July 2008

Willis tonight at Lakeland

He gave up three earned runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. He threw 37 of his 73 pitches for strikes. Here’s the story on the site.

Our MLB.com reporter covering the game, Brittany Ghiroli, was told by someone in the Lakeland Flying Tigers front office that no one would be available for postgame comment and was initially kept out of the clubhouse. Willis eventually talked on his own against those orders, not that anyone in the minors should be trying to tell him what to do in the first place.

Saturday: Tigers vs. White Sox

Curtis Granderson is 0-for-6 lifetime against White Sox left-hander John Danks, but he’s leading off Saturday nonetheless. At this point, manager Jim Leyland said, Granderson is the everyday leadoff hitter, regardless of the opposing starter. His improvement against left-handed pitching has been notable.

Danks does mean, however, that Marcus Thames is back in the lineup after having the last three games off. Matt Joyce sits.

TIGERS (52-50)

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

WHITE SOX (58-43)

  1. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  2. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  3. Carlos Quentin, LF
  4. Jermaine Dye, RF
  5. Jim Thome, DH
  6. Nick Swisher, 1B
  7. Alexei Ramirez, 2B
  8. Dewayne Wise, CF (former Toledo Mud Hen)
  9. Josh Fields, 3B

Somebody asked whether Carlos Guillen’s wife was still in the hospital. The good news from Carlos is that she was able to go home today.

Dolsi feeling better

Freddy Dolsi played catch on Thursday with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and threw a side session this afternoon and says he feels fine. Asked whether Dolsi is available tonight, manager Jim Leyland said, “I would hope so.”

That gives the Tigers a full bullpen going into tonight’s game, and with Verlander going tomorrow.

The lineup is pretty standard tonight. We’ll see if the Tigers can hit Gavin Floyd this time around. Josh Fields will be playing third this weekend for the White Sox in place of Joe Crede, who was placed on the DL today.

TIGERS (52-49)

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

WHITE SOX (57-43)

  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. Josh Fields, 3B
  9. Alexei Ramirez, 2B

Leyland: Nothing happening on trade front

It’s that time of year when manager Jim Leyland gets asked about potential trades and whether he’s worrying ahead of the deadline. Leyland was ready for it on Friday.

“To my knowledge, there’s absolutely nothing going on as we speak. Nothing,” said Leyland, who added that Dave Dombrowski would tell him if something was going on.

Dombrowski said Thursday that how the Tigers fare against the White Sox will “probably not” affect what the Tigers do on the market leading up to the deadline.

A big congrats for a top 10 ranking

To the readers and commenters who have frequented the blog this season and made it their place to vent this season. I knew there were a lot of you, a lot more than in years past, but now there’s some proof. According to the folks that track these things, you guys made this blog sixth out of all MLBlogs in terms of page views over the past seven days.

UN-believable. And this was a week in which we didn’t have much news over the All-Star break, the link to the blog was mistakenly pushed out of the headlines on the team site one day, and I was off for the past few days while the Tigers dismantled the Royals (maybe I should’ve worked after all).

As someone who remembers when this blog barely drew flies two years ago, all I can say is that you all have made this blog what it is, not me. I’ve tried to live up to what I said heading into the season, that I would blog more often, but for many of you, coming back day after day is what makes this thing work. Otherwise, let’s be honest, that old Catholic guilt to post more often might not kick in as often as it does. In any case, thanks for letting me be a part of this.

The overall top 10 blog list is at the bottom of the link above. The top 25 list at the top is for fan blogs. Congratulations, folks.

Postgame roster move

The Tigers made the Zach Miner roster move after the game. Jeff Larish was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Miner.

I’m not on the series at Kansas City, so probably no game blogs. I’ll try to chime in with an update or two over the next few days before I’m back on for the White Sox series next weekend.

Guillen returns, but not starting

He arrived the ballpark straight from the airport just before noon or so. His wife is still in the hospital, he said, but she’s stable, and they’re hoping she’ll be able to go home tonight.

Inge gets the start at third in what is a different-looking infield for the getaway day. Ryan Raburn gives Placido Polanco a game off at second base, and Ramon Santiago does the same for a hobbled Edgar Renteria at short. Ivan Rodriguez moves up to the second spot.

TIGERS (48-49)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Rodriguez, C (6-for-17 in the two hole this year)
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Thames, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Raburn, 2B
  9. Santiago, SS

ORIOLES (47-49)

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Nick Markakis, RF
  3. Melvin Mora, 3B
  4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
  5. Kevin Millar, DH
  6. Luke Scott, LF
  7. Jay Payton, CF
  8. Guillermo Quiroz, C
  9. Juan Castro, SS

Larish at third

To quote manager Jim Leyland today, “Larish is at third. And that’s the end of that conversation.”

Larish played in three games at third at Triple-A Toledo after the Tigers sent him down last month. He’s playing tonight in place of Carlos Guillen, whose wife remains hospitalized in Detroit. However, this also might be Leyland’s one chance to get Larish a start before the Tigers have to make room on the roster for Zach Miner on Monday — likely at Larish’s expense.

TIGERS (48-48)

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

ORIOLES (46-49)

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Nick Markakis, RF
  3. Melvin Mora, 3B
  4. Aubrey Huff, DH
  5. Kevin Millar, 1B
  6. Luke Scott, LF
  7. Adam Jones, CF
  8. Ramon Hernandez, C
  9. Brandon Fahey, SS

Ozzie skeptical about Freddy

For anyone thinking Freddy Garcia can be a key addition for a late-season charge for the Tigers — or any other team, for that matter — the recent lack of news as well as comments from his former manager and current close friend, Ozzie Guillen, are dampening that idea. Guillen supposedly visited with Garcia in Florida over the All-Star break. Asked if he thinks Garcia can be ready for an August or September return after undergoing labrum surgery last year, he said (from Scott Merkin’s article on MLB.com):

“I doubt it. I hope he is. He’s my friend,” Guillen said. “But when I
see him and where he’s at right now, I don’t see that happening. I
don’t think by August, maybe September. Freddy hasn’t even thrown off
the mound yet.

“He’s throwing flat and he’s throwing good and he said his velocity is
coming around. Everything is fine, but people think because you play
catch, you are pitching. That’s not the same. You don’t have people on
the mound or hitting. I hope he do it, but it’s going to be a little
bit difficult for him to do it.”

Guillen added how he hopes Garcia doesn’t rush himself back.

Garcia’s agent, Peter Greenberg, said a few weeks ago that they planned on having him throw for interested teams (including the Tigers) somewhere around July 21-24. That would be next week, but no firm date has leaked out yet.

Bottom line, between the uncertain timetable on Garcia and a trade market that doesn’t favor the Tigers whatsoever, I think Detroit needs some effective starts from Zach Miner and the guys they have now if they’re going to make a race out of this.

It's so hot … milk was a bad choice

Not only is it really hot here in Baltimore, it’s really humid, and there’s very little wind to speak of. Being close to the water doesn’t help. The Tigers are sending their guys out for batting practice in groups. If it’s not your group, you don’t need to be outside.

As for the game, Edgar Renteria is back in the starting lineup. He isn’t at full strength with his hamstring, but he’s close enough to give it go. Leyland said he’ll go back to Santiago as a defensive replacement for the later innings if he has to.

Carlos Guillen is not here today. His wife was still hospitalized as of today, but it sounded like she could be released today or tomorrow. Inge is back at third in his place.

All the relievers are available tonight, including Fernando Rodney, thought it might be hard to recognize him. Apparently he decided on the spur of the moment on this hot afternoon to get a haircut — in fact, get all of it cut. Unofficial team barber Freddy Dolsi did the honors as teammates watched.

TIGERS (48-47)

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

ORIOLES (45-49)

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Adam Jones, CF
  3. Nick Markakis, RF
  4. Aubrey Huff, DH
  5. Kevin Millar, 1B
  6. Melvin Mora, 3B
  7. Luke Scott, LF
  8. Ramon Hernandez, C
  9. Brandon Fahey, SS

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