April 2010

Friday: Tigers vs. Angels

I’m not sure if it ever got above 70 degrees in Anaheim when these two teams matched up for four games last week. If it did, it had to have been the first day, because it got cooler and cooler with each day. Why do I mention this? Because it’s 82 degrees in Detroit on the last day of April.

You know we’re going to pay for this weather at some point, but wow, what a night for a game.

There are only a couple minor changes in the Tigers lineup tonight from the one that faced Joel Pineiro last week. Gerald Laird is behind the plate for Rick Porcello, and Brennan Boesch gets the start in left field with Carlos Guillen on the shelf.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Laird, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Everett, SS

P: Rick Porcello

ANGELS

  1. Erick Aybar, SS
  2. Bobby Abreu, RF
  3. Torii Hunter, CF
  4. Hideki Matsui, DH
  5. Kendry Morales, 1B
  6. Juan Rivera, LF
  7. Howard Kendrick, 2B
  8. Mike Napoli, C
  9. Brandon Wood, 3B

P: Joel Pineiro

Thursday: Tigers vs. Twins

Let’s be honest, if you’re going to have a Weather Day promotion at a Tigers game, there’s no better timing than April, when Michigan can give you just about anything for weather. After back-to-back night games with legitimately chilly temperatures, we’re looking at a really beautiful afternoon for a baseball game.

Adam Everett is back in the Tigers lineup after missing the last four games with a tweaked right hamstring. Jim Leyland was concerned about Magglio and a tight muscle around his abdominal area, but apparently he’s ready to play.

On the Twins’ side, Michael Cuddyer’s absence leaves the Twins with little choice but to put up a left-handed hitting Jim Thome against Dontrelle Willis today.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Johnny Damon, DH
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Brennan Boesch, LF
  6. Brandon Inge, 3B
  7. Gerald Laird, C
  8. Scott Sizemore, 2B
  9. Adam Everett, SS

P: Dontrelle Willis

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  4. Jim Thome, DH
  5. Jason Kubel, RF
  6. Delmon Young, LF
  7. Brendan Harris, SS
  8. Luke Hughes, 3B
  9. Drew Butera, C

P: Carl Pavano

Wednesday: Tigers vs. Twins

The big change in the lineup is on the Twins, who are without Justin Morneau tonight and most likely Thursday after he left Tuesday’s game with back issues. The shuffle essentially means both Delmon Young and Jim Thome are in the lineup at left field and DH, respectively.

On the Tigers side, Jim Leyland is giving Ryan Raburn another start at second in place of Scott Sizemore. It isn’t a matter of his miscue last night, but just part of Leyland being wary of Sizemore’s surgically repaired ankle. He still thinks the ankle is bothering Sizemore, though not nearly enough to be a major factor.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Raburn, 2B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Max Scherzer

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Jim Thome, DH
  5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  6. Jason Kubel, RF
  7. Delmon Young, LF
  8. J.J. Hardy, SS
  9. Luke Hughes, 3B (Major League debut)

P: Scott Baker

More fun with Verlander and pitch counts

UPDATE Wednesday @ 5:30pm: Manager Jim Leyland said in his pregame remarks Wednesday that he’s going to strictly watch Verlander’s pitch counts from here on out and hold him to a certain number. He wouldn’t say what that number is, whether it’s the 120-pitch mark he had in mind last night or something lower.

“I’m going to be strict with the pitch count with him,” Leyland said. “That’s the way it’s going to be, whether it’s the seventh inning, the eighth inning or the fourth inning. I’m going to take care of him. …

“I’m not a big pitch count guy, but I’m not going to have [an injury] happen on my watch.”

You might remember the little statistical nugget from Justin Verlander’s start last week, when he became the first Major League pitcher since 1997 to throw 125 pitches over just five innings and earn a victory. Well, he couldn’t do that again, though he came close on both counts, but he still had something noteworthy out of this one.

With 121 pitches over 5 2/3 innings, Verlander became just the fifth Major League pitcher since 1992 to throw 120 or more pitches over back-to-back outings without getting through the sixth inning in either of them. The others: Scott Erickson and Wilson Alvarez in 1999, Dwight Gooden in ’96 and Mark Langston in ’02. It’s probably worth noting that those other four all did it at the end of May or later in their respective seasons, while Verlander pulled it off in April. It’s also worth noting that Erickson and Gooden had an extra day of rest in between their starts, while Alvarez and Langston — like Verlander — both pitched on their normal four days’ rest.

It’s definitely worth noting that Verlander would’ve finished the sixth if not for the Ryan Raburn error. But then, he wouldn’t have needed that out had he not walked Jim Thome a batter earlier for the third time in the game.

It might well be up for debate whether Verlander should’ve gone out there for the 6th with his pitch count at 105, especially given Jim Leyland’s postgame comments that he had his mind made up pregame that Verlander was going to throw 120 pitches. But before you debate it, you have to consider the circumstances of the Tigers bullpen, which has been worn down by this recent stretch without an off day, arguably more than any other part of the team.

You might well have seen the impact on Eddie Bonine tonight, who came in to try to finish the sixth after Raburn’s error and clearly didn’t have it, hitting Brendan Harris and walking Denard Span on five pitches.

Tuesday: Tigers vs. Twins

While the Twins were sound asleep in their team hotel, the Tigers arrived back home from Texas around 3:30 this morning for their big AL Central clash tonight. Still, a lot of them were here around the time they’d normally be at the park anyway, ready to go to work.

“Just getting back here felt awesome, even if it was at 4 o’clock in the morning,” Alex Avila said today.

Adam Everett remains day-to-day with his right hamstring strain, so Ramon Santiago is in the starting lineup once again. Everything else is pretty standard for Detroit’s lineup.

On the Twins’ side, you’ll notice Delmon Young and Jim Thome in at DH against Justin Verlander. Thome’s numbers off Verlander took a dive last year, when he went 1-for-6 with two walks and four strikeouts in two games. That one hit, however, was a home run, giving him seven homers out of 10 hits in 41 at-bats lifetime off Verlander.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Inge, 3B
  6. Raburn, LF
  7. Laird, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Justin Verlander

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  6. Jason Kubel, LF
  7. Jim Thome, DH
  8. J.J. Hardy, SS
  9. Brendan Harris, 3B

P: Francisco Liriano

Tigers place Guillen on DL

Carlos Guillens strained left hamstring in Thursdays game will land him on the disabled list for a stretch. Team president/GM Dave Dombrowski said postgame that theyre placing him on the DL effective Friday. Brennan Boesch will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo and will join the team in Texas in time for Fridays game.

Thursday: Tigers at Angels

Nothing too crazy today. Brandon Inge returns to the starting lineup, as does Gerald Laird to catch Justin Verlander. The one little tweak is Carlos Guillen in left field tonight, with Johnny Damon at DH.

TIGERS

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

P: Justin Verlander

ANGELS

  1. Erick Aybar, SS
  2. Bobby Abreu, RF
  3. Torii Hunter, DH
  4. Hideki Matsui, LF
  5. Kendry Morales, 1B
  6. Maicer Izturis, 2B
  7. Mike Napoli, C
  8. Brandon Wood, 3B
  9. Reggie Willits, CF

P: Joe Saunders

Wednesday: Tigers at Angels

Alex Avila is back in the lineup for the third time in four days against Jered Weaver, who has held Gerald Laird to 1-for-15 in his career. Manager Jim Leyland pointed out the hard line drives Laird hit right at defenders Tuesday, but 1-for-15 is 1-for-15.

Brandon Inge, meanwhile, gets a game off. He’s 2-for-10 against Weaver, though Leyland talked about the cool, rainy conditions among the reasons to give him this night off. Don Kelly is at third.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Kelly, 3B
  7. Avila, C
  8. Santiago, SS
  9. Sizemore, 2B
P: Jeremy Bonderman
ANGELS
  1. Erick Aybar, SS
  2. Bobby Abreu, RF (8-for-14 off Bonderman)
  3. Torii Hunter, CF (14-for-33 off Bonderman)
  4. Hideki Matsui, DH (12-for-24, 3 HRs off Bonderman)
  5. Kendry Morales, 1B
  6. Juan Rivera, LF
  7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  8. Mike Napoli, C
  9. Brandon Wood, 3B
P: Jered Weaver

Tuesday: Tigers at Angels

The line about how it never rains in Southern California isn’t ringing true today. Not only had I never seen it rain here in eight years covering this team, I had never even seen a day where the Tigers couldn’t take batting practice outside. They might hit indoors before a day game, but not because they had to. Today, they hit inside on a dreary afternoon, but they’re going to get the game in.

When they do, Ryan Raburn is at second base, giving Scott Sizemore the night off.

TIGERS

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

P: Rick Porcello

ANGELS

  1. Erick Aybar, SS
  2. Bobby Abreu, RF
  3. Torii Hunter, CF
  4. Hideki Matsui, DH
  5. Kendry Morales, 1B
  6. Juan Rivera, LF
  7. Maicer Izturis, 3B
  8. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  9. Mike Napoli, C

P: Scott Kazmir

Monday: Tigers at Angels

Alex Avila takes a hit and keeps playing. He’s back in the starting lineup for the second straight game. Gerald Laird is just 2-for-13 lifetime off Angels starter Joel Pineiro. 

There’s a story on Avila’s take on the hit coming on the site tonight. He said Sunday he loves being able to take a hit like that. To him, that’s baseball. It sounds a little like his manager, who was describing the worst hit he ever took back in 1969 from former player turned umpire John Shulock, whom Leyland said banged his knee into his face so hard he broke Leyland’s nose.
“I think I caught the next night without a mask,” Leyland joked.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Avila, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Everett, SS
P: Dontrelle Willis
ANGELS
  1. Erick Aybar, SS
  2. Bobby Abreu, RF
  3. Torii Hunter, CF
  4. Hideki Matsui, DH
  5. Kendry Morales, 1B
  6. Juan Rivera, LF
  7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  8. Jeff Mathis, C
  9. Brandon Wood, 3B
P: Joel Pineiro
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