After splitting a rain-shortened series with the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers will open a big weekend series against the Chicago White Sox.
Big? In early May?
The team in its two games vs. the Royals had a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde offensive display. Nine runs in the first game only to be followed up by a poor 2 runs of support, something that Justin Verlander has seen a little bit of so far this season. But the offensive woes could very well continue come Friday night.
Jake Peavy starts for the White Sox, and so far this season, he’s been better than advertised. Having his past couple of seasons cut short because of injury, he’s come out firing so far this season, to the tune of a 3-1 start, a microscopic 1.67 ERA in 5 starts. Even better when you consider he’s only walked 5 batters while striking out 33. While some of us might be wondering what muscle will snap off next, he’s quietly dominating his opposition to this point of the young season.
But as surprising as Peavy has been for the Sox, he’ll face another surprise to this point in the season: Drew Smyly.
Smyly in his first 4 career starts is 1-0 (getting his first career victory last time out at Yankee Stadium), with a 1.23 ERA. Aside from sheer numbers, he’s been cool and calm in all of his starts. There was some mild criticism about his joining the rotation out of spring training, but dare I say: so far so good.
But looking at the low ERA, and the 1 decision, Smyly is another man on the rotation who has had a problem with run support. Being calm, cool and collected doesn’t mean anything if the players behind him can’t pick him up. We won’t be using the “it’s still only April” card anymore, since my calendar says it’s May; but fears about the offense and otherwise inconsistent play should be put to rest, at least for a little while longer. Through May 2nd 2011, the Tigers were 12-16. This season, 12-12. But the ghosts of 2008 have crept into our collective minds, and the anemic offense to this point is of no help for that mentality.
Starting this series off quickly would be of help, and hopefully the Tigers offense will get to guys like Peavy good and quick. The AL Central is in some ways, unpredictably tight right now with the Indians, Sox and Tigers all crowding the top of what has started as a mediocre (at best) division. This can indeed be a “big” series for the Tigers, and winning 2 of 3 at home from a rival could be a nice start to what we hope is a more offensive month for the ball club.
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