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


There won’t be too many times that I will agree with JL’s lineup but this is at least entertaining. I do think they are giving Kazimir an automatic out by playing Joyece though.
He must have promised Polanco a day off if he hit a homer! Could have Raburn playing in LF and Polanco at 2nd of course.
At least we get to see Thames, Santiago, Hessman and Ryan

I like G-Man–I like him a lot, but he has to get a handle on the long ball. He gives up too many of them and they often taint an otherwise well-pitched game.

1st & 2nd no out—Will Inge bunt?
My guess is no.

Good managing JL.
nice bunt–way to put 2 runners in scoring position with your Mendoza hitter.

Hey Jason – any place to catch a replay of that press conference? Was hoping I could find it as a link to the Tiger’s site but didn’t see it – would like to watch it though.

Looks like Ramon is flexing his homerun muscle today!

it’s been a while since i’ve checked the blog out.
didn’t leyland say he was going to play regular lineups in games with playoff implications? They’re getting the job done today but this is hardly a standard lineup for the tigers.

Unbelievable stuff. JL pinch hits for Hessman. Not Inge, but Hessman. I guess he has seen enough of Big Mike and not enough of Brandon.
Inge must have some hidden video of the skipper or something we don’t know about that is keeping him in this lineup at all costs.
Curtis, when he does hit the ball lately, seems to be really pull happy. Lots of ground balls to 1st. Hope he gets it together to close out the season.
G-Man is rolling right along here. He is something to look forward to.
Todd Jones impressed me today with his respect and understanding for the game. He is a pitching coach in-waiting.

Day games for some reason means lots of starters get the day off. sounds like Renteria and Polanco have some aches and pains and I think Sheff is serving his suspension. You hardly ever see Granderson out.

Too bad Sheff isn’t playing – tons of solo home runs today, he could have gotten closer maybe to his 500 mark.

No comment on Sheffield.
That’s a shame for G-Man. He pitched a really nice game but, like all year, he can touched up for runs on very few hits. As I said before, he has to get a handle on keeping the ball in the park.
He had pitched himself out of trouble in that inning, before he made that mistake.
Here’s our closer now.

Well, if Rodney can throw strikes we should be able to squeak this one out.

Gosh guys, now doesn’t that feel good to win a game? Glad to see Armando get the win, too bad they scored more on him than I was hoping but glad to see the W for him. We couldn’t get a win against the Royals to stay out of the basement, would have preferred to win those games than today’s, but I guess I can’t be choosy!

Yes it was good to get a W and it’s interesting that it was pretty much the non-CORE guys that got the job done.
I don’t quite understand the reason (if there is one) that JL took out Hessman as he did. I called him inexplicable the other day, the adjective fits.
Today’s 3-run HR showed how important it is to have that happen for you on a ball team.
The Rays were under control for the most part and then one swing of the bat changes g-Mans line (it would have looked really good) and at the same time got the Rays back into the game.
It was encouraging to see Hessman drive one out on a down and out changeup.
Nice to see Ryan deliver the pop we all knew he had.
Good to see Granderson smoke the ball twice.
And what can you say about Ramon. he played well in the field too.
.Even Rodney was on.

Yes, slowbyrne, where is that bunt by Inge? I think he is a pretty good bunter, fairly fast, and almost a sure out anyway. At least it might have given them a chance for a run on a sac fly, groundout to the left side, error, wild pitch, or passed ball. Leyland just doesn’t seem to like to play for one run. Only one game, I know, but Santiago sure looked good leading off. Could he be the answer at shortstop and lead-off for a whole year?

Santiago would be my choice over Renteria. Not my choice as fsr as wanting a game-changing, championship calibre shortstop, goes though. I don’t think Ramon whould hit all that well through a whole season and if they play Inge at 3rd next year they really are going to need a shortstop that can produce offensively (in addition to flashing leather and providing good defense).
Not trying to take anything away from Ramon.
Inge only needs to go at least 1 for 12 to stay above .199
I think he can do it.
Man, if I am Dave Dombrowski and I am looking at accounts payable for Inge, Robertson and Willis, I am wondering if I should ask JL for a Marlboro, because I feel like i’ve just been xxxxxx.

Those were my Xs folks, not Jasons!

One game is hardly a season but Razor did look good at leadoff. All season long this blog has been hitting the drum about putting Ramon at SS and seeing what he can do. Give him the gig and let him hit himself out of it. But in the meantime you’ll have an upgarde defensively.

If we have another leadoff, does Granderson go to the 3 hole and if so, does he change his swing and approach at the plate? I’d hate to tinker with him too much.

Nice win for a change.

Great to have a lineup of players who are fast and athletic with only Maggs having to be ‘carried’ in defence. Could this be why the team lacks energy, spark and yes I will say it ‘chemistry’ and as pointed out, the ‘regulars’ often only wins when Curtis plays well.
SS & 3rd are non negotiable defensive positions and Carlos and Renteria are just awful. Couldn’t agree with Dan more – why pinch hit Hessman, 2HR from last 3 bats for Curtis who has struggled lately and needed a day off??
Will Hessman and Thames now 4 from last 6 be playing tomorrow?? Not!!
Santiago, despite being in the dugout nearly all year and only having at best 20 swings a month all year, his batting average is still 301 with 469 slugging from 113 at bats. No doubt he will end up getting traded and we will be stuck with Renteria’s contract for next year.
So glad we did not have to hear JL again say the team is just in a funk – all season long!!
It was sure nice that Rodney was able to finish one off – phew!!

I forgot – Dan you were right with yesterdays comment – Hessman must be trying to get benched with his homers!!

You can catch Todd’s press conference on the Tigers website. It is long but worth the watch. Todd is a class act and we were better for having him here. I don’t care what any of the haters say about him. This pen got ten times worse without him there. And if they don’t find someone who can assume the leadership in that pen it isn’t going to get any better. Leadership is very important and I think that has also affected the guys on the field without Pudge and Carlos in the lineup. I mean it was bad all year, but the last month look at it it really tanked without those guys around and on the field.
By the way, way to go Ramone. You are officially the new power hitter.

Glad to see Armando got a win today! I missed the game but hearing we won from people I didn’t expect it from. Great to see power coming from Santiago and Hessmans’ bats. Sure wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see the mega contracts gone next year, and come back down to earth with some young talent.

I really wonder, even though we will never hear, what Ilitch thinks of his $138 million dolllar team, loosing all these past two weeks, to teams we should have beat, with our hands tied behind our backs, and pitchers blindfolded!

Leyland probably was the one with his hands tied this year. I really think JL has had a mess with this club, he was always having to answer to press and cover up all year long, the losses with excuses. I bet we will never know what went on this year behind closed doors. I expect to see alot of changes after this year.

Here’s to next year. If Maggs has to go to make budget, I wish him the best, perhaps he will join Pudge on the “Yankees”and Robertson , Rentaria, Willis,Rodney, and Zumaya ,Sheff, I wish them well in the NL!

Todd Jones shows many of us, what a class act he is. Good luck to him and his family. Love to see if he could become a pitching coach with an organization, start out in a farm club, and work up from there.

Marvellous what one win does for bringing positive thoughts – wow it has been a long time coming!! All year JL has been saying one thing and doing the other. Hopefully his comments, that the core of the team is set and there will be few changes, will be proven wrong.

No team wants our high paying underachievers being Sheff 14m, Willis 10m, Nate 7m, Inge 6m (geez I want him to prove me wrong and hit 260, even 230-240 would be nice!!) Renteria 3m and Bonderman 12.5m – 6.25m for each pitch. I could live without Carlos 10m and Maggs 18m if they formed part of some trades that rid us of most of the preceding bunch, definitely if it involved the offence & Willis. I won’t ask for much in return – mainly pitchers, all under 30 with no previous major injuries.

OK, sorry for dreaming…….

Trams 2004 team won as many games.
Trams 2003 team had more heart.

Someone wondered out loud what Mr. I thought of this year. I’m sure he was impressed with the attendance record. But they won’t sell many tickets next year. Hopefully he watched yesterday and noted “wow it’s so much different when you field a team of guys who are excited to play that day”.

Not sure why everyone is complaining about Inge. The coaches have worked hard on his swing and they have him straightened out. Would you want another repeat of that horrible 2006 when he went .256/28hrs/83rbi?

Big changes in 2009? I don’t think so. If DD throws in the towel on all those horrible signings and trades he loses all credibility. They will just hope against hope that some of those guys turn it around.

Looking at the team make up, I doubt JL has lost the club house. I just think he has lost 4-5 guys. Probably the ones who like salsa food. Couple of those are probably still tradeable.

There are many low impact things that could be done that together would probably add up to a lot. Some trades for prospects, promotions and yes outright releases in an addition by subtraction mode.

Hell, why not, what’s the risk, can you do worse than 72-90?

I think JL has lost more than the salsa lovers, what Inge and Thames have put up with this year is something that is hard to swallow.
And I’m sure Inge will never forget when JL went on his ranting this year (the Grilli incident) JL stated that someone with a 220 average should keep his mouth shut.
It’s going to be a long winter for Tiger fans.

Just read an article about Balfour and the Rays. We will likely face Balfour at least two of our final games and has to date pitched 57 relief innings for a 1.42 ERA with 80 strikeouts and only 2 HR given up. He has one more year on his 3 year contract worth $175,000. And no I didn’t leave a 0 off. Balfour has been around since 2001 and not achieved much with either the Twins or Brewers. Great to see a team able to bring players on.
The article also stated that ARod earns approx. 70% of the entire Rays payroll with the Yankees team earning $165m more than the Rays.
The Rays owner no doubt gives them free haircuts with Joe Maddon the barber.

We were no doubt helped yesterday with the Rays having to play the day game following a night game in Baltimore.

I would love to see the Rays go all the way this year. They remind me a lot of what the Tigers were in 2006 – a young team with a few old wise heads enjoying their baseball.

This guy just make me shake my head:
“I’m going to try to win every one of them,” Leyland said. “That’s what we do. This [season] hasn’t just been disappointing. It’s been unbelievably disappointing. But you know what, you sit around and pout about it, feel sorry for yourself and all that, that’s all bull. …

“I’m embarrassed, but it’s not because of a lack of effort. I haven’t seen one guy dog it. I’ll argue that until the cows come home. I haven’t seen one guy that hasn’t given an effort.”
The last statement about the effort. By the process of deduction if you have a team that loses more than it wins and it’s not because of effort..then what is it?
He doesn’t believe it’s that lilusory quality known as chemistry so it must mean that the talent or skill set isn’t there. If that’s the case then why is he holding on to the belief that things can be any different next year?
It’s not likely to happen but this team, such as it is, is not the kind of team that will benefit from his curmudgeonly, chip-on-the-shoulder, narrow-minded and blindly STUBBORN style of management. As I have mentioned before, this collection of veterans (overpaid or not), with the guranteed salary and job security they have is incompatible with Abner Doubleday running the show. The absolute best news the fans could hear is that Leyland does the truly honorable thing and retire. We need youthful exhuberance and we need to get it from the top down.

I would like to see Leyland leave also. However, I don’t think he sees the way he has failed this team. That, or he can’t man up to it.
This team needs a true motivator and someone that will be honest with them starting from day one. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to regain trust. And the thing that has probably hurt the most is his love of Sheff. We can all remember hating the teacher and their pet.

On the other hand, some of these guys need to own up to the fact that they did not perform well and do something about it. Better at bats, better defense, better pitching.

My biggest wish:
Things will be fine
in April ’09

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