DREW SHARP: Tigers look smart moving Doug Fister for Robbie Ray

Good teams ably juggle the necessity of winning today while not forgetting the overriding objective of winning tomorrow as well.

The Detroit Tigers understand that.

The Detroit Lions don’t.

That’s why one team expects success — whereas the other can only hope for it.

The Tigers got a small measure of vindication Tuesday when the primary motivation for the controversial Doug Fister trade last winter craftily worked his way out of a serious jam in the first inning.

Robbie Ray looked composed recording his first major league win in his first major league start (it certainly helped that Houston might be one of the worst major league teams ever assembled).  But Ray did more than enough, pitching more than five innings and allowing only one earned run, to help justify a trade that even many hardcore baseball analysts questioned.

“I didn’t take the attitude that I had to prove myself to others,” Ray said afterward. “I just wanted to stay within myself and concentrate on doing what I know I do well. And it certainly helped getting through that first inning without them scoring a run.”

Ray’s simply trying to fit in. He had never heard of those wildly colored Zubaz recreational pants, but he had them on when he addressed reporters following his first win — a milestone that both his family and his fiancée’s family witnessed at Comerica Park.

“I’m almost speechless,” he said. “It’s just an incredible feeling, especially considering that it didn’t look that good at the beginning.”

The Astros’ Jose Altuve fought off Ray’s second major league offering, a 92 mile-an-hour fastball, and plunked it just inside the rightfield foul line for a leadoff double. The next hitter, Dexter Fowler, rapped a grounder to Miguel Cabrera at first, but Ray was a little too casual getting over to cover the bag and Fowler was safe.

Ray struck out the next two batters. He got the third out without any additional damage. The Comerica Park crowd gave him a standing ovation as Ray returned to the dugout.

Granted, the Astros are only a shade above a Triple-A minor league operation. But it was a master stroke of organizational ingenuity giving Ray his first start against this rag-tag bunch. It could only further boost Ray’s confidence, helping him fight through the inevitable

A good start never guarantees a good career, but Ray rightfully earned himself a further look. Once Anibal Sanchez returns from the disabled list with his swollen finger, perhaps Ray could even replace the erratic Phil Coke as the second left-handed bullpen

He gives the Tigers more options, which is all anyone can ask as the season

But Tuesday was more about telling the skeptics of the Fister trade that — just maybe — Dave Dombrowski and his scouts possessed a much better grasp of the current strengths of the Tigers’ starting pitching.

Dombrowski knew that he couldn’t keep both Fister and Rick Porcello with both eligible for free agency following the 2015 season. He made the choice. He chose Porcello. Looking at how much Porcello has progressed as a middle of the rotation starter and with Fister once again battling injuries suggests that Dombrowski made the right call.

He didn’t compromise the team’s pitching effectiveness this season while also getting one of the Nationals’ prime pitching prospects who could become part of the Tigers’ rotation in 2015.

It’s possible having both the benefits of today and

The Lions don’t understand that.

Of course, they can’t.

Considering they’ve never won anything substantial in my lifetime — and, yes, I’m a rapidly aging man — the Lions can measure success only at “winning” the draft and thus selling themselves as a serious championship player to the lemmings that blindingly follow them because they’re committed to “winning now.”

But the truly good organizations are capable of finding that proper


Posted by Tribune News Services

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