Zumaya to be activated Tuesday

Leyland confirmed that, but it can only do so much. Leyland was not happy with his hitters’ approach today, saying they were taking strikes and swinging at balls with runners in scoring position. They tried to use baserunning to create opportunities, but they couldn’t finish them off.

Polanco had another workout with mixed results today, and while Leyland is hoping to have him back in the lineup Tuesday, he’s not as sure about it now. If he is back on Tuesday, look for Ryan Raburn to start at third base and give Brandon Inge at least one day off.

Kenny Rogers plans on throwing off the mound Tuesday to see how his elbow feels. If it’s good, he’ll throw again on Thursday or Friday. If he’s good from there, he’ll push to be activated for next week with no Minor League rehab outings.

21 Comments

David Tiger, don’t give up yet. We’re all either being set up for a story book finish or…ahhhhh big fall. Either way we’re being set up:) See, Tampa Bay is not a biased spoiler after all. There’s plenty of disappointment for all. That has to be a real deflater for Cleveland. At least we were soundly defeated, leaving no doubts or what ifs.

Sounds like Rogers has had enough of waiting around, and Zumaya is returning. There’s still hope but time is gettin short.

So JL admits the hitters’ approaches are 180 degrees out of wack? It’s been evident for some time now. Obviously this team’s success hinges on the offense. The pitchers can’t continue to pitch from behind in these games. This offense either collectively gets going or you can stick a fork in them. They have the talent and bench to really put pressure on opposing pitchers but they have to be patient and selective first. The aggressiveness will play off of this. Run up the pitch count early on. Right now they’re guessing and guessing wrong. Sorry, I’ve harped on this point more than once already I guess.

Watching Maybin and Jurrjens at least has been a pleasant distraction to all the disappointing losses.

It’s time I step back and take an objective look at where we are at this point in time.

The Detroit Tigers have played .500 ball (53-53) against the American League. They were 14-4 against the NL. A W-L percentage of .500 marks them as a middle of the pack ballclub with no business being in any kind of playoff hunt.

Sure, you can talk injuries and flu and what have you, but the fact remains that very few players have stepped up. What does it say when you bring up a guy from AAA (Rayburn) and he hits like .349 and yet makes no difference in the team’s play? That kind of unexpected input should have gotten this team rolling, but nothing of the kind has happened. What does it say when we’re waiting for a starter in his 40s, a guy who really has no business being an active player at his age, to come save us? For all the potential, for all the raving over this powerful lineup, nothing has come of it. I could name names, but what’s the point? Average starters, average hitting, average fielding. Do we have an ace? No. A guy you can count on to come up big at the plate? Maggs, maybe. A trusted arm in the bullpen? Jones, maybe. We’ve had people play well for short periods, but there has been no consistency whatsoever.

Now, let’s look at the remaining schedule: It shows Cleveland, New York, KC, Oakland, Texas, Minnesota, Seattle, and the Chicago White Sox. Can you look in the mirror and convince yourself that we can handle any of these teams? One needs go no further than the White Sox, in last place in the division, who we couldn’t beat if the division depended on it, which it does. Losing the season series to Tampa Bay tells us a lot, doesn’t it?

This is what we have right now. We could end up looking back on 2006 with fond memories for a long time. A middle of the pack team is still better than having a team with no chance of winning anything, as we’ve had in recent years, and still worth watching and enjoying. It’s looking, however, like we should put this playoff talk away for awhile.

I’d like to say how…what’s the word, touching?……….it was to hear those Tiger fans doing the chant in Yankee Stadium today. It’s now up to this team to shut me up and prove me wrong. Whatever happens, I’ll stick with ‘em, but I don’t see a turnaround this season.

Very pertinent observations. As much as I love Rod and Mario, Rod keeps on talking about this offense being so great. Remember my list of pitchers that we would have to face and hit, well we didn’t do it. It’s so strange that Inge’s success was tied to Monroe’s lat year, and vice versa. Now no Monroe at all, and Inge is really pressing. Still a great defender, but needs to work on hitting breaking balls. I now think we will part with Thames also at the end of the year thanks to Rayburn’s emergence and Maybin’s future. A good nucleus still exists, but we need to retool pitching entirely. The good thing is we have good prospects to work in. Thanks a lot to kenny for a great year last year. I think we will see him again as a roving instructor for the Tigers. We need a power lefty hitter to make the offense click again.

Well, I guess that they are just worn down already. It doesn’t appear that they have anything left in the tank?? I do think that injuries and the flu have worn them down, I have to believe that.

Too many missed and blown opportunities throughout the year. I have to say that when then were blowing games earlier in the year I kept on hearing there are 162 games, it is a marathon and not a sprint, it is just one game or just one series. Well if anyone on that team remembers correctly it was just one game that kept them from winning the division??? Now everything worked out okay, almost, still a lot to be proud of last year a whole lot. There was a lot to be proud of this year, just not lately. Again I know that there is time left and yes they are only 1 1/2 games back, but I just don’t see the spark that I saw last year. Even when they were struggling in late August and September they had a spark?? I don’t know where it went to. Maybe too much pressure, or just plain fatigue, I dont know. I wish I did.

GO TIGERS

Sometimes you wish Rod and Mario would just be a little more objective and not try to sugar coat everything. All very accurate observations above but I won’t agree that they’re finished. They’re 1.5 games out. None of the teams you listed are invincible. The Yankees have a way of demoralizing when they’re going like this. Depression is to be expected. Rich, I disagree, this is not an average hitting team. Average pitching and defense, yes. It is streaky, which is frustrating, but it is still near the top in all offensive categories. May, June and half of July, they were the best. Why shouldn’t they return to that form? Anyway, I’m not ready to throw in the towel at 1.5 games out. St. Louis was barely above .500 last year and became world champs.

Rod and Mario see their job as being upbeat and positive. Don’t know whether that’s FSN policy or just their own outlooks, but one really can’t complain about anyone being optimistic. We learn to take Rod’s sunny outlook with a grain of salt, but I’d rather have this approach than the glum whining I hear from another pair of Central Division announcers.

Marty, we obviously can’t count the team out at this point, but we’re not projecting the kind of winning run required to grab the division. And you could say we’re preparing ourselves for the worst. I’ll give you a clue as to when you’ll know I’ve given up. You see, I bought $300 worth of tickets for all three games next month in Cleveland, and this goes along with a hotel room for two nights plus a six hour drive one way. It may sound dumb, but I’m doing this as much to support the team as I am for fun. It’s a big expensive effort, and one I don’t want to make if they’ve fallen out of the race before then. In that case, I would sell these tickets and call the trip off. At this point, the trip is still on. When and if I sell, that will mean I’ve given up on it. And I would post it here.

I’m just saying, I want the Tigers to prove me wrong. Show me I didn’t know what I was talking about. Please.

I know losing 3 straight is disheartening, but we’ve got to remember that there is still a lot more season to be played. I agree totally; the lineup has to start clicking again. But on the plus side, even if we don’t make the playoffs this year, we have enough young pitchers, and a few very good young position players to create our own dynasty.

And the fact that we can feel depressed after falling out of a pennant race is a small miracle within itself. I’d rather have this team, and this season, and this feeling of worry about whether or not the Tigers have a playoff berth waiting than any other season of my life. I never remember seeing a winning season other than last year, or a team as good as this one in Detroit, for as long as I have been alive. Playoffs or no, I think we’d better enjoy this one. After 10+ seasons of hopelessness, a pennant race is worth it.

The key to the season will most likely rest with the remaining AL Central games, especially with Cleveland. Right now, we’ve split all the games we’ve played this season against them (I think). The team that pulls ahead with the most wins in those games will most likely win the Central.

Bottom line of this diatribe: Have faith in the team to get things done, have faith in Leyland to do a good job in the dugout, and failing success this season, have faith in Dave Dombrowski to build a contender.

Cheers!

David

I’m just getting back to a computer after a long weekend out of town so I haven’t had a chance to read everyone’s comments. I’m bummed since I hate losing and particularly hate watching the Yankees win. My reaction to the moves over the weekend is that they are difficult to take but necessary. The Infante move makes sense: with Rabelo, we don’t need his flexibility in the field and the extra offense he provides is more than off-set by the upgrade to Santiago in defense. As far as the Maybin move is concerned, I was shocked when I heard it and while I was disappointed for Craig, I think it makes sense. Craig obviously needs a change of scenery and this move for Maybin could be great. At the very worst, it opens up left field for Thames in the short-run and gives us a defensive substitution with good speed on the base paths. The upside is obviously much better but I don’t want to put too much faith in a 20 year old rookie despite his potential.

Here’s my take: the Tigers will come out of their funk quite soon: we have Zumaya back and I think we’ll get Kenny back soon. This should help to stabilize the team and I’m looking forward to a good run of games– it might be another week until it hits but I’m still confident all will come together.

Go Tigers.

Back to my computer as well. I have to stop going a way on weekends. First the sweep by the White Sox and now the Yankees take us to the cleaners.

Thank you OGB (Owen?) for all your thoughtful updates via text. They were very appreciated and somehow (even the content was disappointing), made me feel I was still “involved”.

As to the Tigrs…..Whoa what a chain of events and judging by the box score it must have been awful for you guys enduring what must have seemed like an ordeal. I’m not sure if these guys can turn things around as it seems to me the team is playing with no confidence at all. I have seen some of JL’s quotes and they mimic what some of us have been saying for the last month.

It appears as though they are trying to shake things up and we can only hope that somehow the players find a way to respond.

I haven’t dug very deep yet but I haven’t noticed Monroe’s or Infante’s name in the MudHen’s bax scores. Seems like some folks feel bad for Monroe but overall not terribly surprised. Unfortunately, they should have sensed the direction he was headed months ago and maybe at least been able to benefit from some trade value.

Infante must feel like chopped liver. Short of being a personality problem (which I don’t think he is), it doesn’t seem either right or logical to have demoted him.

Lopez didn’t perform well when up and that sure made the Zumaya situation easy to manage. Zumaya will have us all excited when he gets on the hill but I think it will be more than likely that he is not going to set the world on fire right away. Looks like his last outing in Toledo was sub par. Fingers crossed, but how much can he help anyway when the only time you get to go to the bullpen these days is when you are behind in the game.

It’s been a frustrating year and though we can resort to “reminiscing” about 2006, it’s cold comfort. This could have and should have been the year for glory.

If Granderson and Polanco can’t get going I think it is going to be a very boring October in Tiger Town.

Here’s the lineup I’m pulling for tomorrow and the next week or so:

Granderson (cf)

Polanco (2b) – assuming he’s healthy

Guillen (ss)

Ordonez (rf)

Thames (dh) Sheffield sits until healthy.

Casey (1b)

Rodriguez (c)

Raburn (3b) Inge has to prove he can hit again.

Maybin (lf)

I think Sheffield is one of the major cogs in the lineup but until he’s healthy, he needs to sit. (This assumption is also based on the belief that Marcus is healthy.) I think a week off– with only very limited pinch-hitting availability– would ensure that his shoulder heals up and would let him get mentally ready for the home-stretch. By DH-ing Marcus, you’d get his bat in the line-up but would also rest his hamstring for a few more days.

I’d also sit Inge as he’s simply not getting it done with the bat. I love the guy but its clear that Raburn can contribute offensively and he should be able to handle the hot corner. With Sheffield out, I think Raburn helps make up for some of the lost offense. Additionally, I’d hope that it lights a spark under Brandon.

In the late innings of a close game, you can substitute Santiago for Casey and move Guillen over to first. (You can also bring in Brandon for his defense.)

I think this lineup gives them the best chance to win immediately. Once Sheffield proves he’s healthy, you can move Guillen back to the fifth spot and make a decision on Raburn/Inge at the hot corner. Depending how Maybin does, they’d also have to make a decision on left field– start one primarily or go with a platoon.

As far as the staff is concerned, Durbin has been a big disappointment. Assuming that Kenny and Andrew are ready to go some time next week, I’d hope to see Grilli dumped and Jurrjens, Miner, or Seay sent down. (most likely Jurrjens but I’m holding out judgement until after Tuesday’s game.)

What do you guys think? I know its been a long six weeks since the all-star break but I think that if the Tigers can salvage the next two series against the Tribe and Yankees, they can get hot once they get everyone back healthy….

Here are my 2 cents for the rest of the year and the off season.

I am 50/50 on if the Tigers can make the playoffs. I have said all along, I am more nervous about the Twins getting hot than Cleveland (**** bags) down the stretch run. If the new young guys can get it going, I believe the rest of the team will follow. It will come down to the wire though.

Here are my predictions on the off season and coming out of spring training.

Players that won’t be with the team for whatever reason next year.

– Jason Grilli

– Macay McBride

– Kenny Rogers

– Ivan Rodriguez

– Sean Casey

– Omar Infante

– Neifi Perez

Starting day lineup (not in batting order) for the 2008 Season is as follows:

CF – Curtis Granderson

LF – Cameron Maybin

RF – Magglio Ordonez

DH – Gary Sheffield

3B – Brandon Inge

SS – Ramon Santiago

2B – Placido Polanco

1B – Carlos Guillen

C – Mike Rabelo

Utility/Back-ups:

C – Vance Wilson

OF – Marcus Thames

IF/OF – Ryan Raburn

IF – Kevin Hooper

Starters:

Justin Verlander

Jeremy Bonderman

Nate Robertson

Andrew Miller

Jair Jurrjens or Virgil Vasquez or Jordan Tata or Chad Durbin (as you can see, I think the 5th spot is wide open)

Bull Pen:

– Joel Zumaya

– Todd Jones (he’ll be back for one more year, after Zoom being hurt this year)

– Fernando Rodney

– Bobby Seay

– Zach Miner

– Jose Capellan

– Tim Byrdak

– Tata or Durbin

I don’t know, just throwing some names around here.

Those are good ideas, Brent. Of course, Leyland would do few, if any of them, but I like ‘em.

I do disagree about Durbin at this point. He pitched a good game Saturday, a very good game, and I’d like to see what he can do as he gets stretched out again. I think he’s a starter, really. I’m not of the belief that Miller can pitch us into the playoffs this year. I’d just as soon have seen him stay in the minors this season. Grilli, as we all well know, will never leave so even though we’re in agreement, it just won’t happen. Jurrjens we need to see again, as you say. You don’t know what you got……until you see what you got. :-) I just liked the way he threw strikes.

At this point, anything that will give these guys a shot of confidence. They’ve been playing tentative, not counting Inge diving into the stands multiple times.

Ty, your projections don’t take trades into account. There will be moves made. DD doesn’t sit still very often.

You mentioning “down to the wire” reminded me of something. If the Tigers haven’t clinched before those last three games in Chicago, there will be **** to pay. Those Sox will play their sorry butts off to knock us out.

Rich- I’m glad to hear your disagreement about Durbin. I guess my expectations were too high for him as I wanted him to go back into the rotation and simply nail the spot down. I agree that Miller doesn’t make much sense this year– he could be great but I think he needs a little more time in the Minors– he should be dynamite next year.

I’m going out on a limb and saying that when Rogers comes back (please make it soon), Grilli is the guy to go. I know you all will laugh at me but there’s no way they keep him. Right? Dangit Leyland, read our blog– we’re not as dumb as one might think…

I like Durbin too. I thought he pitched well enough. Again I think he will continue to improve if he is given more starting opportunities. But he needs some run support.
I like that lineup Brent. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing an even split in the catching duties. I like Rabelo’s hitting approach. I think at this point he has the offensive edge. If Raburn can play a decent 3rd why not give him some starts there. No matter how good a player is defensively, he still has to produce offensively. JL has a lot of options with this team, I hope he uses them. To string together a significant number of wins will require early leads and then continuing to keep the pressure on. They can no longer afford to play from behind. Yeah I know I’m stating the obvious, but JL has to find the right formula and get it going soon.

With little to no work lately, Jones ought to be well rested. I think that’s more of a plus than minus for the stretch. The same is obviously true for Zumaya and Rodney.

Now lets see some fire in this team! Win or lose.

Andrew Miller had a brief but very good 3 inning outing (inning-outing–I like that!)

Gave up 1 run, 1 hit, ZERO walks and 5 Ks. He threw only 34 pitches (25 were strikes)

Why 3 innings though?

Ty–I think your list of “going to be gone” Tigers may be pretty close.

We can all get caught up in keeping our favorite Tigers because we become somewhat affectionate for them or we can get down to business and improve the team. I think it is wise to trade players if they can bring you what you need. If you wait too long you won’t get much (Maroth, Monroe, Grilli) but you can sometime be pro-active and deal from a position of strength. I think it is time to part ways with Pudge and Casey as well. I’d even “entertain” offers for Sheffield, Robertson and Jones.

Inge must have had a bad game on Sunday as his being benched ostensibly is becasue of his hitting and he was 1 x 3 and 2 x 4 on Friday and Saturday. He is not contributing as much as he did last year when he had some fantastic At Bats and timely Home Runs. His defense is often specatacular but also sometimes erratic. I agree that he needs to produce offensivley. The typically power positon players have not really supplied that power, except for Ordonez. Casey (yeah he is likable and who wouldn’t want him on their team? has actually not been much of an offensive factor all year. LF has been a disaster and even though we all LIKE Thames, I’m not so sold on him being able to provide everyday duty out there.

I think (unless a miracle happens this year), we will see a vastly different team on the field in ’08–especially the bullpen.

I think Rabelo might be able to hande the job behind the plate. I have not “seen” enough of him to get a sense of his defensive skills but as much as we LOVR Pudge, his skills are certainly eroding. I don’t care what anyone says, he is not doing anywhere near the excellent job behind the plate that he always has.

I think the club needs a big LHB, a shortstop, a closer, and a proven starter to make things appreciably better.

They might fill some of these holes internally but my guess is they will have at least 1 big trade in the off-season.

I have heard that Infante may have been sent down to play SS everyday with the idea of seeing if he can be an everyday SS up here. I don’t see that happening. But I do expect we will have a new face out there next year and Guillen moved to 1B or 3B if Inge is dealt. Not saying I agree with all that–so don’t jump on me guys.

An interesting rumor form an Atlanta insider has Renterria and Chuck James coming to us for Bonderman. I can’t remember the guys name; my son is a cursed Braves fan and told me it was on their blogs tonight. I would be totally opposed to that trade. Renterria is a solid player, but he is a National Leaguer tried and true. If we are going to trade a bonafide starter(good after the first inning) we need a power lefty hitter. I’m not sold on Rayburn in the infield yet; there were three in the Yankee series that several second basemen would have gotten; don’t get me wrong; he has been a great surprise, but against Cleveland, I’m a little leery on having Rayburn at third.

My guess is that Inge is scheduled for a day off Tuesday because of his hitting. As documented here, the pitchers have a book on him and Brandon is going along with it, chapter and verse. He did swing at a first pitch on Sunday but popped it up. That’s okay, Brandon, don’t let one popup convince you not to swing on that first good heater. He also had a damaging error charged to him, but that ball took a bad hop. Could he have gotten it? Maybe, but it would have been a pretty good play and he just didn’t make one this time. The ball didn’t even have the decency to bad hop high enough to hit him in the chest.

I’ve defended Casey all season but, as I said the other day, three homeruns doesn’t get it done. He’s got to bring a little more “damageablity” up there.

One aspect of this latest slide that we’ve neglected has been Granderson’s cool period at the plate. If he’s not getting on much, and Polanco is out, it pretty much shuts our guys down. The positive here is that it’s only one of the cold periods that every hitter has, and Grandy should be back on the stick pretty soon. That and Polly’s return will help immensely in waking up the bats.

From a fan’s perspective, we’ve got three big games coming up and you just try to have fun with that. I know I’m rarin’ to go.

David, the trade rumor you mentioned sounds insane. Let’s hope that’s just wishful thinking from Atlanta bloggers.

Rich–totally agree about Granderson. He is the brightest light we have. We hear a lot about “5 tool players”, well I think Curtis will someday reach 6 tool status if you consider character & intelligence.
I do think he will be the next superstar in Detroit.

However, the fact that he is not really hitting hurts the club badly. More than anyone, they need him to ignite the engine.

Hopefully Polanco comes back with a vengeance.

The comment about Sheffield taking a few off and DHing Thames has some merit. Sheffield has to be hurting. His fly balls are dying on the warning track and his home runs are going foul down the line. I think his shoulders are hurting when he tries to fly open and attack the ball over the plate. I think the inside stuff does not give him the physical grief that he is dealing with with the pitches that he can drive to the alleys. Subconciously he must want to attack the insde stuff because he has less discomfort with his swing.

Anyway, I’m not so sure he can work this out without a little time off.

Nothing with Renteria other than being just past his prime as ****.

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