Detroit keeps dominating
Breaking down the Tigers, second baseman contracts and April surprises
1. Detroit is 4-0 and has outscored foes 31-16. Are the Tigers really this good?
Jim Caple (@jimcaple), ESPN.com
No, Detroit is even better. Tigers will go 162-0. Prince and Miggy will combine for 120 home runs. Justin Verlander will win Cy Young with a record of 0-0, 0.00 ERA and 250 strikeouts in 240 innings, and Jose Valverde goes 40-0 with 40 blown saves. And Detroit will be so jacked by it all, that, after winning the World Series, the fans will raise barns, manufacture water-fueled cars and fix all the potholes on Michigan Avenure instead of setting fire to the city.
Chad Dotson (@dotsonc), Redleg Nation
I'm willing to bet that Detroit won't go 162-0, but there's no reason to believe the Motor City Kitties won't be very good all season long. That offense is going to score runs in bunches, and the bullpen should be good. If Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello continue to improve, Verlander might just carry this team to a pennant.
Josh Worn (@WalkoffWoodward), Walkoff Woodward
I'm the last person you want to ask this, but, yes, they are. They won't keep this level of domination or luck up all year, but the lineup works so well together that there is little that could stand in the way of a second straight division title.[+] EnlargeRon Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty ImagesIan Kinsler signed a five-year, $82 million extension, and Brandon Phillips got $72.5 million for six years.
2. Brandon Phillips (Reds) or Ian Kinsler (Rangers): Which team got better bang for its buck with the contract extension for its second baseman?
Caple: The Reds and Rangers each got almost identical bang for their buck. However, Cincinnati's right side of the infield is now the most expensive piece of Ohio real estate apart from the booster club section at Ohio Stadium.
Dotson: The short answer is this: Kinsler is a slightly better player than Phillips, and Kinsler is a year younger. Yes, the Rangers got more value for their second-base dollars, but that doesn't mean Cincinnati made a mistake. Phillips is a fine player in his own right; he's durable; and he's very popular in the Queen City. Both clubs should get plenty of bang for their buck, especially in the short term.
Worn: Texas did. Kinsler is underrated offensively and defensively, probably because he has been injured often, but, although the years might be a bit long, Kinsler is more likely to play to his contract than Phillips.
3. Most pleasant surprise of the season so far is ?
Caple: The Boston Red Sox are 1-4 and in last place. The New York Yankees are 2-3 and in fourth. The Philadelphia Phillies are 1-3 and in fourth. But as great as it is seeing the rich and annoying get off to such poor starts, the most pleasant surprise so far is that the Seattle Mariners' season started two full weeks ago and they still don't have a losing record. Yet.
Dotson: Barry Zito. When Zito took the mound Monday afternoon for his first start of the season, the San Francisco Giants were still winless (after starts by Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain). Given his well-publicized struggles, what happened next was almost unthinkable: Zito twirled a four-hitter, his first shutout in nine years. This, my friends, is why we love baseball.
Worn: Have to go with Zito. His complete-game shutout at Coors Field could be one aberration, or it could be the start of a decent season. Regardless, until that day, he was probably one pitcher you thought would never throw another complete game in his career.
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