Author Archive

Fernando Rodney’s Shoulder Still Keeping Him Out

Jason Beck reports that Fernando Rodney will be out for another game.  With both he and Joel Zumaya on the shelf, the pen is pretty thin.  Maybe we can get eight innings out of Robertson like we did from Bonderman yesterday and make the whole pen thing moot.

Ty and the Babe Out Today

Tom Stanton’s latest book, Ty and the Babe, was released today.  I had a chance to read it while we were on vacation and I loved and if you have any interest in Ty Cobb, this is a must read because it’s dispels some of the myths that are out there about Cobb.  If you want more information on the book, you can check out Billfer’s review and I also had a chance to interview Mr. Stanton and you’ll find that at the Hardball Times tomorrow.  And in addition, you can check out Tom Stanton’s website because he’s blogging about his road show and it’s a fun read.

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.

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.

Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez Lead Tigers In 8-4 Win Over Orioles

The Tigers got it done at the plate today and they racked up eight runs on just six hits but they drew eight walks in the 8-4 win over the Orioles.  Gary Sheffield had a nice game and he went one for two with two walks, a two run homer and three runs.  He even stole his fourth base of the season and he’s now pulled his batting average up to an even .200.  Magglio Ordonez also hit the ball well and he went two for two with a double, two walks, two RBIs and a run.

It wasn’t Jeremy Bonderman’s best start of the season but he finally picked up his first win.  He gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk with four strikeouts in five innings.  Wil Ledezma walked two in 1 2/3 innings and Fernando Rodney picked up the save with 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball.

There was an incident in the fifth inning.  Danny Cabrera had hit Gary Sheffield earlier in the game and Bonderman threw one a little too close to Miguel Tejada.  The Orioles shortstop waved his bat at Bonderman before Pudge grabbed him and the benches cleared.  There was no real fighting but a ton of yelling.  Of course Gary Sheffield rubbed in his fifth inning homerun after the incident and the umpires had to get between Cabrera and Sheffield as he went around the bases.  Should make for an interesting game tomorrow.

Chad Durbin will try to follow up on his first solid start of the season last week when he takes the mound tomorrow.  Adam Loewen will throw for the Orioles.

Jose Mesa Set to Come Off The Disabled List

Everyone’s favorite relief pitcher, Jose Mesa, comes off the disabled list Wednesday.  For now, at least according to this Jason Beck column, it looks like Mesa will get some time down in the minors before returning to duty with the Tigers.  Not a bad plan although it is interesting to read that Mesa hasn’t played down in the minors since 1991.

It’s funny how such a small sample can make for some interesting numbers but Mesa has given up six hits in twelve plate appearances to right handed hitters so far this year.  Three of those six hits have been for extra bases.  And his OPS against (both right and left handed hitters) is a whopping 1.396.  It’s like he turned the hitter he’s faced into a 2004 version of Barry Bonds.  And oddly, all seven of the hits he’s given up have been with nobody out and he’s gotten all five batters out that he’s faced with one or two outs.

It’ll be interesting to see if he can get these numbers down once the sample size gets bigger.  Of course that means he’s throwing more innings….

Chad Durbin Strikes Out Nine in Tigers Win Over White Sox

Chad Durbin struck out a career high nine batters tonight as the Tigers shut out the White Sox 6-1.  Durbin pitched like a guy who’s job was on the line and he got it done with eight solid innings.  He gave up just three hits and he didn’t walk a single batter.  Joel Zumaya got into a bit of trouble in the ninth and he gave up two runs with a bunch of walks but Todd Jones came it to get the final batter out to pick up the save.

Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez drove in all six Tiger runs with three RBIs a piece.  Ordonez finished with three hits and Ivan Rodriguez went three for five with a run.  Even Gary Sheffield got the stick going and he singled, doubled and scored two runs.

The Tigers can finish up the series with a two game sweep tomorrow night.  Rain is in the forecast so we’ll see if they can get it in.  Nate Robertson will take the mound and he’ll face Jose Contreras.

Tigers Come Back Against Angels, Then Lose In Ten

It’s hard to believe the Tigers even had the lead in this game after being down 7-0.  They fought back though and they didn’t just tie the game, they took the lead in the ninth with a two run homer by Magglio Ordonez.  Unfortunately, Todd Jones blew his second save of the season and gave up a run in the ninth and then gave up another run in the tenth to lose it 9-8.  Two errors on consecutive plays by Carlos Guillen in the first inning (both of which should have been double plays) ended up coming back to haunt the team because those three runs ended up being the difference.

Magglio Ordonez had a really nice game at the plate.  He went three for three with three RBIs, three runs and two walks.  Gary Sheffield scored two runs and Curtis Granderson hit a solo homerun, but he also struck out four times.

Jeremy Bonderman lasted six innings and while he struck out eight, he took it on the chin.  He gave up seven runs with five of them earned on eleven hits and a walk.  Fernando Rodney had a nice outing and he threw two perfect innings of relief and he struck out three.

So now the Tigers hop on a plane to take on the White Sox in Chicago.  Chad Durbin will try to get it done and his spot in the rotation may be on the line and he’ll face rookie John Danks in a rematch of Friday’s starters.

Tigers Drop Third Straight With Ten Inning Loss to White Sox

I was at Greenfield riding on Thomas the Tank Engine today so I didn’t get to watch this game but from looking at the box score, it looked like another tough one.  Nate Robertson was given a four run lead and while he was effective in the first three innings, the wheels fell of the wagon in the fourth and by the fifth the game was tied.  He actually left with a lead but then Joel Zumaya gave up the tying run in the eighth to blow his first save of the season.  Then in the tenth, Fernando Rodney was roughed up again and he took the loss and dropped to 1-4.  Sandwiched between Rodney and Zumaya was a solid ninth inning by Todd Jones and it was nice to see him bounce back from that tough loss on Wednesday.

Gary Sheffield continues his struggles and while he scored a run, he went 0 for 3 and he’s now hitting .119.  Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez each hit their second homerun of the season and Guillen drove in four.  Guillen also led all Tigers in WPA with .151 and Todd Jones led all pitchers with .143.

The Tigers haven’t been swept this year and they’ll try to avoid that tomorrow in the final game of their series with the Sox.  Justin Verlander will take on Jon Garland and while Garland has had a tough time so far this season, he’s 12-6 in his career against the Tigers.  Even worse, he’s 8-1 at Comerica Park.  So the Tigers have their work cut out for them tomorrow and it’s just fortunate that they have their hottest pitcher throwing for them in the game.

Tigers Drop Series Opener to White Sox

The Tigers lost to the White Sox tonight in a 6-5 game.  Chad Durbin was solid through five innings but he ran into trouble in the sixth when he loaded the bases and left it up to Jason Grilli.  A single later and the game was tied.  The White Sox then took the lead in the seventh on an RBI single (again off of Grilli) by Darin Erstad that turned out to be the game winner.

The Tigers threatened in the ninth when Placido Polanco doubled with two outs and then he moved to third on a wild pitch by Bobby Jenks.  Unfortunately, Gary Sheffield struck out looking to end the ball game.  The ball might have been low, but it was close enough to where he should have been protecting the plate.

Aquilino Lopez was a pleasant surprise as he pitched in his first major league game since 2005.  He was called up after Jose Mesa hit the disabled list with an injured groin and he pitched well in two innings.  He gave up just one hit and he struck out one.

Carlos Guillen was the hitting star.  He went two for four and he drove in two runs.  Placido Polanco was the other Tiger with two hits and Brandon Inge hit a solo homerun to put the Tigers on the board in the third inning.

Nate Robertson gets the start tomorrow and he’s pitched as well as anyone on the Tigers rotation this year.  He’ll face Jose Contreras in a rare Saturday afternoon game at Comerica Park.

Ivan Rodriguez Drive in Six in Tigers Win Over Royals

The Tigers got the sticks going today in a 12-5 blowout win over the Royals.  Ivan Rodriguez hit a grand slam and he finished with six RBIs while Carlos Guillen homered and drove in four runs.  The Tigers chased out Zach Greinke in the first inning but they didn’t stop there and seven of their runs came in the first two frames.

Justin Verlander threw six solid innings and he picked up the win.  He gave up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts.  Jose Mesa made things interesting (in a bad way) and he gave up two runs while getting only one hitter out and in the process, his ERA has ballooned to over 20.

Tomorow, it’ll be Mike Maroth who will try to continue his solid start to the season.  The Tigers will try to knock around Royals starter Jorge De la Rosa.

Tigers Come From Behind to Beat Jays

Well, the Tigers stole another one today and this time it was against one of the premier closers in the game. B.J. Ryan had some back troubles this spring and you wonder if it’s still bothering him because this is his second blown save already this year.

Things didn’t start out well as Chad Durbin was hit hard for the second straight start.  By the end of the second, the Tigers were down 4-0.  The Tigers narrowed that lead to 4-3 with an RBI singled by Ivan Rodriguez and a two run homerun by Brandon Inge but Durbin gave up two more runs in the fourth to make it 6-3.

Jason Grilli came in to pitch and while he was shutting down the Jays, the Tigers began picking away at the lead.  Magglio Ordonez doubled home a run in the fifth and then in the seventh, he drove home another run with a double to make it a one run game.  Craig Monroe then hit a ball that almost went over the wall but fell just short for an RBI double in the eighth to tie the game at six.  Wil Ledezma came in and burst everyone’s bubble by giving up a homerun to the first batter he faced, Lyle Overbay to make it 7-6.

Then in the top of the ninth, against B.J. Ryan, things got off to a bad start.  Ivan Rodriguez hit a pop up on what probably was ball four to make it one out but then Ryan continued to have problems with his control as he walked the next three batters.  Marcus Thames came in to pinch hit for Sean Casey and he hit a broken bat two run double down the left field line to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.  Craig Monroe then drove in Carlos Guillen on a ground out and Thames scored when Brandon Inge reached on an error to give the Tigers a bit of insurance.  Then a one hit ninth by Todd Jones put the game away.

Wil Ledezma ended up with the win despite giving up the lead.  Todd Jones saved his sixth game and he has yet to give up a run.  Gary Sheffield scored three times despite not getting a hit in the game in the 10-7 game.

Tomorrow afternoon, it’ll be Nate Robertson against Josh Towers.  Robertson’s off to a pretty nice start and if he can do it again tomorrow, the Tigers will walk away with this series.

Fantastic Start by Jeremy Bonderman Goes to Waste in Tigers Ten Inning Loss

Man, this one was tough.  Jeremy Bonderman threw nine awesome innings and for his troubles, he didn’t even get the win. He gave up one run on six hits and no walks with four strikeouts.  In the tenth, Fernando Rodney gave up an infield single to Aaron Hill then he misplayed a bunt to put two runners on.  He then failed to make a play on yet another bunt to load the bases and a deep fly ball to Alex Rios scored Hill to end it.

Roy Halladay was in Cy Young form.  He threw all ten innings and it’s his second ten inning win in his career.  Ironically, the other one is against the Tigers as well back in 2003.

Magglio Ordonez hit a solo homerun in the second inning and that was all we could get off of Halladay.  Placido Polanco had two more hits and he’s now hitting .386.

Tomorrow, it’ll be Chad Durbin against A.J. Burnett.  Durbin was shelled in his last start and you wonder how long of a leash he has.  And the Tigers did a number on A.J. Burnett in that crazy 10-9 game last week. 

Brandon Inge Homers, Drives in Three As Tigers Hold on to Beat Jays

Brandon Inge had his first multihit game of the year today as he led the Tigers at the plate.  He went two for three with a homerun and three RBIs as the Tigers edged the Jays 6-5.  Sean Casey also had a solid game with two hits and two runs.

Mike Maroth had a nice start and he improved to 2-0 on the season. He gave up two runs on nine hits and two walks with two strikeouts in six solid innings. Jose Mesa then came in and made things interesting. He had no problems in the seventh but then in the eighth, he walked the lead off man and then gave up a single to Aaron Hill.  Joel Zumaya came in and threw a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position before Greg Zauh hit a sac. fly and Lyle Overbay doubled to make it a one run game.  He got out of the jam though and put the Jays down one-two-three in the ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

The Twins and Rays are tied at two in the eighth so we’ll have to wait to see whether the Tigers have sole possession of first place or a share of it with the Twins.  Tomorrow’s pitching matchup is a good as Roy Halladay and Jeremy Bonderman square off in a rematch of opening day.

Cameron Maybin Hits Homeruns in Three Straight Games

After a tough start down in Lakeland, Cameron Maybin has caught fire and homered in each of his last three games.  He now has six runs and five RBIs and an impressive .286/.423/.762 in his first seven games.  Not too shabby for the top prospect.

Nate Robertson Shuts Down Orioles in Tigers Win

Nate Robertson threw a gem tonight against the Orioles as the left hander threw 7 1/3 shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and a walk with five strikeouts.  The lone Oriole run was a solo homerun by Corey Patterson off of Joel Zumaya.

The Tigers did the bulk of their damage in a crazy sixth inning.  Neifi Perez led off with a single and then Curtis Granderson drew a walk.  Placido Polanco was trying to push them both over with a bunt but he ended up beating it out instead to load the bases.  Gary Sheffield struck out and then Magglio Ordonez hit a sharp grounder to short in what looked like a tailor made double play only Polanco got down to second quick enough to cause Brian Roberts to throw it away.  Two runs scored and the rest is history.

The Tigers added a third run in the eighth when Curtis Granderson stretched a single into a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Placido Polanco’s sac. fly.

Justin Verlander gets the start tomorrow in the rubber game.  He’ll face Adam Loewen, who’s never pitched against the Tigers before in his brief career.

Chad Durbin Hit Hard by Orioles in Tigers Loss

Chad Durbin’s debut as a Tiger didn’t go all that well as the Orioles won their home opener.  They tagged Durbin for four runs in the third and then two more in the fifth in the 6-2 Tigers loss.  Wil Ledezma had a nice outing with 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief and Jose Mesa actually got some guys out as he pitched an eighth inning that didn’t mean all that much.

The Tigers couldn’t quite figure out Danny Cabrera.  Sean Casey touched him up for an RBI double in the second but the Tigers didn’t scored against him again until the eighth when Curtis Granderson tripled home Craig Monroe.  Placido Polanco continued his hot hitting (.423 so far this year) with two more hits and Gary Sheffield continued his struggles and went 0 for 4.

Nate Robertson will get the start tomorrow night.  The good news is, the Twins also got beat up by the Yankees so the Tigers are still just a game back.

Tigers Steal One In KC on Ivan Rodriguez Ninth Inning Homerun

The Tigers didn’t do anything in this game until the ninth inning.  Fortunately, they got some solid pitching.  Jeremy Bonderman gave up two runs on seven hits with one strikeout and both Bobby Seay and Fernando Rodney threw a scoreless frame.  The Tigers were held to just four hits and no runs through eight but then they stole this one in the ninth.  Magglio Ordonez led off the inning with a double and Carlos Guillen walked before Ivan Rodriguez hit a huge three run homerun to push the Tigers ahead 3-2.  A scoreless inning by Todd Jones meant a save for him and a series win for the Tigers.

Chad Durbin gets the start tomorrow in an afternoon game (3:05) against the Orioles.  It’s their home opener and Danny Cabrera will be throwing for Baltimore.  It sure would be nice to ruin their opening day with a third straight win by the Tigers.


Eight strikeouts for Bonderman.  Typed this too fast and didn’t proof it well enough

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