Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pessimism or Reality Check?

I figured it was time to make my prediction for the Tigers this year. I admit to being of two minds.

On the one hand, I agree with the experts at ESPN who have picked the Tigers to win the whole kit and kaboodle.

On the other hand, I can't ignore the adage that good pitching beats good hitting every time. And consideration of said adage leads me to think that the Tigers will finish in third place in the AL Central and completely miss the playoffs.

Why so pessimistic you ask? Think about all the things that need to go right with the pitching. Whom do we know besides Verlander who can pitch reliably? No one. Sure, it's possible that Rogers and Robertson could have a year like they had in 2006, Willis could turn his numbers around from his last few seasons, Bonderman could recover from whatever was wrong with him at the end of last season, Zumaya could be back on the team by the All-Star break (haven't we heard that before, though?), and Jones ekes out forty saves by getting hitters to ground- and pop-out.

But it's equally likely that Rogers is over the hill, Robertson has another ho-hum season, Willis continues his slide, Bonderman doesn't recover from what ails him, Zumaya doesn't return until mid-August, and Jones blows just as many saves as he makes good on.

My point is that that's a lot of ifs on the pitching side of things.

The worst case is that my pessimism turns out to be well-founded and that results in the removal of Leyland and Dombrowski because they did so poorly with a team that "should have won it all."

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