2007 Detroit Tigers Baseball Preview
The Old Man River of baseball, manager Jim Leyland, did it again. This time he brought the young and untested Detroit Tigers (95- 67) to the World Series. All summer, everyone waited for Leyland’s club to lose their roar. And although they weakened near the end of the regular season, in the post-season, they beat the Yankees and A’s and then lost to the Cards in five. Can this season’s Tigers top that?
Veteran lefty Kenny Rogers (17- 8, 3.84) was the ultimate anchor for this club, proving to be a tough-minded leader. Right-hander Justin Verlander (17- 9, 3.63 ERA), last season’s AL Rookie of the Year, needs to stay away from a sophomore slump, while Jeremy Bonderman (14- 8, 4.08 ERA) has shown improvement each season for the past three years. The Tigers 3.84 team ERA was the lowest in the majors. The bullpen, which is one of the league’s best, includes 100 MPH fastballer Joel Zumaya, veteran Jose Mesa and talented closer Todd Jones (2- 6, 3.94 ERA, 37 SV).
Gary Sheffield (.298 AVG, 25 RBI, 6 HR), late of the Yankees, will DH for the Tigers, joining a line-up that includes right fielder Magglio Ordonez (.298 AVG, 104 RBI, 24 HR), catcher Ivan Roderiguez (.300 VG, 69 RBI, 13 HR) and SS Carlos Guillen (.320 AVG, 85 RBI, 19 HR).
Detroit’s defense is their weakest link, Their .983 fielding percentage tied them for ninth in the AL. SS Guillen led the AL in errors with 28. Behind the plate, Roderiguez is first-class.
Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski captured a World Series for the Marlins when he teamed up with Leyland and now they’ve guided the Tigers into the post-season. Leyland is the ultimate player’s manager. Dombrowski knows baseball inside out.
The Tigers will be competitive again this season. But they are in a very tough division and will have their work cut out for them. Better fielding will help and key vets staying healthy will be essential.
For more info on the Tigers check out the MLB official page for Detroit.