With all due disrespect to the 5-6 New York Mets — who managed to hit into something approaching 300 double plays during Sunday’s 9-7 defeat at the hands of Brewers — there’s no more disappointing a bunch of underachieving zillionaires than the 2-10 (!) Detroit Tigers. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan was on hand for yesterday’s drubbing in Chicago and reports that as the day began, skipper Jimmy Leyland promised to remain calm. Which, I suppose, is kind of like his promising to see out his contract in Florida. (Link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

œTake it easy, Leyland said. œThere™s no sense in yelling and screaming at people. Let™s just wait and see what happens.

What happened was another shutout, the second blanking in a row and fourth the mighty Tigers have suffered this season, and the establishment, too, of Leyland™s official breaking point. Off he went following the 11-0 loss that dropped the Tigers to 2-10, his voice permeating the brick walls at U.S. Cellular Field and ricocheting off the doors that tried their best to insulate Detroit™s clubhouse from the rest of the world.

Actually, it was quite like a fallout shelter, the Tigers trying to isolate themselves from Leyland™s nuclear meltdown. No one dared explain how a lineup that threatened to cross the 1,000-run barrier has been shut out four times, just as no one could answer how a team with a $138.7 million payroll could start 0-7, just as no one knew what to say when Leyland yelled and screamed and refused any longer to watch his team potentially send its season sewer-bound in the first month.

œIf I wanted you guys to know what I said to the team, Leyland told reporters, œI™d invite you in here.

œThat™s what I love about my skip, man, Tigers DH Gary Sheffield said before Sunday™s game. œHe™ll tell you that you suck. That™s what I appreciate him for. I know I suck. We know we suck. But I don™t see nobody in there hanging their head and feeling sorry for themselves. Yeah, we suck. But we™ll see who sucks at the end.

That™s been the rallying cry since the opening-series sweep against Kansas City. The losses mounted, the injuries piled up, the embarrassment broadened and the Tigers did their best Bobby McFerrin, not worrying and being happy, or at least trying to give themselves reasons to be.

œYou™ve seen teams start off horribly and end up fine after everyone has written them off, said Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, the sparkplug who hasn™t played this season because of a broken finger. œLook at the Yankees last year.

Well, sure. And the Tigers don’t have the benefit of playing a third of their schedule against the 2007 Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays.

I’m certain the Tigers are talented enough to win at least 70 games between now and the rest of the year. But in the event they are already finished, perhaps Leyland can take a tip from Pat Riley and spend June scouting the College World Series?