May 20th, 2009
The Tigers optioned left-hander Luke French back to Triple-A Toledo after the game tonight so that they can activate Nate Robertson from the 15-day disabled list in time for Thursday’s game.
That’s likely to be the only roster move made in time for Thursday’s game. Manager Jim Leyland said he does not expect Magglio Ordonez to be back in time for the game, so he’ll likely remain on the family medical emergency list.
Wilkin Ramirez is the first Tiger to homer in his Major League debut since Reggie Sanders (not that Reggie Sanders, an earlier one) homered in his first big league at-bat on Sept. 1, 1974 against the A's at Tiger Stadium. The previous Tiger to do so was none other than current Tigers coach Gene Lamont.
DETROIT — The Texas Rangers thrwarted a Tigers rally and made some history in the process Wednesday night, when second baseman Ian Kinsler and shortstop Elvis Andrus teamed up for a triple play against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Brandon Inge’s double and a four-pitch walk to Ryan Raburn put the runners on for Detroit, which had a chance to break open its early 1-0 lead against Texas starter Matt Harrison. Up came former Rangers catcher Gerald Laird, who just broke out of a hitting slump over the weekend.
After Laird fouled off a bunt attempt on the first pitch, manager Jim Leyland sent the runners in motion, setting up the extra outs when Laird lined out sharply to Kinsler. He flipped the ball to Andrus to tag second base for the second out on Inge. Once Andrus crossed the bag, he had a mere few steps to go to tag Raburn for the third out.
Raburn was close enough to second base, in hindsight, that Kinsler arguably had a chance to pull off an unassisted triple play.
With that, the Rangers had pulled off the fifth triple play in franchise history, and their first since April 14, 2002, when former Ranger and future Tiger Kenny Rogers induced a fielder’s choice grounder from Seattle’s Ron Wright. That play featured two run-downs on the basepaths for the final two outs.
The last conventional triple play the Rangers pulled off took place August 6, 2001 at Boston. Scott Hatteberg’s line out to Alex Rodriguez with runners on first and second allowed A-Rod to flip to second baseman Randy Velarde to tag second for one and then tag Chris Stynes for the third.
The Tigers, meanwhile, hadn’t hit into a triple play since Sept. 18, 2006, when Carlos Guillen hit into one against the White Sox at Chicago.
Wednesday’s triple play came in especially timely once Taylor Teagarden drove in Marlon Byrd in the next inning to tie the game in the fifth inning against Tigers ace Justin Verlander.
If Wednesday is the only game Wilkin Ramirez plays in a Tigers uniform before heading back to Triple-A Toledo, he’s going to make the most of it. The Tigers are certainly trying to get the most out of him. He’s batting third in the Tigers order tonight, between Placido Polanco and Miguel Cabrera.
One reason behind the move, manager Jim Leyland said, is that they don’t have any obvious candidates. Clete Thomas is out with left-hander Matt Harrison pitching, and Magglio is away from the team. Plus, Leyland said, Ramirez brings speed, which Leyland has been able to use with Thomas up there. Ramirez usually batted third in the Mud Hens lineup, and he was tied for the International League lead in stolen bases at the time he was called up.
You’ll also notice Brandon Inge batting fifth for the first time this year. His other games have been in the sixth (9 games), seventh (19) or eighth (7) spots.
In other news, Leyland laid out more of a game plan for his bullpen today. After Bobby Seay and Brandon Lyon each got a big out in the seventh inning Tuesday night, Leyland said he wants to use both of them in that inning with a lead moving forward. Which one he uses depends on how the opposing lineup looks between lefties and righties. He also said he’ll mix in Ryan Perry on occasion when Lyon isn’t available.
“I think Brandon Lyon’s really coming on,” Leyland said.
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Ramirez, DH
- Cabrera, 1B
- Inge, 3B
- Raburn, RF
- Laird, C
- Anderson, LF
- Everett, SS
P: Justin Verlander
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- David Murphy, LF
- Michael Young, 3B
- Hank Blalock, DH
- Marlon Byrd, CF
- Nelson Cruz, RF
- Chris Davis, 1B
- Taylor Teagarden, C
- Elvis Andrus, SS
P: Matt Harrison