September 2008

Rain update

From the White Sox: The rain is expected to head out in 15-20 minutes. They’re looking at a start time of 5 p.m. ET.

UPDATE: We’re looking at a 5:10 p.m. ET first pitch.

Get this: It's raining in Chicago

Familiar sight, I know. It’s raining pretty steady as I’m typing here, little more than a half-hour before game time. This could be another long day.

What wasn’t looking like a very crowded game mediawise is going to be a national story instead, obviously much more on the White Sox side than the Tigers. If Sheffield hits 500, though, that could make a dent. He’s batting second again.

Another big headline on the Tigers’ side was that president/GM Dave Dombrowski talked to reporters for about an hour in a very wide-ranging interview. Look for something on that on the site later today.

As expected, neither Polanco nor Renteria is available. Raburn and Santiago take their place.

TIGERS (74-87)
1. Granderson, CF
2. Sheffield, DH
3. Ordonez, RF
4. Cabrera, 1B
5. Thames, LF
6. Raburn, 2B
7. Inge, 3B
8. Ryan, C
9. Santiago, SS

WHITE SOX (87-74)
1. Orlando Cabrera, SS
2. Dewayne Wise, LF
3. Jermaine Dye, RF
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Paul Konerko, 1B
6. Ken Griffey Jr., CF
7. Alexei Ramirez, 2B
8. A.J. Pierzynski, C
9. Juan Uribe, 3B

Pitching coach, bullpen coach won't be back

Manager Jim Leyland announced after the game that pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and bullpen coach Jeff Jones won't be retained. Both are under contract for next year. Jones is expected to be offered a job within the organization.

Sunday: One more time, or maybe two

Sheff is batting second today, as Leyland mentioned last night. Still no Polanco, and he’s doubtful for Monday.

To review the scenarios, the only way the Tigers don’t play Monday at Chicago is if the White Sox lose today and the Twins win, in which case Minnesota would clinch the division.

On the Rays side, there’s a rumor that they could end up going through a lot of pitchers for short stints today, which would make it feel a bit like a Spring Training game but keep Shields fresh to start one of the first couple games of their division series at Tropicana Field.

TIGERS (74-86)

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

RAYS (96-65)

  1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Rocco Baldelli, DH
  5. Manny Aybar, 1B
  6. Ben Zobrist, SS
  7. Gabe Gross, RF
  8. Eric Hinske, LF
  9. John Jaso, C

Saturday: Inge at catcher

In case you’re wondering, it’ll be Brandon Inge’s first game behind the plate since Sept. 15 at Texas. That, too, was a Dontrelle Willis start.

As for Placido Polanco, his sprained left ankle swelled up pretty good overnight, and he’s out for tonight and Sunday. Jim Leyland is hoping to have him available for Monday at Chicago, but he’ll need quite a bit of improvement for that.

TIGERS (73-86)

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

RAYS (96-64)

  1. Fernando Perez, CF
  2. Ben Zobrist, SS
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Rocco Baldelli, DH
  5. Manny Aybar, 2B
  6. Dan Johnson, 1B
  7. Justin Ruggiano, LF
  8. Jonny Gomes, RF
  9. Michael Hernandez, C

 

Friday: Sheff's back, Sardinha catches again

This time, it isn’t a matter of giving Dusty Ryan. It’s a matter of wanting to see Dane Sardinha work with Justin Verlander. You might remember that Verlander had three wild pitches in four innings in his last start at Cleveland, where Ryan was behind the plate. Verlander suggested after that game that Ryan was in a tough spot, since he hadn’t caught him a whole lot and didn’t know the spin on his breaking ball well.

As for Gary Sheffield, he’s back from his suspension and ready to play. Edgar Renteria, on the other hand, is not, still bothered by a strained left pectoral muscle.

TIGERS (72-86)

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

RAYS (96-63)

  1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Carlos Pena, 1B
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. Cliff Floyd, DH
  6. Dioner Navarro, C
  7. Gabe Gross, RF
  8. Eric Hinske, LF
  9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Ilitch on Tigers

Today was the Tigers’ annual team photo day, which means that team owner Mike Ilitch was at the ballpark to take part. He talked with reporters after the pictures were done.

On what went wrong:
“I had one little superstition at the beginning of the year, when our leadoff man [Curtis Granderson] broke his finger. Being in sports all my life, a lot of times, you start off with a little bit of a quirk. And he’s our sparkplug. And I said, ‘Man, with this cold weather coming up and our sparkplug out of the lineup, I’m worried about our start, getting off to a bad start.’ So I was concerned, because he was out a week or two, a couple weeks. But other than that, just like all of you, I didn’t foresee to have all the holes that we did. I mean, beyond my wildest dreams, I didn’t anticipate that. I thought we had a good, nice, solid foundation that we were going to build from and keep the ballclub up, contending all the time. But it didn’t work out, so it’s cost us a little bit of time, maybe a year, year and a half.”

“We’ve got to get back on the ball and see if we can get ourselves restructured now, correct all the mistakes that we made. We’ve got to go back over, I’ve got to go back over, everything that we’ve done. And now everybody will learn and be reminded that we’re not in a normal business, and anything can happen. And I think it humbled everybody. So we’ll have to pay the price.”

On what he means by paying the price:
“Pay the price for miscalculating so deeply. In other words, we paid the price. I don’t want to go through that again now. I want to make sure I get the right team together and then I want to move forward again. I figured I lost a year, year and a half, but I’ll be right back at it.”

On what changes need to be made:
“I don’t know what we’ll be making. I just want to get back to where I thought I was, and that was competing with Boston, competing with the good teams, holding your team up there, year after year. That’s my goal personally. It’s not there, so we’re going to work like the dickens to get it back. But we’ve got to level off now, see where we’re at, make a re-analysis of who our real players are and who we’re going to keep and we’re going to go forward with. And are we going to mix youth with veterans? What are we going to do exactly?”

On payroll:
“As far as payroll’s concerned, I’m not sure what we would do on payroll. That would be the last thing that I’m going to look at. I mean, I’m not afraid to go out and spend money. It’s been very costly, but I’m not going to change my ways. But I don’t know if this year is the year to go after people. I’m more concerned about getting the team in shape and seeing who we’ve got and who are the real Detroit Tigers.”

Thursday: Tigers vs. Rays

It’s a vastly different top of the order today. Leyland said last night that he wanted to give Granderson a day off and recharge him for the final weekend, and Polanco has some minor back issues. Thus, it’s Santiago and Thames atop the order. Santiago is filling in for Renteria, who has a problem with his pectoral muscle.

It was an emotional press conference for Todd Jones this morning. More on that on the site today.

TIGERS (71-86)

  1. Santiago, SS
  2. Thames, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Hessman, 3B
  6. Raburn, 2B
  7. Inge, CF
  8. Joyce, LF
  9. Ryan, C

RAYS (96-62)

  1. B.J. Upton, CF
  2. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  3. Carlos Pena, 1B
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. Willy Aybar, DH
  6. Dioner Navarro, C
  7. Gabe Gross, RF
  8. Eric Hinske, LF
  9. Jason Bartlett, SS

Wednesday: Sardinha starts at catcher

Today is a day to rest Dusty Ryan, who basically has caught every game since the start of last week’s series at Texas. Originally, Jim Leyland was thinking of starting Brandon Inge behind the plate and resting Ryan. Instead, he’ll start Dane Sardinha, who hasn’t played at all since August 31.

In other news, look for Freddy Garcia to pitch Monday’s makeup game at Chicago if it needs to be played. And yes, Garcia is a little intrigued by the chance of facing his old squad with a chance to knock them out of the playoffs or at least force a tiebreaker.

TIGERS (71-85)

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

ROYALS (72-86)

  1. David DeJesus, RF
  2. Esteban German, LF
  3. Mike Aviles, 2B
  4. Jose Guillen, DH
  5. Ryan Shealy, 1B
  6. Alex Gordon, 3B
  7. John Buck, C
  8. T.J. Pena, SS
  9. Mitch Maier, RF

Two views of the same pitcher

greinke.jpgZack Greinke tossed seven scoreless innings and sent the Tigers to their 12th shutout of the season, but there was a difference of opinion in the outing.

“Greinke would’ve shut a lot of people out tonight,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “When you throw 97-98 with a good hook and a changeup and locate the ball pretty good, he probably would’ve shut a lot of teams out tonight, no matter what lineup we had in there.

“He just powered us early. We did hit some balls good at people, not that we were on him that much. But we had a couple chances. … But Greinke was very good. He was a power pitcher early, and then in the middle innings, went to a little more offspeed stuff. He got off the fastball a little bit. I thought he pitched very, very well.”

By contrast, Greinke was a little tougher on himself:

“I didn’t have any location of any pitch,” Greinke said. “My fastball was good, it just wasn’t being located good. I wasn’t throwing breaking balls for strikes, really. I threw the curveball for a strike a little bit but that’s not one of my top pitches and my slider was pretty bad.”

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