The Tigers have hit a buzzsaw named the New York Yankees. A buzzsaw that has helped chop a divison lead into just one game. The Chicago White Sox, much like the Tigers, are just getting by in the last ten games. While Detroit went 4-6 in the last ten games, the White Sox have gone 5-5.
The White Sox are riding the bats of Jim Thome and Paul Konerko. Thome was the AL player of the week, the first after the all-star break. Carlos Quentin is back for the rest of the season. The White Sox were on the verge of selling their roster. Now they are staring the big, bad Tigers bats in the eye, ready to make a run.
By the way, The White Sox pitching isn’t too shabby either. Freddy Garcia continues to impress, as he makes his way back to the major league level. Bartolo Colon can’t be found, but Mark Buehle’s 10-3 record is one of the best in the bigs. Bobby Jenks has shut down opposing hitters in the ninth. His 21/23 saves to oppurtunites is pretty darn good. Gavin Floyd and John Danks have put together 15 wins. This is a team I wrote off a few weeks ago. Many did. But now, there are right in the thick of things.
Meanwhile Joel Zumaya’s shoulder was blown right in the thick of things this weekend. The Detroit Tigers offense couldn’t muster together anything. In the new homerdome in downtown New York City, The Tigers put together five runs all weekend. Tigers fans were not singing in the rain. In fact, Zumaya was wincing, Jim Leyland was cussing, and now the Tigers have a big gaping hole to fill. Anyone ready for Ryan Perry to step up and throw 30 pitches a night? The talent of Joel Zumaya has been dogged all season long. He has given up some big home runs. Now it’s time for a gut check. If he does come back, is he going to be able to adjust? Jim Leyland says two weeks or up to the end of the season. The way I see it, it is time to find a decent reliever, hope that Carlos Guillen can bounce back, and bring in some cheap pop in the lineup.
For all I know, it is time to hope that the home cookin’ tastes good. Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry, and Luke French are now the key to the end of the season. Porcello gets the second half underway later tonight against the Mariners, who are hitting .261 as a team. This is a big start for Porcello for many reasons. 1) For anybody interested in acquring him 2.) Giving the offense yet another chance to blossom 3.) Porcello needs to prove that he can stick it through his first full season. This is the start that sells Tigers management. This could be the one that comforts many Tigers fans across the nation. In his last two starts, the young righty has given up 9 earned runs in just a bit more than 8 innings. Talks are settling in that he is doomed for a rough second half. Now is the time for Porcello to shut up the critics.
The Tigers are 3-14 in their last seventeen on the road. Now, they get a chance to return to Comerica Park to shut down the Seattle Mariners. Let’s hope they can get the job done.
Porcello could start a turnaround that begins with the Mariners, and ends with four games against those pesky White Sox. If the Tigers want to remain in first place, It starts with the rookie on the mound. During a week where Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander both lost, big game Rick Porcello needs to shut the door.