March 3rd, 2011

Penny goes three in camp game

Brad Penny settled down from a rough opening inning to get in his work for three innings in a Thursday morning camp game at Joker Marchant Stadium. It was his second spring outing.

The Tigers set up the game to allow Penny and Max Scherzer to get in their work on the same day. Scherzer started the regular game Thursday afternoon against the Braves at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.

Penny fell a home run shy of allowing the cycle in his opening inning, including a Jamie Johnson triple into the right-field corner and a Daniel Fields double in the gap. He got out of it when Fields was thrown out at third, then avoided a leadoff double in the next inning when Avisail Garcia threw out Nick Castellanos trying to take second. From there, Penny retired five of his final six batters, and struck out four of them.

Penny threw 42 pitches, 34 of them for strikes, including all 12 pitches in his third and final inning.

Thursday: Tigers at Braves

If you decided to make today one of your Tigers road games for Spring Training, you’re winning. If you found a way to watch the game on TV today, you don’t get the sunshine, but you’re still winning. For a road Spring Training game, there are a lot of regulars making the trip. So many guys stay up by Disney World anyway that it’s a shorter trip than going to Lakeland.

You also get Chipper Jones playing third base for Atlanta.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Brennan Boesch, LF
  9. Clete Thomas, RF

P: Max Scherzer

BRAVES

  1. Martin Prado, LF
  2. Nate McLouth, CF
  3. Chipper Jones, 3B
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  6. Alex Gonzalez, SS
  7. Eric Hinske, DH
  8. Brooks Conrad, 2B
  9. Jose Constanza, RF

P: Jair Jurrjens

Phil Coke, meet the quality start

When the Tigers decided to convert Phil Coke into a starting pitcher, I believed in the idea. My point was he had the pitches to be a starter, but the temperament would be the key. After two spring starts from Coke, my view hasn’t changed. And I think we’re seeing why.

Coke didn’t have the fastball command to beat hitters Wednesday like he did so often in relief last year. But he salvaged an effective start with his changeup and slider. His four strikeouts in three innings and ability to limit Houston to ground ball hits with primarily those pitches says a lot about his potential. But his ability to beat himself up mentally over not having his best stuff also shows what he has to overcome. It’s not a save or a hold, where falling behind means failure. It’s a start, where three runs in six innings still means quality. Much as it disagrees with his perfectionist streak, the sooner Coke adjusts to that, the better.

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