York, not Brad Penny. Not only is he a better pitcher, he is left handed (which means a lot in Yankee Satdium). We could have brought 4 starters North (maybe left Porcello in extended SP, since Penny does not have that option) and then when we needed the 5th starter sent down Weinhart or Alburqurue.
Nice stretch for the Tigs. They will go as far as the starters take them. I think Penny has stabilized, now we need Porcello to find his sinker and we will be in good shape. Go TIGS!

love the blog, found this captioned picture from above ! http://sports.failblog.org/2011/04/15/funny-sports-pictures-white-guys/

Well I guess we see if RP has got his stuff together yet. The thing I am impatient about with Rick is his lack of an out pitch (and the fact he gives up about 2 hits per inning).

Ramon does it again!
Nice DP.
Porecello is going to get lit up if he has to pitch up in the strike zone. Too many balls in the dirt and the umpw won’t be too inclined to give him the low strike.

Really? No afroamericans on Robinson`s Day?

Looks to me like they are all wearing #42.

Ya Dan I was just saying the same thing. He isn’t getting the low strike called, so he is toast. Interestingly enough if he threw it 2-4 inches outside like McCarthy he’d be golden, because he is getting that called a strike.

Avila couldn’t throw out a turtle! And it no doubt cost the tigers a run!

Not a fan of the strike zone!

Perry had a not so good outing for Toledo today. Sizemore is hitting .435

When are we gonna see the MCab hitting like he can?

As an unabashed AA fan—————yes!!!

Where is all the hitting gone, long time passing, where has all the hitting gone, long time ago.
Oh when will ever lelarn.

Let’s go you guys. I think it is nice if you actually support your starters by scoring some runs. Yesterday’s 3 runs were a gift. You can’t wait for gifts. Make something happen and that goes for you to Lleyland.
Nice job by Porcello. I was actualy thinking he should just walk Matsui especially down 3-1.

Pretty weak offense tonight,. Miggy hasn’t had a hit since the second to the last game against Texas. Kinda lazy at bats it seems tonight!

I’d take Alber out. Leave him with a good taste i his mouth.
One more inning to get their act together. Meat of the order coming up for us.
Alber looked good last inning for sure.

You need someone that can get you a strikeout. Alber has shown he has a propensity for that in the minors. Live fastball but straight as an arrow. He could be a good one in time.

U always feel a chance with Fuentes – too late with the post!!

Can’t believe he isn’t going with Benoit for the 9th.

Don’t like the idea of leaving Alber in for a 3rd inning at all.

Well, now you take him out and if the A’s score you have tarnished his debut. Typical JL move but at least he didn’t leave him in there to twist in the wind.
Cab comes through and Boesch just missed one that he clobbered to CF in the 8th

OK Leyland , now you are into “what a genius I am” mode. Bringing in another untested guy in a critical situation. I’d a left Schlereth in. I don’t think Ellis would have hurt him. Now we are getting down to Thomas as the only LHP Remeber him? I would guess he would be last resort and Benoit and Valve will get the next 2 innings. after Villareal.

Leyland got away with that inning. Unfortunately he appears to be ready to go to Thomas next inning. Better get a crooked number boys!

Wow – did the A’s implode or what!!

Well this game is probably going to look like a laugher, which it totally wasn’t in reality. Nice AB by Boesch there in the 10th, he really went down there and got that ball!

Suddenly these guys look like some bad dudes. Opportunistic. I like the way they’re winning games this week. Bodes well for the season if they pull off stuff like this.
Now, at .500, we can think about the division race.

On my way out to work early this AM, but was watching the game last night and fell asleep around the 8th inning. Woke up at around 4:30am with the tv still on to find the score 6-1. I missed Miggy’s HR but watched the rest. Didn’t sleep much after that. Go Tigers!

I hate west coast trips! They really mess with the beauty sleep. Way to go Miggy, he has looked pretty bad the last couple of days, like he wasn’t concentrating or something. (like I know???) I liked Albaquerqu – he had them looking really foolish. I wish he hadn’t sent Villareal in for the 10th. Thas was a spot to use Gonzales or Thomas I think. Again what do I know.

Can’t believe I watched the whole thing. It was worth it though. Seems like MCab can hit one whenever he chooses doesn’t it? I kinda liked the A,s announcers. That HR really took the wind out of their sails though. I almost think they saw it coming.

Alber was impressive. Villarreal did well again. Those two guys may be the surprises for 2011 if they can keep this up while maturing. They both seem fearless and I have to give credit to JL for trusting them in a tight game like this was. All were rewarded. If this keeps up I would guess Thomas’ and Gonzalez’ roles would diminish to where they would only be called upon in games where the Tigs fall behind early, including blowouts. One of them might be on the hook when Perry comes back. The way things have been going I haven’t missed him.

I went to bed in the 7th inning – what a terrible fan I am and am mad I missed it, amazing turnaround. Way to go guys! Glad to see our pitching on track.

Austin Jackson needs to be in centerfield so if he continues to struggle with the bat, I hope JL will at least hit him 9th for awhile.
My money says they call Alburquerque “Albie.” And if Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” isn’t the best entrance music for him, I don’t know what is. Nice little crowd-rev piece, too.
Boston has matched our 2008 2-10 start. Do we know how they feel or what? Starpower OD.
I have a permanent blackout for “Tigers Live.” It seems MLB has cracked down on these shows that present game highlights. I’ll no longer get to see Leyland’s postgamer, but I’ll probably sleep better.
Since an Oakland rainout isn’t likely and Seattle has a roof, Verlander and Scherzer should start two of the Chicago games next weekend.

Anyone remember Dallas Braden’s flare-up at A-Rod for crossing the mound on the way to the dugout? Well, Inge has been crossing the mound for two nights now. Probably the direct path to the dugout. The question is, does the “Braden Rule” apply at all times or only when Dallas is on the field? :-) Stay tuned………..

Joe Nathan blew another one today. He s certainly not himself yet, makes you wonder if they brought him back too soon? What a minute, IT’S THE TWINS, they do everything the right way?

Oh and the teams that can’t lose – the royals and the indians, who knew?

When was the last time the Tigers actually scored against an opponent’s starting pitcher? Tonight’s run was a gift from an error. Now they have left runners stranded on second and third with no outs twice in this game.

Pretty pitiful. Not very impressive at all and Verlander is dumbing down to the competition tonight. Although I honestly believe he got a little screwed on some of those strikes that weren’t called as such, that probably cost him a run or two.

Well that was just the strangest thing I’ve ever seen by Verlander.

Beyond!?!?

On Gameday they called that a pickoff play to first base with an error on the throw by Verlander. He nearly hit DeJesus in the *ss.

Now they are calling it a baulk

Whatever happened to “wild pitch?”

Who knows that was one of the weirdest things ever! I don’t think they knew what to do with that?

Pretty pathetic! Just when I was starting to feel a tiny bit good, I get sent back to reality

That one was lost in the 2nd and 4th innings. Two men in scoring position with none out and supposedly productive hitters at the plate. Twice. But this is how they roll, get used to it.
Sometimes the matchups are overcome by the plain old flow of baseball. I never expected the Tigers to take 3 of 4 in Oakland. We’ll probably get a split here, then hopefully take 2 of 3 up in Seattle and call it an okay road trip.

OK, Tigers. You just picture yourselves playing in Comerica in front of 44,000 screaming fans this afternoon.

Exactly Rich, this one was lost in the earlyl going. Time and time again, they don’t take advantage of their spots. The could of put this one away early. That being said while in the first few innings Justin looked like he was going to have a good night, he again has that one inning that just ruins it for him. If his fellow Tigers are not going to support him with runs he has got to stay away from that big inning, and so far he has not been able to do that. Oh Well.

Those two early ABs by Peralta were very disappointing. For some reason, he’s seen by management as a run producer when, in reality, he’s only a slightly below average big league ballplayer. I don’t think Leyland needs to give him a “hit the ball to the right side and get the run home” sign, or even have to tell him that. He should know what to do. The strange thing is, if Santiago had been up in those spots, it’s very likely we have two runs. With one of the best pitchers in baseball going for us, that might be all you need to win. This is not a Santiago over Peralta thing, it’s about knowing how to play the game. As JL said, the softball days (steroid era) are over.
My man Martinez also figured into one of these situations. I wouldn’t have thought it possible from such a professional hitter, but Victor is actually pressing. The walks to Cabrera weigh on that next guy and if Victor is having trouble with it, it’s no wonder Boesch hit .163 in the second half of last season.
The difference between Peralta and Martinez is that Victor will break out of it and it’s going to be a lot of fun when he does.
Meanwhile, our lineup of run producing sluggers isn’t producing. I didn’t think it would. Our pitching is far above average and we can win with that if our hitters understand what’s going on this season.
And yes, this is me being in total agreement with Leyland.

One thing that stands out in April baseball is that a team’s direction isn’t clear yet, thus making many games appear pivotal, much more so than later in the year. Today is one of those games. If the Tigers win today, I will be very pleasantly surprised. One thing a good team does is, by season’s end, leave a trail of fans and observers who have repeated over and over, “I didn’t think they’d win THAT one.” In other words, those teams defy the predictable.
I’d like to see some of that.

We needed another proven big bat at the start of the season and not the myopic view that Peralta, Inge, Avila Boesch or Raburn is going to provide that. I blame the lack of hitting on DD.
Martinez was a good signing but more was needed. Either Crawford or Werth would have solved a couple of problems in one signing.

Today’s lineup – well is sad looking. Martinez hurt.

Well, Werth is over here hitting .196 with two solo homers accounting for his total of 2 RBI. That’s $72 mil well spent.
They won’t pitch to Cabrera at all today, so I guess we have a built-in excuse for not winning this one.

So the question of the day is- Can the Tigers give their starting pitcher some runs to work with? Starting last Monday they haven’t scored many. Zero for JV last Monday, 4 for Penny on Tuesday but it took another run to win it, 2 for Max on Wednesday but the Inge homer had to win it, one run for Coke on Thursday, zero for Porcello on Friday in 6 innings, and just one for JV Saturday. Saturdays lack of runs really stands out when you think of the 2 innings they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs and got no runs scored. And yes, it does seem like JV is back into his usual April doldrums. So what happens today?

Misses the first 7 innings of Sat game. But what I saw told me one thing, when Ryan Perry comes off the DL, Enrique Gonzales better be off the roster.

Tigers look incredibly ugly so far today. Yes he is a good pitcher, but not this good. Pretty bad.

Time to put Jackson and Rhymes on a bus for Toledo.Worth in second and CT( no one else has a chance) in CF and fisrt spot.
Miss me yet? Grnaderson and G- Man

All I got is PATHETIC!

Turned out to be the predictable result. I correctly guessed the Tigers scoring one run, but missed on Oakland; I predicted 3 and they got 5.
I’m getting the impression that JL is none too happy. The Tigers lack of offense was evident all through spring training, and it continues.
This early schedule is brutal. 13 of 19 on the road including a west coast trip. With 3 more west coast swings coming.

Time to shake things up a little bit. Status quo is not working. Austin needs to go to Toledo where he can get some help. Legendary Lloyd can’t do it. Call Clete back to lead off and give the 2nd base job to Ramon. Too many times Miggy bats with no one on base, it’s not surprising we’re not scoring runs. With the top 2 in the order batting .170 and .220 it’s a wonder Cabrera has as many Rbi’s as he does.

Why does Will Rhymes always get interviewed after games? I thought it was an unwritten rule that rookies are supposed to be seen but not heard.
I only caught a few innings after work. They were swinging at the most godawful pitches. They just don’t play hungry.

It is now at least two seasons (feels longer) that the Tigs slump against starting pitching. They regularly have a pitcher down for the count early, then let him off the hook with all the adjustments seemingly made by the pitcher.
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Was anyone yelling at Penny to let the ball go foul? He had so much time watching it, then as it spun had to hurry to prevent it crossing the line.

Tigers have more problems than many of us are willing to admit. Raburn is a defensive liability in the outfield and a proven strikeout machine. Jackson cannot hit anything right now but their not willing to let him bunt for singles. Peralta can’t seem to get the ball in play with no outs and men on 2nd and 3rd. Pitching wise not nearly as bad with the starters aside from Penny. The bullpen is a trainwreck. B. Thomas, Schlereth, Gonzales all stink up the yard whenever they can. You can’t do much with old injured guys but jeez Leyland could you maybe try to manufacture some runs for your starters? We have youth and speed use it it’s working fir KC and Cleveland. Coaching fail….again

The past week, 7 games, 4 runs in the first 5 innings, 5 more in the 6th inning, a total of 9 runs in the first 42 innings. They are fortunate to have won 4 of the 7 games.
Hardly any support for the starters. JV lost 2 games and Penny lost one. Scherzer and Coke had to hold the opposition to just 2 and 0 runs to win. Porcello had no run support through 6 innings. The fans who said they needed another bat in addition to V-Mart are beginning to look right.

When is management going to wake up? The team is a reflection of the SOC! The one thing that does not change is Miggy in the 4 spot. Put him in the 3 hole. C’mon SOC, change the line up. What do you have to lose, games? I am glad I helped my daughter move today and did not see the game. I am still a Tigers fan. Go Tigers, 2011. –Dave

Actually what I think needs to change is the hitting coach. Not that I always agree with leyland, but this hitting is just the same old same old. Either he is a bad hitting coach or the message just isn’t getting though. But maybe there needs to e a change.?

I think we’re one of the few teams that doesn’t actually employ a hitting coach, but it goes deeper than that. We have filled the lineup with guys who are supposed to hit doubles and/or homers, so to ask them to be adept at situational hitting is somewhat bizarre. Name the guys who you can trust to lay down a bunt or hit a grounder to the right side? Most of them are on the bench. I won’t even go into sac flies at this point. We have what we have, and they will get shut down entirely many times this season. It will take a boatload of clutch hits to have any success. If that sounds like the recipe for a .500 team, it may be.
It’s not entirely the offense. Our team ERA coming into today was 4.81, next to last in the AL. Brad Penny, supposedly pretty good today, nevertheless came in with an 8.27 ERA and it went UP today. What’s our definition of pretty good?
It can all turn around, absolutely. When and if it does, great, but nobody can blame people for getting a little antsy with this start. There was talk during pregame of players playing up to their historical level. Okay, how about our team historical level? In the past nearly four and a half seasons, we’re 355-360. Blame who you want, but don’t blame fans for being unhappy with this start. Win some games and everything will be fine. “That’s just the way it is” (Jim Leyland).

They got Jim his 1,500th. Is that enough? It sure looks that way.

When we weren’t scoring runs in Spring Training there were various theories as to why. Some said that guys were working on certain aspects of their game, maybe trying a new stance or whatever. Others said that with split squads the lineups weren’t what they would be when the season started. I think we can put all those theories to rest, now. In reality, this team has an average to below average bottom of the order. And so far, this season, a really anemic top as well. You expect your 3,4, and 5 guys to be the real run producers, but the lack of support from the rest of the lineup generally makes these guys pitchable. I’m with you, gk. I’d like to see Lloyd go. Who on this team has actually improved with his tutelage?

Time to find some offense guys, this just isn’t working. Even Miggy isn’t producing but hard to produce when the pitchers don’t have to give you much.

Isn’t Lloyd McClendon the hitting coach?? Or are you just saying that it is title but he doesn’t do a good job?

Isn’t Lloyd McClendon the hitting coach?? Or are you just saying that it is title but he doesn’t do a good job? Anyway, I actually think some of the pitching has come around a bit. Penny not really and JV seems to always have that big inning, and right now they pretty much need to be perfect since this team isn’t scoring any runs.

Put Wells in center, send Jackson to Toledo so he can get some real coaching. Bring up Dirks and Sizemore. What have we got to lose? Go Tigers! –Dave

Lloyd McClendon, a lifetime .244 hitter, came to Detroit with the rest of the Pittsburgh mafia and was the bullpen coach in 2006. Don Slaught, a lifetime .283 hitter, was the hitting coach. Don was big into video teaching and I had the impression he was a hard worker. He left after 2006 for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, as usual. Rather than replace him, JL gave the hitting coach duties to Lloyd and Jeff Jones was hired for the bullpen. More like a political appointment, IMO. That’s why I said what I said above.
The 2006 Tigers had no problem offensively, and were an opportunistic bunch. It was during the second half of 2007 that we began to see the kind of offense that remains in place today. Whether any of that has to do with the hitting coach, I have no idea.
If we take 2 of 3 in Seattle, it’s a good road trip but there are still these issues to resolve.

I’m a big JL fan – but I have always been suspect of his staff….aside from Gene.

And why did Andy VanSlyke leave?

Right on, Rich. I had totally forgotten about Don Slaught being the initial hitting coach under the JL group. Everything you said is correct.
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On one hand the players have to perform and do the job, but if the hitting coach is not offering good ideas and just spouting a bunch of cliches to get guys out of slumps he is not doing his job.
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I dont think there is much of a plan at the plate.
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Lloyd has made no improvements to any Tiger hitter that I can think of. And he has shown no ability to get anybody out of slump.
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This start is a double edged sword. I am a die hard want them to win as much as possible. But if they end up turning this around and have a typical good JL first half, I fear contract extensions will be handed all around. But if the tires continue to spin, maybe we will all get what we want: An entirely new administration in management (not necessarily DD).
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Short term or long term? Most days, I cant decide what I want.
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Go Tigers.
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- Bob

Quote from Leyland: “Every good team I’ve ever had — and I think this team will do it — has had a little bit of a mean streak in it,” Leyland said. “When you win the first two, you have to step on somebody. You have to go get one more somehow, some way. It can’t just be, ‘OK, we lost a couple.’ That won’t work.”
Okay. I think JL gets blamed for a lot of things that aren’t his fault, but what he’s saying here comes down from the manager and team leaders. This is a team culture issue. I have no doubt Jim has had these tough teams in the past but is he promoting that toughness now? Everybody gets older, just ask me. And do we have the team leaders that can promote that atmosphere? I don’t mean the Johnny Damon type, I mean those who lead by example.
A baseball season is a funny thing. Everyone is talking offense right now, and a week from today the offense may be clicking and the issue will be pitching. There are very few times when everything is going so well that observers are practically speechless beyond the occasional “go team.”

I think you hit it right, Rich. I said it last year as well. This team just doesn’t seem to have anyone with a real mean streak, win at all cost mentality. No one with the fire of a Gibson or Morris. They all seem to have a pretty laid back approach, not too high not too low. (I think JL may have said something along those lines). Truth be told, I don’t know how much of that exists anywhere in baseball these days. I grew up in the days when Bob Gibson glared at batters and the scowl from Al Hrabosky could scare you. I can’t think of anybody now like that except maybe that Wilson guy from SF. I think to be successful these days a team must have good pitching, play good defense (which simply means you make the plays which should be made), and offensively must get guys on and be able to move them around. You don’t need an All-Star studded offense with guys that all hit .300 and have 35 HR. You need players that can work a walk, hit to the right side to move a runner, get the runner in from third with less than two outs, etc. etc. Sorry to say, but I think we lack most of those things.

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