When You’re Feeling Down And Need A Helping Hand

And I kept my job!

Simply remember the 2003 Detroit Tigers. A team that historically bad has to bring up anyone’s spirits.

Some of you may remember how horrendous that Detroit squad was, but taking a good hard look at the stats and roster will bring to light a few details that are awe inducing. A good place to start, as always, is the starting rotation:

  1. Nate Cornejo : 6-17   4.67 ERA   1.51 WHIP    58 BB  48 K
  2. Mike Maroth : 9-21  5.71 ERA   1.45 WHIP    50 BB  87 K
  3. Jeremy Bonderman : 6-19  5.56 ERA   1.55 WHIP    58 BB  108 K
  4. Adam Bernero : 1-12  6.08 ERA   1.44 WHIP    41 BB  54 K
  5. Gary Knotts : 3-8  6.04 ERA   1.45 WHIP    47 BB  51 K

Nate Cornejo, the unquestionable anchor of the group, ended with more walks than strikeouts. But that’s not the most interesting part. He pitched 194.2 innings and only mangaged to strikeout 48 batters. Take a minute to let that set in. Mike Maroth holds the dubious honor of being the 21 game loser of the group. Bonderman, the only pitcher on the entire squad to K more than 100 batters is the only one still in the Bigs. Maroth spent a short while with the Cardinals that didn’t go so well; 10.66 ERA in 38 IP. If Dave Duncan can’t squeeze any more juice out of you then it’s time to hang’er up.

The bullpen was equally as horrific but contains a few interesting names. Steve Avery made a cameo after a four year hiatus. Current major leaguers Nate Robertson and Fernando Rodney provided poor results. Former No. 1 overall fireballer Matt Anderson pitched his last season for the team that wasted a pick on him. And who could forget about the 89.2 IP provided by Steve Sparks. Yeah, that Steve Sparks.

Now let’s take a look at that starting lineup:

  1. C – Brandon Inge
  2. 1B – Carlos Pena
  3. 2B – Warren Morris
  4. 3B – Eric Munson
  5. SS – Ramon Santiago
  6. LF – Craig Monroe
  7. CF – Alex Sanchez
  8. RF – Bobby Higginson
  9. DH – Dmitri Young

I know what you’re thinking; “Hey, Carlos Pena, Brandon Inge and Bobby Higginson are good!”

Incorrect. Bobby Higginson did have some pretty solid years as a Tiger, but he hit to a tune of .235 in 2003. Carlos Pena has only recently become a “good” player. In 2003, he was still hitting for a terrible average like he does today. However, unlike present day, Pena hadn’t quite found his power stroke yet and only hit 18 HRs as the starting first baseman. Brandon Inge is what he is and his defense seems to be his best contribution.

Dmitri Young, understandably the only All-Star from the squad, posted a solid yet unspectacular year. Both of Young’s All-Star selections came while he was playing for a couple of the worst teams in all MLB. Coincidence?

The rest of the roster speaks for itself. Alex Sanchez was booted from baseball for steroid use, Ramon Santiago continues to be a seat filler at the Oscars, Craig Monroe only sees action against lefties and the rest of the bench might as well be (Eric) Munsoned in the middle of nowhere. I guess the real question is, “Who the hell is Warren Morris?”

Key reserves included Shane Halter, Hiram Bocachica and CURRENT ALL-STAR OMAR INFANTE!!!!

Put that into a blender and predictably out comes a 43-119 record. Not even this hometown hero could fix that 2003 Detroit team.

Take a look at Bobby Higginson’s more intimidating days at the plate:

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