I’ll touch more on this later when I have more time but the Tigers decided on their rotation and shipped Nate Robertson to the Marlins in the process. Interesting move because if Willis tanks, the Tigers don’t have as much major league ready experience ready to fill in.
I always love stories like this because when aren’t teams talking to each other about potential deals. Still, the idea of getting something for Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis a couple of months ago would have been laughed at. Now with both pitchers having solid springs and the Tigers needing just one of those two in the rotation means the other is expendable. Jeremy Bonderman could also be an arm that goes so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in this final week to the season.
There was also some speculation over the weekend that the Tigers might try to go for a veteran at second base. Ramon Santiago is a nice fill in but the Tigers have never been confident that he’s a full season option so it’ll be interesting to see how short of a leash Scott Sizemore is left with.
The Tiger spring game yesterday was rained out. Second straight Sunday that’s happened. Jon Kibler made an emergency start and it wasn’t pretty because it was 8-0 when the game was called in the fourth. Rick Porcello gets the start today against the Jays and Phil Coke and Joel Zumaya are also expected to get some time on the mound.
The Tigers lost yesterday to the Yankees 2-1 but once again, Nate Robertson did a nice job making his case for the fifth spot in the Tigers’ rotation. It’s getting awfully close to the start of the season so if Leyland wants to stretch out his starters, he’s going to have to decide on his rotation pretty soon. Robertson gave up two runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts yesterday. The Yankees had a quite a few familiar faces playing and one of those runs came on a solo shot by Marcus Thames. Joel Zumaya struck out the side in the sixth and Ryan Perry threw a shutout inning.
The Tigers managed just six hits in the contest. Magglio Ordonez went one for two with a walk and an RBI. Johnny Damon doubled and scored. Brandon Inge stole a base so it’s nice to see him testing himself on the basepaths. Oddly Miguel Cabrera also stole a base. For both it was their first of the spring.
Bobby Seay and Zach Miner both hit the disabled list and for Seay, it’s a torn rotator cuff so he’s out for a while. The Tigers also trimmed their roster and one of the surprising cuts (for me) was Dan Schlereth. I know he struggled at times this spring so he’ll get plenty of work for Toledo. Wilkin Ramirez, Max St. Pierre, Enrique Gonzalez and Phil Dumatrait were also sent to minor league camp so as it stands, the Tigers have a few more players to trim before now and the start of the season.
The Tigers get a rematch against the Yankees this afternoon. Max Scherzer gets the start for the Tigers. He’s looked good his last two times out so hopefully he’ll be able to keep it going. Joel Zumaya is also expected to throw as the Tigers get him used to working in back to back days.
The Tigers played two yesterday and while Jim Leyland still won’t say who will anchor the back half of his rotation, both Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis threw good enough yesterday to where they may be the front runners for the job. In the afternoon game, Willis got into trouble early in the first but bounced back and threw three scoreless frames to finish out his start. He walked the first two batters he face but only walked one the rest of the way. In all, he gave up just a run on two hits and three walks and he struck out three. Five different relievers, including Joel Zumaya and Jose Valverde, each threw a shutout inning the rest of the way.
At the plate, Ramon Santiago went two for four with a run and an RBI in the 5-1 win. Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera each doubled and drove in a pair of runs.
In the evening game, Jeremy Bonderman threw 4 1/3 after getting a nice 5-0 lead in the first. In all, he gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Enrique Gonzalez threw two shutout innings and Dan Schlereth threw a shutout eighth inning. Six different Tigers doubled in the 8-2 win. Adam Everett was one of those and he drove in two and scored. Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez both had a pair of hits in the win.
Next up is Justin Verlander against the Braves. This one is on MLB.TV and unfortunately I won’t be home to watch it. Derek Lowe throws for the Braves in this one. It’s going to be a late night tonight so if the archived game isn’t up, I’ll probably listen to the Twins and Orioles game while I work. Have a good weekend everyone.
I’m a little late on this but the Tigers had a rare spring day off so I’m getting caught. Max Scherzer has had his troubles this spring but he put them behind him on Tuesday as he shut down the Nationals in the Tigers 6-2 win. He threw four innings of no-hit ball before he got into trouble in the fifth. In all, he gave up a run on four hits with four strikeouts in five innings of work. Ryan Perry threw a shutout frame and Dan Schlereth stuck out the side in the eighth inning.
Brandon Inge and Gerald Laird both went yard for the Tigers. Al Avila went three for three while Austin Jackson continues to rake and he went three for four with a pair of doubles.
The Tigers play two today with Dontrelle Willis getting the start in the opener and Jeremy Bonderman throwing in the nightcap. I took some heat for some positive comments on Willis recently so hopefully Dontrelle keeps his solid spring going.
The Tigers and Braves combined for 28 hits late Friday afternoon in a 4-4 ten inning tie. The Tigers top of the order accounted for seven of their thirteen hits and five players had multi-hit games. Ryan Raburn led the way and he went three for five. Jeff Larish and Johnny Damon both went yard in the game with solo shots while Al Avila had a pair of doubles.
Jeremy Bonderman had another mediocre outing. He gave up four hits and two walks in three innings of work. Al Figaro gave up a run in two frames while Phil Dumatrait pitched a perfect eighth in which he struck out one.
Earlier in the day, the Tigers lost to the Yankees 6-2. Rick Porcello was tagged for four runs but three were unearned because of a Ramon Santiago error. Andrew Oliver was all over the place with three walks and two strikeouts in one inning. Lester Oliveros gave up a run on three hits in the ninth, but when he got outs they were punch outs because he had three strikeouts in the inning.
The Tigers managed just five hits against CC Sabathia and company. Clete Thomas had a double, a single and he scored both Tiger runs.
The Tigers take on the Phillies this afternoon and the game is on MLB.TV. Eddie Bonine throws for the Tigers while Roy Halladay goes for the Phillies.
Rick Porcello has pitched three innings today and he’s been roughed up for four runs by the Yankees in the Tigers first game of the day. Three of those runs won’t show up in his ERA though because of a Ramon Santiago error. Porcello did strike out three (assuming he’s done) but he gave up four hits and a walk. It was also a text book Porcello outing because all six of his outs that were in play came on the ground.
Clete Thomas is already two for two with a double and he’s scored the lone Tiger run so far. Brandon Inge drove him in with a single in the first frame.
Talk about an interesting spring development. Dontrelle Willis threw three innings today. He gave up a walk and he struck out two with no hits and no runs. He also did all of this with back spasms. That brings his spring ERA down to 0.90 and he’s making his case for the fifth spot in the Tigers rotation in a very strong fashion. I know it’s still the spring, but the Astros had most of their starters of their starters so maybe there’s a chance we’ll get our money’s worth out of Willis yet.
Don Kelly doubled, singled and scored twice in the 5-4 win over the Astros. Carlos Guillen doubled and drove in a run while Johnny Damon singled, drew a walk and scored.
Ryan Perry struck out three in 1 2/3 innings but he gave up a run on two hits and a walk. Jay Sborz was also roughed up and he gave up a two run home run in the eighth inning. Brad Thomas struck out two in 1 1/3 shutout innings of relief.
The Tigers play two tomorrow (I think this is their first night game). Jeremy Bonderman throws against the Braves in the evening and prior to that, Rick Porcello will get the start against the Yankees at 1 pm. The 1 pm game is on MLB.TV and I’ll probably be at Panera so what I get to watch of the game will depend on how good their WiFi is that day.
It’s going to be feast or famine for me writing the next few weeks because I’m knee deep into my busy work season. Fortunately I’m past one big deadline and the next one isn’t for a month so I have a little bit of breathing room. I’ve watched/listened to some games, but haven’t followed the team as much as I like so in looking at the numbers and from what I’ve picked up from the games I’ve watched, here’s some of the highlights so far this spring.
1) The Tigers aren’t much closer to picking a fifth starter and who’s going to pitch in the fourth spot is a little less clear then this time a month ago. Jeremy Bonderman was labeled the fourth starter but he’s been roughed up so far. He has some time to redeem himself but both Nate Robertson (who’s pitching as I write this) and Dontrelle Willis (???) have had a decent spring so far. Armando Galarraga, who I probably would have predicted as the fifth starter, has also had a rought time. It’s still early and it’s the spring so things could still swing one way or the other but the Tigers could have some tough decisions to make.
2) Austin Jackson looks a lot better then I thought he would at this point. I though Jackson would struggle and start the season in the minors for the first month or two but he’s forcing his way into the leadoff spot on opening day with a .433/.528/.700 line so far this spring. He also has two triples and two steals and it’ll be interesting how he fills out Curtis Granderson’s shoes.
3) All three pitchers that the Tigers got in the Granderson/Jackson trade have struggled. The most important is Max Scherzer, who’s given up eleven hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. He does have seven strikeouts but his ERA looks pretty ugly right now. Dan Schlereth and Phil Coke have also had bad outings for the team.
4) I’m cautiously optimistic about Scott Sizemore now. His numbers aren’t great, but he’s playing after that broken leg. He hit his first home run on Monday during the telecast.
5) Magglio Ordonez is driving the ball. He has two home runs and a double along with six singles for a .615 slugging percentage. Having a 35 double/20 home run Magglio would be huge this season.
6) One of the biggest question marks is who’s going to be the backup catcher. Al Avila has been solid, but you wonder if they’ll want him at Toledo so he can play everyday. Robinzon Diaz has been okay at the plate so he could end up being the backup to start the season but he’ll be kept on a short leash with Avila in the wings.
There’s still almost three weeks left of spring ball though so a lot can happen. Stay tuned.
The Tigers first spring telecast is today. Fortunately I’ll be home most of the day so I should be able to catch most of the game. Even better, there’s four night games (including two 10 pm games) on MLB.TV so hypothetically, you could start watching the Tigers at one pm and watch pretty much non-stop baseball until 1 am or so. The internet is wonderful thing.
The Tigers are MLB.TV for the first time this year and I’m not at home to watch it. The big news was Stephen Strasburg and at least for this one game, he lived up to the hype. He put the Tigers out in order in the first, then the Tigers got a pair of hits in the second but couldn’t put a run across. Strassburg struck out Miguel Cabrera and Brent Dlugach in the inning.
I thought the Tigers might be on television tomorrow going up against the Yankees but it’s not listed. I’ll have to wait until 3 pm to watch any game but I’ll get a choice of four (leaning towards Reds/Angels). The Phillies and Braves play an evening game tonight so I might catch some of that (again, while working).
Just about everyone got in on the action yesterday as the Tigers took care of the Astros 17-7. Fourteen Tigers accounted for 16 hits and eleven walks that resulted in 17 runs. Seventeen Tigers reached base and Ryan Rabun led the way with a single, three walks and three runs. Don Kelly went two for two with a home run, two RBI and a run while Carlos Guillen doubled twice, drove in one and scored one.
Unfortunately four different Tigers gave up runs while on the mound. Eddie Bonine got the start and he gave up a run on three hits in two innings. Joel Zumaya had a rough outing and he was tagged for three runs in two frame while Fu-Te Ni gave up a pair of runs in his inning of work.
Justin Verlander gets the nod this afternoon in his first spring start. Brad Thomas, Ryan Perry and Jay Sborz are also expected to get some innings in. Even better, WXYT is making their second radio broadcast so whether you’re in the car or at home you should be able to check out the game. There’s also a couple of Cactus League games on MLB.TV as well as a night radio broadcast so I’m hoping to get my fill of baseball while I work on some tax returns.
The Tigers opened up Joker Marchant stadium yesterday to a packed house and while they came back from an early 3-0 deficit, they eventually blew a 6-3 lead later in the game and lost 9-7. Rick Porcello and Dontrelle Willis looked good while Max Scherzer, Zach Miner and Armando Galarraga were all roughed up. Brent Dlugach went yard for the second straight day and Austin Jackson singled and drew two walks in three plate appearances. Today, the Tigers play a split squad game with the Astros. Jacob Turner gets the nod in the B game at 10 am and fellow 2009 draft choice Andy Oliver will also get some work. Eddie Bonine will start the A game at 1 pm. I won’t get to listen to the Astros radio broadcast because I’ll be with my son.
In lieu of a Hardball Times Season Preview, the website is now offering THT Forecasts. This not only includes what you would have gotten in the old Preview, but you also get regular updates to the forecasts. We’re also going with a new projections system. You also get a deal when you buy this year because you’ll also be locking in your price for next year. I wrote the Tigers section for the fourth straight year and this year I’m fairly certain I didn’t include any players on the Tigers roster.
Also, the Mets experts at Amazin Avenue have put out the Amazin Avenue Annual. I went outside my comfort zone a little and I did a year in review from the business side of things for the book. These guys put a ton of work into this and of course you can’t ask for a better price so be sure to check it out.
I have the Yankees/Pirates game on and it’s so weird seeing Curtis in a Yankee uniform. He grounded out to short and they had him hitting second behind Derek Jeter. Granderson is in center and Gardner is playing in left.
It’s the eighth inning and they’re interviewing Curtis. Now I’m starting to miss him.
Ryan Strieby hit a two run home run and Don Kelly is two for two with a run as the Tigers have a 5-0 lead through three innings against Florida Southern. Phil Coke struck out three in two scoreless innings and Eddie Bonine threw a perfect third inning. Baseball is here folks.
The Tigers kick off their spring season today with their annual exhibition game against Florida Southern. Phil Coke gets the nod. I’ll be running around meeting with clients but I’m hoping to catch at least some of this game on the feed. Speaking of which, I have to renew my MLB.TV subscription.