Thames in at DH, batting third

By now, no doubt, you have the news on Francisco Cruceta’s designation. Casey Fossum is expected here sometime this evening, possibly by game time, but with the piggyback start going tonight it’s unlikely he’ll be needed. GM Dave Dombrowski apparently made the decision on the move this morning in the wake of last night’s loss.

Somebody asked who will set up. For the most part, Leyland said, Zach Miner will be working the eighth inning. That could be different for the rest of this series because of Oakland’s left-handed bats, but that’s the plan going forward until/unless Rodney, Zumaya and Bautista return.

As for the lineup, Marcus Thames returns not in RF but at DH, with Jeff Larish getting the night off against lefty Dana Eveland. Interesting, Thames is batting third, with Guillen moved down to sixth. Granderson is again starting against a left-hander.

Brandon Inge again is only expected to be available as a defensive replacement in the late innings. Leyland does not want to take a chance on having Inge hit and aggravate his left oblique pull into something that could require a DL stint.

As for the great piggyback start experiment, look for Willis to go about four innings, with Armando Galarraga going four or five from there. If the Tigers are leading in a situation that would warrant a closer, Todd Jones will pitch the ninth.

TIGERS (24-33)

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

A’s (31-27)

  1. Mark Ellis, 2B
  2. Bobby Crosby, SS
  3. Jack Cust, DH
  4. Eric Chavez, 3B
  5. Emil Brown, LF
  6. Travis Buck, RF
  7. Daric Barton, 1B
  8. Carlos Gonzalez, CF
  9. Kurt Suzuki, C

50 Comments

To me, this piggy back start is kind of rediculous.. fossum has been starting in AAA and they should just start Willis and then bring Fossum in for 3 or 4 and push everyone else back… or piggy back willis with Nate tomorrow. It just makes no sense to limit your best performing starting pitcher to 4 innings of mop up duty.
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I’m really dissapointed with Cruceta.. i expected a lot more especially after his rediculous start in AAA… i hope they either trade him for something decent or he passes through waivers and heads back to AAA.
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Fossum has been a beast as a starter.. it will be interesting to see how he’s used.. wether it will be longer relief or as a lefty specialist.. Seay hasn’t been able to hit the broadside of a barn lately so who knows. I wouldn’t mind giving him a chance to start and maybe push Nate out of the rotation.
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It would be so great if Willis doesn’t suck tonight.

I was going to comment on the non-use of Raburn. I see that he is in thelineup tonight. he is stagnating on the bench and does not appear to be the type of palyer that can do without reps.
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Cleveln is 2×3 with a pair of dingers and 5 RBIs tonight.
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Rodney pitched 2 innings giving up 1 hit, 2 BBs and 1 K. 16 balls and 15 strikes.
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Zumaya has pitched 2 innings so far. 1 H 1W 1K to show for it.

I’ll have to agree about Cruceta. Disapointment is the only word that can be used for him. And I sure hope Seay is watching what is going on around him beacuse he just may be next to get the axe.
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Hopefully this piggyback experiment works out because we really need to start winning. I am willing to try it once and if it works out great.
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Here’s lookin for a good start for Willis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the updates dan..
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Clevlen is playing like man possessed.. i think he might be a little upset he wasn’t the OF called up last week. He definitely should have been.
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That’s like 23 RBIs and 6 HR in his last 12 games.. insane.

Not much to get excited about with Dontrelles’s 1st inning. At least he didn’t walk anybody.

We’re in the Coma Zone. Bad Baseball. 2 RHB looking miserable agains a guy who loaded ‘em up with walks.
Very bad.
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Nice inning by Dontrelle.
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Pudge is a problem. He is a #9 hitter all the way. He is lucky he has Inge and Raburn around to save him the indignity. He has left a runner on 3rd with less than 2 out so many times that it defies probablility. Raburn didn’t (and hasn’t been) look any better. He is on the cusp. No point having him get stale on the bench AND not be able to produce.

Granderson hitting this guy well–nothing to show for it though. Best move JL has made this year IMO.

The hitting on this club is grotesque. They are slipping into a stretch longballitis again

I think Willis’ time is nigh. He really needs to get these LHB out.

2 walks in a row –He has had it folks.

Willis’ problems are mostly mental. It was written all over his face last inning when he didn’t get the 3-2 call on the first batter he faced. Now he’s behind on every hitter and wild. The Oakland hitters are helping him out right now.

We dodged a bullet. Dontrelle got out of it and there is no question–he is done.
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All in all, gotta give him a B- or maybe a B on that performance. Encouraging.
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Nobody on Nobody out. Pudge probably gets a hit.

Pudge walks! But why oh why does JL not bunt with Raburn??

OK I know Raburn doubles but in a scoreless game when you are having trouble hitting and the batter has not been hitting I would have bunted him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if JL puts Fossum in ther if Galarrag has any trouble.
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Renteria seems to be struggling. that really hurts the bottom of the order when he does. Be nice to see Santiago geta game or 2 in soon. There are some things I like about Retneria but sometimes he is a pretty boring player.

I would have bunted there with Raburn too. It worked out, but not my way of playing it.
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I think Willis has a long way to go. Not only five walks, but he was behind in the count on nearly every hitter. He got out of it with a couple of doubleplays. Nice work there by Guillen on one of them, BTW. I wouldn’t want to continue the experiment until after the Cleveland/Chicago series. Besides, I don’t think his knee is anywhere near 100%. My opinion is he’s not ready for primetime yet. Unfortunate, I was really rooting for him.
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–Rich

Well I wonder how many times we have been the provider of the 1st HR of the season for a batter?
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Ouch–we knew those walks wre gonna hurt us eventually. Galarraga has been walking more batters lately in his starts too.
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Sure would like to see this team start to hit

Anoterh observation: Ever notice how often the Tigers sometimes just shut right down after the starting pitcher leaves?
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From what I saw from Galarraga last inning I would hope they don’t let him walk too many more batters.

as i said in the new blog post a few mins ago, galarraga is a starter, not a ‘piggyback’ or a ‘relief’ pitcher. mentality is different for starters with 9 innings in front of them, than a ‘reliever’ with at the very most 4 innings in front of them in pressure situations.
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ugh
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mike

good thing beer is cheap and plentiful, or idk how i’d survive the disaster of the lion’s 2nd half, the excitement of the tigers off season trades, the dissappointment of the pistons, the stanley cup suspense the wings are showcasing, and the absolute inept management from the tigers supposed ‘spectacular’ expectations.
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sure as hell hope the wolverines give me something to cheer about under richrod this sept…….
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on a side note, but not really, flip had no reason to get fired. all he did was take his team to the conference finals all his career.
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mike

Thats some kind of experiment! Punish the man who has prove he has the cahoonas to pitch in starting rotation.. what have we seen from Willis? Wild, herkey jerkey burnt out crap from spring training on… and walks? Oh.. excuse me.. he came with a high $$ contract.. you can’t play Galaraga?…Do whatever the front office wants… and use him to clean up.. well well well.. tied game. 3-3… take that J L! What are you going to do? Ship Armando back to Venezuala? Bench him in the bull pen now?
Dod somebody wake up? About time they did the organization a favor with Cruceta, instead of costing another game! Ship him back and burn his VISA.. 50 game suspension for drug usage last year? Some experiment gone haywire! Any more bright Ideas.. I thought the Jeff Larish plan as DH was stunning… with slow veterans remaining on the field.. yet the brainstorming continues!
WHAT NEXT?
Renteria to Right field?

Twice now bases loaded, and Renteria is up.. oh, well, this time isn’t as bad.. only one out.. so now he won’t kill the rally.
Ground out into Double PLAY! HOW much are the other clubs paying our guys for this horrible play?

I think he’s going to the pen for the eighth. It can’t be. He couldn’t do that.
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–Rich

If he brings in Fossum, it’s the WRONG move.
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–Rich

Rich–in the tradition of Jl. Thats what he does when a guy is called up. Let’s hope Fossum is on. There a lot of LHB in this lineup.

Galarraga only pitched three innings. This is all wrong. Now it’s Miner.
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–Rich

fossum has a mean, disturbing, sick, nasty curveball doesn’t he? starts out high and up, ends up in the lower part of the plate. nice. kid has potential. disagree with JL (as usual) taking him out after that monster bloop hit to center…….
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blah, ugh, blah blah.
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blah.
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mike

Well that was short and sweet. JL is looking for a saviour and Miner has shown him some goot outings lately. I’m not real big on all the changes and figured they would just let Galarraga try to finish off the game.
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Horrible inning offensively for us last inning. Even with the 2 hits.

miner is in the same boat as galarraga… he’s a damn starter not a reliever. walk walk walk walk walk.. 8… yep… EIGHT….. E-I-G-H-T WALKS tonight…. good Lord amazing the tigers aren’t insanely out of this game.
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oh, by the way, nice friggen hold on that critical play at home my HOF’er pudge.
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keep figuring out ways to lose game, the tigers M.O.

Unbelievable. First of all he takes Galarraga out, then he takes Fossum out with all these LHB coming up, then he brings in Miner who is iffy at his best, then the Hall of Fame catcher muffs a pretty easy out at the plate. What next?

granderson proves his worth over maybin on a nightly basis. he’s always a bright spot in this lineup. good for him. fan-friggen-tastic catch and reaction to prevent the runner at 3B from scoring.
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mike

What a catch by Granderson! But none of this is necessary if that old fool would have just left his PIGGYBACK STARTER in the game. Where is it written that you have to go to your bullpen in the eighth inning? And a weak bullpen at that. JL is killing us. It’s a “no-brainer.” Now he’s really in a fix unless his weak offense bails him out.
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–Rich

Granderson is one of the only guys on this team that can say to himself “I’m gonna do it right now, I am not going to let us lose”.
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BTW, not sure why Clete would not have PH for Raburn if JL took him out for a runner anyway. It’s not like he needs to be pingch ran for really. Would have made more senst to put Clet in to bat against the RHP.
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JL is making some bizarre moves lately.
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The Tigers are playing like they intend to lose this one somehow. (Except for Granderson—and perhaps Clete). I thought he looked safe at the plate on the replay–like to see it again.

Look Out. Cust is due!

Be nice to see a little hunger here. But I gatta say I am not too positive with R & R starting things off here. Maybe Clete can catch one. He looks like he is putting maximum effort out anyway.
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On that Guillen DP–I didn’t think he made a great play on it–he got good results, but he was lucky once again on the trhow being picked by Cabrera. It was a brutal throw.
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Boy is Renteria ever boring.

Whoever JL brings in now is gonna be scary.

Don’t know how you guys do it back east. I’m tired out and it ain’t 1:30 am in my time zone!

Well, the 3 big boys are up. Thames, Ordonez and Cabrera. It is time to see some power surge.

:-) Like I said Dan, I don’t have to get up all that early. Doesn’t mean I like it.
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Well, JL has used up his bullpen for no reason, we haven’t won this one and there’s another one tomorrow. Brutal job of managing. Anybody can manage a team that scores ten runs. He’s failing in the close ones. I suppose he’ll blame it on getting all these walks but not scoring enough. Sigh……..
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–Rich

Geez-Miguel. That was as crappy an AB as I have seen all year. Lead off double then you leave the winning run on 3rd!.
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Hope Renteria is not boring this time.

Boring indeed. These guys simply have way too many games where they can’t hit. Cabrera should be spanked. He has to get his bat on the ball in taht situation.

I think Renteria needs to sit in Thames spot on the bench for a while to think about what he is bringing to the game every day. We sure are!

I hear ya. Thought they should have left Galarraga pitch until he started walking guys. Oh Well. Tough breaks on a few calls tonight by the umps too. Renteria’s soft liner to SS might actually not have been caught before it hit the ground.

Inge would’ve eaten that ball up!

DIS-CUSTING. Why do these guys play like this? Why do they suffer from brain freeze?
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Losses “piggybacked” like these last 2 make me think that the year is doomed. I can’t see a team emerging from this group of misfits.

Bobby Seay can not be counted on to get LHB out like he once did so effectively.
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Dolsi should have been standing on 1st base with a grin on his face on Cust’s weak ground ball.
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Pudge is showing his age offensively and defensively.
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Cabrera is pressing (I’m being kind here I could say choking).
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Ordonez not coming up with timely hits either.
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Chaotic revolving door in LF
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Renteria is not coming through.
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Guillen is never gonna master 3rd base.
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We have a closer who rarely even gets a chance to close anymore.
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Leyland is as bad as the players are.
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I feel like quitting…..like some of the players have.

If Leyland had left Galarraga in for the eighth, none of this happens. Simple as that. Some of these problems stem from the players, most of them stem from Leyland over-managing. He’s in over his head.
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It’s late. In more ways than one. Good night.
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–Rich

Didn’t watch the game, had to get up early this morning, could not believe the instant replay of the night before. Is JL losing games on purpose. When a pitcher is doing well he takes him out, when a batter is hitting well he doesn’t play him for a couple games, when a fielder is doing well he moves him to a different position. I don’t get it!! I agree it is easy to manage a team that is winning but when they are struggling that is when they really need a good manager, JL is not getting the job done.

OK, after last night, and watching all the recent moves that Leyland has made, I need to finally say something. I’m not sure if these suggestions would completely turn the season around, but they seem logical enough:

1. For God’s sake, DH Guillen. I’m aware that he supposedly doesn’t hit as well when he’s not playing in the field, but I believe this is at least partially due to ego. He’s perfectly suited to be a great DH, switch hitting for both power and average. Unfortunately, he’s just not the best infielder at his positions that is available to the Tigers. Playing Guillen at DH will obviously free up 3rd for Inge (who for some reason JL has treated as though he’s a sub-200 hitter), whose defense has proven quite necessary lately. Also, it allows them to DH Cabrera with a relatively competent 1st baseman to fill in when Cabrera needs a rest, allows Inge to fill in at catcher with a relatively competent 3rd baseman to fill in when Pudge needs a rest, and on the days when Guillen is not DHing and Cabrera’s still at 1st, they can DH Maggs or Thames with Thomas or Raburn filling in at LF/RF.

2. Thames has earned his position as full-time left fielder, let him play it. Larish might be a decent hitter, but this isn’t the best time for him to be up, especially with another lefty bat in Clete Thomas on the bench who adds more defensively too. Thames can play multiple positions and DH, so why call up another player just to DH? Ultimately it’s just to keep Guillen out of the DH spot, which takes 3rd base away from Inge, who, like Thames, has earned a full-time start. As for Sheffield, I don’t know if he’ll ever be 100% again, and shouldn’t come back until he is. I know JL doesn’t want to give up on him, but he’s not able to do anything for the team right now, and certainly isn’t the catalyst to the lineup that he once was.

3. This might be my most radical suggestion. I guess you could call it a “5.5 man starting rotation”. There are obviously pitchers right now who could be starters, so why not move around the starts of pitchers like Galaragga or Willis or Robertson depending on the situation, and allow one of the starters to be available for long relief? It would keep opposing batters more on their toes, not to mention keeping both starters and relievers fresher. The biggest problem, I think, with this team is that they really haven’t played much situational baseball. They’ve had the approach of “fix every problem with more potential home runs”, and that obviously hasn’t paid off. The beauty of the Tigers in the past is that they’ve been this great team without A-Rod type superstars, just solid baseball players that have worked together well. I really think ego is playing a huge role in a lot of these moves, and the team mentality has been lost. If JL and the rest of the Tigers really want to put themselves in positions to win games, they need to be thinking about the situation, and who would best provide what is needed.

That’s all true, Z. You should post more often.
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Your 5.5 Man Starting Rotation, or better marketed as the brand new 2008 5.5 MSR, is the kind of fresh thinking I wish managers would engage in. Leyland wouldn’t do something like this in a million years. Well, he might if his buddy LaRussa did it first.
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All in all, it all comes under the heading of poor use of the personnel on hand. Very poor use. The parts are there, but they’re being plugged into the wrong sockets.
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–Rich

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