When The Smoke Clears: Notes From The Manager’s Desk – Will The Real Detroit Tigers Please Stand Up Edition
“We didn’t know much about him, but we jumped on him pretty good,” Leyland said of the 6 runs the Tigers scored last night against Texas starter Justin Grimm.
“He threw him a good one, boy,” Jim Leyland said. “That was a big situation. Things happen fast, particularly in this ballpark. I mean, look how fast we got five.” Leyland said this about Porcello’s strikeout of Napoli with the bases loaded last night.
The Tigers are in the midst of a stretch of winning 10 out of their last 15 games but also just ended a four game stretch where they scored one run in three games and two runs in the other game. Last night, however, was a great example of what can happen when they can string a few hits together and get some participation all the way through the lineup. A lot more nights like last night will be needed to continue inching closer to first while playing series against Texas and Tampa Bay.
Injuries continue to be a problem. It looks like Avila’s problems aren’t solved yet and he will likely need some additional rest after a diagnosis of tendinitis in his knees. Dirks is still a little ways off from a return; as of June 20th he was still in a walking boot. Valverde is back and was available for yesterday’s game. Smyly has returned and will get the start tonight. The pitching staff (starters and pen) seems to have settled in a bit and have provided more consistency to go along with a generally good bill of health. The absence of Dirks has been easier to handle with the continued performance of Quintin Berry and Laird’s consistency in the backup role has helped ease the pain of Avila’s injuries (and underperformance).
A win in the first game against Texas was much needed considering we face Darvish, Oswalt, Shields, and Price in the next four games. So far we are 2-2 on the current road trip with 6 games to go….anything close to a .500 record on the trip would be a step in the right direction. Following that is a homestand against Minnesota and Kansas City, so a strong week this week against tough competition could leave a first place Tigers team at the All-Star break as a real possibility.
Pretty amazing that all of the disappointment, bad calls, poor hitting, confusion, injuries, poor fielding, frustration, and anything else that could describe the 2012 Mud Hens’ Tigers’ season thus far and we are still only 2 games out of first place!