PREGAME: Afternoon tilt today. Ben Sheets against Chad Durbin.
Tigers are fielding the Sunday lineup with Mike Rabelo catching, Perez at shortstop, and Omar Infante playing 2nd.
Game Time 1:05
POSTGAME: I missed the bulk of this game, catching bits and pieces on the radio between meetings. I’ve since lived it through the comments here and the FSN Squeeze Play.
I don’t think there are words to overstate how bad Craig Monroe was. He whiffed in his final at-bat on Wednesday night, meaning that in 6 straight trips to the plate now he has failed to put in the ball in play. And the 3 AB’s prior were another K, a double play, and a single. From what I gather from the condensed game as well as last night’s performance, it doesn’t appear that he’s reverted to his old form of chasing a bunch of bad pitches. He’s just swinging right through belt high fastballs.
I can’t profess to be able to break down someone’s swing. But Rod Allen mentioned that he was working on the bat wiggle and taking the ball the other way last night. If that’s what is causing the problems, go back to swinging away because his timing is all mucked up.
As for pinch-hitting for him, of course it is the move that makes the most sense for all of us watching. Tactically in that game it would have been the right move. But right or wrong I think we all knew it wasn’t going to happen. Leyland is going to stick with his starters (the bigger debate is should he be a starter). There are probably issues about what it would do to his confidence to pinch hit for him, but at the same time what did 5 K’s do for his confidence either? I thought Leyland was crazy when he left Jones out there that night in Cleveland (he was) and questioned how he’d motivate a team who he let that happen to. Then they won 7 of the next 9. Clearly I have no ability to evaluate these “soft” issues.
I’m not saying it’s right, just that I didn’t expect anything else. And no amount of complaining is going to get Leyland to change his ways and the guy isn’t getting fired – nor should he. Jim Leyland brought winning baseball back to Detroit. Part of the deal is that we’re going to have to suffer through odd strategic decisions.
Maybe because I didn’t watch it unfold, I don’t view it as crushing. Disappointing to be sure, but not crushing. When you’re going up against the other team’s ace and your starter doesn’t make it through 4 things aren’t looking good anyways.