Carlos Gonzalez jumped on a Max Scherzer hanger in the top of the first inning Sunday in D.C. …
That’s the 14th homer for CarGo in his last 27 games. He’s the hottest hitter on the planet right now.
In the wake of Dave Dombrowski being released as Tigers GM I’m seeing some sentiment on the web which goes: “Dombrowski had almost unlimited resources and over a decade at the helm; the Tigers not winning a title in that time means he was a failure.”
Sorry, not buying it. Not at all.
Yes, it would be nicer for Tigers fans if a title had been brought back home, but let’s assess Dombrowski on what he did in his entire tenure, shall we?
He took over in 2002 as team president. At the time Randy Smith was the GM and Phil Garner the manager. Dombrowski fired them early in the season and took over as GM. Those were some bad Tigers teams and they would only get worse — they’d lose 106 games in 2002 and 119 in 2003 and more than 90 each of the next two seasons — but he was building the team from the wreckage that Randy Smith had left. And it was some serious, serious wreckage.
By 2006 the Tigers, with manager Jim Leyland at the helm, were in the World Series. They got there via a number of Dombrowski moves and with the help of players Dombrowski developed. Veterans Ivan Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez and Kenny Rogers came to Detroit. Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson were drafted and quickly rose through the system. Within the next few years he’d flip Granderson for Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson, develop Alex Avila, Rick Porcello and, in a move that will be at the top of his career accomplishments no matter what else he does, managed to trade for Miguel Cabrera in his prime. And he gave up very damn little for him. The winning that was teased by that 2006 pennant came to fruition with four straight division titles beginning in 2011, three straight ALCS appearances and another AL Pennant in 2012.
Could the run have been better? Of course. If Dombrowski had done a better job putting a bullpen together there may have been another pennant and perhaps a World Series title in Motown in the past four years. And, yes, one can question some of Dombrowski’s moves such as letting Max Scherzer go, Justin Verlander’s massive extension and trading Doug Fister. Any general manager has missteps, Dombrowski is no different.
But to look at Dombrowski’s tenure with the Tigers demands that one judge it positively. The entire organization was an utter disaster in the early 2000s and now, its slipping in 2015 notwithstanding, it is considered one of the best organizations in baseball. This is no accident. And for that Tigers fans can thank Dave Dombrowski.
Braves 9, Giants 8: Adonis Garcia with the walkoff two-run homer in the 12th inning. The Giants had a 6-0 lead in the sixth inning thanks in part to two Brandon Crawford homers and had a one run lead in the 12th but they blew it both times. This is the kind of loss that has to absolutely sting when you’re in a playoff race. The kind you look back at in October if you fall a game or two short and say “man, THAT’S the one we should’ve had.”
Mets 12, Marlins 1: Yoenis Cespedes hit three doubles and drove in four runs, and with that the Mets have sole possession of first place in the NL East. As fans of a losing NL East teams, the Phillies, Braves and Marlins people are no in the position of having to choose between rooting for the Mets or Nats to win the division. Hard choice. As far as team narrative goes it’s hard not to root for the Mets. Or, at the very least, Mets fans. At the same time Bryce Harper is my favorite player on either of these two teams so watching him go deep into the playoffs may be fun. Of course eventually personal fandom may win out and I’ll root for the meteor to hit Citi Field between October 2 and 4.
Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 4: Making it even harder to root for the Nationals in all of this is how uninspired their play has been lately. Fun fact: Matt Williams set up his rotation after the break in such a way as to make sure Max Scherzer never once faced the Mets in the six games those two teams just completed. Viva la sense of urgency. Here the Diamondbacks took a 6-0 lead into the ninth thanks to Zack Godley’s six shutout innings. Daniel Hudson made it interesting by allowing four runs in the ninth, but the comeback fell short. The Snakes smacked three homers off of Doug Fister and another off Jonathan Papelbon who was just in to get some work in what was then a blowout.
Blue Jays 5, Twins 1: David Price makes his Blue Jays debut and it goes swimmingly, with 11 strikeouts in eight innings. Between this, the Tulowitzki acquisition and the Twins falling off, I am growing convinced that the Jays are going to make the playoffs. And if they make the playoffs its a crapshoot, so they could easily make the World Series. I cover the World Series every year, so if they do I’ll have to go to Toronto. Except my passport is expired, so I have to get a new one. Thanks a lot, Blue Jays. You’re making me do paperwork.
Rangers 12, Astros 9: Adrian Beltre hit for the cycle. And he didn’t mess around, completing it by the fifth inning. I wonder if anyone has ever hit for the double cycle. As it was, Beltre’s cycle was the third of his career. He’s the first guy to do that in over 75 years. Of course, cycles have an element of weirdness to them in that, sometimes, it’s better to get one less total base or two in a given situation to keep the feat alive. Just ask Beltre, who maybe could’ve had a second triple in this one but held up at second base in the second inning. Could that have been your second triple, Adrian?
“I thought I might, but I changed my mind last second,” said Beltre, who rapidly circled both of his arms like he was trying to reverse his momentum.
Asked if he was thinking then about preserving the chance for a cycle, Beltre paused briefly before responding, “Maybe.”
I’m sure some play-the-game-the-right-way-folks are gonna grumble about that.
Rays 5, White Sox 4: Rookie Mikie Mahtook hit a two-out, ninth inning RBI single to put the Rays ahead for good in a see-saw game. Or was it a teetor-totter game? Guess it depends where you’re from. Either way, fans in the stands drank soda, not pop. Pop just sounds dumb. Don’t call it pop, people.
Padres 13, Brewers 5: Yangervis Solarte hit two homers, Jedd Gyorko had three hits including a bomb of his own and Alexi Amarista had three RBI as the Friars cruised. It was all over after a six-run seventh inning. As you may have heard, Pat Murphy, the Padres manager, managed Craig Counsell, the Brewers manager, when the latter played at Notre Dame. This is one of those neat facts that, were these two teams to play in a nationally televised playoff game would become less neat as the commentators mentioned it over and over and over again. Thankfully Milwaukee and San Diego aren’t allowing that to happen this year.
Mariners 8, Rockies 7: Nelson Cruz homered for this fourth straight game, getting to 30 on the year. Felix Hernandez allowed 11 hits in six and two-thirds but minimized the damage, allowing only four runs. Quite a feat at Coors Field. Nine strikeouts and only one walk help that.
Angels 5, Indians 4: The Angels end their six-game losing streak. This was the third time in four days the Angels faced a Cy Young winner. While they couldn’t get it done against Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, they managed Corey Kluber just fine, gathering five runs on ten hits in five and two-thirds.
Orioles 9, Athletics 2: Chris Davis hit a three-run shot and Adam Jones and Caleb Joseph hit dingers of their own as the Orioles took their eighth of ten. The Orioles are tied with Toronto so maybe I won’t have to use that passport.
Cubs vs. Pirates: POSTPONED: So girl, hang your dress up to dry we ain’t leaving this room
Till Percy Priest breaks open wide and the river runs through
And carries this house on the stones like a piece of driftwood
Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good
Yeah, I know it was rain, not a flood, but I’ve had that song in my head for two weeks and was hoping for a rainout in order to use it. Besides, they WOULD cancel a game if there was a team in Nashville and the Percy Priest dam flooded. Of this I am certain.