The Tigers have now gone 3-9 in the last 12 games, being outscored 70-42. Three things have gone wrong for the Tigers:
- Their schedule suddenly got a lot tougher,
- They started suffering injuries (Maroth, Monroe, I-Rod), and
- Their mixed-bag bullpen started giving up a lot of runs, capped by last night's meltdown.
Indians followers are amazed at the team's floudering at 29-31. "With all that talent," they ask, "how can they be under .500?" The answer, of course, is that the pitching staff isn't the same one they had last year, and in virtually every case, the replacement in 2006 is worse than the 2005 role-player. It hasn't helped that Cliff Lee has regressed to ordinary, but Paul Byrd and Jason Johnson simply haven't pitched well, and the smoke-and-mirrors 2005 bullpen is scattered and the replacement just hasn't gelled. From the perspective of a White Sox fan, the Indians' decision to use Aaron Boone at third and the Broussard/Blake hot starts should stretch out the playing time for three candidates for long-term replacement, and lead the Indians to avoid some tough decisions they should make for 2007. Of course, Boone's supposed heir apparent, super-prospect Andy Marte, is not hitting at Buffalo (.256/.324/.363). Is it possible the Crisp trade, surrendering Crisp and bullpen handyman David Riske, will turn out to be the supposed "2005 Major League Executive of the Year's" serious mistake? We can only hope.