Saturday, August 7, 2010

An Attempt at a Diagnosis

I don’t have a lot of time, but I’m going to try do discuss some of the things I’ve observed recently during this slide. First of all, it really isn’t the fault of the starting pitching. Justin Verlander got off to a rocky start (He said that attempting to back off on his fastball like he had in Boston ended up adversely affecting his secondary pitches), but he righted the ship, although the damage was already done. And in the last two weeks, there has only been one starter who has gotten lit up, and that was Porcello against the White Sox. The defense has actually been better than it has been all year. That turns our attention toward the offense. Now, in this game, I think guys had much better at-bats against Jered Weaver than you might think. Peralta and Raburn both had really good battles with him and went largely unrewarded. Still, one thing I have observed is a power outage. There have been very few extra-base hits. It would be easy to proclaim Miguel Cabrera as the only power threat in the lineup, but in fact, there are plenty other guys in there who have at least doubles power with the occasional home run. Brennan Boesch looked more on-track than he has recently. Maybe that’s a good sign. Second, Cabrera is in a slump. People might not have realized it, because he’s getting walked a lot, but he only has two hits on this homestand, one of which was an infield single, and he has come up in big RBI situations where he hasn’t been walked, and he hasn’t done anything. His last RBI came in Boston. His slumps generally don’t last very long, but they sure are excruciating. And short of him being injured, it’s the last thing the Tigers can afford right now. Third, the other teams’ defenses continue to be sparkling. I don’t know how to solve that particular problem.

Tonight is a game I was considering going to, but I made the decision to go in two weeks instead. Anyways, Jeremy Bonderman will be starting on short rest. He was very good against the White Sox, and is the proud owner of the Tigers’ last victory. I don’t know how he’ll fare against the Angels, but I do know that they’re gonna want to run on him. Hideki Matsui has some wicked good numbers against him (.448 with three home runs). The Tigers will face Scott Kazmir as he makes a return from the DL. Kazmir has not pitched well this year, but is one of those pitchers that you would label as “underachieving” rather than “bad.” Johnny Damon and Brennan Boesch both get the night off tonight. The only lefty in the lineup is Will Rhymes. Jhonny Peralta owns Kazmir: 7-for-14 with two doubles and two home runs. Cabrera’s numbers are decent (.313 with a home run). Everyone else’s numbers aren’t all that impressive. And don’t be missing Magglio too much in this game. He’s only 2-for-16 against Kazmir (thought I’d throw that in there since I tortured you with his good numbers against Mark Buehrle).

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