Game 17: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers look to snap their first losing streak of the season. To do it they’ll send out Nate Robertson.

Robertson has been very effective this year because he’s kept the ball in the park. In twenty innings he’s only given up 1 long ball. (I know, beware of the DTW reverse jinx). Last year Nate surrendered 7 homers in 26 2/3 innings to the White Sox. (trying to counteract the DTW reverse jinx).

The White Sox will send out Jose Contreras. Contreras has had severe control problems this year to the tune of 10 walks in 12 innings. Of course the Tigers have made lesser pitchers look great this season, so this doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Game time 1:05pm

POSTGAME: For the 3rd time in 3 games the Tigers had another come from ahead loss. Once again it was the same story in that only a couple of guys provided offense and the pen couldn’t secure the lead.

I lamented Jim Leyland going with Jason Grilli in a high leverage situation yesterday. Today he went with Joel Zumaya who did the job in the 7th, but couldn’t protect the lead in the 8th. After a scoreless 9th from Todd Jones, Fernando Rodney was hammered for a couple doubles and a single in the 10th. I can’t be upset with the bullpen use today. Leyland went to his top guys, but 2 of the 3 let him down.

And as for Rodney, he was awful today. He’s been pretty bad in all but one of the losses. Yet if you want the Tigers to ditch him, it ain’t gonna happen. Rodney signed a 2 year deal and the Tigers aren’t going to eat that 3 weeks into the season. That would be a tremendous overreaction. I can understand short of that wanting him to not see as many high leverage situations. From a baseball strategy standpoint it would be hard to argue with that. But I’ve never been one to understand the psyche of a Major League reliever. I’ll leave it to Leyland to manage Rodney’s mental state, and hope that Chuck Hernandez can straighten out the mechanics.

The bottom 3 in the lineup combined to go 0 for 12 today, and Pudge batting 6th was right there with them until a single in his last at-bat. The Tigers continue to rely on 4 guys to provide all of the offense. Even bunching it today wasn’t enough.

And one note for Gary Sheffield. I’m still pretty confident he’ll get things turned around. But in the meantime stop complaining. That pitch to end the game on Friday was a strike. Instead of arguing the foul ball on strike 3 today, run. And instead of arguing the swinging bunt, run. If you don’t like the car, hit the ball farther than 6 inches.


  1. Jeff M

    April 21, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Anybody going down there today? After the game, I’m gonna watch the Wings at 5th Ave. The first beer is on me if you find me in my #99 jersey.

  2. Shawn in Tokyo

    April 21, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Let’s go Sheff!

  3. Shawn in Tokyo

    April 21, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Wooooooooooooooo baby!!!

  4. Joey the K

    April 21, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    you can put THAT on the board hawk!

  5. Anne

    April 21, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    What a lift. Last night’s game kinda had me down. So great to see Nate getting some run support too! Except I think he’s transferred his lack of support to Bonderman.

  6. Shawn in Tokyo

    April 21, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Man, can’t breathe easy even after a big first…no slacking allowed even when we are in the lead guys…

  7. Mark

    April 21, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Robertson is horrible with a runner on first today!!!!

  8. Ben in Denver

    April 21, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    C’mon Pudge, let’s get this run in.

  9. Ben in Denver

    April 21, 2007 at 1:38 pm


  10. Adam

    April 21, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    4 grand slams in the first 17 games. Has that ever happened before?

  11. Mark in Chicago

    April 21, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    That was some kind of sloppy. Horrible game. Frustrating stuff. Couple balls hit hard, even though they were for outs. Hope that’s a sign the bats are coming to life.

  12. Jojo SunDevil

    April 21, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Man Rodney is worse than catfish huntin without stinkbait.

  13. Jim

    April 21, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Was down there today..very sloppy. Man, Rodney takes forever!

  14. Bobby

    April 21, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Rodney was:
    1) the victim of odd circumstances;
    2) just plain unlucky (for the umpteenth time in a row);
    3) a good pitcher on a bad streak
    4) just fine… nothing was his fault (again)

    I swear, there are always people on this site that want to excuse him.

    I’m done getting mad at Rodney. He clearly is overmatched at this level. Now, I’m starting to really, honestly question the management of this team. There’s loyalty, and there’s hurting the team, plain and simple.

    Dump Rodney.

    This is a (very, very wornout) recording.

  15. Chief

    April 21, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Rodney is not overmatched on this level given his previous 1.5 years of pitching.

    He’s had a terrible start b/c of poor location. He should be taken out of high leverage situations for the time being, but it would beyond dumb to give up on him for 1 awful month.

  16. Jeff M

    April 21, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Dump Rodney.

    This is a (very, very wornout) recording.

    As is this…. who are you going to replace him with?

    Take your time. I’ll wait.

  17. Mark in Chicago

    April 21, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    I agree with Jeff M and Chief on this Rodney thing. Relievers are notoriously inconsistent year to year, with a handful of obvious exceptions (Rivera, etc.). If you dump Rodney, there is no one better than him to run out there in the late innings, and Zumaya can’t pitch 2 innings every outing. Remeber last year when Jones was awful at the start, then rebounded to have a very good second half. Rodney’s track record suggest at worst a reversion to the mean and at best a signifcant improvement.

    It’s also possible he could have some minor injuries (like Jones last yr.). I am no apologist for Rodney, it sucks to see him struggle, but you can’t give up on him in April.

  18. Matt

    April 21, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Rodney has been terrible and shown he can’t pitch in high pressure situations. I hope he can begin to locate his fast ball or else his era is going to be around 8 the whole year with about 100 walks.

  19. Kathy

    April 21, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    I don’t know what to say. I just keep hoping.

  20. KS

    April 21, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    I’ll start with who I’d “replace” Rodney with. Wil Ledezma should really be used in more high leverage situations, be that starting or out of the pen. His stuff is to good to be wasted as a one out lefty guy, he’s not Mike Myers, but he could be Nate Robertson. Since it’s apparent Leyland isn’t going to go with Ledezma as a starter, I’d start out by using him in Rodney’s role, pitching later in games, in higher leverage situations.

  21. Bobby

    April 21, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    Jeff M: KS stole my thunder, but you can’t tell me we don’t have other situational pitchers that have more control and better stuff than Rodney.

    Chief: I’m not, in any way, discounting his performance from last year. What about his 2006 season said “great pitcher” to you?? This is finally – FINALLY – a contending team. Why is it so wrong to assume that we can replace the weak links? The team has the resources, both in major and minor league talent, to be able to get someone to replace a middle-inning pitcher that clearly doesn’t have the makeup to operate consistently at this level

  22. Sam

    April 21, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Rodney has been bad but we would be foolish to drop him.

    I do think Leyland is being stubborn and idiotic to keep bringing him out in the 10th innings of these tied games. Let him work in games which we are behind to get himself straightened out. Leyland should of used Ledezma in the 10th.


  23. Paul

    April 21, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    How is it a reverse jinx? Wouldn’t that mean that mentioning great numbers continues the numbers? I think it’d just be a jinx and then you mentioned the 7 HRs would be an attempt to reverse the jinx.

    /endnitpickmode 😀

  24. Adam

    April 21, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Any of you all seen the movie Mr. 3000 with Bernie Mac?

    I feel like I’m watching that movie every time Gary steps in. Here’s my question: Let’s say he keeps batting at his .150 clip (keeps, as in to the mid-season mark) ok? Do you bench a guy you’re paying that much if he isn’t performing?

    Like billfer, I too think (read:hope) that Sheffield is going to show us what he can do sometime soon. Like what he showed us in Spring Training. But I have this feeling that there’s a Detroit curse – people who have amazing track records who then come here and disappoint. Like Ordonez or Gonzalez or Pena or Casey or (maybe) Sheffield. Anybody remember Tony Clark? Ha. Tony the Tiger – he had his own cup!

  25. Chief

    April 21, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    Yo, Bobby:

    Rodney is not a weak link. He’s a good pitcher having a bad month. There is a huge difference. But Leyland shouldn’t have put him out there in the 10th. Give Ledezma a shot to take some pressure off him.

  26. Billy

    April 21, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Rodney ….. Rodney……..Rodney
    I do believe it was Zumaya giving up the go-ahead and game winning hit. I could even lay off his curve….let’s see here it comes don’t swing…..he can’t throw it for a strike. How about Bobblehead just putting down the 1-sign and letting him throw north-south, east-west, they can’t hit him then….Hello???

  27. Billy

    April 21, 2007 at 9:48 pm


    Great comment on a “Detroit curse” but it is misplaced. Never buy stock at its peak…knock…knock!!!!!!!!!!

  28. KS

    April 21, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    I had the discussion about big name players arriving here today. What we could come up with was since 1980 you basically have Darrell Evans, Juan Gonzales, Pudge, Magglio, and Sheffield. Evans struggled a bit in 1984, but had an excellent run as a Tiger thereafter. Juan was injured for much of 2000, but posted decent numbers, Pudge was outstanding in 2004, had a down year in 2005, bounced back in 2006. Magglio had a rough 2005, and a decent 2006. It’s obviously a small sample size, but just from those guys I don’t see a “Detroit curse”.

  29. charlie

    April 22, 2007 at 12:44 am

    boy…a lot of talk about dumping guys. i know we have not had the start we all hoped for but we are not even 20 games into the season. i guess thats why we are all giving opinions on this weblog and not managing the team. based on guys having a bad april we would have to replace rodney, durbin, mesa, inge, sheffield, monroe, casey and a couple of others.

    i agree watching these guys struggle is tough but where is all the optimism? the team were heroes until august last year…then bums…then heroes in the post season and that carried through until…a week ago. you don’t put a championship caliber team together based on talent and past performance and start dumping guys because we’ve only won just over half of the 17 games we’ve played.

    hell, we might not even repeat…there are a lot of very good teams in the league but we still have to be resonable and give these guys a chance to get it going. if you have ever played any sports you know you have dry spells, some of these guys might even have been cocky coming into the season.

    it might be a good year, then again it might not however april usually does not tell the whole story.

    just my two cents

  30. David

    April 22, 2007 at 1:23 am

    I AGREE W/ U BILLFER, I said as much before I read this at the game. Rodney is a “good” pitcher in a bad funk.

    In my mind Leyland lost us the last 3 by poor management.

    Not taking out Jones after 2 runners on 0outs

    Letting Durbin load the bases and not being content with only 2ER

    Bringing in a guy who is struggling in a extremely tight situation (EXTRAS!)

    Plus even though Shef might start hitting its crazy to keep him in what should be the most productive spot in the order. He has seemed to be to be off-balance and pressing.

    Its really painful to see a team that should and could be 6-1 at home and is 3-4, but I know they’ll turn it around.

    Todays crowd was full of aton of fair-weather fans – aton left after Rodney gave up back to back doubles.

    Heres to hoping Verlander and the Tigers can pull out a much needed win tomorrow to get even on this homestand.

    Can anyone explain the reverse of Silva and Ortiz? Both were smacked around and are pitching like its their job (and it is).

    Oh and another side-note forget the HRs this guy Arod is on pace for about 300 ribbies. 31 in 16 games blows my mind. Anyone want an early venture on what he’ll end up with?

  31. David

    April 22, 2007 at 1:25 am

    “I can understand short of that wanting him to not see as many high leverage situations. From a baseball strategy standpoint it would be hard to argue with that. But I’ve never been one to understand the psyche of a Major League reliever. I’ll leave it to Leyland to manage Rodney’s mental state, and hope that Chuck Hernandez can straighten out the mechanics. ”

    is what I agree with, sry if I didn’t make it clear in my prev. post

  32. Billy

    April 22, 2007 at 2:56 am

    it might be a good year, then again it might not however april usually does not tell the whole story

    Charlie April is too early……after 50-65 games we’ll know who are the pretenders and the contenders.

    Everyone here be aware of what the Twins did last year

  33. EZ

    April 22, 2007 at 9:10 am

    The defense helped no one but the White Sox yesterday. If Inge had properly played that soft hit double play ball then Nate would have won as the Tigers would only have given up one run. That wasn’t just an error, it was an error with the bases loaded on an easy double play ball. That play cost us the game.

    Further, this is both on Leyland and Inge, why wasn’t Inge protecting the line in the 10th? Dye’s double was a two hopper hugging the line. Inge was WAY too far off the bag. Every third (and first) sacker from little league on up is taught to play the line late in the game to prevent such doubles as Dye’s. Leyland should have had him protecting, and Inge should have had presence of mind to be over there in the first place. Maybe Brandon has been reading too many press clipings about his range, because that ball should have been an out and left Konerko on 2nd.

  34. Bob S.

    April 22, 2007 at 9:16 am

    It’s been my contention that the regular season Tigers we saw after the All Star game last year were closer to the truth.I hope I’m wrong,but I’ll stick by my prediction of 85 wins.
    I think promoting Ledezma is a great idea.Any thoughts on sending Rodney to Toledo for remediation?

  35. Mark in Chicago

    April 22, 2007 at 10:17 am

    I would be very surprised to see Ledezma moved into the rotation, as it leaves you with Bobby Seay as you only lefty in the pen. When Rodney is on, his changeup is tough in lefties, (we all heard Leyland say that) but he’s obviuosly struggling, and Seay probably doesn’t belong in those high leverage LOOGY situations. Also, I believe the coaches think Ledezma needs to improve his curveball before he can become an effective, consistent starter in the bigs.

  36. Bob S.

    April 22, 2007 at 10:21 am

    When I wrote promote Ledezma,I meant to Rodney’s place in the bullpen,until Rodney can get on track.

  37. Jeff M

    April 22, 2007 at 10:24 am

    If Inge had properly played that soft hit double play ball then Nate would have won as the Tigers would only have given up one run. That wasn’t just an error, it was an error with the bases loaded on an easy double play ball. That play cost us the game.

    That was certainly a disastrous play. There’s no excuse for not getting at least one out.

    I wouldn’t say it was an easy double play ball though. He (would have) fielded it on a dead charge less than two steps away from the bag. It would have taken some fancy footwork and a strong throw for a 5-3 double play. 5-2 wouldn’t have been a gimme either.

    Every third (and first) sacker from little league on up is taught to play the line late in the game to prevent such doubles as Dye’s.

    Is it possible they had a reason for deviating from little league strategy or do you believe it was simply incompetence?

  38. Kurt

    April 22, 2007 at 10:42 am

    That complaint about playing the lines is more Leyland’s fault than Inge’s.

    “I think the biggest misleading managerial percentage move is playing the lines,” he said.

    He took the second issue I posed — whether to have the first and third basemen guard the lines in a close game in the ninth inning.

    By doing that, a team prevents an extra-base hit down the line.

    But Leyland doesn’t like to play the lines. Like some other managers, he believes that in doing so, he gives up more than he gets.

    With the third baseman and first baseman on the lines, the holes are bigger than usual between the third baseman and shortstop and between the first baseman and second baseman. There is more room than usual for grounders to go through for singles.

  39. EZ

    April 22, 2007 at 11:01 am


    This is not just “little league” strategy, or are you telling me that you are unaware of this standard baseball positioning in MLB as well as at every level of baseball? Even if you had never played the game, or been to a live game, you must be aware that announcers on both radio and television often mention that the corner infielders play on the line late in games to protect against doubles. This is standard baseball strategy, and it would be a great surprise to me if someone as knowledgable as yourself was unaware of this.

    Konerko and Dye are both dead pull hitters. Rodney is a change-up pitcher. This means his change-ups will have hitters swinging early and thus pulling the ball. This is all the more reason to play the line, though the situation at hand already dictates the line needs to be guarded. It would be one thing if Dye’s double was a screaming liner down the line and Inge just barely missed it after a great effort. But the fact is that the ball was a two hopper before it reached the base. While sharply hit, it was not any sort of “missle” up the line. A properly positioned thirdbaseman makes that play. Inge was not properly positioned, this is both his fault and Leyland’s.

    I would be curious to hear any reasons for not protecting the line with a runner on second and no force out and Jermain Dye up.

    I think Leyland was not incompetent, but I do think he has had some questionable managerial decisions this season, particularly with some of his pitching decisions. Anyone can make a mistake or overlook a particular nuance. I think somebody missed where Inge was playing and that ‘bad’ falls on the coaches and Leyland. However, Inge was out of position. Inge should have been more self aware of circumstances in my opinion. Maybe he has so much of this ‘range’ hype he feels he can get to any ball hit. Inge is also guilty of not being more aware.

    As far as his error earlier in the game. I would dispute that he had to run at a “dead charge” to field the ball. He was barely trotting when he reached the ball. But that is a matter of opinion between us and we will have to agree to disagree. We will also have to agree to disagree on the difficulty to of the play. 5-3 would not have been hard, he was already at the bag and he has plenty of arm strength to make a throw from base to base. 5-2 would have been difficult only in that Inge has had problems throwing acurately to second this season and last season. My guess is that Inge was trying to decide where he should go with the throw and subsequently missed the ball. That happens to everyone once in a while. But it is just another example of Inge not being aware of circumstances in my opinion.

    Rodney is probably most culpable in the loss yesterday, but if Inge makes that double play, as a true gold glover would have, then probably we don’t see Fernando pitching in the 10th.

  40. EZ

    April 22, 2007 at 11:11 am


    Interesting read.

    I will have to disagree with Jimmy Leyland on that positioning, just as many have disagreed with him on putting Grilli in, or keeping Ledezma in the pen, or batting orders. We are fans and we disagree with Jimmy from time to time.

    Positioning yesterday cost us a little. Crede singled after Dye. Maybe Konerko scores, maybe he doesn’t. I am a proponant of playing the lines. Yesterday it would have helped us, but doesn’t change the fact the Konerko was already on second with a no doubter double to lead off the inning.

    Hopefully today not playing the lines will make a difference in our favor.

  41. Lee Panas

    April 22, 2007 at 11:25 am

    The ball that Inge missed in the 4th inning hit the edge of the grass and took a funny hop. They showed the replay on WGN a couple of times. He still should have had it but I don’t think it was that easy of a play.

    The ball down the line later in the game surprised me for the reasons stated. I was thinking Leyland must have positioned Inge that way because of something he knew about the batter but I can’t imagine what.

  42. Kurt

    April 22, 2007 at 11:30 am

    You can certainly disagree with Leyland. Many of us are bumping our heads into the wall about things right about now. I just meant, don’t lay the blame on Inge for the positioning in the 10th inning, he was probably where Leyland wanted him.

  43. Hoosier Tiger

    April 23, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    It’s funny how the postgame discussion focuses on Rodney and Inge’s defensive miscues, yet Zumaya’s BS warrants nary a mnetion…