Looking Good For '89 - The Detroit Tigers finished only one game out of first place in the AL East, with a 88-74 record in 1988. Manager Sparky Anderson can rev up the team's engine now that All-Stars' Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker are injury-free. The league's top double play combo played together only 28 games after the All-Star break in '88, both were slowed by nagging injuries.
Worth Watching For In '89 - Gary Pettis, Chet Lemon and Fred Lynn are as good a defensive outfield as there is in the AL. Sparky Anderson calls Pettis his "defensive weapon that can fly". Pettis stole 44 bases in 54 attempts in 1988. The Tigers' bullpen rates as one of the best, with Mike Henneman, 9-6, a mere 1.87 ERA and 22 saves. Guillermo Hernandez; 6-5, 3.06 ERA, 10 saves; is the Tigers' long reliever . Baseball History Team Veterans
There's no doubt that Jack Morris and Doyle Alexander are the pitching staff's leaders and workhorses' of the league. Morris started 34 games, completed 10, 3.94 ERA in 235 innings. Alexander was 14-11, 4.32 ERA in 34 starts. Veteran left-hander Frank Tanana, 14-11 is still going strong. Jeff Robinson appears ready for another winning year. Robinson posted numbers of 13-7, 2.59 in 1988.
Aging Chet Lemon and Fred Lynn are being counted on to supply the power numbers - if they can stay injury-free. Both players still have intensity along with a winning attitude. Lemon hit 29 doubles, 17 HRs but drove-in only 64 runs in '88. Lynn was hampered by injuries all year but did hit 18 HRs in 391 at bats.
Matt Nokes still rates as one of the league's better catcher; strong arm and high marks in handling the Tigers' pitching staff. Needs Improvement - 3rd and 1st bases are question marks - Chris Brown played only 80 games at the hot-corner, batted .232, 2 HRs and a puny 19 RBIs.
Keith Moreland will be counted on to replace popular veteran Darrell Evans, who was released. Moreland lacks defense but does plays aggressively. Although his' bat is slowing down, he's still capable of driving-in 50-70 runs. The Tigers have to get healthy if they want to win "the whole ball of gold". baseballhistorian.com - manager's notesbook page 271