July 16th, 2006
I can’t tell you how surprised I was to find no emails in my box asking why Jim Leyland would rest Ivan Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco all on the same day just days after the All-Star break. There’s been feedback on that usually every time he does it. Maybe winning the first three games of the series placated Tigers fans, maybe everyone read my pregame notebook on it, or maybe Sunday’s internet traffic wasn’t very heavy. But I’ll explain anyway …
Leyland gave the days off to prevent injuries. It’s no secret that Pudge has been banged up, and Leyland is still working to keep Polanco’s back and Ordonez’s knee from becoming major issues again. So really, the better question is why Leyland would rest all three on the same day. First, Leyland had days off for Carlos Guillen Saturday and Curtis Granderson Friday, so at some point he was going to have to rest mutiple regulars. By resting the three on Sunday, he essentially uses Monday’s off day to give them back-to-back days of rest. It’s a trick Alan Trammell liked to use, too.
Other items of interest:
- Chris Shelton said he was trying to make an aggressive play when he attempted to tag up from second base in the fifth inning. Leyland, who has long touted aggressiveness from his baserunning, said nothing except that they ran the bases poorly as a team today. That says plenty about the play.
- Shelton’s baserunning aside, he and Craig Monroe were among the few Tigers hitters who were working the count on Scott Elarton, which is pretty disappointing on a 90-some degree day. The Tigers were retired in order on six pitches in both the third and fourth innings, which is tough to take even on a pleasant day. It’s a reminder that this is still a free-swinging lineup.
- So if the Tigers lineup is already free-swinging, predominantly right-handed and loves to hit fastballs, what exactly would Alfonso Soriano bring to this team?
- Not sure if you read any of the comments from White Sox players and Ozzie Guillen, but their comments about the upcoming series even before Chicago’s loss Sunday sounded like a team that was not looking at themselves as the club with the upper hand in the series. They stopped short of calling this a must-win series, but not by much. There sounds like a fear of falling more than a half-dozen games behind the Tigers. Of course, it could all be a mental ploy.