Sunday: Tigers vs. White Sox

Marcus Thames gets a second straight start in LF as he tries to work out of his 0-for-7 slump. Other than that, it’s a pretty standard lineup against a pitcher who has had the Tigers’ number the last couple years. Vazquez lost his last start here on June 11 with five earned runs in six innings, but he’s 4-1 with a 3.28 ERA over his last five meetings with the Tigers.

TIGERS (52-51)

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

WHITE SOX (59-43)

  1. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  2. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  3. Carlos Quentin, LF
  4. Jermaine Dye, RF
  5. Jim Thome, DH
  6. Paul Konerko, 1B
  7. Nick Swisher, CF
  8. Alexei Ramirez, 2B
  9. Juan Uribe, 3B

30 Comments

Just heard the Jim Leyland show.He said that Fernando Rodney is the new Tiger CLOSER! Said he talked to TJ last night and told him.Said he`d still use TJ out of the pen and even use him to close on occasion,but Rodney is now the closer

i was just logging on to deliver the same news.. should be interesting..

Very true Bruce. It’s obvious White Sox defense is running rings around us. We’ve discussed the need for defense since last season, maybe before. The good teams are teams full of role players who know their roles. You don’t need 6 power hitters in your lineup. You need defense, speed and maybe 3-4 power hitters. A bunt would have been a good idea after Ordonez’s lead off double, but with Cab hitting, you knew that was not going to happen. In fact, with Cab hitting, you almost resist allowing the image to even materialize in you brain. And yet we needed that run, we needed Ordonez over on 3rd with one out. It’s percentage baseball, not put your dollar in the slot, close your eyes, and pull the lever baseball. I don’t know, maybe Cab can’t bunt that well anyway due to a lack of practice (it would be like giving your pitchers hitting practice).
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Good thing Marcus is in a slump. Otherwise he wouldn’t be in the lineup today.
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Regarding the defense thing, paraphrasing a line from Seinfeld, “We know you can get the lead, but can you hold the lead? That’s what it really matters after all.”

“That’s what really matters after all” is what I meant to say.
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Amazing news posted above. Now a few more tweeks might be in order. Clevlen is waiting for an opportunity.

Marty,I really like Brent too.I think the only reason he isnt up here now is his high strikeout ratio.But a good hitting instructor should be able to help him a lot.He ahs quick hands and should be able to adjust his approach at the plate.He has speed in the field and on the bases.Thomas is another good one I`d like to see up here,and I would love to see Oslund throw up here just to see what kind of pitcher he is…..

Carlos Guillen’s third base defense has improved immensely from earlier in the season. It is like night and day.

I had this post in progress when Curtis hit one out!!
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Will post it here for a good laugh:
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I sure would like to see Curtis rediscover the art of pulling the ball hard. He seems to be in space where he is not doing this anymore. He is doing OK but he can be an impact player and his “A” game does include power. In his improvement on focus against LHP (which you have to give it to him, has been excellent), he has seen the power numbers tail off.
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Somebody yesterday was looking for stats on sheffield:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?playerId=2113
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He is batting .267 with no men on base and .173 with men on.

That was a VERY pathetic at bat by Sheffield! Not surprising, I guess.

Aflack question: Not sure why I would think this as the guy is a power hitter but I wonder if it was ted Kluczewski?

Dumb answer. The correct answer is…who other than….Luke Appling ……..at .388.

STOP THE PRESSES! WE CAN BUNT!

I guess it was just way tooooo much to ask two batters in a row to bunt!

Polite baseball: Renteria stepping out of the way to allow Cabrera a clear throw on the DP ball by Polanco.

At the risk of sounding like I am complaining. Ordonez’ preoccupatin with 1st pitch swinging really helps the opposing pitcher. Even if he hits (about 30% of the time) the other 70 % of the time he is assisting the pitcher with his plan to keep his pitch count down.
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There are times when it is best for your team to work the count. Ordonez does not adhere to this concept. I guess that can happen when you have the numbers like he has.

Rod and Mario seem to have no clue that Rodney was named the closer.. it will be very interseting to here their take on it if rodney comes in in a save situation today or if todd jones starts warming up for the 8th or something. They will probably try to spin it until someone clues them in.
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I completely agree Dan.. i cannot stand Magglio up there hacking at the very first pitch.. it would be one thing if they were all strikes but it’s like it’s already made up in his mind that he is swinging before he steps to the plate.. very irritating.

Granderson should have been bunting for the second straight at bat.

Oh my goodness! Now that’s a meaningful HR hey Dan?!! I was beginning to worry a bit about Marcus…….he was swinging so tentatively, or so it appeared.

Another bonehead suppositious defensive replacement in left.Top of the 7th,pullMarcus and put the inferior fielding Joyce in for defense.JL is not fooling me

That’s the thinga about Marcus. He can look very bad and then instantaneously snap out of it with a tremendous clout.
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You don’t get the feeling with our DH.
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Comment re the relief situation. First of all good. 2nd, I don’t see Jones’ personality will help hkm to adapt to a setup role. I’d trade him if they aren’t gonna close with him. He will have value at this stage of the season.
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JL’s comments about Zumaya the other day were weird. He basically criticized him publicly, and I was thinking he would never comment on Todd Jones pitch selection and thought that to be a trifle unfair. Then he throws TJ the ultiamate insult and removes him as closer. Go figure!
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I do think they should try to unload Jones though.

uh oh.. zumaya might be really hurt again.. it appeared to me like he said “i just got back, F$@&”..
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Looks like Rodney’s first save opportunity will be a 5 out job.

Dan,With the pitches he throws and the experience he has working to hitters weaknesses,I would keep him for 3 or 4 run leads in the 6th or 7th when facing the bottom of lineups.And then I would do everything in my power to sign him on as a coach.No serious contender is going to sign him as a closer or top notch setup man.He also has a way much like Sean Casey in being able to get along with just about anybody.He has the right attitude and disposition(in my opinion) to be a fabulous coach.He is also the all time saves leader for the Detroit Tigers.If anyone in this organization has earned a job outside of the playing field it is Mr. Todd Jones.

Oops–looks like another mystery injury to Zoom. Maybe I wait now a litle longer befor unloading TJ!.
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With all the double talk we have heard from Leyland this year I would not be too terribly surprised to see Jones out there in the 9th anyway.

Dan .. i am sure you are happy that TJ isn’t closing. I like him, but the way he is pitching, I don’t blame you :)
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I don’t think Zoom is ready, as i said before. Hope Rodney works out …
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Rodney seems to fold under pressure??
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I knew Thames was out of the game as soon as he hit that homer. Bruce .. I don’t think he is a defensive liability, but Joyce might have better range and ability overall. But i would like to keep Marcus in.
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When will JL have the balls to bench Sheff. I am sure he has hurt us more than TJ.

And oh ya .. I forgot .. rod/mario said Thames is in a 0 for 7 slump. Thats less than 2 game worth of AB’s .. How can that be called a slump … JL needs to ask himself “Is it worse than 1 of 5 season from Sheff, and worse with men on, or pressure situations.”
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Even at this important stretch of the season , Sheff gets more AB’s than Thames. It’s ridiculous.

Pudge’s average is up to .298 now.. can you say “playing for a contract”?

Rodney was lightning today but I hope JL ‘keeps an ey on him” too, as he was wild high and the Sox hitters all helped us out. If they had been more disciplined in the 9th that at could have been a very disheartening inning.
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Notice how Pudge is streaky? I mean streaky intra-game. Not streaky over a period of time. He seems to get into it when he gets a hit right off the bat and often ends up with multiple hit games. This can be followed by pretty ordinary games. He has had 3 or 4 4-hit games now.
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Zumaya’s injury comes from over-throwing. Hope he is going to be OK. We need him to be.
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Agree on the Thames defesnisve substitution. I think it is in bad form. Not the substitution itself mind you, I think that is prudent, but the fact that it is done so early in the game and after a big AB. It almost seems like JL is trying to “keep him in his place”, Bottom of 9th, yes I bring in Joyce or Raburn.

Bhavin, I have a sneaky suspician that Marcus is major tradebait right about now.The questions that I have concern Mike Illitch.If he`s gonna stick with JL, I can see trading Marcus.But,if I`m looking for a new manager Marcus Thames starts left field for me next year.Matt Joyce would get in for defense in right for Maggs.Cant convince me that Joyce is the better outfielder than Marcus.He may be a faster runner than Thames,but no way he gets to a batted ball in the outfield quicker than Thames.Sometimes Matt looks lost out there on how to position himself to hitters and the pitching strategy, Clete Thomas is by far a superior fielder,along with Brent,than Joyce…..Great to see MInor throw the way he did.Keep it up Zach.You stopped the slide,now keep it rolling.After 2 and a half years watching TJ,those 3 straight 3-2 counts in the 9th did`nt even phase me.I guess I was wrong though.I would have figured Zu for the closer role.One thing is very certain,Our pen desparately needs a power lefty reliever.If Zu goes DL on us, I hope JL would ask for Oslund.

Dan, If I bring in Joyce or Raburn,its for Maggs, not Marcus.No way Maggs or Joyce is better defensively than Thames.Marcus HR per at bat is an anomaly,which leads me to believe that they dont want to expose Marcus too much in order to use him in a possible deal for a quality pitcher.A guy like him will hit 50 homers with 550 AB`s.Unless management knows something that makes him an automatic out,there is no reason to take him out of the lineup…But I`m not buying the defensive liability act.I`ve watched and played too much baseball over the years to fall for that line.Matter of fact, I would bring Marcus in as defensive replacement for Joyce.Joyce has no business in left field in the middle of a pennant race.Right maybe,but he`s out of his element in left.

Hey Bruce, check the stats, man. You may think the Sox are far superior to our guys defensively, but the fielding statistics say otherwise. Actually, the Tigers are ranked just ahead of the Sox and just behind the Twins. Detroit and Chicago both come in with Fpct. of .981. So it would seem that it is the pitching that has them ahead of us, same with the Twinkies. You may argue that Renteria and Guillen hurt us defensively and I would agree ( I have stated on prior posts I would like to have Inge at third and Santiago at short). But Carlos and Edgar have nothing to do with the inordinate amount of walks our guys surrender nor the 180 less K’s our guys have than the Sox. You seem to be enamored with power arms. I would rather have a guy with three pitches that he can locate than a pitcher who can rush it up there at 98. These guys are Major League hitters–if all you got is heat you are gonna get burned as we have seen a number of times with Zumaya. Thats’s why he isn’t ready yet IMO to be the closer. He needs to develop something offspeed or sinking to be really effective. He looks really good when he can command his curve but he just isn’t consistent with it. The most effective guys, the Pappelbons and Nathans don’t approach Zoom’s speed but the have several pitches to accompany a low to mid 90’s fastball that can keep a batter off balance.

–Ed–

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