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.