The Inevitable Downside of the Tigers Clinching Early


The Tigers officially clinched the division early last Saturday morning.  This early clinching ensured a return to the playoff baseball in Detroit, rest for Justin Verlander and Doug Fister and an undeniable amount of boring baseball games the last two weeks.

Pennant chase baseball is the greatest, and while I’m glad the Tigers are in, we’re getting the shaft in that area.  The Tigers epic run coupled with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox utter ineptitude sealed that up.  While playoff seeding is still in question, it lacks the drama of a full fledged pennant chase in my humble opinion.

So, while watching Rick Porcello and Brad Penny use ineffectiveness as their barometer to see who’s out of the playoff rotation (Penny’s running away with it) there are still somethings to look forward to.  Here’s a couple of queries to contemplate:

1.  How many losses would Brad Penny have if he played for the Minnesota Twins?

Penny has been bad as of late.  Real bad.  At one point I thought he was a much better option than Dontrelle Willis, or the “near their Tigers’ end” Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson.  Now I’m not so sure.  Despite an ERA creeping higher than Lindsay Lohan’s dresses, Penny still has a mediocre 10-11 record.  However, close examination shows that Penny has several wins where he’s pitched less that seven innings while allowing at least three earned runs.  He could easily have 16 losses with a poor offense backing him up.

2.  Who finishes with the most home runs, Ramon Santiago, Don Kelly or Magglio Ordonez?

In the sure to be heated discussion, the three are deadlocked at 5 home runs apiece.  Is there anyway the Tigers’ 10 million dollar a year singles hitter can out power the teams two quintissential utility men?  Stay tuned.  In all honesty, Magglio Ordonez has made significant improvements since a horrid start and despite a glaring lack of power.  His bat could be valuable late in games this post season.

3.  Who’s the primary lefty out of the bullpen in the playoffs?

Alright, so a somewhat serious question to be answered.  The obvious answer to this question is Phil Coke, but overall Coke has only been OK since his return to the bullpen and might be schuffling in his role as the primary bullpen lefty.  His on two games, off one game performances are getting old.  Daniel Schlereth was sent down to Toledo, but has been much better as of late as he hasn’t allowed a run in over a month…spanning 10 appearances.  One of these guys needs to step up.  Coke has a better track record, but Schlereth has better stuff.

So, over the next two weeks when the Tigers are on, don’t give into tempation and switch the channel to see who’s on the ropes in Dancing with the Stars instead, sit back, relax and ponder these and other important issue facing the Motor City Kitties.

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