This post is a conclusion to my Trimester Report that I started a week ago breaking down the Tigers progress this season. Do to sheer laziness, (what else), the Tigers are now closer to the midway point of the season than the ....uh...thirdway (sic?) point, so I ditched the Trimester portion of the title and created a more timely/appropriate one. Anyways here is the hitter's progress report in all it's glory. Enjoy.
Let me begin this post by bidding farewell to Fredo Ledezma, a former favorite here at the Mickey Tettleton Memorial Overpass, and one of the few remaining vestiges of the "Dark Ages" when the Tigers carried multiple Rule V picks and lost 100+ annually. When I first started this site a little over two years ago I favorably compared Ledezma to a young Pedro Martinez and wrote that Fredo had some intangible dominating mound presence that all the great young pitchers possess (and can be seen in Verlander and Bonderman this season). Luckily I had a readership of about 3 people in those early days, unlike the monopolistic sports blogging empire I currently run here at Beefshower Inc. with a daily readership in the hundreds, but they still bothered to e-mail me and tell me what an idiot I was and how insane my prediction looked. Now two years later Fredo is out of my life, traded away for a reliever who will likely be sent to the minors to make room for the return of Kenny Rogers. I feel like I should be the one to drive Ledezma to the airport, see him off to his gate and never be able to muster the courage to tell him how I've felt all these years. Then go sit in my car, crying, while playing "Starlight" by Muse really loud as I watch his plane take off for Atlanta and 2,000 miles away from my heart.....but that's just me.
Alas, the Tigers offense this season has been amazing, leading the American League in several offensive categories. I could probably list the categories but that would require a two second Google search and .....eh....I don't really have the time for that. Wait, I have an idea that will be fun and save me from being slightly inconvenienced. We'll make this a scavenger hunt. You the reader have to bring me up to the minute MLB team statistics, a photo of Kwame Kilpatrick, a bus schedule and the skeleton of Harry Heilmann. The winner will receive whatever is laying around my desk at the moment, which currently consists of half a bag of Ricola's, floss, a plastic fork and some Hi-Liters. Have fun!
Ivan Rodriguez: Pudge is having a solid season except for his outright refusal to draw walks. He seems to have reverted back to his 2005 form when he drew only 11 walks in over 500 at-bats and had a league low .290 OBP for players who qualified. I'm not saying that Ivan should turn into Tony Phillips or anything, even though it would be cool to see him morph into another player or an animal like a panther or something like that, but it would be nice to see him be a little more patient at the plate.
Mike Rabelo: I think I had this guy as a virus last summer. Wait, no I had rubella...or was it syphilis...maybe both. Oh well, that's neither here nor there. The main thing is Rabelo has filled in ably for the injured Vance Wilson, batting a solid .281 even though he started off the season 1-17 and had me lamenting for the days of Matt Walbeck. I do feel really bad for Vance Wilson though. I always joked, usually to myself (pathetic), about how the Tigers went through a series of terrible back-up catchers (i.e. A.J. Hinch, Javier Cardona, Bill Hasselman, etc.) over the past decade and none of them were ever able to stick around for more than a couple of seasons. That was until Vance came along and gave the team some stability behind Pudge culminating in a two year contract extension before this season. Of course Vance went down in spring training with a sore elbow and after Tommy John surgery a couple of weeks ago Wilson will miss nearly two whole seasons. Apparently the Ghost of A.J. Hinch and his army of serpents is impossible to defeat.
Sean Casey: Before the season began I predicted Casey would hit nine homeruns and so far this season he has smashed.....drumroll......one. Oh well, historically first base hasn't been a position that supplied a lot of power which explains why such all-field and no-hit fringe players like Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols and Justin Morneau are first-sackers. With that in mind Tigers fans should be thankful to get any homeruns out of Casey and not be saddled with the punchless trio I just mentioned. O.K. I'll stop being sarcastic. Casey was atrocious the first month of the season, which had to lead "Sloth" down in Toledo wondering what the hell he had to do to make it back to the Majors before becoming frustrated and gobbling down a whole bag of Miniature sized Baby Ruth's and tearing at the chains restricting him to his locker. In Casey's defense he has picked it up considerably over the last two months on the offensive end despite his lack of homeruns and if he's not careful he might even hit another one out this season.
Placido Polanco: Before the season I predicted a batting title for Polanco and so far that statement is holding up pretty well. I'm only mentioning this because I think it's the first time in my life that a prediction I made has a chance of actually happening. I was almost certain when I wrote my season preview that my prognostication would jinx Placido and he would currently be hitting .219 after two stints on the DL. Maybe my luck is changing and all my forecasts will become true. Let's try this out. (Clears throat) I predict that next year Avril Lavigne will break up with her Lilliputian douchebag husband and move to Detroit where she will fall in love with a stately and august recent Wayne State Law School grad named Andrew. Hold on. Storm clouds are gathering and lightning is flashing outside. I think something strange is afoot, this may be working. What's this? YARRGGHH! A large rat just bit me in the throat. Nevermind, I guess my luck still sucks.
Carlos Guillen: Guillen has been amazing this season. I don't think there is any question Carlos is one of the most criminally underrated players in baseball. He's on pace to become the first Tigers shortstop to have a 100 RBI season since Alan Trammell twenty years ago. He's also a model of consistency having hit .318, .320, .320 and .317 during his four seasons in Detroit. Hopefully Leyland finds room to take Carlos with him to San Francisco for the All-Star Game and actually get him into the game unlike the last time Carlos went in '04 and Joe Torre let him rot on the bench and have the distinction of being the only position player not used in the game. Fuck Joe Torre.
Brandon Inge: Brandon Inge is having another solid Brandon Inge type season. He's hitting in the .250's, drawing some walks, showing 25-30 homerun power, playing above average defense at third and going through some stretches where it looks like he couldn't make contact if the pitcher was throwing a watermelon (surprisingly the watermelon pitch was banned in the late 1920's effectively ending the career of Ira "Seeds" Donovan...that was lame and a total waste of time. My apologies). I almost bought a Inge t-shirt jersey this season before I realized that I would be the only person wearing one who wasn't either 1: an awkward 14 year old girl who swoons when Inge bats or 2: a delusional 38 year old mom who thinks it's young and hip to talk about Brandon Inge's butt when it's really uncomfortable and sad. I opted for the Zumaya shirt and his finger promptly exploded.
Neifi Perez: Neifi made a spectacular play that helped save Verlander's no-hitter. However outside of that singular incident Neifi has been his usual awful self. I don't have anything else to add other than the fact that in the last 5 days I've heard that Jimmy Eat World song "The Middle" like twenty times on the radio and TV. Did I travel back to 2002? Am I a freshman at State again? Why is this happening?
Omar Infante: Omar has been great this season in a limited role. Umm, again I have nothing to add about Omar so.....End Transmission.
Magglio Ordonez: Magglio has been amazing this season. I have never seen someone so comfortable at the plate as Magglio has been this year. After going 3-4 tonight he's batting a robust .383 and is on pace to smash the single season doubles record by about 614 and banish that devil-worshipping, wife-beating, alcoholic Earl Webb from the record books (I actually know nothing about Earl Webb but if I imagine him as an evil person I won't feel bad that he's about to lose his only piece of relevancy in baseball history). Maggs has also been stellar in the outfield this season making a series of nice catches and not making adventures out of routine fly balls or standing around taking line drives to the chest. Maggs also owns the funniest nickname my friend T.J. has ever come up with, which happens to be a name so offensive I won't even write it down because it would make me feel dirty and this is coming from a guy who throws around the C-word at weddings and funerals. I remember being nervous about Magglio when the Tigers signed him and thought it was going to end disastrously but in year three of his deal Maggs seems like a bargain.
Curtis Granderson: When the season began I was upset with Curtis because he charged me $25 bucks to get his autograph and shake his hand, but I'm glad to see our fighting didn't effect his play on the field. Granderson has completely redeemed himself with me for two main reasons 1: The triples. Curtis now has 13 on the season and every time he hits one in the gap I immediately snap to attention and start shouting for him to go for three. 2: His highly entertaining ESPN.com blog. My favorite entries so far were the ones where he wrote about running into Vance Wilson buying patio furniture at Wal-Mart, a scenario that cracked me up for reasons unbeknownst to myself and when he wrote that "Little Big League" was his favorite baseball themed movie ever. In case there is anyone out there who hasn't seen "Little Big League", I suggest you leave work or school or whereever you are reading this and rent this movie. 99% of this movie is lame as hell save for one scene that happens to be the big-screen debut of none other than Mickey Tettleton. I remember seeing this movie at my friend Kevin's house shortly after it came out on video. Once I saw the scene where Tettleton catches the ball in foul territory and then leans over the railing to trash the kids mom, I lost it. I started walking around with my hands on my head in disbelief. That one line has to go down as one of the greatest in cinematic history right up there with "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." "Here's looking at you kid" and "Ass to ass!!!!" from "Requiem for a Dream. As a matter of fact if I'm ever elected Emperor for Life my first act will be to tear out Marlon Brando's plaque on the Walk of Fame and replace it with Tettleton.
Gary Sheffield: After a slow start my friend T.J. bailed off the Sheffield bandwagon and started talking about how Sheff was washed up and how it was a huge mistake to bring him to Detroit, blah, blah, blah. I tried to reason with him but he wouldn't listen, mainly because he was engrossed in his game of Pokemon on Gameboy (did I mention T.J. is 24 years old? If I met my friends today I don't think I would ever talk to them again, yet I continue to hang out with them on a daily basis.) Almost immediately after T.J. bailed Sheff began to play like one of the best hitters in the league. Since then T.J. has tried to rejoin the bandwagon but I have been steadfast in denying his re-admittance and I've enjoyed every second of it. I also love how Sheff has given us a taste of all his personalities. We've got crazy Sheff, when he flipped out on the umpire which earned him a three game suspension, controversial Sheff, with his statements in GQ about keeping Omar Infante on a leash or something, now all we have to see is lovesick Sheff and scientist Sheff. I can't wait.
Craig Monroe: C-Mo is the only Tiger on offense that has consistently struggled this season. He's also revealed himself to be an arrogant and big-headed athlete in the past couple of weeks. First he made comments in the paper where he referred to himself in the third person three times in two sentences. Then he unveiled his personalized cleats with C-MO embroidered on the tongues. I remember I tried to pull these stunts when I played Little League and all it did was get me laid all the time. I mean severely beaten and ridiculed. I get those two things confused.
Marcus Thames: I'm just giving Marcus a grade: B+. I would elaborate but I've written too much already and if I continue it feels like my eyes will melt out of my head because it hurts so much right now. I hope you understand and if there are any Thames fans who read this far and didn't get what they wanted. Too bad, hahahahaha.......ow.