Wonderful Walk-Off!

The Tigers entered game three with Minnesota trying to avoid a sweep. The problem was they were about to face Johan Santana, so a sweep was all but locked up for the Twins. I guess no one told Magglio Ordonez that Santana is baseball’s best pitcher. Or if they did, he just doesn’t care. With his effort today, Ordonez has a .429 career average with four home runs and 14 runs batted in against the lefty. His 2-run homer helped the Tigers jump out to a lead, but it was Brandon Inge‘s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth that finished off the Twins today. The homer, his fourth, can’t mask just how much Inge is struggling as his 3-for-3 performance today raised his average to .156. Chew on that for a second… 3-for-3 raised it to ONE FIFTY SIX!!!!

There is no in between with this Tigers lineup right now. They are either raking or getting raked over the coals. The OPS of the starters in today’s lineup:

I.Rodriguez – .779
P.Polanco – .860
G.Sheffield – .619
M.Ordonez – .951
C.Guillen – .908
C.Monroe – .561
M.Thames – .690
B.Inge – .462
C.Granderson – .875

Wow, some of these numbers would barely stand up as slugging percentages let alone as OPS totals. The first month is nearly in the books, so while we don’t need to pound the panic button, we might need to start making our way over to it. If I see Craig Monroe do the “swing through a pitch so hard that you end up with only one hand on the bat and do the helicopter twirl afterwards” one more time, I’m going to scream. You can’t fix everything with a home run, Craig. I am now a little worried that Inge’s newfound patient approach is something of a detriment as he seems to be taking pitches for the sake of taking them and letting some great ones go to waste. Of the three struggling the most, I’m (for obvious reasons) most confident in Sheffield getting back on track. In fact, with hits in five of his last six, he’s come from .119 to .193. Still plenty of work to be done, but I think he’s finding his stroke. He’s also sporting a remarkable .350 on-base percentage despite the early season slump.

I love avoid the sweep and beating Santana, but I’m definitely missed at the series loss to the Twins. I thought without Francisco Liriano and very suspect starters behind Santana, they wouldn’t be such a threat. Though early, they have fought through that loss as well as the loss of Brad Radke to retirement. Carlos Silva has righted himself, for now and Ramon Ortiz has the beginnings of a career-year on his hands. I’m still leary of trusting him from a fantasy standpoint because he has been so awful in recent seasons.

The win today assured the Tigers with a better than .500 record for the first month of the season and they can end at 14-11 with a win over Baltimore tomorrow. Jeremy Bonderman faces Daniel Cabrera.


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