That , my friends, is the reason that the Tigers win. But there’s more to it than just that.
Barring a collapse by Texas, the Tigers will likely have the worst playoff record of the AL teams, wild card included. This means that in a 5-game series in the ALDS, Game One is Verlander pitching in likely Boston or New York. The likely CY Young winner has 20 wins in 29 starts. He will likely get to more than that in a little over 30 starts. Meaning he wins two out of every three times he pitches, that is extremely scary when he might pitch twice in the series. Right there the Tigers likely get one at least out of him. If they get two, then they only have to win one game on the road out of three to take the series.
While Verlander is the best pitcher in the league there is also number two Max Scherzer. The right-hander is 13-7 on the year with a 4.21 ERA. The ERA might scare people off, but Scherzer is 6-3 with a substantially lower 3.44 ERA at home while giving up less than half the homers he does on the road. Holding batters to a .258 batting average at home helps compared to the .275 he gets hit off of on the road.
But the silver lining is that he will pitch at home. Verlander will pitch game one on the road. If you read the aforementioned stats it should not surprise you to see Verlander and Scherzer take games one and two in the division series, or frankly any other playoff matchup. Then you’ll see Detroit hoist the World Series trophy.
In the NFL pre-season winning isn’t the most important thing. It’s more about getting guys reps and maybe finding a hidden gem or two.
So, while the Seattle Seahawks won their exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers, they also found out a few things:
1. Tavaris Jackson Might Have Company at QB- This is a bit of a skewered statement because of the fact that Jackson didn’t have top receivers Mike Williams and Sidney Rice. As well as number three wide out Ben Obomanu and running back Justin Forsett. Buyhe was only 3/5 for 13 yards and a 64.6 passer rating. Jackson also got into a bit of trouble at one point, getting called for intentional grounding while trying to avoid a sack.
2. Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis Impressed- Whitehurst played well against his former team, going 14/20 for 115 yards with an 84.4 passer rating throughout five drives. He also showed a willingness to go for the long ball numerous times, which is something Seattle had problems with last season. This should only get better with Rice and Williams. Whitehurst showed the ability to scramble by running for a first down on 3rd and 6. Another highlight was hitting Chris Carter with a 13-yard laser while taking a bit hit. Portis did a lot of things well during the game. He threw the ball well and had gains of 23, 16 and 20 yards while going 5/9 for 69 yards, a 117.4 passer rating and a touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. He also scrambled for a first down when given the opportunity.
3. Despite Losing Laywer Milloy the Secondary Played Well- Kam Chancellor got into the backfield early and made plays. 6”4 corner Brandon Browner played well and batted down a pass as well.
4. Giving Up Big Plays are Still a Concern- The Seahawks gave up a 48-yard catch to Vincent Jackson and let Bryan Walters return a kick for a touchdown despite the new kickoff rules.
5. The Run D Played Well- Seattle’s run defense has been a bit shaky in years past, but now it seems they are playing well. They bottled up San Diego’s first unit running game and played well the rest of the way — their longest run allowed being 12 yards.
With Football season fresh from a lockout and the preseason up and running I’ll be starting to write about football. I’m a huge Seattle Seahawks fan, so most of the writing will be about them, but I’ll write about other teams and players as well. There will still be baseball content to read with the postseason getting nearer and nearer.
The Cleveland Indians are within striking distance of the Detroit Tigers. Knowing this, the Tigers made a surprising intra-division trade with the rival Minnesota Twins to get outfielder Delmon Young.
Young, still only 25, is joining his third organization since being drafted first overall in the 2003 draft.
The Tigers parted with minor league pitchers Cole Nelson and Lester Oliveros. Nelson was in AA and Oliveros in AAA.
This probably means the Twins did not want to offer Young a contract after the year. This was probably because of a .266 batting average and only 4 homers and 32 RBI after a 2010 season, where he hit .298 with 21 taters and 112 RBIs.
Because of the aforementioned 2010 stat line and age, this could be a HUGE steal for Detroit if Young can find his 2010 form.
Another note: Delmon’s brother Dmitri played for Detroit in 2006 when they went on to win the AL Title. So maybe having another Young on the team will yield the same result.
Chicago White Sox- The White Sox had an excess of starting pitchers to a point where they felt comfortable dealing one of their six starters. This starter was Edwin Jackson who was probably the easiest to move with an expiring contract. So they dealt him to Toronto, along with Mark Teahen and his 4.5 million dollar contract. The Jays got a useful reliever in Jason Frasor and pitching prospect Zach Stewart. This is all well because Stewart is probably in Chicago’s rotation in two years time at the latest. But then there were reports that the White Sox felt as though they needed more starting pitching… wait, what? It’s extremely confusing, but then again we’re talking about Kenny Williams, so maybe it’s not that surprising.
Chicago Cubs- Sorry again Windy City, but the Cubs confused me with what they did. I understand that they want to keep as much of a winning team as possible to entice a Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, but why didn’t you trade Carlos Pena? Nothing against Pena, but he has an expiring contract, one, and two he’s probably going to leave if they sign one of the aforementioned free-agent first basemen. So, why not trade him? They could have given Jeff Baker time at first and waited to get Prince or Pujols. Not dealing Koyie Hill also was a bit confusing. He isn’t starting, so there won’t be a sweepstakes to replace him. And there were teams out there like San Francisco and maybe Boston who could have used him.
Seattle Mariners- The M’s got a haul of good players for Doug Fister and David Pauley, but the players didn’t make sense for Seattle. They got good players from Detroit, but Seattle didn’t really have a need for any of the players. Fransisco Martinez will probably be the best player of the group, but he is blocked by Alex Liddi, a power hitting 3rd baseman in AAA Tacoma. Also in Tacoma is other 3B Matt Mangini who is a top prospect as well. Casper Wells showed the potential to be a solid player, but Seattle has used outfielders Mike Wilson, Greg Halman, Mike Carp, Michael Saunders and Carlos Peguero in left field — all of whom have been up and down with Seattle and Tacoma. Furbush is a nice young arm, but giving up Fister who is under team control through 2015 doesn’t make sense for a guy with a 3.33 ERA.
Cleveland Indians- Yes that’s right, the contending team who acquired Ubaldo Jimenez is a loser at the deadline in my mind. I always thought that if the Tigers or White Sox got Jimenez then they would pull away, but if the Tribe got him then it would still be wide open in the AL Central. The Indians are still behind the Tigers and White Sox in the starting pitching department, and they gave up a ton to get him — maybe a little too much. They also sold off Orlando Cabrera for a prospect, which I get was smart that they wanted their young prospect Kipnis to start at second. But he will hit a wall at some point and that could be any time. Cabrera is also your golden ticket to the playoffs for a contender, because he makes the playoffs every year.
Cincinnati Reds- The Reds problem was they were out of it to a point where they could sell a player or two and proclaim themselves “sellers”, but they were also in it enough to consider themselves “buyers”. The Reds didn’t do anything and stood pat. They could have used a starting pitcher or two behind Johnny Cueto. Mike Leake really has been their only other somewhat consistent starter, while Bronson Arroyo has a 5+ ERA and Homer Bailey has been OK. Dontrelle Willis has pitched well in his couple of starts, but you don’t know what you’re going to get with the D-Train. Chris Heisey has been good with a .249 batting average, along with 12 dingers and 38 RBIs in 96 games. He has played up to a point where the Reds felt comfortable dealing Johnny Gomes to Washington because they liked Heisey that much. I’m not saying Heisey is bad, but I think a Ryan Ludwick would have fit much better offensively-wise and experience-wise.
Los Angeles Angels- Anaheim currently sits a game back of Texas in the AL West. But the Halos didn’t do anything to bolster their chances — nothing, nada, zip, zilch. No big bat added to the lineup, no offensive upgrades at third base or catcher. Then there was the whole Jered Weaver-Tigers spat. Weaver is now gonna miss a start, and that could throw off their mojo. The Angels will be in it, but their lack of trades on the 31st could hinder them come September and October.
Oakland A’s- Oakland could have moved their starting outfield at the deadline, but stood pat. Conor Jackson and Hideki Matsui could have been dealt as well. There were a lot of teams in need of an outfield, which coincidently Oakland had five or six of. Ryan Sweeney probably wasn’t going to be moved, but both Josh Willingham and David DeJesus could have been moved. Cleveland would have made sense, as would Boston. Coco Crisp would have made sense for his two aforementioned former teams. It’s just puzzling why the A’s didn’t move some of their players who have expiring contracts.
New York Yankees- Almost everybody else contending in the AL got better to some extent. Texas got bullpen help, Detroit and Cleveland got Doug Fister and Ubaldo Jimenez to help their rotations. Boston got Erik Bedard and Mike Aviles to help fill in for injured players. The Yankees, well…. let’s just say they didn’t do anything. They are banking on getting A-Rod back from injury as a boost, but the Bronx Bombers could have helped themselves and they didn’t. Their current rotation isn’t exactly a rotation you would pick to win it all. Maybe 5-6 years ago, but not now. They could have used help there and a stop gap at third.
Atlanta Braves- The Braves found a really good fit in Michael Bourn who will slide into the leadoff spot for Atlanta. The other kicker here is that the Braves didn’t surrender any of their top pitching prospects in Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor.
St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals turned a disgruntled Colby Rasmus, two short contracts in Brian Tallet and Trever Miller nand PJ Walters into Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepzynski and Corey Patterson. Only Rzepzynski is likely to be with the team next year, but the Cardinals will likely get a draft pick or two out of Jackson and possibly another out of Dotel.
Detroit Tigers- The Tigers picked up one of the most underrated players on the market in starter Doug Fister who will provide them with a quality innings eater with a low ERA in the fourth spot in their rotation behind Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. He could also be even better than just an innings eater, because he had a 3.33 ERA in Seattle but was 3-12. Think about the numbers. He’s gonna put up with the Tigers. David Pauley is also going to Motown in this trade. He gives them a dominant back end of the bullpen with Al Alburquerque and Jose Valverde. Detroit also got Wilson Betemit in a previous trade. He should help them at third.
Baltimore Orioles- They O’s might not have been contending, but they got a great return for Koji Uehara in Major League players Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter. If Hunter can stay healthy he gives Baltimore a dependable starting pitcher who has the experience of wining double-digit games in a season. Davis can play first base and might start there with Derek Lee in Pittsburgh. He can also slide over to third and give Mark Reynolds a day off. Even more, he has pop and has hit 20 HRs in a small amount of playing time in Texas a few years back, so the power is there.
Texas Rangers- The Rangers were a playoff team with their roster before the trade deadline. Now, with the additions of Mike Adams and Koji Uehara to their bullpen, it seems that they are a World Series contender, not just a playoff team. They can play a shorter game and not rely on their starters to go 7-8 innings a start and use the bullpen to pitch the 7th, 8th and 9th. This will also tax the starters much less as the playoffs near.
Erik Bedard was traded at the 11th hour to the Boston Red Sox, and the Dodgers are also involved in this deal with Boston and Seattle.
Boston had a deal in place for A’s starter Rich Harden on Saturday, but that fell through due to medical reasons. After that Boston went right back out to look for a starter and found one in now former Mariner Erik Bedard.
This trade also involves the Dodgers, and while no current Major Leaguers other than Bedard changed hands, there was still some major prospect swapping.
A Rundown of the Trade-
Red Sox Acquire- SP Erik Bedard, AAA RP Josh Fields (both from Seattle)
Mariners Acquire- AAA OF Trayvon Robinson (from LA) AA OF Chih-Hsien Chiang (from Boston)
Dodgers Acquire- AA C Tim Federiwucz, A SP Juan Rodriguez, AA SP Stephen Fife (all three from Boston)
The Red Sox gave up a lot to get Bedard. Though not all of it went to Seattle they still gave up a lot. Federiwucz is one of the Red Sox’s top catching prospects, so there is some loss there. But Boston gained 2008 first-round pick Josh Fields, who is not the 3rd baseman but rather the former University of Georgia closer.
Chih-Hsien Chiang was hitting .338 in AA and looks like he could be a really good hitter. Robinson, on the other hand, was one of LA’s top prospects and has been described as having a lot of tools. Both are headed to Seattle.
The Dodgers make out with what presumably is their catcher of the future in Federiwucz as well as young guys with upside in Rodriguez and Fife.
The Texas Rangers needed bullpen help, and clearly addressed that during this trading season by trading for Koji Uehara and now Mike Adams. Texas desperately needed a set-up man and got two with the aforementioned two newest Rangers. By getting Adams they get a reliever that Ron Washington can use in the 8th inning who can get righties and lefties out in tight squeezes. Texas also showed that they were the aggressor in the division buyer-wise, because they addressed their area of need in the bullpen while Anaheim didn’t do anything to help themselves.
San Diego meanwhile picked up two starters in southpaw Robbie Erlin and righty Joe Wieland, who both have the potential to pitch in San Diego in the next couple years. Both were with the Texas AA squad at the time of the trade. Wieland recently threw a no hitter to boot.
Rangers Acquire- RP Mike Adams
Padres Acquire- AA SPs Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland
As you know the Pirates are contending for the first time in almost 20 years. So, it makes sense that they are acquiring a bat to help them win.
The Bucos picked up first baseman Derek Lee to bolster their lineup and to upgrade their first base spot where they have gotten a .227 BA out of career .270 hitter Lyle Overbay.
The Orioles get A ball first baseman Aaron Baker and cash considerations.
A quick recap-
Pirates Acquire- Derek Lee, 1st baseman
Orioles Acquire- Aaron Baker, Class A 1st baseman