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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tigers take the first two

I'm really enjoying this Athletics/Tigers series. Two fun, exciting, young teams with a mix of still-good/excellent veterans thrown in to balance them out. A few random thoughts:
  • I'm in awe of the Tigers pitching staff. Can you imagine having three guys--Verlander/Rodney/Zumaya--that can all throw 100 mph, along with plus offspeed/breaking pitches? Plus two "other" young starters like Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman to go along with those guys? And that's not even including Kenny Rogers' excellent season. ... And there's there's that kid they drafted this June, Andrew Miller, who might turn out to be the best of all of them when he arrives either next year or the year after. Amazing. And very scary for the AL Central. I just hope that they can all stay healthy, because they've got the makings of an Atlanta Braves-style dynasty right now.
  • Todd Jones is still a solid and dependable pitcher, but you have to think that using him in the closing role instead of Zumaya is going to bite Leyland sometime during the playoffs. When Thomas came up tonight, I really thought that the A's were going to pull off the two-out rally. Of course, I will say, in Leyland's defense, that the ability to bring in Zumaya any time during the 7th-8th innings is quite a luxury, as you can get him in there during the game-critical situations when your other pitchers are in trouble. Then you can just turn it over to Jones to start and finish the 9th. I argued the same thing about the Reds' Coffey/Weathers combination in May of this year--and in many ways, Coffey carried the Reds' pitching staff through the first two months of the season when used in this role. I hope Coffey can rediscover something this offseason and come back strong for us again this year. His September was good, at least.
  • Milton Bradley had a heck of a night. I've always liked the kid, and I hope performing well on this kind of stage helps him gain the confidence to get past some of his chronic emotional issues. He's always had the talent to be an excellent ballplayer. He strikes me as the kind of guy that could peak a few years later than others due to all of his talent/injuries/issues, so his best years may still be ahead of him.