September 20th, 2008

Sheff's in lineup, Victor isn't

No announcement on suspensions or fines today, so everyone involved in the Friday night fracas is free to play tonight. That doesn’t mean everybody will.

Today was a scheduled day off for Victor Martinez, who isn’t yet at the point healthwise where he’ll catch back-to-back days. Everyone else is starting, including Gary Sheffield back at DH. And no, Sheffield did not back off his comments from last night.

“I’m not going to promote violence,” he said Saturday afternoon. “But like I said, anybody that wants some, come get some.”

Unless something gets started that clears the benches again, it will probably not be Martinez. That’s a good thing, because Sheffield had more words for Martinez today.

“He’s going to learn respect,” Sheffield said. “Somebody’s going to teach him respect. … He needs to watch his mouth, becuase he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”

Also in the lineup is Asdrubal Cabrera, starting at second base for
Cleveland. Suffice it to say, his shot at Sheffield from behind with
his glove did not go unnoticed in the Tigers clubhouse.

TIGERS (71-81)

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

INDIANS (76-77)

  1. Grady Sizemore, CF
  2. Jamey Carroll, 3B
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, LF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Travis Hafner, DH
  6. Kelly Shoppach, C
  7. Ryan Garko, 1B
  8. Franklin Gutierrez, RF
  9. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B

Postscript on Sheff

carmona3.jpgI was up late enough trying to sort out the blow-by-blow account from Sheffield-Carmona that I decided to sleep rather than blog. Besides, pretty much all the relevant quotes and reactions made it into the story. But as Saturday approaches, here’s what we have to look forward to:

It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Bob Watson and the MLB personnel react on this one. Normally, you don’t hear much in the way of discipline handed down on weekends, but they could conceivably move on it now rather than Monday with two more games left to be played this series.

Whenever the discipline is handed down, it leaves Sheffield with what could be an interesting question. He’s close enough to the 500-homer milestone to still get it this year with a good final week (or his first-ever three-homer game, for that matter), but any suspension would likely rule that out until 2009. If he appeals a suspension, he could feasibly hold it off into next season and try to go for 500 now. The downside, of course, is that he’d have to miss time at the start of next season, when the standings reset and the games are a little more important to get off a good start (and haven’t we discovered how important that is).

If you think back to last year, when Sheffield was suspended for allegedly tossing his bat in umpire Greg Gibson’s direction, Sheffield’s comments didn’t help. And then you wonder how his postgame remarks Friday will play into any decisions coming. When last year’s suspensions eventually came down, Jim Leyland was the one who convinced Sheffield to tone down his rhetoric for a little while. With Leyland under suspension Friday, he wasn’t able to say anything to Sheff in the aftermath of the dust-up.

carmona2.jpgIt’s interesting to see how certain players react the first time you see them in a fracas, especially guys you expect could more than hold their own. Miguel Cabrera did a lot of peacemaking from how it looked, including eventually getting Victor Martinez headed towards his own dugout.

Speaking of which, was it just me, or did Andy Marte almost grab Dusty Ryan — thinking a guy Ryan’s size could do some damage — and then let him go when he realized Ryan wasn’t doing anything?

I’m still not sure why Polanco was ejected. Lloyd McClendon was told by the umpiring crew that Polanco was being aggressive, and Brandon Inge was told that someone on the crew saw Polanco throw a punch. I didn’t see it. The one move that could be construed as aggressive was that Polanco went towards Victor Martinez when Martinez started yelling at Sheffield from across the infield. It was to keep Martinez from going back into the fray, by all accounts, but in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to see how that could be misconstrued. Or else I’m missing something that went on away from the TV cameras.