Talk amongst yourselves this weekend

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To paraphrase Jim Rome: I take time off because I get time off. And I have the next few days for at least part of the holiday weekend. I’ll be back on the beat Monday from the west coast, where I’ll be doing all three cities of the upcoming trip. Until then, I’ll be running errands, just plain running and trying to watch three games at the same time Saturday like the rest of you. I might chime in if something comes up, but otherwise, enjoy what might be one of the best weekends in Detroit sports history. Three games going on in the same city at the same time? Two of them postseason games, and the other one critical for playoff hopes? That’s hard to beat. Enjoy it along with the rest of the holiday weekend.

51 Comments

Something I just heard that was disturbing is that they’re going to try instant replay in the Arizona Fall League. If it goes well, we may see it in the bigs next year? Perhaps a former BALLPLAYER should be commissioner? Leave the game alone!
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Tonight and this weekend, we’ve got to bust Mauer inside or something. Don’t just let him hit the same pitch to leftfield time and again.
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–Rich

it is a blessing … we can bitch all we want bout losing … but we are lucky to have such teams.. (lions excluded, of course) :)

The boys need to start hitting the ball!
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Looks like one of those “Cy Young” is pitching against us games. Slowey hasn’t won a game this season—let’s keep it tthat way.
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1st inning was frustrating–Sheff and Ordonez impatiently hitting chage-ups for easy ground outs.

is it me or most of the players look like they are strolling in a garden ? … again .. reminds me of the games after the Rangers sweep .. Tigers hopefully prove that they can win against better teams …

They have no sense of urgency that I can see either.
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This is not a trend we want to see keep being repeated. Happened after the Yankee series too.
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Need to get on a roll and carry these victories over to the next series.

Whoa is Dontrelle ever wild!

Well he got out of that one relatively well.
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BUT.
We absolutely have to make sure we don’t get shut out. This simply cannot happen after 3 good games like we had.
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I was a bit annoyed with ordonez not getting sent home on Cab’s double when the throw went to 2nd AND got by the primary infielder. yes I know it was only 1 run and we need 5 but every run counts and it would have avoided a shutout and left us 1 swing of the bat behind.
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I think he would have scored easy if he had played it right but I think he secured the bag and was happy at the thought.

Let’s see what Pudge can do in an important situation.

Pudge had an exceptional AB and finished it off with a flourish. Nice.
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I understand why but don’tt agree with pinch hitting for Granderson. Reyes was in trouble and I think Grandy would have got the run in.
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Hope Thames proves the decision a wise one

Would have been 5-4 without the carny show happening.
But nice job by Thames getting the run in.

Whaddya goin do? Marcus couldn’t hold the bag at 2 and did the next best thing. Tough break.
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But at least there was some clutch hitting done and they didn’t lay down.
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They might be able to pull this one somehow and what a lift it would be if they could.

Twins are such a blue collar team. Man, their bottom of the lineup (whoever happens to be there) always seems to hurt us. Lamb had 0 HRs and was hitting .220 before tonight.

Wonder if JL made that call (to bring Seay in)? I was surprised they would make the change as lopez generally will get the job done efficiently. Seay has not been as dominant as he once was against Lefties and it really doesn’t matter to Mauer anyway. I would have left him in.

Whatever happens this game ( and it doe look like a loss) at leat they showed something. A couple of key hits, some aggression, and also they showed us a few things that were immediately negative but perhaps helpful in the future.
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I think we have to not just assume that Seay will get lefties out. I hope management realizes this now.
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I think we have also seen that Carlos Guillen is a very important cog in the machine. If he has a porr game ( and he did tonight) it really affects the whole team.
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If there is anyone I want to see get really hot all around, defensively and offensively, it is him.
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Cabrera needs to start pulling the ball and putting the ball out of the yard too. He seems to be doing a lot of 1st pitch swinging now—guess that was bound to happen following Ordonez in the lineup. He has the talent to get away with it.
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They didn’t really deserve to win this one but it was good to see thejm put up a fight.

Chuck Hernandez needs to have a heart to to heart with Seay. What the heck is doing giving up connsecutive 0-2 base hits? Pudge should be giving him better isntructions but ultimately it is Seay who is throwing the ball in the hit zone when he should be in command. Not impressed with seay lately adn especially today. Rapada had been showing signs of struggling too so there coul well be room for a new lefty in the pen.
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Where was Carlos on the Mauer bunt?

I am going to start betting games in which we are facing high ERA no-name right handed pitchers. We seem to always look really foolish against them.
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Marcus may of thought it was really funny that he screwed up his baserunning but it proved to be rather large when Sheff hit the homerun the next at bat. It obviously could of been a different game.
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I also agree it was a poor move to bring in Seay. Why do I know that Mauer has a harder time hitting righties this year than lefties and the management of the Tigers don’t.
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Willis was bad, Galarraga was horrible and so was Bobby Seay.
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What is it about this team and these pitchers who everyone else in the world hits and they don’t??

Carlos Guillen cannot play third base. He will cost us a run or two every seven games. I hope his hitting can make up the difference. More pressure, more pitches, more opportunities for those pesty Twins. I’m in total agreement that Lopez should have pitched to Mauer. Totally different ball movement and rotation. We needed this one; must have the next two. And Rich, you were right; Mossi did have the big ears too. Lolich had nice ears, but the “love abs” were his true identity. I defer to your wisdom.

At least the game was entertaining there for awhile.
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Maybe Slowey pitched well, since the bats lit up after he’d left. Or maybe the bats lit up when the lefty came in. We need to dominate RHers too.
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I thought that once the score became 5-4, it was time for tonight’s Dontrelle Willis experiment to end. I was disappointed that he came out to start the eighth. With Rapada going on the DL, the bullpen is now somewhat in disarray. There’s only one LH specialist (Seay) and he ended up pitching in situations where he shouldn’t have. Willis is no relief pitcher. In fact, I’m not at all convinced that Willis can even help us in any capacity at this point.
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More on the bullpen front. Rodney Zumaya is reported to have pitched well tonight. I said a couple of months ago that Rodney wouldn’t be back until Zumaya was, and we’re right on schedule with that one. Fernando, just tell management you don’t want to be the setup man. Lots easier that way. Anyway, while I don’t think either one of them is the saviour of the team, it will be fun at least to have Zoom in there.
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On this Thames play, I don’t look at it like Sheff would have had the game-tying homer if Marcus was on base. For one thing, they probably would have pitched around Gary or at the very least pitched him differently, and if you change history, the present changes too. Or some of that sticky space/time continuem stuff. :-) Marcus had yet another great hit off the bench, but he slid poorly into second. Perhaps Sheff or Maggs could give him some pointers on how a big guy slides, since they both seem to have that part of the game down. And nice to see Sheff continue to hit the ball hard.
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Now we can add the name Brian Knight to the Umpire Hall of Shame. That strike two on Guillen, the one that started all the ruckus, was the worst ball/strike call I’ve seen all year, and I’ve seen nearly every pitch thrown. High AND outside. Then during Guillen’s next AB, he gets strike one on a pitch at the knees, then strike three up around the letters again. Man, tough work for Carlos there. I suspect Knight also gave him some lip which is what got Leyland fired up. Just my guess.
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Finally, I have a general thought on playing teams like the Twins. I would suggest having Inge play third against teams like this because, time and again, the game pivots on infield plays. Guillen had a big DP but botched it, and I’m not sure that Inge wouldn’t have had the single after Lamb’s triple. I’m not saying to make it permanent, but there are certain teams like the Twins when infield defense becomes of the utmost importance. Carlos could DH or whatever for those games. Call it “Situational Game Alignment” or something. Just a thought. Feedback on the idea welcome.
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–Rich

It’s a great idea Rich.
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Creative managing is more than a standard lineup and a day off during a day game. Or inserting a RHB against a LHP.
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Jason–take this idea and run it past the skipper.

Rich, in regards to the “Situational Game Alignment” plan, I think it’s a good idea. I’m really in favor of Inge playing all the time at third, but if Carlos must play, then I can see your point. Teams like the Twins generally are not going to beat you with the long ball and you are right, infield defense is paramount. I’m surprised more teams aren’t trying to bunt on Guillen. I can’t see him charging, making the barehand scoop and throw like Brandon can.

Jason, enjoy your day.
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Guillen looked shaky at 3rd yesterday again. Cabrera looked good at 1st and even bailed Carlos out on a poor throw.
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Hessman and Clevlen are hitting just a shade under .300 on the farm. Hessman hit his 19th yesterday, Clevlen his 7th.
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I hope we see 3 million smiles in Motown today.

Tonight’s game is a must-win. So is tomorrow’s. And here’s why. If the Tigers had merely split their in-division games this season, merely played .500 ball against their division rivals, the standings would look like this:
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Detroit 26-22 –
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Chicago 24-23 1.5
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Minnesota 23-25 3
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Cleveland 22-26 4
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Kansas City 18-30 8
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This comes as no surprise and it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. If they think they’re going to roll over everyone in the season’s second half, they’ve got another thing coming. The must-win games are being played now.
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–Rich

Ok in regards to what Rich said about the instant replay thing–won’t they take longer…it seems like in football it takes a little bit of time to go over watch the replay, decide the call and then announce it.
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The umpires should stick to their calls, I think. Usually they make decent calls–the strike/ball calls last night when Guillen was up to bat were a little ridiculous, but I guess JL getting pissed and ejected is just part of the game…that’s what makes baseball so entertaining.
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In an effort to speed up the game, I thought we might see the managers sprinting on and off the field last night, same with the pitchers coming out from the bullpen. Guess not. haha.

Maggs spotted something there from Bonser. Changed his stance during the windup. Maybe Boof is tipping.
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–Rich

Hopefully the 3rd is Nates “One Bad Inning” tonight. The adjective certainly applies. Really stupid pitching with the back to back to back inside fastballs and giving in after getting ahead 2 strikes and giving up hits to lefties.
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Arrgghh!

Now that’s more like it. Put the lickin’ stick on ‘em. Beat ‘em like they stole something. Now we need to get tomorrow’s game with Verlander pitching and take this series. I was glad to hear Robertson say that tomorrow’s game is a big one. We’ve already dug a deep divisional hole and will have to win most or all of the remaining divisional series.
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Santiago starts and gets on base five times. Five. I’m just sayin’………….
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–Rich

Verlander is gonna be in tough if he can’t improve his ball to strike ratio soon.

Affllack= Jackie Robinson?

Afflack= I mean Willie Mays not Jackie Robinson.

Just don’t hit anybody today Justin and you will be OK

Nice to see Verlander throwing like this again. I was suspicious of arm degradation because he had lost significant velocity on the fastball. He looks like he still has it and it is very important for him.
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Now we gotta get some middle of the lineup hitting here especially from Cabrera who IMO is struggling.

I hope the guys can pull this one out but I know the Twins are gonna have some clutch hitting to deal with before this is over.
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Guillen was a little slow rounding the bag but it took a perfect throw to get him and he did the right thing as 9 times out of 10 you don’t get a perfect throw with something on it like that.

C’mon Justin–don’t pack it in now. Get through this inning and get past this guy Lamb who has been killing us this weekend.

Damn Lamb!

Maybe not on the books but in my mind Verlander gets a win for that effort.
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Now we get a good indication of how strong our bullpen really is.

Great moves by the Twins –don’t agree with Mario and Rod.
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Does not look good right now. Morneau often hurts us and he is due.
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Cruceta interesting but sure gets himself in trouble.

Morneau walks I would take Crucet out. Cause he is likely to walk Cuddyer too.

Well Cruceta has shown why he has not made it with previous MLB teams. He pitches in trouble constantly and he compounds the issue by not pitching well in trouble.
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Predictable–if you can’t throw strikes when you are a late inning reliever then when you do come across with one you can bet you are going to give up a lot of hits. In this case runs too.. This is a time where they really needed Lopez.
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They dodged a bullet with Cuddyer and the trouble with that one was that he looked so bad that Leyland thought Cruceta had something when he should have brought in Seay to face Kubel.
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Cruceta has not shown that he can handle the job here. He has a devastaing split finger but in truth all you have to do as a hitter is not swing at it. He does not throw a lot of pitches for strikes, except for his batting tee fastball.

These Twins know how to play and as aggravating and frustrating as they are they are also need to be commended for their “twinacity”.
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I was very worried when the bullpen became responsible for this game. They have been good with some of their numbers but most of our games this year have been non-contentious and they have not had a lot of times where they have had to perform under duress.
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JL likes to have a formula with his bullpen and in his tunnel vision he sees Cruceta as his setup or 8th inning guy right now. Damn the torpedos, he is gonna implement his formula come hell or highwater.
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I know Lopez was not ready to pitch but considering JL wasted his innings yesterday you can see the importance of knowing when to use a guy. Why not use Dolsi or Miner yesterday?

I’m pretty ticked off with this one. I don’t think we were likely to win it anyway once Verlander was removed and the offense was unable to provide much but the fact that JL lets his stubborness overpower his common sense really bothers me.
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I repeat–Cabrera is struggling. He is not hitting the long ball and that needs to be fornt and center for him to be successful. He had trouble hitting the long ball in winter ball too. His average was OK but I am cerned he may have lost his stroke.
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I think it is time to give Blaine Neal a shot up here. Cruceta ain’t gonna cut it.

Mauer vs Jones: 1st HR right here?

Wow–can’t believe JL is taking out his buddy! Like what does it matter now?
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They really do need to bring up Neal and see what he can do. We have been dead lucky with our bullpen this year and it cannot be relied upon now that we are showing signs of turning the corner with the starters.

As fun as yesterday was it was a very negative series against the Twins. They simply have to dig deep and faind a level of constuctive consistency.

Right now, our biggest pitching problem is with walks. As well as Verlander pitched, he elevated his cout with 4walks, and his only run given up, was aided by a walk. Same thing with Cruceta and Jones. Allo fo our starters, even Galaragga now, are killing their chances with excess walks.
That’s Minnesota’s success, and even Cleveland to a great degree. With walks, you roll the lineup through at least another half time, and you get top three batting that extra time. it constantly puts pressure on our guys. Rayburn and Thames didn’t cut it today, and Cabrera feels the 152 million dollar squeeze.

Not much to add other than, Rich, I would have liked to have seen Santiago in today. Might have been the ticket to generate a run or two. Also, that was a heck of a throw by Brandon in the strike’um out throw’um out play. Fun to watch.

And Dan, good commentary today as usual. Accurate observations David.

What you see is what you’ll continue to get. This is what a high powered offense does. We scored 24 runs in this series and lost two games. Numbers don’t =wins. Where’s that six-run outburst when you actually need it?
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This is not a good ballclub by any stretch. It’s poorly put together and is only good for the occasional offensive outburst that looks good on SportsCenter. No ability to manufacture runs, or maybe no managerial will to try it. A weak bullpen, very ordinary starting pitching and a porous defense. This really shouldn’t be surprising anyone. We’ve only beaten the teams we should have beaten and have earned our place in the standings. Nearly every team we play is better than us and that’s why we’re losing.
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This is not something that can be fixed with one or two personnel moves. I did a TDY in the army with an old supply sergeant who used to say “They orderin’ too much of de wrong jive.” That’s what has happened here. We got too much of de wrong jive.
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–Rich

well i was watching indiana jones while this game was being played. (great movie BTW – recommend it) and when i initially saw the score on ESPN ticker at a buddies house, i was surprised to see, that barring the GS cruceta gave up, it wasn’t as one sided as it seemed. looked like JV pitched very well. (at least from the box) and the tigers put up 8 hits, though, i didn’t see the game, what was it, one every inning? lol…. the ‘bright’ side of this series, is that sheffied is getting hits. i sure hope he keeps it up.
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here’s lookin to you, anahiem, lets hope they dont get jetlagged for tomorrows game, but if they do, i’ll allow it, as long as they pound angel pitching Tuesday and Wednesday when i’m there!
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GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!
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(can’t wait to irritate anahiem fans tuesday, and i REALLY can’t wait til wednesday, when i wont have my 10 year old with me, i’ll be able to partake in a lot more ‘adult beverage’ fun and REALLY antagonize the angel’s faithful!!! haha)
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mike

Speaking of the Aflac Trivia Question, Saturday night’s answer was actually incorrect. The question was, “when was the last time a Detroit franchise played a Pittsburgh franchise in the postseason? Any sport.” The answer given was the 1909 WS between the Tigers and Pirates. But…….there was something in the NFL called the Playoff Bowl that ran between 1960 and 1969. The Wikipedia definition of this is “a postseason game to determine the thrid best team in the NFL.” In January of 1963, the Lions beat the Steelers in this game, 17-10. This is the same game that Vince Lombardi always called “The Hinky Dink Bowl.”
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Yeah I know, big deal. But we’ve got everyone out of town and a lousy baseball team, so I got bored. I’m headed for the mountains tomorrow.
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–Rich

I was up in Northern Michigan all weekend. I did not see the Saturday game until the 7th inning. I did watch all of Sunday’s game. I was cooking brats on the grill (Johnsonville of course!) when Cuceta came in. Walks! Jim Palmer led the majors in walks with the bases loaded but he was smart. MC comes up with 2 on and looks like a minor leauger on that 3-2 pitch. I said hind sight before but I just accepted the Maybin, Miller trade. In 2006 we had the right combo, pitching, defense and just enough hitting.

My father-in-law said how come Minnesota always has good players year after year and they are the lowest payroll?

I like reading all the comments. I hope JL reads this.

Jason, thanks for your time on this blog and I am sure you have enjoyed your time off.
Go Tigers!
Happy Memorial Day to everyone! My father was in Korea.
–Dave

I’m Vietnam myself.
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I just got back from hiking in the mountains. Beautiful day here.
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If ever there was a time for that defensive alignment, it’s the next three games. The Guillen switch was made for the last game of the previous Angels series, and it cost us. I don’t care if they sit Sheffield or Cabrera or whoever, but the defense has to be tightened up for this series. We’re not going to beat them with slugging. If we’re going to use Renteria, he’ll need to be bunting or executing hit and run plays, something to make him valuable. Waiting for these guys to hit is not the answer.
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I don’t hold out much hope this week.
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–Rich

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