Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Whoa and seven in Detroit

At this point I think the question is: How tall is the tallest building in Detroit and how long is the line of Tigers fans waiting to jump?

A lineup of all-stars, a $138 million payroll and an 0-7 start.

What’s wrong here?


The Tigers offseason spending spree had many predicting big things for the 2007 American League champs. Another trip to the World Series? The team’s first championship since 1984?

The lineup loaded with sluggers was thought to have enough power to produce 1,000 runs this season. Yet, the Tigers have scored just 15 through their first seven games. At this rate, they would have to extend the season to 477 games to reach that lofty goal.

The bullpen is a major problem. So is starter Dontrelle Willis, who walked seven and struck out none in his first start.

The key to winning, as we know, is pitching. Did the Tigers forget that when they beefed up the lineup but not the pen?

It’s early, yes. Way too early to write off any team, especially one loaded with talent.

But consider this: Only two teams that began the season 0-6 reached the playoffs – the 1974 Pirates and the 1995 Reds.

No team that opened 0-7 reached the postseason.

That doesn’t bode well for Detroit.

“We’re not playing good baseball, but we need to start,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told USA Today. “We didn't look like this all spring. We never anticipated starting like this. There were no indications.”

Manager Jim Leyland said he won’t tinker with the lineup or press the old panic button, and those are wise moves by a wise, old manager. It’s best to let this team play its way out of the slump and see how the next 155 games play out.

The 2003 Tigers lost their first nine games and an American League record 119.

This team won’t be that bad. It can’t.


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