Tigers Rotation Shuffle

According to Danny Knobler, it looks like Jim Leyland is using the 2 off days this week to realign the rotation for the Chicago series. Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander will pitch in the Texas series. Instead of going with Wil Ledezma and Nate Robertson the first 2 games of the Orioles series, Jeremy Bonderman will be moved up. Because the Tigers are off on today and Thursday, Bonderman will be on his regular rest.

Presuming that Nate Robertson doesn’t have lingering effects from the line drive to the ribs, he’ll get the nod on Saturday followed by Ledezma on Sunday.

That leaves Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander, and Bonderman to face the White Sox.

Now earlier in the season, the Tigers went to Minnesota to face a Twins rotation that was stocked specifically to match-up with the Tigers. Leyland kept his rotation intact and left Zach Miner to face Francisco Liriano (which worked out okay). So is Leyland feeling the pressure now with a rapidly shrinking lead?


  1. stephen

    September 11, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    man, the good news for the tigers and leyland is that they deal on a day-to-day basis with easily the least critical beat reporters in the entire major leagues. Knobler could spin Napolean’s retreat from Moscow into a minor setback. Here he writes:
    Analysis: Yes, the Tigers have to play better, but it’s hard to believe that they won’t. It’s getting more interesting than they would like, but a 3 1/2-game (wild-card) lead with 18 games on the schedule is actually a pretty big lead, and that’s the lead the Tigers would have to blow to miss the playoffs. As bad as they’ve been the last five weeks (and 10-22 shows they’ve been real bad), it’s still going to take a huge collapse for them to miss out.

    Danny, where’s the evidence that they’ll play better? And I’d say a 10-22 slide is a stand up triple on the way to a huge collapse. It’s pretty simple: if the Tigers go 8-10, which would be a marked improvement from the last five weeks, the White Sox catch them by going 11-7 after tonight. I’d say the odds of that happening are at least 50-50.

  2. Jeff M

    September 12, 2006 at 12:27 am

    Danny, where’s the evidence that they’ll play better?

    Where’s the evidence that they won’t?

    This team has shown that it can win a lot of games and it’s shown that it can lose a bunch too. They’re cold right now, but that could change tomorrow. Which team will show up for the rest of the race? Who knows. All I know is that I’ll be there to see it happen.

    BTW, Knobler’s story appears to be accurate.

  3. Jeff M

    September 12, 2006 at 12:31 am

    Am I reading this right? Verlander will still get the two extra days of rest, right? If so, I’m pleasantly surprised.

  4. Ian C.

    September 12, 2006 at 7:01 am

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not sure I want Bonderman facing the White Sox right now…

  5. Kyle J

    September 12, 2006 at 9:25 am

    Keep in mind the White Sox are 12-15 over their last 27 games. So if you’re going to project out records based on recent performance, but them down for a losing finish, as well.

  6. stephen

    September 12, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    Well, I’d say the evidence that they won’t play better is, in no apparent order:
    a. nelfi perez hitting .159
    b. casey
    c. releasing your #3 hitter
    d. going 10-22 over the last 32 games.
    e. not having won two games in a row for a month.

    i’m not hating on the tigers, i want them to win badly. my fear if they end their season on a 18-32 skid is it could break the spirit of the young guys, tighten Pizza Man’s pocketbook, and sour the fans for another decade. Sure, I would be happy with 92-70 back on April, but it’s not a zero sum game. Now, if they go 92-70 all the fans, the players, and potential free agents will remember is one of the great free falls in modern baseball history. These kind of epic collapses scar franchises for years; just look at the post 78 Red Sox and the post 64 Phillies. I hope to the heavens they make it to the playoffs.

  7. T Smith

    September 12, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    I watch the Tigers outside of Michigan on MLB package; as such I never get to see any press conferences. But from my limited perpective, and from what I can read on the Internet, it would appear that Leyland is sorta like a deer in the headlights these days. Where before it always seemed that he had a grip on the clubhouse, knew how to motivate and keep the team focused, the ship now appears adrift, and he (appears anyway) befuddled, uncertain, and unconfident.

    To all of you who are bombarted with the media coverage behind the scenes of this “skid”, would that be accurate? What’s the take on how Leyland is handling this, and what is his approach to manage the mental aspect of the game? As much as I hate to say it, as suggested in previous threads, the Tigers have set themselves up for a finish of historic proportions–regardless. If they make it, they back in under duress, if they don’t, the story inevitibly becomes focused on one the greatest collapses ever. Leyland’s job is to manage a baseball team to win, but also, now by default, to manage the “choke mode” of this team. I wish I could judge how well he’s doing at this, but as I say, I just don’t get to see any Leyland interviews. What’s the take out there on this one?

  8. KS

    September 12, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    At least with the 64 Phillies and 78 Red Sox, they were only passed by a single team, the Tigers will in the end be passed by the Yankees, Twins, and White Sox. That qualifies as a historic collapse. Could you imagine the 80’s Tigers of Tram, Gibby, and Morris folding the tents up like this?

  9. Anne

    September 12, 2006 at 10:30 pm

    Stephen–don’t forget the (hopefully very temporary) loss of Zumaya. However, on the plus side, how about the return of Polanco? That would negate the whole Perez fiasco. Also on the plus side, I think Bonderman is way better than we’ve been seeing. There’s evidence enough for either argument.

    And I have to say, no matter where Leyland put him in the line-up, I never thought of DY as a legitimate #3 hitter. While I don’t believe for a minute his release was performance-related, I also don’t think the team would have released him if they felt he could make any significant contribution. Maybe his performance just wasn’t enough to counter whatever other negatives he brought to the team.