Tuesday, April 1, 2008

MLB Blogging: A Febble Roar, At Best

So, I did some more thinking about yesterday's heart-stomping loss to the Royals. I think it's obvious, on the face of it, that after failing to beat a team with a payroll nearly a third less than theirs that all the high hopes for this Tiger's season have been dashed upon the cold shoals of reality. There's not going to be a World Series this year. We'll be lucky to avoid another hundred loss season. They ought to rename the team the Fuzzy Kittens right now, because that's the way they're playing.

No, it was a bad loss. A game that the Tigers should have had. And one that served as a microcosm for how this year can go up in flames. But it's still only one game. There are 161 left. So, it's far, far too early to start eyeing a convenient spot to hop of the bandwagon just yet.

What worries me about the game, though, is two-fold. It's not that the bullpen proved to be unreliable. It's that as good as Verlander looked leading up to his final inning, he proved to be incredibly shakey once he got dinged for those two runs. He was on cruise control with a low pitch count and if he'd been able to keep it together or put it back together after losing it, he could have lasted a while longer and kept Leyland from going to the pen so soon. Verlander is the one who turned the game from one in the win colum to no decision. And it's the Tigers stranding so many runners that lost it. That doesn't exactly bode well. But, again, it's hard to spot a tredn from one game.

What is a trend, however, is that teams that lose early struggle to make the playoffs. Teams with a losing record in the first few weeks of the season are incredibly unlikely to make it to the post-season. Dropping one game doesn't make that a certainty but it's a squandered opportunity and the pressure's now on the team to turn it around. Just like it's going ot be all year - this team has to make the playoffs or it's a huge disappointment and all the managed expectations in the world aren't going to change that

No comments: