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 Opening WEAK: Will it end?

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PostSubject: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:11 pm

Saturday, April 5, 2008
Lynn Henning: White Sox 8, Tigers 5
Opening Weak: Will it end?
Reasoning behind poor start difficult to diagnose

DETROIT -- A handful of things have conspired to make Opening Week a mini-disaster for the Tigers.

One by one, here are some problems the Tigers are facing in the wake of Friday's 8-5 loss to the White Sox that didn't go over particularly well with Comerica Park's fans:

1. The team "doesn't look right"

It's amazing how many shrewd observers have said this the last couple days. An ongoing belief is that Curtis Granderson's absence is taking a toll. The top of the order is out of whack. The leadoff spot is a team's ignition switch, and no player ignited a game offensively better than Granderson.

Remember two summers ago when Placido Polanco was lost for six weeks and how the team struggled? He was the No. 2 hitter, but when he disappeared, so did the Tigers' offensive rhythm. Old-timers will remember the same thing happening in 1968 when leadoff man Dick McAuliffe was lost to an August suspension. It was the only time during a World Series season the Tigers struggled.

2. Everything is upside down

This happens when a team is caught in an unexpected free fall. Friday's example of how completely twisted the Tigers have been in going 0-4 came in the first inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. Magglio Ordonez poked the first pitch to second for a rally-killing double play.

When a team is in rhythm -- go back to the karma Granderson creates -- Ordonez gets a single to right or double up the gap. Or, at the very least, a sacrifice fly.

This will change, guaranteed. But having your leadoff man and No. 3 hitter (Gary Sheffield also is sidelined with a finger injury) out of the lineup is an invitation to a screwy scoring chance.

There was more freakiness in the fifth. With runners at second and third and one out, Jacque Jones ripped a grounder to a pulled-in Juan Uribe at second base. Jones was out and Pudge Rodriguez got doubled off second.

Comerica Park officially had morphed into the Twilight Zone. Don't be surprised if it lingers for a few more days or weeks.

3. Jason Grilli got lit up


Grilli is not appreciative of criticism. There were about 34,000 critics letting him know Friday afternoon that they didn't enjoy the performance as the right-hander allowed five consecutive hits and three runs in the seventh.

Asked afterward about his rough first week, which included a pitch up in the zone that led to a big run in Monday's Opening Day loss to the Royals, Grilli was not happy with the question.

He believes he should not be judged by 1 1/3 innings. And he's right.

Fans will counter by saying: We seem to remember this stuff a year ago when Grilli had a bad April and May.

He ended up pitching effectively the rest of the year. But the patience level with Grilli is going to run its limit, no matter what is written. And it won't be the fans or the media who make the final call.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland was fair but direct in his postgame comments:

"What's going on is what we've talked about," he said. "And the situation we're in, some guys are gonna get some opportunities. And they need to step it up. (Grilli's) one of the guys who's gonna get an opportunity and at some point he's got to step it up.

"It was a tie game today, and he just didn't have a very good day. Those things happen.

The fact of the matter is that what we're dealing with, I look forward to giving guys an opportunity to see who steps forward. Obviously, he didn't have a very good outing."

On the flip side, hard-throwing right-hander Denny Bautista has thrown consistently well through March and April. Todd Jones was perfect in the ninth.

The challenge is to figure out a way to hold on through April, which is going to be a brutal month. Injuries and a tough schedule could leave this team playing catch-up from a distance if the bleeding doesn't stop.

That won't happen until the right people get healthy.

And it might not happen at all unless either Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya or Francisco Cruceta, or someone emerging from the farm system, can provide the bullpen reinforcement this team will need even after Granderson and Sheffield return from their injuries.

You can reach Lynn Henning at (313) 222-2472 lynn.henning@detnews.com.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:38 pm

Come on, Joel, get well soon!!!!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:49 pm

Those are pretty apt observations.
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:31 pm

I agree that we miss Curtis! When's he coming back already????
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:35 pm

Supposed to be middle of April, so 1 to 2 weeks more.
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:36 pm

2-6 weeks probably. They were taking x-rays today.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:36 pm

when he comes back, what happens to Clete???
hes doing great!
i say move Clete to LF
anyone agree?
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:37 pm

gdennis59 wrote:
when he comes back, what happens to Clete???
hes doing great!
i say move Clete to LF
anyone agree?

As long as his bat is on fire.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:38 pm

lol
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:11 pm

they should be takin' note of all those viagra commercials and get those bats a-workin'! Big Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:57 pm

laprimamirala wrote:
they should be takin' note of all those viagra commercials and get those bats a-workin'! Big Smile

You are BBBBAAAAAAAADDDDDD!!! Big Smile


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:00 am

i was about to say, sounds a bit wrong, eh?
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:50 am

whatever works! WE NEED A WIN!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:39 pm

yeah, really - a win!!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:20 pm

They've got to break this bad karma!
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:32 pm

absolutely, laprima
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:58 pm

what do we need here? an exorcism?
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:15 pm

....some HITS would be a nice start, eh?
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:47 pm

they can't even seem to get to that point!
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:57 pm

except for brandon....wtf?
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:18 pm

He's pissed at Miggy. I think it's a passive-aggressive thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:16 pm

Some hits together and not scattered, here and there, would help!


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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:31 pm

anything!
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:14 pm

Seems like the only way they can win now is if the other team doesn't show up.

pray for all the Red Sox to become ill.


bow Z. Miner
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:44 am

With latent jet lag?
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:33 am

Boston is not playing well either

New York 3-3, next to last place
Boston 3-4, last place.


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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:22 am

I can barely show my face at work. This is so WRONG. I think we're living in BIZARRO WORLD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_World
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:26 pm

it's definitely a nightmare we can't wake up from just yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:08 pm

you mean....Bazardo World
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PostSubject: Re: Opening WEAK: Will it end?   Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:42 pm

right!
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