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The Tigers

Detroit Tigers

2004 Record: 72-90 (.444)
2004 Pythagorean Record: 79-83 (.488)

Manager: Alan Trammell
General Manager: Dave Dombrowski

Ballpark (2004 park factors): Comerica Park (96/97)

Who’s replacing whom?

Magglio Ordoñez replaces Alex Sanchez
Nook Logan fills in when Ordoñez is on the DL
Ramon Martinez replaces Eric Munson and loses some playing time to Brandon Inge
Vance Wilson replaces spare parts
Wilfredo Ledezma inherits Gary Knotts’ starts
Troy Percival replaces Esteban Yan
Kyle Farnsworth replaces Al Levine
Franklyn German inherits Steve Coyler’s innings
Matt Ginter replaces Danny Patterson
Chris Spurling and Doug Creek replace Craig Dingman and other spare parts

Current Roster:

1B – Carlos Peña
2B – Omar Infante
SS – Carlos Guillen
3B – Brandon Inge
C – Ivan Rodriguez
RF – Craig Monroe
CF – Nook Logan
LF – Rondell White
DH – Dmitri Young


R – Marcus Thames (OF)
R – Ramon Martinez (IF)
L – Jason Smith (IF)
R – Vance Wilson (C)


R- Jeremy Bonderman
L – Nate Robertson
R – Jason Johnson
L – Wilfredo Ledezma
L – Mike Maroth


R – Ugueth Urbina
R – Kyle Farnsworth
L – Jamie Walker
R – Franklyn German
R – Matt Ginter
R – Chris Spurling
L – Doug Creek


R – Magglio Ordoñez (OF)
L – Bobby Higginson (OF)
R – Troy Percival
R – Gary Knotts
R – Fernando Rodney
R – Colby Lewis (60-day)
L – Fernando Viña (IF) (60-day)

Typical Line-up

S – Nook Logan (CF)
R – Brandon Inge (3B)
R – Ivan Rodriguez (C)
S – Carlos Guillen (SS)
R – Rondell White (LF)
S – Dmitri Young (DH)
R – Craig Monroe (RF)
L – Carlos Peña (1B)
R – Omar Infante (2B)

Hovering around .500 (they’re two wins in the red, but 15 runs in the black), the Tigers continue to improve after the remarkable turnaround they made last year in the wake of their historically bad 2003 season. Last year, the team was revived by the infusion of an actual offense, lead by Ivan Rodriguez and the out-of-nowhere MVP-level performance of Carlos Guillen along with a career-saving season from Brandon Inge and a collection of solid, above-average seasons from Dmitri Young, Rondell White, Carlos Peña and Craig Monroe.

This year, the story is the pitching. Second worst in the league last year with a 5.21 ERA, the Tiger staff has posted an outstanding 3.66 ERA thus far in 2005, good for seventh best in the majors and fourth best in the AL (behind the Chisox, Twins and Angels). And before you accuse them of being a product of their pitching-friendly home park, they hold up with a 3.78 ERA on the road, still in the top ten in the bigs and sixth in the AL.

One major reason for the increased mound success is the performance of the Tiger bullpen. No active Tiger reliever owns an ERA over 4.00 and the pen as a whole has posted a 3.18 mark. Troy Percival (3.65, 5.84 K/9) hit the DL only to have Ugueth Urbina (3.38, 10.97 K/9) take his place. Kyle Farnsworth, whom the Tigers got from the Cubs in a borderline dump trade, is striking out 11.17 per nine and has a 3.26 ERA. Fireballing closer of the future Franklyn German is finally putting it together at age 25 with a 2.65 ERA (though his limp strikeout rate of 4.24 per nine could indicate he’s due for another fall). Meanwhile, lefty Jamie Walker, whom the Tigers pulled off the scrap heap at age 30 before the 2002 season, is putting together his fourth straight strong season with a pen-leading 2.40 ERA.

The rotation is also thriving with only 24-year-old prospect Wilfredo Ledezma (who takes the mound against Moose tonight) sporting an ERA below league average. Of the remaining four, Jason Johnson is the oldest at 31, and even he is showing improvement, though his home-road splits are a bit scary (1.73 ERA at home, 6.55 on the road). Similarly, 27-year-old lefty Nate Robertson has been living dangerously, with more walks than strikeouts and a 1-3 record despite a 2.96 ERA that splits to 1.93 at home and 4.03 on the road.

On the flip side, another 27-year-old, Mike Maroth, who took the fall two years ago with a 9-21 record, is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA on the road, but 1-3 with a 6.43 at home. Meanwhile, in his third full season, 22-year-old Jeremy Bonderman has emerged as the staff ace with a 3.38 ERA and 7.63 K/9. Like Maroth, his ERA improves to 1.50 on the road, where he’s struck out 20 men in 24 innings against just one walk, posting a 0.58 road WHIP. Curiously, he’s not been nearly as good at home (4.58 ERA, 17 BB), but he has yet to allow a home run in Comerica, which takes some of the teeth out of his 1.55 home WHIP.

Helping the staff out is the Tiger defense, which is second in the AL and fourth in the majors in Defensive Efficiency (they were third worst in the AL last year. Amazing what replacing some crappy center field defense can do. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when guys revert to form after the bad kind of fluke season in the field, or finally play like the scouting reports say they do.

As for the offense, there has been little of the expected fall-off. Despite coming back from an ACL injury suffered at the end of last season, Carlos Guillen is right back at it, making his case as one of the best shortstops in baseball (.324 GPA). Brandon Inge, meanwhile, is actually improving on his breakout 2004 season, hitting .306/.398/.488 (.301 GPA). And Young, White and Monroe are back at it, putting in solid leage-average or better performances (though White could use to draw a few more walks).

One trouble spot is Ivan Rodriguez, who had a solid April, but slumped badly in early May, dragging his GPA down to .242. That he’s drawn just four walks all season (one less than even Rondell) isn’t helping. Though he’s never really walked much, his top two single season totals came in the last two seasons, which could be a sign of maturity, or a sign of a slowing bat (remember, this is a 33-year-old catcher we’re talking about). That said, Pudge has gone 7 for his last 14 (though with no walks) and looks to be getting back on tracks.

Meanwhile, the Motor City is a buzz over Nook Logan (see: Womack, Tony, 2004-5 edition), and ex-Yankee Marcus Thames has provided some pop (if little else) off the bench (5 homers in 65 at-bats). After that, it’s best not to look. In front of a pathetic and short bench are Carlos Peña (second on the team in walks, but hitting .193 and slugging .307) and Omar Infante, who reamins the prototype no-hit/no-field second baseman (see: Matsui, Kazuo).

Moose vs. Ledezma tonight as the Yanks try to win their sixth straight series and keep their momentum going into this weekend’s showdown with the World Champs.

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1 Knuckles   ~  May 24, 2005 2:48 pm

1.  A-Rod has homered twice and walked once in his only three plate appearances against Ledezma.
So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

2 singledd   ~  May 24, 2005 4:48 pm

2.  Friggin' ARod!
Why can't he wait until someone is on base before he hits a HR?
Why can't he wait until we are behind before he hits a HR?
Why can't he wait until September and October before he hits a HR?
Why can't he win the war in Iraq?

3 markp   ~  May 24, 2005 5:00 pm

3.  singledd, (to qoute Mary Wells) you beat me to the punch.

4 Knuckles   ~  May 24, 2005 5:08 pm

4.  Update 8:09PM

A-Rod has homered four times and walked once in his only five plate appearances against Ledezma.
So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

5 JVarghese81   ~  May 24, 2005 5:10 pm

5.  Ask and you shall recieve singledd!

6 singledd   ~  May 24, 2005 5:13 pm

6.  Friggin', friggin' ARod!
Why can't he wait until 2 men are on base before he hits 2 HRs in a game?
Why can't he wait until we are behind before he hits 2 HRs in a game?
Why can't he wait until September and October before he hits 2 HRs in a game?
Why can't he solve our energy crisis?

7 JVarghese81   ~  May 24, 2005 5:15 pm

7.  singledd,
Funny stuff but real quick, if he hits another one with two on, will the question then become
Why can't he find Osama bin Laden?

8 singledd   ~  May 24, 2005 5:18 pm

8.  OK.... but I was thinking bigger.
Maybe Peace on Earth and Good Will to Man.

9 singledd   ~  May 24, 2005 5:27 pm

9.  The Moose is loose!

10 rilkefan   ~  May 24, 2005 5:38 pm

10.  At 5:35 West Coast time, I'm seeing the Yanks cruising to a win, the BoSox (and poor Boomer) at a deficit, and the Orioles behind. This could be a nice day.

Actually, I guess NY could take first place by Saturday, which is the day I'm getting hitched. That would be an excellent wedding present which I neglected to register for...

11 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 24, 2005 5:47 pm

11.  Rilkefan, congratulations on your nuptuals! I hope you and the new Mrs. have a long, happy and healthy life together with many gorgeous, healthy and intelligent children (preferably left-handed ones)!

Meanwhile, Murcer is in rare form tonight:

"Bernie stops at first with his second hit of the night, and his second double!"

12 singledd   ~  May 24, 2005 5:50 pm

12.  And Friggin' Posada too!
Anybody know why Giambi was taken out?

13 Cliff Corcoran   ~  May 24, 2005 6:08 pm

13.  Wet day. 10-0 lead. Subs time.

14 vongimp   ~  May 24, 2005 6:39 pm

14.  Paul Quantrill has just earned his stripes in my mind. If at first you don't succeed....

15 Shaun P   ~  May 24, 2005 6:54 pm

15.  Congrats to Cano on his first home run in the big leagues - hopefully the first of many in pinstripes! I'm as big as fan of Soriano as anyone (we named our pet cockatiel after him) - but trading a promising 25-year-old pitcher and a 22-year-old second baseman with upside is a bad idea. The Yanks need that influx of youth - its "good" for the team, and will also help when the big bills come due soon. (Plus, Matsui is a free agent after this year, so you know he's going to want more cash.)

16 Simone   ~  May 24, 2005 7:06 pm

16.  Great win! Lots of home runs. Congrats to Cano on his 1st major league home run. Moose pitched well. Q retaliated. Good stuff all the way around. The only thing that could make this even more perfect is if the Orioles lose so the Yankees can make up some ground in the standings.

17 singledd   ~  May 24, 2005 7:29 pm

17.  I missed it. Who/Why did Q retaliate?

18 Simone   ~  May 24, 2005 7:43 pm

18.  Damn, the Orioles won.

singledd, the Tigers pitcher hit A-Rod on the thigh. Q came in got a couple outs, threw behind a Tiger hitter. Both teams were warned. Q then hit the same guy in the back with the next pitch. Q gestured towards the Tiger's dugout, like "bring it on." Q and Joe were then tossed. In the post game interview, Q said that the ball slipped. LOL!

19 rilkefan   ~  May 24, 2005 8:01 pm

19.  Thanks, Cliff. Kinda scared at the moment. My bride and I are both on the not tall part of the spectrum so I don't think we'll be begetting any future Randy Johnsons - but smart and happy will be fine.

20 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  May 24, 2005 9:00 pm

20.  Simone, that's a funny story ("the ball slipped") and it reminds me of the Met who finally threw at Clemens and missed! (Who the hell was it, was it Trachsel?) Anyway, after the game when asked if he was throwing at Roger said, "I was just trying to make a pitch." A couple variations of the question yielded the same (to me hilarious) response.

Just trying to make a pitch. ;)

21 Hank   ~  May 24, 2005 10:47 pm

21.  I loved that Quantrill kept talking about the wet weather and how the ball just slipped, "Just like that kid's pitch slipped," and then went on to talk about how sometimes a pitcher's job is to come in and get outs, and sometimes his job is to do "something else."

As for the Piazza/Clemens payback, I'm pretty sure it was Shawn Estes. Anyone else remember?

22 Dan M   ~  May 25, 2005 4:57 am

22.  That's the best thing Q's done all year. Why John Sterling needed to rip him for it on air is beyond me. I also liked Q's comment that the ball probably slipped out of German's hand too.

It was Estes.

23 rbj   ~  May 25, 2005 5:08 am

23.  An opposite field hit for Giambi?! I thought that creature was extinct. Good going by Q and the whole team.

24 jedi   ~  May 25, 2005 5:38 am


Welcome to the Yankees Q! Bring whatever you brought last night to Boston this weekend. Thank you.

25 Knuckles   ~  May 25, 2005 5:38 am

25.  Hank- it was Estes.
The funny thing about that entire at bat was that everyone in the stadium knew what was coming, Clemens settled into the box waiting to get beaned, really only looking like he'd duck if one came at his ear. Then Estes misses behind him by a wide margin, and has to chuck at him again.

26 jedi   ~  May 25, 2005 5:38 am


Welcome to the Yankees Q! Bring whatever you brought last night to Boston this weekend. Thank you.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver