Game 63: Indians at Tigers

PREGAME: Detroit goes for a 3 game winning streak and a series win. Both are the types of things normally reserved for the Mariners. To do it Dontrelle Willis will have to out duel Cliff Lee.

Lee was awesome for the bulk of the season, but he’s been meh in his 4 starts since a 117 pitch complete game shut out on May 12th. Eight of his 12 walks on the season have come in those 4 starts. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get righted tonight.

While Lee pursues his 10th win of the season, Willis pursues his 11th inning of the season. I guess you could call Willis effectively wild this year if you’re so inclined. What with the 16 walks in 10 innings and all, but he has only allowed 4 hits. Or you could call him effectively lucky – save for that bendy knee thing that landed him on the DL.

This one is on ESPN so you out of staters without Extra Innings will be able to tune in.

CLE @ DET, Monday, June 9, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 7:05


  1. Jonathon

    June 9, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I didn’t renew my extra innings this year so its nice to catch the team when they’re on nationally. I actually think i would be going more crazy like everybody else if I was able to watch every game.

  2. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    As we get ready to go, I fear Willis will be gone quickly. He has yet to show he can throw strikes, and that delivery is all over the place. That the ball even heads toward home is amazing.

  3. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    To me, Willis looks like a total bust. I have no idea what anyone sees in him, or why he is on the team. Control is so flawed he can’t do this………

  4. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    When he throws a strike it is such a surprise that everyone is relieved………..that is not a major league pitcher working.

  5. Mike R

    June 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    GREAT START! Wooooooooooooooooooooo.

  6. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Has to give up a home run to get a strike………Why do managers like Leyland continue this BS about how optimistic they are about players like Willis? He is soooooooooo bad he at least deserves to be in the minor leagues. Maybe out of baseball.

  7. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Boy, some really bad swings there by our 3-5.

  8. BigGulp422

    June 9, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Tigers are going to lose every fifth game with Willis starting.

  9. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Mario says “this is what Leyland does best…” referring to his talk to Willis. A blind man can see that Willis does not know how to pitch baseball!

  10. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Can someone tell me if there is some reason why the Tigers have to keep Willis other than PR? Are the rules and contract such that he has to pitch even if he is totally incompetent?

  11. Mike in CT

    June 9, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    ESPN picked a good one for the Tigers. Maybe they should have taken with the Reds/Griffey.

  12. Jeff

    June 9, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Bonine time?

  13. ron

    June 9, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Get him outta there.

  14. West Coast Tiger

    June 9, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    how long will Leyland put up with this garbage.

  15. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    The good news would be that Willis is throwing a ton of pitches, so even if Leyland wanted to keep hime past the 3rd inning he probably couldn’t.
    The bad news is we will probably be down 12-0 by the end of the 3rd.

  16. ron

    June 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm


  17. Jerry C.

    June 9, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Why does this Willis start remind me of Bull Durham?…”walked 18, struck out 18…”

  18. West Coast Tiger

    June 9, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    he is not even close. I just walked in. DL time for D-Train. I’d rather see the Z-train at this point.

  19. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    i am a willis fan but i mean this is terrible and they have to pay him 30 mil

  20. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    What is it about pro baseball today? I fire people who can not do their job…..MLB used to do the same. I guess you can not do that anymore.

  21. Steve in Kzoo

    June 9, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    IDK, Willis needs more consistency! I want Tata/Fossum in there more then Willis right now. This has been discussed before. How about we do something like St. Louis and make Willis a hitter. I feel bad for the guy but hes just not as limber for that style of pitching anymore. He either needs to redesign his pitching windup or he needs to convert to another position. He is just not as fit as he used to be for that high of a leg kick. Oh well, Bautista better find the plate and get a nice DP.

  22. ron

    June 9, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    That was absolutely the worst display of pitching I have ever witnessed.

  23. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Please note that I made the first comment above before the first pitch was thrown…….this can hardly be news to anyone who has watched Willis this year. Why is he on the team?

  24. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Another complete meltdown by Detroit pitching…………..

  25. ron

    June 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Here we go again.

  26. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Sky – Tigers are on the hook to Willis for 3 years, so they are going to run him out there a few more times before just eating that $30M.

    This is really, really embarrassing. I mean, it’s not anything that we didn’t already know, but to do it on national TV…I feel like the ESPN guys keep kicking me in the nuts over and over.

  27. yak

    June 9, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Dontrelle Ankiel will replace Maggs in RF in a few years.

  28. Eric Jackson

    June 9, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    If they just keep letting runs in, the rain will catch up and make this a no game.

    Good strategy!

  29. Joey the K in Portland OR

    June 9, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Looks like my night just freed up….

  30. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    4 of 5 walks have scored.the 5th is on third ….and just scored

  31. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    send willis to the minors or how about trade him and pay 24 mil of the salary instead of 29 and save 5 mill something has to happen and soon

  32. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    guess i will go hoop now lol still some day light out

  33. ron

    June 9, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I hope that’s Illitch on the phone to Dombrowski.

  34. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    We’re pretty fond of long term deals, maybe we could trade Willis for Zito, it would only cost us another 70 million or so. Leyland knows how to motivate veterans, let’s get Zito.

  35. Eric Cioe

    June 9, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Dontrelle Willis should … well, who knows? Retire? Hang out with Kenny Rogers and learn to pitch again? My God, what an absolute disaster he is. Good work, Dombrowski, with the contract extension to the guy with the what, 8-1 BB-SO (?) ratio.

  36. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks, Kevin. I am older than most and not totally up to date on baseball contracts since free agency. I am one of those old farts who thinks it rather ruined the game, although the players were slaves in the old days. Players like Willis and Cabrera have nothing on the line any more. No wonder professional sports seems really corrupt. There was an HBO show a few years back called “When it was a Game.” That title was not chosen without some serious insight. Anyway, I will stop my useless ramble now.

  37. Steve in Kzoo

    June 9, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Im sorry but Bautista in the as the “shut down” guy was the wrong thing. Hes been used to the setup role all season Leyland not Bautista just cost the tigers another 3 runs. ESPN was just saying that they are going ot have to talk to Willis and hopefully he will accept an assignment to the minors. He has to do it. We cant eat his contract and he cant pitch. We just cannot afford it.

    So bets on who we call up if we send him down like the Indians did with Lee last year except Willis wont be 9-1 next season he will be relearning pitching with a new style or a learning a new position.

    I bet Tata or Vasquez, or the surprising Eddie Bonine?

    Thoughts on who we bring up or will we suffer with Willis for 3 or 5 more starts? I think DD wont do that not anymore. But you never know.

  38. Jeff

    June 9, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Tata’s getting shelled in the Florida State League.

  39. Russ

    June 9, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    joel is no longer allowed at comerica park

  40. Steve in Kzoo

    June 9, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    well cross out tata of course willis has done worse so maybe he will get called up lololol.

    Russ what do you mean joel do you mean Zumaya? thats not cool.

    And WTF is Bautista still on the mound. Have we already conceded this game. Damn Leyland is really a problem if thats his mentality. Bautista is a one inning guy only you leave him in there and he will be shelled.

  41. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Fire everyone that scouted him and said he was still legit and his issues were no big deal.
    They pushed him out of his rehab assignment early, I don’t think he can go back to the minors now without clearing waivers. Is there someone out there wiling to take on his contract? (Can Dontrelle refuse the assignment and ask for his release? with the contract $$ too?)
    He probably won’t take the assignment right now, we probably will be exposed to a few more horrible starts until Willis accepts that he can’t pitch right now.

  42. Steve in Kzoo

    June 9, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Well when the boss calls(yes I believe that Illitch was on the phone) DD wont waste the time dealing with Willis not being able to pitch. SOMETHING will be done either his release minors or trade.(who would take him???)

  43. Jeff

    June 9, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    And WTF is Bautista still on the mound. Have we already conceded this game

    The Tigers have other games this week. Better to have Bautista take one for the team than to burn out the bullpen.

    One side of the argument is that rotating a few pitchers in and out would increase the Tigers’ chances of winning this game from 0.5% to 0.7%.

    The other side of the argument is that burning through multiple pitchers will reduce the Tigers’ chances of winning tomorrow and Wednesday by a lot more than 0.2%

  44. Kathy

    June 9, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I wonder what cib thinks. She’s at this game, I do believe.
    OMG, he’s beyond awful. Stick him in A ball.

  45. Jeff

    June 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Okay, I just looked at and there’s a nasty storm heading from the SW, aimed right at Detroit. The dark orange part is heading past I-275 right now.

    Time for the Tigers to start stalling. ETA of the worst part is 8:40

  46. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Realize that Willis has certain contract rights which prevent him from being sent down to the minors without consent (these aren’t particular to him, MLB contracts, like most professional sports, are largely standardized). Thus, the only real options that the Tigers have are to trade him, or to outright release him, but in the latter scenario, they’d still owe him his salary.

    Willis is an incredible athlete and has had success before, so he can have success again. But the Tigers have no room or time to have him “work it out” at the Major League level. Other than burying him in the bullpen, the Tigers could possibly trade him for prospects to a team who can afford to let him get blown up for a few months while he works out his mechanical issues, but the Tigers would likely have to pay for a good deal of his salary to get another team to take him.

    It’s really a lose-lose for the player and the team. Willis needs a dozen or so consecutive starts to get on track. He’s going to lose most of those (think of the young Tigers pitchers in ’03) but that’s the only way he can be ready, physically and mentally, for the next two years. On the other hand, the Tigers and their disillusioned front office think that they are in a pennant race, so they’ll continue to patch together starters in 5 inning increments hoping to win a series every once in a while. Thus, they have no patience for Willis. What is likely to happen, is that Willis and the Tigers will become mutually disgruntled with each other and we’ve got Zito 2.0 on our hands.

    We can blame the front office all we want for not figuring all of this out last December, but as many have pointed out, FL wasn’t going to part with Cabrera w/o unloading Willis. Willis was arbitration eligible, but the Tigers in their euphoric state after acquiring Jones, Renteria and Cabrera decided to ink him to a 3 year deal (oh, and signed 42 year old Kenny to a 2 year deal, after giving 41 year old Kenny a 1 year deal) rather than deal with Final Offer Arbitration (one of the greatest legal inventions of all time).

  47. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    We cant put this on DD or leyland. If the guy had the same year as his worst year with the marlins he would have what won 10 games and logged 200 inn. I think the guy is shook by the big crowds and the pressure and now its so deep in his head i dont know what they will do.

  48. Jeff

    June 9, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    oh, and signed 42 year old Kenny to a 2 year deal, after giving 41 year old Kenny a 1 year deal

    Kenny’s on a 1-year-deal. He signed a 2-year deal for 2006-2007.

  49. Vince in MN

    June 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Just tuned in and I see “Walks” Willis ws true to form again. On the positive side though, he only gave up 3 hits.

  50. Erik in DC

    June 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    joe buck: explain how The Trade wasn’t a mistake. And don’t give me “the season isn’t over yet.”

    Cabrera might as well be leading the majors in LOB and Willis is a disaster.


  51. Steve in Kzoo

    June 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Has anyone seen that Willis is like 3x heavier then he was in his cy young 2005 year? That is the problem and we don’t have the time or the patience to deal with that problem. Look at Cabrera.

  52. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for the correction Jeff. Kind of ruins that particular point I was trying to make.

  53. Chris

    June 9, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I think Zach Minor should to take Willis’ spot in the rotation.

  54. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Erik the trade does look like a mistake after the fact. I mean when the two came everyone was talking about how the tigers were the #1 team in baseball. Willis is awful and cabrera is very avg. But these 2 are not the reason the tigers are 10 games under .500. But they can be your scape goats if you want. I thought it was a good trade Cabrera has been a beast , and even willis falling off was still a decent 5 starter. If i had to do the same thing all over again i would do it. No one knew willis was going to turn into Rick Ankiel.

  55. Eric Jackson

    June 9, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Griffey got his 600th homer tonight, that was cool.

  56. jason

    June 9, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Looks like a 2 game streak is the best we can do.

  57. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    D-train (D-railed?) was so bad am I the only one who noticed the bottom of the 1st? 2 men on, no outs–oh !@#! the 3-4-5 hitters are due up, nevermind.

    They were comparing them to the ’27 Yankees pre-season and looking for a nickname…how about “Muddlers Row?”

  58. Jeff

    June 9, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I think I’ll wait more than two months before declaring Migeul Cabrera a bust.

    Certainly the people the Tigers traded to get him and Willis haven’t been dominant: Miller 5.65 ERA, Badenhop 6.38 ERA, DLC 3 innings thus far, Rabelo .599 OPS, Trahern a 7.23 ERA in AAA, Maybin .880 OPS In AA.

  59. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Despite all the mentions of Inge’s hitting problems in the story about him catching more (I should have called that one, once Leyland started talking about Inge playing 3rd more…because Leyland wants YOU to be as confused as he is…)…

    My new favorite stat, RBI per AB with RISP:

    Inge: .571
    Cabrera: .424


  60. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 8:46 pm


  61. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 8:48 pm


  62. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    3 cheers for Polanco…he single-handedly may have kept the game going long enough for the rain to come (come soon! please!)

  63. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Coleman: You knew that was coming. You also have to know that Inge won’t catch again for a week after this. I would suspect he starts in left everyday for a while.

  64. Erik in DC

    June 9, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    OK, Joe — I’m just obviously frustrated, but you’re right. Were I in Dave Dombrowski’s shoes, I probably would have pulled the trigger on The Trade, too.

    But I think everyone’s patience is gone, especially with these two big salary guys — Willis and Cabrera.

    I think it is fair to put a heap of blame on Cabrera — he hasn’t shown anything to indicate that he’s working the way he needs to in order to become the workhorse on this squad.

    And if Willis were the only problem amongst the pitching staff, we could work around him, so it’s not all his fault. But good grief, what a disappointment.

  65. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I saw a rumor that Vance Wilson was in town, the Inge announcement could mean that Vance is back (now that I’m learning to speak Smoking Man)…

  66. joe buck

    June 9, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Erik i completely understand you. Just not what i expected was thinking at the worst right now the tigers would be 10 games over 500 not under will be interesting to see what they will do with willis.

  67. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Does anyone know how long this weather is predicted to last in Detroit? It takes an awful lot to stop a game this far into it.

  68. Sky

    June 9, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    IN the 1968 World Series the 5th game was a flood of rain and they wouldn’t stop it. Gibson was pitching and the Cards were winning. Only the Commissioner can stop a World Series game, once begun, because of weather, and he wouldn’t do it. Everyone in America knew it should have been………..but it was Sunday TV time.

  69. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    The weather will last until they call the game. Such is the power of the spell I saw Cabrera cast.

  70. ron

    June 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    I’d like to see Inge pitch.

  71. billfer

    June 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Responding to some of the comments:

    Russ wasn’t speaking of Zumaya when he mentioned Joel. Russ is the guy I have season tickets with and my friend Joel went instead of me. It’s the second time that’s happened and it didn’t turn out good the first time.

    On Bautista coming in, when you’re bringing in a guy with the bases loaded in the 2nd inning you’re kind of screwed to begin with. He strikes out a batter an inning. It wasn’t a bad call.

    I don’t know what the hell is going on with Willis. When the Tigers signed him to the 3 year deal I was encouraged because I didn’t figure they would throw money away and that the scouts had a reason to be positive. And even the NL scouts that saw him last week thought he’d be okay. Unfortunately the plate is a mystery to Willis right now and the Tigers hands are tied.

  72. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I highly doubt even a great “athlete” like Inge would be able to pitch, and still make it behind the plate in time to catch it. Not to mention what happens if they hit it to 3rd, there’s no way he gets there in time.

  73. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    That brings up the question of roster management.
    Who determined to end the rehab assignment early on Willis?
    Why rush Cruceta up until he was completely ready? and then why not give him a little more opportunity? What’s his status now, has anyone claimed him?
    Hopefully this gets washed out and we start fresh.

  74. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Coleman: I don’t think Inge could pitch and play behind the plate, but maybe we could try and treach him a wild side style delivery that allows him to cover third. Guillen would play just behind the mound on each play.

  75. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Either way, Cabrera should play right on the bag, since we saw in the Oakland game he can’t field a ball and still get to 1st to get the runner out, and Inge wouldn’t be able to cover first if he was side-arming it then diving toward 3rd. I don’t think you can count on Guillen to help, since he will be out in left with Thames.

  76. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I forgot that Thames was our everyday left fielder, I haven’t been following every day. I still think we should try Sheff at SS when he gets back, it’s not like our defense is saving the day, and the games would be very interesting. Although night game start times would need to be at least an hour earlier in order to get the games over by 1am.

  77. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Neal I think we got it pretty much covered, once we figure out where we “like to play” Raburn.

  78. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Oh, and with Sheff at short, that puts Renteria on the bench. But we use him to pinch-hit in every bases loaded situation that comes up. No matter who is due up. Every time.

  79. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    I had to leave for a bit, what is the status of the game, did they call it yet?

  80. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Last I heard it’s still in “pray for rain” territory.

  81. Neal

    June 9, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Crap, they started it again, and it looks like the Indians figured out they needed to get to bottom of the inning quickly.

  82. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I swear we should have just kept walking guys till it started raining again.

  83. Coleman

    June 9, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Or at leasts Rapada could have Betancourted around for a while.

  84. Chris

    June 9, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Now that the season is just about a lost cause in terms of contention, do the Tigers keep Willis in the rotation for at least a few more starts? The rest of the season is pretty much an extended spring training. Why not let him blow up a few more games in order to try to see if there is any way to fix his mechanics?

  85. stephen

    June 9, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I just wanted to make a new and informative point. Brandon Inge is just godawful as a regular. I am going to throw myself out a window if I have to watch him bat for another two years. I mean my god, my expectations are low. Bat him ninth and let him hit .250. But he is completely incapable of that.

  86. Jim

    June 9, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Is pudge even capable of batting .250 anymore?

  87. Jim

    June 9, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    nice catch….still aint no granderson

  88. Chris

    June 9, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    I would argue that overall, Brandon Inge is a better player than Miguel Cabrera. He’s not capable of hitting .280 yet he is paid as if he were a .310 hitter with 30 HRs. And his fielding is not very good, unlike Inge.

  89. billfer

    June 9, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I would argue that overall, Brandon Inge is a better player than Miguel Cabrera. He’s not capable of hitting .280 yet he is paid as if he were a .310 hitter with 30 HRs. And his fielding is not very good, unlike Inge.

    Are you really saying that Cabrera isn’t capable of hitting 280?

  90. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    stephen – I’m with you, but we really don’t need his offense (well, in theory) and our defense is so egregious everywhere else that we need him. Just compare him to Pudge. Who do you want to play every day?

    Actually, a quick analysis reveals that we have sub-par fielders at every spot on the diamond. Granderson covers a lot of grass, but so do a lot of other CFers, and his arm is suspect. Every other spot in the field save Polanco is below average, and Polanco’s diminishing range is moving him in that direction.

    The more Inge and Santiago in the field, the better.

  91. Kevin in Austin

    June 9, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    billfer, don’t take Chris’ bait. We’ve all seen it before, he’s just overcome with frustration.

    I’d pull the trigger on the Cabrera deal again today. The guy is gonna be a HOFer.

  92. billfer

    June 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Kevin – Maggs and Granderson are both above average.

  93. judpma

    June 9, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    so who did the evaluation on Wilis’ rehab…..Ray Charles

    Willis can hit though ..
    I’d play him in left field

  94. Chris

    June 9, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    “Are you really saying that Cabrera isn’t capable of hitting 280?”

    No. Not in a Tiger uniform, that is. Just look at how he seems to mail-in his ABs all of the time. All this talent but no heart and no work ethic.

    Tigers should trade him ASAP.

  95. Ryan in Brooklyn

    June 9, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    I think too many people are lumping Cabrera and Willis together since they came in the same trade. Cabrera has started slow – sure. But there’s really no reason to think he won’t start playing closer to his career numbers at some point.

    But Willis is a serious worry. I listened to the radio guys for the first couple innings. Dan and Jim said he wasn’t even NEAR the plate. They said his misses were measured in feet not inches. With his contract situation, what in the world do you do with this guy? You can’t turn every fifth game into pitching practice. I think they have to sit him down and try to get him to accept a minor league assignment until he gets it worked out – even if it’s months. I think that’s the only solution that has any hope of working out for us. (and someone correct me if that’s not an option, with contract rules and whatnot).

  96. judpma

    June 9, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    am I wrong but is Ordonez hititng the softest .316 in baseball….refresh me when was his last meaningful RBI

  97. billfer

    June 9, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Chris – a guy hitting 270 in a third of a season isn’t capable of hitting 280? When he has a track record of hitting 310?

    I think I’ve reached my limit of stupid.

  98. T Smith

    June 9, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    A couple of questions:

    1. Does Willis have options? If so, why not just send him down to Toledo or AA for however long it takes ?? If you want to protect your 30 M investment, work on correcting the problem. Whatever is wrong with him is obviously not going to correct itself overnight… hopeful Willis can right the ship in the minors and the Tigers can re-coup the investment in 2009/2010. In my mind, that’s would be the smartest way to immediately take steps to turn around a poor business decision.

    2. Alternatively, why not put him on an extended DL stint ?? I’m baffled at why the organization is pushing him when he’s not ready. I was puzzled at the Willis/Galarraga debacle last week (which I strongly disagreed with, and which resulted in a L) and I was equally boggled by the start tonight. My goodness. The opposing gameplan is simple: do not swing and/or wait until you are in a 3-1 count.

    Look: these games count. I realize there is a slim chance the Tigers are going to win this division, but I guess the eternal optimist in me wants to fight on — at least unitl the ASB. Willis is the worst option to put on the hill. Period. It’s so obvious I don’t even think it merits debate.

    And it’s embarrassingly obvious to everbody on the planet expect to those in the upper echelon of the Tiger’s organization who have 30 M $ blinders on. Come on. This isn’t that complicated (is it?). Willis hasn’t had control ALL this year, ever. That’s not a recipe to win games. Again, I’m just stunned. Perhaps there is somethng I don’t know — is somebody going short on this team for some reason? What’s at play here?

    But perhaps the organization is simply conceding the enitre 2008 season as one big extended spring training for 2009. I honestly don’t get what’s going on here and despirately need some insight.

  99. Eddie

    June 9, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Willis has options, but as a 5+ year player, he has to approve of a minor league assignment. I doubt he rejects it.

  100. Carolyn

    June 9, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I’m back to respond to you. 🙂 First, thanks for your very entertaining posts about Cabrera. May I begin by saying, if I haven’t already, that I live in South Florida and have watched Cabrera since he was brought up as a 20-yr-old, so I’m passionate about this subject.
    You must admit he has hit the ball a lot better this series. He’s getting more lift on the ball, and had some big hits. I think he’s starting to get his groove on. As far as heart, you couldn’t be more wrong. See, to me, a guy who plays through injuries cares. He carried the Marlins on his back in 2006 after their 2nd fire sale basically removed any and all protection of him in the lineup. He never complained and batted .339. Last season, he had several injuries, including an oblique strain that would probably place most others on the DL. He battled through it and missed only about 6 games total. There’s a toughness about the guy that many who haven’t watched him the last 4 years won’t know about. A guy who wants to play regardless of how he feels is a competitor. Lazy players don’t play through injuries. Leyland has actually praised his work ethic. Anyway, he can get a bad rap because he actually looks like a kid out there and has fun. He’s laid-back, but that’s hardly bad IMO, and once he starts raking, your Hater-aid will disappear.
    All I can say to those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching him in Florida is this: The best is yet to come. Trust me.

  101. T Smith

    June 9, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    If Willis has options then he needs to pack his bags and be on the midnight train to Toledo. Tonight. And I think after his latest prefomance he’s basically shamed into no choice but accepting it.

  102. thefume

    June 9, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    T Smith:

    2. He essentially was on a extended DL stint….he rehabbed for 2 or 3 starts in Toledo, then he was in the bullpen for a couple weeks in Detroit. He wasn’t exactly rushed back into the starting lineup. Can’t bench him forever. Not sure what you’re upset about with that. And even without the awkward Galarraga/Willis experiment (which wasn’t bad at all, other than the 3 run homer allowed by AG) Willis is starting tonight with Bondo out.

    Look, everybody knew there was a possibility an outing like tonight’s could take place, but you got to give the guy the opportunity. Hindsight is 20-20 and all that. Now, I’m sure the brass is figuring out the best move, and I don’t think that includes starting in 5 days……I just don’t get all your indignant outrage.

  103. T Smith

    June 9, 2008 at 11:53 pm


    You get the award for the most sensible and composed post in direct response to the most insensible and rabid post. Kudos.

  104. Carolyn

    June 10, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Thanks, T Smith. 🙂

  105. joe buck

    June 10, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Willis has said all year he will do whatever is best for the team so i dont see him having a problem with going to triple A and its only 45 mins from the D so he could drive up for starts. I think he will find it he just have to get his confidence back look at cliff lee last year.

  106. Chris

    June 10, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Thanx Carolyn for your perspective on Cabrera. I hope you are right.

  107. Carolyn

    June 10, 2008 at 12:20 am

    I really feel for Dontrelle. He’s a good guy, and I’m sure his lack of control is killing him.

  108. T Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 12:29 am


    My indignant outrage? Aside from yet another senseless loss that makes me extremely cranky, let me count the ways:

    1. He was on a “short” DL stint (for what, 30 days?) because of an extended-knee injury, not because of a control issue. Did everybody convienently forget about the control problems when the knee injury occured? It’s almost like the knee injury was some kind of convenient distraction away from the real problem. I remember thinking, “…what a blessing in disguise…” when he went down with the knee.

    Nonetheless, from my humble vantage, it appears the “brass” buried their heads on this one and hoped the real problem would just go away by itself.

    2. In his 2 or 3 starts in Toledo he had serious control issues. Wiggling out of jam after jam doesn’t count toward keeping the control problem at bay. Ditto as far as his bullpen assignment with the Tigers.

    Again, the attitude here was, “…let’s just hope the problem goes away by itself once he comes up to the big leagues, starts in the rotation, and pitches in games that count.”

    3. My definition of being rushed: asking a guy to take a spot in the starting rotation BEFORE racking up a string of solid prefomances in the minors/bullpen appearances, during which said pitcher, who has miserably struggled with control, has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that he has corrected whatever issue has plagued his control. Sorry. This never happened. Ever.

    4. I’m all for giving Willis every opportunity. I think he can be a great pitcher for the Tigers. I WANT him to be a great pitcher for the Tigers. Prerequisite to that opportunity? See # 3 above.

    5. With all due respect, this is not 20-20 hindsight. I was worked up in a lather with the same rant before the first pitch of this ballgame even started. I’ve basically posted the exact same thing when the Willis vs. Galarrago debate came to pass a a few weeks ago. And the reason is not just a random opinion, based on hindsight after seeing Willis meltdown tonight. But rather, there was simply NO empirical evidence whatsoever going into this game that led me to believe Willis was going to throw strikes tonight. None.

  109. judpma

    June 10, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Calolyn I hope you are right…he is still very young and has the biggest upside of any Tiger

  110. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 9:56 am

    This isn’t a comment on Miguel Cabrera, but on unintended consequences.

    How could anyone pass on Cabrera? But dare to think the unthinkable, if only for a moment: Maybe the Tigers should have.

    OK, time’s up.

    They got Cabrera as part of win now. But there’s nothing wrong with having him for win in 2010, 2011, and beyond instead. Without him, we could be watching the last chance season for an aging team slip away, and wondering how many years it would take the Tigers to put another dream team together piece by piece, another Rodriguez-Guillen-Polanco-Ordonez-Rogers.

    Cabrera is certainly a guy to build around, and maybe the Tigers should start that building sooner rather than later.

  111. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 10:28 am

    “The Tigers pulled to 8-2 in the fourth on Edgar Renteria’s single and Placido Polanco’s double.”

    No one even mentioned this excitement.

  112. ron

    June 10, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Okay Cabrera has heart, Willis is a good guy, Inge is Inge, Bilfer has reached his limit, Stephan is about to jump out the window of his first floor apt., and the team is,what, 11 games out, and summer hasn’t even arrived. You gotta love it.

  113. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 11:05 am

    “is Ordonez hitting the softest .316 in baseball”

    Maggs is a leading man with a very weak supporting cast. Some stats:

    .869 OPS with RISP
    .464 slugging with RISP, tops among Tigers regulars
    20 2-out RBI, far and away tops on the team
    .946 OPS with 2 outs
    .838 OPS with 2 outs and RISP

    He was also one of only 2 regulars to hit better than .250 during the long losing streaks.

  114. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 11:09 am

    “Brandon Inge is just godawful as a regular.”

    I’d like to see the Tigers trade Inge, myself, if only they could. But look deeper into his stats and you’d be in for a surprise. Note Coleman’s earlier stat:

    RBI per AB with RISP:

    Inge: .571
    Cabrera: .424

  115. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Good one, Ron.

  116. greg

    June 10, 2008 at 11:52 am


    Post on Willis is 100% dead on. As someone who saw his next to last rehab start, no way was he ready.

  117. T Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 11:57 am

    If you think ron is somewhat containing his enthusiasm now… just wait until the euphoria of the Red Wings wears off.

  118. T Smith

    June 10, 2008 at 12:07 pm


    watching the last Toledo game, was Willis EVER in a 0-2 count, or a 1-2 count? Just curious how often he was ahead in the count vs. behind in the count.

  119. greg

    June 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Good question TSmith, I honestly can’t remember. What stuck in my mind:

    a) His knee was still bothering him.
    b) His command wasn’t all that great and he walked a few.
    c) His pitched a lot worse than his stat line. He was fooling noone as there were quite of few outs in which the Clippers hit the ball right on the screws, just at people.

  120. Dave BW

    June 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    This is what happens when I can’t watch a game on Comcast. The bullpen looks to have been phenomenal, though — Rapada with 3 IP? Bautista with 2? Seay with 2? Nice.

  121. judpma

    June 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    thanks Sean…most be too much of that non supporting cast I see everyday!

  122. Coleman

    June 10, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    “Brandon Inge is just godawful as a regular.”

    I’d like to see the Tigers trade Inge, myself, if only they could. But look deeper into his stats and you’d be in for a surprise. Note Coleman’s earlier stat:

    RBI per AB with RISP:

    Inge: .571
    Cabrera: .424”

    Sean: Not to mention, now that you post Ordonez’ soft–but team leading–stats:

    Ordonez .869 OPS with RISP
    Inge .921 OPS with RISP

    Ordonez, .464 slugging with RISP, tops among Tigers regulars
    Inge .500 slugging with RISP

    I’m not saying Inge is tearing it up, but if we draw the line above Inge-level that doesn’t leave us enough guys to field a team right now…

  123. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 3:20 pm


    Didn’t mean to sound like I was taking you to task with the Ordonez stats, at least not in a know-it-all sort of way. I gave Kathy 8 hours to come to Magglio’s defense, and when she didn’t appear, I feared for his safety.

    I’m no hero. I just did what any of you would have done.

  124. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Yeah, Coleman. Only your cool RBI with RISP per AB was new to me.

    Everyone, hold your nose and repeat after me:


    It’s true. At the plate, at 3B, at C, as one of the Granderson replacements.

  125. Coleman

    June 10, 2008 at 3:27 pm


    So how does Inge manage “clutch” numbers like that and still drag along with a sub .230 and dropping avg (not to mention the whiffery)?

    He’s horrid with bases empty. In 76 AB with bases empty (out of 130 AB total: yes that’s the price of batting behind DIDP Rodriguez) he is hitting .158 (!!) with 25 K’s. (?!!) (out of his 36 total K’s)

    Or putting it another way, his strikeout avg is .329 !! Last year is similar, but less dramatic (.205 empty vs. .277 with runners, .295 strikeout avg).

  126. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Coleman – I wonder if the other teams would be kind enough to let Andy Van Slyke stand on 1B when Inge is up. As long as we don’t tell them why.

  127. Coleman

    June 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    That’s a good idea with Van Slyke… he could even run if Inge hits it, probably nobody would notice that it wasn’t Cabrera or Ordonez or somebody out there…