Monday’s lineup: Tigers at Twins

The moves in the batting order behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are on again. After about two weeks of Brennan Boesch in the fifth spot, he’s moved down to seventh following an 0-for-7 series against Texas. Alex Avila, 14-for-31 so far in August, moves up to fifth. Delmon Young stays in the sixth spot.

It’s the second start in the fifth spot this season for Avila, who also did it May against the White Sox (Delmon Young was off that day). He started three times in the fifth spot last season.


  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Andy Dirks, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Alex Avila, C
  6. Delmon Young, DH
  7. Brennan Boesch, LF
  8. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  9. Omar Infante, 2B

P: Anibal Sanchez

I’m not in Minnesota this week, but will try to keep the blog updated. Jordan Garretson will be covering from Target Field for the site.


Their starting pitcher walks more than he strikes out. Hitters be patient. We may see Casey Fien pitching for them. He is doing quite well.

Just read Raburn is down in Lakeland:
Ryan Raburn (right thumb sprain) is working out in Lakeland and is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday.

“We did start to do some swinging with him, gripping the bat,” Rand said. “He’s not hitting yet, but basically just working on gripping and doing some dry swinging.”

If that’s the case he should be close to being ready because he’s been doing some “dry swinging” all year long.
Reality, Ryan Raburn is through as a Tiger if they don’t divest themselves of Young.
No way he comes back next year.
Replacing him? This year –Avisail Garcia. Next year—Nick Castellanos.
If they actually want to remain in contention AND bring in a different RHB, it pretty much has to be Garcia. He is a legitimate outfielder. Not so, just yet, for Nick Castellanos. Now if they fall out of contention, that’s a whole different story.

Whoa Jimmy, batting Avila 5th? Have you been reading our posts?

Funny you say that, I think Lynn Henning does!

Ya Minnys starting pitcher walks a ton of hitters…kinda like Darvish did and that didnt irk out too well. They’ll probably make him look like the best pitcher on the planet! Not too excited.

And they don’t make him pay for wildness in 1st inning…not shocked.

3rd inning still don’t have a hit…

Well ump cost Sanchez there in the 3rd ……Willingham was struck out and now there are 2 hits and atlanta 1 run! Too bad….but again I’m not a big supporter of umpires.

4 th inning and still nothing I could cry! I don’t know what it is they get on the road and decide not to play or hit anymore. I know it’s early in the game but I’m just disgusted.

This TEAM just doesn’t feel good. They are disconnected. Manager to player, intra lineup and inter departmental. Nothing seems like it is working.
Not sure how many times a club can survive going into team-wide slumps. We do this all the time. This is at least the 4th time this year where we have fallen into a serious trend offensively.

Well at least Boesch helps with his speed.

New game

1st & 3rd nobody out—hope we don’t go back to the “old” game! That one we have gotten accustomed to.

Well hoping doesn’t help. Austin looked horrible and then an extroidinarily unlucky play. But the result is all the same they can’t get a runner in from 3rd with nobody out. Pretty much the norm lately.

These guys are amazing in their inability to get a runner in from 3rd with nobody out.
I’m just not sure who to blame for that. It’s brutal. And when I say nobody out—I mean just that—nobody. We have to be the worst if not near the worst.

Man, it seems like Chisox keep finding ways to come back and win.
Hopefully they will now lose in extras.

Revere reveres our pitching. Seems to just stick it to us.

Sox tied it in the 9th with a Dunn Dinger. Not a good feeling about tonight.

No sooner said than-bam. Mastro hits one. Geez–at least we got a call on Revere.

No rest for the bullpen tonight. Sanchez won’t last to much longer.

Same dang thing every stinking day… Waste opportunities to put runs on the board and now this…. It’s the same thing all the time and frankly I’m tired of this script! It gives me a headache!

Can’t do a bloody thing against inexperienced pitchers. It’s happened all year.

Time to use the hook

Gonna be hard to find 3 things to like about this one.
Difference between a bad team like the Twins and a crappy one like the Tigers. The Twins get the run in from 3rd and we don’t get a sniff..
This one is done and we haven’t even seen what Coke is going to bring to the table yet.

In 4 starts, I am not impressed with Sanchez. It seems his fastball are very straight and his offspeed stuff is up and spins alot. Way to many hits and home runs in his outings. I admit I didnt see much of him in Florida but like I said; not impressed yet.
I would say Smyly gave us better chances to win. I am glad Omar is performing because otherwise the trade would look very bad.
Not feelling to good about this game.
— Bob

Delmon has looked at 3 pitches already tonight.

Nothing to feel good about. Coke continues to be all about running in from the bullpen and beating his chest but is less than average on the hill. We let some no-name (no disrespect intended) pummel us, give up a tonne of hits and can’t do a thing on the sticks.
I think this team does not believe in itself. If it weren’t so cruel I’d say they have given up. We are actually being humiliated tonight in all facets of the game. Shame.

Jays won

This team is horrible and with this dudes ball to strike ratio there shoud be a little more going on here. NOT professional hitters, can’t pitch can’t field. White Soxs will take ths division easily if this is the effort and production we continue to see.

Well that’s a bright note.

Well, with that piss poor effort in the top of the 7th, I’m done.
Good night all. May none of you have nightmares of 1st and 3rd and nobody out.
— Bob

2 more weeks of this garbage and Leyland is going to change his mind about expanded rosters.
Fans will have little to look forward to other than Smyly, Crosby, Rondon, Romero, Castellanos and Garcia.
Instead we’ll likely see more of Young, Kelly, Worth, Raburn and Avila run into the ground.

Sorry. Guess I’m not paying very good attention. Delmon has seen 6 pitches. Point is these hitters should have been seeing 5-6 pitches each AB. Deduno pitches through the 7th.

I can hardly believe how beaten our Detroit Tigers look. Maybe the Twins will pull off a double steal now?

And our manager seems willing to throw Below to the wolves. That’s his reward for putting up with the disregard he has been shown this year.

you mean he has to go to work? Below is a busto!

Turning it off…waste of time waste of everything the dont give a crap why should I?

Whoa- 3 more now and I would suspect Below is in for the duration. Forget the wolves—Leyland is throwing him under the bus.

Is there an off day coming soon? it looks like they need it.

I watched Sanchez in many games. He was good. Like most pitchers just traded is failing and badly.

Yeah—Maybe I’ll go do something exciting like updating my software.
Really angry at management for coming up with this product on the field.
Most of us knew very early in the season that this would not be the team that management let on they were.
Truth is Cabby shouldn’t be playing right now. He’s hurting and does anybody see the point in aggravating this?

For the record I’m still watching. Tough break for Prince. Avila looked disinterested.

Maybe we could just miss the #5 and bat to 10 doing away with our 13th floor.

Watching and seeing the same! Hard to tell where the anger stops and the disappointment starts. It feels like the same thing.

Benoit can work a little and get it going

Thank you Mario & Rod re: Q.

Missed the Q comment–getting Minny feed. What was said Kathy.
Hope full my last comment. Benoit out and Downs in. 9-3. 2 out.What’s the point?
Too many pitches for Benoit?. I would prefer to see what he can do with a power hitting LHB myself.

Yes, I did watch until the end. I love torture, and my team is providing a good dose each night in the past week. Upfront, I would not want to resign Sanchez. Basically, we gave a 1 and a 2 to get Infante. Sanchez’ strikeout stuff is invisible. When you make the Twin offense look really good, it’s going to be a long night. All of us knew that when we had nothing in the fourth from Deduno, that we’d be “done -oh”. The at bats are so embarrassing. Boesch and Delmon, even Alex tonight makes one cringe. Delmon’s solid hit came after making 3outs in 4 pitches. Twins nearly get 20 hits, and we have six. Even if by a miracle we get to the playoffs, we are one and out. I’m convinced that the absence of a lefty starter down the stretch will really hurt us, and that’s assuming we hit enough. Oh well, Sturgill, quit the whining and tell us three things you liked in tonight’s game:
1. Boesch’s base running to score from first on the Peralta double. On top of that, he actually got on base via a free pass.
2. Fielder’s nifty play in the bottom of the sixth, to get the runner out after his two
run single. He seems to be on top of positioning to take the cutoff, to its maximum advantage for the team.
3. The fact that Minnesota didn’t get 20 hits.

My most pathetic list thus far this year. We didn’t lose ground, but I really see tough times ahead unless we find lightning in a bottle. Good night all!

Below goes down, Putkonen comes up.

These guys are finished, done for the year. They are a non-competitive bunch of guys that have pathetic leadership, thanks to Leyland and company! I will not watch for the next several days as I am going to relax w/out technology for 6-7 days in LA.
From the 2nd week of the season, this group has underperformed on a consistent basis.

So benoit gave 9 HR in 11 AB. Coke allowed the runners to score. Villareal hid his injury.But Below got the axe.:”It’s a little unfair to ask a guy to do sometimes what we ask him to do,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “But at the same time when you’re in the major leagues you have to be able to do that. ”
Well, a closer must close the games. A setup it is not supposed to pitch BP. The lefty especialist is supposed to get out the LHBs. And the best pitcher in the bullpen , well, must be used and not being invisible ( Dotel)
Leyland must go. You can not manage a team based on personal bias.
BTW: a third base coach must know the signals and when to send home a runner.
In a different note, what wrong with Henning? he wrote and article about the failures of the team and take one cheap shot after another at Cabrera. Cabrera is the best hitter in MLB, there in no a single one LH or RH better than him. He was ranked last year as the best player after Pujols and Halladay. They resigned their post. He is the best player in MLB.

We certainly have not been road warriors on this trip so far. The beauty about baseball is you get a chance to redeem yourself soon. Go Tigers.

Can we tweak the rotation order with the day off?? Have it go JV, Porcello, Fister, Sanchez, Scherzer.

They have to. They need to put JV against Chisox. JL threw Sánchez under the bus. He left the game 3 down. Coke threw oil into the fire . But it is only Sánchez to blame so.. expect him to be skipped

Oops that gets Sanchez against Toronto. Better for him to get a different team.

El Tigre, how does Coke do with inherited runners???

Both scored. Sánchez left with the game 1-3

Wasn’t long ago and cries were raining down “where is Below – why won’t JL use him?” And the answer was “our starting pitching has been so good we don’t need a long man” with retorts of “find other ways to get him in the game”….rah rah rah.
On Aug. 8th he got some long man work….3 innings….4 hits, 1 BB, 0Ks. Last night JL found him some late innings work and we get 3 hits including a 3 run dinger and 1 BB in 1 inning.
So NOW how does everyone feel about Duane Below? Hey maybe JL wasn’t playing him because he played like crap before the starters got hot (July 17th and 27th were rough outings).
The pen will come around. Just frustrating as all heck. Glad momentum is tonight’s starting pitcher.

Greg – amazed you keep finding 3 good things – geez another tough tough night. We need to work things out boys, it is getting tough to watch and I no longer have the Olympics to switch back and forth with.

El Tigre, I agree that JL must go. Why did he put Below in for the late innings? Where was Dotel? Why did Benoit pitch? Duduno was highly regarded by the Rockies. The Twins got all those singles because they continue to go the other way and our hitters swing at the first pitch or ball four. Where are all the fans after the Tigers won 6 in a row? I can’t wait to read the posts after tonight’s game! Go Tigers! –Dave

Below: ERA 3.88 ( 1 full point last nigh)IRS:25% WHIP:1.230
Coke:ERA 3.86 IRS :26% WHIP :1.629.
Villareal:ERA: 2.41( 1.51 before sunday game)IRS: 47% WHIP:1.232
Benoit: ERA 3.53 IRS:0%. WHIP:1.117. That good he was until last week.
Dotel:ERA 2.39 IRS:16% WHIP:0.993.
Downs. ERA 2.03 IRS:20% WHIP:1.050
Villareal and Coke are the problem. Benoit , for the last couple of week too.
Time to switch Dotel and Benoit

Nice research but look at what those stats for their last ten games. That’s what we are dealing with today. Below 5.95 which includes spot start. Coke 7.00 Benoit 6.30 …….

Well while I think Sanchez has been a disappointment to say the least. However like someone said he left the game with a managable score but with runners on. I love Coke his personality etc., it is his job to keep those runners from scoring. He almost does it but no. There was nobody last night that has anything to be proud of 1-9. They all had horrible at bats and made yet another wild pitcher look great. They are more than that. They better pick it up because white soxs seemed a little charmed with a ton of walk offs and aren’t going anywhere.

All is not quiet on the bullpen front. We have some issues and struggles out there. The number one issue in a bullpen is always injuries. Our latest two are Joaquin Benoit and Brayan Villarreal. Neither has been placed on the DL . Joaquin complained of a sore shoulder after giving up two homers in a game with the Indians. Please keep in mind that these homers were in his second inning that night. Our manager gave him a couple nights off. Then in his next outing he gave up two homers to the Yankees in our 4-3 loss. Last night he looked better though MN did get one run. He kept the ball down better and it did take two singles and a sac fly for them to score. He is a very proud man and the key to getting this bullpen back in order. We need him to have a clean outing very soon. Brayan has been checked for a weak elbow with no structural damage found. He is plain and simple the victim of being our manager’s “hot hand” for nearly two months. Keep in mind he won back to back games in early June in which he threw 22 pitches and 35 pitches and for the month he threw 12 times for 16 innings and a grand total of 283 pitches. His last assignment he started out 91, 93, 92 first three pitches.He now will be given four days off.

Besides these two righties with injuries and struggles we have two lefties with struggles. Currently we have no indication of injuries for either Duane Below or Phil Coke. It may be mute point for us concerning Duane as he was sent to Toledo to get a chance to “get sharp”. For Duane, he has allowed hits in his last ten outings.
That is not good. No one can say that he did not get a pass in two or three of his outings but the BA against was just not good. Duane go down there you will get opportunities. Phil has just been giving up hits at an alarming rate really for most of the season. The last nine games he has pitched in he has allowed hits. That’s very bad for a reliever. It’s harsh but for relievers it’s all about putting up zeroes. Now for a suggestion to Phil, please find that lost changeup and stop throwing 75% of your out pitches in the strike zone. That will never work. Keep in mind both righties AND lefties hit over .300 against Phil.

Let’s have some good bullpen news. Octavio Dotel has been lights out lately. Give a hand to DD for signing him. For now he can set up in the eighth if we have the need. Also, the bulk of his pitching last season was done at the end of the season. It looks like we will need him much like the WS champion Cards needed him. He won’t be lock down like Benoit but he can do the job. Another pitcher who has done tremendous work is Darin Downs. Our manager would tell you he was brought up to fill in for four or five days. It is now about forty days!!!! Now will our manager trust him enough to do the lefty specialist work that he deserves. Lefties hit .100 against him. See Phil for the comparison.

Now let’s look at the closer situation. For us purists, everyone should know that Jose’s last two one run saves coincide with Brayan Villarreal’s two back to back victories on 6/9 and 6/10. He has just completed two months with only two and three run leads to save. And of course, we know that a couple of those became one run wins!!!! He is getting by more and more with guile, plain and simple. He holds the ball, he determines at what moment that batter gets the ball, he is a master of the ninth inning drama and SHOW. None better at being the finisher. Our manager has done a masterful job of limiting his pitches this year. JV2 could yet be a dominant closer down the stretch. If he needs a day off and we need a closer, Dotel could do it for now.

Luke Putkonen is coming up from Toledo to fill the RH long relief specialist role. Recently we had basically two lefties as long relief guys. All you need to know is he has gone over four innings twice in assignments recently. The guy has 95 on the gun and a good curve. Could the Cubs be interested in him?? He has worked hard at the long relief role all year and will continue to do that.

very good point about Villareal being played too much and his elbow. honestly fuckin great post!! Wouldn’t it help if AL AL was back in the pen and throwing well?

Have we had any good news lately on AA ( I call him New Mexico) or Daniel Schlereth?? DS was an important part of the five man bullpen Mr. Leyland used in August last year.

In summary of the above post, we have a closer, Jose Valverde, an eighth inning set up man, Octavio Dotel, a lefty specialist, Darin Downs, our key puzzle piece, Joaquin Benoit, a struggling Phil Coke, Brayan Villarreal on rest, and a long man, Luke Putkonen. If he has six healthy, our manager is always good to go. Managing, a bullpen is tough for any manager.

Putkonen is obviously not an answer. He does have some interesting stuff and is an imposing presence on the mound but, he is no solution of significance.
We are actually more suited to our long man being a southpaw. Below wasn’t ever going to be a truly consistently effective pitcher. I never felt ‘comfortable” with him coming in but he was most certainly mis-used in the pen by his manager. The message was loud and clear.
Andy Oliver has had some recent success as a reliever, not suggesting anything here, just pointing the fact out.
I’ltt tell you what will be interesting though—Jose Valverde’s next critical outing. If he shows signs of blowing up I’m pretty sure you will see Rondon sooner rather than later.

Putkonen is protection against a starter getting bombed out early. He will be a bullpen saver if needed. Just for another debate. How many of you armchair managers wanted Sanchez pulled after five???? The score is 2-1. Who comes in??

Well, I wouldn’t be pulling him after 5 with the score 2-1.
But if I had to, it would have been Below.

I did not want him pulled after 5. What I wanted was for him to pitch like the player we were told we were getting. Like I said last night; he has been unimpressive. The fastball is straight and his offpspeed pitches have no bite to them. El Tigre says he is a good pitcher. His numbers show that he is. I will trust El Tigre and be patient. But Sanchez needs to start giving us a chance to win his starts. He has not in 3 of 4.
They need to find a way to get through these next two games with wins. If they do that, the road trip was salvaged. Starting on Friday, they play 15 of 18 at home. That is when they need to decide if they are in it to win it or are just going to be passengers. Here is the prediction: If they are not leading the division on September 6th, they will not win the division. I know that is a rather narrow prediction and so many things can happen after Sept 6th. My point is that the next 18 is a huge schedule advantage for them and they need to grab the bulls by the horn and just get it done. If they are still chasing the White Sox on Sept 6th, I do not think they will win. The schedule is not favourable after that regardless of the fact that the last 12 games are against Minnny and KC (I dont need to remind anyone of the 1-5 record they had against KC in the final month of 2009).
I have said many times on here I am not a JL fan but as this season progresses I am leaning more towards GK. The players have to show some pride. What we have seen the last 3 days was terrible. The players have to be professional and play the game and adjust to the situations as they arise.
The question is not “can” they do it; but “will” they do it.
It is in their hands.
— Bob

Excellent post DOK Dave. In answer to your question, it wouldn’t have bothered me to have Sanchez pulled after 5. Can’t say I was thinking too hard about it, but he was getting into and out of trouble for his entire outing. Each inning our hitters failed to give him a needed rest on the bench, you could feel the pressure from the Twins hitters building inning by inning.
It’s very frustrating to watch our hitters take this less than thoughtful approach to hitting. We see it game after game. Sometimes being aggressive works. When it doesn’t they have to recognize early that their offensive game has to slow down. See more pitches, take some walks. Sanchez has not been real impressive thus far but obviously he can pitch. Last night his teammates needed to recognize their part in helping him out. I don’t think they did. You’ve got a wild pitcher who is tough to hit and you allow him 8 pitch and 9 pitch innings back to back? Inexcusable.

Well the above points out the problem in the “team”. They don’t really play like a unit.
Very disconnected. Hitters don’t pick up, or protect their pitchers or their defense or each other, for that matter. It may not look like it statistically, but hitting has been a major problem in 2012. It has not been consistent nor have the power numbers been where management hoped them to be.
There is enough hitting to muck this out. But unfortunately, it is going to take all 5 of our starters to pretty much give us a quality start every time out in order to do so. IMO, it’s up to them to turn things around and inspire this team.

Agree totally that positive movement, as in winning streaks, will hinge on super starting pitching. The qualifier now is that two or three guys at the back end of the bullpen will have to hold it together enough for these wins. On nights we are getting to Valverde time, “the show”, the hitters have already done a good job.

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