June 2008

Willis debuts for Lakeland

As you could probably tell, I’m off this weekend, but I wanted to drop a note about Dontrelle Willis’ first rehab outing for Class A Lakeland Sunday night. He gave up a run on three walks and a single in his two innings of work, facing 10 batters in the process. No pitch count available in the box score, so no word yet on the split of balls and strikes.

Most of the damage came in his first inning of work, as the play-by-play shows. He gave up the single in between two walks to load the bases with one out before a fielder’s choice ball to right brought in the run.

I’m off for the Minnesota series as well, so you’ll have to talk amongst yourselves for a little while longer. It’s a long stretch off, but it’s basically my all-star break since I’ll be working the all-star game in New York in a couple weeks.

Leyland on Thames not starting

He’s going to be perfectly fine,” Leyland said, “but Marcus has been out of character a
little bit. All of a sudden, hitting a home run every day, coming home to the
home crowd, get a little jumpy. He got a little frustrated because he lost a
ball in the lights, which happens to everyday. I don’t care about it. Marcus
Thames is going to play a whole bunch, believe me. But all of a sudden, it’s a
little bit different. That’s why when people ask why you don’t play somebody
every day, you have to watch what you’re talking about.

“Marcus Thames is going to play a whole bunch. But
sometimes people play best when they’re in a comfort zone. He’s going to be
fine tomorrow. He’s fine right now. I talked with him yesterday [about the
ejection]. He knows that wasn’t him. [Umpire] Wally Bell knows that wasn’t him.
But all of a sudden, people expect you to hit a home run every time up. That’s
not fair
. This is a good lesson for Marcus to learn how to deal with some
stuff. And he’ll handle it beautifully. I would guess Marcus Thames will get
two hits tomorrow night. I don’t know if he’ll hit a homer, but I feel real
good with Marcus Thames up there.”

Hollimon, Thomas start again

Friday’s lineup is pretty much the same as yesterday, including Michael Hollimon at SS and Clete Thomas in LF. Jim Leyland said he was starting Thomas over Marcus Thames because Thames hasn’t looked like himself at the plate the last few games, that the run of homers might’ve gotten him out of sync. Leyland didn’t go into the reasons for not playing Edgar Renteria today, but Renteria said that he’s feeling fine, and Leyland said Renteria will be back in the lineup on Saturday, so it’s not an injury. Thames also is expected to start again on Saturday.

Here are the full lineups:

TIGERS (38-40)

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

ROCKIES (32-47)

  1. Willy Taveras, CF
  2. Scott Podsednik, DH
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Brad Hawpe, RF
  5. Garrett Atkins, 3B
  6. Jeff Baker, 1B
  7. Chris Iannetta, C
  8. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
  9. Clint Barmes, 2B

Wilkin Ramirez to Futures Game

If you were looking forward to seeing Rick Porcello in the Futures Game in a few weeks, you're probably going to have to wait a year. Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez is the Tigers' lone representative, and a deserving one at that. He has slumped recently upon returning from Triple-A Toledo to Double-A Erie to drop his average below .300, but he still entered Friday batting .290 with 16 doubles, five triples, nine home runs 32 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

That's a first

According to research on baseball-reference.com, Nate Robertson is the first Tigers pitcher since at least 1956 (that’s as far back as the search tool goes) to give up at least 11 hits in an outing without giving up an earned run. Only Carlos Silva (8/3/2004 for the Twins) and Curt Schilling (5/6/2000 for Philly) have done it in the Majors since 1999.

For what it’s worth, the record in that span for most hits without an earned run is 13: Scott Sanderson (9/4/84), Tommy John (9/14/83, though he pitched 13 innings to do it), Ross Grimsley (6/18/74) and Mudcat Grant (7/15/64).

Pujols activated

He’s back in the Cardinals lineup, batting third at DH. He’s 1-for-1 with a single and two walks off of Nate Robertson, for what that’s worth. And of course, he’s 5-for-6 with three solo homers and a double off of Todd Jones.

On the Tigers side, Dane Sardinha is catching, as expected. Michael Hollimon gives Edgar Renteria a day off at short, while Clete Thomas gives another left-handed bat for Todd Wellemeyer to face.

TIGERS (37-40)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, 3B
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Thomas, LF
  7. Sheffield, DH
  8. Hollimon, SS
  9. Sardinha, C

Game to resume at 11:05pm

It’s going to be a late night of baseball. The good thing is that the weather is pretty much clear from here.

Rain delay update

They just took off the tarp to survey the damage. The left side of the infield looks like a mess. The right side is slightly better. There’s a chance another round of showers could roll through, but it looks like it should miss here. Regardless, it’s going to take a little while to get this field ready.

Just before they removed the tarp, Todd Jones and another player were out by the Tigers dugout with a bucket full of stuff, tossing it to the fans in the stands. Cracker jacks, gum, all sorts of snacks — it was a grab bag of items, except it was in a bucket.

Dan asked about whether they’d replace Galarraga. Usually the rule of thumb is that if the delay lasts more than an hour, you’ll see a new pitcher on the mound when the game resumes. This looks like it should be at least an hour by the time they work on the field.

UPDATE @ 9:20pm: They’re working a little bit on the field, but it’s not all hands on deck yet. They haven’t rolled up the tarp and put it away yet, either. It could be that they’re waiting for the next round of showers to pass through or pass by.

UPDATE @ 9:30pm: The stakes are going back in on the tarp. Looks like the second cell of showers is going to pass over here.

UPDATE @ 9:45pm: Todd Jones just finished with his Magglio Ordonez HR impression, which they caught on TV. That seems to be it for the rain delay entertainment.

UPDATE @ 10:30pm: No more entertainment. Just kind of boredom. This is starting to feel like the Yankees game last year, only at least they have four-plus innings in.

Pirates GM on Bautista

This is Pirates GM Neal Huntington’s take from Jenifer Langosch’s trade story from the Pirates’ point of view:

If we can reach him and help him throw more strikes, we could have a
guy who is pitching in the middle to pitch in the back end,” Huntington
said. “It’s our thought that he’s a nice addition and a nice upgrade
over what we currently have.”

Kind of sounds familiar. Can’t blame the Pirates for trying, though.

It’s another low-risk [acquisition] with the potential to have a
medium-to-high upside,” Huntington said. “There’s
a chance to have a real good return for us. It’s a very good arm that
we don’t have a whole lot of.”

Wednesday: Cardinals at Tigers

Leyland said before the game that he doesn’t want to run Pudge into the ground behind the plate now that Inge is on the DL, but he’s going to have to play him more than he probably wants to play him. He plans to catch Dane Sardinha on Thursday, but don’t expect this day-on, day-off pattern that Inge and Pudge had going.

TIGERS (36-40)

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


  1. Skip Schumaker, RF
  2. Aaron Miles, 2B
  3. Rick Ankiel, CF
  4. Troy Glaus, 3B
  5. Chris Duncan, LF
  6. Yadier Molina, C
  7. Adam Kennedy, 1B (Pujols could be back Thurs.)
  8. Nick Stavinoha, DH
  9. Brendan Ryan, SS