I took a week off from the Monday morning thoughts after a weekend camping, but I'm back this morning to share what I think.
The Tigers went 5-5 on their road trip. Considering their opponents -- a surprising second-place Pirates team, an expectantly-good Rangers club and the always-competitive Rays -- I think you take that. "Go 500 on the road and better at home" is generally the aim in baseball. Interestingly, the Tigers are a game under .500 this morning -- because they have a losing record at home for the year. If they had only defended their home stadium better, they'd be above .500 and a lot closer to first place.
Another interesting note: The Tigers' strength of schedule (.508) is actually the sixth more difficult schedule in the MLB -- behind four AL East teams as well as the Atlanta Braves. The White Sox' SOS, in case you're wondering, is a 19th-ranked .496.
Austin Jackson was snubbed from the All-Star Game. But players having solid seasons will always be left out from the All-Star Game -- especially when there's not a big voting contingent to ensure their appearance. Jackson put together a pretty good rookie season, but stumbled badly in 2011 -- at least at the plate. And despite having the respect from a number of analysts -- and a Fielding Bible award to show for it -- Jackson's peers in the game haven't seemed to show great awareness of his glove. So when neither the fans nor the league selects him to play in the ASG, it can't come as a great surprise. If Jackson continues putting up great numbers next year and he's still ignored, then you've got a great complaint. Until then, I don't think it's the worst snub in history.
Quietly, Ryan Raburn turned things around while Brennan Boesch didn't. I touched on these issues briefly last week as well. Ryan Raburn finished the month of June with a .321 batting average, .345 on-base percentage and .464 slugging average. He continued on that success Sunday with an RBI-single and a walk. Part of Raburn's success should be attributed to Tigers manager Jim Leyland. When Raburn returned from a short trip to Triple-A Toledo, Leyland picked the right spots to play Raburn. The result was that he only played in about one-third of the Tigers' games for the month, but contributed well at the plate frequently. Brennan Boesch, meanwhile, had one of the worst month's of his career. With a .220 average, .258 OBP and .319 slugging, his .576 OPS was the worst of the season. Essentially he batted the same as the second half of 2010. In fact, since the hot start of his rookie campaign, Boesch just hasn't been particularly good. It's plain to see that was the outlier of his career much more than this June's performance.
Some random stats ...
During the final two weeks of June, the Tigers had 3.02 ERA. That's including the 19 earned runs allowed across two days in Texas. Outside of those games, the Tigers' ERA was 1.86. Pretty good, huh?
During that same 14-game span, the Tigers had 10-or-more hits six times and scored four-or-more runs eight times.
Fox Sports Detroit's poll Sunday asked what fans' favorite uniforms were. They included the traditional home and aways, as well as the 1980s version worn by Detroit on Saturday and the Detroit Stars uniforms. The 1980s version won the fans' poll. With good reason. How much would you love to see the Tigers return to those rather than grays they usually wear? I know I would. Like Melissa wrote on Twitter, I kept expecting to see Alan Trammell come trotting out onto the field. I don't know if the uniforms are the most aesthetic, but they've got great memories attached.