August 2008

Friday: Tigers vs. Royals

I’m off this weekend, which happens to be one of my favorite weekends of the baseball season. I have two fantasy football drafts, which isn’t the reason I’m off, but certainly gives me the benefit of study time/setting up the command center before the crapshoot begins. It’s the first real sign that baseball season is wrapping up, but it’s also a very nice diversion when you’re heading down the home stretch (especially if your October looks more free than you originally expected). It also helps when you have the first overall pick in one of those drafts to gloat about with people, some of whom read this blog.

Anyways, I’ll be back on Labor Day for the makeup game with the Yankees. If you’re heading to the game on Monday, be prepared for traffic with the Labor Day Parade down Woodward. In any case, have a good weekend.

TIGERS (64-69)

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

ROYALS (56-77)

  1. Mike Aviles, SS
  2. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  3. David DeJesus, LF
  4. Jose Guillen, RF
  5. Mark Teahen, 3B
  6. Billy Butler, DH
  7. Ross Gload, 1B
  8. John Buck, C
  9. Joey Gathright, CF

Garcia wrapup

Garcia on his outing: “I tried to throw strikes, make my pitch, tried to get a good situation, see how my pitching responds. Good changeup, good breaking pitch. I was pretty happy about all that.”

On facing Triple-A hitters: “They wanted me to come here to face more experience. So I proved to them I can pitch right now.”

On whether he feels he can pitch in the big leagues right now: “If they give me a chance, yeah. I have to pitch every five days. We finish here Monday, so I probably won’t pitch any more [for the Mud Hens]. I don’t know what they want to do. Maybe go to Florida and pitch to hitters [in instructional league], I don’t know.”

When Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish was asked if he felt Garcia could pitch in the big leagues now, he said, “To me, you just look not so much as the success, but the swings against him. There weren’t many good swings tonight against him.”

I don’t usually give predictions on this blog, but I would be very surprised if he wasn’t brought up to Detroit next week. The Tigers aren’t in a pennant race, they need pitching, and he’s someone worth looking at for next year. It’s very difficult to judge his viability for next year on one Triple-A start. It goes back to what Tigers officials said when they signed him: It’s worth a shot. Even with Chris Lambert making another start, the Tigers could use Garcia as a sixth starter for one turn, then move Lambert into the bullpen after that.


The plan for Garcia was to have him throw three innings or 50 pitches. He needed just 32 pitches (25 strikes) to get through three scoreless innings tonight, scattering two hits and facing 10 batters. Matt Rusch is warming up, so Garcia is done for the night. No walks, four strikeouts.

Garcia topped out around 88 mph on the stadium radar gun and was consistently around 86 with his fastball. He threw a steady diet of curveballs that had Columbus’ hitters chasing.

From Toledo

Been here for a little while. Dontrelle apparently is doubtful to make his next turn for the Hens because of his forearm/biceps problem. The story from here is that he felt it warming up in the bullpen before the game, but gave it a go in part because the Hens have been short on pitchers for a while. He threw 82-84 and was out after an inning.

Where does that leave Willis for September? As Jim Leyland would say, that’s a good question.

Not sure if you’ll see photos of Freddy Garcia from this outing, but he seems to be going for the Magglio look. His hair is long, much longer than it ever was in his previous time in the Majors. That doesn’t really mean anything, but I figured I’d throw that out.

Verlander on Monday

Forgot to mention this in the stories last night, but just to make clear, Chris Lambert will return to pitch Tuesday, with Justin Verlander going Monday on his normal rest. You can make a case that the extra day of rest would help out Verlander after going 115 pitches Thursday, but if they did that, they wouldn’t be able to option out Lambert and bring him back so soon (normally he’d have to stay down there at least 10 days). The reason they can do it in this case is because the Mud Hens’ season ends on Monday. Thus, you get these roster maneuvers.

Clear? Good. I’ll be in Toledo tonight writing on Freddy Garcia’s start, so hopefully you’ll see something on that later on this evening.

Larish starts at third

With the Royals starting right-handed pitchers all three games this weekend, it appears we’re going to get a look at Larish at third base for the rest of the week. Once Carlos Guillen’s back quiets down, he’ll be the unquestioned starter at third as long as he’s able to play according to Leyland. He’s expected to play again this year, just a matter of when.

Joyce gets the start in the second spot in the order, giving the Tigers a power bat with Polanco off.

TIGERS (64-68)

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

INDIANS (64-67)

  1. Grady Sizemore, CF
  2. David Dellucci, DH
  3. Ben Francisco, RF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Shin-Soo Choo, LF
  6. Ryan Garko, 1B
  7. Kelly Shoppach, C
  8. Andy Marte, 3B
  9. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B


Jones goes home to rehab

As reported yesterday, it’s slow going for Todd Jones in his rehab, so he’s heading home to Alabama to work out here. He’s expected to come back to Detroit at some point in September, but at this point, it appears unlikely that he’s going to pitch when he gets back. The shoulder isn’t any better.

Larish recalled, Lambert optioned

That gives the Tigers an extra body (at third base) while Guillen is hobbled. The Tigers will wait until Tuesday to start Lambert's spot, meaning they can call him back up once roster expand for September call-ups.

Guillen could be out a while

As it turned out, the news on Carlos Guillen sounded a little worse today than it did last night, at least from Guillen’s standpoint. He said he felt some discomfort and numbness going up and down his right leg, the same type thing he felt when he had a pinched nerve from back spasms last homestand, and that he’s hurting in both hamstrings. He felt fine over the weekend, but it apparently flared up Monday.

If Guillen’s out for a while, it’s uncertain what they could do. In theory, the Tigers could send Chris Lambert back to Toledo after his start tonight and call up an extra position player (Larish? Hessman?), push up the other starting pitchers and then call up Lambert when the spot comes back around Tuesday — the same day rosters expand. However, I don’t think that has been discussed.

Marcus Thames is fine, as his presence in the lineup suggests.

TIGERS (64-67)

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

INDIANS (63-67)

  1. Grady Sizemore, CF
  2. Franklin Gutierrez, LF
  3. Ben Francisco, RF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. David Dellucci, DH
  6. Ryan Garko, 1B
  7. Jamey Carroll, 3B
  8. Kelly Shoppach, C
  9. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B

Postgame updates

Francis Beltran was designated for assignment to make room for Chris Lambert on the 25-man roster. If Beltran clears waivers, he has the option to accept or decline a Minor League assignment. He is not sure which route he would choose on that.

Carlos Guillen is still listed as day-to-day with lower back spasms, but manager Jim Leyland said after the game that they could sit him a few days since it’s a recurrence.

“I suspect we’re going to have to take a look at that,” Leyland said, though he cautioned that didn’t mean it would necessitate a DL stint.

Nothing new on Thames. He’s day-to-day with a cramp in his left cramp.

As for why there was no sacrifice bunt or ground ball to the right side from Polanco with two on and nobody out in the third, it’s not a move that Leyland likes to do early in games, especially games where it looks like scoring won’t be low.

“Obviously, Polly’s been one of our hottest hitters and one of our best hitters,” Leyland said. “It’s pretty early to think about moving the runners over. You almost figure there were going to be runs scored on both sides tonight.”