Tigers Minor League Wrap 8/17/07

Columbus 2 Toledo 5
Jason Perry went 3 for 4 with a double. Chris Shelton also had 3 hits, 2 of them doubles. Mike Hessman homered, singled and walked twice. Ron Chiavacci allowed 1 run on 4 hits and no walks in 7 1/3 innings while fanning 6.

Erie 4 Altoona 5
Dallas Trahern pitched 7 1/3 innings allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 3 K’s. Matt Joyce and Nic McIntyre had 2 hits apiece.

Fort Myers 9 Lakeland 4
Max Leon and Ryan Roberson each had 2 hits. Justin Justice added a double. Lucas French surrendered 6 runs on 12 hits in 6 innings.

South Bend 3 West Michigan 2
Jeramy Laster and Brandon Timm each knocked in a run and had 2 hits. Gorkys Hernandez drew a walk and stole his 50th base. Lauren Gagnier fanned 10 and walked none in 6 inning while allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits.

Oneonta – suspended in 4th due to rain

GCL Tigers – Box not available

Game 122: Tigers at Yankees

PREGAME: The Tigers continue the 13 game stretch of schedule that is titled So you think you’re a playoff team. Episode 4 takes place tonight with the Tigers taking on the Yankees in a battle of lefties.

For the Tigers it will be Nate Robertson. Nate has pitched better over his last 3 games with 2 quality starts. His last game he limited the damage to 4 runs in 5 2/3 innings despite allowing 5 walks. The walks were uncharacteristic as Robertson had allowed only 6 walks combined over his last 5 starts.

Andy Pettitte takes the mound for the Yankees and he hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs since July 6th. Over that span of 7 starts he’s fanned 41 in 45 2/3 innings and only allowed 1 homer. Curtis Granderson and Sean Casey remain in the lineup and I’m not sure if it is because the team is still sick, or because lefties have a 871 OPS against Pettitte this season.

And if you were wondering about Cameron Maybin, he’ll bat 2nd and play left field tonight. He’ll be sporting the number 4.

Game Time 7:05pm
DET @ NYY, Friday, August 17, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: With so much excitement throughout the day, I think it’s safe to say that the game was nothing more than an eh.

Cameron Maybin didn’t look particularly good with 2 K’s, an out on a bouncer that he hit when he was leaving the box. He also didn’t look very comfortable in left nearly overrunning one ball. A second ball looked like it could have been catch-able, but with the only angle they showed it was hard to tell. Maybin has played much left, and with the rains couldn’t get on the field prior to the game. I don’t know how much of a difference either made, but it is something to consider.

But I didn’t think the debut was all bad. I thought that each at-bat seemed to get better. He showed some plate discipline laying off borderline pitches, and in his last at-bat he drove a ball on the outer half of the plate well to right field. Leyland has already said he’ll play tomorrow, so we’ll see if things get better with one game under his belt.

As for the rest of the game, the story was Andy Pettitte. He was good, and the Tigers couldn’t really muster anything off of him. That pretty much was the game.

Nate Robertson pitched better than his final numbers show. He would have been out of the 3rd inning with the lead and in good shape on his pitch count if not for a high hop over Guillen’s glove. He allowed 10 hits, 2 of which were the infield variety, one was the high bounce over Guillen, and one was the ball past Maybin in left. Those incidents accounted for the bulk of the runs Nate allowed.

Brandon Inge knocked in the only Tigers run on a double so that was good. But Inge had another check swing strikeout. It’s not so much the strikeouts themselves that bother me, it’s the indecisiveness that is so frustrating.

Ryan Raburn was the only Tigers hitter to figure out Pettitte and he picked up a double and a single.

links for 2007-08-17

Cameron Maybin promoted

WXYT is citing a report from the Asheville Citizen Times that Cameron Maybin will join the Tigers tonight.

There is no word yet on corresponding roster moves for either the 25 man or 40 man roster. It did appear that Marcus Thames tweaked his hamstring last night and Craig Monroe has had the flu. I don’t know if it is simply a matter of them being shorthanded in the short term or if possibly a trade was made involving Craig Monroe who most likely cleared waivers.

UPDATE: it sounds like the Tigers inquired a couple days ago whether he was ‘ready’ making it sound this may be less likely to be a response to something that happened last night.

I have lots of thoughts on this but I’m on my blackberry so those will have to wait.

UPDATE & Comments: Now that I’m back from the zoo, and not doing this on a blackberry, a little more info. As was posted in the comments, this was one of a series of moves. Craig Monroe has been designated for assignment, thus freeing up a spot on both the 40 man and 25 man rosters. The Tigers have ten days to try and work out a trade, or release him. I would be shocked if he hadn’t been placed on waivers at the beginning of the month, so that process is probably complete. The other shuffle was Omar Infante being optioned out in favor of Ramon Santiago.

Maybin

First the outfielders. I’m both excited and nervous to see Maybin make his debut. The limited results from Erie are certainly encouraging, as were the results when he came back from the disabled list. Prior to his shoulder injury he hadn’t been hitting for a ton of power in Lakeland and I wonder if that stemmed from a back injury suffered earlier in the year. He came out of the gate strong, missed a little bit of time, and then came back and went in a homer drought. I wonder if the time off to recuperate the shoulder also helped with his back? I don’t really know, just a possible theory.

He’s essentially jumping all the way from Hi A to the pro’s considering his time in Erie was so brief, and that is a quick progression no matter who you are. With that comes some risk, and in Maybin’s case the biggest cause for concern would be his strikeout rate as he fanned once every 3.5 at-bats in Lakeland.

Still I’m excited to see him play and I do think he can help the club. I have some of the same concerns I had with Miller being rushed, but to a much lesser extent. I believe that Maybin will be asked to do a lot less than Andrew Miller. I anticipate he’ll get some platoon starts against lefties and will be used a late inning defensive replacement. The latter is a role I think he can fill with no problem. The former will be putting him in a situation that should help him have success. And as a position player, I don’t have the same concerns about fatigue and workload that I did with Miller.

Monroe

There was a reason that Craig Monroe received a one year deal after a 27 homer season and a post season that saw him set the team record for homers. It was because Cameron Maybin was waiting in the wings and Monroe was holding the spot in the meantime (Marcus Thames proved that he could have served the same function at 1/10th the cost, but that’s another issue). Monroe floundered all year and never showed in sign of breaking out of a season long funk. He’s never been strong from a batting average or on base perspective and the power that he did possess seems to have vanished. He was capable defensively, but that’s about it.

I’ve always rooted for Monroe because he seemed like a guy that worked hard, liked being a Tiger, and quite frankly was a nice guy to the fans. Those aren’t the types of things that mean you should keep your job though. With Monroe having lost his starting position to Thames, and not being a particularly enticing pinch hitting option given his struggles, there just wasn’t a lot of ways that Monroe could contribute to the club at this point. Meanwhile Craig’s confidence which is already probably shaken takes another huge hit as he ponders “I must be worse than Jason Grilli.”

Infante & Santiago

I totally get that Carlos Guillen is a huge issue at shortstop. The errors have been a problem all season long, but with Guillen’s knees aching, the decent range he had earlier in the season has become reminiscent of a statuesque Shane Halter. I was perfectly comfortable with Omar Infante backing up Guillen, and when he reached base 4 times the other night in Cleveland and made a nice play deep in the hole I thought that Jim Leyland might have thought so too. But Leyland just doesn’t trust Infante in that capacity, and Ramon Santiago is the superior defender.

Against lefties I’d imagine that Santiago starts at short and Carlos Guillen plays first. You’re improving the left side defense, but you are inserting a black hole into the lineup. Granted, it’s a much more inexpensive black hole than Jack Wilson will provide so in some respects that’s good.

As for Infante, he’ll be back when the rosters expand in September. Ryan Raburn is now filling Infante’s former role and it would be hard to send his bat to the minors given how he’s been swinging. And with Tony Giarratano on the disabled list, Infante could still be placed on the playoff roster if need be.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 8/16/07

Toledo – cancelled

Erie 0 Reading 7
The Seawolves were limited to one hit by none-other than Gary Knotts. Jeff Larish had the lone hit. Andrew Kown lasted only 3 innings before giving up 6 runs on 5 hits.

Lakeland 2 Clearwater 4
The Flying Tigers were limited to only 4 hits, the only one for extra bases being a triple by Ovandy Suero. Kyle Sleeth allowed 4 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in 4 2/3 innings.

South Bend 2 West Michigan 11
Gorkys Hernandez, Scott Sizemore, and Jeramy Laster each had 4 hits. Laster went deep for one his hits, his 13th of the season. Hernandez added his 49th stolen base. Duane Below allowed just 1 hit and 4 walks in 6 shut out innings while fanning 7.

Oneonta 1 Tri-City 10
Kyle Peter doubled and walked. Jorge Patino had the only mutli hit game. Guillermo Moscoso allowed 4 runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 8 K’s in 5 innings.

GCL Tigers 3 GCL Phillies 4
Marc McBratney picked up 2 hits and 2 RBI. Manny Miguelez allowed 4 runs on 4 walks, 6 hits, and 3 K’s in 7 innings.

Game 121: Tigers at Yankees

PREGAME: The Tigers head to the Bronx to take on the Yankees, and they’ll continue their battle with the flu as well. Carlos Guillen is still sick, but will play. Pudge Rodriguez is back in the lineup, but Placido Polanco is still out. Todd Jones is available, but Zach Miner isn’t.

Regardless, it’s always special playing the Yankees because, well they’re the Yankees. Add in the fact that they are the hottest team in baseball, and it will be the first time the Tigers have faced them since October, and the 2 teams are battling for a playoff spot, and Gary Sheffield returns to New York, and there is a little extra juice tonight.

As for the pitching match up it will be Justin Verlander taking on Mike Mussina. Verlander returned to form against Oakland with 6 strong innings and 7 K’s. His pitch count was run up a little, but a solid 2 run effort regardless.

Mussina has had 4 straight strong outings and hasn’t walked a batter in his last 3 starts. The Tigers always seem to struggle against Mussina, but then again it’s an older Mussina and a different Tigers team so maybe things will better.

For more on the Yankees check out the esteemed Bronx Banter.

Game Time 7:05

DET @ NYY, Thursday, August 16, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME
: A very delayed post game today. After running a workshop at work this week, I was exhausted and decided to just enjoy a bottle of shiraz and retired to bed immediately following the game. But enough about me.

The Tigers picked up an important win in the opener of the series. While a loss wouldn’t have been the end of the world, getting that first win out of the way has to make it easier in what is essentially a playoff atmosphere. Of course, if they drop the next 3 the point is rendered moot.

The offense, led by everybody really, beat up on Mussina. For a pitcher that hadn’t walked a batter in his last 3 starts, getting the ball over the plate proved to be a struggle and the Tigers waited until he came with pitches in the zone. What was really nice to see is that after the initial onslaught, featuring the Carlos Guillen granny, the Tigers kept tacking on runs and got into the Yankees pen in the 6th.

Getting to the pen early was especially relevant with Justin Verlander throwing a ton of pitches. He also uncharacteristically fanned only 2 in 5 1/3 innings. It was a rough and draining performance for a guy who is fighting the flu.

And the Tigers bullpen is a whole ‘nother thing, but in a good way. Tim Byrdak allowed a hit, and fanned a batter. Zach Miner allowed a walk, but recorded all 4 of his outs on the K. Fernando Rodney allowed a hit and a walk, but recorded all 3 outs via the punchout (kinda like in Cleveland the other night). Todd Jones scuffled a bit, but picked an opportune time to give up a couple runs but the lead was never really threatened and even he ended the game with a, you guessed it, a strikeout.

Now the downside is that the Tigers used their top 2 relievers to protect a 5 run lead. Jones and Rodney threw 22 and 21 pitches respectively in a game that wasn’t really in doubt. So despite chasing Mussina early, the Tigers expended more bullpen juice. Hopefully it’s a nonissue for the rest of the series.

links for 2007-08-16

More Porcello, the contract, and a lot of bonus

Danny Knobler breaks down the Rick Porcello contract:

Signing Bonus – $3.85 million
2007 – $95,000 ($380,000 prorated for August 15th to the end of the season)
2008 – $1.1 million
2009 – $1.2 million
2010 – $1.025 million

There are also option years for 2011 and 2012 and those years are priced on whether he’s in the bigs and whether he’s arbitration eligible.

I’ve updated the payroll spreadsheet to reflect Porcello’s deal.

According to the Baseball America draft database the Tigers committed nearly $11 million dollars in their first 7 picks. It’s thrilling to see the Tigers go after high ceiling, hard sign guys and it’s even better to see Mike Ilitch do what it takes to bring them in the fold.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 8/15/07

Toledo 8 Richmond 7
Andrew Miller had strike zone issues tonight in his rehab start. He threw 75 pitches in 3 innings with 5 walks. The other numbers weren’t any better. Joel Zumaya had better luck retiring the side on 7 pitches. That was almost too quick for a rehab stint, he didn’t get much of a chance to try stuff. His next appearance will be Saturday and if all goes well he’ll be with the team on Monday. Jose Capellan pitched a scoreless 9th for the save.

Erie 7 Reading 3
Cameron Maybin returned to his homering ways after taking a night off to reach base 4 times on Tuesday. Tonight he added a single and a walk. Clete Thomas went 3 for 5 and Matt Joyce homered to round out a productive night for the outfield. Jon Connolly allowed 2 unearned runs in 6 innings on 6 hits, 1 walk, 2 K’s.

Lakeland 1 Clearwater 2
Deik Scram was the offense with a triple and a homer. Angel Castro pitched all 6 innings and allowed 2 runs, 3 walks, and fanned 3.

Lakeland 2 Clearwater 3
Justin Justice and Dusty Ryan each had 2 hits. Gabriel Benitez allowed 2 runs on 2 hits, 3 walks, and 2 K’s in 3 2/3 innings.

West Michigan – DNP

Oneonta DNP

GCL Tigers – Box not available

Minors news

Kody Kirkland and Kyle Sleeth were outrighted to their respective farm clubs to make room for Rick Porcello and Jair Jurrjens on the 40 man roster. There’s something, um…don’t know what it is, about one former first round pick being removed to make room for another.

Game 120: Tigers at Indians

PREGAME: A depleted Tigers team will take on the Indians tonight. Placido Polanco and Craig Monroe remain out, and it has now spread to Carlos Guillen, Pudge Rodriguez, Todd Jones, and Kenny Rogers. Mike Rabelo will start at catcher, but Carlos Guillen will remain in the lineup and play shortstop. Todd Jones may or may not be available.

A different kind of fever is probably impacting Jair Jurrjens who makes the jump from AA Erie to make his Major League debut tonight. Jurrjens has been lights out in Erie his last 3 starts with 2 earned runs allowed and a 24:1 K/BB ratio.

The Tigers will try to get to Fausto Carmona. Carmona has gone at least 7 innings in his last 6 starts so getting him to throw a lot of pitches early will be a challenge. They did get to him for 10 hits and 5 runs in 6 innings back on June 1st. You remember June 1st don’t you?

POSTGAME: Some losses are easier to take than others. tonight was one of those easier ones. Carmona was pretty darn unhittable as he racked up a career high 10 strikeouts. It wasn’t until the 8th inning that the Tigers picked up their first extra base hit, which was also Curtis Granderson’s 19th triple.

What made it palatable is that the Tigers got a strong start from Jurrjens. He didn’t look rattled, and even after being a little roughed up in the 3rd he came back with strong innings in the 4th and 5th. He lasted 7 innings and held the Tribe to 5 hits which is all you could ask from a 21 making his debut on national TV.

There were some disappointing elements to the game though. With Granderson on 3rd and nobody out, the Tigers had the chance to cut the deficit to one. Instead the 2-3-4 hitters failed to get the bal lout of the infield. And instead of hanging close, Bobby Seay had a rough inning and walked Travis Hafner to force in a run – although he did make a couple nice pitches to Hafner that he couldn’t get calls on. Which was surprising since the strike zone was big for both teams tonight. Still, Seay made his own mess in the first place.

Also, the Indians weren’t exactly sharp tonight. Victor Martinez made a baserunning mistake, and Ryan Garko forgot to stand on first base for a force play. But Carmona was just too much to overcome.
Game Time 7:05

DET @ CLE, Wednesday, August 15, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

links for 2007-08-15

Game 119: Tigers at Indians

PREGAME: Am I crazy for being geeked about this stretch of games? Given the way the Tigers have played lately I probably am, but I guess I’m anxious to see what the team is made of. I’m not going to take the position that the season will be decided over the next 2 weeks, that’s just silly. Unless the team is 4-9 or worse, or 9-4 or better, their status probably won’t really change. Still, the chance to see them take on the teams they are competing with for playoff spots should be exciting.

It starts tonight with Jeremy Bonderman. As much as baseball is a team game, Jeremy Bonderman is going to be critical to the team’s success down the stretch. With the injuries to Rogers and Miller, the Tigers need to get consistent efforts from Robertson, Verlander, and Bonderman. The other 2 have at least given decent outings of late, whereas Bondo has been in a tailspin. He’s giving up a ton of hits, more walks than normal, and not striking out many while racking up big pitch counts. And of course there’s that pesky first inning issue which has become ridiculous as of late.

He’ll be face by C.C. Sabathia. The Tigers knocked him around pretty good the last two times they faced him, and chased him after 4 innings in July. We’ll see if the Tigers are a little extra juiced to face C.C. after he predicted a title for the Indians earlier this month.

Marcus Thames will play left field instead of his usual post at first base against the left hander. Carlos Guillen will man first with Omar Infante at short and Ryan Raburn at second. Curtis Granderson gets the start in centerfield. Jason Beck reports that the Placido Polanco and Craig Monroe are battling the flu. Let’s just hope it doesn’t spread.

For the Indians Travis Hafner, bad knee and all, will be in the lineup and bat 5th.

Game Time 7:05pm
DET @ CLE, Tuesday, August 14, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME
: Nice. I was IM’ing Ian of Bless You Boys and in the 9th inning I commented that regardless of the outcome I was happy with the team’s performance. There was sweet defense, the offense chipping away at a pitcher with his A game, some nice bullpen performances, and most importantly a strong start from Jeremy Bonderman.

Jeremy Bonderman had a bad 2 batter sequence where he shook off a change up and instead h is Casey Blake with a fastball. He then fell behind Grady Sizemore 3-1 before surrendering the homer in the first. After that he picked up 3 ground balls, 2 for outs, and the inning was over. He induced 8 ground outs, 2 infield pop outs, and he fanned 8. So the outfielders weren’t really tested during those first 7 innings. Bondo needed an outing like that, the Tigers needed an outing like that, and I think all fans needed an outing like that.

  • Tigers pitchers fanned 14 Indians tonight. Three of those K’s were by Fernando Rodney with the winning run on 2nd base. One of those was by Tim Byrdak with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out. And one was by Todd Jones with runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out. That’s slamming the door.
  • Of course Byrdak needed a little help slamming the door and he got it from Curtis Granderson who preserved the lead going into the 9th by making a fabulous diving catch on a sinking liner from Travis Hafner. It was on par with his catch this past Saturday and a catch he made against the Twins in that 1-0 Sunday Night game.
  • Omar Infante turned in some nifty plays at short and reached base 4 times. Nice from the back up infielder.
  • Magglio Ordonez is doing his best to make it an MVP race. I still think it is A-Rod’s right now, but Magg’s recent surge has closed the gap. His slugging is back over 600, he’s only 6 behind in RBI, and he holds a big advantage in batting average and OBP.
  • Brandon Inge was 0 for 5 with 4 K’s, 2 of the check swing variety.
  • Fernando Rodney has made 5 appearances since coming off the DL. He’s faced 16 batters, and only 2 have reached base while he has fanned 7. Tonight his fastball was sitting in the 96-98mph range. But with 25 pitches I don’t know if he’ll be available tomorrow.
  • The roster move that was made to accomodate Jair Jurrjens was Yorman Bazardo being optioned to Toledo. But there will need to be another move to free up a spot on the 40 man roster. (actually 2 to make room for Rick Procello)


Tigers 6 Indians 2