Sunday, July 08, 2012

Tigers Streaking into All-star Break

The way the Tigers play going into the AS break always seems to set the tone for the rest of the year. At least this is something I tend to remember about their seasons. Those years where they lose a series, or two, especially to the Royals going in, it seems like the second half is a complete collapse. They certainly have had good teams that were considered contenders for the division in the past like that 2007 1000 runs to be scored team that fell on its face. They tend to be in much better shape when they make a good push right before the break though and are starting to click in their contention years in my memory. This year we have a 5 game winning streak going in and finally are back above .500. 2 games in fact. Even Delmon Young is starting to heat up with 4 HR in the past 4 games. We have what every team needs for a special season so far. We have a guy having a career year that was unexpected in Austin Jackson. Jackson has been phenomenal this year hitting over .330 and has a mind-blowing OBP over .400 as well as an OPS in the high .900s. 9 HRs already going into the break, and as many walks as Miguel Cabrera with 100 fewer ABs for Jackson. That's the most surprising I think. The walks compared to Miggy. Then we have a surprise from a new guy. Not technically a rookie, but Quentin Berry has been a serious shot in the arm for the team and is holding steady in the 2 hole since Andy Dirks went onto the DL. Dirks was having an outstanding year to that point as well hitting in the 2 hole at around .330. Berry has had a ton of multi-hit games, but he brings a much needed ability to the lineup. Speed. He is actually stealing bases at will, and not just that. We finally have 2 speedsters in the OF together to cover the vast gaps of Comerica park . Him and AJax cover way more ground than we've seen in a long time together. Compared to having Raburn, or the god awful Delmon Young out there this is a serious defensive upgrade. Raburn may be selling standsandmounts soon since he is clearly about to get waived. We also have a rookie SP in Drew Smyly that has been great in most of his time so far. He still makes the rookie mistakes, but he has been very productive as a rookie and a great help for that final rotation spot. Pitching is up and down though. Fister hasn't been very effective since his return from injury. Max and Porcello are like night and day start to start. The bullpen on the other hand has been solid with Coke pitching well and Villareal coming in and being dominant. Still we have a lot of fat and an infield defense that would make anyone cringe. Lack of production at 2nd base may need to be remedied via trade. I am still all for going after a major SP arm as well in Greinke. I'm willing to deal off Max, or Porcello in that deal to give us antoehr Ace. Can't possibly do more in one trade than to get a SP. The answer when asked what our needs are is the answer I give every single time: pitching. It's always pitching. You can never have too much, or too good. At least we are out on a high note at the AS break. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and we are primed and ready when VMart waltzes back into the lineup in September.

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