Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Final WBC Roundup

I hope you weren’t expecting some thorough, in-depth analysis of the World Baseball Classic finals, because I just didn’t see that much of the game. The little bit I saw was interesting, but it started way too late and my school schedule just won’t allow that (yeah, that west coast road trip the Tigers take in April is gonna be a problem). However, overall the WBC made for some entertaining television, and I’ve come away from it with three lasting impressions:
1) Venezuela makes the Tigers tick.
2) Bad pitching WILL catch up to you eventually.
3) When the Tigers face the Indians this year, Mark DeRosa is going to be a pain in the ass (call that one a hunch).

Now to discuss a little bit of Spring Training. After pitching well for pretty much the past two weeks, the bullpen faltered against the Red Sox. Now, while others get all Chicken Little, I’m gonna take the wait-and-see approach, because nearly everyone has been doing good work. Okay, maybe Rodney is cause for a little bit of concern because he’s given up runs in two consecutive outings now (but then again, Rodney does tend to go through phases like that). But Brandon Lyon is not gonna give up four consecutive home runs again. It’s just not gonna happen. It’s too rare of an occurrence. As I said before about Ryan Perry, let’s see what happens next time out. That leads me into a discussion about one of my pet peeves, which is the tendency for pundits and reporters to just spit out numbers at you and make a judgment solely on that. While they are a handy reference tool (one which I myself will probably use often) numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Dontrelle Willis is one whose numbers accurately reflect his performance this spring, despite my bewilderment at his last outing. He hasn’t had a clean outing yet and he’s walked a lot of people, and the numbers show that. However, Fernando Rodney has an earned run average of over seven, and yet in most of his appearances, he’s put up zeros. It’s just that in his bad outings, he’s given up a bunch of runs, and that’ll inflate the ol’ ERA real quick. I mean, at this point last year, Todd Jones’s spring ERA was, like, 31 or some alarmingly huge number like that. I know Todd Jones is probably not the best example to Tigers fans, but he pitched well during the regular season until he got hurt. At this point, though, it DOES look like Rodney might have a few issues to sort out, but better now than during the season.

Finally, it's worth mentioning the Hall-of-Famer George Kell, who passed away last night. I have absolutely no memories of him, but from what I hear, he did some great work for the Tigers, both on the field and in the broadcast booth, so God bless him.

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