Tiger Droppings: End of 2011 Season Edition
I’ve got a few subjects to cover today including guys with something to prove, the previously mentioned Yanks, Kirk Gibson (the real one) having a showdown with an enemy of DNR, Tom Verducci of SI’s awards voting, and more.
So let’s get going, eh?
MEN ON A MISSION
The postseason in any sport is full of back stories. Perhaps a guy choked in a previous playoff series and is trying to redeem himself. Maybe a guy is in the twilight of his career and this is his last chance at a ring before riding off into the sunset and becoming a bad color commentator for Fox. Or you’ll hear about how an athlete’s club-footed sister with a glass eye has severe hemorrhoids, and her only hope for happiness is to see her big bro win a championship. You know what I mean.
Well, this Tigers team is no different. There’s no shortage of potential “feel good” moments with this team if they play to their potential and bring home a World Series. Check out these possible bad movie scripts of the future.
Justin Verlander: The cherry on the sundae that’s been his remarkable 2011 season would be to dominate his way through the playoffs, shutting down every team in his way, and overtaking Roy Halladay as the undisputed best pitcher in baseball. If anyone can do it, it’s JV.
Miguel Cabrera: As I recently noted, his redemption story from his off-field problems early this year has already been amazing. But if he keeps bashing the ball the way he’s been doing in the playoffs, a national audience will finally get to see what we in the Detroit fanbase already know…Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the game. And one of the best people, too, despite any mistakes he’s made in the past.
Magglio Ordonez: Tonight could very well be Magglio’s last regular season game as a Tiger (though that rat bastard Leyland isn’t starting him). He won’t be back next year unless he accepts a monster pay cut and a part-time role after his struggles the first half this year. But with his sizable hitting streak this past month and a national stage, Ordonez could show the baseball world that he’s not worth writing off just yet. If Johnny Damon can keep playing as a DH, Maggs has a couple years left in him, too. But probably not in Detroit unless he recaptures some of that 2006 magic in the next week or three.
Doug Fister: Ubaldo Jiminez was the name everyone was talking about at the trade deadline and Fister was an afterthought to the baseball media in his deal to the Tigers. But since then, he’s made everyone stand up and take notice of how truly talented he is. A playoff stage where he continues to pitch lights out will elevate Verlander/Fister into Halladay/Lee territory.
Jose Valverde: The other day on the local terrible sports radio show, ex-Tiger farmhand Ron Rightnowar was a guest and called the Yankees a favorite over the Tigers due to one man…Mariano Rivera. Keep in mind, it’s not 2002 anymore. Valverde is perfect in save situations this year and is approaching Eric Gagne’s all-time consecutive saves record. If he continues to be perfect in October, Valverde could become the Tigers’ X-Factor the way Rightnowar thinks Rivera is.
Brandon Inge: DFA’d earlier in the year, the most polarized Tiger player ever enters the postseason where he’ll definitely see some playing time. He’s under contract for next year and his postseason performance could play a big part in if he’s penciled in as 2012’s starter or a candidate for the unemployment line again. Plus, I'm sure he told some sick kid that he'll try not to strike out in every playoff at bat.
Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer: With all the focus on JV/The Dougie, many are overlooking the other two Tiger starters and what they’re capable of. The two of them have shown this year that they can be both very good and very bad depending on the day of the week. These guys can show the Tigers, their fans, and the rest of the baseball world that the Tigers are more than a “Big Two” in the pitching department and could be a feared dynasty for years to come if they realize their potential.
Alex Avila: He is Captain Nepotism no more. Avila turned in one of the finest regular seasons in recent memory for a catcher with his 2011 season out of nowhere. In the playoffs, he could become a star and make Al Avila even prouder of his surprise sensation of a son. (Say that five times fast.)
Austin Jackson: The man that had the unenviable task of following Curtis Granderson in center field has had his struggles and successes in his sophomore year in the bigs. While Grandy has garnered MVP attention with his homers, Jackson has struggled at the plate while dazzling in the field at the same time. Legends are made in the postseason and AJax could become one himself with a spectacular catch or two on the national stage.
Ryan Raburn: The Ryno was a guy that most of the Tiger fanbase gave up on this year with his usual early season struggles at the plate. But predictably, he’s rebounded for a monster second half and we have to hope that 2nd half Raburn continues to excel as Postseason Raburn. MLive commenter heads would explode if Raburn somehow won a postseason MVP award...I'm praying to my dark lord Satan every night for this to happen.
And so on. You could come up with feel-good stories for all of them. I don’t know about you, but I’m chomping at the bit for it to just get going.
And for the record, I’ll be in Detroit for the first playoff game, whether it be Friday, or most likely on Monday. I can’t thank Jen from Old English D enough for getting a ticket for me to go. If you’re gonna be there, too, drop me a line. Maybe we can meet up and you can tell me how awesome I am. I’m quite needy…
SHOWDOWN WITH THE YANKS
I’m just going to assume that we’re playing the Yankees in the playoffs. Leyland has showed seemingly no interest in getting home field advantage with his lineups since clinching and I don’t see Texas coughing it up at the end here against an Angels team that quit days ago.
So how do the Tigers stack up against the Yankee starters, whomever they end up going with? Well, young Ivan Nova has barely seen action vs. the Tigers in his career, so I’m leaving him out due to small sample size. But the other four Yankee starters aren’t strangers to the Tiger hitters. Take a look.
vs CC Sabathia
Jackson: .286 (4-14), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 K
Ordonez: .268 (19-71), 3 HR, 18 RBI, 8 K
Young: .167 (3-18), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 5 K
Cabrera: .563 (9-16),2 HR, 11 RBI, 3 K
Martinez: .240 (6-25) 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
Avila: .143 (1-7), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 K
Peralta: .059 (1-17), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 5 K
Inge: .190 (11-58), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 15 K (geez, Brandon)
Raburn: .174 (4-23), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 8 K (sigh, Ryno)
Santiago: .292 (7-24), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Betemit: .600 (3-5), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Rhymes: .000 (0-2), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Kelly: Never faced Sabathia.
Dirks: Never faced Sabathia.
Worth: Never faced Sabathia
Pray with me that Leyland is force-fed these numbers and Betemit and Santiago start over Inge and Raburn against the lefty ace of the Yanks. Also, Jhonny Peralta needs to step it up against his ex-Indian teammate.
vs AJ Burnett
Jackson: .500 (1-2), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Ordonez: .214 (3-14), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K
Young: .214 (3-14), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 5 K
Cabrera: .214 (3-14), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Martinez: .259 (7-27), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
Avila: .500 (1-2), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 K
Peralta: .231 (3-13), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 K
Inge: .267 (4-15), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 K
Raburn: .000 (0-3), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Santiago: .259 (1-4), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Betemit: .261 (6-23), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 9 K
Rhymes: .000 (0-3), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 K
Kelly: .000 (0-2), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
Dirks: Never faced Burnett.
Worth: Never faced Burnett.
For a guy that’s famous for not being good for the Yankees, he’s handled the Tigers well in his career. Hopefully things change in the playoffs.
vs Bartolo Colon
Jackson: .000 (0-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 K (sigh)
Ordonez: .220 (11-50), 3 HR, 10 RBI, 5 K
Young: .500 (3-6), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Cabrera: .375 (3-8), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Martinez: .294 (5-17), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
Avila: .667 (2-3), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 0 K
Peralta: .250 (2-8), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Inge: .308 (8-26), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 8 K
Raburn: .200 (1-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 K
Santiago: .550 (11-20), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
Betemit: Never faced Colon.
Rhymes: Never faced Colon.
Kelly: .000 (0-2), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Dirks: Never faced Colon.
Worth: Never faced Colon.
Wow. Ramon Santiago owns the ex-sumo wrestler Colon. Pray that he starts and bats second if Bartolo clip-clops his way to the mound against Detroit.
vs Freddy Garcia
Jackson: .222 (4-18), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 K
Ordonez: .320 (16-50), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 K
Young: .300 (3-10), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K
Cabrera: .391 (9-23), 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 K
Martinez: .233 (7-30), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K
Avila: .333 (3-9), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 K
Peralta: .292 (7-24), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K
Inge: .190 (11-58), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 18 K (good gawd)
Raburn: .111 (1-9), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 K
Santiago: .000 (0-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
Betemit: .333 (1-3), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Rhymes: .500 (2-4), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
Kelly: .250 (1-4), 1 HR, 1 RBi, 1 K
Dirks: Never faced Garcia.
Worth: .000 (0-3), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
The Tigers hit Garcia pretty well. It would be in the Yankees best interest to keep him away from the pitcher’s mound against Detroit.
What does any of this mean? Meh, probably not much. But I still find it interesting to look at. And I’ll be pissed if I did that for nothing and we end up playing friggin’ Tampa or Boston.
DON’T ANGER GIBBY, SON
Human pile of garbage, TJ Simers of LA Times and Marcus Thames-bashing fame, decided to get snippy with ex-Tiger hero and current Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson during a press conference. Here’s the video.
The transcript of it can be read here at SB Nation Arizona. Thanks to Kyle (@kpaz1229 on twitter) for the link.
I would have been willing to burn down a homeless shelter for Gibby to have spit on him. TJ Simers is the worst.
SI = STUPID IGNORANCE
Most people either love or hate Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. Myself, I can take him or leave him, depending on the piece he writes. Sometimes he’s brilliant, and other times he’s as annoying as Rick Reilly. He recently posted his award winners for this season. Here’s a couple things that caught my eye.
In the MVP race, he goes with Jacoby Ellsbury of DA SAWX as his AL winner. However, he says he'll change that if the Sawx don't end up making the playoffs. This baffles me, folks. Is it Ellsbury's fault that Lackey and Lester can't get anyone out? The MVP is NOT A TEAM AWARD! Arrrrrgh! Drives me insane.
He has Cabrera second, JV third, and Bautista fourth. Poor Jose. No one appreciates him but me.
The other crazy Verducci award is the AL Manager of the Year. He gives it to Joe Maddon. Fine with me...Joe's a good choice. But his runners up are Ron Washington and Manny Acta. Acta? His team went down like Alyssa Milano on a first date with Brad Penny! No love for Leyland at all? I have Jim finishing...well, you'll see when I do my eventual awards post.
Oh, the anticipation!
I found this through John Sharp of DTS taking umbrage to Leyland and Valverde being snubbed. But John, you disappoint me by not only spelling Wilson Betemit's name wrong, but by also giving Ryno the dreaded "Rayburn" spelling. Bad form. Austin's gonna kill you.
WHITE SOX BATTING .500 IN LATE-SEASON DECISION MAKING, AT LEAST
Ozzie’s gone. Yay!
Hawk’s been renewed for four more years. Boo…
Fuck you, White Sox.
-Matt Sussman at mLive lists his ten most memorable Tigers wins this season. It's a fun list to read, though nothing tops the Raburn/Cabrera walkoff game for me. Matt's also quite entertaining on Twitter, so give him a follow at @suss2hyphens if you haven't already.
-Christopher Czar at MCB offers an apology to Jim Leyland. The Tigers should have a day this winter where Leyland sits on a throne and fans line up around the stadium to apologize to the man.
The always brilliant Sam at Roar of the Tigers talks about how this is finally a good time to be a Detroit sports fan. That's great for you jerks...but I'm only a Tiger fan. The Bears and Irish are awful. Oh well, that's why the baby Jesus invented beer, I guess.
-Over at Bless Yo...you know what, I'm not giving props to anything at BYB until Kurt quits talking about his fucking dog all the time. Go out and kiss a girl, for crissakes, dude. Do they make females in the UP?
-Finally, not a plug, but a congrats to ex-Tiger pitcher Mike Maroth on being named the pitching coach for the Class-A Lakeland Tigers team. Mike's one of the nicest and classiest players I've ever had the pleasure of watching. It's a shame what bad luck he had in his playing career.
Playoffs, bitch. It's time.