Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Like the Lions, fans can't blame these Tigers for what's happening

I want to blast these Tigers. I want to curse the lineup from top to bottom for laying down. But, that would be irrational and the Lions have taught me humility after years of sleepless nights. The Tigers didn't lie down last night. On the contrary, they fought like hell and came back from two deficits against a team with arguably more talent. Damon's base running miscue was horrible but we're not even in the 11th inning if he doesn't fight back from an 0-2 count to tie the game in the 8th inning. The Rangers bullpen outlasted ours but we held a nasty AL lineup scoreless for six innings until the 14th. Our big bats showed with Cabrera knocking two bombs and Boesch delivering what should have been the coup de grace in the 11th.

Some time in the last decade, I quit throwing my hat at the TV screen when the Lions fell apart in the fourth quarter. That type of emotion is completely unfounded for a team void of talent and would be akin to buying a shitty stock and fretting over it every day as it continues to lose value. I can pick my investments but I'm stuck with the Tigers and Lions. Just as it easy to see a company for what it is through it's operating metrics, it's easy to see these Tigers for what they are. The 2010 Detroit Tigers are an above average hitting team, 4th in the league in hitting and have a 1-6 as good as any lineup in baseball. Conversely, they are well below average in pitching with an ERA that ranks 22nd, strikeouts at 24th and team WHIP at 20th. Defensively, they rank second to last in the American League. You don't win divisions with bottom third pitching and defense. Like the Lions, we saw this throughout the 90's in the Barry Sanders era when the Lions would hang crooked scores on everybody just to finish 9-7 and bow out in the first round of playoffs.

Hitting can power a team to a respectable record at the All Star break but pitching and defense are the difference with teams that can run in the stretch. Since 2006, the Tigers have been in first place at the break three times (2006, 2007 and 2009). Those teams failed to win a division championship and only the 2006 version squeaked into the playoffs on the last day of the year. With a first place lead one game before the break, the Tigers have ripped off six straight losses giving that feeling of deja vu all over again. The Sox are built to run away with the division this year as they are far superior in pitching to the Twins or Tigers. These Tigers have been fun to watch as were the Lions of the 90's but until Dumbrowski can put together a dominant 1-2-3 pitching rotation, I can't see how they won't continue to suffer the same fate. Being the devoted and retarded Detroit fan that I am, I will sit through all of it with them but sleep will come easier having resigned to the facts.

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