As far as the Tigers are concerned, the spring season is officially over. They wrapped things up with a 3-3 tie in which most of the regulars were gone by the third inning and all of the scoring for both sides was done by the fourth. Mike Maroth had a not so great outing in which he gave up three runs on seven hits in four innings. The good news was, he walked none and struck out four, but that’s a lot of hits.
Wilking Ramirez provided most of the offense for the Tigers. He singled and drove in two. All six Tiger hits were single and nobody had more then one.
Next time the Tigers play, it’s for real. The home opener is Monday at 1 pm. I have my fantasy baseball draft tomorrow and that should get me fired up for ESPN’s opening night, which will be the Cardinals against the Mets. And sometime tomorrow night I’ll work up some predictions for the upcoming season. Real baseball is here, finally.
I completely missed this yesterday, but Vance Wilson joins Kenny Rogers on the disabled list with a sore right elbow. Fortunately there’s no structural damage but it hasn’t healed like the backup catcher thought it would so he’ll miss the first couple of weeks of the season. Mike Rabelo will take his place. He had decent season in 2006, splitting time between Erie and Toledo and he had a left up on the competition because he was with the team last September. He’s hardly a top prospect though and he didn’t even make John Sickels Top 30 list.
Man, we take our son to the mall for dinner and some play and all hell breaks loose. While I was gone, the Tigers inked Carlos Guillen for four more years and for $48 million. This is about what I expected as Guillen has turned himself into one of the top shortstops in baseball with some very solid seasons since joining the Tigers. I think the first two years of this deal will be good but the last too might not. Then again, I never thought Ivan Rodriguez would play out his four year deal, so we’ll wait and see. And it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one or two of these years are played as a firstbaseman, which tempers the deal a bit.
That blood clot seemed pretty serious. Kenny Rogers will miss three months but the good news is, it looks like Rogers is okay. So it looks like the Tigers face one of their toughest challenges of the season before the first pitch is even thrown and it means, the other four guys will have to step up that much more.
In the meantime, the Tigers took it to the Yankees in their next to last game of the spring season. Justin Verlander threw five shutout frames while Carlos Guillen had two hits and an RBI. They wrap things up tomorrow against the Yankees in Tampa.
Will Carroll is reporting (based on a Free Press report) that the problem with Kenny Rogers arm is now a blood clot. There’s still not a lot of details (like whether the clot is actually in his arm or not) so it’s hard to come to a guess as to how soon Rogers will be back.
I’m watching the game on ESPN and they said Kenny Rogers had surgery to repair the blood clot and he might not be back for three months. Ouch. They also mentioned Andrew Miller as a potential replacement. My thought is they give Chad Durbin a few starts to see if he can fill in okay. If not, then they have to cut bait pretty quickly and go with someone else, whether it’s a hot hand in Toledo or pushing Miller up.
Baseball Prospectus recently updated their Postseason Odds report, which is a lot of fun, to reflect their PECOTA projections. The Tigers come in at third place in the AL Central but they have a great then 31% chance of making the playoffs. One in three doesn’t sound all that great but it’s better then the less then 5% we’re used to getting. And then considering I think the Twins are set to take a fall, that should make out chances even better.
The project the Yankees as having the best chance of making the playoffs in the AL with a 54.2% chance. Over in the National League, no team has a great then 43% chance of making the playoffs.
Chad Durbin put up some nice numbers today in his final start of the spring. He threw 5 2/3 shutout innings and gave up five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Of course he’ll be taking over for Kenny Rogers as we figure out what’s wrong with him. Fernando Rodney gave up the only Astros run in the seventh and Todd Jones closed things out with a shutout ninth.
Brandon Inge had the big hit of the game. His three run, bases loaded clearing double in the second inning was all the Tigers managed, but it was good enough for the win.
The Tigers close out their spring season with two straight against the Yankees. Tomorrow’s game will be on ESPN.
I was checking out the Tigers schedule and I like their first two and a half weeks. They open against what should be a tough Blue Jays team but then nine of their next thirteen games are against the Orioles and Royals. They do have that quick ten game road trip right after their opening series but you have to like going up against some of those softer teams. Of course the four games in between there is a road trip to Toronto so it looks like we’ll be done with one of our former rivals before the middle of the month.
Alright, I don’t know if this is a pre April Fools joke or what, but AM1270 is talking on the radio right now about Kenny Rogers hitting the DL. I haven’t been able to find anything else on this, but as soon as I can, I’ll let you know.
The Big Show on AM1270 is saying Kenny Rogers will hit the DL with a “fatigued arm,” whatever that is.
Alright, I got this out of the Tigers Press Pass and it confirms Kenny Rogers move to the 15 day DL and it’s retroactive to March 25. He’ll miss at least one start but there’s a ton of mystery surrounding this right now. The Tigers pulled Bobby Seay up from the minors to take Kenny Rogers place on the pitching staff to start the season.
And here’s Jason Beck’s take, which just came up. It looks like for now, Chad Durbin will be the fifth starter. I’d rather see Wil Ledezma, but then the Tigers wouldn’t have any lefties out of the pen. Talk about an interesting domino effect.
The spring season is winding down, and at this point in the year you have players putting their time in, yet also not going to hard in the event they get hurt. There’s just three spring games left, and then the fun begins.
Gary Sheffield had the big hit of the game yesterday. He hit a monster three run shot in the third inning that got out in a hurry. Unfortunately Nate Robertson gave up three the very next inning then neither team scored the rest of the way. Placido Polanco was two for two with a run while Craig Monroe was two for three.
Robertson finished the game with five innings under his belt. He gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Jason Grilli, Wil Ledezma and Preston Larrison then pitched scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Tigers take on the Astros with Kenny Rogers throwing for Detroit. Game time is 1:05.
Not sure why I think this is newsworthy but he’s a former Tiger farmhand with one of the coolest names around. Former Tiger minor league catcher Maxim St. Pierre was picked up by the Royals this past off season, and now they’ve shipped him to the Brewers for Ben Hendrickson. Pierre is now 26 never hit much and there’s not a big surprise that he never caught on. The last time he was even on the radar was prior to the 2004 season when he made it into John Sickels Prospect Book. Even back then he had a C rating.
Sometime, reality can be stranger then fiction. Ugueth Urbina, who’s mom was kidnapped and ultimately released a couple of years back, is now going to serve 14 years in a Venezuelan prison for attempted murder. This has been in the works for about a year and a half now. At the time, I didn’t like the Polanco for Urbina trade. Chalk it up as one more time I’m wrong.
I just picked this up on the Tigers’ FSN telecast and Rod and Mario talked with Ken Rosenthal, who apparantly plans on picking the Tigers to win it all. When this makes print, I’ll be sure to link to it.
And since I’m here, Tigers are up 3-0. Gary Sheffield hit a no doubt about it three run homerun. Nate Robertson is looking pretty sharp too.
Joel Zumaya is perfect no longer as he gave up back to back solo homeruns to Andruw Jones and Brian McCann. To Zumaya’s credit, he wasn’t dialing it in there like he usually does and he got burned with two mid-90s fastballs. After that, he started touching 99 and he didn’t get into anymore trouble. He struck out three in two innings of work.
Jeremy Bonderman was pretty good in his five innings. He gave up two runs on six hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Bonderman’s next start will be on opening day when the Tigers face the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay.
Marcus Thames hit his third homerun of the spring while Sean Casey drove in three runs. Ivan Rodriguez (three hits, one RBI, two runs) and Magglio Ordonez (two for two, two RBIs, two runs) were also sharp at the plate.
Today, the Tigers take on the Dodgers in a day game that will be on FSN. I didn’t get any takers for a meet and greet, so some other time. Nate Robertson will get his final tune up start before the real season starts. Just four spring games left, and then things get real.
Nate Silver used his projection system, PECOTA, to see how the AL Central (and NL Central) will turn out in the 2007. Not good news for Tiger fans because they have the Tigers in third place with 85 wins. It projects the Indians and Twins to come in with 90 wins with the White Sox at a disappointing 72 wins. I’d be interested to see what they projected last year to see how close they came. He does hedge himself because PECOTA isn’t looking for much from Gary Sheffield so if he puts in a full, 2005 like season, that’ll be worth a few more wins. He concludes with some tweaks that the Tigers will actually win 88 games, which is pretty close to what I’m predicting.
Alright, here’s a story on what Neifi Perez had to do to keep his spot on the team. Interesting read and for all of the bashing that goes on about how bad of a player he is, it’s all relative. Yes, he’s one of the poorest hitters in major league history but the guy is now in his twelth year of a major league career so I’m a bit jealous. I just wish he played for someone else.
And then Rob Parker talks about Chris Shelton’s demotion. I’m not always a fan of Parker’s column, but this was a really good read.
Here’s another story on Chris Shelton by Jeff Passan. There’s some good quotes in here, especially the one by Carlos Guillen.
Well, this is a drag but it’s not neccesarily surprising. Edward Campusano will need Tommy John surgery to repair his injured elbow and he’ll miss the 2007 season. He came out of the gate this spring like a mad man but now there’s speculation that he might have been hiding the injury since his velocity was down. It’s hard to blame the kid, because he’s fighting for a spot on the big leagues. I’m not sure if the spring season just brought the injury to light or if it made it a lot worse, but that’s water under the bridge. He’s had elbow problems in the past so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
An interesting tidbit from the Jason Beck column linked above is that Edward Campusano will keep his Rule 5 status next year because he’ll spend more then half of the season on the disabled list if he’s healthy (or relatively so), he’ll have to make the team’s 25 man roster for us to keep him.
The good news is, Mike Maroth threw five shutout innings. The bad news is, he ended up throwing six total and in the fifth inning, he was hit hard for five runs. The big hit was a three run shot to Christian Guzman of all people. On a good note, he didn’t walk anybody and he did strike out five. Todd Jones pitched two scorless and Aquilino Lopez closed the game out with a no hit ninth.
At the plate, Ivan Rodriguez doubled twice and scorded a run in the 6-5 win. Placido Polanco and Ryan Rayburn each had two hits a piece and they each scored a run.
The Tigers take on the Braves in the evening tomorrow and it’ll be on FSN. Game time is 7:05 and I’ll probably get to catch the last half of the game.
Jerry Crasnick at ESPN.com penned an article about high velocity pitchers and of course the first picture that pops up is Joel Zumaya. There’s a listing of the highest velocity pitch thrown by team and Zumaya tops them all at 104 miles per hour. Nobody else touched 103 and only Brad Lidge and a trio of Blue Jays pitchers (Jeremy Accardo, A.J. Burnett and Brandon League) touched 102 miles per hour. Former Tiger Kyle Farnsworth was the top Yankee a few teams had tops only 98 mph (I know, only).
They also get into how some relievers learn they can get away with dialing it down and former Tiger Frank Tanana was used as an example. For those of you not familiar with Tanana, he was a fireballer who actually threw on the Angels with Nolan Ryan. Near the end of his career, and after a major injury (can’t remember what he hurt) he became a very effective pitcher even though his fast ball usually didn’t break 90 mph. His slow curve was a site to see.
The Tigers finished up their final cuts and Chad Durbin was the final pitcher to make the team while Neifi Perez was the last position player. Durbin had a solid spring and after Edward Campusano went down, this move made sense. He also makes for an interesting story because of his ups and (mostly) downs.
Neifi Perez, on the other hand, was probably the last guy who deserved to make the team out of Chris Shelton and Ramon Santiago, who both got optioned to Toledo. Chris Shelton is the better hitter although he’s hamstrung because of his lack of versatility. I just hope Perez doesn’t take away any at bats from guys like Omar Infante or even Marcus Thames, which could happen. If they want to give Carlos Guillen a break, they could shift him to first and have Perez play short. Anyway, we all know Perez is one of the worst major league hitters ever but they also have his contract to contend with because he has one more guaranteed year so this move was probably more because of the dollars then the on field results.
The Tigers scored all nine of their runs in the first four innings today against their 9-5 win over the Yankees. Gary Sheffield had the big game at the plate. He drove in four runs and homered while Curtis Granderson had three hits, two RBIs and two runs. Brandon Inge had two hits and two runs while Placido Polanco had three hits.
Jason Grilli got the start and he gave up two runs in three innings of work. Fernando Rodney was probably the most impressive of the Tiger pitchers. He scored two scoreless innings and he struck out three. The Tigers take on the Nationals tomorrow in a day game.
In other news, it sounds like Chad Durbin is going to make the team, and the final spot on the bench will go to either Chris Shelton, Neifi Perez and Ramon Santiago. My bet is Santiago gets the job, but I’d much rather see Shelton make the team because he has the most potential.
David Laurila at Baseball Prospectus caught up with Tiger centerfielder Curtis Granderson. It opens with some talk about Granderson’s strikeouts and then it gets into how Granderson favors on base percentage as a measure of his performance. He also seems to not apppreciate his own defense because only gives himself a six out of ten rating. This is from a guy who finished with 18 fielding runs above average (nearly two wins) and who finished third in the majors in zone rating.
Speaking of Granderson, he just doubled to lead things off for the Tigers today against the Yankees.