Game 16: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: Now it gets interesting. The Tigers will be taking on one of the contenders from the AL Central. Not to diminish the Royals, but this is the first divisional series that can really be used as a measuring stick.

The Tigers send out Chad Durbin. Durbin struggled in his first 2 starts and the Tigers had to rely on Wil Ledezma and Jason Grilli to share the load in those games. Leyland has said that Durbin’s job isn’t in danger, but another outing where he doesn’t really give the team a chance to win and I think it will be hard for Leyland to send him out there again. I’m not looking for a quality start, but 6 innings and 4 runs allowed would be fine out of the 5th starter.

The Tigers will face John Danks, who the White Sox acquired from the Rangers. Danks has a pretty solid WHIP of 1.235 and has fanned 10 in 11 1/3 innings. The only knock against him in his first 2 starts is that he’s allowed 3 homers already.

Game time 7:05

POSTGAME: Chad Durbin did his job tonight. He gave the team 5 innings and allowed only 2 runs, and did it relatively easily. Of course, he was charged with 2 more runs in the 6th after he loaded the bases on a tweener and a couple of walks. Leyland then went to Jason Grilli who gave up the 2 run single.

I don’t blame Grilli so much. He is what he is, and chances are runs are going to score in a bases loaded no out situation. I would have felt better with Joel Zumaya pitching, but at the same time I can’t expect to see him in every high leverage situation. Yet the way the pitching has been handled the last 2 games just hasn’t sat well with me.

Bobby Seay and Aquilino Lopes did a nice job in their turns in relief.

I still don’t understand starting Thames and lifting him with a lead in the 5th inning. Both times the Tigers went on to relinquish the lead. I hear Leyland talking about defense and such, but I guess I still just don’t get it.

And Gary Sheffield, I just don’t know.


  1. David

    April 20, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Walk Thome every time he comes up, unless the bases are loaded.

    I’m sorry but thats the way I feel.

    Looking up some of the numbers makes me feel even stronger this way after the Cardinals we are his biggest punching bag.

    He smacks our pitchers around to a 1.125 OPS

    IN 146 games with only 479AB he has scored 115 runs against us has 106 RBI’s 25 doubles 3 tripples and a horrific 49 (thats a four and then a nine) home runs (he also has walked 117 times).

    Though his #’s aren’t quite as good at COPA he is still lethal,

    and I’m still reeling from opening day last year off of Bondo that was a monster shot caught a couple rows behind us.

  2. Mike R

    April 20, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Chad Durbin’s pitching like he actually wants to be the 5th starter. Very good outing for him through 5.

    I’d like to thank that stellar White Sox defense for allowing that inning to continue.

  3. billfer

    April 20, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Here’s a situation where I wish Leyland had a quicker hook. Durbin did his job

  4. Deryl G

    April 20, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Does anyone else wish that Leyland would put Zoom in when the bases-loaded situation like that?

    That is a huge situation. I’d hate to get beat without my best pitcher out there.

  5. Ed in OR

    April 20, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    What was Leyland thinking? First Bondo now Durbin after very good showings. Am I mising something?

  6. Mike R

    April 20, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Durbin was looking good before the 6th. I still wish Ledezma got the shot in the 5th spot.

  7. Mike R

    April 20, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Wow. Thank you Jim Thome/the White Sox staff for sending Jim Thome on that play.

  8. billfer

    April 20, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    Every time Sheff comes up in a close game, I think “this is when he’s going to do it.” I hope he either starts doing it, or I stop being fooled into thinking he will.

  9. Adam

    April 20, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Me too.

  10. Deryl G

    April 20, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    I’m glad to see Zumaya warming up now that we’re down by one.

  11. Sam V

    April 20, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Is it just me or does sheffield look a little over anxious when he gets a pitch to hit?

  12. Chris Y.

    April 20, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Me three.

  13. Johnny Strange

    April 20, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    nice watch sheff. glad we picked HIM up. big bat indeed.

  14. Bobby

    April 20, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    …waiting patiently for the Grilli apologists (0-1, 9.53 ERA) to say that “it’s early, and he’s actually a really good pitcher”.

  15. Johnny Strange

    April 20, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    who? cheese? please…last season my favorite thing to scream, aside from “No! Not Rodney!” was, “NO! Not Cheese!”

    now i’m in pittsburgh, so i get to yell, “NO! Not Wasdin!”

  16. Sam

    April 20, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    My comment on this website on 3/29/07:

    “Durbin has a habit of having good springs followed by lousy regular seasons at the ML level. Hopefully he is mature enough now, that this will not be the case.”

    Follow Up:
    He has to learn to trust his stuff. I feel bad for the guy. He has performed at every level and obviously has the talent to be a MLB pitcher. I’m just not sure he has it between the ears.

    Aquilino Lopez did look good though. He has ML experience and owns a respectable 3.72 lifetime ERA.


  17. Bobby

    April 20, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Johnny Strange, I somehow feel you are the only other person watching the games the same way I am.

    BTW, my wife’s from Pittsburgh, so I’m there all the time. I do like the Bucs, too. There are worse parks to spend your time in…

  18. Johnny Strange

    April 20, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    don’t like the bucs too much kid, they’ll break yr heart. but the tigers have had me for 30 years, now in pitt i’m sure they can use another fan after 15 yrs of futility.

    and honestly, of all those tiger teams i don’t know if i’ve EVER seen a team strike out more than these bucs…ugh. could be a REAL long season.


  19. EZ

    April 20, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    These whiff’s are killing us. Monroe, Sheff, Grandy, Inge… all in the top of the league. We are bleeding out an awful lot of games with our pitchers walking too many batters and our hitters going down without puting balls in play.

    The Tigers, surprisingly, are only 10th in the majors in K’s (not updated for tonight). But the four mentioned above are killing us. Yeah, I know, Inge has three homers (including a meaningful shot tonight), and Grandy has solid power numbers, and Sheff is taking walks. But that window dressing doesn’t hide that we are losing too many close games.

    If we want to go to the post season we need to stop bleeding out games, and a big part of that is all of these stinking K’s.

    I was really worried about losing 2 of 3 at home to the Chi Sox. Now we will have to kick it in gear offensively for the rest of the weekend to avoid a sweep. My gut tells me Nate loses a heartbreaker tomorrow… 3-2. We beat up Conteras late last year, but in the spring he dominated us. Right now I think his pitching is stronger than our whiffing, oops, I meant to write our batting.

    Hope I am wrong.

  20. Jeff M

    April 20, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    I still don’t understand starting Thames and lifting him with a lead in the 5th inning. Both times the Tigers went on to relinquish the lead. I hear Leyland talking about defense and such, but I guess I still just don’t get it.

    Try thinking of it as a mid-game platoon. Leyland managed to get two L-R matchups and a R-L matchup. He also forced Guillen to use Thornton to avoid a fourth advantageous matchup. That could have been huge if we forced extra innings.

    It’s also a way of averaging two players with complimentary skills. By splitting time between them, he’s essentially adding a little balance to team. It’s balance in the same way that a bar magnet has balance, so it’s clearly not ideal, but it is in interesting attempt to work with the available talent.

    It’s also an interesting way to get Thames at-bats more regularly. It’s been said that Thames is the kind of guy that would do even better if he were a regular. If that’s true, he probably benefits from having at-bats every night evening if he is in the clubhouse by 9 o’clock.

    I also have a hunch that this strategy would (if it continues) increase his overall playing time. Like it or not, he’s a man without a position, so Thames supporters should just take it a sign that Leyland’s trying to find him some time wherever possible.

  21. Jeff M

    April 20, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    we are losing too many close games.

    Suggested reading:

  22. Kurt

    April 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    I expected to lose tonight. I just didn’t think it would be this close.

  23. Jojo SunDevil

    April 20, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    I was rooting for Chad Durbin. You know a 29 year old career minor leaguer who has finally made it up, but he is really struggling right now. He is not better then Miner, Ledezma or A. Miller, Perhaps Durbin is taking lumps so the youner Miner or miller can come up later this season, and their arms will remain healthy, but I doubt it. Go to Ledezma! Ledezma deserves it, he should be the starter.

    Sheffield? I don’t know. I hope he is not another juan Gonzalez. I really think that it is just early in the season, and we shouldn’t worry too much. There’s a lot of crappy players hitting .400, and good players hitting .190. Shef will be fine.

    The one thing that boggles me though, is what do we do about Marcus Thames? It is nice to have a good reserve outfielder like that, I suppose. But even in the world series, its like the Tigers don’t have any purpose or place for him, but at the same time, they don’t want to get rid of him.

    GO TIGERS!!!

  24. Kurt

    April 21, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Miner sounds like he’s not even close. (See Bilfer’s minor league wrap). Durbin’s better than him right now. I don’t like Ledezma starting because he seems to only be good for so many innings. I guess that might be an improvement right now. But he’s definitely better in the bullpen long run.

  25. Mike R

    April 21, 2007 at 2:01 am

    Everyone fell in love with Miner over that 6-7 game stretch right after Maroth went down. Zach Miner is a mediocre 5th starter at best, IMO. He’s not as good as he appeared in the first 6-7 games for us last year.

    And I don’t want Andrew Miller being the next answer. I’d prefer him to follow the Verlander path and spend a full year in the minors if at all possible. Unless he’s DOMINATING Double-A when he gets there.

    Sheffield is STRUGGLING. I still think it was a brilliant move (especially given that the Yankees won’t get anything out of the major part of their return for at least another full year) and I really think his track record is just too strong for his skills to diminish this quickly. I’m more annoyed then I am concerned with him right now. In a month and he’s still riding the interstate batting averages, I’ll be pressing as many panic buttons as I can find.

  26. KS

    April 21, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Is there anyone here who honestly thinks Chad Durbin is as good a pitcher as Wilfredo Ledezma? This ridiculous obsession with having defined bullpen roles ends up not properly leveraging innings. I’d much, much rather have Wil Ledezma’s first five innings, than Durbin’s first five, plus Ledezma’s next 1, followed by Grilli followed by…….. You really have got to throw a starting pitcher out there every fifth day who gives you a decent chance to win if there’s one on your roster, we have that guy on there right now, use him.

  27. David

    April 21, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Leyland has cost us the game yesterday, and the Royal’s final one.