Interesting test for Verlander today

This will be the first game for Justin Verlander since manager Jim Leyland’s talk about pitching more often at 92-93 mph than 96 and up. So what will we see out of Detroit’s young ace?

Leyland is hoping not an overhauled pitcher, but one pitching a little more under control.

“We’re not trying to turn him into a 92-93 mph pitcher,” Leyland cautioned Saturday morning. “We’re not trying to make him the same type of pitcher as Zach Miner, Nate Robertson, Kenny Rogers.”

What they’re trying to do is get him to vary his speeds on the fastball more often, and throw more pitches at less than maximum effort, with the idea of getting him better command and getting him to maintain his stamina deeper into the game.

It’ll be interesting to see how that translates against the Rangers. Armando Galarraga’s performance showed there’s a value in mixing pitches against Texas hitters and getting their timing a little bit off. Verlander isn’t really that type of pitcher, but he can certainly mix his pitches well if he has the breaking ball working.

TIGERS

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

P: Justin Verlander

RANGERS

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Michael Young, 3B
  3. Josh Hamilton, CF
  4. Hank Blalock, DH
  5. Nelson Cruz, RF
  6. David Murphy, LF
  7. Chris Davis, 1B
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

P: Matt Harrison

The Twitter page is still up and going, for those who asked. It’s at http://twitter.com/beckjason. The updates aren’t going to be as frequent as they were in spring training, admittedly, but I’m trying to keep them going.

14 Comments

Rod & Mario like Verlander today (top of 3rd). I think if he continues to live up at the letters with his fastball, the Rangers will get to him.
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He likest to throw the high strike as when you K a guy with one it does look impressive. But, we have already seen one shot on the high hard one and unless he mixes it up, we’re gonna see more.

Boy, we can’t afford to be making errors behind Verlander. JV needs all the support he can get and he can get himself in a rut all on his own. Infield errors will only contribute to this.
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MCab up with runners on the corners and didn’t get that run in. Geez. We need Guillen to clutch up right now.

Verlander has enough trouble not getting himself into a rut. The infield non-support will only contribute to that problem. Tough break for him as he has pitched pretty darn well today.
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Nate in now. Must say I’m not feeling overly hopeful at this point.

B-U-N-T
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Apparently not.
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I just don’t get it. Either does Leyland.

B-U-N-T

B-U-N-T
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Apparently not.
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I just don’t get it. Either does Leyland.

Sorry for the repetition–BLOG not posting properly again.
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Top of 9 now. I suspect JL brings in Rodney?

Wowzers! How do you spell relief?
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Apparently it’s R-O-D-N-E-Y today.
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Good stuff all around other than the infield trying to give away another game.
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-Brian

2 feel-good games in a row!!
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Hope Rodney can build on that. He’s great when everything swims along but the test is pitching under pressure with men on base. Not to take anything away from him today in keeping men from getting there in the first place!

I can’t even get logged in here half the time, much less post a comment.
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The star of today’s game was the fan down the thirdbase line who stopped the other fan from scooping up Polanco’s game winning double. They’d have stopped Everett at third and we might still be playing. Hats off to you, sir, whoever you are.
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Man, Rodney was awesome! How about that? So we won one of my close games, good sign.
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I don’t know what’s with Everett and making the transfer. So far, he looks like Renteria did. These guys get nervous or what? Hopefully he’ll settle in and smooth out. Inge’s error was one of those concentration plays Dan talks about. Verlander certainly didn’t need that, and it cost him pitching the 6th inning.
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Good job by the entire bullpen. This is how I envisioned Robertson pitching out of the pen. At some point, he’ll realize what a huge contribution he’s making.
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The true test of what we’ve got this year begins on Monday and for the two days following.
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–Rich

You are right, Rich. Nate was outstanding today. Given JV’s tendency to have an elevated pitch count before 5 innings, Porcello’s inexperience, and not knowing what we might get from Zach, Nate will probably get a lot of work. If he can perform like he did today, he will be a major contributor to the success of this team. What we saw today was something that was missing last year. Great job by Fernando, also. Didn’t face the heart of the Ranger’s order—but 3 Ks, I’ll take it! Has me cautiously optimistic.

–Ed

I forgot to comment on bunt situations. Dan, I don’t know which situation you were commenting on at 2:51, but there were several today. I remember Granderson getting one down, and Everett attempting, but can’t remember if he succeeded. The one I’m thinking of was in the 3rd inning, I think it was. Laird led off with a double. Although early in the game, I’m seeing the bottom of the order coming up and want to get him to third while Inge is up. Now, maybe JL’s play was to have Brandon ground to the right and move him up that way, but it obviously didn’t work. Inge is a good bunter too. So of course Everett follows with a flyball and Granderson goes down. No runs. I would have had Inge lay one down, but if his job is to hit to the right side, he needs to be able to do that. So perhaps a tossup there.
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Saw a highlight of the Twins’ Joe Crede in his first AB back in Chicago. They gave him a huge ovation, a really nice one. So Joe repays them by slamming a homer. The same people then booed him lustily all the way around the bases. You gotta love it. Now that’s a good time to boo. :-)
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–Rich

Another great team effort today. Strange how this these guys seem to be enjoying their baseball when last year with the same level of early setbacks, they were already in a funk. Maybe a few less egos and a few more scrappy type players with a lot of humility is the difference.
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Thought JV would settle down now he realises he doesn’t need to be the leader and carry the team. He will win more than he loses.
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Perhaps the biggest change this year (we are still 1 from 2 or 50% in saves) is the contributions from the bottom 4 with todays 6 of 10 hits and 3 of 4 RBI’s a huge difference winning a game without any help from Cabbs, Maggs or Carlos. The bottom four have now made 12 of the 34 RBI’s (Cabs has 10 of the top 5’s 22!!), a major turnaround on last season when we were lucky to get any runs after the No 5 hitter.
Just hope Anderson and Treanor can start settling down as they both can’t start the same games until they begin top contribute with the bat.

Surprised to see Toledo using Fien in a long relief role in todays close win. Dolsi & Williamson pitching 8th and 9th for the save. The club definitely doesn’t see any viable alternatives to Rodney within the organization.
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Hope today’s effort by Rodney is one of many to come – achieving over the long haul with an 85+% save rate will be the test.
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Jason, do you know what happened to Blaine Neal? Is he still pitching or given the game away?

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