Tigers lineup getting a shakeup

Jim Leyland said late last week that he was sticking with his lineup, the players in it, and believes in the team he has. In the same conversation, though, he made the point that it’s ultimately not his final call.

“I think you’re watching and you’re watching,” Leyland said Friday, “and the general manager and the manager and the coaches are watching. And all of a sudden one day, the general manager says, ‘Let’s do something.'”

The Tigers were in Cleveland. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski was not with the team over the weekend, but he was obviously around Monday with the team at home.

Dombrowski and Leyland met about the team Monday. By Monday night, Scott Sizemore was getting ready to head to Detroit, nearly a year after the Tigers sent him down from his season-opening second base job last year.

“We’re looking for a little punch,” Leyland said. “Sizemore’s hitting .400. He’s a second baseman. Rhymes is a second baseman. So [Rhymes] kind of got the short end of the stick, to be honest with you. But that’s just the way it is.”

He probably won’t be the only one.

One big obstacle seemingly stopping Sizemore’s return until now was the flexibility needed to fit Ryan Raburn and Brennan Boesch in the same lineup once Victor Martinez returns from the disabled list on Wednesday. If Raburn was going to get starts at second base, and Sizemore wasn’t going to be an everyday player, then why promote Sizemore from Toledo to sit on the bench in Detroit?

Instead, Sizemore is indeed expected to start the majority of games at second. That leaves Raburn likely to get more starts in the outfield, where Magglio Ordonez will be looking for starts once Martinez returns to Detroit to DH.

Ordonez’s average has fallen to .151. His spot in the lineup appears poised to drop as well.

“When we get Victor back, I might drop [Ordonez] down a little bit,” Leyland said. “I have a plan for that. Once we get Victor back, I have some thoughts. It might make sense for a while to drop him down a little bit.”

It could also make sense to get him days off if he’s going to play the outfield and test his surgically repaired ankle.

Leyland said they were making the Sizemore move “to start with” to get the offense going. Asked if any other hitters could get to Detroit shortly, Leyland was noncommittal, saying it was “putting the cart before the horse.”

11 Comments

There was one AB by Ordonez last night that really bothered me. Santiago had singled with two out and Maggs ran the count to 3-1. With Cabrera on deck, there is a very good chance of getting runs here if Ordonez draws a walk. Instead of using his experience to draw that walk, he fouls off ball four then grounds out weakly to the right. Anyone hitting in front of Cabrera needs to understand that his job is to get on base first and foremost. Even Maggs. That was very disappointing. Very.
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Gk, I thought this umpire, Jeff Nelson (who I’ve never heard of), changed his strikezone between halves of the first inning. After making Verlander throw a zillion pitches up in the zone for balls, he then calls the same pitch strikes on Detroit hitters. It seemed to be a true case of falling for the Yankee style of hitting. I also thought this Nelson guy was too tall to call balls and strikes anyway. What is he, 6’6″? Anyway, after he’d done his damage, he became more consistent.
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It’s difficult to get excited about Sizemore in that he’s the same kind of hitter we have too many of now, but the club has to do something. The few fans who don’t dislike Raburn realize that he’s one of the pitifully few guys on the team who could hit homers. Not much of an endorsement, but I think that’s the reason. Jackson needs to be removed from leadoff and probably sent to Toledo. They can give Dirks a shot or even Clete Thomas, who has big league experience. It remains to be seen if Boesch is in a slide or just undergoing an expected leveling off. I don’t think he was going to hit .335 all season. And never put him behind Cabrera. JL made that into a house of horrors last season and it’s in Brennan’s head now.
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Seven losses in a row………this is getting serious.

looking at the quotes from leyland, the decision to promote sizemore and demote rhymes is clearly dombrowski’s…just like it was to replace polanco with sizemore. he might be ready this time. the GM’s job is on the line too, so leyland doesn’t have much choice but to go along with the switch even if he disagrees. change to just show that you’re “doing something” can give a brief reprieve from criticism, but if it doesn’t work out…it can make you appear at best, indecisive, at worst, incompetent.

This lineup needs a major shakeup. Drop Maggs and put Jackson at the bottom until he figures things out. Problem is leadoff then… at this point I’d almost say Avila. He draws walks, works counts, and is hitting for good average. Not very fast, but what can you do? I also think Cabby should bat third. Having him clean up only makes sense if guys ahead are getting on consistently. Better to make pitchers sweat facing him in the 1st every game and he’s about the only guy on the team that provides a threat with 2 outs and empty bases. Maybe something like Avila, Raburn/Sizemore, Cabrera, Victor, Maggs, Boesch, Peralta, Inge, Jackson.

I’m with you on that lineup, CM. Jackson had 2 hits in the 9 hole and said he felt more comfortable. What does Jim do? Put him right back at leadoff the next day. At this point, I’d put Cabby in the 3 hole, also. We’ll see about Sizemore. He always seems to turn wooden when he gets to the bigs. I advocated for Dirks weeks ago. Boesch and Wells are both in hitting slumps. All the guys look mad. I’ve watched just about every game, but you don’t see much of them haviing fun in the dugout. Quite frankly, if Leland isn’t gone by May 29th, I’ll probably ask for a refund.

Rich, excellent analysis of Maggs 3rd AB, I thought the same thing. It is hard to leave someone that means so much to the Tigers behind, but either Magglio is done or hurt. He cannot occupy that 3rd slot anymore. Boesch or Rayburn will be better there, being able to do something with a fastball.
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To me Boesch seems to change his approach when facing a RHP. With LHP, he uses all fields. He gets too pull-happy with RHP.
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Yankees always get those calls. It is easier to be a team that “works the count” when the corners disappear. That said, it is interesting that the Yankees, with all their boppers won last night with small ball. The Tigers, who play in a huge park, can only score runs on HRs. Not good.
ESPN’s analysts did a nice job. My favorites were Aaron Boone’s “The Tigers have a lot of outs in their lineup” and Sean McDonough’s “Is that as fast as he can run (Raburn)”
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I am not a fan of brining your closer into blowouts or tie games. If he is a closer, use him for saves.
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I want to see Wells get a shot before we bring up Dirks.

I also think the ESPN guys were right about Cabrera baiting Joba to throw him a strike in the 8th. The subtlies that make baseball beautiful.

I agree about the umpire (Jeff Nelson)-terrible calls for Detroit. Also, I still haven’t given up on Magglio-once he gets back in the field, and dropped down some in the lineup, I think he’ll do ok. Some people cannot bat when they are a DH-Magglio may be one of those. I’m not real sold on Sizemore, remains to be seen-but feel Clete Thomas should be given a chance. He could certainly cover the outfield better than Wells and Rayburn-they’re a joke. Plus he can bat!

Do you even WATCH any Tiger games? How can you compare Wells to Raburn defensively, Wells is probably the best outfielder (after Jackson) in the organization. Clete Thomas is hitting .169 against minor leaguers.

The next shake-up will be Coke back to the bullpen (because the bullpen needs him, not because he is not effective as a starter) and Oliver or Furbush becomes starter #5. Probably in June for services reasons for Furbush.

You may be right about that. Lost in the general hysteria over Sunday’s loss was the job Coke did. He totally lost his command for a period there, but managed to get it back. If that happens to a reliever, you just go get another one in the game. If it happens to a starter, you’re screwed. Phil did a good job there, getting things back under control. But he still may end up back in the pen before all is said and done. As it is, he’s had 3 good starts out of 5. I’m sure any team will take a .600 win pct with their 4th starter.

I understand from general scouting the Casper Wells may be one of the quickest players in the organization. I got to see his cannon arm many times down here in Toledo. He is capable if playing all outfield positions(better than Raburn for sure). He hit over 300 in his big league time last year and struck out less than Raburn. Wells has played less than anyone else on the team this year and yet has a Homer. He should get a everyday shot in the outfield.

I was one of the disappointed when Dirks didn’t get a shot out of Spring Training because he outplayed everyone on the team offensively. That being said bringing him upend not playing him would be detrimental to the team and his development as a player.

Clete does decent defensively in the bigs but is more of a spurty hitter which does not immediately help the tigs.

Is Sizemore the fix, probably not. Dirks was hitting ahead of him in Toledo and was a constant threat to steal bases. This pressure wears on pitching and helped Sizemore’s BA by seeing more pressured pitches. If the tigers want those results they’ll have to make a spot for Dirks too.

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