The Tigers are done for the year. They are not mathematically eliminated, but they will not make the playoffs.
What went wrong? The answers are many-fold:
1. The bullpen: Injuries to Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, ineffectiveness of both when they were healthy, ineffectiveness of Todd Jones, 24 blown saves - just terrible all around.
2. Kenny Rogers' injury: He won 17 games last year, and just a few this year. No one replaced him.
3. And offense that counted too heavily on a first baseman with no power (Sean Casey) and a third baseman (Brandon Inge), a left-fielder (Craig Monroe), and a catcher (Ivan Rodriguez) who were mostly ineffective offensively all year.
4. Carlos Guillen plays a pretty bad shortstop. And Ivan Rodriguez's defense has gone to the crapper.
5. Jeremy Bonderman had a massively disappointing season. He was 10-1 at the All-Star break and ended up 11-9 with an ERA over 5.00. Terrible. Nate Robertson also had a pretty bad year.
6. The Tigers decided to rush prospects like Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin to the majors, and they just weren't ready.
While the reasons are many, it's too bad that they're not going to the playoffs. This season was a fun one, for the following seasons:
1. I got to witness two of the best offensive seasons every by a Tiger. Curtis Granderson, my favorite player, turned into a bonafide superstar (20+ homeruns, 20+ doubles, 20+ tripes, 20+ stolen bases, an amazing feat), while Magglio Ordonez had one of the offensive seasons in Tigers history and still could win the batting title.
2. Placido Polanco also had a great year. Offensively, he was well over .300 all year, and defensively, he set a record for consecutive errorless games at second base.
3. Verlander's no-hitter, which unfortunately I did not witness. But he had a great year, building off that great rookie season.
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Two great bullpen arms.
3. A first baseman or a shortstop.
4. Someone to push Inge at third.
5. A corner outfielder.
6. A #2 or #3 starter.
That's it. I'm sure we'll get all those. Ha ha.
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