Avila starts Thursday, Friday

Manager Jim Leyland said Thursday morning that his plan with Alex Avila to use him catching Rick Porcello and Armando Galarraga for now. That means Avila will catch Friday night as well as his start today.

Magglio Ordonez also gets another start in right field. One gets the feeling that as long as Ordonez is showing signs of hitting — he’s 4-for-8 over his last two games, and batting .324 (11-for-34) in his last nine games — he’s probably going to be in the lineup until he cools off, whatever the financial implications. That said, keep in mind that Ordonez is a ways away from his contract option vesting, so the fact that he’s playing now doesn’t mean he’ll be playing a lot later if he isn’t hitting well.

TIGERS

  1. Curtis Granderson, CF
  2. Placido Polanco, 2B
  3. Clete Thomas, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Carlos Guillen, DH
  6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS

P: Rick Porcello

ORIOLES

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Nolan Reimold, LF
  3. Nick Markakis, RF
  4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
  5. Ty Wigginton, 3B
  6. Luke Scott, DH
  7. Matt Wieters, C
  8. Felix Pie, CF
  9. Robert Andino, SS

P: David Hernandez

18 Comments

Porcello is sure getting them to hit them where he wants them.
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Exciting stuff for the Avilas. If he could hit up here it would be a real lift as Laird is scuffling and the LHB would be a bonus.
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Haven’t seen the whole game, but what I have seen, I wonder what is up with this guys strike zone. It is crazy?????

Seay had a pretty ugly outing. Although I like I said earlier I don’t like this strike zone and I actually think that Seay struck out Reimold. Got the shaft a little there????

Nice Brandon Lyon way to strand those runners!!!!

Nice win. Avila had a nice start. Hopefully he can keep it up. Lots of Tigers (except Cabrera) had pretty nice days at the plate. Good job Tigers. Minnesota lost and hopefully LAA can hold on to win. GO TIGERS.

Way to go Tigers. Three out of four was needed.
Good to see Inge hit his first homerun since the break. He seems to be shaking his hitting slump. Good day for Cabrera to go hitless with all of the other timely hitting.
Avila has to feel great about his game today. Porcello and Gallaraga are the two easiest pitchers on the staff to catch which is a good move by JL to have him start 40% of the time right now. Laird need a break.
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Glad to see Porcello get the win today without his best stuff after getting a no decision when he a terrific outing his last time out.
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Mark

If the Angels hold on, we’ll have a pretty good day of baseball. Is it just me, or does it seem like everytime we face the Twins, they’re reeling?
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Getting some hits strung together makes all the difference in the world. Got the series, so good job, gentlemen.
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You have to like Al Avila getting the handshakes and hugs up in the suite.
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Something I hadn’t realized is that Boston has to play four games in New York before we head to Fenway on Monday. Here’s hoping the Red Sox split that series and here’s hoping they use up all their pitchers, which is likely. With their rotation in shambles, we may get in and out of Boston in good shape. Of course, they’re probably saving Paul Byrd just for us?
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GK, we’ll have to monitor how we do with the AAA call-ups the second time. Hernandez shut us down in Baltimore but we got him today. I also noticed that a lot of these rookies who beat us are also on the list of top rookie pitchers this year, starting with Ricky Romero during the first series of the season in April. I think we’re just being Porcello’d.
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–Rich

Sorry Rich, cannot let the last thread go on reporters. I agree that Jason and Tom Gage are very good. Lynn Henning writes articles like he is a blogger. He has one today that nuts. Here is one of the photo bylines, “Miguel Cabrera’s lack of power in the heart of the Tigers’ lineup is only one reason why the offense has struggled so much this season.” We all know Cabrera has struggled in several clutch situations but a .330 average, 21 homers and 62 RBI’s does not show a lack of power to me. I would hate to see where the offense would be without Cabrera. I would be surprised if any AA outfielders are called up before September. You would think he would do some research.

Mark

Even though I am extremely satisfied with the last two games, I thought I better comment since I always have something to say when they lose. There were many heroes today but the most noticeable player was Avila. He did in one game what Laird, Dusty Ryan, Sardinha, and even Pudge wasn’t doing very much of in their games. I hope he can continue. How great if the Tigers can come up with a catcher similar to a Mauer. Time will tell but I hope JL and the fans are patient with this kid. Then there is Clete Thomas. What a catch that was! The first batter after he replaced Maggs in RF? Whew! Speaking of Maggs, I am now of the opinion they should NOT let that $18 million kick in. Give him the $3 million, and if he isn’t pi$$ed about it, maybe sign him for next year at $7-10 million if he appears to be back close to normal. I am sure they could use the extra money to help the team in other areas. Also sign Polanco for 1-2 years if there is no call-up ready to step in.
Great game, Tigers. Keep it up. Take 2 from Minny and split with the Red Sox. I could get greedier but that would be illogical.

I realize the contract with Maggs is an issue, but it’s one I’ve pretty much stayed away from. I’ve read comments on other boards this summer where the posters behaved as if it was their own money. Fortunately we’re a little more circumspect here. My hope is that this gets worked out somehow someway to everyone’s satisfaction. Perhaps I’m being naive but I’m of the belief that DD lets JL manage the team as he sees fit, and that the issue of his contract doesn’t figure into decisions whether to play him or not. When deciding whether to play him, one has to keep in mind that Maggs isn’t competing against his former self, he’s competing against the alternative to him in the lineup. If he’s the best we got he plays, is my view.
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Mark, I went and read the article in question. It does read quite a bit like a comment on a discussion board. One thing for everyone, fans, writers, etc. to remember is that these hitting woes really only came up in the past two and a half weeks. Sure, we haven’t torn the cover off the ball this year, but it’s only become really problematic since the break. I don’t think an influx of minor leaguers is going to help, and I’m surprised that any professional would. Cabrera is a case in point. You can’t say he hasn’t produced, he just hasn’t knocked in some needed runs lately. It can all turn around. It might even be turning around as we speak. All Miggy needs is some support so he doesn’t feel he’s carrying the entire load, then he’ll be back to his old goofy happy self. BTW, I’m of the opinion that his 37 homers last year is not what he really does. I expect a higher average and less homers, as he’s done this year. He’s not so much a slugger as just a very good hitter.
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I see Jeremy Bonderman has started to use a splitter. That is very interesting indeed. He needs a 3rd pitch and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a changeup. If he was throwing his fastball, slider, and splitter with the same arm angle and motion, he’d be very very tough to hit. A drawback with the ol’ split-finger is that it’s hard on the arm, and has cost some youngsters their careers. Bondo is older now and may be able to pull it off successfully. This definitely bears watching.
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–Rich

It sounds like Bonderman splitter is more like a change up than the ol’ split-finger. He seems to be able to throw it like his fastball and get it to drop. Control is going to be the key. He seem real encouraged with the grip he has on the pitch. Hopefully, the pitch will work and he get the 5 mph back on his fastball.
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Mark

Rich, Your point on Magglio is well stated. Personally I don’t like the way his contract is designed. It’s a double edged sword that could go either way. Not sure why Magglio would want it drawn up that way. Leaves too much room for manipulation. Just as an example, what if Magglio was having a good year, not necessarily a great year, but the team was struggling and virtually out of the division race by the All Star break. (Could have happened) In this case it would make good business sense for management to shelve Maggs just enough so the incentive wouldn’t kick in. But would it be honorable or fair to Maggs and his career? Flawed contract.
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Now, because of the way the season is playing out, the point is moot. We are in a race, and you play your best players. The question is, is Magglio one of our best players. I think you answered that Rich (I’m reading between the lines). I think he is. He’s better than any AA or AAA call ups would be. Yes, he is an average outfielder at best, with limited OF mobility. He will cost the team defensively, allowing the occasional hit to drop in that he doesn’t catch up to. But you can minimize that weakness by substituting for him late in games. It’s working right now.
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Maggs may not be the same Maggs of 2007 but I believe he is still what you could call a money player. He is showing signs of improved hitting lately. Right or wrong, naive or whatever, I still get a confident feeling when he comes up to bat. There is a reason he has been an RBI machine for most of his career. So I say, JL, DD, forget about that stupid contract and play him as long as he contributes. Don’t be a bean counter. If you don’t play him then you may save next year’s money but you throw away the money you’ve already paid him for this year. ie, stupid contract (I said that already didn’t I)
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And Rich you’re right, maybe they should sit down and work out something fair for both parties, so this contract doesn’t remain a distraction. Would be a good thing. Of course he still has to produce. Guess we’ll see.
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Maggs contract was drawn up the way it was as protection for the team due to the serious knee injury he had in his last year in Chicago. Teams were not making offers to him due to questions about his knee. The gamble paid off for DD and he had protection built in against injury. The contract was not viewed as protection against performance and the way he hit in 2006-8 the Tigers got good value. Boras knows he structured as deal that gave the team protection, because he had too. If not for the knee injury, the Tigers would be paying the contract next year regardless of his performance.
Mark

I left a comment earlier, but I guess it didn’t post. Anyway, we now get to face Carl Pavano again as the Twins just picked him up from the Indians. Oh, boy! Also, I didn’t much care for Hennings’ article, either.

What has happened to Minnesota’s organizational excellence? Carl F. Pavano? They wouldn’t pick him up just to pitch against us, would they? Now if the PTBNL is Carl Pavano, then I have a problem with it. :-)
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It’s time for Pavano’s starring role in “The Tiger Killer” to end anyway. That show should have closed out of town in the first place. Let’s bust him up and laugh so loud they’ll hear it in the Twin Cities.
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–Rich

Gardenhire has not issued an announcement of any pitching changes for the weekend series. I would want Pavano to pitch on Saturday if I was a Twins fan. I would like to see the Tigers score about 10 on him. Having lived in MN at one time, I always like to see the Tigers beat the Twins. How about a sweep this weekend.
Mark

Pavano is starting Saturday night……against Verlander, the one guy who has been getting offensive support. Perhaps Gardenhire is just setting up his rotation as he wants it, but he may have made a strategic error regarding this series of games.
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–Rich

It was great to see Avila do well in his MLB debut. I watched him last year for the West Michigan Whitecaps, and he did well there. I wish him the best of luck.
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

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