Who would you rather have on your team: Curtis Granderson or Austin Jackson? I have always been a huge Granderson fan, and was dumbfounded and outraged when the Tigers traded him to the Yankees for Jackson, as part of a three-team deal. Jackson seemed like a good young player, with a lot of potential. But Granderson was a superstar in making. This season, however, Jackson has moved even or ahead of Granderson in almost every offensive category.
The only time you would expect to see the names “Brandon Inge” and “Lou Gehrig” in the same sentence would be something to the effect that both men played Major League Baseball. And both were in the American League. But Inge now has the unlikely distinction of being the first player to have at least four rbi’s in four games during a five-game stretch since Gehrig did it way back in 1931.
You knew it was bound to happen eventually. The question was when. The news that the Tigers have finally released Brandon Inge comes as bittersweet to those of us who have followed his career in Detroit over the past 12 years. He has had good seasons, bad seasons, and in-between seasons for the Tigers, the only team he has played for in his Major League Career.
Ten to Three. Ten to Four. Three to Two. And Three to Two again. Those were the numbers for the Tigers and Texas Rangers this past weekend at Comerica Park. And considering the Tigers scored only 11 runs compared to the Rangers 25, they were lucky to win even one of those games.
If you heard that one of the Tigers had a homer and three hits to lead the team to a 5 to 2 victory over the Chicago White Six, your first guess might be Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. Nope. How about Austin Jackson, Alex Avilla, Delmon Young, or even Ryan Raybun? Wrong again. The unlikely hitting hero for the Tigs on Sunday was Gerald Laird, getting the start at catcher to give Avilla the day off.
There’s always something special about opening day in Detroit. The fans who start arriving in the middle of the night for their tailgate parties. The signs and tents popping up all over downtown. The green grass and perfectly groomed field at Comerica Park. The optimism and enthusiasm that the Tigers will win it all.
Let’s take a behind-the-numbers look at the 2011 season’s dramatic penultimate contest.
1968. 1984. 2006. Those years marked very special seasons for the Detroit Tigers. Now, you can include 2011 with that list of outstanding Tiger teams.
Get ready to pop the cork on your Dom Perignon. Better make it a Miller Lite. This is baseball, after all. And besides, who can afford a $500 bottle of champagne? The Tigers are about to celebrate their first division title since 1987.
He did it. Justin Verlander has now won 20 games, the first Tiger pitcher to achieve that feat since Bill Gullickson did it in 1991. And tell the truth, would you have known the answer to that trivia question?