A Detroit Tigers Blog with a Feminine Touch

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shiny Happy People

Happy Tiger!
Isn't life so much better when your team has a winning record? It's still way too early to count any team out of anything, but that doesn't stop people from getting carried away when their team plays well. I (Laura) had the misfortune dubious honor of spending Easter with diehard Cleveland Indian fans, and they were all going crazy that the Indians were at the top of the Central.
Now, I am as optimistic as anyone when it comes to my team, but these psychos were already talking about Grady and the gang going to the playoffs. Maybe it's due to the fact that Cleveland sports fans grasp at any signs of hope that they can, but their not-so-quiet desperation made me realize that having extreme optimism about a team is actually pretty fun. Let's look at the many, many positive points that our team has given us in the past few games.
  • We swept the hated, loathed, and evil White Sox. Enough said.
  • Austin Jackson is actually hitting again. Is it any surprise our offense was unstoppable in the Chicago series? When our lead-off guy is on, the whole team is on. It's important that our boy continues this trend, especially when we go to Cleveland to face the Indians.
  • Our apologies to Alex Avila. After unfairly jumping on the We-Hate-Alex bandwagon in the first freaking week of the season, he hit .545 against Chicago and his batting average now rests at .316. Holy crap. Will these sparkling numbers stay? No. But we predict he'll hit really well for the rest of the season.
  • Brad Penny comes out of nowhere to pitch like an ace. Excuse me? Now that we know what Mr. Karina Smirnoff is capable off, hopefully he can do it all the time. Max Scherzer, on the other hand, actually is an ace. He and Verlander are going to be a hell of a one-two punch, that much is for sure.
  • Brandon Inge drew an Easter egg on Casper Wells' leg. We don't know why this is so great, but it is. Maybe it's because Brandon is such a good artist. Or maybe, coupled with this photographic gem, it proves that Casper Wells is a precious precious addition to our team, if only for comedic value.
  • While it is true that the Cokehead needs to pick up his game, we're pretty sure that the Tigers are going to rebound from the loss to Seattle tonight. It is hard to beat King Felix.
  • That being said, we're going to take that comedic value superlative away from Casper for a minute. Ryan Raburn is on this team for comedic value. If you can't laugh at the now infamous punch-the-ball-over-the-wall play, you need to freaking try. Because it really is funny.
So while not everything is coming up roses for our team, things are starting to click. Why be negative when there is so much to be positive about?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Phil Coke = Hot Mess.

So, our team just finished the dreaded West Coast road trip, and there was so much of a confusing mixture of good, bad, and ugly that we had to break it down here at April in the D. Read on!

The Good
-Miguel Cabrera, Brennan Boesch, and Jose Valverde kick ass. We're really really hoping/praying Brennan keeps this up all year long. Is that so much to ask?! As far as Cabrera goes, we would lose almost every game without him. That much is obvious. And Valverde, despite giving up his first run of the year, is 2-0 and 4/4 for saves. Plus he struck out Milton Bradley twice (and his dancing got a death stare). Do your thang, Papa.

-Max Scherzer, as Mario Impemba pointed out, has been on the mound for 4 out of 9 of the Tigers' wins. That stat right there says enough about how good he's been. IT'S THE EYES. Speaking of Mario...

-Mario and Rod take over Twitter. Nothing delights us more than logging on to Twitter and seeing Mario's tame, boring tweets juxtaposed with one of Rod's exclamation point-filled ones. It's like hearing them on TV, only with a behind-the-scenes feel.

-Scott Sizemore is hitting .375 with an OPS of .991. It's soooo great that he's on our team, we really need him!...Oh, wait. He's not. This needs to be fixed.

-Minnesota and Chicago are sucking even worse than we are. Gotta love it.

-Bromances. See our last post for more on this.

-And, finally, rumbling out of the West with a winning record. We feel like that hardly ever happens.

The Bad
-Staying up until 1:30 a.m. watching the boys slug it out every night was not so fun the next morning. Most of the time it was worth it, but other times? Not so much. The things we do for our Tigers...

-V-Mart's new stint on the disabled list was probably a good idea in the long run, but we desperately need him back. Not just for his accordion playing skills, but also for his bat, which we really need.

-Austin Jackson is slumping, that's no secret. He showed signs of life on Wednesday's game, but the Tigers need to get him hitting, since he really is our team's catalyst. Maybe Lloyd McClendon could wake up long enough to help him out...

-Kansas City and Cleveland are atop the AL Central. Kansas City and Cleveland. Is this real life??
The Ugly
-Phil Coke looked like an ace in his previous two starts. Tuesday night he looked like a white version of Dontrelle Willis, complete with the mania. We hope this is just a bump in the road, but that was seriously the ugliest game pitched all year.

-That pitch...only Justin Verlander would throw a ball that literally didn't exist in the baseball world. It was so confusing that Rod and Mario were talking about it for not just the rest of the game, but for days afterwards. Crazy.

-Our bullpen, save for Valverde and Joaquin Benoit, is erratic at best and cataclysmic at worst. It's good that Enrique Gonzalez is gone, but the Saucy Aussie needs to go as well.

-We're going to guess V-Mart getting nailed in the crotch by Valverde's pitch probably contributed to his groin injury. Yikes. Heal fast, Victor...

After a much need off-day, our boys are back in the D taking on the slumping White Sox and...the Mariners. We need these wins.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Crazy Team

Happy 1500th, Leyland!

Is there anything better than winning four straight games to pull into an even 7-7? Two games were walk-offs, one was a shutout, and the last was an extra-innings blowout? Without Miguel Cabrera, by the way, we wouldn't have won two of those games. That home run in the top of the ninth on Friday was incredibly clutch, but no one was surprised. Typical Cabrera. And maybe it's not the best thing that Valverde has more wins than four out of five of our starters, but it's not horrible. It's better than us getting a loss!

Even though it is fair to say that our offense could pick it up a little bit, it's always a good sign when your team is on a four game winning streak. This team is so fun to watch, and not only because of the late-game dramatics. Just look at the way the Tigers act around one another--they obviously have good chemistry. Not that chemistry always matters, but it is so fun/heartwarming to see Cabrera pick Brandon Inge up and squeeze him, or Scherzer and Inge laugh for no good reason, or Cabrera hug a pissed-off V-Mart, or Cabrera and AJax fist-bump. Cabrera gives a lot of love, actually.

It's even better to see the occasional sparks of brilliance from our team.  Crazy Phil Coke's 7-inning gem on Thursday, for example, or Al Albuquerque's two innings of kicking ass. Both Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn are delivering clutch late-inning hits, and Villerreal continues to succeed. (We'll ignore the bottom of the 10th, Brayan. It's not like it mattered!!)

So, while it would be nice to see this team control a game from the very beginning instead of making us have heart-attacks every game, a win is a win. And we're 7-7, only 2.5 games back from the hated Indians, with Verlander on the mound and Maggs back in the lineup on Saturday. This is going to be one crazy season...

PS--Who knew that Al-Al was so good looking?! Sorry, we had to throw that in there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Random Tigers Thoughts from Megan

Can I just say one thing?

The Tigers are serious business.

 Having said that, I have to something to share with you all.  A friend of mine thought it would be hilarious (SO FUNNY!) to convince me today that Austin Jackson had been traded  (TRADED!) to the Padres (the PADRES!!!) I don't know how he managed to convince me.  It was stupid, I know. It didn't make any logical sense, but I was consumed with the all-consuming terror that the loss of another star, black, badass, center-fielder brings to true tigers fans like myself.  In my desperate need to find a computer and prove that his lie could not possibly be true, I actually started to cry.  It was only after he realized that I was actually having a panic attack that my so-called-friend revealed he was lying.  Needless to say, I was humiliated, furious, and relieved, but more than anything, I realized how much I really do love Austin Jackson.

We all remember when Curtis Granderson left... I'll admit that I was skeptical about the trade.  I was actually devastated, and I swore never to love another as I had loved him.  I mean, for crying out loud, he was perfect!  With his 20-20-20-20 season and his charity work and his chiseled good looks, but Action Jackson soon made everyone forget who Curtis Granderson was.  He had a rookie-of -the-year season last year, (I'm not bitter or anything), and he had a much better season than even Curtis Granderson had.  He may have had a ridiculous amount of strikeouts, but he came into a place with incredibly high expectations and exceeded them all.  Detroit loved CJ. Detroit loves Austin.

I had high hopes for Austin this year. He's a big part of the reason that I think that the tigers have a genuine shot at winning the Central.  However, the first 9 games of the season were super slow for Ajax.     In the Baltimore series and the Kansas City series, he went 5 for 27 with just a single RBI.  This was terrifying for me.  I want so badly for him to do well, and the criticisms that I didn't say out loud were floating around my head--"He strikes out so much! The leg kick is so stupid! He can't hit the ball!" But now I have hope.  After sitting most of the first game of the Texas series, the Skip brought him in to pinch hit, and he hit a single. That might have been my favorite single of the year so far, and more than anything I just want him to keep hitting. His defense is beyond stellar, and with better offense, he really could be one of the greatest assets that this team has!

The above is a photo of Jackson from Spring Training 2010.  We knew he would be a big star even then.  He looks slightly horrified because a baseball is about to hit the boy next to me.  He would end up with a huge bruise on his face, a lot of embarssment, and a free hot dog courtesy of Joker Marchant. I love Austin Jackson...this is a terrible picture, but I was literally this close to him, guys! He signed my baseball!

So in short, people. No Jackson-hating around me. It would be very unwise.

Also, some notes.
Can I just say that Miguel Cabrera and RyRy Raburn kicked major butt today?  I know that Ryan isn't the best in the outfield, but his catch today saved our bums, and he is hitting super well.  Give the kid more playing time! Miguel is an opposing pitchers recurring nightmare.  "Bottom of the ninth...two outs...bases loaded...and...dear God now...not...MIGUEL CABRERA!  The look on O'Day's face after he walked Ryan Raburn was priceless, priceless people, because he knew that his worst nightmares were coming true.  It was a sight for sore eyes.
Also, a big sorry to Texas for fracturing Josh Hamilton's shoulder.  I know that it kind of feels awesome to know that our catcher took out one of the most feared hitters in baseball, but imagine if that were Miguel or Maggs?  A little sympathy people...Texas is pretty upset right now.

Great win today folks. It was the kind of win that can turn a team around.  Let's hope that we keep bringing those runs in!

Always a Tiger,


Friday, April 8, 2011

We're Coming Home


Can we just ignore yesterday's game vs Baltimore? After solid offensive games from Jackson, Cabrera, Boesch, Martinez, and Avila (!!!) Jim Leyland makes the worst managerial decision yet in putting Brad Thomas in a one-run game. Every Tigers fan watching knew we were in trouble then. But, whatever. Though we are only 2-4, we are a notoriously crappy road team and a very, very good home team. And guess where we are finally going?!?! The Promised Land: Comerica Park.

Since we are on this positive and exciting note, can we just say that we adore Brayan Villarreal here at April in the D? Sure, he gave up that one run to A-Rod. Rookie mistake. Since then he has been damn good. Who else loved his little celebration when he struck out the last batter in the 6th yesterday? And of course, there was the shopping adventure he had a few days ago (brilliantly portrayed over at Roar of the Tigers). This kid is a gem.

Before we go (Opening Day starts in 15 minutes!) we have to say that we would have torn apart the latest FSN ads with those skankalicious girls in them, but Jen at Old English D got there first. Well done, Jen! We couldn't have said it better ourselves. We may go on about how hot we think one of the guys on the Tigers is, but there is a line with objectification and FSN crossed it!

Now, enjoy Opening Day, everyone! Let's hope for our first series win...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don't Worry--The Season Ain't Over Yet

It's all gonna be okay.

We honestly know what you're thinking: "Oh. My. Gawd! We're 1-3! We're last in the central!  There have been errors! Bad outings! Dropped balls!! We're going to lose and all of Detroit will die!!!!"

We know because sometimes it's hard not to feel that way.  We know because, like many of you, we have waited for Spring to come just so we could watch our lovelies take the field and then take some names.  We were ready for dominance. We were ready for grand slams and no-hitters. We were ready for perfection! The hope of a bright shiny new season is what keeps us at April in the D alive through our cold Michigan/Ohio/Georgia winters. And even better, this season started off against the Yankees. "Finally!" we thought, "Here's our chance to show the world what we're made of!"

We know you're disappointed. It's hard not to be. When you remember that baseball teams don't go 162-0, when you realize that your team is made of men who make mistakes, when you see that teams lose from time to time, you feel like you've been let down. You feel betrayed. You feel like that perfect season has already been destoyed.  Part of you (might) want to scream, "It's over! It's done! Here we go again to another third place finish in the central!" You might even want to give up on the Tigers.


Four games is not enough to ask for the Skip's head.  One start is not enough to give up on Brad Penny.  Four games is nothing. Four games is warmup. Obviously, if we'd started 4-0 we'd be singing a different tune; predicting the tigers with a pennant, a Cy Young, an MVP, and a Golden Glove, but we'd be wrong. Before you sell your Tigers short, we'd like to draw attention to a few things:

1.) Things are most definitely settled out yet.
For crying out loud, the Royals are on top of the central, and we think that all of us know the likelihood of that lasting.  The Twins are second to last in the central as well, and no one would ever expect them to finish in that position.  Things will definitely change, so you most definitely don't need to worry about us finishing where we started.

2.) It's too early for any statistics.
For those already throwing batting averages around as an indicator of the year to come, chill. It's too early to tell.  We are particularly concerned about Alex Avila, and rightly so, because he has never been too much of a threat offensively.  But, although Avi is hitting .100 right now (eek!), Albert-freaking-Pujols is only hitting .167. The perennial MVP candidate is definitely not going to hit less than .200, and I won't condemn Avila to hitting below that mark either. Pujols and Avila probably won't end the year with the same batting average, but they won't finish with as low of batting averages as they have right now either.  Brad Penny is pitching with an ERA of 16.62. We guarantee you, right now, that his  ERA will go down. We have no control over him, we know, but we promise you right now that it will. Many of the things that are ridiculously bad will get better. They will.

3.) There are good signs!
Even though it is too early to tell, there are things that should give you hope.  First-half Boesch seems to have showed up to play, and he's making solid contact with the ball and blasting it over the (admittedly small) outfield wall at Yankee Stadium.  Brayan Villareal is quickly growing on me and earning his stripes by pitching against intimidating folks like Vladimir Guerrero and doing really well. Of course, they might not continue to play like this, but it's exciting to see that Baby B might make a full recovery, and that we might actually have some fresh new talent in the bull pen.

4.) Miguel Cabrera is still a beast.
AVG: .333, OBP: .389, SLG: .800.
OPS: 1.189
We just said not to throw around stats, and we understand that this is hypocritical, but, honestly, Cabby is always going to be good. He's a once-in-a-lifetime talent that we're going to have for a while. Not only that, but he doesn't give up. He's going to keep playing until the last pitch, and with him on our team, things will always be at least okay. Forget the drunk driving incident for just a minute. Think about who he is, and what he's done. I mean, for crying out loud, 1.189??  Obviously it won't hold, but still...be comforted.

5.) We have 158 games left.
We haven't even played at home yet! There's a lot of time and opportunities in those games. It's no where near October.

We understand your frustration and fear. We do. We sympathize because those of us that really love the tigers only want them to do well. We care, and that can make us emotional and anxious.  But really, get it together. There's a whole season to get things figured out. We're doing just fine.

If things are the same in two weeks, then we'll talk.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Recap from Rosie

Yeah, He's a Stud.

Note: Every once in a while, our resident Tigers "rookie" Rosie will do a fun, lighthearted (or not, depending on the situation) recap of the game. Go Tigers!

Yesterday and today were two very different games.  And I could spend hours talking about the mess Penny made yesterday.  I could go on and on about how he allowed eight, EIGHT, runs, and I could rant about how much I hate most announcers that aren’t Rod Allen and Mario Impemba. I could, but I won’t.  Today was such an excellent game, and I am in such a great mood, I won’t ruin it talking about yesterday’s debacle and the awful commentary which made it even worse.  Instead I think we should glorify our Tigers for sticking it to the Yankees.  Finally.  We’ve stopped acting like kittens and bared our fangs.  It wasn’t a massacre, but our hitters Would. Not. Stop.
Today’s MVP, Brennan Boesch (Baby B):I loved him last year.  His first half of the season was phenomenal, and even though it didn’t carry over into the latter half of the season, he was still my Tiger.  Today he had four hits, four runs, and four RBIs.  And he looked so cute too!

Miguel Cabrera: Can I just say how nice it is to watch baseball and not have to hear the words “Cabrera” and “Alcohol” in the same sentence? Today Miggy had TWO homeruns today in the 1st and the 3rd (driving Baby B home) and a single in the 9th. Take THAT, snarky announcers and sportswriters!

Austin Jackson: AJax drew some walks today in addition to the great homerun he had yesterday. He definitely made up for his stupid error yesterday with some spectacular plays today. In the 7th he had a gorgeous over the shoulder catch back on the warning tracks, stealing something big from Granderson (HA!) and in the 8th he had another great shoestring catch nabbing a hit from Teixeira. Go Go Jackson.
Ramon Santiago: Little Ramon was a beast today.  He had two hits; a single in the 5th, and a double in the 6th.  In the first he came home on Baby B’s homerun, and then came home on his sac fly.  Way to go RAMON.

Pitching: Scherzer allowed six runs, but in all fairness, in any other of the 29 ballparks in this country, half of them would have been fielded. Coke did pretty well, getting hot vengeance on Granderson and only allowing one run. Benoit and Valverde were better, getting through the 8th and 9th innings with minimal drama.

Final Score: Tigers: 10 Yankees 7

Comments:  YES!  Obviously I am happy with this…a win is a win is a win.  The Tigers needed to get one game from the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and they did.  It will make me even happier when we see them again and we knock them on their pompous, smarmy, pinstriped-asses.  I think we definitely have the talent to do it.  I also think that V-Mart should catch full time, Maggs should DH, and we should have Baby B, AJax and Raburn in the outfield.  Avila is just nowhere near good enough at the plate.  Also, thank God that THE WHITE SOX LOST TODAY! Double yes!! And finally, the fact that I had my Rod and Mario to watch today really made the game special. Who else would debate what shade of white nail polish the catcher has on?!

We are going to be a force to be reckoned with this year, and I will enjoy watching the Tigers prove to all their critics that they can do it.  Especially if we hit like we did today.  We are going to eat the Orioles ALIVE (I hope). Also, this is the song we will be listening to all April. WOO HOO.
And finally: Please don't forget to listen to Laura on The Knee Jerks podcast tomorrow!! www.thekneejerks.com 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yankees vs Tigers, 3/31/11: WTF?

Oh, Justin...

Did anyone else besides us think that Opening Day was kind of...strange? Justin Verlander throws 115 pitches in 6 innings and gives up a 3-run homer to Mark Teixeira. Phil Coke gives up another two runs in relief. Jim Leyland thinks it's a good idea to play Alex Avila against CC (is it really a good idea to be playing Avila at all? He really needs to earn his stripes this year). The Beloved Curtis Granderson kicks our ass.

First of all, Justin Verlander is never 100% in April. Ever. And he still kept us in the game, so its not like he pitched terribly. And the two runs Coke gave up? We feel like that's bound to happen after pitching as a starter for the whole of Spring Training. Not that that's a good excuse, but still. If Avila can't hit a ball, though, this is going to be a rough season. We will need production from our catcher position if we want to do well this year!!!

As you're reading this, you might be thinking, 'Shut up! It's Opening Day! You need to relax.' And you'd be right. After all, it's the first game of the season. Against the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium. And as much as we hate the Yankees, they're not a bad team. There were some positive points in the game, such as:

-Miguel Cabrera. Two walks, a hit and a sacrifice fly RBI. Clearly he is ready to kick ass and take names. No one wants to mess with him! NO ONE.
-The Team Drives in Runs. Juh-honny! Inge! Last year we left way, way too many men on base. Cabrera was really the only one we could count on to consistently get an RBI with a guy on 3rd and no outs. Seeing production from the bottom of the lineup is refreshing.
-Ryan Raburn. He hits! He plays defense! He does it all!!!! We kid, but we are really, really excited to see what Raburn can do with consistent playing time. Hopefully his defense really has improved as he says it has. It looked great yesterday!

All that being said, our boys do need to get a good win tomorrow. We need to show the Yankees, ESPN, and the entire MLB world that the Detroit Tigers can hang with the best of them.

PS-One thing that is NOT forgivable about yesterday's game was the stupid ESPN announcers. Could they have their heads any further up the Yankee's asses? They were even making fun of Will Rhymes. Even though it's undoubtedly easy to do, only Rod and Mario are allowed to poke fun at Mighty Mouse. Screw you, ESPN!

PPS-Don't forget to check out Laura on "The Knee Jerks" at 7 pm on Monday! www.thekneejerks.com