Friday, May 06, 2005


Usually Tiger losses do not bother me. For the past decade I've mostly ignored this team because they were not competitive enough to fight back when teams hit first.
They were a low payroll team not worth my time.
This year is different. For the first time in this century there are expectations and so far the Tigers are not playing up to them.
The Tigers dipped to 3-8 in one-run games following Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. It is a disturbing trend considering they were 12-27 in one-run games last season. It is not a coincidence. It is a trend. And it is a trend that must stop.
Yes, it is early in the season. The Tigers are 12-15 and former manager Sparky Anderson always said to not make evaluations on teams until after 40 games. Under the Sparky rules we have 13 games to go.
Well, I am impatient. This is a trend that has been going on for 189 games and there are no signs it is going away.
I look at three people in why ugly trend has become the norm. One is a guy learning on the job. One is a guy rehabing on the job and the third is a guy who did not take the job.
This would not be happening if manager Alan Trammell were more experienced, if outfielder Magglio Ordonez were more healthy and if pitcher Carl Pavano had said yes to Michigan.
I am not up in arms yet. I am just concerned.
Trammell learned from Anderson. He is also learning on the job. My major problem with him is all the rest guys are getting when they should already be rested. These are young and healthy men and it is not like they are running up and down a basketball court or football field six days a week. He needs to ride his horses for a while and then give them rest now and then.
He is also trying to figure out the proper way to use his pitchers. But in his defense this three-headed closer monster of Kyle Farnsworth, Ugueth Urbina and Troy Percival is not working. They are about as consistent as the Michigan weather.
Oh and by the way did you see Urbina blew another one late on Thursday? These guys ride the roller coaster as often as old Tiger pitcher Joe Sparma. Sometimes he was great and sometimes he was hitting the back stop with his fast ball.
The ride was often exhilarating and sometimes frightening.
I already know many of your post will center on Trammell. I really want to know what you have to say about him. So let it rip gang. I will respond.
You have to believe a healthy Ordonez would be worth a win or two here and there because he was one of the deluxe hitters in the league before injuries and bad health sidelined him.
More importantly the Tigers need another stud starting pitcher. They tried to get it by signing Pavano. Although he is just OK with the New York Yankees (2-2, 4.24 earned run average)you must believe he'd be more relaxed here and pitching better.
Let's let this thing play out. The law of averages say you should win about half of your one-run games.
Let's see where they are at the All-Star break before we break into an all out panic.
But so far the trend is not trendy.


Anonymous Rob V. said...

Tram deserves some criticism, but the people calling for his head need to get a grip.

The guy took a bullet for the organization by agreeing to take the position in what was basically a PR move, and at a time when his chances of success were virtually nil. This is the first season of his three as manager that he's had any semblence of big-league talent on the roster.

Like you, I'm concerned with Trammell's substitution pattern. But, to an extent, I can understand resting Pudge...catching is a demanding position, and the guy has a track record of breaking down. Better to sit him once a week than lose him to the DL for two months. And Guillen is coming back from knee surgery, too. It's not as if every move Trammell has made has been completely illogical.

Of course, it not as if those moves have been working either, so I can see why people are getting frustrated.

8:12 AM

Blogger Ian C. said...

If Trammell wasn't showing any improvement as a manager, I think there could be greater cause for concern. He's certainly still learning on the job - which is most apparent with the pitching staff, especially the bullpen - but I'm not sure his decisions are costing the team games. (You can't help but wonder when the record in one-run games is so poor, however.)

This is a young team still learning how to play good baseball. And though it can sound like an excuse, the injuries on the team can't be ignored.

10:11 AM

Blogger billionaire said...

I will say this the season is early. So, I will not go mike attaack on the tigers yet. I will say this Dombroski is the right GM for the job. The farm system is finally having a promising look and the atmosphere is changing. So i will follow Sparkies advice and wait 40 games

1:08 PM

Blogger Sports from A2 said...

Hey, you said something about Pavano being more relaxed here and he would be doing better.....

If the tigers had pavano, he would be our "Ace", our #1 starter. He would be the man we needed to lead us into the playoffs this season. If anything, he would have even MORE pressure on him.

Wasn't the reason he didn't come here that he didn't want that much pressure on him, he didn't think he was "ready" to be the leader? I don't think he'd be that much better here than he is with the Yanks. Not to mention, what if he ends up being a 1-year wonder? It wouldn't surprise me, he's only had 1 really good season, which happened to be a contract year.

As for Trammell, if at any point in the season the Tigers are more than 10 games below .500, i hope his job would be in serious jeopardy. I don't know if you fire him immediately at that point, but you make sure you get the message to him that he needs to improve the team, NOW! Back to how he's managed things, I feel that he makes too many minor changes, but nothing to rock the boat. Somebody needs to rock the boat in this organization, to remind them being an average team isn't the goal, its the minimum.

My Batting Order would be Nook, Inge, Guillean, Young, Pudge, Rock, Monroe, Pena, Infante. If it doesn't click after 10 or so games, don't be afraid to shake things up.

As for Dombrowski, i think sometihng needs to be done about the outfield situation. Didn't another pizza pizza team have a problem with too many people for a position (Hasek, Cujo, Legace for Wings Goalie?). Although Mags on the DL was a temporary fix, We still have too many outfielders, all that need playing time so they'll improve or won't get rusty. I also think Bobby Higginson might be hurting team Chemistry (a la Hasek).

Hasn't Omar Infante been a pretty big dissappointment so far?

Last question- What ever happened to Fernando Vina? I don't remember if he was ever released, or if he retired, or is he hidden away on some DL?

3:50 PM

Blogger Tom said...

Add another to the pile, the Tigers blew the game tonight against the Angels by 1 run. Where are the big bats and powerful hitters we heard about? What about the way Trammel likes to play Minnesota baseball? Seems like they only play small ball after getting their asses kicked by the Twins, the rest of the time Trammel seems to forget about it and tells the guys to swing away. And some of these batters get up to bat and just swing at the stupidest pitches (Rondell "in the dirt" White). They showed more patience last year with pitchers. Too much freakin' rest on a team that has no right to rest or give up any game. The only pitcher we have that is a bonified starter is Bonderman, and that kid is young as hell. This team needs to dump some of that so called batting power and get some starting pitchinng in here fast. And then they need to dump Trammel for a manager that doesn't have his head up his ass.

2:39 AM

Anonymous will said...

I think tram's problem is he has too much faith in guys that aren't going to perform well enough(Marcus Thames). He really does need to work out the outfield. I like monroe at times. but I dont think he is a legit starter.

Granted, he doesn't have much to work with, but I could do better with substitutions. for example. last night, he let Marcus Thames bat with the tying run on third, 1 out, in the eigth innning, against Scott Shields. Marcus Thames has horrawful numbers against Scott Shields. Instead of riding Carlos Pena's hot streak, and also going with the lefty righty matchup.Instead, he put Carlos Pena in in the ninth, for I think Omar Infante. There is no way I would have EVER let Marcus Thames bat in the eighth. Maybe Im the only person in the world who doesn't think Marcus Thames could hit a soft tossed beach ball.

12:13 PM

Anonymous jman said...

Just like the guy from ESPN said the other day, Tram should be judged from this year on, not the last two. I think he needs some more time behind the bench, with a little depth in front of him, to learn how to manage a game. (Although it's still the AL).
Within two days on the Inferno, I heard people complain he was making decisions too much by the numbers AND he was going too much on gut.
Well, which is it?
Another point...
I think the org. is really doing the fans a disservice by not having all the games televised. When I know the games are on, I always flip by and, watch an inning or two (if it's close, I might watch the whole thing). With no TV on 1/3 of the games, I miss out, and the org. misses out on my interest (=$$) in the team. Oh well.

9:31 PM


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