By Greg Bowman
Are you feeling a little better about your Tigers now that they swept their three game weekend series against the Minnesota Twins? Granted, the Twins are a pretty lousy team this season. But these are the same Twins who beat the Tigers two straight at Comerica Park last week. And before the doomsayers and negative Nellies convince you the season is over, remember where the Tigers were one year ago at this time. They fell seven and a half games behind first place Cleveland after the Indians swept them last year. Now, the Tigers are climbing back, and are only three games behind the Indians as they open a big four game series against the Boston Red Sox. Interestingly, both the Sox and Tigers have identical records of 23 and 24. The Tigers can get back into the race if they do well against the Red Sox and Yankees.
This is not to say that the Tigers don’t have major problems and they have been a big disappointment to fans. After all the excitement and hype over Prince Fielder’s signing, fans were expecting the Tigers to run away with the American League Central Division race. That hasn’t happened because a number of Tigers have underperformed. Namely, Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, and Delmon Young have not contributed, although Avilla is showing signs of finding his stroke again. But Peralta and Young are still struggling. And as for second base, the Tigers have gotten nothing out of Ryan Rayburn, Ramon Santiago, and Danny Worth.
That brings me to three of life’s great unsolved mysteries, for me at least: 1) Why are the Kardashians still on television? 2) Who goes to see those awful Adam Sandler movies like Jack and Jill? and 3) Why is Ryan Rayburn still starting almost every game for the Tigers, even though he is barely hitting above .100? Please let me know if you have the answers.
While some fans have been disappointed in the power numbers for the Tiger sluggers Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, they have been big run-producers, especially this weekend. Fielder was 9 for 12 over three games. Cabrera went four for four Sunday and had the big game-winning home in the 9th inning. But they’re not getting a lot of help from the rest of the lineup.
One bright spot has been the pickup of rookie Centerfielder Quintin Berry, who has done a terrific job filling in for the injured Austin Jackson. He’s just what the Tigers needed: A real spark. He’s got speed; he’s stealing bases; and he’s playing great defense. The Tigers need to keep him in the lineup when Jackson returns. Maybe put him in right and move Boesch to DH.