Why Santiago hit with game on the line

I talked about this in my game story on the Tigers site, but I figured the question’s going to come up: If Johnny Damon was going to pinch-hit in the ninth inning, why not have him hit for Ramon Santiago rather than Gerald Laird?

I asked Jim Leyland about it after the game. If Damon bats in Santiago’s place and draws a walk, it loads the bases for Gerald Laird with Alex Avila and Adam Everett as the remaining two hitters on the bench. And there was a good reason to lean against sending up Avila in that situation.

“I wanted a veteran guy up there,” Leyland said. “That’s why I hit Damon
[for Laird] instead of Avila. I just thought the veteran guy would take
closer pitches for balls. I felt comfortable with Santi. If I hit
Damon [for him], they might walk him, and then I hit Avila for Laird.”

I think it says a lot of what Leyland thinks of Santiago as a hitter, and with good reason. He’s 30 years old now with more than 1,400 Major League plate appearances under his belt.

6 Comments

I don’t dislike Everett like a lot of people do, but by golly, Santiago is a darned good ballplayer. I’ve seen Ramon up close and he looks plenty athletic and strong enough to play most or all of the time. I wish they’d re-think the myth that he’ll break down, since it’s never been proven one way or the other. It’s like if I claimed to be allergic to a food I’d never eaten. How would I know? How do they know Santiago can’t be a regular?
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Although happy with the 5-1 start, I’m not going to get too excited until we prove we can hit the other team’s starter. Jumping on two very poor bullpens hasn’t proven much yet. That said, I thought Westbrook threw a pretty good game.
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–Rich

Honestly, leaving Ramon in to hit for himself was a no brainer imo. Save Damon to PH for Laird if necessary. JL played it exactly right. Anyone questioning that call, well I just have to ask, What does Santiago have to do make a believer out of you? I actually see him as a clutch batter; especially against a RHP. I think he might eclipse Everett for playing time this year. Rod, in today’s broadcast, mentioned Ramon as being a solid defensive player while giving you “just enough offensively”(or something like that) to make him valuable to this team. Love you Rod, but give “Santi” a little more credit than that. He should have started 2 years ago, when instead DD traded Jurjens for Renteria. Sorry Jason, you hit a nerve:-)

Once again we agree Rich.

The key for JV is to reduce the number of testosterone pitches as opposed to the number of intelectual pitches.
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He often pitches great ballgames but can end up giving up 90% of the runs he allows on a few ill-advised pitches. When he learns to limit that effect he will be the dominant pitcher he really should be. As I said, he is his own worst enemy. This is where he can actually “learn” from the kid Porcello who is not prone to those types of mistakes.

What a surprise this morning to see we ended up winning that game yesterday! I had a family cookout where they don’t get Detroit stations, last I heard on the radio it was 7-1 and I never bothered looking for the final score last night. Sounds like we had no business winning that game, but it is nice to be on the other end of a game like that, we have had enough of out own where it was us handing a game away with a bases loaded walk, so here’s to good karma every once in a while.

A bunch of day games, but gives me a chance to listen to Dan and Jim while at work!

Unlike (sorta) you Rich I don’t believe that Westbrook pitched a great game he pitched an okay game. I think that he weazeled himself in and out of a lot of trouble. We just weren’t hitting anything hard, it was station to station. And in my opinion we let him off the hook. That is what concerns me about the hitting. You are exactly right we have beat up on some pens and that is about it, most of our pitchers win are wins for the pen pitchers. That doesn’t mean our pitchers haven’t pitched well enough to get wins, they just aren’t scoring runs. We just aren’t hitting them hard enough or in the right order.?? I thought it was interesting when I looked at team stats we are at the top for team batting average?? (don’t you find that hard to believe).
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Anyway off to work will miss the game today.
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GK

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