My weekly take on the Tigers, also known simply and affectionately as “MMM.”
Week of 5/11-5/17: 3-3
This week: 5/19-21: TEX; 5/22-24: COL
Goat of the Week
Last year, I suspected that right-handed starter Armando Galarraga had pitched over his head. I doubt I was alone.
The Tigers picked Galarraga off from the Texas Rangers’ trash heap last spring training, and his rags-to-riches story was terrific, but I was leery.
Do it one more time, Armando, I thought. Or something close, to make me feel that this wasn’t one of those one-hit wonder deals.
Sadly, Galarraga has now pitched himself onto MMM’s weekly Goat list.
Galarraga soiled the mound once again on Sunday, his fourth straight poor outing. That the Tigers picked him up and won the game anyway doesn’t change his MMM status.
In his prior start, Galarraga had big time trouble in the first inning, but survived it.
Yesterday, he didn’t even do that.
Dishonorable mention goes to the bullpen, which blew multiple leads in Minnesota during a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins.
Hero of the Week
I’m going to cop out and lay the MMM Hero tag on the entire Tigers offense.
They scored 34 runs in sweeping the A’s over the weekend, including digging out of a six-run hole on Sunday. In Minnesota, they scored enough runs to win at least one, maybe two games.
I love Ramon Santiago. Always have.
All he does is hit, and drive the ball into the gaps. Sometimes, he drives it over the fence.
He clubbed a three-run homer Sunday, completing the team’s comeback.
But we’ll probably never know what this backup infielder can do if given 500 ABs. Santiago being a full-time player just doesn’t seem to be in the cards in Detroit.
On the other hand, what a treat it is to have a bench player like Santiago, whose glove is sweet, and who can deliver a key hit when you need it, too.
Quick scouting reports: Rangers, Rockies
Interleague play debuts this weekend, but the Tigers won’t have to deal with the thin air and pinball-like ballpark in Denver. The Rockies come to town, and in they’re in a familiar spot–their 2007 Cinderella season notwithstanding: with a losing record and bad pitching.
An exception is lefty starter Jorge De La Rosa, who’s 0-3 despite a 3.16 ERA in seven starts. But the Tigers are likely to miss De La Rosa, because his next start is slated to be just before the Rockies hit town.
Two other pitchers on the Rockies’ roster are of interest to Tigers fans.
Reliever Jason Grilli, ex-Tiger, has a 2.57 ERA in 14 innings.
The Rockies’ closer is Huston Street, and the last time we saw Huston (it seems), he was surrendering that walk-off home run to Magglio Ordonez that won the 2006 pennant for the Tigers.
Offensively, the Rockies are led by outfielder Brad Hawpe, who has an amazing 32 RBI in 109 AB. Plus, he’s hitting .358 with an OPS (on base pct. plus slugging) of 1.067.
Before the Rockies, the Tigers must deal with the Texas Rangers. And these aren’t the Rangers that the Tigers swept in Detroit during opening week.
They’ve won seven in a row and lead the West by 4-1/2 games.
Talk about offense!
The Rangers have three players in double digits in homers (Ian Kinsler, Hank Blalock, and Chris Davis). And Davis is only 23 years old.
Kinsler’s having an MVP-type year, and 3B Michael Young is back to his old tricks, hitting at a .351 clip.
Starter Kevin Millwood was cruising along in his start in Detroit last month, then manager Ron Washington inexplicably pulled him from the game after six innings. The Tigers then roughed up the Rangers’ bullpen and won the game.
Millwood is 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA and the Tigers will see him again this week.
The Rangers have been another team whose offense is typically brighter than their pitching. But this year, Millwood is joined by Vicente Padilla and Matt Harrison to form a decent top three in the rotation.
Under the microscope
We must go back to Galarraga.
Jeremy Bonderman is getting closer and closer to returning to the team after nearly one year removed from his last big league start due to surgery.
The question begs: which pitcher will lose his spot in the rotation when Bondy returns?
It just might be Galarraga.
If Willis hangs in there and doesn’t go sideways, I’m sure the Tigers would like to keep him starting, since he’s the Tigers’ only lefty in the rotation.
Now you can see why Armando is under the scope at MMM this week.
Galarraga’s spot comes up next on Saturday against Colorado.
We’ll see if he’s on the mound when it happens.
That’s all for this week’s MMM. Join me every Monday!