September 9th, 2008

Tigers postmortem

Leyland on taking out Robertson: “Really didn’t want to take a chance with him. To me, that was a no-brainer. He hadn’t been out there for quite a few days, hadn’t really pitched much. I thought it was great for him to do what he did and walk away with a good feeling. We just didn’t hold it, that’s all.”

Eventually, that last part started building for Leyland, until he just went off on the pitch location on the eighth inning — specificially Seay’s leadoff walk and Rodney’s 0-2 pitch to Rajai Davis that ended up as the game-tying triple that set up the game-winning sac fly.

“This is simple,” Leyland said. “This has happened to us way too many times this year. We walked the guy to lead off the eighth inning, and walks will haunt, that old saying. We’ve been making the same mistakes all year long, 0-2, giving guys a fat pitch to hit, which we did to Davis, and he hit it. You can’t make these mistakes, and that’s why we’ve lost so many games from the seventh inning on. You just can’t make those mistakes. It’s that simple. Guys can talk about it all they want. You can be patient and all that type of stuff, but it can’t happen if you’re going to be successful up here.

He said he used Seay to keep Oakland’s left-handed bats on the bench, but then he got back to the pitching.

“It’s a perfect situation, in my opinion,” Leyland said, “and we walked the first guy. You can’t do that. If you want to stay up here and pitch and be successful, you can’t make these mistakes. [On] 0-2 all year long, we’ve gotten killed, night after night after night. I mean, eventually you get tired of watching it. 0-2, right there, fastball right down the middle of the plate. You can’t do that and win up here. You can’t win close games doing that in the big leagues. It just won’t happen. It’s that simple. And we’ve done it time after time after time after time. It’s not excusable. That means to me that you’re just throwing the ball. You’re just throwing the ball without any idea what you’re trying to do.

“Doing the job part-time is not acceptable up here. It’s just not good
enough. You can’t do the job part-time. You’ve got to do the job up
here most of the time.”

As for bringing in Rodney in the eighth, Leyland testily asked a reporter who he would’ve brought in. And that’s when he said that Kyle Farnsworth was not available. We talked with Farnsworth after that he said that he’s day-to-day with a sore groin. It surfaced when he was pitching Sunday at Minnesota and it was worse by Monday. The worry, on his part and the athletic trainers, is that he could try to pitch through it, compensate for it in his mechanics and end up hurting his arm.

“We’re trying to get rid of it,” Farnsworth said. “It’s just day-to-day right now.”

One thing that I think gets overlooked tonight was the speed of Davis on what would’ve been a game-tying double for maybe 97-99 percent of the league. He was flying out of the box and around second base, and ended up turning that into a triple — which, in turn, set up the go-ahead sac fly.

Still, it was the pitch that got to Leyland

“I’m not second-guessing the choice of the pitch. I’m second-guessing
the location. You have to make sure that you don’t throw a ball right
down the middle of the plate, 0-2, in that situation. You can’t do it.
You throw one up out of the strike zone or a changeup down out of the
strike zone. But the one thing you can’t do is throw the ball down the
middle of the plate.”

Tuesday: Tigers vs. A's

Dusty Ryan gets another start behind the plate. Why tonight instead of, say, Wednesday? One factor, manager Jim Leyland said, was the chance to get Inge a game at third base with Nate Robertson on the mound. If Robertson’s effective, you could see a good number of ground balls to the left side.

TIGERS (70-74)

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


  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Daric Barton, 1B
  3. Emil Brown, DH
  4. Ryan Sweeney, RF
  5. Kurt Suzuki, C
  6. Bobby Crosby, SS
  7. Aaron Cunningham, LF
  8. Jeff Baisley, 3B (Who are these guys?)
  9. Cliff Pennington, 2B

Willis, Garcia to start in Texas

Just announced today: Dontrelle Willis will start next Monday in Texas, while Freddy Garcia will start Wednesday. If all goes well, they’ll each get one more start before the season’s over. Chris Lambert is being moved to the bullpen and should be available in relief Friday at Chicago.

Rainout shuffles White Sox rotation

Those off-and-on showers that the Tigers and A’s played through last night were pretty much a steady downpour in Chicago, raining out the White Sox and Blue Jays. They’ll make it up with a day-night doubleheader today, but it leaves a big question mark in the Sox pitching rotation when the Tigers come to town this weekend.

Javier Vazquez was supposed to start Monday, but with the rainout, he’s starting Tuesday. His next turn in the rotation is due up Saturday against Detroit, leaving the Sox with a decision to make: Is it a big enough game to start him on short rest, knowing the schedule won’t give him an extra day of rest until Chicago’s final off-day on the last Monday of the regular season? Or do they go with an extra starter in Clayton Richard? Or a spot starter?

From Scott Merkin’s article:

“If you’re going to ask me four days from now what we’re going to do,
we’re not sure yet,” White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. “We’ll
see how [Tuesday] goes.

“Our options are bringing Clayton Richard back or Javy back.
Another option might be thinking about going with [Lance] Broadway.
[We] might even think about [D.J.] Carrasco. But we’re not going to
really discuss or think about it until after we play the games [on

These are the choices that makes rainouts so tricky in a pennant race. It’s worth mentioning that Vazquez is 1-3 with a 5.33 ERA against the Tigers this season, while Richard has yet to face Detroit.