The Detroit Tigers won their tenth straight game last night, a 14-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. While I find great joy in watching the the Tigers win, especially so when they are humiliating the White Sox yet again, all this success is counterproductive to my writing. Apparently, I’m at my best when finding and discussing the flaws of the team. When that team just stops losing games, it’s tough to get too worked up about anything at all.
I mean, I could talk about how defensive replacement Don Kelly mis-played a ball in left, or how… nope, that’s all I got. When they go out and embarrass their opponent, everything is right with the world. That everything, lately, has included the three biggest disappointments for the Tigers in the first half of the season.
Magglio Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in four at-bats last night. During the streak he’s hitting .381 and has raised his average by 22 points during that span. Ryan Raburn, who again fell on his face in the first half and has had starting jobs taken away at two different positions this season, went 4-for-5 with a double, a homer, and three RBI last night. He has raised his OPS to an almost respectable .690 for the season, the highest it’s been at any point since May 7.
The icing on the cake for half of the fans was that Brandon Inge collected three hits last night and brought his average to .204 for the campaign. When Inge was designated for assignment on July 19, he was hitting all of .177. When he was brought back to the Tigers a month later, it was with the idea that he would play against left handers and late in games as a defensive replacement. Nothing beyond that was promised. With his three hits last night, Inge is now hitting a cool .350 since coming back to the major leagues, raising his average by 27 points.
Inge’s play down the stretch has been better than we could have hoped for, probably better also, considering how poorly he played before, than the Tigers could have hoped for. Jim Leyland has stuck to his plan and has been utilizing Inge in a platoon with Wilson Betemit and it is working beautifully. If Inge can continue to hit left handers well, at least the club can count on getting something in return for the near $6.5 million left on his contract.
Of course, while this is a good sign for the Inge fans of the world, there will be an angry mob of equal size that will be quite upset to see another Spring Training begin with Inge’s name penciled on to the roster. If the Tigers can re-sign Betemit in the off-season, I don’t see any reason that this platoon can’t be just as successful next year as well. But like that angry mob, I wouldn’t like to see the Tigers open camp with Inge as the team’s primary third baseman.