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As we all have heard by now, on April 17 following a discraceful effort against the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers' manager Jim Leyland called out his club. Saying "We Stunk! It's been goin' on around here before and its not gonna happen anymore. They were ready to go to Oakland. If we won it was ok, if we lost it was ok. Not gonna happen anymore." After this outburst critics thought he should relax. After all, it was just the first month of the season, not September. However his team has responded.
Since the outburst, the Detroit Tigers have become one of the stories in baseball. They've gone 11-3 since then, and now lead the league in ERA. I think we all expected the Tigers to score some runs, but pitching has certainly been a surprise. Leading the team in ERA w/ a 1.78 is Mike Maroth, a guy who just two years ago lost 21 games. While the starting pitching has been a surprise, the bullpen may be an even bigger one. With Fernando Rodney leading the way with a 0.00 ERA, the entire bullpen together has allowed only 24 runs all year. The Tigers offense has been very productive as well. They are currently ranked 5th overall in the league in hitting, and tied for first with 43 homeruns.
Tonight the Tigers open up a two game home stand against the Anaheim Angels before they go on a 9 game road trip. During this road trip they'll face: Minnesota, Baltimore, and Clevland, all for 3 games each. Critics say we'll find out how serious we can take the Tigers after this trip. However, the Tigers are an outstanding 11-4 on the road. With a record like that, leaving spacious Comerica Park does not scare them. Not to mention, they're only a half game behind the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead. People were telling Leyland to calm down, but that rant may have been just what the Tigers needed to turn it around.
Wed 05/03/06, 1:23 pm EST