My weekly take on the Tigers, also known simply and affectionately as “MMM.”
Week of 5/25-31: 4-3
This week: 6/2-4: BOS; 6/5-7: LAA
Goat of the Week
Not so much a goat, but a demonizer.
Luke Scott of the Baltimore Orioles has absolutely obliterated Tigers’ pitching.
Ten homers in less than 40 AB? That’s crazy.
Scott terrorized the Tigers over the weekend, slamming five more home runs.
Manager Jim Leyland said before Sunday’s game that had Scott come up to the plate with first base open, he’d have walked him.
“I’ve seen enough,” Leyland said.
Hero of the Week
Edwin Jackson is turning into a fine pitcher.
But beyond that, he’s exhibiting the kind of mind-set and attitude befitting an ace.
It’s not hyperbole to suggest that Jackson would be a No. 1 starter on teams that don’t have Justin Verlander on the payroll.
No less than Baltimore’s Aubrey Huff said after Jackson shut the Orioles down on Sunday on two hits thru eight innings: “I’ve been in the big leagues for nine years, and those guys (Verlander and Jackson) are the best 1-2 I’ve seen in my nine years.”
Pretty heady stuff, and Jackson appreciated it.
To have someone of Huff’s stature say that, Jackson said, “Means a lot. It means a lot.”
Jackson, Huff said, did a masterful job of changing speeds, locations, and basically being nasty and filthy.
It was fitting that the Tigers won the final two games of the Orioles series with JV and Jackson on the mound after losing the first two. The Tigers needed to even that series badly, and they had just the two guys who could give them that opportunity.
And they did.
JV and Edwin Jackson, MMM’s Heroes of the Week.
Quick scouting reports: Red Sox, Angels
The Boston Red Sox are a totally different team away from Fenway Park than they are in it.
They average over six runs per game at home, and sport a 17-6 record in Fenway.
On the road?
12-16, and averaging just a smidge over four runs per game.
Even manager Terry Francona acknowledged the disparity, suggesting that the Red Sox approach the plate differently at home than they do on the road, and that some of the swings that might turn out to be productive at Fenway don’t necessarily end up that way elsewhere.
One thing is for sure: David Ortiz isn’t being productive anywhere.
Big Papi has been more like Little Pop.
Ortiz is hitting .185 and has just one home run in 178 AB, which is rather mind-boggling.
Francona has tried dropping Ortiz down in the order and sitting him for a couple days.
Nothing is working.
It’ll be interesting to see how Ortiz’s season plays out. At age 33, is the end near?
The Angels are making a move in the West. No one should be surprised.
This is the most talented team in the division, yet they got off to a bad start.
But the Angels are 18-12 in their last 30 games and are creeping closer to the first-place Texas Rangers.
The Angels took two of three from the Tigers in California in April.
Torii Hunter leads the Halos with 12 HR, 42 RBI, and a .313 BA. Not to mention a strong slugging percentage of .592, thanks to 25 extra-base hits.
Righty Jared Weaver (4-2, 2.36) and lefty Joe Saunders (6-3, 3.26) anchor the rotation.
Life post-Francisco Rodriguez has been dicey, but new closer Brian Fuentes is 13-for-16 in save opportunities, despite an elevated ERA of 5.30.
Under the microscope
This week we’re placing Rick Porcello under the scope at MMM.
Well, despite a fine start (6-3, 3.48), it’s now June, and we’ll see if, between now and the All-Star break, whether the 20-year-old rookie can keep up his good work.
That, plus Porcello leads off the Red Sox series, and even though the Bosox are different on the road, they’re still dangerous. Let’s see how the kid handles them.
Keep your good eye on Porcello over the next six weeks or so.
That’s all for this week’s MMM. Join me every Monday!