Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Detroit Tigers: Real or Footnote?

It's been a while, but let's see if I've still got this. I was happy to attend the Labor Day game at Progressive Field (Indians vs. Tigers), and thought for a while my Tribe was still in it. That was until Ubaldo Jimenez left a pitch over the plate that even I could crush for Victor Martinez. That's kind of like leaving a buffet in front of a fat man, it won't last long and boy are you going to be paying for that!

Then, when it looked like a comeback might be upon us, Doug Fister turns into freakin' Cy Young and Jhonny Peralta decides to grab his gold glove (we could have used that when you were in Cleveland, you putz). As I watched the remnants of the 2007 Tribe put the final dagger through the hearts of their 2011 counterpart, it occurred to me, these guys really peaked at the right time.

But the more I thought about it, and the more nachos I downed to ease the pain of another Indians season, I realized the Detroit Tigers will be nothing more than a footnote on the 2011 MLB Postseason. Whoever comes out of the AL Central will be staring down the barrel of either the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. The Yankees seem to hit home runs at will, and even with Bartolo Colon & AJ Burnett in their rotation they still find a way to win. I would not want to go into Yankee Stadium and stare down CC Sabathia in Game 1. CC's at 19 wins already, and if it weren't for Justin Verlander he would be in the discussion for AL Cy Young. Ivan Nova is a solid, young pitcher who has handled the AL East well. I would not doubt his continued success in the postseason.

Boston is a little more questionable, but when you field a lineup that includes Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, & David Ortiz, you really don't have to worry about scoring runs. What you should worry about is how badly you're about lay the smackdown on the opposition (or their "candy asses" as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson would kindly remind us).

It's always been said hitting wins games, pitching wins championships. That's all well and good. But look at Detroit's rotation beyond Verlander. Impressed? Me neither. Doug Fister was a consolation prize when Detroit lost out on the big name pitchers at the trade deadline. Rick Porcello is a hot & cold pitcher; one minute unhittable, the next the Little League World Series Champions could tee off on him. Brad Penny can't seem to find what he had in 2006 & 2007 with the Dodgers- talent. I must admit I like Max Scherzer. I've liked him since he started his major league career in Arizona. But he has yet to prove he can handle the #2 spot in the rotation.

Bottom Line: Justin Verlander is an incredible pitcher, but he can't pitch every game. And that's the only way Detroit can stop New York or Boston.

(Editor's Note: This was kind of fun. Maybe I should do it again sometime?)