Siberian Baseball

Monday, June 16, 2008

Too little, too late?

First, the bad news.

For a team that was active in the offseason and appeared to be stacked heading into the middle of a less than impressive crowd in the American League Central, the Detroit Tigers have underperformed by anyone's standards.

Injuries to members of the bullpen (Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney), rotation (Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman) and lineup (Gary Sheffield at the top of that list) haven't helped matters as the Tigers have been subjected to "What's wrong with Detroit?" pieces in newspapers and every three episodes of Baseball Tonight.

Now, the good news.

Despite a less than impressive start, the Tigers are only six games behind the front-running White Sox (Chicago is second only to Arizona for fewest wins among division leaders with 38).

Detroit is currently on a six-game winning streak and is closing the gap as one of two teams with a winning record in the division.

The best news? Zumaya and Rodney should be back this week and Sheffield thinks he's very close to heading back to the big club. Detroit can come back - simpler if the White Sox continue to streak and fade - by playing consistently as they have of late.

Whether or not those bullpen arms come back in playing shape to help remains to be seen, but it certainly can't be any worse than some of the stopgap solutions Detroit was forced to employ. Sorry, Twins and Indians fans... Get ready to drop a spot.

(Update - 11:30 p.m. - Rodney just served up a three-run homer while trying to protect a one-run lead in San Francisco on what appeared to be a changeup that he hung to the first batter he's seen since returning to the majors. The second batter he's faced tagged him for a double. Welcome back to the bigs, Fernando.)

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