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Who’s in First?

Chad Logan – 7-6-2009

Should we have seen this coming?

In a word, probably.

The only reason, in my mind, to think that the Tigers offense was going to be GRRRRRREAT this year, was that a lot of people who supposedly know a lot about baseball said it would be.

At the halfway point of the season, one week before a well deserved All-Star break, this is why we should of seen this coming.

  • Magglio – 35 yrs. old with a long swing. It was just a matter of time, all great players lose their legs, and soon the bat follows.

  • Carlos Guillen – If his legs wouldn’t allow him to play 3rd, why would LF be better? Apparently it wasn’t (shoulder and Achilles). His three year average of .300, 17 hr, 80 rbi, 80 runs would look real nice in the lineup for big D.

  • Everett/Inge/Laird – All three are incredible defensively, but when a full third of the lineup averages .240, 9 hr, 45 rbi, and 47 runs that is the making of a long season. That being said, Inge and Everett have overachieved thus far.

  • Age – 33 seems to be the accepted age when a sharp offensive decline is almost expected, Mags, Guillen and Polanco are all 33 or older.
  • So, we have one-third of the team past their prime, and another third who combined make a great 8th or 9th place hitter. That leaves us hoping the other third perform.

    All that being said, when you look at the standings, the Tigers are on top of a very competitive division.

    Glove Love

    Perhaps the answer to the first half isn’t the offense is bad, but rather, the defense is great, and without it, the team would be staring up at the Royals just like last year.

    The Tigers are 3rd in fielding % and have committed the 3rd fewest errors in the AL.

    From an offensive standpoint, the key to the first half, may be the defense of Cabrera, Inge and Granderson. Their solid play both with the bat and glove have allowed the team to withstand scoring less than 5 runs a game.

    While Inge has the most errors for an everyday 3rd basemen, he also leads the league in Innings Played at 3rd, Defensive Chances, Assists, and Double Plays turned. I’m a true believer that the more balls you reach, the more errors you have the chance commit, and that shows in Inge. It almost seems his range and arm are a little to good, and that allows him to get to balls and make “mistakes” that others can’t.

    Granderson, who has yet to make an error this season, may never get the press he deserves. Not only does he make hi-light reel catches in center, his speed also makes up for the corner outfields lack of range (especially on those fun days when Thames and Ordonez are in left and right respectively).

    Meanwhile, Cabrera has graduated from being the “big target” guy who just stands on first, to being a good defender. While he still has mental lapses, when he sticks to the basics, he is more than adequate.

    Next week, I will take a look at the Tigers pitching.

    Until then, let’s be thankful the Tigers go into the break facing the Royals and Indians.

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