Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Two outta three ain't bad

Detroit went to KC, its nearest competitor in the AL Central, and took 2 of 3. Considering the loss came against Zack Greinke, you can't hope for better. Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello picked up wins and the offense, with the exception of the Greinke game, was potent. The Tigers scored 13 times in Verlander's start and 8 times for Porcello. With each start, Porcello is removing any doubts that he belongs in the bigs.

The Tigers are now 4 games up on KC and travel to face the resurgent Orioles in Baltimore. The Birds are 14-11 at home, so this will not be easy. Detroit is 2-5 vs. the AL East this year. Armando Galarraga and Dontrelle Willis will be followed by Verlander and Edwin Jackson in the 4-game set. If Detroit can take one of the first two games, it has to feel good heading into the final two contests, although Jackson's history vs. Baltimore (2-4, 5.44 ERA) is unsettling.

Offensively, Detroit continues to get solid contributions from unlikely sources. Ramon Santiago is batting .348/.370/.565 (3 HR-20 RBI in 69 ABs) while Brandon Inge is at .274/.367/.535 (12 HR-33 RBI in 157 ABs). Jeff Larish has seen limited action, but has 4 HR and a .358 OBP despite a .222 BA.

Encouraging signs from Magglio Ordonez and Gerald Laird over the past 7 days, with Maggs at .357/.471/.429 while Laird was at .389/.450/.611.

Curtis Granderson continues to struggle. On one hand, this is troubling. On the other, it's remarkable the offense has been able to produce relatively well with him hitting so poorly. If Grandy can flip the switch, and Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames come back and hit, and Jeremy Bonderman eventually rejoins the rotation, well, that's a lot of "ifs" but they should worry the AL Central. Detroit is 7 games over .500 without much contribution from those four key players.

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