Tigers Sweep; Cleveland Next.

A four game sweep of the Kansas City Royals is hardly anything to brag about. They are easily baseball’s worst team with absolutely no redeeming qualities. However, the Tigers made two big comebacks including one from 6-0 yesterday. Mike Maroth surrendered the six runs in the first inning yesterday and was promptly placed on the disabled list shortly after the game. Left elbow tightness was the problem that led to the shellacking. The same elbow soreness caused a missed start and a pushed back start earlier in the season. Hopefully Maroth, who is enjoying his best season yet, can get back to 100% and continue his success all year.

The Tigers drew closer at 6-5 in the fourth inning before allowing another run pushing the Royals’ lead to 7-5. Big innings in the 8th and 9th led to 8 runs and a 13-8 win extending the team’s winning streak to six while pushing the Royals losing skid to 13. Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames came up huge at the bottom of the lineup. Monroe was 4-for-4 and scored four runs. Thames hit his seventh and eighth home runs driving in three and scoring three of his own. Thames is hitting a home run every 8.5 at-bats. Comparing against the top 40 in home runs for all of baseball, only Albert Pujols has a better pace at 6.8 at-bats per home run. Here is a look at the 10 best of those found in the top 40:

At-bats per Home Run:

RK PLAYER TEAM AB HR AB/HR
1 Albert Pujols StL 158 23 6.87
2 Jim Thome CWS 158 18 8.78
3 Adam Dunn CIN 159 16 9.94
4 Jermaine Dye CWS 120 12 10.00
5 Carlos Beltran NYM 135 13 10.38
6 Morgan Ensberg HOU 169 16 10.56
7 Jason Giambi NYY 127 12 10.58
8 Carlos Lee MLW 171 16 10.69
9 Ryan Howard PHI 166 15 11.07
10 Lance Berkman HOU 162 14 11.57

With Dmitri Young‘s injured right quad landing him back on the disabled, Thames should get a shot at regular playing time. At this point, I think Thames might be the posterboy for Baseball By Paul because I am dying to see this guy get playing time.

The team heads home for sets against Cleveland, New York, and Boston. As the luster of Detroit wears off for the mainstream media, the critics are now pointing to an easy schedule as the reason for success. If they come out of this stretch with seven or more wins, the excuse pool will be officially dried up. I am really eager to see how the team does against New York and Boston. The pitching staff of New York is in shambles (given their expectations), but even with the injuries they have suffered, they still put out one helluva lineup. Boston also trots out a pile of hitters that can do some damage. The bullpen, rated the league’s best by many, will be instrumental to the success of the team during those two series. Things don’t get much easier because the team travels to Chicago immediately after for a three-game tilt against the White Sox.

Off-Topic
I recently caught all the way up on the HBO series Entourage in preparation for the season three debut on June 11th. I gotta say, what a great show. I really enjoy it. I had heard a good bit about it, but never got into it. With the shows I do watch all wrapped up for the summer, I decided to check it out. I liked it so much, I plowed through all 22 episodes from seasons one and two in a day and a half. The cast is dynamic led by Jeremy Piven‘s scene-stealing Ari Gold. Years upon years as a bit player finally paid off for Piven as he has struck gold (pun not really intended, but went with it anyway) with this role. The guest stars are plentiful and always a delight. Whether it’s the beautiful Jessica Alba dropping in to invite the boys to her party or the foul-mouthed James Cameron directing Aquaman starring the show’s protagonist, Vince Chase played marvelously by Adrian Grenier. The show is loosely based on executive producer Mark Wahlberg‘s life. He made a quick cameo early in the series with his own entourage. If you aren’t already into the show, I highly recommend it.

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