As Yogi Berra said "90-percent of the game of baseball is half mental." Whether Dontrelle Willis' precipitous decline can be blamed on a psychic collapse is anybody's guess. But one thing is for certain: Escaping the Marlins' horrible defense can't do anything but help. Willis' ERA may never return to his 2.53 2005 mark but it can't do anything but improve from last year's 5.33 record with players such as Carlos Guillen playing first base, Edgar Renteria at shortstop, Curtis Granderson in centerfield and Placido Polanco at second base.
The Marlins last year had the worst defensive play in baseball, committing 137 errors, compared to the Tigers' 99.
The Tigers ranked 7th best defensively in the American League last year and loook to improve on that mark this season. Further, Willis should benefit from pitching out of the No. 5 spot, in which he will face only mostly the poorest competitors.