By: Jeff Riger
I dislike a major league second basemen hitting .157 as much as you do.
I get it! People have replaced their hatred for Brandon Inge with various other players on this current Tiger roster. People dislike Jose Valverde because he makes things interesting. They despise Jim Leyland because he has the audacity to stay with Octavio Dotel during an awful close in Seattle or because he didn’t stick with Drew Smyly in Chicago long enough. And, then there is the hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. There is so much hate being spewed from fans mouths these days, it’s a wonder that people even watch anymore.
People want people fired after every loss.
The expectations are high! You demand 15 runs a game!
When something bad happens, you feel that somebody needs to pay.
Nobody cares what I think, but if they did I would tell them all to chill. Relax. It’s May.
Of course we know that will NEVER happen.
And, then there is the case of Ryan Raburn.
You might notice that I didn’t mention Raburn above as one of Detroit’s most disliked. I thought it went without saying. But things might be a changing! Raburn, over the last 11 games is hitting over .200 (that’s an improvement) with 1 home run and 4 RBI. Of course he got the lone homer and the 4 runs batted in on Tuesday in Chicago; but who’s really keeping track anyway?
He is having better at bats, stinging the ball harder and really does look like he is coming around.
I think somebody just called me an idiot.
Raburn always seems to be a slow starter and despite people believing he will eventually hit, the whole act has grown rather tired, especially during this season.
So what should the skipper do?
The options are Ramon Santiago who is hitting a whopping .164 or Danny Worth is currently raking at a .176 clip and was just sent down to the minors to make room for another pitcher meaning he will not be available for ten days. Now Worth has had only 20 plate appearances this season, and he might be capable of far more but he has yet to prove that.
So I decided to go into Jim Leyland’s office and find out why he continues to roll Raburn out there every game, especially early in the season?
Leyland responded saying “the reason I like Raburn is because when he hits, something happens and he can produce and we saw that (Tuesday when he knocked in four runs.) That’s not to say that Santiago or Danny Worth can’t, but they will not produce like that. They are going to get hits and keep innings going but when Raburn gets going, if he gets going and I don’t know that he’s going just yet. But, when he gets going, something can happen; he can score you from first. That’s why I have always like Raburn.”
Now the above quote was from before the Tigers lost 11-7 to the Twins on Wednesday night, a game where Raburn went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout and a very costly error that would later result in a 3-run homer that Rick Porcello would give up.
Raburn, at every aspect of trying to contribute was booed ruthlessly by the Comerica Park crowd especially when he struck out with men on 2nd and 3rd in the bottom of the 7th inning. Fans were quick to forget about Raburn’s 4 RBI game the day before in Chicago, a performance that essentially won it for Detroit against the White Sox.
After the game I hung around in the skipper’s office until the electronic media exited and asked about Raburn again. I compared the booing to that of which Inge went through earlier this season before eventually being released. I wondered if Raburn could produce in an environment like that of Wednesday night.
Leyland responded saying “I think Raburn is doing ok now, I think he’s going to do ok. I think Raburn is going to be ok and I’m not really that concerned with that. I think Ryan is going to be fine, I think he’s going to be productive and I think he’s going to knock in some runs for us, so I think he will be alright.”
So do you buy it? I kind of do!
I know, I know, this is the part of the blog when you call me a “homer” a “shill” or even a “Leyland apologist” but I do agree with him.
Raburn has a track record and Worth, when around does not. As for Santiago, his track record is that of being a platoon, role player. Of course I want to see what Worth can do as much as you do, but Raburn has proven it already so he has to be the better option and with no Worth he definitely is. Also, do I need to recite those averages of the other 2nd base candidates again? That’s what I thought. They along with Raburn have all been horrendous.
All 3 play a solid second base, even though Raburn made the error on Wednesday.
All 3 are good enough to be employed on this team.
However, only one has the ability to supply a little pop and run into one, more than the others.
I say play that guy, especially with the way this offense has looked in the early season.
Why wouldn’t you?
I have no problem with the decision to continue playing Raburn, but I’m sure that you do. So I would love to know what your solution is. Oh yeah and one more thing, getting back Placido Polanco is not an option.
I hate to agree with the skipper one more time, but play Raburn; he wins this argument by being potentially the best of the other bad options.