Thursday, September 9, 2010
Very Little Middle Ground With This Tiger Team
It’s been a weird season for the Detroit Tigers. From a better than expected first half, the collapse after the All-Star break, the Armando game, the crippling injuries, the major league debuts of so many kids, to the fight back to .500…yeah. It’s been weird.
And it’s been strange on a personal level for me, as well. I’ve never seen a Tiger squad where almost every player fell into a “like him” or “hate him” category in my mind. Usually, there’s a decent amount of guys on the team that I really have no emotional attachment to. Guys like Craig Monroe, for instance. Craig had his moments and never really annoyed me too much. I had no problem with him being on the team. Also, I had no problems when the team let him go.
But this team is different. Almost every guy out there either has me rooting for him, or me wanting me to see him shot by a firing squad. It’s almost like this whole season, I guess. Some days, the Tigers look like world beaters, such as this recent series where we have crippled the White Sox and I love them. Other times, they’re just plain bowling shoe ugly and I wish I were born a fan of the Reds or something.
But I’ll show you what I mean in “stupid list form”. I’ll limit the hitters to at least to those with at least 100 at bats and the pitchers to those with at least 30 innings pitched. I’ll keep it fair to the Jay Sborz’s of the world.
PLAYERS I LIKE
-Miguel Cabrera. Duh. If I were building a team, there isn’t another guy in baseball that I would want to build around, except perhaps for that prick with the sideburns in Minnesota. But right now, I’m thinking Big Mig.
-Magglio Ordonez. Maggz 4 Lyfe, son.
-Austin Jackson. This kid impresses me in a different way each day. If he were on the Yanks or Sawx, we’d be seeing daily AJax highlights on ESPN.
-Johnny Damon. JD is a great team leader and a guy I’d love to see back next year as a fourth outfielder. I just don’t think Johnny wants to be a bench guy or would want to be paid like one.
-Ryan Raburn. Again, I’ll play my favorite game: I TOLDJA SO! Raburn sucks unless he gets extended playing time. He showed that last year and again now in 2010. He has stone hands in the field, but I can’t help rooting for the guy.
-Ramon Santiago. The perfect backup utility player.
-Jhonny Peralta. This one surprises me. Watching him play every day since the trade, Jhonny has won me over. I wasn’t a fan of getting him from the Tribe, but he’s been much better at short than I expected and wouldn’t mind seeing him play there next season if Dave Dombrowski decides to keep Inge around at third.
-Scott Sizemore. Still not sure what I like about him…I just do. Sadly, Tinkerbell has won the heart of the Marlboro Man and Scotty can’t get on the field.
-Justin Verlander. He’s frustrating at times, but still the best we’ve had in forever.
-Max Scherzer. He looks better than Verlander lately.
-Joel Zumaya. I still love Zoom. Sue me.
-Phil Coke. I didn’t know much about him before the trade. This year, he’s made me a Cokehead and is my favorite reliever on the team.
-Jose Valverde. Amazing first half. Weak finish. Awesome dancer.
-Ryan Perry. He has “filthy” stuff, to quote Rod Allen, but needs to learn to locate it better.
-Rick Porcello. Finally righting the ship after a nightmare start to his sophomore season.
GUYS I DON’T LIKE
-Don Kelly. Have I mentioned that before? I loved in Wednesday’s game when right after Rod was talking about how Jim Leyland loves Kelly’s “skill set”, Donnie dropped an easy foul pop up. I haven’t laughed that hard since Rick Porcello beat up Kevin Youkilis.
-Will Rhymes. Stop with the Eckstein comparisons, people! Yeah, they’re both short. Quit being lazy, though. I about had a coronary when Rod and Mario brought up Eckstein the other day. I see Rhymes, purely from a hitter’s standpoint, as a poor man’s Juan Pierre. He’s going to hit for average. He won’t draw any walks and will have a mediocre OBP. He has some speed. He’ll never hit more than one home run and the guy that gives it up to him should immediately be DFA’d. He’s a small-ball guy. I’m just not a fan of that type of player. The guy’s not as bad as I make him out to be, but he’s not as good as the average fan seems to think he is, either. He also looks like one of those homeless kids you see in movies set in early-1900’s Great Britain.
-Danny Worth. Sorry…I see nothing here to be excited about. Worthless.
-Brandon Inge. The occasional brilliant play at third does not make up for the fact that the man makes me yell out curse words on an average of three times per game. The most frustrating player I’ve ever seen play the game.
-Alex Avila. He can’t hit. He’s okay on defense. He’s not the answer at catcher. He is Captain Nepotism!
-Gerald Laird. He can’t hit. He’s okay on defense (was great last year on d, though). He won’t be back next year. He is horsesh-t.
-Jeremy Bonderman. Big dummy. Redd Foxx would have loved him.
-Armando Galarraga. Sure, he was classy after the Jim Joyce fiasco. But one game can’t change the fact that Armando really isn’t that good. I can deal with him as a #5 starter if I must, but nothing more.
-Eddie Bonine. That knuckleball-thing worked for a while. But now he’s back to being Eddie Bonine, terrible pitcher, again.
-Brad Thomas. Has sex with kangaroos.
GUYS IN THE MIDDLE
There’s only two. That’s what I find weird about this team.
-Carlos Guillen. He eats up payroll, makes dumb plays on defense, and is always hurt. However, he’s meant a lot to the team over the years, can make great plays still on defense, and has more pop in his bat than any other infielder on the team not named Cabrera.
-Brennan Boesch. Loved him coming out of nowhere in the first half. Hated his Shelton-esque meltdown after the hot start. Will the real Brennan Boesch please stand up?
And who is the perfect manager for this love/hate team? Jim Leyland. Some days I think Jim’s a genius and a master motivator out there. Other days, I see his lineup or some bullpen move and think the man’s crazier than Mel Gibson on a bender.
Good or bad, there’s only a month left. It should at least be interesting.