September 3rd, 2008

Looking at an 8:15 start

The rain has ended, and the grounds crew is preparing to take off the tarp.

Wednesday: Tigers vs. Angels

I’m looking at the radar, and it’s looking like a long night with a lot of rain. The Angels don’t come back here again, so they might wait this rain out. On the other hand, the travel schedule for both teams tomorrow isn’t as bad as it normally would be. The Tigers aren’t flying to Minnesota until Friday, since the Republican National Convention has the hotels downtown booked up through Thursday. The Angels will hop over to Chicago for a weekend series against the White Sox.

In game news, Mike Hessman gets a shot at third base. Leyland didn’t indicate that it would be anything long-term, but he said it’s a chance to see what he’s got. That leaves Granderson and Joyce as the left-handed bats in the lineup.

TIGERS (66-72)

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

ANGELS (84-53)

  1. Chone Figgins, 3B
  2. Garret Anderson, LF
  3. Mark Teixeira, DH
  4. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
  5. Torii Hunter, CF
  6. Kendry Morales, 1B
  7. Mike Napoli, C
  8. Brandon Wood, SS
  9. Sean Rodriguez, 2B

Diversionary tactics

That’s how Jim Leyland referred to Justin Verlander’s explanation for his outing Monday. Leyland read Verlander’s comments from after the game, including a remark about umpire Chuck Meriwether’s strike zone being tight early on, and wasn’t buying it.

To him, it’s part of the lesson Verlander is learning from having to deal with adversity for an extended stretch this season. And this was Leyland’s way of getting the message across.

“Every once in a while, you have to be able to say you were [terrible],” Leyland said Tuesday, “and you turn the page and move on. Because diversionary tactics aren’t any good.”

To be fair, Verlander did say he wasn’t locating his fastball, something Leyland has mentioned at times, and that there really wasn’t one turning point so much as the whole outing for him.

Leyland went on to say he felt Verlander was possibly hyped up to face the Yankees, a term Leyland has used for Verlander after games against the White Sox and Indians this year as well. His tempo speeds up too much for Leyland’s liking, and he ended up throwing too many fastballs.

“I think the biggest with Justin,” Leyland said, “is to get in a routine like clockwork in between starts.”