A three game lead with only four games to go wasn’t enough. A 3-1 lead in the sixth inning of their one game playoff with the Minnesota Twins wasn’t enough.
The Detroit Tigers finished off their 2009 season by losing a 12 inning, one game playoff Tuesday night to their Central Division rival Minnesota Twins. After being up 3-1, manager Jim Leyland decided that taking out young pitcher Rick Porcello in favor of Zach Miner was the right move.
Leyland, who has a history of mishandling pitching staffs, lived up to his reputation. Miner gave up a two run home run to the Twins Orlando Cabrera to make the game 4-3 in favor of Minnesota in the 7th inning.
Aside from a Brandon Inge RBI double that later tied the game, the Tigers never showed any “killer” instinct. I was waiting for them to put the game away, especially when they had the bases loaded with only one out in the 10th inning.
So what’s next for the Tigers? Besides a winter at home watching the playoffs, they definitely have some issues that they need to address if they want to improve on this past season.
First and foremost, is Jim Leyland still the guy that you want to manage this team? I know that he just signed a two year extension this past season, but he does not seem to be able to get through to this team. Since 2006, it seems like this team does not perform well in big games. Also, his decisions involving the pitching staff have been questionable to say the least.
I’d also like to see a veteran brought in to mentor Miguel Cabrera. He is one of the most talented players in the league, but his decision to go out last Friday with some of the Chicago White Sox players showed that he still has some maturing to do. On a weekend where the Tigers were trying to clinch their division, going out drinking till the early hours of the morning was a horrible decision. And drinking as much as he did (he blew a .26!!) is just plain dangerous!
I know that some people would argue that the Tigers were a good first place team for most of the year, and that is true. However, they were a first place team in the weakest division in baseball. They were probably the most talented team in the division, but did not perform up to their potential.
Now that I think about it, that is how people describe the Chicago Cubs. For Tigers fans sake, let’s hope that they don’t have to wait as long between championships.