Sunday, November 06, 2005

« '05 Recap: Tigers »

By Suss
Detroit Tigers
Manager: Alan Trammell (3rd year)
2005: 71-91; 4th place, AL Central
—1st half: 42-44
—2nd half: 29-47
2004: 72-90; 4th place

Leaders (hitting)
Batting Avg: Craig Monroe (.277)
Home Runs: Dmitri Young (21)
RBI: Monroe (89)
On-base pct: Brandon Inge (.330)
Stolen bases: Nook Logan (23)

Leaders (pitching)
ERA: Nate Robertson (4.48)
Wins: Jeremy Bonderman, Mike Maroth (15)
Strikeouts: Bonderman (145)
Holds: Kyle Farnsworth (15)
Saves: Ugueth Urbina, Fernando Rodney (9)

Free agents:
OF Bobby Higginson
OF Rondell White
2B Fernando Vina
RHP Jason Johnson

► The Tigs led all teams in triples, with 45, despite only one person in the top 10 individual triple hitters (Brandon Inge, tenth with 9)

► They were unable to achieve a winning record against an AL rival with a winning record, the closest being the 80-82 Blue Jays (5-4). They did, however, sweep the Padres in interleague play.

► Detroit had the best record in extra inning games, winning 8 and losing three.
This first paragraph is supposed to be the lead where, in the first recap of a team that I rooted for, try and put a positive spin on "how they played hard" because "they have a lot of young guys" and "there's hope for the future." Well, there is, but the numbers show a worse season than last year.

Last year, was the season after a dismal 119-loss campaign, so a 29-win improvement threw Detroit fans' Impress-O-Meter way out of whack.

Jeremy Bonderman (14-11, 4.57 ERA) didn't progress very much, winning three more games and lowering his ERA by all of 22 points. Of course, he's 22 years old so he's "still a young guy."

Mike "Not Gettin' Any Younger" Maroth finally had his first .500 season (14-14, 4.74 ERA) by allowing fewer baserunners, but his ERA still jumped.

As it turns out, their offense didn't get anything done, and their pitching had an off-year. No wonder they were a game worse.

The Tigers did make a few good moves, trading Ugueth Urbina to the contending Phillies for second baseman Placido Polanco. Had Polanco had all his at-bats for the Tigers, his .331 average would have won the batting title. They also dealt the flamethrowing Kyle Farnsworth in exchange for two young pitchers, Roman "Don't call me Ramon" Colon and Zach Miner. While these two may give "hope for the future," Farnsworth's departure led to a -- albeit coincidental, perhaps -- September fallout, going 8-24 after August.

And is there "hope for the future?" Their Triple-A affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens, won the International League title decisively, sweeping Pittsburgh's Triple-A team Indianapolis. And two of their most prized pitchers, Joel Zumaya and Justin Verlander, will hopefully make it to next year's opening day roster, as will outfielders Marcus Thames and Curtis Granderson.

In summary, they -- er -- played hard, have a lot of young players and have hope for the future.