Tim Kurkjian does a great job breaking down the AL Central saying that it's basically anyone's divison to win or lose. He's got a bit of insight into the Tigers other than the usual simple stuff that everyone else says.
David Mayo writes the usual simple stuff that everyone else says. However, he is even worse. I would break this down in my usual snarky way, but he didn't put any effort into the article. Why should I?
Jason Beck is usually a decent read. However this article on Rodney is a bit goofy. Here's some of my favorite parts.
"When you come to pitch in the ninth inning, you have to be ready," Rodney said. "I feel ready a couple times. I don't feel 100 percent a couple times. I tried to throw more strikes. Sometimes I don't find the strike zone. Sometimes I get a strikeout. I've started working on that, and I want to be better."
What in the blue hell? He was ready a couple of times. He...well, you read it. I understand there is a bit of a language barrier, but this man was our closer up until a couple days ago? Brandon Lyon is no Mariano Rivera or Joe Nathan...but Captain Crookedhat sounds like he never wanted to be on the mound last year. That's certainly the way he pitched all year.
"Rodney's a big league pitcher. He's going to be on our ballclub," manager Jim Leyland said last week on the Tigers' winter caravan, before the Lyon signing was officially announced. "He's going to be a big asset to our ballclub, in my opinion. Exactly what the role will be defined as, I don't know yet. I think he'll be a very valuable piece of our team, and I'll leave it at that, because I don't know how things are going to play."
"He's a big league pitcher." So are Casey Fossum and Kyle Farnsworth. "He's going to be on our ballclub." So is Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis. Leave it to The Marlboro Man to not say anything bad about a guy...but make it sound like he secretly wants him to get hit by a train.
The first batters to face Rodney in an outing went just 6-for-29 against him, but his nine walks to those hitters resulted in a .395 on-base percentage.
And up until a couple days ago, this was still our closer. Now he's our set up guy. Please...Allah, Buddah, Mohammad, Zeus...ANYONE OUT THERE! Take the magic wand that you used to bless Derek Jeter and Tom Brady and use it on Joel Zumaya. I beg of you...
This offseason was spent preparing for such a fight, even if it's simply with his own issues. Though Rodney reprised his usual winter ball role for a brief stint in the Dominican League, the bulk of his work came outside of games. He threw extra side work to try to keep his tricky shoulder strong and avoid the health issues that cost him two months last season and nearly led to surgery, an absence that he thinks set up his further troubles the rest of the season. Rodney threw off the mound this offseason with a focus on spotting his pitches more precisely.
Are you like me? Are you thinking that Fernando could have been doing something much more useful than this? Something like...Pilates?
"Last year, I didn't pitch too many innings," he said. "Maybe that's why my control [was inconsistent]. This year, I'm working on [hitting] both sides [of the plate], outside, inside, and I've worked on that very hard. Because I think if I have control on the inside and outside, I'll be better."
I disagree. I'm pretty sure that Rodney pitched too many innings last year. Enough to make what little hair I had left to fall out in clumps or be ripped out of my skull. As for, you know, being able to control where he's throwing the ball? Yup, I'm willing to agree that he might not suck so bad that way. Too bad neither he or Chuck Hernandez thought of that sooner. That must be the problem.
He also believes he'll improve if he can regularly throw his slider, a pitch Tigers officials have tried to get him to throw more often for at least two years. With many hitters focused on his fastball-changeup combination, he needed a third pitch, and his slider was an effective pitch in his younger years before Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in 2004.
Riddle me this, my friends. Why is it that Tiger pitchers will not throw the pitches that Tigers "officials" want them to? Bondo still is scared of throwing a pitch that any 13 year old can throw, the changeup. Rodney won't throw his slider. Is he scared of getting hurt? He's always hurt anyways! Is he willing to throw it this year since it's a contract year? I really hope that Knapp can get these clowns to live up to their potential this year.
Rodney's season hasn't started yet. But his mindset suggests he's ready.
Jason, if that's what you got out of talking to Fernando Rodney, then I think you need a vacation. And so do I...