Dontrelle on Dontrelle

Talking with Dontrelle Willis after his 3 2/3 innings and eight walks Sunday, there was a sense of urgency that he hasn’t really discussed much since he’s been up here. He kind of addressed when he returned a month or so ago, but in a sense that he wasn’t worried. Sunday, the sense of letting down his teammates was obvious, as was the sense that he might be getting his last shot, if he hasn’t already.

“Honestly, today was just unacceptable. I can’t put my team in that type of hole. Can’t beat anybody pitching like that. It’s very tough to pitch when you’re in a jam every inning. I’m going to have to finally do something, or somebody else is going to have to go out there to help this ballclub win. Because I just can’t go out there and do that.

“It’s hard for us to come back from a deficit like that. Even when you get out of a jam, it’s tough for the team to be out there all day. You can’t defend a walk. So [I'll] try to find a way to get the ball in play, or Skip’s going to have to find somebody to do it. I’m going to have to kick it into gear and get it done, step it up.

“I appreciate Skip giving me the leeway to go out there every time. Every time he gives me leeway, I go one step forward and two steps back. It’s just unacceptable, and I’m disappointed in myself the way I played today.”

When asked about the importance for him to hit the outside corner against right-handed hitters, which he missed so often over the last couple starts, Willis wasn’t looking that limited.

“Not only that, but just throwing the ball and making them hit it. I don’t care what corner it is. Just go out there and establish that I can throw the ball over the plate and not get in a jam where it’s all of a sudden bases loaded, no outs and I have to make pitches. It’s tough to pitch out of jams every single inning consistently.”

Asked how he gets through this, he said:

“I have to do a better job, and it starts today with me going out and watching what I did wrong today, going back after the off-day and working harder to stay focused get it done. It’s just inevitable. I have to do that, or else Skip’s going to have to find somebody else that can do that. It’s just the bottom line. We’re a good ballclub. We’re a great defensive ballclub. So I have to force the issue of contact. This is the bottom line. I’m going to work harder. I’m not going to give in. And I know I can come back, because I’ve done it before.

“Every time Skip gives me leeway, I do this. I take one step forward and two steps back, and one step forward. I’m just sick of it myself.”

129 Comments

ya everyone else is sick you too,time for the tigers to dump his *** and quick

One can feel Dontrelle’s pain. It must be a miserable feeling when you are staring at what might be the end of your dream career and you are still in your mid 20’s.
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Baseball is a business too. One that depends on putting fans and fannies in the seats. Much of that depends on winning and Dontrelle is not winning, pure and simple.
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While I feel for him on a personal level I hope that management does not prolong this experiment. He may be given another go but they should be honest with him and tell him they won’t go so far with him the next time out.
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Leyland has to make some changes here and one of them is Thames. I think Raburn has come on and played some good ball lately too. He is getting some pretty good at bats–better than a lot of guys who play regularly.
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Until Granderson, Polanco, Ordonez and now Cabrera can get playing consistently better, this team will struggle.

wow. that’s a good angle. he has seemed so morose lately.

We’re back home after crossing the mountains twice in two days. Nice trip, but the games were both abominable.
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Today’s game was an excellent demonstration of how much noise pollution we suffer at big league games, striking for the sheer lack of it. No blaring music, no LED boards telling fans to make noise for no good reason, and the barest minimum of deafening PA announcements. The atmosphere was baseball as I remember it from my youth, and it was totally enjoyable. I mean, you could even have a conversation with the person next to you. Maybe teams should have “Pure Baseball” promotions, games without the rock concert frills that are in vogue now. I’d sure pony up my dollars to attend them. Do fans really need all these distractions to draw then into the park?
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It was a pleasure to meet fellow blogger Marty and his wife and daughter, and we had a nice conversation during the game since the noise was eliminated. Too bad none of us got a better brand of baseball this weekend.
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You all saw the game and have commented plenty, so there’s no need for me to add much. The lineup was weak, Thames should be starting all games until the club starts hitting, etc. I don’t mind Santiago and Everett in the same game, but the entire team is pressing at the plate now. Anderson is not using any of the skills that make him of any value at all. The list goes on. Leyland appears to be in over his head and has had trouble in the past shaking this team out of extended periods of losing baseball. In fact, that has happened every year of his tenure here. First he refuses to make any changes, then he settles on certain favorites, then he finally starts trying wildly experimental combinations. It’s deja vu all over again.
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Willis appears to be finished. I don’t think there’s anyone who has any optimism about his situation now. Everyone loves him, that’s a given. That’s what makes it so sad. I can think of only one way to get any use of him, to have him earn a paycheck. You’d have to send him to the pen for mop up duty. JL waits too long to pull his starters when they don’t have it anyway, so bringing in Dontrelle wouldn’t hurt anything. In addition, have him pinch hit for this woefully inept offense. And I’m being serious. Short of that, send him out to learn a position and maybe he can pull a Rick Ankiel. Crazy idea, I’m sure, but the alternative is he gets released and that doesn’t help him or the team payroll.
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Puting Miner in the rotation (finally!) seems to be unavoidable now. Sure, he always allows his inherited runners to score because the man is not a relief pitcher. Look back over his performances when inheriting runners compared to starting his own innings. That covers Dontrelle’s spot. I wouldn’t complain if Robertson got a start or two in place of Galarraga. We’ve got all these starters, let’s take advantage of that situation. There’s no point in sending the same struggling guys out there every fifth day. If Nate fails, maybe Mondo will have gotten it back by then. Hey, this all makes more sense than Leyland’s lineup today, you have to admit.
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I want to end with a positive. We have three excellent starters and two bad ones. The excellent ones won’t win every start and the bad ones won’t lose every start. That works out to .600 baseball, which is plenty good enough. Now let’s put together a lineup that can get a few runs up on the board and quit worrying about egos.
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–Rich

Time’s up Dontrelle.
Willis was the worst starting pitcher in the National league in 2007
DD said their scout(s) saw something and they knew he’d be ok
Well, they were wrong. Yet they bet $ 29 million on being right
Willis was the worst pitcher in the majors in 2008. He spent most of the season in the minors trying to sort himself out.
He failed.
Willis didn’t make the club, or even come close, in spring training
So he begged off to the DL to avoid being released.
He went on a rehab assignment, pitched a few mediocre games, and they called him up anyway. He earned nothing, but got a spot in the rotation. He had one decent start as a Tiger, and was awful otherwise, allowing two runners per inning, often saving his bacon with a DP ball, often throwing wild pitches, walking in runs, and generally melting down.
Time’s up. The D Train has reached the end of the line.
No more starts. No bullpen, No DL. If not an outright release, then go to the minors without a time limit, and stay there until he can consistently throw strikes and dominate minor leaguers. Willis first, Robertson right behind him.

I made the trip home too Rich. Glad to hear you made it safely. It was a pleasure meeting you and your wife. Have always admired and enjoyed your writing. Maybe we’ll get to a game in Baltimore some day.
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To say the results of these two games were disappointing would be an understatement. Almost depressing. And yet I still had a good time. Saw the Stanley Cup for the first time in a ceremony today. Yeah it was in Pittsburgh’s hands but I did get to see it. I think it’s made out of santo gold. By the way, I got a real santo bronze (plastic like substance) figurine of Honus Wagner from the good folks at PNC Park. Just for showing up. It’s made in China and has this small plaque attached which says SONY. But the said attached SONY plaque is not bronzed. Not sure why. It doesn’t play music or anything. But I’m sure I’ll cherish it at least til tomorrow….. or til Christmas, at which time I’ll gift it to someone more deserving…..hmm….Actually a free hot dog would have been more useful. Would have been made in America too……..
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Read all the blogs and it’s good to see everyone’s happy with the way things are going. As a fan, I feel that I’ve let all of you down. I’m exhausted really.
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I would have to agree that Marcus needs to play every day. He just missed another HR before ending the game with a K today. He crushed one but pulled it just foul.
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Also, I agree, why not give Zack and Nate a few starts and let Armando and Dontrelle do some cleanup work. Let’s face it, there are not a whole lot of options here. You have a rabbit and you have a hat.
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It’s late and I leave you with a funny little story. Late in the game you probably saw (if you were still watching) the play where Everett went in the hole and double clutched a throw to first and then quickly flipped the ball to Inge for the force at third. Great foot work by Inge by the way, but it was a close controversial call, and the Pittsburgh fans didn’t like it. Some irate fan nearby yelled, “Hey ref, go back to Detroit.” Right on cue a Detroit fan yelled back, “He’s called an ump.” Best comeback I’ve heard in long time.

That is funny Marty – and stuff like that can give you a chuckle when watching a horrific ball game!

It is refreshing however to see a major league ball player take responsibility – so many times they will make excuses or say they are really feeling well and it just didn’t go there way. Not that D-Train taking responsibility makes it any easier for a fan, but I admire his honesty, he seems to get that he is being paid a ton of money and he isn’t performing as he should. Now if he could just figure it out then things would really be good.

Offense – where are you guys at? Glad to see Polly have such a good game the other day – that is what we expect of his bat.

You guys obviously need this day off – use it wisely.

While I agree that something else needs to be done with Dontrelle, you have got to feel bad for the guy. He isn’t arrogant he isn’t cocky, he is a guy that is struggling and deserves some compassion. Some of this talk frankly shocks me. Now in saying that I don’t mean that he should be starting games, maybe Rich is right mop up duty in the pen. The real mistake he was with Dombrowski, signing this guy to such a huge contract before the season even started. That is were some of the anger should go, not to Dontrelle, he just doesn’t have it, each game he is getting progressively worse, and my guess his mind is just doing flips. But it isn’t for a lack of trying.
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I agree that Miner should be put in the rotation. Maybe they can work on stuff with Dontrelle.

I doubt (and seriously hope I’m not) the first to notice this, but…

Anyone else notice a distinct difference between Dontrelle’s delivery with his left arm when he throws a good pitch vs a bad one? Everyone always talks about his leg kick and where he’s landing, but if you look at his left arm, when his elbow kind of jerks up before he throws (almost like he’s flapping a wing :) ) he tends to throw over the plate and definitely with more velocity. I’ve watched this over the past few games, and you can generally tell when he’s gonna throw a good pitch or leave a hanging breaking ball outside. He did this a lot in the one legitimately good game he’s had this season. He didn’t do it at all yesterday (although with those throwback uniforms it was admittedly hard to tell). Hopefully the pitching staff has seen this in videos and taken it into consideration. I’m not sure if it will help him, but after watching all of his performances this season, there is definitely a correlation.

It’s an interesting observation but it just seems that trying to find a cure for Dontrelle can only be a red herring.
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Lynn Henning of the News wrote a worthwhile article that sums up a lot of what Tiger fans have known for a while now:
http://detnews.com/article/20090615/SPORTS0104/906150324/1129/sports0104/It-s-time-for-Tigers-to-address-Willis-saga
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Rich suggested that he thought they could try to reinvent Dontrelle as a hitter. I think there is merit in that suggestion. He is owed a lot of money, he can hit, he loves the game, he feels he owes his teammates, employer and fans, and he is willing to be patient. What has happened with Dontrelle is regretable, but he is not an insidious force or a greedy egoist. DD made a mistake (with other people’s money)—Dontrelle didn’t. The mistake was not so much in getting him as the Marlins insisted on that, but with giving him such a ludicrous non-performance based contract. D-Train is not a villian here. DD is the one trying to justify the contract and JL is the guy who has to play him and deal with Dontrelle’s personal issues and anxieties. I give credit to JL for caring for him—-to this point. But he does need to tell DD “no more”.
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Perhaps they can keep him on as batting instructor. Nobody’s listening to McLendon.

I feel bad for Willis, he’s a good presence in the clubhouse. He just hasn’t been good at all this year. Detroit should send him down, work on his command. They could bring up Brooks Brown whose numbers are great (in AAA). Start rotating that 5th spot and find a gem maybe. Armando will start pitching again. His location has gotten better, his stuff is just a little flat. Maybe try to trade one of them.

Dan, your thoughts on Willis are very well put.
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Making a living playing baseball is still a pretty good life even if it’s done in the minor leagues. I’d rather see Dontrelle down there than being out of the game altogether. Even if it’s learning a new position. I’d also love to have the opportunity to sit on the bench with him and Jackson once, just to see what all the fun is about. Looks like a good party.
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Zlevine, I seem to recall that issue being addressed last year, I think it was. Something about his arms flying all over the place. It could be he’s caught between what management tried to have him do last year, and what Knapp wants him to do this year, which is be his old self. It certainly sounds like a tipping that the hitters could pick up on if what you say is indeed the case.
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I had an excellent seat behing the plate yesterday. If the screen doesn’t bother you (doesn’t bother me), it’s the best possible vantage point to watch a ballgame. You don’t appear on TV like I did Saturday, but who cares. It was a gorgeous day and I was looking forward to an entertaining game. That didn’t happen, unfortunately.
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Marty, that Honus Wagner statuette/figurine was actually of better quality than I expected. You have to turn it so that the Sony display doesn’t show. It’s not heavy enough for bookends, but the two we have could hold up a row of DVDs. Someone left one behind in our section because the arms were broken off. I guess that would be the Honus de milo.
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–Rich

Dontrelle has definitely had his problems since coming back up, no doubt about that.
-Dillon
htpp://dillonm.mlblogs.com

I’m getting nervous… 3pm and no release news… are they possibly gonna give him another start to blow?

Willis does seem like a great guy to have on the team. The team cannot afford to keep him in the majors at this point. I sat behind the Tigers dugout on Sunday and Jackson was having fun early on in the game. He was great to the kids hoping to land a ball. It is nice to see a potential star in the making seems to be a quality down to earth person.
Mark

Where did they hide the link to Beck’s blog on the Tiger home page?

And why hasn’t Willis been released yet?

Sometimes that Headlines box on the home page gets full and the blog link disappears temporarily. This has been rare in the past year or so.
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Re Willis, his turn doesn’t come up until Saturday so there’s no rush to announce anything. You can bet it’s being discussed, though.
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–Rich

I’ve read a ton of comments from various sites today and the majority of them are unrealistic. Rather than hazy trade suggestions and the ubiquitous “dump him”, the realistic thing is to look at the pitching staff with an eye on what we have right now. Here’s what I’d do:
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Miner replaces Willis. This one is the most obvious, since Zach has been pitching nearly complete games on these days anyway, what between his bullpen warmups and the game itself. Dontrelle, you need to go on down and try to work it out, brother. I know you want to earn your paycheck.
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Galarraga gets one more start and if there’s no improvement, Robertson replaces him. Mondo either to the pen or else to the minors to work out his issues. The problem with the latter is that it would leave two empty bullpen slots that have to be filled.
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Finally, but second in importance here, JL needs to find a time where he can alter the rotation. Split up Verlander and Jackson. I’d like to slot either Robertson or Porcello in between, since they would require the most bullpen assistance in any given game. Jackson can follow up and eat some innings, thus allowing the pen to rest up for the next two starts.
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Is this perfect? No. Would it be an improvement? I’m sure of it. What you can’t continue to do is have this club fall behind early in games, because the hitters are pressing enough as it is. Both Miner and Robertson will probably get you deeper into the game without caving in early.
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You CAN win a division with three good starters, but only if the other two aren’t disasters waiting to happen.
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–Rich

Whichever move they make, I hope it is done with as much class as possible, something this organisation has shown over the years. The thought of Willis rediscovering/reinventing himself at AAA is ‘field of dreams’ stuff but worth a shot as he oozes humility and seems to be a positive influence on his team mates.
Good article Jason regarding JL’s contract and player comment in support. DD’s position should be more precarious even though he has a year to go on his Contract. Unless the team somehow makes the playoffs or Mr Illich steps in, you get the feeling DD will seek another Manager for 2010.

Lord knows I vented my frustrations yesterday. Let me repeat, I am not in favor of dumping Willis. I just don’t want him starting for the time being. We are basically conceding the game every game he pitches. When you see him struggle in the first, I would not wait until we are down 6-0 to get him out. Honestly, I think he’s probably one of the most descent guys in all of baseball. That’s whats so bad about it. But let’s be honest; he is not helping the team in any way. And honestly, Galaraga is doing no better. We have such a small margin for error, that I don’t think we can keep both ofthem in the rotation. Bring on Miner. Somebody look for Steve Sparks.
Greg

Hi Everyone,

A friend at work’s brother has produced a movie about Mark Fidrych that will be playing at the Detroit-Windsor Film Festival in a couple of weeks. Thought you might be interested:
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My brother has been involved with the creation of a very start-up movie called “Dear Mr. Fidrych” which is about the Detroit Tigers Player Mark Fidrych. The movie was finished a while ago, but did not receive any attention until the recent unexpected death of Mark Fidrych.
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Now it has been picked up and will be playing on June 26 at the Detroit-Windsor International Film Festival. The hopes is to sell enough tickets that it will be premiered after that at the Traverse City Film Festival.
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So this is where you can help! If you are at all interested in this movie (synopsis below), please some tickets (preferably before Wednesday of this week) and come to the premiere! If they are able to sell 100+ then there is a good chance it will make it into the Traverse City film festival…
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Tickets can be bought here: http://fydrych.eventbrite.com
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Detroit News Announcement here: http://www.detnews.com/article/20090610/ENT02/906100309/Detroit-debut-set-for-Mark–The-Bird–Fidrych-movie
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Synopsis:
Dear Mr. Fidrych’ is a coming of age story where the protagonist finds himself not once, but twice.
It’s 1976 in Detroit. Twelve-year-old Marty Jones is intellectual and poetic. But, in his final year of youth baseball, he desperately wants to ascend to his local youth league’s ‘majors’ and star as a pitcher. Marty blows tryouts and finds himself mired on a terrible team in the youth league minors.
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When Bird-mania hits, Marty is motivated by the overnight success of the Detroit Tigers’ quirky rookie sensation, Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych. Marty writes a poem to the Detroit Tigers’ star, and Fidrych unexpectedly writes back, propelling Marty on a winning streak.
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Thirty years later, Marty is a Chicago advertising executive muddling through a mid-life slump. His wife is thinking of leaving him; he barely knows his son; his career is faltering; and he can’t find the inspiration to write new poems.
Can a father-son road trip in search of Mark ‘The Bird’ Fidrych help Marty reconnect with his family and his youthful optimism? Who will be the hero of Marty’s own life?
The film features a poignant performance by the late Mark Fidryich, who died in a tragic accident in April 2009, just as the film was nearing completion.
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Since this is an old string, I will probably repost this again when Jason gives us an update on tonight’s game- so I apologize in advance for the repeat.

-Tracey

a very tiger-like first half inning.

Well that was bloody awful. Leadoff triple and the heart of the lineup can’t get him in? Polanco is such a key ingredient in this offense and to this point in the season his offense has been rather “offensive” so to speak.

Man what a stinkin’ bloop 2 strike 2 out single can do!
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This was what I was talking about with the implicit expectations Tiger fans have of Verlander, Jackson and Porcello. What happens to this club when they falter? And the key word is “when”. This club has been downright fortunated so far this year.
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Pitching and defense may win games but you did need to score runs and there is never any guarantee that this impotent group of hitters will do that.

Well hi there folks, how are the Tigers doing?
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This is gettin’ ugly. Kelly triples and Polanco looks at pitches he should foul off. Ordonez continues to hit infield practice. I wanted him 5th and Grandy 3rd. Kelly misplays a flyball and Verlander doesn’t have his curveball today. That means they’ll spend all night fouling off his fastball. Cabrera continues to inexplicably cut off grounders to Polanco. I can only figure he’s pouting about his hitting while in the field.
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I guess if Verlander, Jackson and Porcello falter on a chronic basis, then they weren’t good starters after all. I still maintain that you can win with three good starters, but only if the other two win some games too.
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What I expect, however, is one of those characteristic slumps this team is prone to, the ones that Leyland can’t pull them out of. Continuing to hit Ordonez third, leaving Thames on the bench, we’ve seen this movie before.
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–Rich

Man, I am so tired of watching this team swing the bat. They are just plain lousy. How does a whole team end up in this kind of funk? And the problem is that it happens not just once but time and time again. Last year they went into this dreadful kind of spell too. If you follow this team you just knew the game was seriously challenged when they couldn’t score Kelly in the 1st.
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Hate to be a fatalist, but what are the chances for this team when Verlander, Jacskon and Porcello don’t thorw gems?

Maggie needs to find a League of His Own. He is one of the main reasons this offense has sputtered so badly this year.
Some astute baseball club should seriously think about picking him up at the trading deadline.
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The Tigers are one of the worst teams in the bigs right now. And you have to know that if this lack of hitting continues it will eventually impact the defense and pitching—if it hasn’t begun to already.

Well, logic tells me that if Miner, for example, pitched a good game on Saturday and won, you’re still okay. You need to win roughly 3 out of 5, however it happens. Like I said, if all three of those guys falter, it’s over.
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The problem with the offense is a total lack of power. There are no homers. There’s rarely even a double. This puts tremendous pressure on the hitters.
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What you can conceivably do here is start Verlander on Saturday and put this rotation in a different order.
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For the offense? Make a trade! Get Adam Dunn someway somehow.
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–Rich

I also suspect these players aren’t as thrilled with JL as some articles lead us to believe.
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–Rich

Nate should get the gate. Another good signing DD! The bad thing about these signings is that the roster gets stuck with incompetence. Can’t flog the player off on anyone else and can’t send ‘em down. Have to play them to save face and in doing so get your face rubbed in the dirt.

Sorry for all the negativity–I’ll sign off and hope for better tomorrow.

jim has thrown the towel in on this game.. ..
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how the tigers love their bases loaded walks.. still waiting for beck to somehow get that record for me and how close the tigers are..
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I think jim pulling verlander after 70 may lead to starting him on saturday on short rest to split him and jackson up like you said rich.. we’ll have to wait and see..
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Robertson should get his walking papers right after dontrelle.

Missed most of this game but I’ve seen enough. It was 5-0 when I started watching. Rich, Honus de milo was very funny. I agree with you, split Verlander and Jackson up. Right now I’ll take my chances with the best 9 hitters on this blog. It’s that bad….. not that there aren’t 9 very good hitters here. Any takers?
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By the way I see Colonel Sanders showed up for the game. He’s sitting just behind home plate.
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On a side note Miguel just jacked one. You can still take away some positives in blowout games like this. He needs to start hitting again.

I admit, I’m still watching. Lyon did a nice job there in the 8th. It’s not like he’s burdened with any pressure but nice job. I think he has gotten steadier as the season has progressed. He may become more important to this team as the season progresses. Seems to be settling in a bit. We need all the pitching we can get.

The difference between winners and losers. The Tiger leadoff batter triples and they don’t score. The St. Louis leadoff hitter doubles and they score 4. VERNDER JUST DIDN’T HAVE IT TODAY. Robertson has got to go, 4 hitters faced 2 singles and two walks + walking in one run. This guy is just taking up a roster spot. Get rid of him. Ordonez needs to sit or go. Also Perry is not the answer 2 home runs plus a bases clearing double. DD better do something quick the clock is ticking and the Twins are closing.

The difference between winners and losers. The Tiger leadoff batter triples and they don’t score. The St. Louis leadoff hitter doubles and they score 4. VERNDER JUST DIDN’T HAVE IT TODAY. Robertson has got to go, 4 hitters faced 2 singles and two walks + walking in one run. This guy is just taking up a roster spot. Get rid of him. Ordonez needs to sit or go. Also Perry is not the answer 2 home runs plus a bases clearing double. DD better do something quick the clock is ticking and the Twins are closing.

I said after the first inning this game was over. There was not way this Tiger team was going to score 5 runs in this game. I hate to be right on this but when your right your right. Verlander was bound to have a bad day. It was almost as if they knew exactly what he was going to throw, the way they were teeing off on him.. And frankly I am sure after the first inning Justin was going GEZ I don’t have a shot here. We cannot allow any other team to score more than 1 run these days because we don’t have a shot of winning otherwise.
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This team is not a good team right now, in fact there probably aren’t one or two teams that are worse than they are right now. I hope that this one embarressed them enough that they start thinking about playing. I thought that Pittsburgh would of done it for them, but obviously not. I will admit that I turned it off after they score got to 9-0. Can’t watch this crap any longer.
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I am not going to get down too much on Perry, he really has been pretty decent and he is young. This one goes squarely on the team as a whole. They were bad up and down the batting order and the pitching was poor. Defense was poor. We are going from the second best defensive team in the AL and the best ERA in the AL to really down right poor.
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I feel like I need a break from watching these games, they are painful.

The other thing that I forgot to say that I didn’t say in my last post was that it almost doesn’t matter about the pitching (and I know it does) but the fact of the matter is our pitchers have to be nearly perfect in order to win a game. And I am sure that it just becoming just a little too much for them to handle. Yes pitching does matter but so does getting your head out of your ??? when you are at the plate.

as much as i was able to figure out on my own about bases loaded walks..
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we’ve had 14 this year i think including tonight’s in 64 games. 14 is on pace for 35 for the season.
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20 in 08, 9 in 07 and 8 in 06
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YIKES

Oh I watched the entire game. Once I’ve blocked out the time for it, I’m stuck with it. :-)
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It’s altogether appropriate to voice concerns, as there are many concerns at this time. I don’t want to fall into a “sky is falling” mentality, because there is a loooong way to go this season. They’ll bottom out at some point, maybe tonight was it, maybe tomorrow, but they’ll turn it around and play better baseball. If they don’t, JL would be fired and there would be a vast personnel changeover, but I don’t expect that.
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Playing at amateur psychologist, I suspect that they expected to make their usual roll through interleague and have forgotten that you’ve still got to go do it. Much the same thinking that may cause them to totally fail against a pitcher they think they can hit easily. They need a shakeup, and they’ll have to shake themselves up. There’s only so much JL can do, no manager can work miracles. It’s a tough game, you have to put forth a maximum effort and that can’t be done everyday. It better be done most days, though. Just a week ago, we were accomplishing a very tough series win in Chicago, so things can change quickly.
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I didn’t expect to be in first place at this point in the season anyway, and we’ve been there over a month now.
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Verlander was without his weapons tonight and that happens. Let’s see what Mr. Jackson can bring to the table tomorrow. The offense? JL still needs to use a “small ball” (I hate that term) approach. Little things can lead to big innings. These guys aren’t going to hit many homers.
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While Brandon Lyon was pitching against hitters who were pretty much mailing it in at that point, you do begin to see what made him successful as a closer for the first few months of last season.
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–Rich

Rich, I gotta hand it to you. You make me feel a little better after reading your post. Not much, but a little! Any way, it’s late–catch you all tomorrow. Go Tigers!!!

–Ed

Ordonez’s AB in the first inning was pretty disgusting. 2-0 pitch, clearly sitting on a fastball, swings at a curve anyhow. He should not be batting third anymore. Sixth? Seventh? Francona dropped Ortiz, and he seems to have turned it around. Hell, I’d love to see Maggs’ name in the eighth spot tomorrow. Not that it will happen.
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Anyway, the reason the Tigers lost, in my crazy opinion, is that Leyland called for the intentional walk on Pujols in the first inning. That set the tone for Verlander’s entire pitching performance. Playing scared. Now you have two guys on and one out instead of one guy on and one out. Yes, it sets up the double play, but it also puts a huge amount of pressure on Verlander and the defense at the wrong time. (And sure, Pujols might have jacked one, but I’d rather get burned in the first inning by Pujols than by Yadier Molina.) I mean, Verlander had been dominating hitters for the past month. I’d take Verlander at the height of his game against Pujols any day — apparently JL wouldn’t. Anyway, you saw how Verlander made Pujols look foolish in his third AB in the fourth. That could have happened in that first AB. Way, way too much respect was paid at the wrong time.
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On the plus side, yes, Lyon pitched well. Not that the Cardinals hitters really cared at that point, but Lyon pitched nice. I hope it continues.
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But is there any doubt that this offense is among the worst in baseball right now? Honestly, at the way we’re going, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers went 40-58 the rest of the way. Verlander/Jackson/Porcello have to regress a bit from the streaks they’ve been on — with this offense, we’ll maybe win 6 out of every 10 of their games? Considering we have a chance maybe 3 out of every 10 games started by the other two guys, well, it’s not looking good. At the max, this is a .500 team the rest of the way. I don’t see any way for that not to happen over the long haul, barring insane luck.
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So something drastic needs to be done ASAP. These hitters need a major shake-up. And it’s got to be done by DD, not JL. The obvious answers: Cut Nate. Cut Willis. Cut Sardinha. Put Miner in the rotation. Those things should have been done two weeks ago, if not sooner. But there has to be something else done, something major. I’m not sure what, but it has to happen. Call up Wilkin Ramirez and make Leyland play him everyday in favor of Maggs? Cut Maggs? Trade Polanco? Rodney? Acquire a bit hitter, like Dunn? I don’t know. I think one thing we can all agree on is that we’re sick of seeing this nonsense. The 2006 team I completely understood, but it’s really hard to see how this team is in first place.

OK – JV was due for a rough outing, that is going to happen. he could have pitched a gem and still lost, so as bad as the pitching was yesterday, I can’t get upset about that, it is bound to happen. We need to score more than 1 or 2 runs a game or we’ll be at the bottom of the AL Central before we know it. A game starting triple and nary a run scored – just bad.

Was glad to see a homerun for Miggy – I hope that shows he might be coming out of his slump, we sorely need his production. And get Thames back in there for goodness sake – stop playing the percentages of righty/lefty and put some power in the lineup where we have it.

I am expecting Miner on Saturday, we’ll see.

I would like to see Dane catch whenever JV is pitching. He seems to pitch at his best with Dane catching. The misplay in leftfield led to the four runs which should of been unearned. We will see Pujos get more walks in this series, JL is not going to pitch to him with runner on and first base open. It is too early to pull the trigger on most trades. Teams that still have a chance will wait and others want too much in return. How much of the future should they give up to rent a player like Dunn or Holliday? You will spend less closer to the trade deadline. The Tigers have several pitchers in their system that could possibly give us a shot in the arm. Nate has lost too much velocity on his fastball to be effective on a consistant basis. He cannot be counted on to even get left handed hitters out and it is time for a change of scenery. I think Perry, Zoom and JV as well need to throw more high inside fastballs. The low and away pitches get slapped the opposite way for cheap hits. They should be blowing away hitters with more high heat.
Go Tigers and start a winning streak so the doom and gloom will end.

I got up this morning and checked the sky and it hasn’t fallen yet. It is raining quite a bit. :-)
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Looks like Jason didn’t make the trip to St. Louis so this thread will grow really long. When that happens, the server slows, so be prepared.
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I had been thinking of having Dane catch Galarraga’s next start. Pineapple has caught him five times over the past two years and the starts have all been successful ones.
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It was painfully obvious that Verlander didn’t have good stuff yesterday and I would have walked Pujols too. I don’t think I would have announced it to the world like JL did, however. Molina just fouled off fastballs that he knew were coming since JV had no curveball, then finally dumped one into right. Predictable outcome. At that point I announced that we wouldn’t be winning this one so my wife immediately went to bed. :-) And it all started because Kelly misplayed that ball on the first hitter of the game. He can’t recognize a slicing flyball?
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In fact, the only thing I would have done differently than JL last night was I wouldn’t have taken Robertson OUT of the game. I would have gone out there and told him you’re not coming out so get out of your own mess. If Nate is to eat innings, leave him to eat innings. That’s his job and he’s getting paid plenty to do it.
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Re the offense, there are only 3 guys who are hitting below their norms. Ordonez, Polanco, and Granderson. Maggs appears to have lost all confidence up there….for whatever reason. He’s constantly pulling the trigger too late and he’s done this from the first day of spring training, throughout the WBC, and into the regular season. I’m not convinced he’ll get it back and he certainly shouldn’t be in the 3 hole. You want your best hitter there. You have to play him but lower his spot in the order. I can’t figure Polanco and I’m wondering if he’s in his last season in Detroit. I still want him as my secondbaseman but here again he’s killing us in the 2 hole. And no, I don’t know who could replace these guys in the order. Granderson is just pressing, trying to do too much. He’s the most likely to snap out of it, IMO.
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Firing the hitting coach, as many want to do, is not an option. In the first place, Lloyd is also one of JL’s top assistants. In the second place, this is the same hitting coach that oversaw our explosive offense in 2007. And he helped Inge improve. No, these are veteran hitters who should be able to help themselves, and Lloyd is a small part of that.
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And let’s release all the names on that steroid list. It’s pointless to allow media outlets to release a name when they’re in the mood for a sensational story. Let’s just get it all out there and move on.
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–Rich

Driving home last night listening to JV struggle was tough. First the Red Wings now the June swoon. Well, better now than in September I suppose. Some idle thoughts:

Bases Loaded Walks: Great catch there and I think something Jason should look up. This is happening too much and points to pitchers who are simply not bearing down. We have a decent defense out there. Stop nibbling and challenge the hitters. If a guy beats you on your best pitch, tip your hat and move on. But I think the lack of hitting is affecting the pitching also. A perception that they can’t allow any runs or they are done. Everything feeding on itself.

Hitting: I’m going to think about and do a little research on batting slumps. For whatever reason we have some streaky people in this lineup and that, obviously, leads to inconsistency. Inconsistency breeds losing and winning streaks. That said, I do think that each hitter has to come to the plate with a defined approach and the coaches (Lloyd) are responsible for defining that strategy or approach. Just wandering up there without any idea of what is coming or where or when or why leads to hitters that are inconsistent. So, Lloyd may be fine at the mechanics of the swing and looking at film to see shoulder dips and placement int he box, someone has to develop the approach that hitters should be taking in each game and each series.

Steroids: Rich, in some respect I agree with you. My issue here is that the players who took the test did so under the cloak of anonymity. Baseball was trying to see how widespread this problem was. Now, to release the names, is probably not all that fair to them. Given the penalty (Sosa is now going to feel the penalty) I might be inclined to take my chances that my name doesn’t spill out. But there is a bear in the living room. Baseball is a very interesting sport in that there is such a repetition of actions. It is very, very rare that a player can go from hitting .250 to .350 in one season and vice-versa. There is normally a fairly slow move from one side to the other. So when we see it ala Ortiz and Mags and Pudge and Ibanez and others we now have to question what we are seeing. May not be fair but the players (and the owners) brought it upon themselves. There’s plenty of us that are looking at Mags swing, his lack of quickness and power and wondering hmmmm. It’s sad really.

I think you let Pujols bat in the first inning, and if he hurts you, it’s only at most 2-0 — then you pitch around him for the rest of the game. But Verlander has been dominant, and you have to let a dominant pitcher dominate. With Galarraga or Willis on the mound? A no-brainer.
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What made me angry about it in retrospect was Pujols’ third AB. Verlander made him look silly — three straight strikes. Let your ace pitch.
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Anyway, the point is moot. We lost. Bad. The Cardinals really seem to have our number. Let’s hope EJ shuts them down tonight. He’ll probably have to pitch a shutout to win, though, the way this team is hitting. 5 IBBs to Pujols? It will probably happen, just to spite me.
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And on that point — I agree with Eric that Lloyd isn’t doing a good job. Being the hitting coach is about having a game plan against a particular starter. But the Tigers never have a game plan against particular starters — haven’t for a few years. They just go up there and flail away, usually at the first pitch, and hope it goes for a base hit. A good hitting coach? The Cardinals’ guy, obviously. They had a solid plan for how to hit Verlander. Take the ball the other way. How many of their hits were opposite field jobs? As for letting Lloyd go, maybe now is not the time, but it is an option. But I do agree that it’s not his fault that Ordonez isn’t hitting. Or Polanco. And if Polanco and Ordonez were hitting, the Tigers would have won a few more games and no one would be talking about firing Lloyd McClendon. Sooner or later, though, someone has to be held accountable.

I’ll add my 2 cents even though it’s only worth one in this economy. As much as we love JV, we knew it couldn’t go on every fifth day. Hopefully Edwin’s last start was his bad one for a while. I knew that Molina would burn JV with the bases loaded; I still have nightmares about him from the 06 Series. I agree that JV should have challenged Albert in the first inning.
I agree with the next walk. Robertson’s pitches look like mine did in high school, slow, non moving, and basically worthless; I do like the facial hair though. I’ve always liked Nate, but I see him as another Maroth story. Re the hitting, I don’t have any suspicions that Maggs was a juicer; his body style and profile just don’t give the indication of such. I think his is a split second loss in bat speed, and a continual worrying over the Hugo Chavez debacle. Things like that can weigh on a person’s mind. I would be inclined to go with a set lineup for a few days; forget righty/lefty matchups. It couldn’t be much worse. I would go with Thames in left field, and get some extra playing time for Rayburn. This would be more difficult at NL fields, but rotate him through for those getting days off. Actually, he’s had a pretty good swing for the last month.
Also, I think it’s time to put Grandy back up top. After all, it was always his bat that got every one else going. Oh well, as you can tell, I don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. Mr. Kaline, can you get us a run or two?
Greg

I have to believe that Lloyd provides all those things to the players, including a gameplan. It’s up to the players themselves to utilize the information. If they blow it off, that goes back to the manager. Regarding the Cardinals, I haven’t seen them enough to know if that was their normal way of hitting or if it was a plan devised just for Verlander. Whichever it was, it worked on this one night.
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I’m not even sure how you judge a hitting coach. On results alone? In that case, Santiago, Everett, and Inge have improved. Granderson, Polanco and Ordonez have regressed. Everyone else is where they’ve always been, and many of those are rookies or minor leaguers with widely varying skills. At any rate, if the three named veterans don’t hit, and we don’t have Guillen, and JL won’t play Thames, I don’t know where the offense comes from. The boss obviously is resistant to manufacturing it.
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–Rich

Well this team is infuriating at times. But someone said earlier that St. Louis always has our number?? Well this is just incorrect. In regular season games Tigers 8 – St. Louis 2 (after last night). The fact of the matter is, that our pitching staff has to be darn near perfect in order for this team to win. I just looked back on this month and looked at all the game and the hitting. This in how the Tigers offense went

6/2 Boston 9 Hits – 3BB – 1Run (lost)
6/3 Boston 3 Hits – 4BB – 5Runs(lost)
6/4 Boston 10 Hits- 1BB – 3 Runs(lost)
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6/5 LAA 6 Hits- 2BB -1Run(lost)
6/6 LAA 8 Hits- 4BB -2 Runs (won)
6/7 LAA 8 Hits- 9BB -9 Runs (won)
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6/8 CWS 10 Hits – 5BB -5 Runs (won)
6/8 CWS 2 Hits -1 BB – 1 Run (lost)
6/9 CWS 8 Hits – 8 BB – 7 Runs (won)
6/10 CWS 5 Hits – 3BB – 2 Runs (won)
6/11 CWS 7 Hits – 0BB – 3 Runs (lost)
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6/12 PIT 11 Hits – 4BB – 3 Runs (won)
6/13 PIT 7 Hits -2BB – 3 Runs (lost)
6/14 PIT 5 Hits – 5BB – 3 Runs (lost)
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6/15 STL – 8 Hits – 2BB-2 Runs (lost)
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Even in some of those wins there is a real lack of offense and if you look back it is because our pitcher only gave up 1 run. It is really concerning, this stretch of bad offense is not just a bad stretch it is a prolonged stretch. It is really concerning, some of these guys we are looking at 2 1/2 months of poor hitting. Like I said last night I said to my spouse after the first inning this game is over. Two solo shots is all the offense this team could muster. Last year, I said that there isn’t anything like Tigers pitching to get a struggling hitter or struggling team back in good form. This year, there isn’t anything like a Tigers hitters to get a struggling pitcher back on track. It is way too predictable.

Looking even further into the stats runners left on base in that period and how they did with runners in scoring position

101 LOB and the team was 24 for 129 with runners in scoring position. (yes I have time on my hands today)

By my rough figuring (and PAC 10 education) that means in the month of June they are hitting around .208 with an OB % of roughly .283. And .186 with runners in scoring position.

Just not gonna get it done.

Good afternoon, Tiger bloggers. Lots of bloggin going on since I looked here last night. A lot of understandable frustration being written. But hey, it’s summertime, it’s baseball time, we love our Tigers, it’s what we do. Let’s face it. The fact that these hitters have gone into a “June Swoon” isn’t that surprising. We’ve seen this before. I don’t believe there is a trade for one guy, say an Adam Dunn, that is going to revive this offense. Just too many holes in it for one guy to fix. I saw this posted at another site and at first I was against it, but I think it might have some merit. Would the Tigers consider unloading Cabrera for a boat load of talent? I mean lets face it, Miggy with a bunch of punch and judy hitters around him is pretty useless to us. I don’t want to give away Porcello or Perry because I don’t think you could get enough for them and I believe they are going to be stars very soon. But Miguel might provide us with a king’s ransom. Lord knows we need outfield help and probably a second basemen real soon. What’s everyone else think?

–Ed

Because of Miggy’s age and the fact that some of these bloated contracts will begin to go away, there’s no way I’d do that, Ed. Not now.
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There was a point in last night’s game that was a good example of how I differ with JL on strategy. We were down 5-0 when Santiago and Anderson led off the 5th with singles, bringing up Kelly. My thinking here is to bunt those guys up and try to get two runs, bringing us within 3-run homer range. I realize that’s laughable with the way we’ve been hitting with RISP, but you can’t manage with a certainty of failure. My way is to get a couple here and a few more later. Nobody’s going to hit you a 5-run homer. JL sits on his hands too much, just watching, and we get deeper and deeper into these long funks.
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–Rich

Ed,
Miguel is that once every 10 year talent like Pujol,A-Rod, et al.
I just don’t see trading him as you suggested. If you could get a Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Prospect situation, you might take the chance. I wouldn’t have the guts to do it. I still think quality pitching and defense takes you further anyway.
I admire the thought.
Greg

Wow, Greg. Howard, Utley, and a prospect? If I were DD I’d say “where do I sign?”

–Ed

Rich, I completely agree! I was yelling at the screen during Kelly’s AB. It’s one thing not to bunt there with a more experienced stick up there, but a bunt from Kelly might have been the best he could have done. JL seems to play the same way no matter who is up, or who is pitching — it can be infuriating (except when it works!).
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No way does Miguel Cabrera get traded, not for anything. Personally, I’d rather have Howard straight up, all things equal. But I’d prefer to have Cabrera to Utley, because Utley is an older gentleman (he’ll be 31 this year). But no way would Philly ever trade such fan favorites.

This website is awesome, by the way:
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http://tinyurl.com/ngelxw
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It gives all of the contractual obligations the Tigers have on the books over the next few years. The eyesore there, of course, is the $47.5M they’re going to owe Willis, Robertson, Guillen and Bonderman in 2010. Jeez.
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Not listed there of course is Maggs’ vesting option. He’ll get $18M guaranteed in 2010 if he hits those levels this year — and he’s only 70 games/220 plate appearances from doing so. A smarter, possibly classier way to avoid the contract from vesting than simply cutting him would be to platoon him the rest of the way. He’d still start 40-50 games, and could be used as a pinch hitter here and there. It’s almost win-win, because giving more PT to Anderson/Kelly/Thames might actually be a net-plus at this point. With Maggs’ numbers/defense as bad as they are, the players union wouldn’t have a case if they filed a grievance. And if we make the playoffs, he’d be able to play more often — those games wouldn’t count toward the option. I wouldn’t care about the contract if he was actually producing right now, because I like Maggs a lot. But with all those other bad contracts, the Tigers are in serious trouble if this option vests.
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It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but that’s what I would do.

$129M in salaries? Wow. As a finance guy I’m always fascinated as to how these teams can make any dough. Figure that the Tigers might be able to draw 1.9M fans through the turnstiles this year @$25 a head on average. That’s a shade under $50M in revenue fromt he gate. That means, just to pay the salaries alone, the team has to come up with another $75M. I suppose they get the revenue sharing from away games and TV and all that but my guess is that the total nut for the team is somewhere in the $200M range. That means the non-gate revenue has to be $150M JUST TO BREAK EVEN. No wonder the beer is $8 a pop.

Something has to give from all this. Salary compression is happening in the NBA and baseball will surely fall in line. Miggy was lucky to get the dough he got. No way they make that deal today.

No way would I trade Cabrera he is a star for the next ten years plus. He will have slumps, but can make a pitcher pay at anytime if they make a mistake. He does need some work on defense and he needs to learn how far to range off the bag. Sometime he needs to get to the bag and let the second baseman handle the ball. It seems after some stellar defensive plays he has made recently has him straying even farther off the bag. Perry and Portcello should be untouchable.

I thought Maggs contract was $15m for 2010 with an extra $3m if he makes 135 starts/540 plate appearances in 2009. Regardless of 2009 results, the club would still retain a $3m buyout option.
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I like Miggs a lot with his easy going attitude great when he is in the groove and plain annoying in his present rut. I hope his leg injury has been inconveniencing him more than the club had let on and he is soon back to normal having hit only .2 (.118 with RISP!!!) and 5 RBI’s for June.
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Miggs is not alone in having a big drop off in RISP for June with Maggs .133 RISP for June / .305 season; Miggs .118 / .323); Polly .167 / .265; Raburn 0 from 9 AB’s / .222 and Everett .2 / .273. You may laugh seeing Adams name there but he is 4th highest in RBI’s. Santiago, Inge and Curtis have maintained production with Inge .286 / .297 season; Ramon .33 all year and Curtis .273 / .264. It would be nice for JL to give Marcus enough at bats to see how he is hitting.
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Curtis is hitting .2 leading off this season and .163 for the first innings. When Ramon is playing, I would like to see him given a shot hitting .33 leading off with a .4 OBP.
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IMO Miggs will never be a complete ballplayer being slow on the bases and not athletic enough to ever be a great first baseman. $20m is league leader salary status and would get you two above average players who have all the skill sets. Unless two good players can be acquired in the trade, ie .3 / 80+RBI with speed and defense skills, I would not trade Miggs as he is only 26 and on the books till 2015. Maggs and Polly gives $20m flexibility for 2010.

I hope we can keep Polly as a mentor for the future 2b. His defense is still way above average, and I see him as manager talent. Would love for hm to stay in the Tiger organization. We got our money’s worth for his contract. Most lopsided plus trade for DD.
Greg

JL shook up the lineup. Good for him. Let’s hope it works.
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–Rich

I like the idea of Thames in the cleanup spot but I’ve always been a supporter of his. Makes sense to me considering he is a pure power hitter and always seems to hit the ball hard. I think Grandy makes the most sense leading off and will come around sooner than later.

Calling for a big win tonight.

Can someone confirm that Leyland is in St. Louis tonight? There is no way he came up with that lineup… the best hitter on the team batting 3rd? That’s not his style.

Geez this is painful to listen to. Cannot imagine watching it. Offense is all Curtis tonight. Solo homers. Rally killers according to Earl Weaver.

Nice walk Joel. Now you get to face Pujols. Come on rock star.

Nice base hit. Now what should we do. Gotta pitch to him.

Finally… we get a break. One more Zoom.

The obligatory bases loaded walk coming up?

That’s it. I’m out. Another f’ing bases loaded walk. Another one. I cannot believe this. You cannot walk three people in an inning and remain in the big leagues. You just can’t. It looked like the ump tightened the strike zone but all those pitches were high. Well high. Place the ball gently in my hands Joel

can anybody remember the last time zoom came into a game and didn’t give up any runs bs

Same story different day. Still can’t hit to save their lives. Or at least they don’t hit consistently in the right order. One guy is on one night, but the guys in front of him aren’t on base. (ie Granderson tonight) Thursday it will be someone different. Polanco will hit but Cabrera wont. It just goes on and on and on. Really painful to watch these games. Tomorrow night going to a concert and wont be tortured by watching the baseball game.

While I agree that I don’t think that Joel has been good enough lately. I will say that I kinda think that he got a little screwed today on that check swing call, and I thought there were a few pitches that should of been called strikes. But they were, he did and we lost again.

I used to have a good fastball and a better changeup and I’m starting to think I could get these guys out.
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Okay, that was cold. That’s four losses in a row so it’s about time to win a few now. I think JL had the right idea with the lineup as it’s more likely to score some runs than anything else he’s tried. With the exception of the man who used to be known as Magglio Ordonez. You’ve all heard the old saying “he couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield” and Maggs is about there. Well, he did get the sac fly in the 8th, which is more than anyone else has been able to do. And anyway, if you bench him, who replaces him?
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If only the deciding run didn’t score on a bases loaded walk. Rick Knapp, have they driven you crazy yet?
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And here we are still in first place. This is still way better than last year’s fiasco, but it will be a tough season to experience. The Tigers will very likely be in this race all year, and it’s going to be agonizing at times. Still beats the alternative.
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And GK, that was not a good pitcher tonight, Wellemeyer. No cap tipping. What concert are you going to see?
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–Rich

Thanks Rich, I am getting carpal tunnel from having to tip my cap so much.
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Regarding the concert it is just some local guy (don’t know the name some acoustic guitar player who covers songs) but we have a friend who just loves him and begged us to go several times and we haven’t. Nothing terribly exciting kinda like these games. (after this game I am just not strong enough to say no). The old me wouldn’t have wanted to miss a game, the frustrated me is going to the concert.
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Went to a retirement party tonight. Looks like the Tigers offense is retired too.
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Gruesome.
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Jackson deserved better and this game has illuminated my point. It isn’t enough that your top 3 ptichers pitch well if you can’t support them with enough runs.
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The lineup change was a good one and an attempt to do something by the manager (whom I do not supprt) to actually do something.
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The shakeup that is necessary is not going to be accomplished by an internal lineup change. It is going to have to be accomplished by another bold front office move akin to the acquiring of MCab One that has immediate impact but also one that conveys a futre as well. If it means losing an Ordonez, a Polanco, a Zumaya and/or a Galarraga–so be it.
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Porcello will stay-he is an untouchable. I’m not so sure about Perry. He needs a killer pitch and is young enough to develop one, but I think he may be a bit overrated by management.
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I don’t know if they realize this but this club, with a little adjustment, could steal the division. They absolutely will not with the current cast of characters.
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Gee whiz DD-get something for Ordonez before he is totally worthless in terms of compensation. (Con)vince some other gullible GM that all he needs is a change of scenery. And let’s forget about Guillen being hyped as a savior this year (or next). Likeable as he is, he is finished as a major contributor. Quit shining the fans on and get rid of the deadwood and go out and really improve this team. Illitch will fund this fiasco only so long.
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I think the world of Polanco but if he can’t hit the baseball anymore we have to find someone who can. He is simply a fantastic 2B, but his value will diminish as drastically as Ordonez’ has.
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I’m not a believer that a minor league callup will answer any prayers but Ramirez can more than provide what Maggs has given us this year—easily.

Dan while I am not coming on here promoting Magglio, I am just not sure that Ramirez is the answer. I was at the one game that Ramirez played in and he looked sick at the plate the other times that he didn’t have a homer. So I looked at their stats and compared them for the last ten games

Ramirez —————Ordonez
Hits – 9hits ——————10 hits
Runs – 5runs —————–5Runs
2b – 1(2b) —————–2(2b)
HR – 1 ——————– 0
RBI’s – 3 ———————3
BB – 3 ———————-3
SO – 13 ——————5
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Ramirez’s batting average against lefties is 365/ righties
235, and batting 200 in June
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Magglio hits lefties 310/259 against righties/ and is batting 250 in June.
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Really quite similar number same amount of extra base hits Magglio has one more double and no homers. But he strikes out a lot less. Wilkin swings and misses a lot but doesn’t make up for it in walks?? I don’t know, just wanted to point it out that I don’t think that Wilkin is the answer either.
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One other thing that I noticed about the game last night is that Wellemeyers era is almost double against lefties than against righties, so while I was not disappointed necessarily in the lineup I wonder why there wasn’t at least one more left handed bat in there. We are really missing Carlos.

The first nine games for Joel made us think he was back. We cannot forget that he missed most of two years and his still getting his pitching form back. Consist control and placement is the hardest thing to get back. He has a top flight arm and will get back to form.
Mark

I do see your point re Ordonez/Ramirez. My point is that Ordonez is actually expendable if he isn’t gonna hit with production. At least Ramirez can run.
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To expect Wilkin to come up and answer any problems is naive but it is a sad state of affairs that many Tiger fans are now getting as excited about roster moves rather than the product being delivered by the current cast of characters.
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If we could get a solid (and I mean rock solid) young pitcher for Ordonez I’d do it. I know in theory we need the hitting but if it means using Clete, Marcus, Wilkin and Raburn more so be it. They all have shown they can out-power Magglio.
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All that being said, and not being an Ordonez fan, I do think he is a gifted hitter, and to wait for him to “come around”, while frustrating, is not an unwise strategy. Logic says this guy will start to hit like he used to. I’m just saying that if some club thought they could use his skillset and are willing to absorb that salary—go for it.
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I also think it is time for Marcus to show that he can play regularly. Much has been said about the lack of opportunities that have been given to him. Well I think Marcus just has to take the bull by the horns and play so damn well that it is impossible to sit him. He will have to make his own opportunities.
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The shakeup is coming—-I can feel the ground trembling.

Couldnt agree with you more Dan. Very well said. Expecting a lot of storms over Friday and Saturday around here. Hopefully they can get these games in so we can watch the Tigers get killed by a great hitting team in the Brewers. We have seen what happened over the last 6 days with light hitting teams like the Cards and the Pirates. Am I optimistic or what????

Like they say in Real Estate everything is about location, location, location. Same could be said for pitching, too. Zoom has the stuff but still needs work on location. It killed me when he walked that guy in. I feel so bad for Magglio right now and wonder if he’ll ever get his mojo back. Marcus has great power but goes through so many hot and cold streaks you never know what your gonna get. He was cold last night.

Why does anyone think the Tigers could get anything for Ordonez or Robertson? They couldn’t get anything for Sheffield when he was coming off a 19-HR season and a good finish. The only way the Tigers get rid of these guys via trade is if they take on a similar player in return, in one of those “change of scenery” type deals. Honestly, if you were another team, would you give up anything at all for Robertson, especially with his salary guaranteed for next year??? And what team needs an aging outfielder who has lost his power, has no speed and also has salary considerations?
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I really don’t see who the Tigers have that has any trade value. Galarrage had one good year (and a terrible September) and a good April, sandwiched between lackluster performances – I don’t see us getting anything for him. Willis is worthless. Bonderman is worthless. Zumaya, Rodney, Perry – these are the guys that have trade value. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Zumaya and Ramirez packaged in a deal for a guy like Aubrey Huff or Luke Scott or maybe Brad Hawpe and a fringe reliever. Teams know that the Tigers are desperate for a bat, and they know that Illitch said he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep this club in first place.

I think Drummer has a valid point. The only way we’d get value for Ordonez is if he started hitting, and if he started hitting, we might not want to trade him. And I still think any deals like that would be close to the deadline, not now.
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I’ve pointed out that Maggs has been in this funk since the first day of spring training. That was February 25th so we’re talking four months now. This is way beyond a slump. This contract DD signed him to could become a very big legal wrangle for a number of reasons. It’s just not normal for a talented hitter to suddenly collapse like this. There’s more here than meets the eye.
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I’d be willing to trade Zumaya if he was older, but at 24, he still has a possible upside.
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We don’t have much to offer in the way of personnel. What we do have to offer is the willingness to take on another team’s contract for a particular player. That’s where Mr. Ilitch comes in.
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Or you just stand pat and grind through this strange Central Division race and see what shakes out.
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–Rich

Rich:

I think you are right. Given what we have and the scene in the AL Central I guess I am of a mind to simply grind this thing out and see what we have at the break. By that time there should be some “rent-a-players” available for us. This will not be pretty and we may have to suffer a bit but I just don’t see many options here. The AL Central will be tough sledding all year long so, I say we stand pat for now.

Unless we were willing to pay a significant portion of Ordonez’s salary, both this year and next (assuming contract vests), no one — not even the Yankees — would have any interest in Ordonez even if he started performing well. We’re stuck with him. Might as well hope for the best.
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No way will Zumaya get traded, unless he’s part of a package for a top-tier hitter or starter who is signed for a few years (i.e. not a rent-a-player, like Huff). Zumaya isn’t eligible to be a free agent until after the 2011 season, and his salary is only $750,000. At most it’ll go up to $1.25M next year after arbitration. That’s incredibly cheap for a quality eighth inning set-up guy who has the very real potential to be next year’s closer. Also, he’s one of the only locks for the bullpen next year, because Lyon and Rodney are free agents at the end of the season.
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If you look at next year’s bullpen with Joel as closer, with Seay and Perry also at the back end, that’s the backbone of an incredibly cheap bullpen (less than $3M for those guys, although, with Nate’s contract on the books at $10M next year, the bullpen is actually not so cheap). Without Joel, you have to spend big bucks to get both an eighth inning and a ninth inning guy. So he’s worth a lot.
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Perry obviously has value, but again, he’s dirt cheap now and could be our closer in a few years (maybe even next year). He’s the kind of guy you trade for, not trade away, unless you’re really getting a piece that will put you over the top. Porcello, of course, isn’t going anywhere. And best case scenario for 2008 is Ramirez in LF, so if you trade Ramirez, you’d probably want to do so for an OF (which is why the Ramirez for Hawpe idea would work, or Ramirez for Dunn).
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The only other guy that I think has serious value at the deadline is Polanco — as a cheap rent-a-player who can play 2B and 3B, he’d be of interest to a few teams. But if we trade Polanco, that pretty much means we’re conceding the division, so let’s hope he stays put!
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Anyway, I don’t see any deals getting done much before the deadline, and that’s fine — we’d have to give up too much to get anyone huge now anyhow. Hopefully we’ll still be in the hunt a month from now, and DD will make something happen. But after 2006, just getting to the playoffs can’t be the goal — we need to win it all. And without a healthy Guillen and Bonderman and a little bit of luck, this just isn’t a World Championship team, even if Ordonez and Polanco start hitting. We need at least another reliable starter and a reliable lefty power bat to get past Boston or the Yanks. Those teams are scary.

So the moves begin. Willis back on the DL with anxiey disorder again. I don’t look for him to return this year.
Figaro gets the start Sat. he did really well during SP. I wish he were a lefty, but the records indicate he throws strikes.
This is just the beginning I’m afraid. let’s hope for a W tonight. Twinkies already on the board with a win. The only good thing about this series is that the announcers are not obnoxious; not very good, but at least not Harrelson.
Greg

Anxiety Disorder… what a joke.. lets see what webmd has for symptoms.. i bet that inability to throw a strike is not one of them.
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Why can’t we just cut him?

This man just refuses to use Miner as a starter, doesn’t he? Zach is someone we can get value for, since no other manager would be dumb enough to keep him in the pen. This just isn’t right.
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–Rich

Just stick Figaroa in there on the Fox game of the week and say go get ‘em, kid. That should work reeeeal well.
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–Rich

Wow! Maggs benched indefinitely. The dam has officially burst.

Greg

Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. Rich, you are right. Game of the Week and we’re throwing a AA guy at them. Makes zero sense to me. Miner has been there done that. We should simply hand the ball to him and keep him out there until he comes undone after a few starts. Throwing Figaroa out there … Well I just don’t get it.

As for the SAD thing, my goodness. I think they just had to come up with something to tell the league so they could get an arm up there.

Mags is starting to look like this years Sheffield (Oh he’ll come out of it).

AA is usually where your best potential is at for pitchers. I have been waiting to see what Figaroa could do at this level after the Spring he had. Minor may still end up starting if he is not ready or he may switch spots with Mondo. Zack has not been getting the double play ball out of the pen like he did last year.
Mark

Figaro was who I figured they would bring up. They are somewhat predictable.
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I think out of courtesty they should have given Miner the start. Though I would not be terribly surprised if he didn’t get the start tomorrow as they shakeup things even further by throwing a scare into GMan too.
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That being said, I do feel that Miner is not one of the boys JL ‘likes a lot”. He seemed to have problems with Lopez last year and does tend to have guys on the roster he doesn’t go to much. Infante comes to mind.
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I remember Zach being sent down a couple of years ago and he made the mistake of not being gracious or diplomatic in his response. Kinda cooked his goose right then and there. JL has a stubborn streak and a memory like an elephant. Best not to get into his “bad book’. Nate is next.

I’m going to keep my own counsel on this Magglio business. It appears there are things going on that we know nothing about.
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–Rich

This thread is getting really long. I know Jason deserves days off, but I wish there was a way???
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Anyway, I do think that it is very strange that Miner is getting the start. The only reason I can think of that he wouldn’t is that maybe they don’t feel like he is stretched out enough???? He hasn’t pitched more than an inning or two in a long time.
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I don’t know where but would like to know where you all get your information about who Leyland likes and doesn’t like? Why wouldn’t Leyland like Miner he has always done whatever he has been asked. I actually am one to think that Miner is a better starter than reliever but what do I know.But seriously how do all of you guys find this out this information about who he likes and doesn’t like. From what I little I understand of the baseball world is a lot of the time you have to play the guys you are paying the money to?? .
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I am not holding a lot of hope out for tonight. This is actually the pitcher they are throwing at us that is kinda good.
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On another note I was watching the last few inning of the Cubs/White Soxs game and it was funny the Cubs announcers were saying the exact same thing about their hitters that we have all been saying about ours. Pitching has been good the hitting has been inconsistent or nonexistent. Found it slightly amusing.

i wonder if the benching is to try to keep his at bats down.. they would never say that was the reason..
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What annoys me about it though is they didn’t try anything else.. he’s hit third or fifth all season and all of a sudden benched indefinitely?? They should have tried moving him down in the lineup weeks ago or something else.. to go from batting in the heart of your lineup everyday to out of the lineup.. just weird.

With JL, you only have his actions because he doesn’t say a whole lot and when he does you sort of have to see in between the words. But you can definitely tell by who he is using and in what situations, who is in the dog house and who is not. I only hope he is communicating the reasons for a players trip to the dog house to the player. If that communication isn’t happening the seeds of dissent start to get sown and you get a poisoned clubhouse. If you don’t like me because I strike out too often then straight up tell me and indicate that I will not be playing until I get that under control. Do not leave me to guess. Cardinal rule of coaching: Straight, honest, direct communication. Good or bad.

By the way, anybody notice that Sheffield is hitting .276 with 8 homers and 25 rbi’s? Has to gall DD every two weeks when he has to sign that check.

Bottom of 3rd now and this is big inning for Rick and the Tigers. Cards gots a little life blown into their lungs last inning and a shut-down follow-up inning is important.

Sure would be nice to see the offense do something again this game. I was hoping the 4 run 1st was harbinger of things to come

Just hard to figure. We have had 1 inning of decent offense and then 13 in a row and none of them really well hit balls.

It’s like the tigers got 4 and said, that’s more offense than we usually get in a game so lets shut it down the rest of the way.
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I can feel the game slowly slipping away…
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Not looking forward to seeing our bullpen try to hold a 1 run lead for 9+ outs.

It’s not lookin’ good. Can’t get any hits and we have to rely on the bullpen all too soon.

Didn’t see your post chad–didn’t mean to parrot your thoughts! But I know what your feeling!

Ummhhh. JL gets to play managerial expert again with the double switch.
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Porcello did well, didn’t get the support he should have, both in the field and at the bats, but he has to cut down on base hits allowed. He gives up too many hits. I know he will get better and am not complaining, but the recipe for success for him does not include a hit an inning.
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Here’s the bullpen Chad.

stupid, stupid, stupid….
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there goes jim leyland acting like his .220 guys are .320 guys.. what in the hell could possess you not to bunt laird..
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absolutely rediculous..
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looks like our best hope (seay) will not get to stay in this game.. dissapointing.

oh, i didn’t realize the double switch. Now let’s just hope seay doesn’t make me look foolish for saying he was our best hope in the 8th..

Seay did a very nice job. The big one of course was getting Bad Albert.
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Pinero shut us down, sure would be nice to get a couple here since it looks like Lyon and Rodney.

Pujols will bat again.

whooo that was a huge homer by polanco…
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I couldn’t figure out why Mario was saying after pujols made an out that it was the last time they’d have to deal with him tonight…
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That’s the whole reason larussa pinch hit him to lead off the 7th so he’d get 2 abs. Otherwise he would have waited til they had a runner on or in scoring position.

MCab has to feel like there is a conspiracy out there tonight. He’s had 2 almost identical hits taken away from him. If his hammy is OK he beats them both out.

that might have been an upper deck shot if not for hitting the pole..
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finally some clutch hits..

loaded the bases. Now give a gs

why is jim always so surprised when rodney pitches like this?.. if you’re gonna make him your closer and use him as such.. if it were me, i’d having someone warming up the second i put him in.. 1 or 2 walks and you’re done.. You can’t wait til you’re bases loaded, 3 walks in to get someone warmed up.. you can’t wait til the save is blown to try to save the game.

It’s false bravado. A couple of more outings like this and JL will learn.

that was only Lyon’s second hold? is that even possible?
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Who would have thought that near the end of june, Porcello would lead this team in wins with 8????

I think we’re getting closer and closer to the time JL will just have to switch the roles of Lyon and Rodney. Maybe it’s the furthest thing from his mind. I don’t know. But I think I would. Brandon has the necessary control of a closer. He’s more composed. Plus I think I saw that he hit 95 mph last night.
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Two wild pitches in a save situation is just nuts.

A 5-6 road trip. Dodged a bullet, could have been worse. Polanco is starting to hit some.
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Perfect example tonight of why you play Thames all the time. He does nothing for awhile, then hits one out for a huge add on run. JL, do you understand this YET? It’s only been four years.
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Rodney is Rodney, and this is what you’ll get forever. If Pujols and Ankiel hadn’t swung their bats, he probably would have walked everybody. He seems to me to be the guy we could get some value for, since he’s a perfect 13 for 13 in saves and other GMs will think he’s more than he is. GMs do that (Edgar Renteria) more than we’d think. Brandon Lyon has become the best pitcher in the pen and maybe he always was. Strangely enough, at the mention of his name the fans howl like a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. I just have a thing against walking people, always have. I liked Todd Jones too.
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I guess JL will drive me nuts until one of us is in our graves. He’s still not doing enough to push the offense, and I’m dead set against bringing the kid up to pitch on Saturday. I compliment him when I can, but that’s not very often.
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How about Rodney AND Miner in a deal? Think that would get us anything worthwhile?
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–Rich

The Nationals take 2 of 3 in Yankee Stadium. The following is excerpted from the game story:
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“Stammen’s performance wrapped up a homestand where the Yankees struggled mightily against pitchers they have never seen. The Mets’ Fernando Nieve and Washington’s trio of Shairon Martis, John Lannan and Stammen held New York to a combined 1.64 ERA (27 1/3 innings, five earned runs).”
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This has been one of the Tigers’ big problems this season so far, pitchers they haven’t seen before. It happens to all teams and, along with GK’s comment about what the Cubs announcers said about their team, demonstrates that it’s just not our guys who struggle. We forget that.
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–Rich

I understand the comments about bringing Figaro up to pitch a Saturday afternoon Fox game, but remember two things: The game will not be shown to much of the country – it’s not like a Sunday Night Baseball game where everyone gets the same game – I live in Tampa and will be getting the Rays game (and unable to watch on MLB.TV :-( ) Second, remember when Maybin was called up and homered off Clemens in a Saturday Fox game in what must have been his first or second game in the bigs.
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I tend to agree with the comment that Ordonez is being benched as much to limit his plate appearances so the option doesn’t vest as anything else. Note how Leyland said some defensive things about thinking it was fair for him to bench Maggs if Maggs himself is puzzled. This also might sound weird, but does anyone know if Maggs is getting enough rest? The whole family issue may be keeping him from resting well, and that is just my zany idea for something that might be wrong with him. That, or he needs Lasik surgery because he is picking up the ball a hair late. Have they gotten his eyes checked? I’m serious…usually you hear about things like that if they do…

I had not heard until this morning about the call up for Saturday, so was disappointed to see Zach getting the hurry up call in the 9th, realized then he wouldn’t be pitching on Saturday. I think he deserves the shot at it again, I still like him. My hope for Saturday is that the troubles we have hitting callups in their debuts, we can do to the Brewers, but from what I hear they are a great hitting team and just don’t see that happening.

Great to see some power sneak into the line up, didn’t expect that from Polly but was glad to see it. And rodney, 3 walks in the 9th inning – yikes! And have to give credit to Lyon, I still am not sold on him, but he did his job.

My best friend lives in Milwaukee and is a huge Brewers fan – I would love nothing better than to sweep her beloved team. Ok, I’ll just take 2 out of 3.

Lyon was hanging a lot of curve balls early on in the season and was bad in spring training. When you pitch in relief and give up a lot of early season homer, the fans will be slow to trust him. He has done well in his last ten and the curve is a good out pitch for him. Lyon is the most consistant 8th inning pitcher right now. Rodney does not do it pretty, but he has been mostly effective this year and deserve to be the closer.
Mark

I don’t think we win that game last night if the St. Louis 3B (Thurston) comes up with Cabrera’s grounder in the 1st inning. Thurston was looking home to get Granderson and I think he was ready to throw it before he caught it. Anyway, got lucky there — but we were due for a little luck.
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Doesn’t it seem like the Tigers only hit solo homers now?
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A fun stat I just read on Yahoo: “Magglio Ordonez, benched by Tigers manager Jim Leyland Thursday, is a .409 career hitter (9 for 22) against Pineiro.” So, odd timing. But yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if DD was also involved with Maggs being benched. And it’s probably the right call. We do need to find ways to get him going, because that can only help the team this year, but we also need to find ways to thwart the option, because that would help the team next year.
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The option vests if he starts 67 more games this year or gets 215 more plate appearances. If you assume 4.25 PAs per game (current rate), he’d need to play only 51 more games for the option to vest. There are 97 games left this season, which means, basically, that he needs 46 days off the rest of the way. And it makes a lot of sense to bench him now. For one thing, he needs to clear his head. Plus, the more you bench him now, the more you can play him down the stretch without worrying about the option vesting. And if there’s no threat that his option will vest, he’s much more of a tradeable commodity. He is making $19.2M this year, and there’s a $3M buyout for next season, so that would mean about $13M would still be left at the deadline, but we could eat a lot of that salary if the trade was right.
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Anyway, given all that, I am in favor of benching him for a significant period of time (rest of June?) to see where we are, where he is, and where the trade market is. Or maybe just play him against lefties for the next few weeks. In general, I think he just needs to focus on pulling the ball. But I’m no Lloyd McClendon, so what do I know?
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Big game tonight. Against a righty, I think Kelly and Anderson get starts in the OF and Thames at DH. I’d like to see a lineup of Granderson, Polanco, Cabrera, Thames, Kelly, Inge, Laird, Anderson, Santiago (unless it’s Sardinha’s turn, in which case, we’re screwed).

Hey Jason, a little compassion for your Bloggers! Can you give a new thread?
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JL seems content with Sardinha. He is dependable defensively and JL seems to think he will be picked up offensively by his mates. Of course, I disagree. He really is an easy out. A K or an easy DP at critical times. I believe it also sends a subliminal message to the pitcher of the day that an ordinarily unproductive offense will now become even more unproductive and puts undue stress on the pitchers’ assignment. I would rather see a bat in the lineup on those days they need to rest Laird. It might light a fire under a Gerald too–Sardinha is not putting any pressure on Laird in terms of ” I better start hitting or xxxx will get my spot tomorrow”. Dusty Ryan can give you some pop and the guy gets on base by taking a fair share of walks too. The downside is his defense.
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Alex Avila hits from the left side. And he does hit. He also throws out base stealers at a 45% clip. I admit, it’s a long way from AA to The Show.
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I’m not sure what’s going on with Ordonez but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see him placed on the DL. After all, the precedent has been set for anxiety related issues. I expect MLB will be acting on that strategy soon. Proably sooner than they will on the shattered bats problem! That of course will not be addressed until a pitcher or corner infielder gets impaled.

Avila has good potential especially as a left handed hitting catcher, but he is not ready for the big leagues from a defensive catching standpoint. The only way I would bring Ryan up is if Laird continues to struggle at the plate and you split the duties. You cannot have Ryan on the team and play him once a week. He would have to play regularly to continue to develop and judge his progress. Hopefully, Gerald will start hitting again.
Mark

If Jason is back covering this series, we’ll probably see some posts later today when he gets to the ballpark. Then it will just be a matter of which of us will be the unlucky one to have a post buried at the end of this thread and no one reads it. :-)
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I like Dane myself. He calls a good game, and so does Laird. Good pitching requires good signal callers. I’d like to see Pineapple catch Galarraga tonight.
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It may be time to make some bullpen changes. While I maintain that your biggest outs come in the 7th and 8th innings, once a guy is proclaimed the closer there’s never anyone ready behind him. That’s a problem for Rodney. I don’t know why you can’t have someone ready, but none of these managers do it. So………I’d be sending Lyon in there to finish games when he hasn’t already been used. You don’t have to make a big announcement, no “here ye here ye” nonsense, just slip him in there at some point and let the press ask all the questions about closers. It’s harder to get four hits than it is to get three walks and a hit.
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–Rich

See, I was the unlucky one. :-)
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–Rich

No Rich, call for the right hander. I’ll trot in and “close” this entry.

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