Leyland, Grilli revisited

Just when you thought the drama between Jim Leyland and Jason Grilli had long since passed, along came a 92 mph fastball from Jason Grilli that went behind Tigers batter Clete Thomas, head-high. It came in the fifth inning, with the Rangers on their way to a 7-3 win.

By the time the night was over, it was the catalyst for the inside pitches that left both dugouts with a warning from home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher.

The pitch in question came just after Thomas hit a long foul ball down the right-field line. But would Grilli, a Detroit teammate of Thomas to open the 2008 season, throw at him?

“When you don’t throw any wild pitches the rest of the time you’re out there, and one goes behind his head after a loud foul, it just looks suspicious,” Leyland said. “I’m not saying he did or he didn’t, but it did look suspicious. We were trying to send a message back.”

Leyland later described Grilli’s pitch as “careless.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t know what to think, whether he did or didn’t do it on purpose. That’s part of the game. Just go on about your business.”

You might remember the exchange of words between Leyland and Grilli last year. The Tigers traded Grilli to Colorado early in the year, and Grilli later was quoted in a Bob Nightengale article detailing the chemistry issues surrounding the ’08 Tigers.

Grilli has worked hard to put that behind him, and he didn’t indicate any hard feelings.

“I had great experiences over there,” he said. “I’ve been with the Tigers more than with any team in my career. It’s bragging rights, playing against your friends.”

The Tigers’ message pitch came an inning and a half after Grilli’s inside pitch, and immediately after Andrus homered to make it a 7-3 game. Zach Miner threw his next pitch behind Ian Kinsler.

“We weren’t trying to throw the ball behind Kinsler,” Leyland said. “We were trying to throw the ball down and in on him to get him to move his feet, just to send a message back. No question about it. And I’d do it again, because I felt Grilli’s was a real careless pitch. I think careless is a pretty good description of it.”

Once Eddie Guardado’s first pitch of the next inning went inside to Adam Everett, his teammate on the Twins last year, the dugouts were warned and several players were cxchanging words.

“I just don’t think there was anything to it,” Everett said. “To get it tight is one thing. To try to hit somebody is another.”

Leyland was seen talking intently with Fletcher and crew chief Tim McClelland after the inning ended.

“I just wanted to explain to them that we felt Grilli threw a purpose pitch after Thomas hit a loud foul,” Leyland said. “And the purpose pitch was at his head.”

The one player hit by a ball was Ramon Santiago, and it was a fourth-inning foul tip that knocked him out of the game with a bruised right shin. He’s day-to-day.

15 Comments

I missed most the game, so missed the attempted bean balls.

Looks like it was a sloppy defensive game again, too many errors lately. Don’t know how we keep getting helped out with the teams below us in the standings, Twins win 2 to keep the Sox still 2 behind. Now the Twins and Sox are 2 behind us – need to win tonight and take a day to get their heads on right and whoop on the Indians. the kind of ball they are playing, we should be expected to at least win the series, time to beat up on someone – can you boys get excited and start having some fun? Haven’t seen them having fun much this week.

If grilli was trying to throw at clete then he has better control then he ever had as a tiger!

Perhaps as fans we have an obligation not to get caught up in the diversions of Jim Leyland micro-dramas. The pressure to bear should be on DD’s shoulders to fix the glaring inadequacies of this team (which he helped to create).
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Get off your duff and make a couple of trades. We have talked of a power LHB and that would be good but we also could go after a swith hiting or LHB or RHB corner outfielder who can field and lead off, permiting Granderson to be inserted as a middle of the lineup RBI man. He can’t lead-off forever and shouldn’t.
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Washburn would be OK but he is 35.
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Halladay would bring credibility and mentorship to the the rotation and team–big salary too.
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Larish, Clevlen, Iorg, Worth are all expendable IMO. I’d hang on to Dlugach and Ramirez and Avila.

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JL seems to have people (including media) trained here in Detroit. It’s time to get a real Detroiter running the show here.

I see over on the main site that Leyland is talking about baserunning. Hey, I’m not asking the man to turn us into the Angels, I’m just asking for a bunt in a bunting situation. That’s not small or smart or any kind of baseball, it’s just correct baseball. Let’s play the game correctly. JL has talked about diversionary tactics in the past and he’s engaging in it himself.
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Trammell could manage this club, now that Pudge and D-Young are gone. They drove him out. At this point, I’ll settle for someone who knows how to operate a PC.
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–Rich

Shortstop Jack Wilson was acquired by the Tigers today………sorry, that’s an old joke. He went to Seattle.
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Down to what, 48 hours now? The speculation is nearly over. Of all the rumored players, I guess Dunn would help us the most, but it seems kind of strange to trade for a guy they could have signed as a FA five months ago. He’d have to DH and the talk is that we have too many already, but I’m not so sure of that. I think Guillen’s ability to play is totally up in the air, Ordonez isn’t really DHing and could be gone anyway, and Thames can actually play the outfield. I also think Washington’s management is kind of clueless and will probably ask too much and end up not moving anybody.
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Just my thoughts on that. I’m not necessarily advocating a “Dunn deal.”
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–Rich

I see where several trades have been made today. Just what do you think is the problem with the Tiger’s trying to trade? DD is too conservative or clueless? Nobody wants what the Tigers have to offer? Other teams are asking for too much because they know the Tigers have become desperate? Bad contracts? I thought something might happen when they came out and said they were searching the market the other day.

One piece of good news, I think, is that the Tigers won’t have to face Lee in Cleveland this weekend. The problem may turn out to be an unknown pitcher that they can’t hit. LOL. What am I saying? They haven’t been hitting any pitchers. Duh.

I think it’s a combination of all of the above, other than the clueless part. I don’t think Dave is clueless. When clubs start asking for Casey Crosby or Cody Satterwight, it becomes tricky. It’s not that they couldn’t be traded but more that the return is not good enough. Over the winter is a time to deal more from a position of strength, whereas the trade deadline is a desperate crapshoot. Over the winter is when you may get a much better return for your highly touted prospects. The Tigers’ stated goal is to contend every season.
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There are no right or wrong answers to this stuff. Trades aren’t easy to make.
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–Rich

Problem with trades now is there seems to be more buyers than sellers, so that means you spend more than what you get. I would trade for Washburn, but not more than one older minor leaguer, ie Larish, Cleven, Frazier type, or a middle of the road prospect not in the plans. Then if you do not resign him, your not regretting the move. Luke Scott is another player that could help and Baltimore could use Larish at 1st. I do not feel Dunn would be a fit with all of the DH types we already have in the outfield and it does not appear that the Nats will trade him as he is one of their few drawing card.

Iorg has stuggled at the plate this year, but I like his shortstop play and I think is upside is greater than Dlugach. He played A ball last year after a two year layoff and a lot of players struggle to hit in their first year of AA ball.

There’s that too, Mark, good point. It appears that this year’s deadline is an extension of last winter’s market, when teams were hesitant to sign big free agents. I think the economy, combined with the end of the steroid era, has thrown a scare into GMs.
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Speaking of general managers in general (how you like that one?), they are famously close-mouthed about trade negotiations that didn’t go through, and rightfully so. I think we may be shocked at what other clubs are asking for.
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–Rich

I don’t think Dave is clueless, either. But the likelihood of something happening grows smaller as the hours tick by. It’s very nervewracking for us as well as the players, I’m sure. I sure hope we get some kind of help.

I also don’t see them firing Leland, either, not unless we just continue to lose.

I think somebody used the word “clueless” to refer to Leyland, not DD. I just thought I would throw it out there to see what you thought. Also, do any of you think Cleveland has gone too far with their trading? Garko, Lee, Francisco, Gutierrez, Sabathia, and now maybe Martinez. It’s going to be hard to replace all those guys. The Indians may be a bottom dweller for several years. I don’t advocate the Tigers do anything like that but it would sure seem reasonable to make some movement.

The tiggers have plenty now to actuallly win games. Leyland is still partial to Earl Weaver baseball as opposed to the NL ball he came from. We don’t have a super slugger team but we have the right pieces to win now. Fix the batting order first and formost. Granderson needs to bat third, lead off Polonco, 4&5 Cabrera & Thames. Our heart of the lineup should be more intimidating. Until JL quits tinkering with the lineup and stews away from his boyfriend Rayburn, the Tigers we all love will continue to struggle at the plate.

—Gabe—

I think part of the problem is they don’t really know how the team is still above 500 and in the lead (by default). Difficult to fix when you don’t know the problem. Reports have gone out that we are after every position other than a DH. Either the reports are true or we have put out such a good smoke screen that the other managers are confused.
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Lets face it, we would be last if it wasn’t for 2 gun pitchers, Cabbs at home during April/May, the odd HR and amazing catch from Curtis, Inge up till July and Rodneys ongoing high wire trapeze act.
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I thought it was quite simple – we need a corner outfielder who can run, has good defense and can hit over 280/350 and over 300 for RISP.
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Our defense has also gone seriously backwards the past month with 22 errors (57 season total) and a .975 FPCT, only ahead of the Nationals .974. The season figure of .284 is heading south fast and we are well on track to have a worse defensive record than the .281 for 2008.

I forgot to mention the bullpen in my last post – they never get any kudos other than the closer. IMO, our bullpen is one of the best now that the high $$ lame starters are not amonst them.
Just don’t mention Rodney who would be the best setup guy you could have.

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