June 28th, 2013

Friday’s lineups: Tigers at Rays

I’m not with the team in Tampa Bay this weekend, but I’m posting the lineups, including this one that reportedly has a day off for Andy Dirks. Don Kelly gets the start in left field over a slumping Avisail Garcia.

No history for Tigers hitters against Alex Colome, so the rule of thumb for Beat the Streak applies: When in doubt, pick Cabrera. In this case, I’m putting my MLB beat writer best 12-game streak (I finally passed up Steve Gilbert) on the line with him.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Torii Hunter, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Don Kelly, LF
  8. Omar Infante, 2B
  9. Brayan Pena, C

P: Max Scherzer

RAYS (career numbers off Scherzer)

  1. Matt Joyce, LF (2-for-13, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  2. Desmond Jennings, CF (1-for-9, 4 K’s)
  3. Ben Zobrist, 2B (1-for-12, 2 walks, K)
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B (2-f0r-11, HR, walk, 5 K’s)
  5. James Loney, 1B (5-for-17, HR, walk, K)
  6. Wil Myers, RF
  7. Luke Scott, DH (2-for-9, walk, K)
  8. Jose Lobaton, C (0-for-5, 3 K’s)
  9. Yunel Escobar, SS (11-for-28, HR, 3 walks, 7 K’s)

P: Alex Colome

 

Rondon recalled from Triple-A Toledo

The last time the Tigers were in Florida, they were heading north from Spring Training without Bruce Rondon, the closer they hoped would win the job going into camp. Just in time for their return to the Sunshine State, Rondon is back in the fold.

The Tigers announced early Friday afternoon that they’re recalling Rondon from Triple-A Toledo. They’ll announce a corresponding move to make room for him on the 25-man roster later today. Presumably, we’ll get an idea what his role will be in this bullpen as well. To make room on the 25-man roster, Evan Reed has been optioned back to Toledo.

Rondon’s success with the Mud Hens has been well-chronicled. He allowed just 14 hits over 29 2/3 innings as the Hens closer, walking 13 and striking out 40. His relatively low save total of 14 is more a product of a lack of late-inning leads.

He doesn’t have to close in Detroit to have value right now for the Tigers, and Thursday’s extra-inning loss demonstrated that. When Jim Leyland went with Phil Coke against the top of the Angels order, including right-handed hitters Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, it showed again how shallow the Tigers are in late-inning arms, especially from the right side. It was the second time in the series that Leyland left Luke Putkonen warming up during a key at-bat.

When the Tigers designated Jose Valverde’s contract for assignment a week ago, team president/GM Dave Dombrowski said they weren’t calling up Rondon at that point because they didn’t think they could ensure him the regular work he needs to develop. That was when Tigers starters were consistently giving deep quality starts. That’s no longer the case.

“Some people [in the organization] think he’s ready to come here and pitch right now and do a good job for us,” Dombrowski said at the time.

Even if the starters were pitching deep into games (and they will again), the Tigers’ needs for middle and late relief are glaring enough now that it’s worth calling up Rondon and getting him a role. If he can provide some seventh- and eighth-inning outs, whether he’s a designated setup man or not, it would make a huge difference for this team right now.

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