4 games left until the break. 4 games until the beginning of the Barry Bonds show in San Francisco.
Mid-season grades? Who am I worried about most down the stretch, or in the playoffs? We'll talk about those things later. Let's focus on the upcoming games.
- I'm already contradicting myself. The Casey Fossum sighting yesterday was interesting. I realize Joe Maddon, that you can't trust him as a member of the rotation anymore, but if you want to break your slump, against the Red Sox, why in the world wouldn't you give him a spot start? His career against the Sox: 40 2/3, 2.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6 career starts. Look. I know you guys are probably going to DFA him soon, but putting him out there might've been the best shot you had to avoid double-digits. Now look where you are. Just saying. Also, entirely too many commas in that third sentence.
- Last game against the D-Rays is tomorrow. Beckett against J.P. Howell. Important numbers? 1.615 WHIP on the season. 1 start against the Sox: 4 2/3, 5 H, 3 BB, HBP, 7 Ks. Then again, he is left-handed...oh. Looking for logical reasons why he might befuddle us tomorrow? His FIP numbers are much better than his large ERA, probably due to his high K ability and high BABIP. I'd be fine with him replicating the numbers from his last start against us.
- The series against the Tigers is going to be huge. The first two matchups (Tavarez vs. top prospect Andrew Miller, and Kason Gabbard vs. Jeremy Bonderman) clearly favor the Tigers. The rubber match? Daisuke vs. Nate Robertson. Let's just say I like that game for us. Either way, the Tigers are among the 4 top teams in the AL (Indians, Sox, Angels as well), and won't be easy to beat, especially in Comerica Park.
- Weakness of the Tigers? Bullpen. Young setup men/closer candidates Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney will not be in attendance. We have the clear advantage here, and our hitters need to be patient enough through their starters to exploit it.
- Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez have been an extremely potent combination for the Tigers this season, and they're who we need to stop. Carlos Guillen is certainly capable of causing fits as well. Get Curtis Granderson to chase, let Sean Casey hit his singles, and leave nothing over to the plate to the aforementioned duo. Sheffield number that might have been lost in the shuffle even with his resurgance this season? He leads the Tigers in SBs with 11.
- This lineup has scored almost 30 more runs than their nearest competitor. 4th in the Majors in OBP, 1st in BA, 1st in SLG%. On the bright side, Dave Dombrowski apparently never got my e-mail about DFAing Neifi Perez. C'mon. Your choice Dave: $2.5 M for nothing, or $2.5M for nothing + an open roster slot. It's not that difficult.