Friday, September 29, 2006

Who Am I?

Last night, Miguel Tejada collected base hits number 210 and 211 tying the Orioles franchise record for most hits in a season (Ripken, 1983). With one more base hit, Tejada will own the single season hits mark for both the A's and the O's.

I am (currently) the only player in Major League history to own the single season hits mark for two different ML franchises.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shawn Green stinks or: Thoughts on the Mets' postseason outfield

With the return of Ramon Castro from the disabled list, most of the decisions regarding the list of position players on the Mets' postseason roster are easy. Maybe there's some question as to whether Michael Tucker or Ricky Ledee gets to be the sixth outfielder, but if that winds up mattering, the Mets will be in some trouble already. It also seems like there's not much question as to who the Mets' starting outfield will be. Unfortunately, the Mets appear likely to make the wrong decision.

No one with eyes could argue that Shawn Green is a better defensive outfielder than Endy Chavez. Chavez is simply great, perhaps the best outfielder on the team. Having both Chavez and Carlos Beltran in the same outfield gives opposing offenses precious little room to place fly balls and line drives for hits. Green, on the other hand, stinks. He may make the occasional diving catch on a ball that Chavez would've caught with ease, but the fact that his hat flies off every time he runs is the only resemblance he bears to Willie Mays.

Of course, Shawn Green isn't getting paid eight million dollars this year for his glove. This is a guy who hit over forty home runs...four years ago. But Shawn Green circa 2006 is a hitter clearly on the decline. His OPS is under .800 and down about sixty points from last year. He's hit just fourteen home runs. In fact, he's been so bad that his on-base and slugging percentages are virtually identical to those perennial offensive sinkhole Endy Chavez. Chavez is having a career year, hitting .307/.348/.430 entering tonight's game, compared to Green's .277/.343/.429. Neither of these lines is great. Neither is even as good as the average NL right fielder. But given Chavez's speed and defense and Green's opposite of speed and defense, there can't be much question who's been the better player.

The Mets have run roughshod over the National League this season, and the difference between them and the next best team is probably greater than the difference between Green and Chavez. But with their offense slumping since clinching the division and their pitching growing more uncertain by the day, they can't afford to give away any runs on offense or defense. Endy Chavez is one of their three best outfielders. He may be in the top two at this point. There's no good reason he shouldn't be standing in right field when game one of the NLDS begins.

Short division

Apparently, neither Jim Leyland nor Ron Gardenhire is too caught up in winning the AL Central. Gardenhire said Johan Santana won't start Sunday; he's going to start Game 1 of the playoffs. Leyland said Justin Verlander won't start this weekend, so he can get additional rest for the postseason.

Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosneberg quipped, "If this is a race, it's a race-walk."

The talking heads keep saying it's best to win the division because it means not having to face the Yankees in the first round. But might it be best to meet the Yanks in a five-game set rather than seven? Hard to say. Part would depend on Randy Johnson's back, I guess. If he's not healthy, maybe it's better to see NY in seven games because their pitching will be thin after Wang-Mussina.

Placido Polanco is 4-for-6 with five RBIs since his return. He drove in 3 of the Tigers' 4 runs last night; two with a two-out single and the other on a squeeze bunt. Welcome back!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Memory lane

The last time the Tigers made the postseason, the squad looked like this:

C – Matt Nokes, .289-32-87
1B – Darrell Evans, .257-34-99
2B – Lou Whitaker, .265-16-59
3B – Tom Brookens, .241-13-59
SS – Alan Trammell, .343-28-105 (robbed of MVP)
OF – Chet Lemon, .277-20-75
OF – Pat Sheridan, .259-6-49
OF – Kirk Gibson, .277-24-79
DH – Bill Madlock, .279-14-50
Key reserves – Larry Herndon, .324-9-47 (one very key HR); Dave Bergman, .273-6-22.

P – Jack Morris, 18-11, 3.38; Walt Terrell, 17-10, 4.05; Frank Tanana 15-10, 3.91; Doyle Alexander, 9-0, 1.53; Dan Petry, 9-7, 5.61; Mike Henneman, 11-3, 7 Sv, 2.98; Eric King, 6-9, 9 Sv, 4.89.

Again, this is one of the greatest final two weeks of a season that nobody seems to talk about. The Tigers were 4 GB Toronto with 8 to play, but had the good fortune of playing the Jays four more times. They won all four. Herndon’s HR on the final day helped Frank Tanana (photo) beat Jimmy Key 1-0 and win the title. Both pitchers went the distance.

Over the last two weeks the teams played seven games; six were decided by one run and two ended in extra innings. Four times the winning run scored in the final inning. The Jays ended with the second best record in the AL.

Since then it’s been the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: Cecil Fielder, Travis Fryman, Mickey Tettleton, Tony Phillips, David Wells, Bobby Higginson, Tony Clark, Damion Easley, Todd Jones, Doug Brocail, Dean Palmer, Jeff Weaver, Dmitri Young.

The bad: Gary Pettis, Ray Knight, Rick Schu, Darnell Coles, Urbano Lugo, Rob Deer, Pete Incaviglia, Dan Gakeler, Steve Searcy, Les Lancaster, Buddy Groom, Eric Davis, Mike Moore, Tim Belcher, Phil Nevin, Felipe Lira, Sean Bergman, Ruben Sierra, Chris Truby, Eric Munson, C.J. Nitkowski.

The ugly: Juan Gonzalez, Torey Lovullo, Charles Hudson, Scott Aldred, Kevin Ritz, Jose Lima, Todd Van Poppel, Clint Sodowsky, Dave Borkowski, Adam Bernero, Nate Cornejo.

There also was the simply mediocre: Carlos Pena, Robert Fick, Wendell Magee, Mark Redman, Jose Macias, Deivi Cruz, Shane Halter, Juan Encarnacion, Roger Cedeno, Steve Sparks, Brad Ausmus, Luis Polonia, Hideo Nomo, Danny Patterson, Gabe Kapler, Justin Thompson, Dave Mlicki, Willie Blair, Joe Randa, Brian Hunter, Bryce Florie, Melvin Nieves, Bob Hamelin, Frank Catalanotto, Omar Olivares, Mike Heath, Fred Lynn, Paul Gibson, Jeff Robinson, Lloyd Moseby, Milt Cuyler, Skeeter Barnes, Dan Gladden, Bill Gullickson – you get the picture.

These lists were hard to create and I didn't include players already listed on the '87 squad or current team. I'm sure some players would move to different categories depending on my mood. The bad and the ugly, in particular.

But the past is dead. RIP.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One more to go

The Tigers moved within a game of clinching a playoff spot by bashing KC tonight. Detroit is 13-1 vs. the Royals this year.

Either a Tigers win or White Sox loss Sunday clinches the Detroiter's first postseason berth since 1987. The Tigers are 7-4 since dropping three in a row in Minnesota earlier this month.

Placido Polanco returned to the lineup today and went 3-for-4. His first at-bat was a two-run double in a 10-run first inning for the Tigers.

Kenny Rogers allowed one run in eight innings. He is 6-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 10 starts. He's 17-6 overall.

The only downer for Detroit was Mike Maroth giving up three runs in the ninth as he tries to come back from elbow trouble. It seems unlikely at this point he'll be much help in the postseason, which is unfortunate. He's given up five runs in his last two outings.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Phils' bats doing damage

Just some stats on the Phillies.

Prior to the All-Star break they batted .256, which tied with Houston for worst in the NL. They had 420 runs, good for seventh. They had a .332 OBA, which was 11th.

Since the break, they’ve batted .275, which is best in the NL. They have 386 runs, again the tops. They have a .360 OBA, which is, you guessed it, No. 1.

Pitching wise, they had a 4.82 ERA before the All-Star break; they have a 4.45 mark since. It’s not much of a difference, moving them from 13th place to 11th.


A moderately sized group of Orioles fans staged a demonstration at yesterdays' O's vs. Tigers contest protesting the Orioles losing ways.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos responded thusly, "Whoever joins that protest has no comprehension of what it costs to run a baseball team. When you get down to facts, putting together a team that can compete in the AL East means having a payroll between $100-110 million. That money comes from the consumer, and I have chosen to keep ticket prices to a minimum. Our payroll is $75 million, and our ticket prices average $22. Some of the teams we compete against charge an average of $45. We're going to have to match the competition. How to do that is a decision I will make in the future."

I agree with the demonstrators. Angelos is a Loser. While Angelos is correct to point out that I have "no comprehension of what it costs to run a baseball team....", the fact that he uses this excuse marks him a Loser.

It is not my fault that it is expensive to operate a Major League Baseball franchise. Nor is it my fault that the Orioles have 9 consecutive losing seasons. Even if I had any comprehension of the costs involved, the Orioles would still have 9 consecutive losing seasons. There is nothing I can do about it.

Except stop giving a *#$&^#$.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hit the Reset Button

After 152 games the Phillies are tied with the Dodgers for the NL Wild Card and all of a sudden it’s a 10 game season. At this point you could look at the schedule and try to shape it up, but really that doesn’t mean much now. Which ever team wins more in the next 11 days is in the playoffs and the other has to hope the Padres fall apart. Find whatever man up or put up or shut up cliché you want.
It’s time to see if Red really does means Go!


The Tigers just about ended the White Sox season last night, thanks to Brandon Inge and his great defense at third, not to mention hitting.

Inge makes a number of errors at the hot corner, but nobody -- nobody -- makes more spectacular plays there, either. He's made 20 errors, which is second worse in the AL to A-Rod's 23. However, his range factor is 3.39, which is the best in the AL among regulars. The range factor is putouts + assists x 9 divided by innings played.

He's picked it up with the bat, too. He's batting .298-4-14 in September. He's hitting .297-8-31 since the All-Star break and has a .359 on-base average and .833 OPS during that time. Those numbers are somewhat deceptive because he went .250-1-4 in August, so it's not like he's been swinging at a steady clip. But like his defense, Inge is streaky with the stick -- but the hot streaks are great. He's got 78 total RBI, not bad for the No. 9 spot.

Detroit proved it could play with a team like the White Sox. After going 1-5 against them to open the year, they finished by winning 6 of the last 13 games. They were 2-1-1 in series during that span (Chicago had a three-game sweep in August).

The Tigers don't have any player with 30 HR, but they have four with at least 20. Only the White Sox and Yankees have that many players with at least 20 HR in the AL. If Carlos Guillen can smack one more, Detroit will take the lead with five.

Happy to see Bonderman put in a solid effort last night, too. He struggled, particularly early, but never collapsed. That's the key.


The Orioles traditional season ending swoon has hit full stride. The O's are 6-13 in September with 10 games remaining in the season against the Tigers, Twins, Yankees and Red Sox. Even the mighty Markakis has succumbed to tradition, hitting .221 thus far in September.

Eric Bedard has continued to pitch well notching his 15th win of the season in his last start to go with a 3.62 ERA. Well...., he's Canadian and I suspect he doesn't give a damn about tradition.

Adam Loewen has pitched well enough since returning from Triple A to post a winning record at this point (6-5). Loewen hails from Canada as well.

Hayden Penn finally managed to post a good start (against the Devil Rays) going 6 2/3 IP while allowing 2 ER, lowering his ERA from 27.00 to 15.43 since being called up at the beginning of September. He's from California.

The O's magic number for securing their traditional finish in the East is 3.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Justin Verlander will be glad to no longer have to face Chicago this year.

The rookie is 1-4 with a 7.82 ERA in 25.1 IP against the White Sox. He's given up 10 homers to CWS, which is an incredible number when you consider in his other 155.2 IP he's allowed only 11 homers.

If you take the White Sox games out of Verlander's stats, he's 15-5 with a 2.95 ERA this year. He's owned the Twins, going 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Maggs strikes back

Maggs did it to his former team tonight, blasting two homers as the Tigers beat CWS 8-2. Another great effort from Kenny Rogers, too.

Ordonez seems to have regained his stroke. Maybe he prefers the cooler weather?

In April: .304-5-14
In May: .320-7-21
In June: .316-3-23
In July: .247-1-17
In Aug.: .260-2-10
In Sept.: .316-2-10 (entering last night)

The Tigers, after struggling with the bats, have scored at least 8 runs in three of their last four. Go figure. Baseball is a funny game.

Rogers tossed 6 shutout innings. In his last 9 starts he's 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA.

As a side note, congrats to Mr. Met for finally getting to pop the cork.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Twenty something

Watching the Tigers get beat by the O's today, I heard the commentators talking about the AL Central having three teams at least 20 games above .500, and how rare that was. The didn't give more details, though.

If my research is correct, it's only happened once in the AL since it was divided into three divisions. That was in 2002, in the West. That was the first time it happened since 1989, when there was two divisions. Again, it was in the West.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nate the great

The Tigers beat the Orioles in the opening two games of their series, giving them back-to-back wins for the first time since August 21-22 when they won the first two of the White Sox series.

Nate Robertson got the victory Saturday night with 8 strong innings. For all my concerns about his past second-half failures, Robertson has been more than solid. He's scuffled, sure, but he's kept Detroit in nearly every game he's pitched lately. That's all you can ask for.

Excluding one bad start against Chicago, Robertson has posted a 2.09 ERA in 8 August-September starts. He's 3-5, which indicates how poorly the Tigers have been hitting.

Matt Stairs is a nice addition for the stretch run; too bad he's not eligible for the postseason roster if the Tigers can hold on. I think they will, especially since they've only got to finish ahead of either Minnesota or CWS -- and those two teams finish the season against each other.

Stairs made a nice play Saturday night getting caught in a rundown and allowing gimpy Carlos Guillen to score easily from third on a fly ball. That gave Detroit an insurance run, and Robertson and Jonesy took it from there.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Break out the lumber

So, the Orioles tonight are starting a guy named Hayden who has an ERA of around 36 and a WHIP over 5? I'd like to think the Tigers are good for some runs, but who knows? They haven't been able to slap around many people lately.

Mr. Met had been quiet for a while. Guess he was enjoying a siesta before the postseason begins. As for the division being a foregone conclusion, oh, how lucky you've been. I'd take that right about now.

I read Placido Polanco might return next week. Hopefully, it won't be too little, too late.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Maybe we'll come back to Earth, who can tell?

The Mets' magic number to clinch the National League East championship is down to one. They will surely clinch this weekend. Now, their clinching has been a foregone conclusion since about the middle of June. Also, the Mets were in the World Series as recently as 2000. Fans of serious long-suffering franchises have every right to scoff at Mets fans who act like this is a long time coming. There are plenty of reasons to view this as a less than dramatic event. Still, it's going to be a lot fun.

Even though the Mets have been to the playoffs twice in last seven season, they haven't won a division title since 1988. In 1999 and 2000 they had to play second fiddle to the Braves. Now they've emphatically put an end to the Atlanta's historic run of regular season excellence. Granted, that happened a couple of days ago, but it won't really be time to celebrate until the Mets officially claim the title for themselves.

That lengthy drought featured many bad teams and painful moments. The 2004 season may not rank as the worst. But the speed of the team's turnaround has been remarkable. In July of 2004, the Mets had a bad, old major league team and they gutted their farm system for no good reason. Afterwards, the team needed a lot of help just to be competitive and those in charge seemed exactly the wrong men for the job. That the Mets have gone from this seemingly hopeless situation to division champs in just two years is nothing short of amazin'.

I've had plenty of criticism for Omar Minaya's individual moves since he took over as general manager. And he keeps doing things which defy logic (Shawn Green, take a bow). But there's no question he's done a lot of things right. To take the mess of 2004 and build a team that may win 100 games with a mix of veterans and young stars isn't easy, regardless of the team's budget. Jose Reyes and David Wright blossoming into two of the best players in the game has certainly helped. But after some of the guys who've occupied Minaya's office in recent years, the fact that neither one was traded away for the proverbial bag of balls is worth applauding.

Once the Mets clinch, we can get back to worrying about the playoff roster. Will Steve Trachsel really get a start? Could someone please play well enough to take Shawn Green's spot in the lineup? They're not going to wear the black hats in a home playoff game, are they? All good questions. But for one day, we can just be happy. The Mets are about to be the champions of the National League East.


The Tigers aren't the only ones feeling the SI jinx. Chase Utley appeared on a portion of the SI cover on August 9. Since then, he's batting .215-7-18 in 32 games. He's got a .724 OPS. Prior to his appearance, he was .327-21-71 in 111 games. He had a .940 OPS.

I guess the fact he only appeared in a corner of the cover, unlike Verlander who got the whole cover, has prevented the Phils -- as a team -- from sliding into the abyss.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hack attack

An interesting column regarding the Tigers hitting woes, from Michael Rosenberg in the Free Press. Like Yogi said, "How can you hit and think at the same time?"

Dancing in the seats

What a night in Detroit. The Tigers hit 3 solo homers and Craig Monroe threw out 3 baserunners – two at the plate! – to propel them to a 3-2 win.

Where does one begin? Monroe’s throws were great, especially in the rain. On the second peg to the plate, Pudge did an awesome job deking the runner, I thought. He just stood there, nonchalant, as if there wasn’t going to be a play, then slapped down a tag at the last moment while blocking the plate with his foot.

Carlos Guillen drilled two homers while Marcus Thames had one. Guillen’s second dinger was right-handed, which maybe is a sign that things are going to turn around for the Tigers. Guillen hits .325 as a lefty but .273 as a righty and has better power from the left side. So to hit a walkoff last night from the right side was huge.

Finally, the crowd – at least those that sat through the rain for the night – was pretty incredible. They were as energetic as one could expect, and as the Tigers celebrated like little kids, a good number of fans stuck around in the rain, cheering and dancing, long after Guillen’s homer landed in the seats.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I just realized

Miguel Cabrera is very quietly having a monster season, worthy of MVP consideration, I’d say. Cabrera leads the NL in hitting at .340 and has 25 HR, 109 RBI (5th in NL) and 105 runs (8th). He’s got a 1.017 OPS (4th). He batted .379-7-32 in August.

I never was a big believer that Chris Carpenter was that good. Now, I must. It’s hard to ignore 15-5, 3.46 in 2004; 21-5, 2.83 in 2005; and 14-6, 2.84 this year. He was a .500 pitcher prior to joining the Cardinals. He’s been a far better pitcher at home this year (1.60 ERA in 14 starts) even though St. Louis’ new park is supposed to be hitter friendly.

Monday, September 11, 2006

O woes

The Tigers offense is MIA as the stretch run heats up. Detroit’s once large lead in the AL Central is down to a game in the loss column to the Twins after losing 3 of 4 in Minnesota.

Detroit is 8-17 in its last 25 games. The Tigers median number of runs scored per game in their victories during that span is 7. The median number of runs scored per game in the losses is 2. They’ve scored 2 or fewer runs nine times. They’re 0-6 in one-run games and 1-5 in games decided by two runs.

During the last 30 days, the Tigers have a .253 batting average, which ranks 13th in the 14-team AL. The on-base average during that time is last, at .300.

Adding to the woes, Detroit’s committed 22 errors in the last 29 games; only Tampa Bay is worse.

Fortunately, the pitching staff has a 3.84 ERA in the last 29 games – fourth best in the AL – otherwise the damage could be much worse. The Twins have a 3.14 ERA during the same time period.

Detroit has a two-game home series against Texas coming up. Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander are the scheduled starters. Two wins are a must. Then the Orioles come to town for three games.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Round 1 of the Detroit-Minny clash goes to the Tigers in a romp. Curtis Granderson started the bashing with a HR and the Detroiters never looked back.

Anoter outstanding game from Verlander, too. There was some concern he was tipping pitches in August, when he gave up 42 hits in 27.2 innings. He's given up 12 hits in 14 IP this month. I think his last 3 wins have followed Tiger losses.

Marcus Thames is putting together one of those odd HR-RBI seasons. He's got 25 dingers and just 57 ribbies. He ranks 19th in the AL in homers (and would rank 6th in HR/AB if he had enough appearances) but is tied for 57th in RBI.

I know there are others who have strange RBI totals given the number of homers they hit. Ex-Tiger Rob Deer (32 HR-64 RBI in 1992) jumps to mind. Deer had six consecutive years of at least 21 HR and never had more than 69 RBI. Struggling to hit .200 probably had a lot to do with it.

Barry Bonds in 2003 had 45-90, so another 2 RBI/HR ratio like Deer. I've looked up some of the other obvious suspects (Mickey Tettleton, Gorman Thomas, Pete Incaviglia, Steve Kemp) and, while some got close to that ratio, none matched it. So I wonder what the lowest ratio is? At least for guys with at least 20 HR.

When I looked up Steve Kemp, it drew me to Chet Lemon (traded for each other). It's hard to believe that Chet was such a great defensive outfielder with good range, and yet couldn't steal a base to save his life. I remember that Bill James once wrote that Chet ran the bases "as if confused by their sequence."

Chet went 0-for-7 in the SB category one year. In half of his 16 seasons he was thrown out more often than successful. The other 8 times, it was about a 50-50 proposition.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Time to buckle up. The Tigers and Twins begin a critical four-game series tonight in Minnesota. Justin Verlander against Scott Baker.

Baker gave up 14 runs in 8.2 innings in two starts prior to being sent to the minors in August. He returned Saturday to throw 2-hit ball over 5 innings against the Yankees. Verlander must come through. If nothing else, a win in the opener guarantees the Tigers leave town in first place and might relax them.

(We are attempting to reverse the SI curse by running Verlander's photo here.)

Next it’s Wilfredo Ledezma against Matt Garza and then Nate Robertson vs. Boof Bonser. In the finale, Jeremy Bonderman faces Johan Santana.

For the record, “Boof” is Bonser’s legal name. He changed it from “John” in 2001. Sure wish the Giants hadn’t traded Bonser, Joe Nathan, and Francisco Liriano for A.J. Pierzynski. What in the hell were they thinking?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh funk

The Tigers are officially reeling, I believe. After today's loss to Seattle, the Detroiters have dropped 19 of their last 28. They're 4-10 since Justin Verlander's appearance on Sports Illustrated's cover.

On top of the hitting woes, which will be documented below, the Tigers released Dmitri Young. It's very hard to say how this will affect the club at this fragile time. It could shake them up, or send them into a deeper funk. The move certainly stunned just about everyone, apparently.

As for the bats, they must awaken. Detroit is hitting .233 with a .687 OPS in its six games this month. Here is a look at the Tigers' hitting by month:

Month Games Average Runs OPS
April 25 .286 133 .833
May 28 .264 130 .756
June 27 .274 157 .783
July 25 .294 129 .783
Aug 29 .263 116 .727

On the bright side, thanks to the pitching, the Tigers rarely get blown out. And they've shown a fighting spirit and ability to bounce back. But with the lead in the AL Central dwindling, they're going to have to start hitting better. The fears about the squad's lack of depth are being realized.


Hmmm. This sounds familiar.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Must see TV

There are very few players that require your full attention when at the plate. Ryan Howard now ranks No. 1 in that category.

I was in attendance Sunday as he blasted 3 homers in the first game of the Phils' doubleheader. Those were Nos. 50, 51 and 52. He hit No. 53 on Monday (without me). He don't hit no cheapies, either.

The NL MVP race will come down to Howard and Pujols. Over their last 50 games, crunch time, Howard has an edge -- although both are hitting well. Howard is .359-24-62 with 43 runs and 1.285 OPS. Pujols is .328-14-41 with 40 runs and 1.044 OPS.

People are going to stop pitching to Howard, more than likely. He's got very little protection. Anyone seen Pat Burrell lately? Since hitting 2 homers against the Mets (what else is new?) on June 15, he's got 6 HR and 34 RBI in 59 games. He's got an .830 OPS during that time.

The Phils had 10,000 walkups Monday to get a sellout crowd of 44,000-plus. I wonder if that was because of Howard/wild card fever or because Roger Clemens was pitching? Maybe a combo, but I'm leaning toward the Rocket.

Speaking of homers, it was nice to see Maggs find the seats again. Been a while.

The Tigers got good news in that Mike Maroth should be ready to be activated from the DL this week. He's expected to work out of the pen for a while.

Hopefully, the road-challenged Mariners will be the right medicine for the Detroit bats. The offense needs to find itself again, with or without Guillen and Polanco. Maybe Chris Shelton will think it's April again?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rogers roasting

I hate to run the risk of jinxing Kenny Rogers again, but the Gambler is 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA in his last six starts. He’s allowed just 37 baserunners (25 hits, 12 walks) in 40 IP. Way to go Kenny! He's been the stopper.

The Tigers’ magic number entering Saturday was 23. A little early to start watching that stat, but, hey, it’s been a long time.

Rogers and Justin Verlander give the Tigers two 15-game winners in the same season for the first time since Willie Blair (16) and Justin Thompson (15) in 1997. Doesn’t exactly bring back memories of Lolich and McLain, or Morris and Petry, for that matter.

Speaking of Petry, he was 93-64 with a 3.49 ERA by the age of 26. Greg Maddux was 95-75 with a 3.34 ERA by the same age. Tom Glavine was 73-60 with a 3.60 ERA. Elbow trouble derailed Petry’s career, but looking at those numbers, you can see how solid he was – although never the focus of attention because of Morris.

Really, I do like Jeremy Bonderman. But he is winless in his last seven starts. He did pitch well in two of those, and deserved a better fate, yet he’s got a 5.29 ERA in his last eight outings. Not what you want to see coming down the stretch. He’s allowed 77 baserunners in 49.1 innings.

Friday, September 01, 2006

If Not Now, When?

The Baltimore Orioles have yet to commit their annual late season swan dive. They started the month of August with a 3 - 9 record, indicating they were well on their way, but finished the month at 12 - 14. Some decent pitching and a booming bat from rookie Nick Markakis led the way to the mini-surge.

Recent trips to the minors for Daniel Cabrera and Adam Loewen seem to have had good effect. Loewen went 3-1 in August with a 3.95 ERA after returning from Ottawa. Cabrera went 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA including a 16 scoreless inning streak that included a complete game shutout upon his return.

Rookie Nick Markakis hit .354 in August with 7 2B, 10 HR, 26 RBI and 22 Runs on 34 hits in 26 games. O's manager Sam Perlozzo is no longer attempting to "protect his rookie" in the batting order. Perlozzo moved Markakis to #2 in the order on August 16 and on August 30, moved him to #3. While his August numbers are insufficient to declare Markakis a basher, he clearly bashed for the month of August.

The O's start September on the West Coast with 3 at Oakland followed by 3 with the Angels. The O's are a bit banged up with both catchers (Hernandez and Widger) listed as day to day and centerfielder Corey Patterson on the shelf for a few days. Nevertheless, the mini-surge in August is enough to keep this O's fan interested in September.