No Toledo shuttle in sight (yet) for Tigers

You kind of got the idea where Jim Leyland was going with his conversation without naming the destination. And in some ways, you can see his point, at least at this point early in this season.

“If Magglio doesn’t hit, then I’m an idiot,” Leyland said.

A few seconds later, Leyland added to it.

“If Raburn doesn’t produce, then I’m stupid,” Leyland said.

Leyland is counting on Ordonez and Raburn producing. Ordonez, in particular, he’s counting on to hit in the third spot, as he has for years.

If any current Tiger fits the definition of a track record, it’s Ordonez, based on more than a decade of Major League at-bats. The rest are in varying degrees of experience.

The point remains that his lineup is interconnected. If Leyland wanted to give Scott Sizemore a shot, somebody out of the group of Ordonez, Raburn, Brennan Boesch or Victor Martinez would have to sit on a given day. It isn’t as simple as swapping Sizemore for Will Rhymes, at least not when Martinez comes back next week.

Once Martinez returns, the possibility of Raburn playing second base becomes one way the Tigers can fit him in with Boesch, Ordonez and Martinez in the same lineup. It’s difficult to envision the Tigers calling up Sizemore if they don’t have everyday playing time for him. But until they sort out the outfield mix, it’s hard to find the playing time.

Austin Jackson is in a little different scenario. Even with two singles Friday night, he struck out twice as he tries to work his way out of his early slump.

The offensive component involves a young man trying to find his decisive back at the plate, and track some pitches better. The defensive component is a Gold Glove caliber center fielder when he’s on, and one of the few players who can cover most of the ground in the gaps with Ordonez and Boesch on the corners. That aspect can’t be easy on the Tigers when they try to look for signs Jackson might be at least trying to get out of his rut at the plate.

21 Comments

I don’t get it, Jason. I mean why can’t we simply swap Sizemore for Rhymes? We don’t re-sign Polanco so we can try this unproven (at least at the Major League level) player who was coming off of an injury. Then when the guy is hitting nearly .400 at Toledo we don’t call him up???

So, how about Jackson – CF; Raburn – 2B; Maggy – DH; Miggy – 1B; Boesch – LF; Peralta – SS; Wells – RF; Avila – C; Inge – 3B. It’s pretty much the best line up we can get with that is available. When Martinez comes off the DL it can be
Jackson – CF; Raburn -2B; Maggy – RF; Miggy – 1B; Martinez – DH; Boesch – LF; Peralta – SS; Avila – C; Inge – 3B.
I don’t see what’s so hard about that. I like Sizemore, but we really need Raburn’s bat in the line up. He just isn’t that great on defense and 2B is where he can do the least damage. The only other issue what will come up is if/when Guillen comes off the DL for a month before he goes back on. But I wouldn’t worry about Jackson not hitting, I would worry about when Avila is going to stop hitting again.

Hey, the only problem I have with the lineup with Victor coming back is that Ordonez can’t cover any ground in the outfield and if he’s hitting like he has been recently, there’s no point in having him on the team.

If Alex stops hitting he’ll have a lot of guys to commiserate with on this team.

Showing my age again but the SOC is starting to remind me of the gardener Chance in the movie ‘Being There’.
At least Peter Sellers in the role could be understood when he spoke moving his lips with an empty mouth.

It appears there are two schools of thought out here in fandom. One is to call up hot hitters from Toledo and the other is to use the current hitters in a different batting order. I’m in the latter group. The first option is to call up Sizemore, Dirks, whoever, and they would slot into the lineup and the team would achieve the same overall results that they’ve been getting. It’s not like any of the Toledo guys are going to carry the club. The second option, which can be done quite easily, is to switch up the current batting order. Yes, I’m talking about putting a temporary end to the Jackson-Rhymes-Ordonez top three. We need people on base when Cabrera comes up and we need them now. We can’t afford to have slumping hitters damaging the team effort while they work out their batting woes. Most of these hitters are interchangeable parts; it doesn’t much matter what order they hit in, as long as the hottest hitters get the most ABs per game. This isn’t rocket science. Leyland’s obstinance in this regard makes the issue tougher than it needs to be.
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On the “controversial” decision to leave Scherzer in the game last night, I would have done the same. Did you really want Perry or Schlereth coming in at that point? I assumed Max could get his final hitter, and that’s what JL told him during that mound visit.
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I’m afraid little of this matters, however, as we don’t seem to have a winning attitude here. That does come down from Leyland, IMO. We’ll continue to find ways to lose win-able ballgames because we don’t possess the killer instinct. It’s a country club atmosphere with the goal being more towards surviving the grind of the season rather than winnning on a consistent basis. This is all Leyland, through and through. This has been going on for five years with no end in sight. It’s depressing. I’d wager the majority of the fan base fully expects a sweep this weekend.

When Jim went out to the mound, Rod said something about Jim bolstering him up with a pep talk or something. A pep talk? I knew right then and there, the game was over. See manager, lose.

You are right, Rich, I wouldn’t expect any of the Toledo guys to carry us. However, I don’t think that just shuffling around these guys in the lineup is going to help either. My point with Sizemore is, we wanted him to be our 2nd baseman as an unproven player. Now with him hitting nearly .400 at Toledo it’s not worth a shot to try him again? Heck, I’d stick Dirks and Sizemore at the top and see what happens. It really can’t be any worse than what we’re seeing now.

I would have dropped Jackson in the lineup long ago. They let Boesch struggle for months (and many of us thought it was almost sadistical) because of his great first half. I thought he should have been sent to Toledo. But that was last year. It would look pretty bad if they demoted Jackson for the same problem BB had for 3 months. I’d put anyone who can get on base in the leadoff position.

Yep, that’s the other school of thought, Ed. But as Jason points out above, it’s Sizemore for one of Ordonez, Raburn, or Boesch. It won’t be Boesch with the way he’s hitting, and it won’t be Ordonez just because he’s Ordonez. That leaves Raburn. Now, I’ve always liked Ryan and I realize I’m in a distinct minority on that point. He is one of the few homerun threats on the team but is also a streaky hitter. Rhymes has pretty much lost his starting job to Raburn already. While Sizemore will probably be called up at some point, I don’t think it’s right now. Management is seeing the same things we are, but are moving slowly. To be fair to management, it’s a lot easier for us to call for changes because we don’t bear the responsibiilty.
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I am interested in Dirks, having seen him in spring training. He looks like major league material. And I think Maggs is in his final season. So there’s that.
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But we still need to change that team culture.

Heck pup, the only ones with a reasonable shot to get on base are Boesch, Cabrera, or Avila. Everyone else has about a 2 in 10 chance of getting on!

Leyland should consider a different player to lead off-one that insures a base hit-I myself would put Boesch in that position-the way he is hitting, he’s sure to get on. Maybe taking Jackson out of the lead off position would take some pressure off him. Ryan Raburn can occasionally play offense but defensively he is a joke-makes too many errors! I also can’t understand why they haven’t called up Clete Thomas-great defensively and offensively! I say send down Casper Wells, bring up Thomas!

I’ve been an Ohio Tiger fan for nearly 40 years so it pains me to see Cleveland take it to us. When it comes right down to it, though, player for player, with the exception of first base, I think they have the edge. They just may end up being the team to beat this year.

It was crystal clear that Max was maxed out in the 7th. I figured you let him stay in until someone gets on, then you pull him.
You accomplish the fact you had confidence in him and left it up to him to get through the 7th. You tell him upfront that he looks like he is tiring and you intend to take him out if he doesn’t get the outs.
Leyland is scared fecesless about the prospect of the 7th inning transition. So much that he is forgetting that the 8th inning is no bed of roses either.
Would I have pulled Max—in a heartbeat. He deserved to have his fine outing preserved. He should never have faced the tying run in that inning.
I see the problem with Sizemore being called up too. He won’t play much, maybe even less than Rhymes.
While Dirks is a viable option. How do you not play Jackson though?
This team is stuck in Krazy Glue. You have players that you have to play but they still won’t produce even if they are not on the bench.
So we are going to have to endure the lack of hitting from the top of the order because Leyland is far too stubborn to realy change that appreciably. Granted, I do think he will drop AJ but the 2 and 3 hitters will still present on-base problems.
So we have a team that does not get on base much, does not hit homers, does not run well, does not bunt, does not field well, does not have a settled bullpen, does not have consistently good starting pitching, and has a manager who manages on “track records” and “the book”.
Bueno Suerte.

didn’t see this game. how could you tell that Scherzer was maxed out before he gave up the tying HR?

Wow, Dan, that sounds like a recipe for disaster!!!
Buenos tardes.

for the most part, I agree with what Leyland is saying here. he has several hitters who are slumping. as a manager, he can do only so much to get these guys going. boston has had same problem with carl crawford. they dropped him lower in the order and Leyland may have to do the same with Jackson and Ordonez. as a side note, I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Jason’s shoes, heading into the Tiger locker room after that loss, looking for an interview. I suppose that’s when you find out who the leaders of this team are.

Remember these tidbits from the Leyland era:
Marcus Thames is our everyday left fielder.
Scott Sizemore is our second baseman of the future so let’s non-tender Polonco.
Carlos Guillen is our SS, LF, 2B
Rhymes and Wells are coming north with us and believe you me they wouldn’t be coming if they’re not going to play.

Idle banter from coaching, and the front office. Par for the course under this regime. Funny thing is the season is far from over but all of us can see where its headed, down Leyland pants right next to his hands.

–Leyland raved about Polanco. It wasn’t his decision to part ways. The Sizemore for Polanco exchange was engineered by Dombrowski and all about saving $$. What manager in MLB would want to exchange a gold glove 2b, smart contact hitter for a rookie coming off ankle surgery?

–They were trying to find a position for Guillen to keep his bat in the lineup. Same with Thames. Ditto Raburn. Teams will go to great lengths to try and find a defensive position for a hitter.

–Leyland seems to do a good job of getting the bench involved. Sometimes a little overboard (batting Kelly 3rd?) though.

Trouble was, Guillen couldn’t play any of those positions well, including 1B. Are you related to Leyland, Woody?

Woody’s not related to Leyland, Ed, you’re thinking of Lynn Henning. :-)

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