Results tagged ‘ Gerald Laird ’

More on Verlander …

ST. PETERSBURG — I touched on this a little bit in last night’s game story, but let’s rehash just how much work — good work — Justin Verlander has put in this season, shall we? 

After his eight-inning, one-run gem on Friday night, Verlander is now sixth in the Major Leagues in innings pitched (197), is tied for first in starts (29) and has cranked out a triple-digit pitch count in 24 of his 29 starts this season — with 15 being for 115-plus pitches.
The 26-year-old right-hander needs just five more innings to notch a career-high in innings pitched (his high-water mark is the 201 2/3 he pitched in 2007), and he’s scheduled to make at least five more starts before the regular season comes to an end. 
Considering he’s averaging about seven innings per start (6.79, to be exact), Verlander’s innings total by the time the season comes to an end projects to be at 232. 
And let’s not forget he’ll be counted on to be a huge factor in the postseason, too. 
The Tigers currently have six potential starters, and if their six-game lead in the division continues to grow and they clinch early, perhaps they can shut down Verlander early, too. But that has yet to be decided.
When asked if he’s worried about Verlander’s fatigue and pitch count, Leyland said, “Sure. Yeah, I am.” But Verlander, who owns a career 4.44 ERA in September/October, didn’t come off as concerned. 
“I feel fine,” Verlander said Friday night. “I said before, I consider myself an old school-type pitcher. The guys in the old days used to throw a lot more pitches than I’ve thrown now, and they used to be fine with it. I think it’s what you condition yourself for, and I think this whole year, I’ve conditioned myself to throw in excess of 100 and still be strong.”
On Friday, after giving up his only run in the second, Verlander retired 14 of 15 batters and 10 in a row at one point, finishing with his 16th win (tied for the American League lead) after scattering four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. 
In seven starts since Aug. 1, Verlander’s ERA is 3.66. And what’s impressed Leyland is his consistency, saying, “If you’ve looked at a few of his outings, they almost clone one another.”
Verlander has a chance to notch 20 wins for the first time in his career, and he’s making his case to take home his first AL Cy Young Award, too. 
On top of being tied for the league lead in wins with CC Sabathia, he’s fifth in ERA, first in strikeouts and tied for fourth with three complete games.
Despite that workload, could he be getting better as the season gets older?
“He’s probably at his best right now,” Verlander’s catcher, Gerald Laird, said. “He’s just going out there determined — you can see it in his eyes. Every outing, you know what you’re going to get. He’s definitely turned the corner here.”
— Alden Gonzalez

Sunday: Tigers vs. Rays

Not that it was a surprise, but Gerald Laird will catch Justin Verlander in his first start since their well-publicized exchange in the visiting dugout at Angel Stadium last Monday. Though the Rays start a right-hander in Jeff Niemann, the preference holds that manager Jim Leyland wants Laird to catch Verlander because of the results, Monday’s sixth inning notwithstanding.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Huff, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Thomas, RF
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

SP: Justin Verlander


  1. Jason Bartlett, SS
  2. Carl Crawford, LF
  3. Ben Zobrist, RF
  4. Carlos Pena, 1B
  5. Pat Burrell, DH
  6. Evan Longoria, 3B
  7. Gregg Zaun, C
  8. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
  9. B.J. Upton, CF

P: Jeff Niemann

Laird puts Verlander matter behind him

When Gerald Laird met up with family members after Monday’s game, he didn’t tell his dad about the, well, animated discussion he had with Justin Verlander in the Tigers dugout in the sixth inning. Then he tuned into Sportscenter. So much for that.

“He didn’t know it happened, and then everyone sees it,” Laird said. “Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to be on [the ESPN broadcast]. It was just one of those things where I thought I was right and [Verlander] thought he was right, we discussed it and after the game we shook hands.”

 Laird’s views on the matter sounded much like that of Verlander Monday night, that it was emotions of the game catching up with them and spilling out in public view when they shouldn’t have. And now, it’s over.

“It escalated probably more than it needed to,” Laird said. “If it wasn’t the ESPN game, I don’t think anyone would’ve seen it. It was just one of those things that got caught on TV. I’m sure we’ll talk about it today, but we shook hands [last night]. We’re friends. We have dinner together all the night. It’s just one of those misunderstandings.”

Laird said what sparked it came not from pitch selections, but from a point during the sixth when Laird tried to walk out to the mound.

“It was when we went out there and he called me halfway,” Laird said. “That was the disagreement right there, just on signs, I think it was. That’s it. He just mentioned something. He’s a competitor. You don’t like to get hit around. I’m sure he got frustrated and went to the dugout. I was frustrated because I want him to do the best he can. I don’t want him to give up runs, get hit around. It’s just one of those things in the heat of the moment. That’s it.”

Magglio starts again, Laird gets a rest

Jim Leyland isn’t saying that his Magglio Ordonez-Clete Thomas platoon is over, but it basically sounds like he’s taking Ordonez’s situation on a day-to-day basis.

“I think he’s swinging the bat freely right now,” Leyland said, “so I’m going to play him for another day. I think he gives us the best chance tonight.”

That’s how Leyland is filling out his lineup these days with the guys he has. Of course, Leyland also has said several times that he’ll really like a lineup going into a game and then watch it fail to produce, such as last night.

Gerald Laird, meanwhile, is getting a day out of the lineup, presumably to get some rest. Odd, though, that it would come in the middle of the series, rather than using the getaway day to essentially get him 48 hours of rest. Perhaps Leyland wants Laird to get a shot at Kevin Millwood at Scott Feldman Wednesday, since he has caught him.

By the way, the Tigers did not alter their lineup at all based on the Rangers’ pitching change from Vicente Padilla to Doug Mathis for tonight.


  1. Curtis Granderson, CF
  2. Placido Polanco, 2B
  3. Clete Thomas, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Carlos Guillen, DH
  6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Ramon Santiago, 3B
  9. Dusty Ryan, C

P: Luke French


  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Michael Young, 3B
  3. Marlon Byrd, LF
  4. Nelson Cruz, RF
  5. Hank Blalock, 1B
  6. Andruw Jones, DH
  7. Josh Hamilton, CF
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

P: Doug Mathis

I’ll be on the, what do you call it, tweedledee, or tweedledum, or whatever, @beckjason. I kid.

Laird back in lineup

Gerald Laird’s back spasms eased up quite a bit thanks to some serious treatment during the game last night, enough that he’s back in the lineup for today’s series finale against the Astros. He’s part of a heavily right-handed lineup to face Astros starter Russ Ortiz, who’s giving up a .302 batting average to right-handed hitters this season compared to .215 versus left-handed batters.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Thames, LF
  5. Inge, 3B
  6. Ordonez, RF
  7. Laird, C
  8. Everett, SS
  9. Jackson, P


  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Jeff Keppinger, SS
  3. Lance Berkman, 1B
  4. Carlos Lee, LF
  5. Geoff Blum, 3B
  6. Hunter Pence, RF
  7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
  8. Kazuo Matsui, 2B
  9. Russ Ortiz, P

Laird leaves with lower back spasms

Tigers catcher Gerald Laird left Saturday’s game against the Astros in the first inning and is day-to-day with lower back spasms after coming out from behind home plate to corral a ball in the dirt.

Laird had to spring out from his crouch to get to Tigers starter Alfredo Figaro’s breaking ball in the dirt on an 0-1 pitch to Carlos Lee. He walked out towards the mound to talk with Figaro, but eventually hunched over in front the mound as manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand emerged from the Tigers dugout.

Laird was walking around, but in obvious discomfort, and was moving slowly as he walked back into the dugout and towards the clubhouse. He was replaced by Dusty Ryan, who was called up last weekend from Triple-A Toledo to help spell Laird and provide some more days off to keep him from wearing down.

Rand attended to Laird during Friday’s series opener against the Astros, too, after Laird took a ball in the groin area. Laird stayed in the game.

Laird entered Saturday batting .233 on the season with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 62 games. He has thrown out 14 of 38 would-be basestealers this season, good for a 36.8 percent rate.

Laird, Granderson on bunt attempt

Gerald Laird nearly broke up Josh Beckett’s no-hit bid had his bunt remained fair, which might have created some controversy had it worked. But to the Tigers, it was a close enough game at that point — 4-0 in the sixth — that you do what you can.

Laird said he was bunting on his own, which makes sense since it was on an 0-1 pitch. In that situation, leading off the inning, he had no qualms about doing it.

“You’ve got to win that game,” Laird said. “It’s only 4-0. It’s in the sixth inning. It’s not like it was the eighth inning. When you’re only down four runs in the sixth inning, what does he want us to do? You do whatever you can to get on. …

“It’s the sixth inning and it’s 4-0. If I get on base and we get something going, the hole’s open for [the next hitter] or somebody. Next thing you know, [we’ve got runners on] first and third.”

Like most everyone else in the ballpark, Laird made the connection between his bunt attempt and the Beckett pitch that hit him in the eighth. He has no problem with that.

“It’s all right,” Laird said. “It’s part of the game.”

It goes back to baseball etiquette, which is a murky area in some situations in today’s game.

“I would say this: If that’s part of your game, I think that’s quite all right,” Granderson said. “I have bunted, and if there was a situation where I wasn’t getting a good read on him but I felt I could and it’s 4-0, why not at that point? For example, if the first baseman and third baseman were playing me back [in the seventh], which is the time when I would normally bunt, why not? Because at that point, Magglio’s on first base, I can put pressure on, and we’ve got another lefty coming up behind me who has home-run power. Next thing you know, there’s a potential to be down one.

“Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so. The main goal is to try to win, and you take away part of your goal.”

Laird to sit two games

After Tuesday’s 0-for-3 performance extended Gerald Laird’s hitless streak to 21 at-bats, manager Jim Leyland decided to give him some time off. He’ll sit both tonight’s game and Thursday’s matinee before getting back at it this weekend against Oakland.

“I’m getting him away from it for two days,” Leyland said, “because right now he’s beating his head against a wall.”

He isn’t literally doing that, but Laird did get his head shaved. He’d been thinking about doing that anyway, though.

“Obviously, what I had going was not working,” Laird said.

Can the same be said of his approach at the plate? Laird said this afternoon that he’s been getting pitches to hit over the past week or so and missing them. It’s to the point now, he admitted, that he isn’t having good at-bats, let alone results.

“I’ve had some long nights sitting in my room, trying to figure out my swing,” Laird said.

That explains Dane Sardinha’s presence in the lineup. You’ll also notice a lot of left-handed hitters against left-handed starter Glen Perkins. That’s going off the numbers and the stuff. Left-handed hitters are batting .364 (8-for-22) against Perkins this season and .352 last season, compared with .226 this year for right-handed bats.

“The cutter [he throws] to righties is devastating,” Leyland said, “so I’m throwing the lefties. If the numbers play out, lefties should have a better shot.”


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thomas, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Ordonez, RF
  6. Larish, DH
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Everett, SS
  9. Sardinha, C

P: Dontrelle Willis


  1. Denard Span, LF
  2. Matt Tolbert, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, DH
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  6. Joe Crede, 3B
  7. Brendan Harris, SS
  8. Mike Redmond, C
  9. Carlos Gomez, CF

P: Glen Perkins

Guillen DHing, Santiago at SS, Laird scratched

Carlos Guillen said his sore Achilles tendon is feeling much better, but he’s going to DH today as a precaution. Jim Leyland said Guillen could be back out in left field Tuesday. Josh Anderson will play left today. Leyland said he wanted to get more left-handed hitters in the lineup against Gavin Floyd, which is partly why he chose today to start Ramon Santiago at short and give Adam Everett the day off.

Meanwhile, Gerald Laird was originally in the starting lineup but was scratched because he’s sick. Thus, Matt Treanor will make his second start of the year behind the plate.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Santiago, SS
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Anderson, LF
  9. Treanor, C

P: Miner


  1. Brent Lillibridge, 2B
  2. Josh Fields, 3B
  3. Carlos Quentin, LF
  4. Jim Thome, DH
  5. Jermaine Dye, RF
  6. Paul Konerko, 1B
  7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  9. Dewayne Wise, CF (former Toledo Mud Hen)

P: Gavin Floyd

Laird catching

Gerald Laird is now starting at catcher. Dane Sardinha is not at the park at the moment, dealing with a personal issue.