Detroit Tigers Schedule Becomes More Favorable

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The Detroit Tigers start to the season has been very average. The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals have been the toast of the division, but that is obviously nothing more than fool’s gold.

The former would also lead the East and the West in the American League. Tell me that is going to last!

The best case scenario is that the success of the Royals and Indians sells some tickets now for future dates on the false premise that those games will mean something to those teams in their respective cities. At least the Tigers aren’t performing the way that the Twins and White Sox are.

They also have the Seattle Mariners on the horizon-a team that they took to the wood shed last week.

Justin Verlander recently notched his thousandth strike out. He has been a constant positive presence in this pitching rotation that has seen Brad Penny struggle (before looking dominant Saturday against the White Sox) and Rick Porcello as a hit or miss proposition.

Verlander’s thirty-six innings pitched can also serve as a model for the rest of the staff on the importance of going late into the games. It can save the bullpen for the rest of the series and helps starters control their own destinies.

It’s hard for players to blame relievers for late inning losses if the starters are still in the game. Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Brad Penny have all averaged less than six innings per appearance. If they were able to shoulder more of the load, Jim Leyland might even be able to think about adding another position player to the line-up.

This could mean more substitutions in the late innings that inevitably leads to more runs scored for the Tigers.

Outfielder Austin Jackson still is mired in a month long struggle at the plate. The table setter unfortunately leads the team in strikeouts, but is at least getting on base once in a while in creative fashions to stop the bleeding somewhat.

The importance of Magglio Ordonez to this offense cannot be overstated now that designated hitter Victor Martinez is on the disabled list. This often occurs when dealing with a veteran team, but the bright side is that both players have proven resumes and they will likely produce when on the field for long periods of time.

Ordonez is getting his feet wet now, but will probably heat up when his comfort level rises.

Closer Jose Valverde has four saves and no blown opportunities. He also has an earned run average only slightly higher than one. This execution is something that even Kyra Sedgwick would be proud of. Valverde’s performance bode well for the team down the stretch.

Conventional wisdom dictates that is a given that a team will lose around sixty games. It is the other one hundred that decide the winners from the losers. Having a quality closer takes the sting out of close defeats. Depending on the player’s psyche, sometimes an eight run loss can be easier to take than being the victim of a walk off hit. At least in the blowout there isn’t a chance.

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