Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's just one game... it's just one game...

Whew! It's a good thing today is an off-day on the Tigers' schedule, because I'm still working off a sports hangover from the best sports day of the year. (Or maybe I'm just carrying the malaise from last night's national championship basketball game. Yeesh. But more on that, and its benefits for me later on.)

The hangover cost me crucial hours in being early to the blogging scene with a post-mortem on yesterday's Opening Day victory for the Tigers. So please allow me to acknowledge those who blogged before me:

  • What is an "AROUS" and is it on fire? The internet's favorite feline anarchist has the answer at Roar of the Tigers.
  • Billfer is smiling. Let's hope the Tigers can keep his (and our) frowns upside-down.
  • TigerBlog was pleasantly surprised by Kenny Rogers.
  • Jason Beck was impressed by the Tigers' focus, which is likely a sign that Jim Leyland's message is getting through.

Sure, it was only one game, and it was against the Royals, whose primary purpose should be to hold the fort on last place in the AL Central. But to me, the Tigers couldn't have had a better Opening Day showing because some important questions were answered right away:

▪▪ How would Kenny Rogers, one of the team's big free-agent signings, work out?

One run and three hits in six innings; I believe the baseball intelligentsia calls that a "quality start."

▪▪ Will Chris Shelton hit as well as he did last year, now that "the book" has been written on him?

Hell, he might be even better. Kauffman Stadium could not contain "Big Red," as he hit home runs to each side of the field.

▪▪ With Todd Jones on the DL, can Fernando Rodney close out games in the 9th? (And will he ever live up to expectations?)

I believe that was a 1-2-3 ninth inning against the Royals' likely three best hitters (Grudzielanek, Sweeney, and Sanders).

▪▪ Is this Zumaya kid ready for the major leagues?

Oh man, Joel Zumaya. Walking Mike Sweeney wasn't a great way to begin, but he quickly made up for that with two strikeouts, and ended up the shining star from yesterday's game. Throwing him into a tight, late-inning situation was a savvy move by Leyland. See what the kid's got, right?

Greg Eno devoted his blog to young Joel today, calling his debut "one of the most anticipated seventh innings around here in quite some time." Royals Review said the 21-year-old rookie was "filthy." ESPN.com's Buster Olney raved about Zumaya's stuff, and declared him a star in the making. Everybody's favorite Detroit sports columnist, Rob Parker, said the Royals hitters were turned "into goo."

Also, Pudge Rodriguez drew a walk, which is already an encouraging improvement over last year. And Carlos Guillen reminded us of what he can do when healthy. I'm telling myself not to make too big a deal of it, as I did last year. After all, Brandon Inge has apparently forgotten how to slide into second base properly. But I'll sure as hell take at least one day to enjoy the new 2006 season.

(Photo by Orlen Wagner/ AP)

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3 Comments:

  • At April 04, 2006 10:34 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    Thank heavens for the time zone difference; I was able to catch most of the game on radio and TV after work.

    Dombrowski's done a hell of a job, I think. Not a lot of free agents yet, but I suspect once all the youngster's are fully evaluated, the purse strings will loosen up again for a load of high-priced guys to put us over the top, assuming we even need it. But good lord...I'm excited to keep watching the pitching staff. Bonderman, Tata (for now), Verlander, Zumaya. Whew.

    This is seriously the most excited I've been about baseball since I was a kid. I've always watched, but I've watched almost out of a sense of hometown obligation more than excitement. I was almost giddy to hear the game on the radio yesteday, and that, more than anything, makes me happy.

     
  • At April 05, 2006 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Having good young arms can help the Tigers in other ways, too, such as being used as trade chips to bring in other players to help carry the team into contention.

     
  • At April 06, 2006 1:12 PM, Blogger Sam said…

    I love how everyone else is all "serious Tigers review w00t" and I'm all "CHRIS SHELTON HE LOOKS LIKE A GIANT RAT ARE YOU WITH ME ON THIS ONE PEOPLE?"

    Variety is the spice of the internet? Or something. :P

     

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