Reporting Greg Bowman
The Tigers continue to do their Jekyl and Hyde act, sometimes looking like a team with its eye on the post-season prize, and other times falling flat. Are the Tigers just a .500 team then, the record they finished with last season? Or are they just teasing us before getting their act together?
I honestly can’t figure out this team. But I’m not convinced that they have all the pieces they need to win the Central Division and keep playing into October. Thank goodness for Justin Verlander, who has been the team’s “horse” all season. Verlander threw 132 pitches on Sunday in a gritty shutout against the high-powered offense of the Boston Red Sox, outdueling Sox ace Josh Beckett, to keep the Tigers from being swept by the Sox at Comerica. I think he has put to rest any silly notions that Max Scherzer–and not Verlander– is the Tigers’ ace. Scherzer benefited from strong hitting support from the Tigers to roll off six wins before he was tagged with a loss. Verlander has thrown 11 quality starts out of 12 starts, and could easily have ten wins now instead of five if the Tiger bats had scored a few more runs for him.
I still have a hard time understanding the trade sending 2nd basemen Scott Sizemore to the Oakland A’s for reliever David Purcey. Granted, Purcey can help the Tigers shaky bullpen. And Sizemore wasn’t hitting much, but he’s still young and has a shot at being a regular major leaguer if he gets the right coaching to work on his swing. Tigers President Dave Dombrowski said the team just “couldn’t get Sizemore over the hump” when it comes to his offense. But what about Brandon Inge and Ryan Rayburn? Have the Tigers managed to get them over the hump?
And dumping Sizemore leaves an unanswered question: Who will be the Tigers 2nd baseman now? They’ve already tried Danny Worth and Will Rhymes and Ryan Rayburn without much success this season. And it seems unlikely Carlos Guillen will be coming back this year, if at all.
I think the underused and underappreciated Ramon Santiago might be the best answer, until they can trade for someone….If only they had kept Placido Polanco! But let’s not beat that dead horse again.