Tuesday: Tigers vs. Royals

Currently drizzling at Comerica Park this morning, but all forecasts suggest that weather will clear out of here in time to get this game played, possibly starting on time.

Once they do get going, the opening day lineup is in for this one for Detroit. The bullpen will be down a few guys today. Eddie Bonine gets another day off, not so much because of the cramp but because he threw so many pitches Sunday. If the Tigers get some innings from their starters today and Wednesday, the Tigers would probably hold Bonine until Friday’s series opener at Seattle.
Fu-Te Ni and Brad Thomas are also likely to sit today after the number of pitches they threw Monday. That leaves Phil Coke, Joel Zumaya, Ryan Perry and Jose Valverde as the relievers.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Laird, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Everett, SS
P: Dontrelle Willis
ROYALS
  1. David DeJesus, RF
  2. Scott Podsednik, LF
  3. Billy Butler, 1B
  4. Jose Guillen, DH
  5. Rick Ankiel, CF
  6. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
  7. Jason Kendall, C
  8. Willie Bloomquist, 2B
  9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
P: Brian Bannister

33 Comments

Thanks for the warm welcomes, folks.
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Based on the relievers who are avialable today, it should set up as that crisp game Rich talked about.
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Dontrelle goes six, Perry, Coke and Zoom share the 7th and 8th. Valverde closed the 9th. Tigers win.
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I get the feeling that the Royal (our nemenis) will not make it that simple for us though.
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Go Tigers!
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— Bob

Sure hope the D Train stays on the tracks today, boys – sure would like to see him have that comeback season. Kinda ironic how both Bondo and D Train are doing this in the contract year…wonder what they would be looking for next season if this season pans out for either of them.

Think the line up looks good today – I’m pretty happy with Jim’s day – to – day consistency for the 1 – 6 batters. I think we’ll do better this time around against Bannister.

The real question today is: will we play defense? Cuz if we’re going to give up like we did yesterday we can just go ahead and give up any thoughts about the Al Central title this year boys.

Hi everyone, happy spring! Good to see everyone’s posts, long-timers and newcomers.
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Hopefully wherever you are, you are enjoying real spring weather. In northern CA, we still have winter and I’m still wearing my fuzzy slippers as I watch the game today working from home.
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Anyone have any theories on why the Tigers have trouble with the Royals?
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Hopefully Dontrelle can settle down and cruise the rest of the way. Comeback player of the year?
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JP

You guys see that Edwin Jackson hit a homerun yesterday? Good for him!

Dontrelle is having a hard time with strikes today – at least so far. Hopefully he will settle down and soon. But they aren’t swinging at anything. And as I say it much better second inning.
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Our batters didn’t make Bannister work very hard that first inning. Especially after Dontrelle labored in the first. We don’t work counts very well.
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GK

Doesnt look like we are going to get the 6 or 7 innings out of Dontrelle that we are looking for. Yikes

I know that it is too early to make any sound judgements. However last week, I thought our pitching was a fluke. This week I am beginning to think that I am right.

Through three innings
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Tigers Hitting – 1 walk, 1 single, a strikeout and 4 infield popups. Seeing 40 pitches
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Tigers pitching – 3 walks – 2 singles, a double and a homerun. They have looked at 71 pitches and scored 3 runs.
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Good Lord, this is hard to watch!

It is all very predictable. It is like a continuation from last year. It doesnt seem like a new season … more like they had 6 months worth of off days.
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They dont work counts. Mediocre pitching makes them look terrible. No adjustments are made. Hitting with runners in scoring position is not effective (this is not a problem today … nobody on base). And that leads to a shaky pitcher feeling he must be perfect with his pitches.
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Any comeback heroics in the tank today?
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–Bob

Some pretty bad AB’s so far. Why don’t these guys take any pitches? Swinging at first & second pitches does nothing but let average pitchers off the hook. If they would work the count a little better, they might be able to get to these guys and then get to the bullpen. Instead, they make every average AL pitcher look like a Cy Young contender.

Come on guys – baseball is a marathon, not a sprint – you know that!

Just have to win 2 out of 3 every series – we’ll be fine and so will Damon.

Also, there was no choice BUT to have 2 reclamation projects in the rotation – Robertson was a comeback, too. And Robertson in the bullpen isn’t all that much more insurance than Bonine, with Galarraga at AAA. Trading him was more a vote of confidence in Willis and a favor to Robertson than anything (giving him an opportunity to start – I know he didn’t want to leave Detroit). At least they got something for him and didn’t just Sheffield him.

This game is giving me a headache. I had tickets for the game today, but decided not to go with the weather as it is.
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The unfortunate part of Zumaya having to come out today is that he is going to ge toast for tomorrow if in fact we can ever get a lead or a hit. Then we will be stuck with inferior pitching when we have a lead.
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Gosh todays game really stinks so far.
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Lost a post of mine after Laird’s 1st AB. I mentioned that he must be leading the league in popups. Rod Allen later said something about that too. I can’t believe management is so obtuse as to believe they can afford to dilute their lineup with crappy struggling hitters like Everett and Laird. They both have ridiculous uppercut swings and if JL and McLendon can’t straighten them out then the club will deserve what it gets. Our only hope out of that weakness at the bottom of thelineup is that something dramatic evolves. Like Avila catching fire or Dlugach gets called up to replace Everett.
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Damon is not performing and with this club lacking direction he needs to. This is the primary reason we got him.
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Jacskon and Sizemore look like they will be players. They are learning and they will get better but if JL thinks MCab and Ordonez can carry this team he is a fool.
The reocrd this year (it will look a little more representative after this game) belies the fact taht the team is not playing well. The starting pitching has been poor, the clutch hitting has not been timely, and the long relievers are as much a concern as the starters and their inability to nail down quality starts.
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Zumaya has to develop some movement on his fastball. All you have to do is wait out the slow curves and sit on the straight fastball. Pretty easy to do for most MLB hitters. Again, this is an area where coaching has to INSIST on development.
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Laird’s catching and game calling has been a little strange this year too. With Zoom pitching and a man on 2nd and 3rd he was flashing simple, straight forward signs (kinda like we used in little league). I don’t get it.
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The lack of homerun power on our ball team is also a concern. Other teams seem to have the ability to poke one out of Comerica with not too much trouble. Our hitters seems to be allowing pitchers to throw strikes at will. How does a guy like Bannister get away with that?
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I just don’t like a lot of what I have seen so far. Also don’t like the fact that management saw fit to trade away a starting pitcher leaving the rotation saddled with TWO comeback projects. What do we do when one or both of them fail? Bonine? Miner? Figaro? Give me a break.

Well, the boys sure pulled that one out with the strong 7th inning. Actually some good AB’s that inning. Funny how they can string together a rally once the starter is out. Why can’t they hit starters like that?
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The bottom third of the order really needs to step up. Laird had a couple nice hits and Sizemore has had some nice AB’s lately. As much as I like Everett, I really wish they’d give Santiago a shot at being the everyday SS.

Well. They dont quit. I can give them that. But man, they cannot keep this up. The offense basically showed up for 2 innings and they absolutely stole this game.
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It goes to show that our bullpen may have a few warts in it but it could be alot worse. We have seen two absolutely terrible pens in the first 8 games and as a good team does (and I think we can all agree we have a good team — great? … not sure yet), we took advantage. But after tomorrow, the test gets tougher.
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Bank all the wins you can now. Every game is important. Game 163 proved that.
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Series win tomorrow with RP.
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Go Tigers!

— Bob

I agree with a lot of what you said Dan – except that Everett is batting okay so far this year. Laird has been bad (although he just had a nice double) and Damon has been horrible and disappointing, although he has had a couple of key at bats, in this and Sunday.
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Willis was not as effective as his first start, but he did not implode and kept them in the game. The difference today is the Tiger relievers only giving up one run in four innings verses yesterday.
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Perry has been impressive with a save and three holds. I like using Zumaya early and Perry late as I think that is the best way to go from a mental aspect. Less pressure on Zumaya as he seems to still be working his way back.
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It would be nice to see Laird take todays performance and start hitting like he was in the Spring.
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Coming back from five down is fun.
..Mark

I have to take some of that back eh?
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As to Everett, I believe that .285 average is as much an aberration as Damon’s .150
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Would have been nice to take advantage of the bases loaded situation there in the 8th. We have left a ton of baserunners on this season to this point.
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I hope we can all get excited along with Jose (JL too) and close this out with some theatrics.

Wow! They did it again. Excellent save by Valverde!

Un.Be.Lievable.
wow, what a wild ride that was, heard most of it on the radio and couldn’t believe the comeback.
I’ll still take any win I can get, but crazy how some of our wins have come lately!

No, I think your observations were accurate, Dan. This team hasn’t played very good ball so far. At one point today, I observed that we couldn’t hit, couldn’t pitch and couldn’t field. Not much left after that.
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The obvious upside is that we’re 6-2 despite the bad play and we should improve.
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I’m liking Sizemore now that I get to see him more. For whatever reason, I didn’t catch many of his ST appearances. The sky’s the limit for Jackson. Just wait a year or two.
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No way anyone can spin Dontrelle’s start into a positive one. He gave up 4 runs in 5 innings and threw 104 pitches. That not only isn’t giving your team a chance to win, it’s damaging the chances to win the next day, since the bullpen gets used up.
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So if we can get the win tomorrow behind Porcello, we go out west at 7-2. You get a 5-6 road trip and you come back home at 12-8, .600 ball, and the worst behind you. I’d be good with that.
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–Rich

Dan – I have to agree with you on the Edwin Jackson trade. I’d take him over Bondo and Willis together, any day. The guy was a workhorse for us and will end up having a nice career. I realize money was the driving factor in that deal, so management is trying to get anything they can out of the money pits that Bondo & Willis have become. Maybe they should have jusst cut their losses and used some of Dombrowski’s paycheck to cover the loss. After all, he’s the one who got them into the $$ mess with all those crazy contracts.

Not much more this old Tiger fan can add to all your comments. Just want you to know I am still watching and agree that it is remarkable what has happened so far. Being 6-2 is much better than 2-6. JV is not in sync yet, Scherzer and Willis have had good and bad games, Porcello and Bonderman one good game each. Except for Valverde’s blown save and Monday’s meltdown, the bullpen has hung in there fairly well. Most of the line-up is hitting well, just not against the KC starters. Wednesday we’ll see how they do against one they haven’t seen before- Davies? Let’s hope Damon is just off to a slow start and comes around. A few days ago I had my doubts about Sizemore but he seems to be adjusting at bat. He may never be a Polly at 2nd base but he has made most plays. I was also ready to trash Laird so let’s hope today was a turning point for his hitting. This coming 11-game trip on the road will be a tough one for sure. Let’s hope they can at least break even.

I don’t want them to start the road trip with a loss so LET”S GO TIGERS!!! tomorrow and take the series.

Do u think the guys will chip in and buy Miggs a new glove?
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Wow, Zoom now has as many wins as the starters combined and the pen leads 4-2. Thankfully Rick is on the mound tomorrow as only Coke, Perry and Valverde are available.
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About EJax, he could easily have been signed to a long term contract with salary taken off this year, with NYY effectively trading AJax, Coke and starter Ian Kennedy for Curtis.
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Nice to see Dlugach finally got a BB a few days ago – 54 AB’s in 2010 for 1 BB and 20 SO’s. Sure hope he learns to lay off pitches soon as he must have an incredible eye still hittiing .35/.381/.55 at Toledo. It must be a real emotional letdown for the guys who go close to making it with Larish hitting .150 and Clete .176 at Toledo.
Polly is a man on a mission yet to SO, 1 BB hitting .484/.5/.677 and driving in 10 runs.

i’ve got not problem with leyland giving jackson a day off. it’s a long season, and giving the kid a mental break on occasion is fine by me. interesting that he has chosen raburn instead of kelly to man cf.

bullpen has been great overall. they are leaning pretty hard on the pen right now, and that’s a concern…though part of it because leyland doesn’t want to push the starters into 100 pitch range this early. they need at least 6 ip from 3 of the 5 starters to avoid overworking the pen.

JL is resting AJax tomorrow because he has played in every innings of every game – all 8 of them. Give me a break – AJax from memory is 23, not 43 and they have already had a day off with one a further day after KC. Kelly will probably get the start against the righty Davies.
JL infuriates me when he gets in these overmanaging moods – u would think by now he would have learned the minimalist approach to management is the only way to go.

You should never mess with a player when he is in a groove. Raburn has had a few good hits off Davies in his half dozen AB’s but has now lost form having minimal ST AB’s and now no playing time.
Giving guys token playing time when it involves players who dont need rest ends up serving little purpose. Luv Raburn to put egg on my face tomorrow.
Raburn is a favourite of mine but he is not a natural fielder and has to work on the position he ends up playing – the proverbial square peg JL keeps poking into round holes. I think though he is a better CF than any other position.

It is as much about getting Rayburn so at bats as giving Jackson a partial day off. He will be in the game late if the Tigers have the lead.
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I watched the game when I got home. Willis did have a lot of 3-2 counts, but should have only given up two runs. The Guillen double in the 3rd should have been caught by Damon. He made a dive for it, but it sure looked like he got a slow jump on it. The defense has been a weak point. I see where the official scorer corrected an initial bad call when Cabrera was not given an error on the throw from Inge in the 6th. That put Zumaya’s ERA back to zero.
.Mark

I was wondering about that when I saw zero errors, Mark. Good observation on the Damon play. I’d forgotten that one. And yes, our defense has been surprisingly bad so far, with some sparkling plays mixed in.
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Dave, I agree that Jackson doesn’t need a day off right now, but I’m going to step out of character and give JL the nod on this one. I think a number of players will need time off during the upcoming 20-day stretch that includes an 11-day west coast swing, and having Raburn step in tomorrow is in preparation for this stretch. With this in mind, Inge, Ordonez, and Cabrera will need a day off too. Not so easy to do. I’m a little surprised that Raburn has played so sparingly so far. It appears the guys he’d sub for have done pretty well up to this point.
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One more comment on Willis. Again, here I am in agreement with JL. Willis is making progress, but will have to get better. I am expecting that to happen. He may need to start some hitters off with two fastballs down the heart of the plate to get them swinging. Whatever it takes. Each team that sees him will want to wait him out. I don’t think that will necessarily lead to walks, but will drive up his pitch count.
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There may be something to Rod’s comment that the players don’t like all these day games in a row. I know it makes it tough on us fans who have to work for a living.
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–Rich

What a rally ! When rotation works properly we will on top in Central Division, no doubt. OrdoŮez and Guillen are batting good, Cabrera like always, and Jackson is a good leadoff hitter. But we need Damon`s bat http://tigres.mlblogs.com/

What a rally ! When rotation works properly we will on top in Central Division, no doubt. Ordo√Īez and Guillen are batting good, Cabrera like always, and Jackson is a good leadoff hitter. But we need Damon`s bat http://tigres.mlblogs.com/

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