March 12th, 2013
If you’ve ever gone to a soup and salad bar and had to look for a label to figure out what kind of chowder you were staring it, then you can probably relate to Jhonny Peralta’s downfall Monday. If not, well, maybe you’ll sympathize anyway.
Yes, Peralta said Tuesday, he ate clam chowder before Monday’s game knowing he was allergic to it. However, he said, he did not know it was clam chowder, and it wasn’t labeled.
“They had potato soup before, too,” Peralta said. “It didn’t smell [like chowder].”
Not until Peralta had consumed a half-bowl’s worth, he said, did he realize his mistake. Thankfully for his sake, his allergic reaction consisted of stomach problems and not swelling.
Peralta was back in the lineup Tuesday against the Phillies, going 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored.
The Tigers are back home Wednesday to face Florida Southern, and Peralta is sure to double-check exactly what the soup of the day is from here on out. It almost sounds like a script out of Seinfeld, but Peralta says it was an honest mistake.
“It’s good to know now,” Peralta said.
If you’ve been following the Tigers closer situation at all the last few weeks (and really, if you haven’t, you probably haven’t been reading Tigers coverage at all), you know that the bullpen by committee has been an option. Some have labeled it a fallback option if the Tigers determine Bruce Rondon isn’t ready. It might be more accurate to say it’s a middle ground if the Tigers believe Rondon is ready to pitch in the big leagues and close games but not necessarily ready to “be the closer.”
Asked about the chances of Rondon being part of a closer by committee, Leyland put it in one word: “Possible.”
“That’s a very good question,” Leyland said, “and that’s a very good answer. Possible, and that only means possible.”
Leyland summed up Rondon’s standing like this: “Is he in the mix as a closer? Yes. Is he in the mix to make the team, possibly as another pitcher you close with occasionally? Yes. Is it a possibility that he’s not ready yet? Yes.”
So there, pretty much, are your three possibilities.
Leyland saw encouraging signs from Rondon’s outing Tuesday, including a 101 mph fastball on the last pitch that Leyland said exploded in the strike zone from his view on the first-base side. The fact that Rondon threw his secondary pitches was encouraging, Leyland said, but he’s looking for command of them as the next step, and more swings and misses as they go along.
“This is a real talent,” Leyland said. “And what it’s going to boil down to is: Is this talent ready for this level? And I can tell you that decision has not been made.”
If the answer is yes, then the next question will be whether he’s ready to close full time or get chances as part of a committee. If it’s no, then comes the possibility Rondon gets more seasoning at Triple-A Toledo.
“The question to me is: Do you feel comfortable that this kid is ready to go to the big leagues, whether it be as a closer or a guy that could break in and pick your spots? That’s the question,” Leyland said, “and I don’t think that question is going to be answered until right down to the wire.”
At the same time, though, Leyland said later, “You’re not going to know what Rondon can do at the Major League level until the day comes, whether it’s two weeks from now or two months from now or a year from now, until you see him at the Major League level. That’s just the way it is.”
Leyland has projected lineups for the teams the Tigers are going to face to start out the year, so it’s safe to say that matchups will have an impact.
It was pouring in Lakeland this morning, but it’s only a light drizzle here in Clearwater. The bus took off this morning from Lakeland, so they’re planning on playing this game.
Jhonny Peralta is in the lineup after missing yesterday’s game with the food allergy. Alex Avila will catch starter Drew Smyly, a combination that has worked well the last couple starts as Avila has pushed Smyly to throw changeups and curveballs. Brayan Pena is the DH, with Victor Martinez at first base.
Smyly will be facing a decent number of hitters from the Phillies’ projected Opening Day roster. Jonathan Papelbon is on the pitching list for the Phillies after he gave up a pair of home runs to the Tigers here on Feb. 25.
Reminder: Today’s game is on MLB Network, but on tape delay starting at 4pm ET. The game is live online at MLB.TV. You can also listen to the game live on AM 1270 and MLB.com Gameday Audio.
- Quintin Berry, CF
- Brennan Boesch, LF
- Andy Dirks, RF
- Victor Martinez, 1B
- Alex Avila, C
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Don Kelly, 3B
- Ramon Santiago, 2B
- Brayan Pena, DH
P: Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque, Luke Putkonen, Joaquin Benoit, Darin Downs, Luis Marte, Jose Ortega
- Ben Revere, CF
- Kevin Frandsen,
- Chase Utley,
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Michael Young, 3B
- Domonic Brown, LF
- John Mayberry Jr., RF
- Erik Kratz, C
- Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
P: Roy Halladay, Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Jake Diekman, Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams