Going into this stretch about a week ago I looked at the schedule through the All-star break and was rather excited. A string of games against lower end teams in both the NL and AL that the Tigers should be able to make a great run against. Teams that were mostly under .500 so far on the year. Basically teams with a lot of holes. Some of these teams have a couple nice starting pitchers, or they have a few hitters that can win a game for them, but overall I looked at this month a head as a time to make a serious move for the Tigers and bury the struggling Indians.
So far? The Tigers have been miserable. Other than Clayton Kershaw the Tigers haven't even hit most of the elite pitchers I was expecting. Yet, they struggled mightily on this inter-league road trip. Anyone that follows the Tigers knows exactly why too. Leyland is way too cute.
His lineups this year have been in a word: ridiculous. Not only does he rarely (meaning less than 5 times if even more than 1 I can think of) put Cabrera in the 3 hole. IT's a running joke on most boards I go to counting how many times Cabrera leads off the 2nd inning as the cleanup hitter. This I consider a major issue, but probably not as much as the rest of these lineups where Avila and Peralta who are hitting 7th and 8th most of the time. These guys are both having career years, but we get Don Kelly hitting 2nd, and Brennan Boesch hitting 3rd (arguably having an OK year, but he's a streaky man). Just run lineups through some computers and play these guys.
So on this trip, with the pitcher now entering the lineup, Leyland decides to try Avila out at 3B to keep his bat in the lineup with Cabrera and Victor Martinez. He has an error in his first game and the next 5 games either him, VMart, or Miggy gets a day off. That's right. Miggy got a day off! This comes with a day off for the team already for Thursday. Who plays instead? Oh the great Raburn, or the great Casper Wells, or whatever other platoon minor leaguer Leyland loves to ""get ABs".
I have been indifferent to Leyland most of his time here, but he is just done this year. I cannot justify the madness this guy must be in. His lineups are the most ridiculous things I have ever seen, and I am genuinely confident that we have no chance to win the division the way he manages them.