Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Thoughts running thru my my mind as the Tigers' season withers on the vine

Is the headline a bit of an overreaction? Probably. But don't tell me you aren't thinking the same thing.

As I watch the Tigers' bats continue to struggle (Dice-K is dominating for the BoSox through 5 innings. Thing is, he's not good enough to lights out), it's become clear that the team wide hitting slump is the biggest issue for the Tigers thru the 6 game (Likely to be 7 game after today) losing streak.

The batters are pressing, making things worse. The pitchers, knowing they are going to get little in the way of run support, are pressing, making things worse. The defense, knowing they have no room for error, are pressing, thus making errors. (2 so far today)

Everything looks worse when you aren't hitting. EVERYTHING.

But what can you do? Make changes? Bench a few players? Get serious, what would you change? How could you change it? Meaning Jim Leyland is stuck in a bad place. These are GOOD to GREAT players. You can't bench them. It would reek of panic, and who, exactly, would you replace them with?

Everyone in the Tigers' lineup is an accomplished hitter. Guys who have hit 20, 30, even 40 bombs in a year. Won batting titles. Had 20-20 seasons. Career .300 averages. Too many All-Star games to mention.

Yet they are flailing about like kids getting their first ever taste of fast pitch, either bailing out or reaching. Plate discipline has been Pudge-like, meaning non-existent. When someone does finagle their way on base, a double play has always followed. I can't remember seeing an actual rally this season. How can you when you can't even string more than 2 hits together before striking out/popping up/grounding out/hitting into a double play.

Honestly, I'm at a loss at this point. If the bats remain as silent as they have been (2 hits though 5 innings today, nothing has changed), the losing streak is going to reach double digits.

At this point, with a team wide batting slump showing no signs of ending anytime soon, the only thing that will end this streak is a starting pitcher coming up HUGE, and totally shutting down the opposition. Someone needs to step up, and pitch a shutout. Unfortunately, the starters have been less than sterling. As if right on cue, as I write, Kenny Rogers can't get out of the 5th, going 4.2 innings before getting pulled for //GULP// Jason Grilli.

So as I sit here watching the Tigers labor through another excruciating game, it's become an exercise in endurance. Instead of expecting the best, I'm watching Tigers games with a sense of utter dread. That is something I haven't experienced as a Tigers fan since since 2005...

As they say, "This too, shall pass." Unfortunately, the Tigers' 1st week is passing like a kidney stone. A LARGE and EXTREMELY PAINFUL kidney stone.

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