Last Week: 3-4

This Week: at TB (July 26-29); at Bos (July 30-Aug. 1)


So What Happened?

Someone call Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John. See if “Hot Lips” Houlihan and Frank Burns can disengage themselves and lend a hand.

The Tigers could use themselves a M*A*S*H unit.
It’s almost tragically funny what happened to the Tigers physically last week.
First they lose their starting 3B, Brandon Inge, to a broken hand early in the week. Then in the same game on Saturday, RF Magglio Ordonez and 2B Carlos Guillen go down: Ordonez to a broken ankle, Guillen to a calf injury.
The Tigers are now Toledo North with all the rookies they’re being forced to play.
While all that was going on, the Tigers struggled—and MMM means STRUGGLED—to go 3-4 last week against the Rangers and the Blue Jays at Comerica Park.
Somehow, the Tigers are still only two games behind the front-running White Sox and one game behind the second-place Twins. It wasn’t all that long ago when the Tigers led the Twins by four games.
Hero of the Week
Miguel Cabrera—who else?
They used to call NBA great Jerry West “Mr. Clutch.” So what does that leave Cabrera?
I watched Kirk Gibson come through time and time again as a Tiger. For my money, Gibby was the best clutch hitter I’ve ever seen in Detroit, and I’ve been following the team since 1971.
But Cabrera is threatening Gibson’s status. He only has to start doing it in September and October to surpass Kirk.
When the Tigers absolutely need a run driven in, especially late in a ball game, Cabrera drives it in. Period.
He’s as reliable as tomorrow’s sunrise.
Cabrera is an equal opportunity run producer. You need a sacrifice fly? Done. A single blooped into the outfield that is playing deep? You got it. A gapper to plate a runner from first base? Mark it on your scorebook.
Whatever is needed to drive in baserunners, Miguel Cabrera gives it to you. It seems like he does it every single time. But I’ll be darned if I can remember the last time he didn’t come through.
Can you?
Cabrera saved the Tigers’ lunch, again, last week. He did his damnedest to do so in the games the Tigers lost, too. He delivered two home runs on Monday night against Texas in a losing cause and tied the Blue Jays in the eighth inning in Sunday’s Game One with a bloop single, though the Jays won in the ninth inning.
Cabrera is in his own world, playing in his own league. It’s like the baseball is placed on a tee for him to do with it what he will.
Goat of the Week
Brennan Boesch, meet your first slump, son.
It may seem harsh to make super rookie Boesch MMM’s Goat this week, but it’s out of tough love.
Boesch’s batting average is dropping like a lead balloon. We all knew this would happen; we just didn’t know when.
Now we’ll see how the young man handles it.
Boesch has pretty much had things his way since joining the Tigers in late April as a replacement for the injured Carlos Guillen. His numbers were off the charts and flew in the face of the fact that he wasn’t even considered one of the organization’s top prospects.
Now he’s in a 1-for-20-ish trough, and Tigers fans are holding their collective breath that this doesn’t spin out of control.
Manager Jim Leyland said a few weeks ago, when Boesch was feasting on American League pitchers, that he didn’t want the kid thinking. At all.
But now’s the time when he must be counseled. Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, this is where you start earning your paycheck.
Boesch did, however, work hard for a walk in the eighth inning rally of Game One Sunday, albeit on a pitch that could easily have been called a strike. Still, it was a terrific at-bat by a free-swinging young player who’s battling a slump.
That’s why Brennan Boesch should be OK. He has shown an amazing resiliency. He can look awful for three at-bats and then smoke a laser on his fourth.
Or draw a walk.
Boesch is this week’s MMM Goat, but it’s done without malice.
Upcoming: Rays and Red Sox
Ahh, the American League East.
The Tigers just got done splitting four games with the division’s warm-up act, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Now it’s time to play the headliners.
The Rays are battling the Yankees for first place. The Red Sox are trying to stay in the thick of the wild card hunt. It’s doubtless that the AL’s wild card will come from the East.
Not only are these two of the East’s big boys, but the Tigers are also playing them on the road, where our guys would have a tough time beating the Pawtucket Red Sox.
The Tigers are a hideous 16-29 on the road, and now they play the Rays and the Red Sox at their place?
Let’s hope by this time next week MMM isn’t writing the Tigers’ obituary for 2010.
MMM won’t break the Rays and Red Sox down as is usually done in this space. You know about these teams, and what they’re capable of doing.
You think the Tigers could convince MLB to allow them to wear their home whites this week, even behind enemy lines?
Didn’t think so.
That’s all for this week’s MMM. See you next Monday!

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