March 16th, 2007
Thoughts before the evening hoops games get going:
- Mike Maroth felt good today, worked in all his pitches and got a surprising number of swings and misses. The three strikeouts probably don’t do his stuff justice. His mistake pitch was a fastball to Shane Victorino after a bunt single and a walk. All in all, a good outing for him.
- Jason Grilli also had a good day, albeit a shorter one. He has been very effective since switching back to his old footing on the third-base side of the rubber rather than the first-base side. Whether he has a job sealed yet is up for debate, but he appears to be in a safe position now.
- Edward Campusano finally had a rough outing. That said, only one of the four hits he allowed in the ninth went for extra bases, and he struck out two batters.
- Everybody can relax. Gary Sheffield will be back Saturday, ending what was a smaller deal than everyone made it out to be. If anyone worries this could be a distraction, consider that Kenny Rogers missed a couple days last spring to tie up some legal matters around his incident with a TV cameraman. Didn’t seem to affect the team much.
- As SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports, the Tigers and shortstop Carlos Guillen’s agent aren’t talking right now, just as they weren’t talking last week. Not a good sign, but I wouldn’t call it doom and gloom just yet. Guillen’s side has so far left open the option of negotiating during the season, as they did a few years ago to get his current contract done. The waiting game is a risk on both sides. A hot start might well seal Guillen’s big deal in free agency. An injury would obviously hurt his chances. I still think the length of the contract is the point where they’ll have to work most to meet.
- Leyland continues to speak very highly of Brent Clevlen, but he has also had a lot of praise for Brent Dlugach in recent days. "He’ll go as far as his bat takes him," Leyland said. "He could probably play shortstop in the big leagues right now defensively, but shortstops have become a little more productive on the offensive end than they used to be."
- Yes, that’s Randall Simon’s name you see in the box score from today’s game.
The radar looks intimidating this morning, but they should be able to get the game in, especially since the Phillies are already at the park. Assuming they play, here’s the, um, unique lineup:
- Granderson, CF
- Guillen, DH
- Wilson, C
- Shelton, 1B
- Inge, 3B
- Ordonez, RF
- Watson, LF
- N. Perez, 2B
- Dlugach, SS
For what it’s worth, Sheffield isn’t listed on the lineup card for the game. He is, however, on the travel roster for Saturday against the Blue Jays.