Archive for May, 2007

Baseball America’s Business Blog

We all know I have a pretty keen interest in the business of baseball so that’s why I was excited when Baseball America started a blog related to the business aspects of the minor leagues.  Josh Leventhal has done a very nice job in his first few posts and I’m definitely going to make this a regular stop.

Player Profile – Virgil Vasquez

Virgil Vasquez is going to make his major league debut tomorrow and while he may be on the big league team for all of one day, it’s probably worth taking a look at where this sleeper came from.  Vasquez was drafted by the Tigers in the seventh round of the 2003 draft out of UC Santa Barbara and he made his minor league debut that season with Oneota.  While he was hit hard in eleven starts (6.92 ERA), he carried what he learned there into his first full season with the White Caps in 2004.  He finished the season 14-6 in 27 starts and he had an impressive 120/34 strikeout to walk ratio in 168 1/3 innings.

2005 was a mixed bag.  He pitched pretty well for Lakeland to start the season, but when he was bumped up to Erie, he got knocked around.  The end result was a 2-8 record with a 5.27 ERA in 15 starts at Double A.  Last year though, he threw a lot better in his second stint with the Seawolves.  His walk rate was up but it was still a very respectable 2.59/9 innings but his strikeout rate was also up.

This year, Vasquez got off to a rough start at Toledo and he was hit hard in his first two starts.  Since then, he’s been on fire though and the end result is 50 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings with only ten walks.  Now we’ll get to see what he can do at the big league level and he has a tough task handling a pretty rough middle of the Twins lineup.


I forgot to mention that Virgil Vasquez will not only get the start tomorrow, but it’ll be on the spotlight because the Tigers are on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. 

Back to Work

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.  The website problems began popping up about the first of the month when I began noticing posting problems and some of the other writers in both networks began writing to me about wordpress accessibility problems.  It seemed to get worse before it got better and the end result was almost a two week shut down. 

It didn’t help things that I was on vacation in the Caribbean this past week.  I figured I could sneak out of town, access the net and keep up with things while on the cruise and nobody would be the wiser but it wasn’t to be.  I didn’t want to advertise the fact that I’d be gone for over a week because my house isn’t too hard to track down but by last weekend, I knew I had a full blown problem on my hands.

The good news is, things should be pretty much fixed.  So over the next couple of days, everyone in the Baseball Historians and Minor League Blogs network should be back to work.

The vacation was fun.  Probably the coolest part was a helicopter ride over Grand Cayman.  If you ever want the experience of a lifetime and you’re in Grand Cayman, be sure to book a ride with Cayman Island Helicopters.  The pilot was awesome and very entertaining and you’ll see everything from sting ray city to some sharks out in the water.  We were on a Disney cruise and the boy had a great time too.  He even went parasailing for the first time while his old man worried about him while in the boat.

And while I’ve been gone, the Tigers have continued their tear.  At 23-12, they sit a top the Central and they’re behind just the Red Sox for the best record in the American League.  Eleven wins in twelve games will do that for you and I’ll be taking a look at that run as well as tomorrow’s starter, Virgil Vasquez, who will make his major league debut tomorrow in place of Jeremy Bonderman.

I’ve got some other cool stuff coming up as well.  On Wednesday, I’ll be posting my interview with Tom Stanton on his new book, Ty and the Babe.  It was a fantastic read and if you’ve ever thought negatively (as a person, you can’t argue with what he did on the field) of Ty Cobb, you’ll rethink things after reading this fantastic piece of work.  The book comes out Tuesday and Mr. Stanton will be making an extensive circuit in the area so be sure to check out his website and stop by one of his signings to say hello.

Tigers Still Rolling

The Tigers are still winning while I’m still having problems.  I’m still having some WordPress/hosting problems I’m trying to get resolved and in the meantime, I limited to these quick bursts for fear I might lose all of my work.  Anyway, they’ve promised to resolve things this week so when I start writing more, it means things are fixed.  Thanks for your patience.

Tigers Win Fifth Straight

I’m having some network/wordpress problems that are affecting all of the Baseball Historians and Minor League Blogs sites so I’m going to get this in while I still can.  Tigers won their fifth straight with good games by Justin Verlander and Carlos Guillen.   It’ll be Mike Maroth against Odalis Perez and while the Tigers still trail the Indians by a half game, they have a nice two and a half game cushion over third place Minnesota.

Gary Sheffield Leads Tigers In Come From Behind Win To Sweep Orioles

Now this is what we expected from Mr. Sheffield.  On a day where a lot of the hitters were off, Gary Sheffield put the team on his back and went four for four with a homerun and he drove in two of the Tigers three runs.  No other Tigers had more then one hit, but the one by Craig Monroe ended up being the difference maker.  His solo homerun put the Tigers ahead by the score of 3-2, and that would be the final.

Nate Robertson had another really nice start.  He gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts.  Jason Grilli finished the seventh inning and got the final out while Fernando Rodney and Todd Jones each threw a scoreless inning to close things out.

With the four game winning streak, the Tigers now site for the moment in second place, a game back of the Indians.  Tomorrow is an off day and then it’s three against the Royals with Justin Verlander and Brian Bannister throwing in the opener.

Placido Polanco Picks Up Four More Hits In Tigers Win Over Orioles

The Tigers made it three straight wins with a 5-4 win tonight over the Orioles.  Chad Durbin threw 95 pitches in just 3 2/3 innings and while he gave up only two runs, he didn’t go very deep in the game.  Bobby Seay took over from there and while he was credited with the tying run in the seventh (Joel Zumaya actually allowed the inherited runner to score), he got it done in those middle innings.  Joel Zumaya struck out four in two innings and then Todd Jones finished it up with a shutout ninth.

Placido Polanco put the Tigers on the board in the fifth with an RBI single and then Craig Monroe came up huge with a two run shot that gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead.  The Orioles tied it in the seventh and then Sean Casey and Placido Polanco had RBI singles in the bottom of the eighth to put the Tigers ahead for good.

Polanco finished four for five and he’s now hitting .376.  Magglio Ordonez didn’t drive in a run but Sean Casey stole his first base since 2005 back when he was with the Reds.

Nate Robertson gets the start tomorrow as the Tigers try to finish up the sweep.  The hitters will try to get it done against Steve Trachsel tomorrow afternoon’s get away day afternoon game.

Jamie Walker On His Time With The Tigers

Here’s some pretty good quotes from Jamie Walker on his time with the Tigers and his return to Comerica Park.  There’s also some comments by Sean Casey on the passing of Josh Hancock as well as the news that Jose Mesa with get some rehab time down in Triple A. 

Magglio Ordonez Is On A Tear

Magglio Ordonez drove in just two runs in his first nine games and he sported a lackluster .229 batting average.  He had yet to find his homerun swing and with just three doubles as his only extra base hits, he had a pretty poor .631 OPS.

Then on Aprils’ Friday the Thirteenth, Ordonez hit his first homerun of the season and since then, he’s been on an absolute tear.  In his last 16 games, he’s driven in at least one run in fourteen of them and at one point during that stretch, he had driven in runs in eight straight games.  He’s now hitting .344 and his OPS is at a healthy 1.056.  He also came close to driving in the most runs in the month or April since 1957 with 26.  The most was by Tony Clark, who drove in 27 in 1997.

Some of his splits are even more amazing.  In 25 plate appearances, he’s hitting .600 against left handed pitching.  He’s getting it done both at home (1.111 OPS) and on the road (1.012) and he’s also getting it done in the clutch.  With runners in scoring position, he’s hitting .407 and with runners on, he’s hitting .435.  He also seems to be partcularly good against power pitchers, whom he hits .514 against so far this year.

So basically, he’s getting it done and his April was about as good as one can expect.  He probably would have been a contender for player of the month had it not been for a truly historic April by Alex Rodriguez.  And I know you can’t expect Ordonez to keep up this place, but it looks like he’s well on his way to yet another 100 RBI season.

For baseball fans, May is probably the least exciting month in season.  The excitement of opening day is long gone, the All Star break isn’t even on the horizon, and the highlights of a pennant race are about four months away.  So to liven things up, in a couple of weeks, I’m going to have a Tiger trivia contest.  I’m still thinking about how I’m going to handle it but it’ll be a multi-day thing with some prizes.  As a teaser, I’ll let you guys take a stab at this one.  Ordonez’s eight game streak with at least one RBI is tied for the third best amongst Tigers since 1957.  Which Tiger has the longest streak of games with at least one RBI in a game since 1957.  you get bonus points if you can name the year because while the name might not surprise you, the year might.


Alright, I’m behind on things.  Ordonez was recognized for his great week and he was named AL Player of the Week for last week.  Congrats to him.

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