Day off for Renteria

He gets a much-needed rest tonight with Ramon Santiago starting in his place. It’s something Jim Leyland says he might a little more often now to keep Renteria fresh. Gary Sheffield is off as scheduled, with Matt Joyce back in the field in left. Marcus Thames gets the first of what should be at least two straight games.

Here’s the Tigers lineup:

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

For the Red Sox:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
  2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  5. Mike Lowell, 3B
  6. J.D. Drew, RF
  7. Jason Varitek, C
  8. Coco Crisp, CF
  9. Julio Lugo, SS

41 Comments

I like this line up. It’ll be quicker on defense, maybe a little weaker than last night offensively. Should be interesting.

I wanted to address Jason’s very good question from the last thread re Lofton, but first another word on Parker’s article. He’s got a big hole there when he talks of an attendance clause and Bonds being a good fit with Detroit. We’re already practically sold out for the entire season. Why on earth would we offer anyone an attendance clause? Bonds should go to the Marlins. And this is why I tend to ignore Rob’s opinions.
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Lofton would make some sense if you just had to have a mid-season signing. LH, still fast, can do some things. OTOH, he’d be yet another old guy. I’ll fall back on the point most everyone is making: we need good pitching, not more position players.
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I’m interested in watching tonight’s lineup too. And without Ramirez, we might actually have a good old fashioned pitching duel. Wouldn’t that be a novel thing.
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“ARRR! ARRR!” snarled Youkilis.
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–Rich

Verlander got a good start that inning. Guillen misplayed that Ortiz weak ground ball. IMO that was an error—at least in judgement. Should have fielded the ball in the glove.
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Granderson struggling a bit.
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Disappointed, if not surprised, that Joyce is hitting ahead of Thames.
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Good move to get Ramon in. Especially with Renteria slumping at the plate.
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Will we get a long ball with a men on tonight?

Well not this inning. Cabrera doesn’t look good. I think I will be more optimistic about him when I see him start to pull the ball.
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Last night was great but the composition of this ball club mandates that we are able to produce runs via the long ball. We do not have that part of the game going at all right now.

It’s ugly early here. Guillen is just not handling that bag very well at all. He’s not making many plays IMO.

yikes…top of the 2nd isn’t looking good for our ACE.
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0 outs…4 hits and a HBP…oh great JV.

are there lipreaders in the dugouts? i mean…. i hate the covered mouth with the glove thing.
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maybe they have that kids toy from walmart that amplifies words from very far away as long as it’s pointed in that general direction? seems silly.
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nice grab on that pitch inge…….. pudge would’ve had that. now boston has scored 2 runs. i hate these defensive moves. guillen can’t handle 3rd. inge is mediocre at C(at best). cabrera is fantastic at 1B…..
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this game has 1-3 for the series written all over it, and 1-6 for justin verlander. runners at the corners, cabrera stikes out. ugh….
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shrug, its only the 2nd inning, of course. but no outs, runners on the corners. boston knows how to just tap the ball into play. not swing for saturn. now justin loaded the bases with a HBP…. game is getting out of control REAL quick.
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Ugly–like I said! Verlander hurts himself so much with his pencant for hitting guys–especially the RHB

well maybe he’s following the trend Bondo and Robertson have set by having “one bad inning”, ha. we shall see.
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I know I’ve heard previously that they cover their mouths with their gloves to avoid the cameras picking up on what they are saying…especially when they aren’t saying very nice things :)
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Let’s go Matt…start something off here!

is our entire SP staff washed up? they’re all relatively young, not sure of their exact ages… i know the roaster is old.. but otherwise, robertson is the eldest, or am i wrong? it doesn’t matter. it seems every team just owns the tigers SPing……
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or is there some viral mechanical problem that’s forcing our pitching to throw bananas at these hitters?
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joyce….. idk bout this guy. i’d rather see clete thomas in there…… ugh management is just grabbing names out the hat at this point.
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now thames is swinging to the outer edges of the galaxy. just PUT THE BALL IN PLAY!!! SINGLES WIN GAMES NOT HR’S. UGH!
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trying to hard trying to hard trying to hard…….. that will not help the team. base hits, moving runners, hit hit hit…… dan, i know you like homers, but its basehits that win the game. i dont agree with the strike three to thames at all.
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blah blah blah
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mike…………………………………..

i agree…swinging for the fences, usually ends up in either a strike out or a fly ball to the outfield–either way…it results in an out, usually.
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nice play by ACE on that last one.
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let’s hope Grandy can get a few hits tonight…2 for 15 in the series so far…not too hot.
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I agree–Clete Thomas looked good when he was up earlier in the season, but I guess if he isn’t doing anything down at Toledo, then we might as well not bring him up.

Where is the 2-out 3 run HR?

OK guys–so here we are with no speed on the base paths, tons of runners on and tons of men LOB. And we don’t need the HR component?
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Without the the season is lost. We are not the Twins.

popped out to shallow right dan

Curtis has to stop taking strikes when he is slumping.

It doesn’t get much wors than that. Curtis is out-thinking himself now. That’s a shame because when he goes into this funk it looks like a bottomless pit.
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He should try to lay a few down or try attacking the first pitch.
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Santiago and Thames both have more RBIs than Sheffield.
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Big inning here with the leadoff man on.

YAY! Matt Joyce…that was an awesome play!

guillen is not a third baseman

2 out HR. Missing from our game but look at the damage it can cause when it happens..
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Verlander was helped out immensely by the good catch and then Papi swinging on a 3-0–but couldn’t do the rest.
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No one can convince me the HR is not a major element in the game of baseball. That’s why they made OF fences!
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It is missing from the tiger offense and until the rediscover it they will have a very difficult time stringing wins together.
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I’m not sayin’ they should be out there swinging for the fences constantly I am saying that they have power but they are not implementing it.
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With the rough starts they are getting they will not be able to overcome the defecits they find themselves in.
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They are not going to get 18 hits a game very often and they are going to have to do better than they are as far as LOB. I would bet they are among the worst in baseball as far as leaving men on.
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May as well just let Youkilis fungo his ABs—he has had at least 3 fast balls served to him this series.

alright…Dan–I agree…when we have runners on base, we need that homerun hit to get a few runs in.
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another not-so-quality start for our ACE.
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6 hits in 27 at bats so far is not too impressive

A bit too “polite” again tonight.

Jason, does this team have any chemistry or are they really as dysfunctional as they seem to be? Something just seems to be missing besides hitting and pitching. I’m just guessing that with so many of these guys being former all-stars, nobody is stepping up to be the leader. Can this season be salvaged or will all be lost by mid-June?
–ED–

Well Ed, it is getting very concerning. They are getting to the end of the 1st quarter pretty darn soon and they have not developed a team identity, consistency, and are lacking clutch hitting and pitching.
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Cabrera is not hitting, Sheffield can’t hit, Ordonez has 1 HR with a man on base, Guillen’s power has tailed off and he is flailing at 3B. Renteria is slumping and now Curtis is looking like he is clueless at the plate. Combine that with minimal production from Rodriguez and it is not exactly a formula for a winning percentage.
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No point even talking about the pitching as that is pretty much a contradiction in terms.
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I guess we will get the usual dribble from JL now about how good these guys are and how they just have to keep grinding, how the effort is there, how much he “likes” everybody or how he holds himself responsible.
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You know every team is going to lose and sometimes they lose badly, but we are seeiing poor play game after game.
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Leyland needs to draw a line in the sand.

My Lineup for tomorrow:

Santiago 3B
Polanco 2B
Guillen DH
Ordonez RF
Thames LF
Cabrera 1B
Renteria SS
Raburn CF
Pudge C

Tempted to play Inge at third against the lefty but I think this team need to learn how to live without him.
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If they are going to stick with Cabrera at first then I would just as soon see them get rid of Inge and Sheffield and call up Hessman to play 3rd, insist that Carlos DH and perhaps alternate with Cabrera at 1B when necessary.
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That being said, this is probably what we will get from JL:

Pudge C
Polanco 2B
Guillen 3B
Ordonez RF
Cabrera 1B
Sheffield LF
Renteria SS
Thames DH
Inge CF

Playing Cabrera at 1B blocks Larish. He is still pretty young but where is he going to play? 1B for him seems logical and I think moving Cabrera has added to his adjustment going from a super-star status in Florida to what is supposed to be a good team here. They should have left him alone.

I missed most of this game but again it looks like it was a good one to have missed. I don’t know if any of you have done this, but a couple of times in the past, instead of going to the Tiger site for the score, I’ll check in here on Beck’s Blog and follow the “trail of tears” or the “trail of cheers”. As you read along you try to guess what inning and roughly who’s winning. It’s actually pretty entertaining. You guys always get it right and never call a bad game:)

I actually liked this lineup at the beginning of the game, except I don’t like Inge catching. I’d like to see him on 3rd. Offense ain’t doin it right now. SP ain’t doin it either. Where does the spark come from to get out of turtle world? Defense is about the only thing left where we can see immediate results. JL won’t do this but here’s my lineup.

Santiago SS
Polanco 2B
Granderson CF
Ordonez RF
Cabrera 1B
Guillen DH
Thames LF
Inge 3B
Rodriguez C

That upgrades the defense and there’s still plenty of power in the lineup. We don’t need a lineup full of HR hitters. We need a lineup that can make the kind of plays in the field that should infuse some confidence in these tired SPs we’ve been watching. I know, Marcus may not be the best defensive LF on the team but his defensive play is not a detriment and his bat is so much better than the alternatives. Then you get Raburn in there as much as possible and late for defense. Maybe even Joyce in RF with a lead of 2 runs or more. Defense……or we could just keep doin’ what we’re doin’.

I’m going to spend a moment talking to myself here. You’re free to listen in if you choose.
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This is ALL about pitching. Starting pitching. Let’s look at tonight. We’re almost immediately down 3-0 again, with our ace on the mound. Thames singles, Inge rips an excellent single to right. Then Santiago has an AB that’s a thing of beauty, before driving in the first run. Then our ace goes out there and grooves yet another one to pirate Youkilis. In the very next inning. Immediately 5-1. I’m going to defend these beleaguered hitters for a moment. If you can go into the 7th, 8th or even 9th down by 3-1 or so, you have a real good chance of doing something. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. Our starters have usually given up 4,5,6 or more runs before they even depart after the sixth inning. Then you expect the hitters to come from that far down? The game is played over nine innings, but the pitchers are only giving our offense about five innings to put up big numbers before we’re once more far behind again. You can’t win games with any consistency like this. It’s all pitching. The pitchers have to keep us in games and they’ve failed miserably in this regard.
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What’s the answer? You may want to consider bringing up someone for a spot start. Myself, I think the best way to help the pitching staff is to put in the strongest defense you can muster and temporarily forget about the Offense That Scored a Thousand Runs. There’s not an offense made that can score 6+ runs every single night.
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I don’t need to make out a lineup, we all know who are best defenders are.
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It’s still early, believe it or not, but at some point, one team is going to break out. We could end up hopelessly out of it if it happens before this ship is righted.
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–Rich

Marty, you’re my man. We were both posting the same idea at the same time. :-)
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–Rich

We were thinking lineup at the same time Dan. I hadn’t seen yours before I posted mine. Some similarities, and mine was more a general lineup, not one for LHP.

You really don’t like Inge do you? I can live with your lineup. Santiago would help Renteria a lot on the left side. How about switching the two or would Renteria be too slow reacting for 3B? Can’t remember, is Hessman well above average at 3rd? Looks like you would basically take Hessman over Inge.

As far as Cabrera goes, he’s here for 8 years right? Unless they move him back to 3rd or DH him (which, come on, looks pretty ridiculous considering his monster contract), Larrish and whoever else won’t be playing 1st on this team. Maybe they should move MC back to third, but then eventually you absolutely have to have **** to cover the ground and pick him up on that side.

Hey Rich, you’re right. We were saying the same thing there.I was already writing another one and when I went back to reading and saw yours I thought, man he’s dissing my lineup:) I’m only trying to help:)

Not sure where those little asterisks came from. Think it was just a player I named that apparently can’t be mentioned. What happened there Jason? Are we getting too personal or something? Night all.

I hope everyone has an open mind on this and really look into this. The best third baseman, when you considered everything, that the Tigers have is playing in Toledo. Mike Hessman is hitting over .300, has 12 home runs and 25 rbi’s. His defense is way above average with good range and a strong arm. I have season tickets in Toledo and get to watch him everyday. I’m amazed that he hasn’t been given a real chance in the majors. The Tigers should just put him in and let him play for a full month everyday. This guy is a stud. I would hate to lose him in Toledo but he deserves a real chance to play in the bigs everyday. He is the real deal. This year he has really cut down on his strikeouts and is making good contact as his plus .300 average is showing. The Tigers really need to give this guy a shot.

I do like Inge. I just don’t think he is a good enough player to justify giving him a full time job, especially at a position where you need RBI production.
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His defense is great, sometimes phenomenal but in this day and age you can’t win with an everday player who struggles to hit .230. There used to be a time when you could get aways with that with your shortstop and your catcher and many moons ago, maybe even your 3rd baseman. But no longer. And yes, I would prefer to see Hessman over him, if they are not going to put Cabrera in his natural position.
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I chose Santiago over him for my lineup because he adds another dimension to the team. Plus he hits better and he is certainly no slouch in the field wherever you play him.
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If Inge could hit .270 and drive in 85 then he would be an extremely valuable commodity as a 3rd sacker. If that were at all possible then they would never have traded for Cabrera.
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His situation has also been complicated by his reaction to “The Trade”. I think it would be best for everyone concerned that he found a home somewhere else where he can play the hot corner every day.
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The only way I can see him stay is if they were able to DH Guillen. If they keep Sheffield around then Guillen will continue to flounder at 3rd and Inge will play ahead of Raburn, Thames and Santiago. This then makes a whole lot of folks unhappy about their roles, including Cab and Guillen.
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This season could erode into disaster quite quickly. The hitting is not good, but I think it will take solid starts from the whole rotation to turn things around. We need a couple of rotations where virtually every starter provides a “quality start”
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I’ve said this before and I feel it in my bones that there is something wrong behind the scenes and not just out on the field. It can’t account for the overal collapse of the team but it has exacerbated it I’m sure.
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I have never been a Chuck Hernadez fan and it seems to me that there is one area that we might see a change. Save some dough and make Kenny a playing coach! Just kidding.
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It just seems that management is going to play ostrich and adopt the ‘What, Me Worry?” philosophy. That would be a terrible shame for the fans, the players and management.

Went to the game last night and froze my ##### off. It was cold and boring and a grind to stay there and watch. In fact I did something for only the second time in my life. Left the game a little early. (Top of the 9th).
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All I can say is that, I don’t know what the answers are. And appearently either do the coaches or the general manager. I think that there has to be something wrong with Justin, you just don’t go from being that good to being that horrible. So I wish he would just stand up and say ya, I am hurting I need to have a little time off “the tired arm syndrome” because he isn’t doing this team any favors my playing hurt or whatever he is??? It used to be a comfort knowing he was going to pitch and now it just leads to dread.
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Well the hitting is the hitting inconsistent and frustrating. I swear, all of these players and the team that I love and frustrating the hell out of me. What is up with Granderson, about 9 strikeouts in the last 3 games. Golden sombraro last night. He plain and simple just looks lost at the plate all of a sudden, when he came out like gang busters his first 2 weeks back. Again is his hand bothering him???
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Did any of you hear this, last night the guy behind me kept on saying that Raburn, Sheff, Thames and Jaque were arguing about who should be playing in left?? Does anyone know if that is true???
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Anyway another day another game to dread because you just know that they are going to lose. I tell you we all had such high hopes that this team would be somewhat competative and they are anything but. I will always love them and cheer for them, and watch every game. But I tell you they are breaking my heart and my spirit. (Talk about mellow dramatic???)_

Rich, you are soooooo right. It’s pitching, pitching, pitching. Starting pitching, starting pitching and starting pitching. They stink. They’re really bad. They are losing games. They walk way too many batters. They give up runs after the offense scores. They all seem to have ERAs around 7. No one could win with this. I have no idea what the solution is for Verlander. For Robertson, the solution is to become a reliever, IMO. Bonderman needs to overcome his 1st inning thing, but otherwise he’ll be okay. Rogers is questionable. Seems to have lost his control. Will Willis help? His control has been awful, too, but he pitched something like 5 walkless innings in Toledo, I think. Who knows what will happen. The pitching sure can’t get worse, though. Unless we trade our entire staff with Texas…

Very troubling. The sluggers have become slugs. The bitching staff blames the hitters. The bull(sh!t) pen can’t get the big out. The base runners have become base squatters. A home run is what the players do after the game. The manager is being managed by his left-fielder. The last guy to steal a base was Ron Leflore.
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Leyland says this is a great team. He is wrong. It was supposed to be a great team. At this point in time it is either a bad team or not much of a team at all.
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We have 3 guys playing out of position in the everyday lineup. We have a closer who has 5 saves. A rotation with a rookie being the “Ace” and having won all of 8 games. A team ERA of over 5 and the 2nd worst in all of MLB.
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Another barometer of a good team is attendance. Notice all the empty seats lately?
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The big question: Is there anything that can change all this?

I don’t care if they put Roy Hobbs at every position, it still comes down to pitching.
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I don’t recall ever hearing of a pitching coach being fired mid-season, unless the manager is fired first. I’m thinking I had a higher opinion of Bob Cluck, Hernandez’s predecessor.
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However………..
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I seriously think the one thing you can do is put your best defense on the field and let the hitting take care of itself. This way you may gain an out or two here and there, and you don’t betray your pitchers by making errors and bad decisions on plays where the harried hurler actually did make a good pitch.
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Yep, this would mean Inge at third and Santiago at short, for starters (and for starters). If they hit .230 so be it, there are still plenty of good hitters left to make up for it. What we need to do right now is stay in the games. What to do with the other high priced sluggers? If I was getting paid to do this, I’d figure it out. Since I’m not, that’s Leyland’s (and Dombrowski’s) problem. I do know they’d have to be creative. A side value of this is getting rest for these older and somewhat out of shape players we have.
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This doesn’t make our pitchers throw any better, but it helps them the most in getting through a game and it’s a start. To borrow a basketball term, we’ve got to D up.
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–Rich

I just read this article on ESPN.com about offseason trades and how they’ve panned out. Check out what they said about the Cabrera/Willis deal.

9. Tigers-Marlins (Miguel Cabrera and LHP Dontrelle Willis for LHP Andrew Miller, OF Cameron Maybin, C Mike Rabelo, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Eulogia De La Cruz and RHP Dallas Trahern): We won’t be able to judge Florida’s half of this deal until about 2010. And Willis has been a mess. But the surprise is that Cabrera has been: (a) an offensive disappointment, (b) such a defensive disaster at third base that he had to be shifted to first within three weeks, and (c) so lackadaisical that players on other teams are privately questioning whether he flicked on his cruise-control switch after signing an eight-year, $153.3-million contract this spring. “I expected him to come in there and be superman,” said one scout. “He’s been anything but that.”

Kinda makes you think we should have held out giving Cabrera such a big deal before he even played a game in the D.

Point well taken, Rich, about fielding the strongest defense. I had the same thought ruminating around my brain. Start Inge at third, Santiago at short, Raburn in left. But sad to say, there is no defense that can offset the type of starting pitching we’re getting. Too many walks, too many wild pitches, too many hit batters, etc., etc. We are setting the table for our opposition. There is no defense against that or the homerun which inevitably follows. No, this team was built to score runs, to beat other teams with softball scores. Any defensive shortcomings or mediocre pitching would be overcome with our bats. There is, unfortunately, no back-up plan. We are stuck with this. Hopefully they will come around. It all begins with our SP giving us 5-6 good innings. Minimize the damage–and then pray the bats come around.

–ED–

You’re right, there is no backup plan Ed. And Rich and Ed, I see they’re not buying out defense plan. Too bad. Maybe things will work themselves out, maybe the pitchers will suddenly become pitchers. Maybe there is a minor league pitcher or two who will save us. I’m getting to the point where I am giving up on my expectations and just going to take what comes. 0-7 and you can think it’s just a fluke. But 15-21 may be more like reality.

Last night even Rod was saying that the Red Sox had a very nice mix of youth and veterans. They have 4 guys on the roster drafted in 2005 or after did he say? That’s either dumb luck or building a team the right way.

Should read “our” defensive plan

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