Tigers Leading ALDS, Lions and Wolverines 9-0: Pure Michigan

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Bloomberg News reported that the success of Detroit sports would inject another $140 million into the economy. As the Detroit Red Wings get started, the motor city’s most famous and successful sports brand complements the Lions winning ways (4-0, one of just two undefeated teams left in the NFL), the Detroit Tigers winning the AL Central and leading the New York Yankees in the ALDS 2-1.

And then you have the #11 Michigan Wolverines who are 5-0 and just down the road in Ann Arbor. Sure the Pistons are still a complete train wreck, but the NBA is on lockout, so we won’t really see that.

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Keys to a Long Detroit Tigers Postseason Run

The suspended game on Friday night was a wash for the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers (pun intended). Detroit obviously has the advantage that the series is best of five instead of seven. This allows them to utilize the strengths of the roster and minimize its shortcomings that would be more prevalent over more games.

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Tigers Max Scherzer Took Roundabout Way to MLB Postseason

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One Detroit Tigers starting pitcher took an interesting detour on his way to the MLB playoffs

Onetime Fort Worth (TX) Cats (American Association) fireballer Max Scherzer appears to have the most prominent role among former Independent players who will be in major league baseball’s high octane Octoberfest, but he will not stand along.

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Setting Up Detroit Tigers Pitching for Postseason Success

Closer Jose Valverde and starter Justin Verlander obviously anchor the pitching staff in Detroit. The former has forty save opportunities in the same amount of chances. The latter has garnered his twenty-first victory already with almost a month left. Valverde’s numbers are a little misleading because his whip is near one and a third. This would usually dictate a few blown saves, but he has been the master in working his way out of jams.

The team buried the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night after coming back from a seven run deficit.

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Twins Vs. Tigers: AL Central Race Heating Up Now?

Outside of Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel is the most prolific bat in the Twins lineup on a consistent basis. He has more potential than Joe Mauer to put up big time numbers in the RBI and home run departments. The argument could also be made for Delmon Young or Michael Cuddyer, but I would wonder if those that would bring up those names have ever been to a batting practice session. People often speak of making judgments concerning the eye test. This would be more of a case of trusting the ear test.

If the Twins could take the Tigers and Yankees off the schedule, then the reason of the season would be pure bliss. The team showed promise in the first two series that were post All Star break. The Indians and Royals are anonymous nationally, but intra-divisional contests are always of the utmost importance in Major League Baseball. Then the team faced the Tigers-a team that had beaten them eleven straight times before Saturday night.

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Detroit Pitching Coach Change: a Rash, Premature Decision

Detroit Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp was unceremoniously dismissed from the ball club on July 3rd. It was a rash decision made by manager Jim Leyland and general manager Dave Dumbrowski. I realize that they are in the final year of their respective contracts, but that is no reason to throw one of your colleagues under the bus.

It was a choice that was made after the club lost three straight at the beginning of the month. Games started by Phil Coke, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer made a lasting impression with Leyland. The team surrendered thirty-six runs during the three game stretch.

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Irrationally Overrated MLB Players: Detroit Tigers Brandon Inge

The reason for overrating these MLB players could be one of the following: a prolonged term of service, being a crucial part of a championship team, or for doing one thing exceptionally well.

H. Jose Bosch tells us what’s up:

It’s gotta be Brandon Inge for the Detroit Tigers. He is LOVED by the fans and yet only four players IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME have had more plate appearances and a lower career BA than Inge. It’s painful to watch him. He’s batting.184. Let me say that again….1-8-4. Do you know how hard a legitimate Major League Baseball player has to try to his that low? His slugging is .251. That number shouldn’t even exist.

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Detroit Tigers: Midseason Report Card

The Detroit Tigers have three of the top six hitters in the American League. Miguel Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, and Victor Martinez all have batting averages between .310 and .320. This may seem low to hold those positions in the junior circuit, but offensive numbers have been down this season across both leagues. The surprising aspect to this analysis of the statistics is that none of these players is among the leaders in home runs or runs batted in.

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Tigers Justin Verlander: A Month For the Record Books

As you are firing up your barbeque and checking out the fireworks, contemplate these numbers: six and zero with an earned run average of under one.

That is what the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander has accomplished during the month of June. The word “unbelievable” gets thrown around quite a bit in today’s world, but it works in this case. Verlander and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees are the only two pitchers in the major leagues to compile eleven victories so far this season. In addition, Verlander does have the league lead with one hundred thirty strikeouts. This is simply just further evidence of his dominance thus far.

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Just How Valuable is Justin Verlander to the Detroit Tigers?

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Justin Verlander put on a show yesterday with his 119 pitch, 14 strikeout, 8 shutout inning performance.  I wish I could say any of his success this year was a surprise but, looking at trends in his numbers and his renewed attitude toward Spring Training set him up for this type of success.  He is the top pitcher in baseball right now and showing no signs of slowing down.

Verlander’s dominance is not hard to quantify.

  • He leads the Majors in wins (10),
  • Strikeouts(124, second place: 119)
  • Innings pitched (128.2, second place: 122)
  • WHIP (.839, second place: .920)
  • 1st in the AL in Win/Loss %
  • 1st in the AL in WAR for pitchers
  • 3rd in the AL in K/BB
  • 4th in the AL in ERA

He’s in the top 5 in the AL for every good statistic I could think of.  His WHIP is almost a half a baserunner per inning better than league average and he’s on pace for the 12th best WHIP ever and the 3rd best since 1913 (Pedro (.737 in 2000) is first and Maddux (.811 in 1995) is second).

And he’s getting better: Over his last 6 starts he’s 6-0 while getting an average of 25 outs per game (8.1 IP) allowing 4 total runs, 4 walks and compiling 51 strikeouts.

The Red Flag pops up though.  Over the course of his career he’s best in July and his new approach in Spring Training (which we documented here) suggests that he may break down earlier this year.  He’s a power pitcher who consistently sees his ERA rise in August and September.  I’m on the lookout for that to happen again but, with his current form and still reaching triple digit RADAR readings after 110 pitches, it’s going to take more than the turn of a calander month to slow Justin down.

Stats of the Day:  1)Justin Verlander has no nickname. To put this in perspective, Jose Valverde has a nickname.  Come on baseball fans, Verlander is not so much fun to say that we can’t come up with something.  This has got to be Shaq’s new job, nickname master.  2) The Pittsburgh Pirates are 39-37 and in 3rd place in the NL Central.  I think this could get interesting, as Pittsburgh is desperate for a winner and I see them being major buyers at the deadline if they continue to play this type of ball.  3) The Atlanta Braves have the fourth best winning percentage in the Majors despite being 18th in the league in runs scored, 25th in batting average and last in stolen bases (6 players have more steals than the Braves)

-Sean Morash

Be sure to visit Off The Bench for more great baseball articles.

Team MVP and Cy Young for All AL Central Teams

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With the midpoint of the 2011 season nearing More Hardball has taken the opportunity to name each team’s MVP and Cy Young through the first half. Today we feature the American League Central division.

And as you know, TSB is all AL Central (and NL Central) all the time.

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Sparky Anderson’s Special Day: Detroit Tigers Retire His Number

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In a gesture that is long overdue, the Detroit Tigers are scheduled to retire the number of managerial legend Sparky Anderson on Sunday prior to their game against Kirk Gibson’s Arizona Diamondbacks. It is not surprising that one of these teams is entering the season in first place, but the part that is shocking is that it is the club from Phoenix. They are really cashing in on the catastrophic demise of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their narrow lead over San Francisco does not mean that it is only a two team race. The Colorado Rockies have been known to make some late season runs throughout the last few years.

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