September 2009

Washburn non-update

Jarrod Washburn was examined Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum, but there's no final word on his status yet. According to a Tigers spokesperson, Washburn was presented with a few different treatment options, and now has to make a decision. At the moment, there are no imminent plans we know of to bring Washburn back with the team while they're on the road.

Bonine, Robertson flipped in rotation

The Tigers have flipped their rotation for the start of the White Sox series this weekend. Eddie Bonine will start Friday's series opener opposite Freddy Garcia instead of Saturday. Robertson, who was scheduled to start Friday, will get an extra day's rest and start Saturday instead opposite Jake Peavy.

Wednesday: Thomas starts over Magglio

If Jim Leyland was going to give Magglio Ordonez a day off against a right-hander down the stretch, he figured Wednesday was a good day to it. Justin Masterson has a sinker that presents a tough matchup, and his lefty-righty splits are especially vast, giving Leyland a reason to give Clete Thomas a start. He thought about giving Alex Avila a start to get another lefty bat in there, but wanted Gerald Laird catching Porcello again, as he has throughout this recent roll.

TIGERS

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thomas, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Huff, DH
  6. Guillen, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Rick Porcello

Tuesday: Tigers at Indians

Same left-handed lineup as it has been the last couple weeks. Interesting to note that Raburn is 1-for-7 off Laffey.

On the flip side, this will be the Tigers’ first look at Cleveland catching prospect Lou Marson, acquired in the Cliff Lee trade. He’s catching Laffey tonight, and he could catch Carlos Carrasco in the series finale, since he worked with him coming up through the Phillies system.

One thing I’ll be curious to see tonight is how the Tigers react to the change in intensity. They’re coming off three intense games against the Twins in a loud Metrodome, and they’re coming into a stadium that’s likely to be pretty quiet crowdwise. That’s an adjustment some players have noted in the past when going to Tampa Bay before last year. Of course, not having a roof is an adjustment they’ll be glad to make. This is actually a pretty good park for outfielders to see the ball.

TIGERS

  1. Raburn, LF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Thames, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Granderson, CF
  8. Laird, C
  9. Everett, SS

P: Edwin Jackson

INDIANS

  1. Michael Brantley, LF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Jhonny Peralta, 3B
  5. Travis Hafner, DH
  6. Matt LaPorta, 1B
  7. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  8. Lou Marson, C
  9. Trevor Crowe, CF

P: Aaron Laffey

Sizemore, Crosby earn Tigers minor league awards

Triple-A Toledo second baseman Scott Sizemore and Class A West Michigan left-hander Casey Crosby have been selected the Tigers' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Sizemore, an All-Star Futures Game participant in July, batted .308 with 39 doubles, 17 home runs, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases between Toledo and Double-A Erie. Crosby went 10-4 with a 2.41 ERA for the Whitecaps, striking out 117 batters over 104 2/3 innings.

On Jackson and tipping pitches

jackson091709.jpgOne of the things pitching coach Rick Knapp mentioned Sunday that he and bullpen coach Jeff Jones were working on with Edwin Jackson in his morning side session was a quirk that they believed was tipping his slider, letting hitters know it was coming. But the thing is, it’s still a good enough pitch that hitters haven’t been pounding it. Really, they haven’t been swinging at it, and Knapp’s belief was that by knowing it was coming, hitters were taking it so that Jackson would fall behind in counts, or just not finish off hitters with two strikes.

It’s an interesting little twist on the pitch-tipping saga. A lot of times, you hear about it allowing hitters to attack a pitch. Alfredo Figaro went from a decent Major League debut against the Brewers in June to a pounding from Astros hitters a week later, some Tigers believed, because he was tipping pitches. In that case, the Gameday app showed Astros hitters pummeled Figaro’s breaking balls and offspeed pitches while laying off the fastball. A few years ago, the White Sox found something in Verlander’s mannerisms that tipped his pitches, and pounded his changeup.

In Jackson’s case, Royals and Blue Jays hitters generally went after his fastball his last two starts. Yet if you look at his pitch data, his ball-strike ratio wasn’t any different than usual, and he still got a high number of swings and misses, 12 of them from the Royals. However, it didn’t take looking at Gameday to notice Jackson was throwing fewer sliders. Leyland complained about it after the Royals outing. Jackson is throwing 25 percent sliders this year, according to fangraphs.com, compared with about 20 percent last season.

I don’t know what Jackson was doing to tip his slider; Knapp obviously isn’t going to say it. But I do know he had Jackson working on his mannerisms over and over leading into his delivery during his side session Sunday morning in the Metrodome. Will it make a difference? We’ll find out, but the question will be whether hitters swing more at his slider, not less.

One more time for Tigers in the dome

dome.jpgYou won’t get many tears from the Tigers on their way out of the Metrodome, but they’re going to try to get out of here with something.

Marcus Thames is in the lineup at designated hitter over Aubrey Huff, giving Thames history against Scott Baker (6-for-21, 4 HRs). Other than that, it’s a pretty standard lineup. Gerald Laird gets the start over Alex Avila again for defense, especially after his two outs on steal attempts last night.

TIGERS

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thames, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Ordonez, RF
  6. Guillen, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Nate Robertson

Not the first, but might be the last

An odd point came up as Don Kelly was explaining what happened on the fly ball in the eighth.

“Once it went through the lights, I lost it,” Kelly said. “There’s
really nothing else you can do. I mean, it’s not like I took my eye off
of if. People were saying they’ve seen many, many balls lost here. It’s
not the first. It’s not going to be the last.”

At that point, someone pointed out that it might be the last. After all, there’s just four games left at the Metrodome before the Twins move to the Target Center for next season.

“Thanks,” Kelly said with just a slight crack of a smile.

Tigers and negative run differential

With Friday’s 3-0 loss, the Tigers entered Saturday on top of the AL Central despite allowing more runs (673) than they’ve scored (670). Just two teams since 2000 have won a division with a negative run differential, and both came out of the NL West: the 2007 Diamondbacks and 2005 Padres.

The last American League team to do it? The 1987 Twins (786 runs scored, 806 runs allowed). You may remember them as the World Series champions, because they were so strong at home. They were +63 at the Metrodome, but minus-83 everywhere else. Not surprisingly, the Tigers have a similar split: +63 at Comerica Park, minus-66 on the road.

Saturday: Tigers vs. Carl Pavano (and Twins)

Johan Santana never beat the Tigers five times in a season. Nor did CC Sabathia, Nor did Mark Buehrle, though he came close with a 4-2 record against them in 2001. Carl Pavano will get to five if he beats the Tigers Saturday. Considering what Pavano has done against everybody else, it would arguably be the pitching equivalent of Jody Gerut putting up seven homers and 27 RBIs against the Tigers in 2003, and just 15 homers and 48 RBIs against the rest of baseball. Joe Mays was the last to beat the Tigers five times in a season, back in 2001, according to baseball-reference.com. If Pavano does it, safe to say, it will drive the Tigers crazy.

TIGERS

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Huff, DH
  6. Ordonez, RF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Everett, SS

P: Justin Verlander

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, C (his 9-game hitting streak vs. DET ended last night)
  4. Jason Kubel, RF
  5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  6. Delmon Young, LF
  7. Jose Morales, DH
  8. Brian Buscher, 3B
  9. Nick Punto, 2B

P: Carl Pavano

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