Cleanup Blues

You have to love what Rondell White has done the last three weeks.  A career high hitting streak that reached 18 on Thursday and a batting average well over .300.  However, Alan Trammell is the first to admit that White is not your prototypical cleanup man.  The Tigers in fact have been searching for a number four hitter since Magglio Ordonez when down with a hernia in the first month.  As Mom always said, "You can’t have any dessert unless you clean your plate." 

Detroit has used five different cleanup hitters this season.  To illustrate how important the loss of Ordonez has been to this team, consider the following numbers.  Through June 1st, the Tigers had a total of 19 RBI out of the cleanup spot, the lowest total in the A.L.  They also had only three homers from the four spot, ranking them 12th out of 14 A.L. teams.  The thirteen walks from the four hole is also 12th in the league, indicating perhaps that opposing pitchers are not as willing to pitch around the cleanup man in the Tigers order as they are with other clubs.

This is where Ordonez comes in.  Mags_1 Since 1999 he has averaged .313 with 23 HR and 84 RBI a season in the cleanup spot.  Not too shabby.  In fact his RBI and batting average totals rank among the best in the American League.  Also, since 1999, only Carlos Delgado (710) and Manny Ramirez (701) have knocked in more runs from the four hole than Ordonez (506) in the A.L.  The Tigers are patiently waiting for Mags to return to the lineup,  hopefully around the All Star break.  In the meantime, if they can stay close, the offense could get a big boost in the second half.  After all, the White Sox have to come back to the pack eventually…right?


Yes, they have to come back down to earth but there is this other team playing in the state of Minnesota and the Indians have turned around their fortunes. We need Mags back and healthy. He will help no doubt!!

Sorry Mario, even if the White Sox come back down to earth, the Tigs won’t be the team catching them. I think we’ve seen enough of the season played ro realize that the ChiSox are not a complete fluke. Let’s say they come back to earth and only play .500 ball the rest of the way. That would put them at 90-72 on the season and in good shape to win the division title. Do you know what Detroit would have to do to even tie them? The Tigs would have to finish 64-46 in their final 100 games.

Now I’m pretty optimistic and love the direction the organization is heading in. But to think they have any prayer of catching the Sox is just not realistic. Heck, the White Sox could finish the season playing like one of the worst teams in the league at 45-63 the rest of the way and they’d still win 82 games.

Everybody knows that even with the recent success of the White Sox, that this is, top to bottom still the worst division in baseball. The Tigers definitly have a chance of catching the White Sox, who behind explosive manager Ozzie Guillen could implode at any moment. The Twins have lost talent over the last few years, and when Mags comes back, this will finially give the Tigers that #4 hitter they desperatly need. Until then, Dimitri’s bat is starting to heat up like it always seems to do around this time. Craig Monroe is continuing to get better everyday (I love his swing) and once Carlos Guillen and everybody else can get firmly situated into this Tigers lineup, then things are going to start happening. Don’t think that winning this division is out of the question.

hey, I’m as big a Tigs fan as anybody else in the world, but winning the division is practically a statistical impossibility at this point. Teams don’t get lucky for 2.5 months, the White Sox will not win less than 87 or 88 games and will likely win closer to 95.

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