The thing about Cleveland

One of the unique things about Progressive Field is that the visiting clubhouse has two arcade games right in the middle of the lockers. One of them is Golden Tee, which figures. The other is Big Buck Hunter. It’s tough to find a player who doesn’t like one or the other. The games end up being a release for players after a game.

Nate Robertson remembers a tough time last season and firing away at the hunting game with Kenny Rogers.

“I think we had back-to-back rough starts here,” Robertson said, “and we pulled up here and stayed past closing.”

They’re far from the only ones to have taken out their frustrations on that game. It’s a great stress relief for visiting players.

8 Comments

Nice insight Jason – your quirky blogs behind the scenes are always good to read.
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The Twins series is shaping as a benchmark for the season – can we clear away early when the first two pitching matchups are not looking good on paper, and able to put the Min Twins way below 500 like the soul searching Grandos catch is causing the Indians. If we can get thru the Twins OK, we have a relatively easy run for the rest of May with Oakland, Texas, Rockies, KC and Baltimore.
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Big decision time is looming with DTrain back in the lineup for Game 2. Do we keep the extra reliever, meaning Larish likely goes back before Raburn (JL’s likely order, not mine) or do they send down Rincon, (assuming he can after initially signing a Tigers minor league contract despite his 10 years in MLB) Perry or release Lyon or Nate. Releasing Nate is unlikely but not that far fetched after Sheff and would require burning the 2009 & 10 contract and a further $14m salary.
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I would initially send Raburn down and keep the extra reliever to see if Willis is back for good. If Willis comes back all guns blazing, I would then look to release Nate if he won’t consider a stretch as a mud hen starter. Even though Lyon and Rincon are only on 2009 contracts, they offer more than Nate with late innings again shaping as our achilles heel despite the early good results.

What a great Mother’s Day gift – a sweep of the Tribe! I don’t post on the weekends usually, I like to keep my computer shut down when not working! Outstanding pitching this weekend. Justin seems to have the eye of the tiger right now and it is working for him – one thing he does not lack is confidence and when he is feeling it and pitching well, he is good. Grandy’s catch on Friday was amazing, I still can’t believe he snagged that ball – he saved the game. Funny, when he motioned to his temple I thought he was telling JV to stay in the game mentally and get the final out, but you guys are probably right, he was probably apologizing for not hitting the cut off man.

Glad to see Maggs get a few hits yesterday, and I hope Laird can come out of his slump, he was such a plus at the bottom of the lineup in April.

I was watching part of the Wings yesterday and saw Carlos Guillen there with his baby girl, signing an autograph in the stands. Way to support your other local team and be willing to sign an autograph while out with the family on Mother’s Day – hope your rehab and rest is doing you well.

I agree with Dave. The quirky (or whatever you want to call them) behind the scenes posts are good. They may not draw as much comment as our armchair managing, but I always enjoy reading stuff like that.
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So here we are discussing the FIRST PLACE Tigers on May 11th. This has been good so far, the frustration level has been kept to a bare minimum. We’ve already clinched a .500 record for the 12-game divisional series of games, so now we can add on.
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Intriguing stuff there, Dave. My opinions:
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There’s no way you release Lyon. He may not be the closer everyone wanted but he’s a dependable big league pitcher and can help in both middle and late relief. The causal fans will probably go on dissing him, but I don’t see the problem.
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I’m leary of releasing Nate because if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a hundred times that a forgotten starter like that will come back and win big games due to injuries and whatnot. It’s just something that happens in sports. And yes, I realize it’s getting crowded out there.
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Rincon could accept a minor league stint because he’d probably be back soon. Easy for me to say, since I’m not the one who has to go ride the bus.
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I don’t think an extra reliever is necessary, as our starters have been going deep into games. Even Porcello yesterday, while looking about as shaky as he ever has, still put in five.
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In fact, I wouldn’t want to make any permanent changes because of the Willis start Wednesday. I’m not buying the anxiety disorder business (and I don’t think he is either), and think it was just a way to get him some starts in the minors. Granted I didn’t see him pitch down there, but the reports haven’t looked too encouraging to me. I realize he’s a good interview and popular, but the hard cold business is production. It has given JL a reason to finally get Miner back in the bullpen, and JL will never change his opinion on this issue, even though he is wrong about Zach.
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Those are my thoughts. I’m sure there are others.
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Carlos, rootin’ on da Wings, eh?
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–Rich

It is amazing how excellent starting pitching cures so many ills with the Tigers now having the 2rd lowest AL ERA of 3.84. Our starters regularly going deep provides the momentum for the bullpen to overcome the final few innings without too much damage.
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Whilst evaluating Willis, I would send Raburn down as we have a perfectly good RHB on the bench in Santiago. JL unfortunately gets heavily influenced in his opinion of a player on how capable they are in getting the ball out of the park. JL doesn’t consider Ramon to be a true switch hitter rarely giving RH AB’s despite his stats in past seasons being:
RHB 2009 – 10 AB, .2 Avg, .2 OBP; 2008 – 25 AB, .32 Avg, .414 OBP; 2007 – 10 AB, .30 Avg, .417 OBP.
His stats for LHB’s are 2009 – 32 AB, .281 Avg, .343 OBP; 2008 – 99 AB, .273 Avg, .410 OBP; 2007 – 57AB, .281 Avg, .305 OBP.
Anyone with pace, good defense and have an OBP over .35, let alone .4, would walk onto just about any other teams starting lineup.
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Rodney’s career has had a “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” feel about it, continually mixing his performances from looking good one outing to ugly the next. His early results this season looked like he may have kept his alter ego under control, but his past three performances where he has barely got the results is showing his “Mr Hyde” is beginning to take over.
I stand by my early season prediction that Perry (now 60% chance) will be doing some closing work by the end of the season.
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I don’t think Nate will be released or traded until Willis and Bondo are resolved. I assume Nate has declined an offer to go down to Toledo to work as a starter with his relief role to date being lethargic and uninspiring. I don’t see a turnaround under JL. If Bondo or Willis is able to make a successful return by the next trade window, they should at least try to get something for him and not miss the opportunity as they did with Sheff last October when the Rangers were offering to take up some of his salary.

If Willis can make it back to the club and to the rotation and IF Bondo can do the same–we will see a trade. They would be wise to consider trading Willis if they can get something for him ( I doubt it). Unless he has a complete revelation and contributes like he did early in his career ( I doubt that, too).
Bonderman will be given every opportunity to make it as a Tiger. He is in JL’s “Good ol’ boys club”.
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That leave Nate, who is unlikely to attract much attention, and the scapegoat, Zach Miner. Unfortunatley, it is likely Zach that will summarily dispatched. Jl Likes him, but he doesn’t “like him a lot”.
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What’s up with Laird. C’mon man–you have shown you can hit some now get busy. This club can’t survive a sub .220 hitter in the lineup no matter where he plays.
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Granderson and Polanco have to start hitting like they can too. This cojld be a darn exciting team if that would happen.
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Raburn has been given ample opportunity to show his wares and, in fact he has done just that. It’s time to read the writing on the stats wall and put him where he belongs.
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Somebody mentioned dontrelle Willis could hit more than Raburn–and they were right–unfortunately he is another LHB (where did we get all these LHBs)?
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Thames is a long way away and there is NO guarantee he will be able to contribute if and when he comes back. My guess is we will see Clevlen called back up unless Raburn’s spot is given up for Willis.
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Anyway–great that we beat the Tribe 3 games in their house but the hitting still needs to come around.
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Dave, I guess there’s a possibility that Perry could close games this year. I am starting to think, however, there is more of a likelihood that Zumaya could assume that role should Fernando struggle. Joel seems to be developing his secondary pitches which he needed to do in order to become a top notch reliever. That would allow Rodney to return to a more comfortable role as set-up man. Perry could be brought along slowly with 6th or 7th inning duty and even set-up roles if Rodney completely loses it. We’ve seen the Jekyll and Hyde act from Fernando for years. No question, the man has talent. With a fastball in the 94-98 mph range and a really good change, he can be real tough to hit when he’s on. It’s always been a matter of control. There are going to be games when he just doesn’t have it, but thus far he hasn’t blown any games. Obviously he isn’t a Rivera or Pappelbon, but at this point, we could do a lot worse.

–Ed

I thought Perry eventually closing was a better possibility when the season began. I think less of it now. Clearly, there’s some growth that has to happen, and the way Rodney and Zumaya look so far reduces the need to accelerate that process. However, I think Perry has a chance to take a big role in the eighth inning, regardless of who’s closing.

Dave, I guess there’s a possibility that Perry could close games this year. I am starting to think, however, there is more of a likelihood that Zumaya could assume that role should Fernando struggle. Joel seems to be developing his secondary pitches which he needed to do in order to become a top notch reliever. That would allow Rodney to return to a more comfortable role as set-up man. Perry could be brought along slowly with 6th or 7th inning duty and even set-up roles if Rodney completely loses it. We’ve seen the Jekyll and Hyde act from Fernando for years. No question, the man has talent. With a fastball in the 94-98 mph range and a really good change, he can be real tough to hit when he’s on. It’s always been a matter of control. There are going to be games when he just doesn’t have it, but thus far he hasn’t blown any games. Obviously he isn’t a Rivera or Pappelbon, but at this point, we could do a lot worse.

–Ed

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