All Things Baseball

Tigers are On the Prowl in 2006

The Detroit Tigers are one of Major League Baseball's best teams this season, and the reason for this is three-fold. 

One part of it is Manager Jim Leyland, who has done a terrific job coaching the team and putting together effective matchups every game.  The importance of a good manager is often put down in baseball, but the effect that Jim Leyland has had on the Detroit Tigers is hard to ignore.

 The second part of the Tigers success thus far this season is the production up-and-down in the lineup.  Curtis Granderson has not disappointed in the leadoff spot, hitting .290 with 9HRs and 32RBIs, and leading all AL leadoff hitters with a .389OBP.  Marcus Thames has certainly been a surprise contributor, and his 12HR have come at great times, leading the Tigers to wins.  The Comeback Player of the Year award should go to Magglio Ordonez in a landslide, as he has come back strong to hit .300 with 13HRs and 43RBIs.  Finally, the early contributions of Chris Shelton, who was on a record homerun pace, until hitting a rough patch in May, were priceless for the Tigers and helped rocket the team to the AL Central lead. 

The third and perhaps most important part to the Tigers improvement has been the pitching.  GM David Dombrowski made a terrific move in adding Kenny Rogers, who many thought was too old and needed anger management.  Detroit has revived Rogers and he is tied for the league-lead in wins, at 9-3 with a 3.25era.  Rookie Justin Verlander has also contributed in a big way, giving the Tigers a solid bottom-of-the-rotation starter, going 7-4 with a 3.32era.  Nate Robertson (6-3 3.50era) and Jeremy Bonderman (6-4 4.29era) have also been important factors in the Detroit starting rotation.  Out of the bullpen, Todd Jones has been decent as a veteran closer, recording 17 saves in 20 chances, although his recent struggles have raised his ERA to a horrendous 6.38.  His potential successor, Fernando Rodney, has been big coming out of the bullpen, and rookie Joel Zumaya has also been spectacular. 

The Tigers have to be taken seriously this season; they are no longer the "beat-me-up" team in the AL Central, but rather the contender who could unseat the reigning champion White Sox and dash the hopes of the Cleveland Indians. 


One Response to “Tigers are On the Prowl in 2006”

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