What, we worry?
Following a horrifying Spring Training, Dontrelle Willis facing a rugged (despite horrible choices in facial hair) White Sox lineup had all the makings of a Saturday afternoon horror show. It wasn't pretty, as Willis gave up seven walks in five innings, showing that the control problems he had in Lakeland are still a significant issue. But he was effective, allowing only one hit, which is what the Tigers needed out of him.
But there's one big question mark the D-Train is dragging behind him right now, and that's his injury status. From the way he was shaking his hand and looking at it after his last few pitches to Orlando Cabrera, I wonder if maybe he developed a problem with a blister or fingernail. If it's something worse, like a shoulder or forearm, Willis shouldn't try to be a tough guy and fight through it. That's exactly the sort of thing that got the pitching staff in trouble last season. With Monday's off-day, the Tigers could skip Willis's next turn if he needs it.
The Kid Stays in the Picture?
Depending on how Curtis Granderson is healing from his broken hand, the Tigers could be facing a tough decision with the sweet-swinging Clete Thomas. Sure, it's a small sample size and maybe he's taking advantage of opposing pitchers' unfamiliarity with him right now, but after four games (14 at-bats), Clete's average is an impressive .500/.500/.571. He's been playing well enough to reduce Ryan Raburn to an afterthought in the Tigers' current plans, and has really been the only consistent bat in Detroit's lineup since getting promoted to the starting lineup.
Will Clete eventually get squeezed out in a roster crunch? Probably. This early in the season, the Tigers likely weren't going to choose him over Jacque Jones, and Jones' bat is beginning to show some life, anyway. And Clete is surely better off getting regular at-bats with Toledo, rather than cooling on the bench in Detroit. But in what's been a frustrating, baffling opening week for the Tigers, at least there's been a fun story to follow.
Brandon Inge won't make that decision process any easier, either. Can the Tigers afford to take his bat (.375/.474/.875, two home runs, four RBIs) out of the lineup right now?
He Can Be Center Field
Before the season began, I was trading instant messages with Kurt of Mack Avenue Tigers, and we wondered what the White Sox were thinking in making Nick Swisher their starting center fielder. With the big center fields in the AL Central, how many extra-base hits would the Sox give up? Obviously, I didn't know what the hell I was talking about. Swisher was everywhere yesterday, snaring balls at the warning track and waiting for anything the Tigers hit into the gap.
If It's Any Consolation...
If I told you that the Cleveland Indians are also nursing a losing streak, having lost three in a row while also struggling with their bats, is that something that might interest you?