Overall, these five players combined for 62% of the relief innings in 2010, but the damage done by other pitchers getting significant action was hard to overcome. Henry Rodriguez (4.55 ERA in 27 2/3 innings), Boof Bonser (5.09, 23), Tyson Ross (5.12, 31.2) and Chad Gaudin (8.83, 17.1) accounted for 23% of the relief innings last season, and when almost a quarter of your bullpen innings are that bad, it makes it hard for a team to stay in games when the offense isn’t playing well.
But this one brought an end to what turned out to be the final loss in a second straight season the Tribe was unable to win 70 games for the first time since modern expansion in 1961.
The Tigers get their first look at Chicago’s Gavin Floyd Monday. The 26-year-old righty went 3-0 in five starts against Detroit in 2008. Chicago went on to win each of those five contests.
The sale jerseys can survive with a platoon of Brian Anderson and Dewayne Wise in center (with Anderson getting more playing time thanks to gold glove-caliber defense), but the lack of a “traditional” leadoff hitter will force Ozzie Guillen to get creative. In the end, I’d expect Chris Getz to get the majority of at-bats from the No. 1 spot in the order this year, but he may not slide in there until late April or early May, whenever Guillen realizes that he’s a better long-term option than Wise or Anderson.
The American League has seen the likes of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee relocate to the national League. So Lester’s only competition should be Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia. Hernandez will be hard-pressed to win 13 games again like he did last year despite a 2.27 ERA. Seattle’s offense and bullpen is just that bad. The Yankees’ Sabathia, despite still being only 30 years old, has logged over 230 innings in his last four seasons and has, remarkably, thrown over 180 innings in each of his 10 seasons in the majors. Might this be the year he breaks down? The Yankees don’t even want to consider the possibility.
25. Chicago Cubs – It will be interesting to see if the Cubs make any significant moves on the free agent market this offseason to close the gap between the top and bottom of the NL Central.
Assists: The Tigers had 1,668 assists in 2010, which ranked them ninth in the majors. The Cardinals were first with 1,872 assists, and the Giants were last with 1,485. The top ten teams in assists were the Cardinals, Indians, Braves, Twins, Rockies, Athletics, Blue Jays, Phillies and Tigers.
Second baseman Gordon Beckham is expected to improve on his rookie year and second year numbers. Catcher A. J. Pierzynski handles the pitching staff well with veteran leadership but also is consistent at the plate, often coming through in the clutch. Young catcher Tyler Flowers may start to press Pierzynski for playing time this season.