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 Tigers' Jim Leyland not worried about his slumping trio

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PostSubject: Tigers' Jim Leyland not worried about his slumping trio   Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:35 am

Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Tigers' Jim Leyland not worried about his slumping trio
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Anaheim, Calif. -- When the least of your worries are also the most, chances are you're doing fine.

The Tigers have three hitters not doing what they usually do: Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Curtis Granderson.

All three, in some form or other, are off to slow starts.

Is manager Jim Leyland concerned? Understandably not.

For one thing, all three have track records. Plus, due in part to their balance, the Tigers have won six of their last eight games. If there are slumps afoot, they've not been particularly costly.

So Leyland did not spend his off day wringing his hands wondering what's happened to this usually terrific trio.

He's confident Ordonez's first extra-base hit of the season is just around the corner -- and that his batting average and slugging average (.295) won't continue to be one and the same.

He's also sure Granderson's on-base percentage will soon climb above the feeble .263 it is now.

And as for Guillen, his .186 batting average has to be considered temporary -- as well as ranking eighth on the team with 10 total bases.

If the Tigers were stumbling, red flags might have begun to flutter by now. But they are 7-5, and are coming off three tremendous starts in their last four games -- four in their last four if you eliminate one bad inning by Justin Verlander.

They head into the Angels series feeling good about themselves, despite some surprises in their lineup but also because of some surprises.

Such as Brandon Inge (23) and Ramon Santiago (18) ranking second and third to Miguel Cabrera's team-leading combination of RBIs and runs scored.
Frankly, it should encourage the Tigers that they're off to a good start with some of their big bats semi-silent, because there's bound to be noise in those bats sooner or later.

"They'll get it going," Leyland said. "We're only two weeks in."

Ordonez's intelligence as a hitter has been evident in this prolonged search for his first extra-base hit. Instead of panic, he's displaying patience by not trying to do too much while doing too little.

Matters would only be worse if he had tried to pull any of the several pitches he's instead hit to right for singles. Plus he's walked a team-high 10 times, so he's not jumping at pitches he should take instead.

And, no, the lack of punch is not suddenly an age factor with Ordonez, who's the oldest player on the team at 35.

"I'm the oldest?" he said recently with genuine surprise. "But I feel like I'm 23."

Guillen has shown signs of life lately. It's just unusual to see him start with a bump instead of a bang. In his first 12 games last year, Guillen hit .372 and already had eight extra-base hits.

With Granderson, what's good is that he's had only two hitless games. What's not good is that he's had only one multiple-hit game. The Tigers are off to an acceptable two-week start, however.

"We've done OK," Leyland said. "We play all right."

tom.gage@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers' Jim Leyland not worried about his slumping trio   Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:42 am

Off the field he feels like he's 23.....Big Smile
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