Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swap Meet

While the Tigers have been busy doing nothing (and by that I mean nothing that has resulted in an actual trade) as the deadline draws near, I’ve been busy vacillating between moves I feel would be most beneficial. We’ve got numerous weak spots, from starting pitching, backup catcher, third base (with Binge’s microtorn tendon), corner outfielder, and the obvious generic “bat.” Some people have also mentioned bullpen help, but I really feel that's the least of our worries. I know Zumaya could be out the rest of the season if he needs surgery, but I'll take my chances on Ryan Perry and Casey Fien, and let the other needs take precedence.

Oh Tigers, do anything but just stand pat. I’m not expecting a splashy move, but there are several modest options that are within reason. It's also hard, because you don't want to give up too much, or zero out our already depleted farm system, but when you're in first place at the trade deadline, you don't just roll over.

I was firmly in favor of a bat after we took losses in a rash of low-scoring affairs, but now I begin to reckon that starting pitching may be the biggest concern (if only one move will be made). Pretty Little Ricky, while performing admirably for a 20 year old, is showing that he is only 20, and he may just not hold up all season (which was a realistic concern all along). Lucas French got rocked his last outing and only has five starts here in the bigs to go on. Armando Galarraga has come around rather nicely after a horrific start.

I can hope big and wish for the Tigers to go after Jarrod Washburn. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that the Yankees are pushing hard for Washburn. This incenses me to no end, so I hope we get him just to spite the Yanks. Oh, it's not enough that you got Sabathia and Burnett in the off season, is it?

I kind of hate rumors, because they are often groundless, many times come to nothing, and result in a lot of needless hand-wringing. But right now, the tradewinds are all we've got to go on, so we are blown by every breeze. Until tomorrow at 4:00 pm, do some stress relieving exercises, preferably ones that do not include binge eating (drinking, chain-smoking, etc). I've seen the error of my ways, and ran out my aggression today instead of stopping for a milkshake like I really wanted to.

In some truly noteworthy trade news, the White Sox obtained Mark Kotsay from Boston. Jim Leyland's wife will be thrilled, as he once said that she thinks Kotsay is "the hottest thing going." Now he's in our division, so she'll see a lot more of him. I don't have a link for that comment, but I heard Leyland say it myself back in the 2006 playoffs when Kotsay was playing for Oakland.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rock My World

After last night's rotten egg of a game, I wish I had good news for you. Nope. Tonight we're facing the, and I quote here, "rock" of the Rangers' rotation, Scott Feldman. His batting average against is only .228, fourth lowest in the AL. Our own Edwin Jackson is one of three whose is better at .216. At least we can say that.

The way we've been hitting, and the way Feldman's been pitching, it may be another night of beyond brutal baseball viewing. I'll be locking all sharp implements away in case I begin to feel the urge to impale myself.

We do have Justin Verlander on the hill, but if we lose 2-1 again, will he need protection from sharp objects also?

I didn't get to see the skipper's post-game interview last night, but I can only hope that he indicated that he'd be reaming our crew out for its lethargic lackadaisical play last night. Ian Kinsler tagged up from 1st base as he noticed Magglio catching a ball flat footed. That wasn't one of the three, count 'em, three errors we also logged. And may I speak about our at-bats? No, I'll just shut up and hope we can break out some wood tonight.

This team is kind of like a rickety wagon right now. Let's hope it rolls into the playoffs before the wheels come off.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Vicente Padilla of the Texas Rangers has a confirmed case of novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu). I ask you this: should we be playing the Rangers right now? That would be a resounding no. This series should have been postponed until such a time as the Rangers team is no longer infectious with a strain of influenza for which a vaccine is not yet available. I don't want the roster decimated, and our season endangered so needlessly. Samara over at Roar of the Tigers already warned us about ballplayers' personal habits, so I hope there are hand hygiene posters prominently displayed in the dugout, along with bucket-sized containers of hand sanitizer stationed every two feet.

Ok, health issues aside, last night's game was a veritable minefield for those of us attempting to avoid binge eating, drinking and other self-medicating behaviors. I'll tell you this, I was not successful. I was devouring everything in sight, and scouring the pantry for scraps of chocolate. Between Miguel Cabrera's whiff with the bases loaded, and the double error on Michael Young's single, I am now ready to become the next Jenny Craig spokesperson. Thanks for that Tigers, it's great that I now need to spend 3.5 hours working out today. Can I come over and use the equipment at Comerica?

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to feel stress over Friday's trade deadline. We're in a difficult spot here. We don't have a system flush with prospects, and we're stuck with a lot of bad contracts. Not exactly a good negotiating position. Sigh. More chocolate.

Monday, July 27, 2009

We Are Family

What a weekend to have a Family Reunion! It was a blast, but I missed seeing our Tigers pound the Sox three of four. Because I started this blog in September 2008, this is my first summer at it, and boy is it tough to keep up, what with family obligations, summer activities and whatnot. I did see the bottom of the 9th and 10th innings on Saturday, and then made it back for last night's loss. All I can say is domo arigato Tigers, well done, well done!

Carlos Guillen comes back contributing (way beyond my expectations, I'll tell you that much). Problem is, the trade deadline is looming, and can we get enough of a read on him before then? No. We need to add a bat. That much is clear. At least I hope those 2-1 losses piling up had the proper effect on Dave Dombrowski.

Casey Fien made his major league debut with his feet to the fire and responded quite well after falling behind 3-0. If that's not drama enough for you, you don't like baseball at all.

OK, it's the hard hitting Rangers in steamy Arlington next, while the Twinkies and Sox beat up on each other--Go Twins (for now). I've got my son's Twin Cities cap from little league to sport if necessary.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Runs, Hurting and Hannahan

Last night's homerlicious game was, um, interesting. You know the details by now, so I'll spare you a recap.

However, here are a few salient points from section 103.

Magglio Ordóñez hit a grand slam. Don't waste your breath pooh-poohing that home run because it was off a 79 MPH curveball over the heart of the plate. I'm determined to enjoy it, and hope that it breeds confidence (and bat speed).

Franklin Gutierrez slammed into the right field wall on a spectacular attempt--he almost held on to that ball--think about that for a minute after you've watched the replay. He was laying on the ground just to the right of where I was sitting, and it was a scary few minutes there. I didn't even realize that we scored two runs on the play until after Franklin was up and walking back to the dugout with assistance. I was sure they were going to have to call for a cart and stretcher, but he walked away with elbow and knee contusions. I would like to pass on my best wishes for a quick, complete recovery. It was a horrible feeling, seeing his whole body convulse with pain. I don't wish that on anyone, Tiger killers included.

When Rick Porcello struck out a batter, the CoPa scoreboard flashed the phrase "tRICKed out." Good for a sarcastic laugh, I guess, but please, could somebody help them out here with a worthy slogan for Pretty Little Ricky's strikeouts? I and an entire legion of Tigers fans thank you.

Jack Hannahan's first (does it seem possible that he had two in one night, when his season total is now three?) home run of the night came right to my section, and the guy in front of me put his cap up to make a play on the ball. The ball tore the hat out of his hand and carried it three rows back to a guy who came up with the ball. He did the right thing and threw it back. I made the video highlight on Wowee. Yet another opportunity for friends and family to mimic my every move in comic mockery.

Final point. We came up with the win, but not until after Fernando Rodney gave us our usual dose of "I'm perfect in save situations and perfect at making you sick to your stomach while doing it" magic.

Go Tigers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Anderson, Granderson, Schmanderson

I was seriously thinking about pretending this past weekend did not occur, and declining to post anything about it. However, it'll be good therapy for me to work through the anger (disgust, torment, embarrassment....) and come out better on the other side.

So for starters, my son heard me shrieking and hollering from the other room at Josh Anderson when he lost a fly ball in the sun and let it drop for a double (no error, are you sure official score-keeper?). He came running in and asked me why I was yelling at Curtis Granderson. I clarified that it was Josh Anderson, and he asked to see the replay. He couldn't believe Anderson failed to catch that ball (although in the interest of full disclosure, my son dropped an easy pop up to second base in his final game of the season). Anyway, I was raving about Anderson and his propensity for errors, bad baserunning judgment, and whatnot. I'm sorry, but at least guys like Thames and Ordóñez don't muff the easy fly balls. Yes, I know that a bunch of players had to fight off the sun on various plays, but I was still fuming. So, I've sort of had it with young Mr. Anderson, and The Detroit Tigers Weblog agrees.

So, by now, the pitching staff has completed its open letter to Dave Dombrowski begging that a bat be obtained before the trade deadline. I mean, Edwin Jackson was visibly upset after the game, with a clenched jaw and pursed lips as the camera zoomed in with its unshrinking "agony of defeat" angle. Holy cow, these guys are going to plead with Jim Leyland to ditch the Designated Hitter and let them pick up a bat to help themselves, since noone else will.

Joel Zumaya. Words fail to capture the desolation he and we all feel on so many levels.

Ok. So, can we move on now? Not so far on that we look past the Mariners to the four-game fest with the White Sox, however. I'll be at tomorrow's game, and it will be my first live look at our young Porcello, unless the rain decides that it's my very best friend and follows me to every game without fail, and drenches me with postponements enough that the blank score-cards begin to pile up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grandy's Three Bagger

Curtis Granderson legged out a triple in the All Star game Tuesday night. It was a thing of beauty. A thing I've missed seeing this season. He's only got two of them so far. Two? Really? That's all? Also, he's logged only nine doubles so far.

Now, I'm not complaining about Grandy's 18 homers, but I'd like to see some more of those doubles and triples in the second half of the season. I'm not sure whether I'm alone in this wish, but I'd take the Grandy of the past couple years over the more powerful version exhibited so far this year.

He is on pace for more walks and RBIs, but also on pace for more strikeouts, and a lower on base percentage, slugging percentage and on base plus slugging.

With Curtis' defense, I have no quibble. He's come off a down year defensively and turned it up. Highlighted by the night he robbed Grady Sizemore of a game-winning home run, Curtis has flashed leather quite impressively this season.

So, while I hate to bring down any negativity whatsoever on our All Star center fielder, I simply wish for more of his former self.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sand in My Shorts

I was driving home from Warren Dunes on Sunday afternoon, quite literally encrusted with sand, sunburnt and having the worst hair day imaginable. I was happy as could be though, having gotten my Great Lakes fix. I didn't even know the outcome of the Friday and Saturday games. I had made a couple half-hearted attempts to find out, but to no avail. I asked some guys on the beach if they followed baseball, they said yes and I asked whether they knew who won the Tigers/Indians contest on Friday. They all shook their heads negative, and one said he followed the Cubs.

Once in the car, I started scanning stations for the Tigers game, and found one, albeit with a little static. I tuned in just in time to hear Clete Thomas and All-Star Final Vote winner Brandon Inge go yard back to back. Well that was a nice way to find my way back into the Tigersphere. I still got no word about the other games, however. Well, we started piling on the runs after that, and I had to search for stations now and again straining through the static, so everything was very spotty. I did hear Dan and Jim pretty much lambasting the Indians pitching staff. I feel for Eric Wedge, because I don't feel he's really at fault. Early on, decimated by injuries. Now, a bunch of guys are WAY underperforming (Carmona, Perez to name a couple). Finally, after we won, I heard Dan or Jim mention that we took the series. Then I knew we had one won, lost one.

Wow, the Tiger blogosphere was busy producing world class content while I was away. Impressive. Check out the links on the blog roll at right for some great reads.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gone Fishing

Well, I'd like to tell you that I'm all over the Cleveland series, attending every game, producing sparkling analysis, but no, I'm off camping for the weekend in the remote wilderness, cut off from civilization and technology. Actually, I'm just going to Warren Dunes, but it sounded a lot better when I said that other stuff.

So, enjoy the weekend, and I hope the Tigers give Cleveland what for.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Excited that we took the series vs. KC? Yeah!!

Hey, when you've lost the last three series, getting a series win against the local eight year olds is big. Against the Royals? Huge, monumental, season-changing....Ok, I got a wee bit carried away there. But seriously now, beating Greinke is kind of a big deal, especially since we scored all of one run against him in the the past two outings. I'm so happy I don't have to say we got Greinked again. It was getting a little old, ace and All-Star starter status notwithstanding.

So, I was at the game last night, and Verlander had me fretting early over his pitch count and whatnot, but struck out eleven and walked no one. Big boy bats showed up with the home run power---always nice.

I must address the Tiger fans who gave everyone a short leash last night. Magglio had an awful night both at the plate and in the field. Many of those in right field jeered him loudly and lambasted him with rude commentary. Then the natives got restless when Seay, Zumaya and Rodney issued walks. I disapprove of these shenanigans. I get just as disgusted as the next guy over poor play and base on balls from the bullpen staff. However, I will not demoralize my players with derisive, mean-spirited attacks. I realize that people have the right to say what they want, that fans have little patience after last year's debacle, that many feel a guy making $13 million should produce or feel their wrath, but I feel like it just beats a guy down, not encourages him to do better. Maybe I'm too soft, maybe ballplayers need a tough skin and whatnot, but I'm just saying I disagree. There--dismount from soapbox.

Anyway, on to tonight's ballgame. I didn't see Lucas French's debut due to Independence Day festivities, so it was nice to get a look at him last night. He looked pretty good, pretty good indeed. After the game he said he was fighting himself a little early on, but then settled in. He had some good defensive plays behind him to get out of a couple jams.

I have to say that scoring two runs off Greinke in the first felt like a major victory in itself. Then the bullpen came on and closed it out like they're supposed to. So satisfying. It's been a while since the pen looked that solid. It sure helped the old ulcer to heal up a bit before the next gut-busting roller coaster ride.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Anatomy of a Murder(ed Game)

Seven runners left on base.

0-4 with RISP.

Three GIDP, all inning-ending.

One baserunning gaffe.

Mega-squander of this outing from Galarraga: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 RUN (earned), 7 K, 1 BB.

Single, walk, TRIPLE in the 8th to surrender the lead we were clinging to by a strand of silken spider thread.

Long ball in the ninth, after we tied up the game in the bottom of the 8th.

Read enough yet?

Oh, seeing Carlos Guillen in the cages today gave me a glimmer of hope that our offense could have a pick-me-up coming, but how long before he makes sure he's able to "partipate in baseball activities" pain-free, gets his timing back, completes a rehab assignment, is ready to contribute.......well. according to, it's perhaps as soon as the end of this very month.

I did get two giggles from today's game.

In the top of the 4th, Willie Bloomquist tried to stretch a single and Raburn rifled the throw in to Polanco, who bobbled, but Bloomquist overslid the base, and Polanco got a hold of the ball and put the tag on for the out (Bloomquist may have been safe, but who am I to question an umpire?). The replay showed Galarraga barking something and generally going crazy trying to speak the out into existence as the circus played out. It was great comedy. I only wish I knew what he was saying out there.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gerald Laird singled to left. DeJesus stumbled, tumbled and tottered around before getting the ball in. I think he was just charging hard to try to make a play on the ball, so when it fell in, it was difficult to field. He was smiling sheepishly as he went back to left field. It gave me a little anger-diffusing laugh after the folly of our pitching in the 8th and 9th.

What angered me most, is that we need to win some of these close games, AND we're facing Greinke on Wednesday. Argh/sigh/groan/whimper/sniff.

I'll be at the CoPa tomorrow, and that is surely all the team needs to know to generate the will to win.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Five Inning Game

Just kidding, but it was for me, because that's all I saw: innings twelve through sixteen. We spent the afternoon and evening at the park, stayed for fireworks, and made it home a little before midnight. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to see that the game was still on thanks to extras.

Now, I'm not delighted that we used every single arm in our pen (and watched Galarraga warm up too), but I am delighted that I got to see some Tiger baseball, and that we came out on the winning end of that marathon. Sounds like I missed a stellar outing by Zumaya--good, he needed that. I also missed French's debut, blowing of a six-run lead, a meltdown by Zach Miner, home runs by Thames and Laird, Jim Leyland walking Mauer and Morneau to load the bases in the 11th, and it working, you know--11 innings worth of ball.

I'm sorry to say I did see Polanco take a ball of his package--wince, cringe. He was either none the worse for wear, or angry, because he proceeded to get two RBIs after that to help us on to victory.

Well, we made that victory a lot more difficult than it should have been, but it is a win, and it kept the White Sox from gaining, so that's always a good thing. But now, day game today at the Metrodump. Hmmm, if we could win another there it would be nothing short of incredible. We've come to see wins there as such a rarity, that losses neither surprise nor anger us especially. But winning a series there, now that would be something, wouldn't it? So come on boys, rally 'round Polanco's package and take at least two of three from the Twinks at the dome.