A Guest and I Play Over/Under For the Tigers' 2011 Season
Can you? Weirdos. Ha.
Instead of the usual standard preview for you to read, I decided to come up with ten numbers related to the Tigers this year. Then, I’ll play over/under with than number on how I think the player or team will perform. As a little bonus, I thought I’d get a different voice to get their opinion on each number to compare and/or contrast mine. I wanted to get someone that I both like and respect for this. Sadly, I didn’t decide on doing this until around 5pm today and had to get Jen Cosey from Old English D instead. Wocka, wocka…
I kid, of course. Jen’s the biggest Tiger fan I know, my best friend in the Tiger Blogosphere, and hopefully can lend some sanity to whatever bizarre conclusions I come up with. A small warning, though. Jen sometimes uses big words and doesn’t curse. She will be very out of place here. But be nice to her anyway.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
1. Austin Jackson: Over/Under a .275 batting average
I think AJax will hit right around .275 this year. During Spring Training, he has increased his walk rate, so hopefully that's something he'll sustain. If he can increase his OBP and steal more bases, everyone will want to hug him, and they won't care that his batting average dipped a little.
I have no problem in saying I have a man-crush on Austin Jackson. I understand his BABIP was outrageous last year, but I think the kid is only going to get better and he’ll bat at least .280 for us this year. And if he can walk more and cut down on the K’s, he might turn into the best leadoff hitter in the league.
2. Ryan Raburn: Over/Under 20 home runs
I don't know. Raburn's too streaky for me to confidently say that he'll go yard more than 20 times. He can prove me wrong. I'll cook the crow and eat it up. Wait, I'm a vegetarian. Oh well.
I expect him to end up with around 15, I guess. I just think that Brennan Boesch is going to be too much for Raburn to hold off in keeping the left field job. The only way I see Raburn keeping the majority of the time in left is if Magglio goes down and Boesch is forced into duty in right field. And if that happens, I might just shoot myself. Stay healthy, Maggs. Eat meat. Vegetarians are goofy and have brittle bones. It must be true. Why else would I say it?
3. Will Rhymes: Over/Under 90 starts at second base
There are just too many options at second, between Guillen, Sizemore, and Worth, to think that Flea will garner more than half the starts. But when he's out there, he'll be so full of energy, spark and vigor, folks! All manner of hackneyed expressions are applied to Rhymes twenty times every article, blog post and broadcast. I move that we stop insulting the guy by calling him scrappy, and just say he's a player that's capable defensively, with decent speed. He's hit over .280 every year in the minors and .300 last year with the big club, so let's just see how he does in his second shot at the bigs before describing his bat.
Sizemore’s going to be the man before the end of the year, no doubt about it. I think once teams have better scouting reports on Rhymes, his average will drop to the .260 range. Granted, that’s where I expect Scotty Size, too, but at least he’s got some pop in his bat. And no amount of dirt on Tinkerbell’s uniform is going to be able to keep Sizemore away from the starting job in Detroit for too long.
4. Carlos Guillen: Over/Under 60 games played
Call me a heads-in-the-sand optimist, but I think Carlos will play in more than sixty games. I know his body is like paper mache. I know every tendon is like a dry-rotted rubber band. I'm loony toons, but I'm staying with it.
Carlos is done. Even if he does come back, he has proven that it at this point in his career, there’s no way he can sustain playing as a regular in the bigs anymore. Thanks for the memories, Los. It’s Sizemore or ‘Lil Will’s time to shine now. I expect Guillen to be released before the year is through. (I miss Polanco so much.)
5. Phil Coke: Over/Under 15 games started
This was the toughest to answer. Coke loves the doubters and lives to prove them wrong. He's not mad at them, it just makes him want to get out there, pitch out of his mind, and then appear on Sesame Street as a motivational speaker for never giving up. He knows what he needs to do to be successful. But he said he lost focus in one spring outing and was garbage thereafter. What? The club might want to invest in a pair of blinders...or be ready to send Avila trotting out to the mound every other batter to "re-center" our lefty.
Like many, I have doubts about Cokehead switching from the pen to the rotation. But watching him and listening to him talk, he has me convinced that he’s just too damn bullheaded and crazy not to be in this for the long haul. I don’t think he’ll let himself fail in this venture. As someone that has hated nearly every pitcher we’ve had on the mount in recent years not named Verlander, I’m excited to see Coke emerge from the pack as both a personality and a talent. I actually plan on getting a Coke jersey this year to join my Higgy and Magglio ones. That’s a big deal in the Rogo household, my friends.
/just cursed Coke into becoming the next Nate
6. Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski: Over/Under 81 games before they receive an extension
The club's going to wait and see how this season plays out before granting extensions to the Leyland/DD duo. Rightly so. We've endured more bad contracts (yes Robertson and Willis leap gruesomely to mind), and second half collapses than any fan should reasonably be expected to survive with his/her sanity.
Do I think Mr. Ilitch SHOULD give them extensions before the All Star Break? Hell no. Do I think he will? Yup…I do. It’s how the man operates. I think he’s happy with the job DD and JL have done. And as much as I bitch about the duo, remember where we were before they got here? Ugh…I just threw up in my mouth. Randy Smith was a gash. They’ll be celebrating new deals with unfiltered cigarettes and striped sweaters before the end of June.
7. Justin Verlander: Over/Under 18 wins
Justin Verlander has attacked Spring Training like I stomp centipedes until their no longer recognizable exoskeletons are pulverized into mere powder. He's taken every exercise, workout and side session and applied the death stare to them. April will now submit to JV, and he will put together his first 20 win season.
I agree. The man wins the Cy Young award this year with 22 wins. JV’s the best pitcher I’ve ever seen wear the D and this is the year that the rest of the league finds out how amazing he is.
8. Miguel Cabrera: Over/Under 35 home runs
With Mi Magglio and Victor Martinez sandwiched around him, Miguel is going to mash. Say goodbye to 32 intentional walks. Say hello to MVP.
I don’t doubt Big Mig in any way. He’s the AL’s answer to Albert Pujols and I see him clearing 40 homers this year to show his doubters how awesome he really is. I hope he celebrates winning a World Series by downing a bottle of champagne on national TV and giving the camera the finger while NWA's "F-ck The Police" plays in the background. That’d be awesome.
9. Brandon Inge: Over/Under a .250 batting average
Do I even have to answer this question? Rogo knows the answer (he asked it because he's a sadist). You know the answer. We all know the answer. Well, someone from Tuesday's ESPN crew thinks Inge has better hitting in him than we've seen yet. Oh my. I almost choked on my own spit when I heard that. Inge will thrill us all if he hits .235. Well, not thrill...pacify.
You heard me. And yes, I am a sadist. And I may be a bit mental for this, but I think with more solid legs under him this year, Brandon hits .260. He hit .247 last year and bettered .250 in 2004, 5, and 6. So he CAN do it. I’m hoping the guy finally starts living up to the crazy love he gets from the fat girls with lower back tattoos this year. And if he doesn’t, I’ll be here to crucify him for it. Yay! We all win either way.
10. Detroit Tigers: Over/Under 88 Wins
Sigh. I hate predictions. That's why we play the games--because all the pundits end up being ridiculously wrong. Since Rogo put the screws to me, I have to play the homer on this one. My heart is so tied up in making the playoffs that I can't bring myself to put us under 88 wins. If we don't make it this season, you may find that my site has spontaneously combusted.
Sorry. I think the Twins, White Sox, and Tigers will cannibalize each other this year. I have the Sox winning the division with around 88 wins. I can’t see our group of guys staying healthy enough to win the AL Central, sadly. That would put us at, at best, 87 wins. For ONCE, I hope I am wrong. Sadly, I rarely am. (shut up)
There you have it. Ten topics, ten honest answers. Thanks to Jen for lowering herself to contributing to my dick joke blog. Please visit her site to say hello.
Topics that didn't quite make it into this post?
-Over/Under 30 death threats made against Don Kelly on DNR
-Over/Under 5000 mentions of the word "scrappy" in Will Rhymes articles this year
-Over/Under 20 different ugly sweaters worn by Dombrowski on TV in 2011
-Over/Under 10 hospitalizations in Detroit due to alcohol poisoning playing the Rod Allen Drinking Game
-Over/Under 3 times I threaten to quit doing this blog during the season
As I write this, we are 13 hours or so away from JV, Big Mig, Maggs, V-Mart, AJax, Tinkerbell, and the rest of the boys taking the field.
Here’s to a great season in the D, kids. Enjoy the ride and stop back often. Win or lose, we're going to have some fun this year.