Monday Morning Manager is a series that Greg Eno has been writing since 2009 on his personal blogs. It's a look back at the previous Tigers week and a look ahead at the current week. This season, he brings the series, featuring his alter ego "MMM", to Bless You Boys, every Monday morning.
Last Week: 4-2
This week: at NYY (Aug. 4-7); at Tor (Aug. 8-10)
So, What Happened?
Oh, not much, unless you count the acquisition of the 2012 Cy Young Award winner minutes before the July 31 interleague, non-waiver trade deadline.
Other than Thursday's blockbuster, which brought David Price to the Tigers for Drew Smyly, 18 year-old shortstop prospect Willy Adames (to Tampa Bay) and Austin Jackson (to Seattle) in a three-team trade, the Tigers needed a three-game sweep of the awful Colorado Rockies to make up for their 1-2 performance against the slightly less awful Chicago White Sox, all at Comerica Park.
The Tigers got terrific starting pitching all weekend, spawning titillating thoughts of what the team's rotation can look like if all five guys are firing on all cylinders.
MMM is still thinking about that surreal moment on Thursday afternoon, when Rajai Davis jogged to center field in the seventh inning, motioning to Jackson that he was being replaced. Then came the long jog for Jackson to the dugout, which came amidst a heartwarming, standing ovation. Everyone knew what Jackson was absorbing—that he had been traded.
Hero of the Week
MMM doesn't always give a fair shake to the pitchers when it comes to weekly Hero status. Part of that is because only one or two guys in the rotation will make more than one start in any given week.
But even though Rick Porcello made just one start last week, MMM is giving the Italian Stallion II from New Jersey some love.
Porcello was brilliant on Saturday night, going eight innings, surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out 10 Rockies hitters.
Granted, "Rockies hitters" is a suspect term, but they're still big leaguers, right?
So why does that particular start, which netted Porcello his 13th victory of the season, merit MMM's Hero for last week?
Consider it a nod to Porcello's breakout year, in which he has far exceeded most (if not all) people's expectations. MMM thinks there are still a bunch of folks out there who are waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to Porcello, who is eclipsing anything he's done since joining the Tigers in 2009.
Well, that shoe is still undropped, and he is still turning in Hero-worthy weeks, and it's August.
Honorable mentions: Victor Martinez (8-for-24; two homers, seven RBI); Anibal Sanchez (good bounce back start on Sunday: 7 IP, 2 H, 12 K); Torii Hunter (7-for-19).
Goat of the Week
Last week MMM placed newly-acquired reliever Joakim Soria Under the Microscope.
Soria didn't look too good there, did he?
Soria settled down by the end of the week, but on Tuesday against the White Sox, he had an abortion of an outing.
In a measly one-third of an inning, Soria gave up six hits, four earned runs and his ERA jumped over a full run—from 2.67 to 3.71—in that one-third inning.
Soria + Microscope = Graphic images.
Soria was much better on Sunday, pitching a mostly clean ninth inning (just one hit allowed) to seal the Tigers' 4-0 win over Colorado.
So there's hope.
Under the Microscope
Gee, who do you suppose is UtM this week?
Could it be Mr. Price, who makes his Tigers debut on Tuesday night at the Yankees?
MMM begs your pardon for going with low hanging fruit here, but to name anyone other than Price as being UtM would be a gross injustice.
And MMM is all about justice.
It looks like Price's first two starts wearing the Old English D will come on the road. So they will come in dirty grays instead of creamy whites. But who cares, as long as he pitches well, right?
Upcoming: Yankees, Blue Jays
It's a week on the road in the AL East, and it starts with four games in the band box that is new Yankee Stadium.
The new joint isn't where Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle roamed, of course. Instead, it has the ghosts of Granderson, Ibanez and Chavez.
The Yankees are struggling to stay above .500 with a pitching rotation decimated by injuries and an offense that is here one day, gone the next.
But in the relatively weak East, the Bronx Bombers are still in the hunt for at least a Wild Card berth.
The big news in New York is the acquisition on deadline day of shortstop Stephen Drew form the rival Boston Red Sox. Remember him?
Drew, a free agent at the time, was supposed to solve the Tigers' shortstop conundrum back on Opening Day and thereabouts.
But GM Dave Dombrowski didn't bite and Drew ended up re-signing with the Red Sox after the season started.
On Thursday, the Yankees acquired Drew from the Red Sox, who are in fire sale mode, for fellow infielder Kelly Johnson.
Because of the scheduling gods, Drew made his Yankees debut...at Fenway Park!
Tigers probables vs. Yankees: Max Scherzer, Price, Justin Verlander, Porcello.
MMM can't figure out the Blue Jays.
Are the Jays the team that marched into Comerica Park in June and swept the Tigers unmercifully, or are they the squad that, shortly after that sweep, went into the tank?
The Jays stood pat at the deadline, which didn't play too well in Toronto—especially with star slugger Jose Bautista, who publicly expressed some disappointment in the fact that Toronto made no moves, while their East brethren did.
Toronto is 60-53, losers of three straight but still just 3 ½ games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. Bautista's feelings are appreciated by MMM, who also wonders why the Jays didn't do something. You're in second place in a winnable division—so make a move!
Tigers probables vs. Blue Jays: Sanchez, Scherzer, Price.
That's all for this week's MMM. See you next week!