August 2007

No decision yet on Rogers

Leyland was neither glowing nor disparaging on Rogers’ outing. He didn’t really want to talk much about it, because he didn’t think the session was a big deal. He’ll wait to see how Rogers’ elbow feels Saturday and whether he thinks he’s ready.

Rogers, for his part, was upbeat about it, though he said he’s still tinkering with his mechanics. It’s a tough environment to tell, tougher than a minor-league rehab start, but he feels like he can get hitters out with what he had today. "I’d pitch today if they wanted me to," he said.

So in short, both sides are kind of guarded, but it sounds like he’s ready.

Anyway, the lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thames, DH
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Guillen, 1B
  6. Rodriguez, C
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Maybin, LF
  9. Santiago, SS

Rogers throws sim game

Kenny Rogers just finished his three-inning, 52-pitch simulated game Friday afternoon. He didn’t look particularly happy at times, and he had a handful of breaking balls in the dirt, but he wasn’t hit all that hard. The fact that the sound system at McAfee Coliseum was blaring music the whole time probably didn’t make him all that happy. You wouldn’t be, either, if your shot to get back into the rotation hinged on how you pitched to Abba’s Dancing Queen or a remake of Instant Karma.

We’ll see what the verdict is from the manager later today. At the moment, he’s hitting BP off of Van Slyke.

Sheff to DL

In case you hadn’t heard it, Sheff’s on the DL retroactive to Aug. 22, meaning he won’t be eligible to come back until Sept. 6. Timo Perez has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take his roster spot. This isn’t a step the Tigers anticipated they’d have to make — for some reason, they kept saying Sheffield was day-to-day — so they’re scrambling to see if there’s anybody on the trade market. But as Jim Leyland said, "Babe Ruth doesn’t clear waivers."

Shoulder inflammation for Jurrjens

He was placed on the 15-day DL, but results showed no sign of a tear or anything like that. Zach Miner was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to come back to the bullpen. As for who starts Friday, the Tigers don’t have a name yet. The choices would appear to be either pull Chad Durbin in from the bullpen or recall Virgil Vasquez, who started today for Toledo. Since Jurrjens’ spot comes up Aug. 31 instead of Sept. 1, they’d have to make a roster move for Vasquez rather than just expand the roster.

On the clock

For those of you still wondering about the decision to play last night, well, it’s not totally the umpires’ fault, either. Supposedly all the umpiring crews received a memo from MLB on Friday that with the pennant races developing, they should try to get every game in that they possibly can. Thus, when crew chief Rick Reed saw the line of storms would eventually pass, he decided to wait it out. But it begs the question for MLB: Do you want your playoff races decided at 3:30 in the morning?

While MLB and Elias Sports Bureau don’t keep track of rain delays and the time that a game ends, there are people who do. Phil Lowry of the Society of American Baseball Research emailed this morning putting the game in a historical context:

  • It’s just the sixth rain delay of four hours or more in MLB history. The record is 7 hours, 23 minutes between the Rangers and White Sox on July 23, 1990. It was supposed to be an afternoon start before it was finally called off at 8:58 p.m.
  • The longest to actually be played that day was a 5-hour, 45-minute delay between the Reds and Brewers on Oct. 3, 1999. Again, it was supposed to be a day game, but it didn’t start until just before 9 p.m. That game had to be played because it was the last weekend of the season and the Reds were in playoff contention. The win put the Reds into a one-game playoff with the Mets.
  • Of the eight games in MLB history to end after 3 a.m., the 3:30 a.m. end to Friday’s game ranked third on the all-time list, trailing the 4:40 a.m. end time to a rain-delayed Padres-Phillies game on July 2, 1993 and a 3:55 a.m. end to a Mets-Braves contest that lasted 19 innings on July 4, 1985. Ironically, that was also a fireworks night, and they actually went ahead with the fireworks. Friday’s game sets an American League record.

Not surprisingly, a few players have the night off. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thames, LF
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Guillen, 1B
  6. Rabelo, C
  7. Casey, DH
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Santiago, SS

Pudge is sitting because he caught 11 innings last night, not because of any hand injury. He said his hand is feeling OK.

Also, this just in: The official scorer changed the call from last night. Instead of Placido Polanco’s first error in more than a year, the error goes to Marcus Thames, and Polanco’s errorless streak is alive.

It's time for baseball

First pitch is slated for around 11 p.m. I’m not kidding. Enjoy.

About the rain delay

Normally the Tigers would be in charge of when to call the game. Since it’s the Yankees’ only trip to Detroit, however, the decision whether to play is in the hands of the umpiring crew, led by crew chief Rick Reed. Thus, we’re waiting for the rain to end. And waiting. And waiting.

Granderson on Westbrook

Granderson made it sound like Westbrook gave them a different look today. Keep in mind, the Tigers have hit this guy hard more often than not since 2005. They pick up his sinker well, but today, they couldn’t:

"The interesting thing I remember before," Granderson said, "is he kept the ball down so well prior to this start. The fact that he did elevate it enough helped him out, I think, because everybody was looking to get it up. When he finally did get it up, it was just above your hands or a pitch you couldn’t do anything with. So I think he did a great job of doing that, because you know he’s got the great sinker working. The big thing that I heard from a lot of guys was, ‘Hey, I was looking for this, and he threw something else.’ Sure enough, if he gets you guessing one way, it can help you out, too.

"You could see him throw it every now and then. Boom, it goes straight down to the ground, and guys took it. Then sure enough, the one that looked hittable, we were missing for whatever reason, or if we did happen to hit it, it was right at somebody or he just was able to sneak it past us for whatever reason."

In other words, Westbrook made an adjustment and the Tigers couldn’t adjust back.

Craig Monroe to the Cubs

For a PTBNL.

Add: The PTBNL is expected to be a pitcher from the 40-man roster. Players on the 40-man have to clear waivers to be traded in any deal between Aug. 1 and the end of the regular season, so that would explain the wait. The Cubs are heavy on left-handers, which the Tigers could use, but short of guys currently on their active 25-man roster, they don’t have many possibilities. Clay Rapada could seemingly be one.

Sheff's shutting it down

His shoulder is bothering him again, this time worse than before in terms of pain. He’s out for at least the rest of the homestand, basically as long as it takes for him to feel well enough to hit like he should. Here’s the lineup without him:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Casey, 1B
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Guillen, SS
  6. Rodriguez, C
  7. Thames, DH
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Maybin, LF