Sheff returns

Gary Sheffield returns to the lineup tonight. He said before the game that he felt good, and that his swing felt good after swinging this afternoon. We’ll see how it turns out. Jacque Jones also feels fine after his collision with the railing Thursday. Carlos Guillen is out again, still struggling with the knee but feeling significantly better. Leyland is at least holding out hope he could be back tomorrow.

Here’s the Tigers lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Jones, LF
  7. Renteria, SS
  8. Rodriguez, C
  9. Inge, 3B

For the Angels:

  1. Chone Figgins, 3B
  2. Gary Matthews Jr., LF
  3. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
  4. Torii Hunter, CF
  5. Juan Rivera, DH
  6. Erick Aybar, SS
  7. Jeff Mathis, C
  8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  9. Maicer Izturis, 2B

26 Comments

Only appropriate that Sheff should start tonight, since this has been “Gary Sheffield Day” on all the various discussion boards I’ve looked at.
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Only one name away from finally seeing the lineup that everyone has talked about since last December.
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–Rich

any hopes for the lions NOT taking a WR tomorrow? :)
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my prediction-jerod mayo
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as for the game.. hopefully they’ll play like they have been all week and not play like they did 2 weeks ago :) robertson will have a tough time, mathews jr is starting to heat up a little, and toriiiiiiiiiiiiiii has a few games of exp against tiger pitching under his belt.
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OOOh Boy–MCab better make sure he stays on the bag just a touch longer (the Figgins ground out). The 1st base ump was watching him very closely and I think was considering wheterh or not he would give him the benefit of the doubt. Littl e things like that can kill a team at a crucial time.

Well all the hoopla about getting the top 3 back and I must say that Polanco and Sheffield did the same thing they have been doing all year.
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Be nice to get some runs as Nate’s big bad 4th inning is coming up!

No, don’t want any runs. Nate will let the other team get more in the next inning. Gotta hope the Tigers are scoreless as long as Nate’s in the game.

Reverse logic? I’m tellin ya’ Nate is pretty darn predictable.
If we get out of this with only 2 we’ll be fortunate. He’s lucky to get anybody out right now.
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When will people learn not to pitch Vlad inside? In fact why pitch to him at all?

Typical Nate Robertson. This just won’t do. JL has to look somewhere else when this becomes habitual.
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Was it your idea Steve to put Nate in the bullpen?
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I think it is a good idea–he can’t go anymore than 3 or 4 at tops anyway. My idea was to trade him away as I thought he is mediocre at best but coming from a first class team, being a starter and a lefty we might have been able to get something for him. I have said this before, with Nate you might get “almost” as many wins as losses in a good year.

Oops. my mistake. I guess the fourth inning jinx is in effect along with the run-support jinx.

With all the complaining about Sheff, I don’t think he is losing games. I think it is the pitching. Has Robertson pitched one good game yet this year? Why doesn’t everyone pile on Rogers and Robertson like they do slumping hitters. I am very frustrated to see the pathetic starting pitching the Tigers are getting. It’s not getting better, and they aren’t going to average 10 runs a game, folks.

What slays me about Robertson is his seeming inability to master LHB. He can’t get the Mauers, the Moreneaus, the Thomes, and the Haffners out with any kind of regularity.
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I’ll bet LHB have a pretty good BA against him.
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Nice to see JJ hustle like that. He’ll be a help if he can hit decently as the way he plays the game with a little panache.

With Kotchman’s 2 for 2 tonight LHB are hitting .433 against Robertson. 13 for 30
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I rest my case.

Inge hits better when he’s catching!

I’m really at a loss about NR. I don’t think he would like being in the bullpen, but that would probably be the best place for him. I don’t think they could get much for him in a trade, could they?

It just looks like an average player who is now performaing at a less than average level. I guess that sounds harsh, but he’s never really dominated. He’s been a good pitcher sometimes, not really great. Now he is struggling to be average.

I think a lot depends on DW. Bonderman and Verlander will be okay. They need at least one other starter to really contribute. It doesn’t look like NR or KR will be that person.

Let’s see what Sheffield can do here

For cryin’ out loud what is wrong with Maggs? I don’t care about yesterday’s homers he had bases loaded and the pitcher struggling. He was selfish–pure and simple.

Ordonez cost the club at least a run with his approach at the plate. I can see hackin’ at the first pitch when you got things goin but not when the guy has walked two in the inning. He is first pitch swinging more than I have ever noticed before and the irony is that he is not that good at it. When he has been selective he has hit well.

Let’s see what Sheffield can do here (II)

I think he is done, Dan. I”m ready to give up on him, too. Either retirement or a few months rehab, it looks like. No guarantee he can fix that broken shoulder with rehab, though.

Good aB for Sheffield but it does seem that he doesn’t have the stroke or the power because of that injury. He looks like his favoring that shoulder when he swings. Not taking anything away from him on the AB, he battled, hit the ball well and it it just didn’t work out. Tough break.
The goat still goes to Nate for losing it after the Vlad HR.

Cruceta comin on in the bottom of the 7th for the Hens.

Good game but a tough one to lose. “Nate and the 1 Bad Inning”.
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Sounds like a book title…….in fact it is being repeated so often it is like reading a book over and over.
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Cruceta won the game tonight for the Hens. 2 IP 4Ks.
Hessman hit one.
Blaine Neal got his 7 save in 7 SVOs. Pitched 1 inning and struck out 2.
Sardinha had 4 RBIs

Kind of a hard game to comment on. Nate had his bad inning but otherwise was effective and efficient. He’s in the enigma category right now. The hitters created opportunities to tie or go ahead, but things didn’t work out. Maggs was just under that pitch in the sixth, Sheff’s drive was a little to the end of his bat, and Kotchman grabbed Pudge’s liner, then Inge hit a bullet at him too. What the heck. Sometimes it’s not a disaster, you just lose a game. At this point, I’m hoping we just settle in and play good ball, winning more than we lose, and hopefully leave all the negative drama of the first month behind. Just have a plain, good ol’ fashioned pennant race, you know what I mean?
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I did find it rather humorous tonight, all the comments on what a good game this was. Yes it was, but 15 years ago this would have been your average big league ballgame. While the popularity has grown, the quality has fallen off. Strange.
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I’m not pointing fingers at any one individual here, but I’m coming to the conclusion that we’re going to need more starters this season. Galarraga has been good so far, and it may be this kind of thing that’s going to be required. Dan, you’re following the Mud Hens. Do we have any pitching prospects that can start games in Detroit? I say again, not singling out anyone in particular, but as a group, it appears our starting staff is not going to get it done over the course of a full season. Thoughts on this, anyone?
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–Rich

Boy you all are a tough crowd. I couldn’t agree less. I thought that Nate pitched a pretty darn good game. He was efficient, and effective for the most part. Vlad, hit a HR on a pitch that was very inside and practically at his chin it seemed. He is probably one of the only guys that could hit that pitch out of the park.
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Nate to me had a little fourth inning blip but did almost everything his team could of asked of him, and they are the ones that didn’t do quite enough either. They couldn’t get the big hit when they needed to today.
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As usual Nate suffers from a bit of lack of run support. Nobody could quite get the job done.

I agree with you GK. Nate pitched his best game of the year so far…and we’ve now had a starter other than Justin Verlander pitch through 7 innings. He threw a bad pitch to a good “bad ball” hitter in Vlad…and he’s the only one in the league that could hit that ball out of the park.
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I’d say that 8 out of 10 games we can hold the opponent to 4 runs in a game it would be a victory. Also, if either of the liners hit by Pudge or Inge get by Kotchman at first we’re talking about a win instead of a loss. Sometimes you get the bad breaks.
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Let’s hope for a victory today. We’ll see if Galarraga can continue his success. GO TIGERS!

Probably the guy they would call up if they needed a starter is Eddie Bonine. He is a contact type pitcher and will get you a lot of ground balls. Good control but not a strikeout guy by any stretch..
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Nate did pitch well, very well. Except for one inning. The problem with this is that it is ALWAYS bad enough an inning to lose the game. In the end that is the stat that matters. We can comiserate over lack of run support and all that but in the end if Nate wants to have a winning record he has to find a way to avoid falling apart every game. And it wasn’t the HR that killed him it was what he did AFTER the HR–that was what constituted the bad inning.
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A winning pitcher shakes off the HR and bears down immediately.
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I like the way Nate pitches, I like the way he eats innings, I like his dependability but until he gets a grip on this he will continue to be a < .500 pitcher. If they guy gets 30 starts and 30 “bad innings” what do yu think his record will be?
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And he needs to look upon LHB with glee rather than glum. Like I mentioned yesterday they are hitting well over .400 off him (this obviously contributes to the bad inning syndrome).
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It is true with some timely hitting and rund support he should have won. But what is he going to do if he DOESN’T get it? That’s the part that plague him until he finds away to suppress a rally.
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Inge impressed in his final AB against KRod. I didn’t expect he would be able to handle the nice mix of breaking balls and fastballs.
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Jacque Jones is showing signs of life. He plays with an abandon that is exciting and it is kinda cool to see someone express some emotion at the bat. If he comes around at the plate he will really help this team.
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Galarraga is gonna be put to the test today. The Angels are a really solid and multi-dimensional team.
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Hopefully Guillen is getting close and in good shape when he returns to the lineup. I think it may be a rocky road for him to adjust to 3B.
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Holding my breath with Polanco. Maybe he is climbing out of it?
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Looks like Rogers, Bonderman, Robertson for me in NY. Not the rotation I hoped to see. It will be a test for Kenny too, as he can get pumped up for a game here and if he can perform well it will do wonders for him going forward.

Absolutely it wasn’t the homer by Guerro. I just blew that off, in fact. “Okay well, that’s Vlad. That won’t beat us.” As you say, it’s what happened after. Sure, I still thought we’d come back, and did, but line drives do get caught and you can’t count on the offense for 5+ runs every single night. The starters have been marginally good at times, but no one has dominated. I don’t care if they’re reduced to pitching FIVE innings as long as they’re good innings. We’ve got a bullpen that’s getting stronger as we speak.
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I’ve been impressed with Bonderman’s ability to battle without his command. Nate is good for all but one inning. I’m afraid the game is passing Rogers by, as there doesn’t seem to be any place in today’s game for control pitchers. Verlander has been up and down, but I assume he’ll end up being up. Willis we don’t know anything about yet and it will be into May before we do. Galarraga has been very good but we can’t take that to the bank just yet. Overall, this rotation needs to step it up with the opponents that are looming.
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My rant for today is brief since you’ve heard it before. In my region, I’m getting NY-Cleve on Fox, and everything but MLB.audio is blacked out. This contract with Fox is archaic and goes back to a time when there wasn’t MLB.TV and Extra Innings. This needs to be changed, “for the good of the game.”
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–Rich

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