Game 5: Tigers remain unbeaten

Jim Leyland says each spring training before the games start that he has three goals in mind:

  1. Get the Major League roster ready to play.
  2. Try to get a look at some of the prospects in camp.
  3. Play close to .500 ball so that the fans don’t get nervous.

They’re playing a lot better than that for the first handful of games, which is doing nothing to temper expectations for the regular season.

Normally, when a team goes on a dominant stretch of play in spring training, it means the team has more depth in prospects and minor-league free agents than other clubs. And to be fair, Quintin Berry helped win a game for the Tigers a couple days ago with a two-run triple. But for the most part, this run the Tigers are on centers around a starting lineup — including eight RBIs on three hits in three games from Ryan Raburn — and a pretty stingy pitching staff.

They’re scoring a good number of their runs in the early innings against the Major League portion of their opponents’ rosters. Of course, most of those runs came on that windy Sunday afternoon against the Braves, and against one of baseball’s best pitching prospects.

Take away Sunday’s 18-3 win, and the Tigers have still won four games by a 14-4 margin, not counting Florida Southern. They’ve allowed just seven runs all spring, and two of them came in the eighth inning of that 18-3 game.

“We’re doing OK,” Leyland said. “What I like we’re getting some guys in there and everybody’s getting their work in. I mean, you always want to win games, but I don’t care that we’re 4-0 or whatever we are. You always want to play around .500. We’re OK win-wise, but we’ve got a lot of work. We’re getting a lot of work in. That’s good.”

What we learned: Miguel Cabrera can handle a slow roller.

What to remember from Game 5: Jacob Turner, for all the poise he shows, is still just 20. So if he falls out of form, like he did Wednesday, he might have more trouble getting back into it when he knew he only had a couple innings. At the same time, Andy Oliver is looking early like he’s moving on from last year.

Hey, it’s only Spring Training: If you thought that Miguel Cabrera’s 0-for-8 start was the sign of a longer slump, that maybe he would have trouble hitting at a lower weight, your concerns might have been a bit premature. Not only did Cabrera go deep for his first hit of the spring Wednesday, he hit it all the way over the left-field berm. He’s 1-for-10 so far this spring, but the lone hit was impressive.

The highlight play you missed: It wasn’t necessarily a highlight play, but for Cabrera’s transition to third base, Tyler Pastornicky’s slow roller was an important one. Cabrera had to charge in, but at the same time, he also took into account the lesson he learned the other day about not rushing a play, fielding and throwing with just enough time to get the out.

Looking ahead: The Tigers will potentially get a look at former teammates Fernando Rodney and Will Rhymes on Thursday, taking on a Rays split-squad at Port Charlotte. Doug Fister will get the start, with fifth starter candidate Duane Below among those pitching in relief.

To-do list for Thursday: Watch Fister take on much the same Rays squad that he shut down for a critical win last August.

27 Comments

Not too worried about Turner, or some of the other real young pitchers. They’re usuall working on mechanics and trying some new pitches, so if the slider is getting away from them, for example, not too worried now. That’s what ST and the Minors are for. Not too worried about the hitting, or lack of from some, either. I gaurantee that Raburn won’t be hitting .600 all season and Cabrera won’t be at .150 or whatever he is….
–Mike

http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

yea cuz raburn usually only bats well for half a season ;)

I find it curious that Casey Crosby is not inluded ain all articles by all writiers when it comes to the 5th starter possibility. Seems like some of them have written him off.
I wouldn’t, not yet.

162-0 this year!!!

Alex Avila is my favourite Tiger. That being said I don’t think Alex is going to have the kind of year he had last year. I don’t think it wil be as bad as he did offensively at the end (mostly injury and fatigue related) but I’ll be happy if he gets 85% of the offensive numbers he got last year I’ll be surprised. .270 with 15 HRs and 70 RBIs would god production.

Raburn throwing error. delmon clutch homer. Fister solid outting.

oh ish fister went back out after that long of a wait? he faced 9 already but whatev

he did fine anyhow :)

Boy to errors??

That boy two error!

Wow hope Duane goes back out there and turns this performance around

somebody has to tell danny and clete they need to hit

Question: if Turner does not distinguish himself from the other candidates for the 5th starter, will it be better for him to get more work in the minors than say Oliver, Below or Smyly. I would think he would benefit most from time in AAA. The pitching staff has put up some solid numbers in Spring Training, which shows we have nice pitching depth to go along with our lineup….

Also, is Strieby a serious candidate to be a DH for the Tigers this year?

He is hitting like he wants to be!

I think if all else is equal, Below gets the first crack at the rotation going north. We are going to need to find out if at some point if Oliver can pitch up there, however. I’ll get to see Smyly on Sunday and hopefully I can learn something about him. The nice part here is that Turner does not need to make the club in ST.
It appears that the DH job is already filled by a rotation of guys.

why do you say Below? I would think oliver.

Can he play 2B?

There is almost zero chance of Strieby being or becoming a DH.
Great to see him hitting with his advancement so thoroughly blocked.
We’re fixed at 1st and 3rd for awhile now. Heck there may be a time in a few years that a catcher needs to be brought up and Alex needs to get out of the squat!
If Strieby has a really good spring he could become trade bait or maybe he re-learns how to play in the field.
Right now I’m sure JL is not looking for any further complications to his lineup or the DH spot.

Hey Austin has quietly had a nice ST so far. A good offensive season from him along with a healthy delmon…and Avila and Peralta don’t need to have above average seasons (like they did last year).

and i just wanted to say, that Miguel Cabrera leads the team in steals.

clete thomas is 3rd in plate appearances with a .214 OBP

I was very pleasantly surprised with Oliver’s performance. After last year, I was afraid he might not make it. Not saying he will, but he was like “lights out” compared to last year. So much more composed, so that was good to see. We’ve hardly seen Miggly field a ball at third.
.
MLB Network is going to interview Prince tonight sometime between 9:30 & 10pm.

oliver is my pick to make the rotation…..but partially because he is a lefty

OK, Peter Gammons will be doing the interview with Prince after the commercial. Thought I might have missed it, but it’s coming on now.

I’ll be at my first game on Sunday in Kissimmee. I hope the Tigers lose one before than so I won’t be blamed when they do lose one.
“See” you all then.

With the signing of Prince Fielder, Mr. I gave the fans their legacy. If you are a Tiger fan or a life long Michigander, you all know and remember Prince. Even the signing of Pudge, which was on the front page of every Michigan newspaper, and the mind-blowing trade for Miguel which made most of us hysterical, the acquisition of Prince is still just unbelievable. We are so fortunate to have an owner like Mr. I.

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