Every time Marcus Thames hits another home run, Craig Monroe slides a little further down the bench. I think we're seeing exactly how the Tigers are going to handle left field for the rest of the season, unless Thames suddenly goes into a C-Mendo-like slump. He's a platoon player now.
Thames' blast might have been the most important, but Detroit's other two home runs were definitely notable for the guys that hit them. Omar Infante is now halfway to Sean Casey's total. And Magglio Ordonez reminded us that - oh, yeah! - he can hit some home runs. Maggs was loooonng overdue. It was nice to see him just turn on a pitch, whip that bat through the strike zone, and drive a ball. His sacrifice fly to right field in the sixth inning might have been another home run in some other ballparks, too, so maybe the power stroke is coming back.
Even though each team won two games in this series, I think the Tigers' superior depth in both the batting order and starting rotation asserted themselves today. (Of course, I'm biased.) Even when Seattle knocked Kenny Rogers out of the game yesterday, Detroit still mounted a comeback and made the game interesting. The Mariners scored some runs in the ninth against Zach Miner, and Todd Jones had to begin warming up, but the Tigers' lead never really felt threatened. Seattle's strength is its bullpen, not its lineup. So if there's no lead to protect...
Run, Tigers, Run!
If there's one development I've lamented in baseball over the past decade, it's been the gradual phasing out of the stolen base. Of course, everything is cyclical, and steals might be making a comeback. And today's game was a great example of how aggressive baserunning can take over a game and fluster the other team.
The Tigers just abused Jamie Burke today. How many times did we see him standing up with his mask and helmet off, looking as if his pants had just fallen down? I don't know if he was looking at Jeff Weaver for some help or what. But he had no chance. And if there was even a glimmer of hope, Gary Sheffield destroyed it when he stole home. That's about as "in your face" a play as you can make in baseball.
Sheffield stole four bases in this series. That's a quarter of his season total. As if other teams didn't already have enough to worry about when facing the Tigers' lineup...
Sean Casey Stole a Base!
I don't have much to add to that; I just wanted to type it out. I hear that Casey got a call from Rickey Henderson after the game, though.
"Casey! This is Rickey."
"Rickey? Hey, congrats on the new job."
"What new job?"
"The Mets thing."
"Oh yeah. Rickey gonna be playin' by September."
"Stole a base today, huh?"
"Oh yeah - you probably had two steals after five innings, right?
"Rickey just wanted to say, Rickey is impressed."