Monday: Tigers at Twins

The Tigers have just started batting practice here at Target Field, and the reviews so far today have been positive. Compared with the cramped visiting clubhouse and funkiness of the Metrodome, this place feels almost palatial.

As Miguel Cabrera succinctly put it, “This is big league.”

Supposedly the positives hear include heating coils underneath the playing field, so that the field will never get cooler than about 42 degrees. That shouldn’t become an issue tonight, but nonetheless, it’s going to be a chilly evening for baseball.

Much like Alex Avila catching Justin Verlander for the first time Sunday, Gerald Laird is catching Max Scherzer for the first time in a regular-season game. Manager Jim Leyland said this afternoon that Laird will catch the first two games of the series, with Avila catching the getaway afternoon game Wednesday.

TIGERS

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

P: Max Scherzer

TWINS

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

P: Scott Baker

11 Comments

Wait, Jason who’s in RF: Raburn or Maggs? I assume Maggs is in RF w/ Raburn @ 2nd since I don’t see Sizemore. Am I correct?

I have liked the way JL has managed the playing time this year with his only real difficulty trying to maintain an each way bet between Sizemore and Raburn, with both starting to put some hits together.
JL is also starting to free up the runners with 6 of our 12 base steals occurring the past week.
Isn’t it great to see the Tigs loving to play baseball with team chemistry alive and well. The Tigs have always been a bunch of nice guys but have lacked natural leaders who are passionate about the game, play in the right spirit, help their fellow players, come out huge in pressure situations and most importantly keep the clubhouse loose. Valverde and Damon have been pure magic and it will be difficult for JV to emulate these roles models witht he starters as he matures. He is though learning from the best in baseball leadership.
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Hate to see Curtis injured and also his worsening struggles against lefties. If he doesn’t sort them out soon, it will slowly but surely eat away his confidence and affect the rest of his game.

The bottom line on ESPN listed Sizemore at 2B.

This is bp.

Lord have mercy.

In 2 games in the bigs this Ramos kid has more hits than the tiger catchers have all season!

What a stinker last night glad I was unable to watch.
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Regarding Ramos – all I can say it is more pixie dust that seems to swarm over the Twins. Last year Mornue out no problem we can still win and go 17 & 4 in their last 21 games. Playing outside we are going to freeze no problem it is going to be one of the warmest springs on record. Mauer out more pixie dust we got this Ramos kid. It is really all just par for the course as far as I am concerned.
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But don’t forget they couldn’t get Avila out last year when he was new either.

Scherzer is going to have to beat the Twins or he won’t be of much use to us. It’s not like you can shuffle the rotation everytime Minny is on the schedule. To pitch over here, he’ll need to toughen up like our other four starters have done.
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I know things are done differently these days, but I couldn’t help but note that, back in the day, managers had a quick hook for ineffective starters. Games weren’t allowed to get away like last night’s. Of course, the bullpen back then was always more rested, being stocked with other starting pitchers. Once it got to be 7-0, I agreed with just leaving Scherzer in there to eat the innings. It’s unfortunate he gave back the runs we’d scored in the top of the inning. Not very impressive there.
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–Rich

I was thinking the same this about Scherzer. He has had two bad starts in a row and both were again Minnesota. You cannot continually struggle against a division foe. We just have to get Scherzer back on track. Porcello did better last out, but we consistently need 7-8 innings our of the top three guys. Bondo and Willis have done well for the most part, but they cannot be expected to go more than six innings with as little as they have pitched the last two years.
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Leyland has left the struggling starters in to try and get five inning out of them. Thomas has been looking better and better as the season goes along. He saved the bullpen last night. The bullpen has been great and it is had thinking of a move right now when Minor is ready.
..Mark

I’m not necessarily down on Scherzer, but I do wonder at some of these upper management decisions. Max is still relatively inexperienced with a history of high pitch counts, yet he was handed the #3 rotation slot to replace Jackson. Edwin had much more experience with the toughness to hang in games and eat innings. It’s not an even tradeoff for the rotation, although I think it was a good deal for the future. Then we trade our other guy with a reputation as an innings eater, Nate Robertson, and now the bullpen is overworked.
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Things could conceivably reach a point where Bonine or Galarraga need to join the rotation.
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–Rich

Thankfully the Miner decision doesn’t have to be made now – Thomas out of options would be quickly snapped up. Having a lefty able to pitch long will be invaluable if we want to try and compete with the Twins. Unusual to have a lefty pitcher with experience as a starter and closer.
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Amazing how confidence and likely motivation impacts on players. Clete was hitting .389/.500 at ST and now .14/.288 at Toledo. Having missed the team probably due to Kelly being out of options, it is now a tall mountain back to climb.

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