July 4, 2010

Looking Back on June in the D

Rearview Mirror.jpgOn June 1, the Tigers weren’t exactly reeling but they could not have felt good about the way the month ended.

They lost two games to the Mariners in Seattle, then came home to lose three of four to the A’s. After a 14-10 record in April, they stumbled to 12-14 in May.

How would they fare in June? Much better, despite losses to division opponents on the both ends of the month.

Detroit finished June with a 15-12 record and gained three games in the standings; on June 1 they were 4-1/2 back of the Twins, just 1-1/2 on June 30. In between, the Tigers surged thanks to that soft spot in the interleague schedule — Pittsburgh, Washington and Arizona — allowing them to gain ground on the Twins, who were playing much tougher National League opponents.

The Tigers’ abysmal 5-10 road record in June included losing two of three at Kansas City, Chicago and Minnesota. This has got to stop if the Tigers hope to stay relevant — much less in the hunt.

While a seven-game winning streak and a 10-2 home record certainly helped buoy the Tigers’ winning ways, we can’t overlook the convergence of wins with Brennan Boesch becoming a fixture in the lineup and the awakening of Brandon Inge, Alex Avila and, to a lesser degree, Gerald Laird.

As frustrating as this team is on some nights, they still have a compelling roster, an aggressive owner and a winnable division.

Issues to watch in July will be:

  • Can Jeremy Bonderman get his act together after three consecutive lousy starts?
  • Will Inge and Avila maintain their respective offensive resurgence?
  • Can Ryan Perry capably fill Joel Zumaya‘s role in the eighth inning?
  • Will Johnny Damon finally provide the consistent hitting the Tigers expected when they signed him?

  • Can they stop playing porous defense night in and night out?

Watching as these questions get answered should make this month a fascinating one. And, what we learn in July will determine whether the Tigers emerge as buyers or sellers — or neither — when the trade deadline arrives.

1 Comment(s)

  1. Justin | Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    I certainly hope the Tigers aren’t sellers. We do, however, have some intriguing players that we could sell. We have many players that will more or less be “rentals” considering they are in the last year of their contracts. A team might like to take one of those guys off our hands because it won’t cost them much.

    I don’t think Laird will keep it up. Inge is promising. I hope Boesch keeps hitting. I think he is focused and driven to succeed.

    The worst July news for the Tigers would be the Twins trading for Cliff Lee. It seems more and more likely because of the catching prospect the Twins can give up for him. There are signs of though because I’m hearing the Mariners think they can resign Lee and might keep him. I’m also hearing the Phillies were scouting Lee in Detroit on Sunday and the Reds have thrown their name in the hat as well. The Yankees won’t trade for him because they believe they can survive without him this year and sign him next year. That way they don’t have to give anything up for him except signing him to an enormous contract.

    If I had to guess, Lee is playing for the Twins by the end of July and the Yankees sign him next year…Let’s hope my guess does not come true.

    Love the blog. I read everyday. Keep up the solid work.

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