Game 126: Tigers at Rangers

PREGAME: In the wake of the team’s disappointing season, Dave Dombrowski has been hammered for the moves he made or didn’t make this offseason. One move that did work out that never gets mentioned is picking up Armando Galarraga from the Rangers for nothing.

Galarraga returns to Texas tonight, but Jim Leyland doesn’t want him to make too big a deal out of it. Galarraga is content to let his performance, improved by Chuck Hernandez, do the talking. One thing to keep an eye on his Galarraga’s endurance. He went 121 pitches his last time out, farther than he’s gone this year.

The Tigers will face Vicente Padilla. The Tigers knocked him out after 7 runs in 3 innings his last time out. But he shut them down for 6 innings in 2007. He was pushed back due to some neck pain. He was rocked by the Orioles and Yankees in his last 2 starts.

The Tigers send out these 9 tonight:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Santiago, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, 3B
  6. Sheffield, DH
  7. Joyce, LF
  8. Renteria, SS
  9. Inge, C

Santiago doubled and homered off of Padilla back in April and is 5 for 9 lifetime off him. So I guess Leyland is playing the match-up.

DET @ TEX, Tuesday, August 19, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 8:05

POSTGAME: Nice win and a 2 game winning streak. Woot. Armando Galarraga was dominant through 5.1 innings, but then got knocked around for 3 runs before getting out of the 6th. It was another quality start, and another win which should help his ROY chances.

Gary Glover is still perfect as a Tigers reliever making me look stupid again. At least I’m used to it. And Casey Fossum had a 1-2-3 9th. The only guy that struggled was Bobby Seay who I had been arguing to be the 7th inning guy.

The offense overcame some early futility to bludgeon the Padilla and the bullpen in the 7th. They had runners in scoring position in the first 2 innings with nobody out and didn’t score them. They were undermined by 3 double plays. But Matt Joyce’s 2 homers, made those early struggles irrelevant. Everybody had hits tonight except Miguel Cabrera who hit a couple of balls hard again with nothing to show for it.

There was some very slick defense for the Tigers. Ramon Santiago made a nifty play up the middle and Carlos Guillen started a quick double play earlier on.

And credit to the Texas scorer for ruling Matt Joyce’s flyball an error. Normally if the ball doesn’t get touched it’s ruled as a hit. This time they ruled it an error, but they gave it to the wrong guy. It should have been Hamilton’s error.

Good news everyone. The Tigers moved ahead of the Rangers in the wild card chase. Only 4 more teams to go! (that’s sarcasm).

95 Comments

  1. Coleman

    August 19, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Wow…I just got my mlb.tv going and the first thing I hear is the Rangers announcers talking about…ham sandwiches…

    An outstanding sandwich. One of the better concession items they’ve ever had.

    You see, they take grilled crispy french bread, and fill it with thinly sliced baked ham, and then top it with sauteed onions and provolone AND spicy pepperjack cheese, and then the finishing touch, a dijon mustard sauce. After all that, who cares if it can turn the double-play?

  2. Coleman

    August 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Opps, they weren’t done, almost missed the name…The Hambino…

  3. Chief Monday

    August 19, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    This has been a great game so far. Great pitching along with good defense.

  4. Ryan

    August 19, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Holy… Olympics, eh?

  5. Chief Monday

    August 19, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    JOYCE !! JOYCE !!

  6. Brian in Tampa

    August 19, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Kitty Power!! x 2

  7. Chief Monday

    August 19, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    RENTERIA!!

  8. cib

    August 19, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Nice but I don’t feel comfy unless we’re up about, oh, 13 runs. And even then . . . .

  9. cib

    August 19, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Holy freakin Edgar!!!

  10. Mark

    August 19, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Renteria!

  11. billfer

    August 19, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Now that the lead is back I hope that they go to the bullpen. Not that I have faith in the pen, but Galarraga was hit pretty hard last inning.

  12. Chief Monday

    August 19, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    OMG. That was a not even a Texas leaguer. LOL.

    JOYCE!!!

  13. Tbone

    August 19, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Joyce almost had a 6 RBI inning. Heh. Thats some bad baseball right there…

  14. Kyle J

    August 19, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Glad Galarraga’s in line for the win. A potential ROY for him is one of the few things left to root for.

  15. tiff

    August 19, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    wow, pretty quiet around these parts. So what did I miss?

    All kidding aside, glad the tigers got a win, there were points in this season that I never thought they’d win again. Here’s to the remaining 30 odd games and expectation free baseball. Cheers all!

  16. Andre in Chi

    August 20, 2008 at 1:09 am

    This win bothers me quite a bit. Going into the Texas series I was able to safely put the season to bed with ESPN rating the Tigers playoff chances at .1%. With this recent winning streak that chance has risen to .5%, meaning I’m back to crunching numbers and inventing hypotheses for the 08 Tigers in the playoffs (most involve 2 or more AL central team planes going down)*. I just want a firm commitment one way or the other…

    *JOKE

  17. Ken in Las Vegas

    August 20, 2008 at 3:42 am

    I’m pretty sure that the tigers will win every single game from here on out just so that they can miss the playoffs by 1.5 games. I would bet a Hambino on it.

    Joyce is continuing to take advantage of playing time, and I fear that we are seeing the last days of Thames as a Tiger because of it. I will always remember the Funk Doctor’s truly amazing homerun streak and his huge sound barrier breaking whiffs at sliders breaking down and away. R.I.P., My Tiger. I will look to see who you sit by in the dugout and exchange pleasantries with most often to annoint my new Tiger. May you hit 50 dingers for your next team.

  18. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 9:17 am

    What Ken said about Marcus. They’d better get something good for him.

    17 posts for such a nice win? What’s my excuse? Well, I’m busy. Really. Honest. The slim playoff hopes don’t mean a thing to me. If I had time, I’d follow the games. If I had a TV, I’d watch them.

    Love the Hambino. Hold the sauteed onions, but the rest is all good.

  19. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Matt Joyce with an upper decker. There’s another kind of upper decker, but I won’t mention it here (because it involves pooping in the wrong part of the toilet).

  20. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 10:24 am

    BTW: Hambino = mmm mmm mmm

  21. Chris

    August 20, 2008 at 10:32 am

    If I were to do a little wishful thinking, I would like to see Sheffield go on a little hot streak in the next week in hopes it will entice a contender, such as the Rays, to make a trade for him.

    Getting rid of Sheff would open up the DH spot for Maggs, as well as unload a huge contract for next year. And then we could see a more youthful outfield that consists of Joyce, Clete Thomas and Granderson, with the platoon of Rayburn or Thames. And eventually, it could be a good idea to move Granderson down the batting order to 3rd while making Thomas the leadoff guy.

    The Tigers need to get younger, faster, cheaper & more flexible for next season. Finding a way to trade Sheffield would go a long way at doing just that. Lets hope he can get on a month long hot streak.

  22. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 10:35 am

    If I were to do a little wishful thinking, it would involve the Tigers pulling a 2002 Oakland A’s…

  23. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Chris: The A’s were 68-51 when that began, though. How about a 2007 Colorado Rockies instead?

  24. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 10:49 am

    True enough, Sean. But 20 in a row is 20 in a row.

  25. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 11:03 am

    So, all you real baseball fans out there – help me out. I’m looking for 2 starting pitchers, 1 closer, 1 middle reliever, a third basesman, a shortstop, and a catcher. The only caveats are that a) they can’t already be Tigers, b) they should be pretty good, and c) playing for the Tigers in 2009 should be feasible for them.

    Bundle them together, and I’ll give you Guillen, Thames, Bonderman, Robertson, Zumaya, Inge, Sheffield, Lopez, Fossum, and Renteria for them. If they’re really good, you can have Santiago, Raburn, Clevlen, and Seay, too. But if I could just charge some of them to my credit card, that would be good, too.

  26. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 11:06 am

    20 in a row is a good thing. I wouldn’t turn it down. But for now I’ll stick to my projection of 66-70 when August is in the books, and 85-77 when it’s all said and done.

  27. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Sean: I realize you posted that with your tongue implanted in your cheek, but I don’t foresee a major overhaul. Pitching-wise, I imagine they break camp with Verlander-Bonderman-Galarraga-Willis-Robertson, with Miner and maybe Garcia for depth. When the inevitable injuries happen, Lambert should be given a shot and maybe Tata and Vasquez will get back on track. So I don’t think they need to go nuts in acquiring a starter. Unless they can sign Sabathia. Caveat emptor with him, though. He’ll be expensive and his arm may fall off at any moment with the way Milwaukee has been riding his fat ass.

    I have a sinking feeling Renteria will be back at SS due to the Pudge Rodriguez Principle (i.e. no better options available). Relief-wise, there was a cadre of guys drafted this year who should be major league ready for ’09. Zumaya will be a year removed from his surgery. If he’s not 100% by Spring Training, he never will be. Let’s hope he is. Keep him cryogenically frozen in the offseason if you have to. Rodney will do what he always does. Gary Glover will not allow a baserunner for the rest of eternity, so he should be the closer. Inge can catch. Every team needs a catcher that can kick 50 yard field goals, so he’s your man. 3B will be manned by Paws.

  28. jim-mt

    August 20, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Sean C:
    Melvin Mora for 3rd base-that could solve a lot of problems.

    MLB.com for $ 20/mo you can watch most any game. Quality is not high definition, but you can work & suffer at the same time.

  29. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Melvin Mora for 3rd base-that could solve a lot of problems.

    Up to and including the fact that they’d never have to pitch to him. Melvin Mora Tiger Destroy-a…

  30. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 11:53 am

    “MLB.com for $ 20/mo”

    Thanks, Jim. High-speed Internet is not an option for me right now. It will be soon (moving), but by then the season will be over. I’ll be watching in 2009, though, as long as the Tigers go along with my plans for retooling. Otherwise, I’m going over to the White Sox.

  31. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Is Melvin Mora one of those third basemen that can, you know, play third base? Or would he be another “natural first baseman”? It’s true that Miguel could use another couple arms and legs over there at 1B, but leaving 3B open would be a gamble.

  32. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Chris, I was really just fishing for possibilities at the positions I mentioned. I confess, at the risk of sounding like one of those “MLB is really a fantasy league” guys, that my tongue was not in its customary in-cheek position. I was after sensible possibilities, not necessarily likely ones. The track record indicates no major shakeup in store for 2009, but then again, there has not been a disappointment like 2008 in DD’s tenure, either. 2007 you could chalk up to injuries. Not this time.

  33. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I do really think that 2009 should feature a different pitching coach. I don’t think Chuck Hernandez is incompetent or anything, but perhaps a fresh approach would get guys like Robertson and Willis back on the right track. Both guys have shown they can get fellas out in the past. Verlander’s mediocre season could be chalked up to bad luck. At least this guy thinks so.

    http://www.immaculateinning.co.....ander.html

  34. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Chris,

    Any idea who a good replacement for CH would be? Leo Mazzone is currently out of work (well, he’s a broadcaster for Fox, and not a very good one at that). If I’m not mistaken, Leyland wanted Larry Rothchild, but he opted to stay with the Cubs. Who else could we get?

    I’m not anti-CH, but I would not object to a change for the right reasons. A change for change’s sake doesn’t make sense to me.

  35. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    No, Melvin Mora is too old to play 3B for me. I’d just as soon have Guillen there. Next, please.

  36. Brian P

    August 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    I listened to Leo broadcast a game on Fox, and he indeed was terrible. He kept laughing hysterically at his own lame jokes and stories. Our pitchers might go crazy if he were to do that in spring training.

    I was reading the article in which Galarraga attributed some of his success to Hernandez. Apparently he improved his slide step and changeup.

    Um. What changeup? I’ve been watching Galarraga all year, and I don’t think I’ve seen a changeup yet. He’s the Venezuelan Bonderman. It’s either fastball or slider.

  37. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Between Leo’s incessant rocking back and forth and Leyland’s chain smoking, the coaching staff would look like castoffs from some sort of old age mental asylum. Good for in-game comedy, but I’m not sure how it would work in a baseball sense. I say us DTW commentors should meet up in St. Louis with a burlap sack and some rope. It’s time to kidnap Dave Duncan.

  38. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I think I’d rather see the same pitching coach and some new pitchers, myself.

    Hey, how about Adrian Beltre at 3B? No? Well, How about Mike Hessman, then? Brandon Inge? Maybe I’ll keep Carlos Guillen there, after all.

  39. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Adrian Beltre doesn’t wear a cup. I fear having a guy on the roster who could go on the DL at any minute with crushed testicles. Let’s keep Gorilla’s Uncle out there – he really hasn’t been too bad defensively. Made a great play last night too.

  40. Ryan

    August 20, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Sean C., here’s what I figure to be the best likely scenario:

    SP – Sign FA Jon Garland. If anyone else looks good for cheap, get them, but I think Verlander/Galarraga/Garland/Bonderman with an open competition between Miner/Willis/minors is okay. Trade Nate to an NL team for whatever, obviously.

    RP – Hello! Chad Durbin!

    CL – Meh. Bullpen = fungible. If they don’t want to pay for K-Rod, no one else is really better than an open competition going into spring.

    C – Ramon Hernandez. With Wieters coming up, the O’s won’t want an 8 mill/yr backup. Should not take much to get him.

    3B – Is Guillen gone? If he is, I dunno, Blalock? Atkins? Maybe Nate and Thames can be part of a package for Ryan Zimmerman? Not a lot of wonderful options.

    SS – Renteria or Santiago. I could honestly flip a coin. If they want to save money, go with Santiago and sign John McDonald as a backup.

    I’d be very happy with this team going into next year:

    Granderson CF
    Polanco 2B
    Ordonez RF/DH
    Cabrera 1B
    Guillen/Blalock (or whoever) 3B
    Thames DH/LF
    Thomas LF/RF
    Hernandez C
    Santiago SS

    Bench- Inge, McDonald/Hollimon, Raburn, Joyce
    SPs- JV, Bondo, Garland, Galarraga, ?
    RPs – Seay, Rodney, Rapada, Lopez, Ostlund, Durbin, ?

    I think this team is better than the team right now, and an actual possibility. If Sheff gets traded, maybe the money is free to go after Brian Fuentes or A.J. Burnett, but I don’t see it happening.

    Addition: Apparently Fuentes is going on waivers soon. Maybe a chance to kick the tires?

  41. ron

    August 20, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Yeh, Burnett. He’s the key.

  42. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Ryan: The only potential problem with your scenario is that Blalock is now a 1B, as he physically can’t play 3B any longer. And he’s a walking injury. Garland would be OK to grab as a starter, though his groundball tendencies may not be helped by a poor infield defense. Unless you can upgrade to a McDonald type guy at SS (defensively speaking). I’m pretty sure you can pencil in Willis as a member of the rotation if only for the fact that they have to try and get some value out of him. That’s the unfortunate thing about ponying up the $$ on pitchers – you feel compelled to use them even if they suck. Aside from being a fantasy All Star for my team a few years ago, I don’t see the value of adding Ramon Hernandez. Unless Inge is mercifully traded elsewhere. I’d like to get a younger guy at C along the lines of a Teagarden or Ramirez or Saltalalonglastname. Get Jon Daniels on speed dial!

  43. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Why put in a claim on Fuentes? He’s a free agent after the year, and the Tigers ain’t going anywhere this year. If you want to try and sign him as a FA, have at it. He’s pretty good. Gets out both lefties and righties at an equal clip. Can close. Was involved in one of the more unintentionally hilarious ad campaigns in FSN history. All positives from where I sit.

  44. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    If you put in a claim on Fuentes, maybe you get draft pick compensation should he sign as a f/a elsewhere (after declining arbitration).

    It might take a low level minor league prospect to work out a trade, but a supplemental or 2nd round pick is potentially an improvement of your organization at the margin.

  45. ron

    August 20, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    We need improvement?

  46. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Fair enough. Fuentes might even be a type A so you get 2 picks in that scenario. Anyhoo, some plausible scenarios are afoot. Trade Placido Polanco, whom I think you might actually be able to get some value for. More value than, say, Gary Sheffield (sorry, I think we’re stuck with that albatross). A couple of half decent prospects in return would be nice. To fill the hole at 2B, you could have an open competition among Sizemore/Hollimon/Santiago and whomever. If you don’t want to go that route, guys like Orlando Hudson (very similar offensively, better defensively) and Mark Ellis (downgrade with the bat, spectacular in the field) will be FA. I’d go with the first option (rumor has it payroll will be cut). Getting the prospects in trade bolsters the organizational depth, and it’s not like Polanco’s offensive production is irreplaceable (107 OPS+). He’s kind of overrated in the field because he went 8 years in between errors that one time.

  47. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Now that I’ve solved that, I’ll move on to SS. The free agent class here is not so good. You’ve got Furcal and the team of doctors that come with him. Then there’s a lot of old guys out there. I want this team to get younger, so screw that. Cesar Izturis is only 29, but he also has the unfortunate trait of completely sucking. Adam Everett is starting to get old and has the double whammy of not being able to stay healthy or hit (at all). Danny Worth has been moving up the ladder in the organization, but I have the sneaking suspicion that he’s not very good (mediocre OBP, zero power). Santiago shouldn’t play every day. Unfortunately, this is all leading to a return of the ham sandwich.

  48. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Chris,

    Interesting idea about the Polanco trade. You’re right that he has good value. I think Hudson is a good player, but he reportedly looking for something in the $9-12 million range. Polanco is in the last year (in 2009) of a deal paying him about $4.5 million. I’m making an assumption they can (and would want to) re-sign Polly since he’s only 32, so maybe they come in at $6-7 million per for 3 years. Still a better bargain than Hudson, but you don’t get the prospects. Polly is a known quantity, and unless they feel like he’s going to have chronic back problems or something, I bet they re-sign him. They already need a new SS next year (or 2010 at the latest), so I would bet they don’t want to replace the entire middle infield in one season.

    I sense Polly is overrated defensively too, but I’d like to see his numbers/ratings.

    Sadly, Maggs is probably likely to get traded. Hopefully to someone like the Mets who have some good young prospects.

  49. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Chris,

    Shortstop is very bleak, you’re right. Oddly, this does not get mentioned when people criticize the Renteria trade, but I digress. I think you hit the nail on the head, we’re getting another year of the (statuesque) ham sandwich. After that, i think they hope one of the kids is ready (Worth, Iorg, Holliman, etc.)

    sigh.

  50. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    3B is simple. Trade Guillen and sign Dallas McPherson as a free agent. He has 734 HR this year in the minors. He’s finally figured it out. He’ll come cheap and he’s only 27. And I like guys with Dallas in their name. Sue me.

    Now C. This is easy too. One of the aforementioned trade scenarios should net a prospect that will be ready to play in 2010. Until then I can live with one more season of the Inge worm.

  51. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    BTW my last post was tongue-in-cheek (at least the 3B part). I just wanted to point out that McPherson is absolutely murdering AAA pitching this year.

  52. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Mark: Yeah, Hudson would command some $$. That’s why I’d rather see them plug in one of the kids from the minors at 2B if they were to deal Polly. I like Polanco a lot, but he’s one of the few guys I think could command anything decent. They certainly could get a lot for Magglio, but it would be much much harder to replace his production in the lineup. Considering I think this team can contend in 2009, I don’t think that would be wise.

  53. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t have too much of a problem with Ryan’s lineup. I’d rather keep Thames, but the outfield is crowded with young talent he might be standing in the way of, and he’s a known quantity with trade value.

    As many have pointed out, bullpens are volatile, and maybe they could bring all the same guys back (besides Jones) and have a much better year. As for the starters, I do think some rebuilding is in order. New blood, even if it’s used blood. Verlander, Galarraga, and the probable retirement or departure of Rogers are the givens. I’d like to see 2 proven, quality starters brought in to round out the top 4 spots. The 5th, well, I’d whittle down Bonderman-Willis-Miner-(Garcia, Lambert, who knows) to 2 after I saw what they showed in the spring. Bonderman could stay on the DL if he wasn’t ready. I’d rotate starts with the #5 guys until someone blew up or got hurt.

    I’d like to see some good defense on the left side of the infield again and a better catcher than Inge, but I’d sooner have Renteria, Guillen, and Inge back where they’re currently at than compromise a serious pitching upgrade, if I had to choose between the two. JL’s recent comment about having to tinker with the pitching usually meaning you’re [bad word that translates as "messed up"] indicates to me that they’re admitting they’re “messed up” and do intend to tinker.

  54. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Sean is of course 100% accurate about the nature of bullpenning. One thing I do know is if they decide to spend like drunken sailors again in the offseason and splurge on K-Rod, I will undoubtedly light myself on fire. The rotation can stand to be “tinkered” as you say. I’m going to assume that Verlander will have a much better year, but that will be offset by Galarraga regressing. IF (note how I capitalized that) Bonderman is healthy, he definitely gets a spot. We can also hope that Dontrelle pulls a Cliff Lee. Remember, Lee spent the majority of last year in the minors because he ate crap. The parallels are very similar. Lee was a former 18 game winner, D-Train once won 22. Both are black lefties. Both struggled with the pitch they call the “strike”, but excelled at the one known as the “home run”. I’m not saying Willis is going to win the Cy Young next year, but he could come back and be effective. So that’s potentially 4 spots filled. Now what do you do with the 5th? Candidates include Miner, Robertson, Tata, Vasquez, Lambert, Bazardo, Garcia (maybe), and whoknowswhat.

  55. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    I was pondering the question of how many weak bats a team can carry, and it occurred to me (because I’m brilliant) that stronger pitching will allow you to carry more of them. To me, just 1 stud new starter could justify Renteria out and someone like John MacDonald in. Defense at SS seems very important all of a sudden in the absence of a bat there putting up .320 19 HR 85 RBI and a 136 OPS+.

  56. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Speaking of starters, as unlikely as it may be, it would be fun if the rotation of the 2009 AL Central Division winners (Detroit, for those of you keeping score at home) included Garland and Garcia (with good years from both, of course). Just for spite.

  57. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    uhhhhh, Chris:

    Cliff Lee is white. Other than that, your comparison to Willis is an interesting one. You may have something there, and I think (hope?) D-Train will end up an effective big league pitcher.

    Someone tossed out the idea of Jon Garland, and I suspect he may get overlooked by a lot of teams. He’s good for 200 innings of average-to-slightly-better performance, so one would expect a salary of about $10 million per year. He turns 29 this year, so I would not object to having him in the rotation for 3-4 years. Free agent pitching is an expensive way to go, though, and signing someone almost certainly means bodies get traded (not that this is necessarily a bad thing).

    Also, everyone remember that at some point in 2009 it’s quite possible Porcello is ready to contribute at the major league level. He could step into the #5 spot as early as June.

    My guess for opening day rotation:

    Verlander
    Bonderman (assuming he’s healthy)
    Robertson
    Miner
    Willis

    no major shakeup coming, I’m afraid. Expect Porcello to be in there be season’s end, though.

  58. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    hehe, just occurred to me I forgot Galarraga. Good thing I’m not a GM, I’d have left him off the 40-man.

    Here’s my revised opening day rotation, 2009:

    Verlander
    Bonderman
    Galarraga
    Robertson
    Willis

    Miner starts the season in the bullpen, where Jimmuh has some infatuation with him.

  59. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Mark: Cliff Lee’s race was a joke, albeit a poor one. It made me laugh when I typed it, so I kept it in there. ;)

  60. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    ha, ok I get it. It’s hard to pick up satire on the interwebs, but that’s pretty funny.

  61. Ryan

    August 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Mark – I just don’t think there’s any way Nate can be in the rotation next year. He has been one of the five or so worst starters in baseball. Assuming he still has value in the NL, 7 mill/yr for a lefty starter isn’t a bad contract, and some team may well trade for him. If you are right, and Garland takes about $10 mill/yr, the upgrade essentially costs a pittance.

    And for what it’s worth, I think Dontrelle is fried. He seems like a great guy, and I’m rooting for me to be wrong, but all signs point to “no”.

  62. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Ryan: You might be right on the D-Train. But the Cliff Lee example I posted about gives you a sliver of hope for him. When he’s not peeing on the streets, he seems like a good dude and I root for him to make it back.

  63. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    One name I mentioned before I feel like mentioning again. That being Yorman Bazardo. WTF. He had a couple of real nice starts and fooled me into thinking he might be a viable option this year. His stuff reminded me of Fausto Carmona, which at the time was a good thing. Now he’s just getting pummelled at Toledo. Seriously, WTF. Oh well, he’s only 23. Maybe he’ll get his mojo back.

  64. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Ryan, I hope you’re right. I would love to see Nate moved to the NL, most likely some team that could use a veteran presence like the Nats (good luck trading with Bowden, though) or the Pirates (too bad Littlefield was canned).

    Trading him so soon after an extension is tantamount to DD admitting that he was wrong, particularly if it leaves the rotation with no lefty (i.e., Willis isn’t ready) and there’s no replacement at hand, either through free agency or within the organization. I honestly don’t know if DD is that type of guy.

    I’ve seen Bazardo’s numbers, and yeah, he’s target practice right now. Maybe he’s working on a third pitch or something mechanical. Or maybe he just sucks. I don’t know, but he sure doesn’t look like he’s in the mix.

  65. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Interesing stat about Nate: he has given up a total of 6 unearned runs in 2007-2008 combined. That covers 323 innings. He’s given up TWO in 145 innings this year.

    That’s pretty remarkable.

  66. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    At least we’ll get to see Willis in September and have a better idea of whether he’s really going to be the white Cliff Lee in 2009.

    I don’t know why the Tigers would have to have a lefty starter, even though I think Willis is going to make it back sooner than later. Neither LH starter is doing anything special against LHB this season, and on the face of it it would not appear than left-handed bats are exactly killing the Tigers as it is.

  67. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    So Nate’s UERA is 0.12. He’s also racked up a respectable UW-UL this year, 55-55. That kid’s gonna be OK.

  68. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    It’s a shame when guys that you like suck so bad. Nate Robertson circa 2008 is one of those guys. I guess the Gum Time gimmick got stale.

  69. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Tigers need a lefty starter because of:

    Sizemore
    Hafner
    turn around Victor Martinez and Swisher
    Pierszinski
    Alex Gordon
    Morneau
    Mauer
    Kubel

    Besides, it’s always good to give teams a different a look in a series. Running power righty out there after power righty might get opponents a little comfortable. You’re right that our lefties don’t get lefties out, but that’s probably because our lefties aren’t very good. Willis would be tough on lefties (if he can throw strikes) by virtue of the funky delivery and hiding the ball well.

  70. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I present this as a possible viewpoint, not necessarily mine: Robertson is having a bad 2008 just like Verlander is having a bad 2008. Nate’s just looks worse because “fantastic” isn’t his baseline.

  71. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Lefty is good, but I hope that consideration doesn’t have undue influence. I’d rather have the best 5 guys. I also hope the Tigers pick up enough pitching to where tough choices have to be made at the end of spring training, rather than just barely covering themselves as happened this past spring.

  72. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    “It’s a shame when guys that you like suck so bad.”

    Yeah. It’s even worse when guys you like and think deserve a chance get that chance, or more of one, and then suck. Thames. And for a while there, every time Santiago got a start, there was an error in the box score (he’s still coming through at the plate, though).

  73. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Agree, Sean. It’s better to run the best 5 out there, regardless of which hand they throw with. Frankly, some combination of

    Verlander
    Bonderman
    Galarraga
    Robertson
    Willis
    Miner

    Is not exactly a championship-caliber rotation, in my opinion. A major addition is needed to get us over the top. My guess is DD goes after Burnett or Brad Penny – former Marlins, power pitchers, etc.

  74. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Brad Penny gets bonus points for nailing Alyssa Milano.

  75. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Yeah, I guess Dontrelle is a bit rough on LHB. Allows a HR every 114 PA. K/BB 0f 4:1. I suppose that would do.

  76. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    By the same token, you wouldn’t have thought Verlander-Bonderman-Rogers-Robertson-Maroth/Miner was a championship caliber rotation either. But it was. Well, almost. Honestly, I don’t think Robertson is as bad as he’s performed this season. He’s not a top of the rotation guy, but he certainly has enough talent to be one of the better back of the rotation guys in the division. Remember, he was highly thought of enough to get the nod in Game 1 of two separate playoff series. It’s not like that was decades ago.

  77. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Alyssa Milano gets demerits for nailing Brad Penny.

  78. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    “It’s not like that was decades ago.”

    Sure feels like it, though, doesn’t it?

  79. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Touche, Mark. Touche.

    I think we have stumbled upon why Nate has declined. His Charlie Sheen splits vs. LHB
    2004 .255/.295/.326
    2005 .244/.316/.301
    2006 .181/.221/.269
    2007 .296/.330/.402
    2008 .313/.356/.479

    So, yeah – that about sums it up. Dude can’t get lefties out anymore. How do you go from a .221 OBA to .330 in the course of one offseason? Damned if I know. Maybe he should work on that.

  80. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Good point, Chris. By the same token Carpenter, Suppan, Weaver, Reyes got it done in the posteason for the Cardinals. I agree that Nate probably isn’t THIS bad, and trading him now may only be selling low and getting little in return. The last tihng we need is another crappy trade. But if Nate starts to crap it up again next year, what do you do? He has even less value, too big a contract to eat outright, and you would need a viable alternative to run out instead.

    Maybe the answer is to use Nate out of the pen. He could be useful as a long man, albeit an expensive one. But if you can get quality innings in his place out of Lambert, Miner, Tata, Vasquez, etc., then you may have a solution.

  81. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I didn’t have time to do any serious research on player turnover during DD’s tenure. So I’ll just try to think of how many guys are still here from 2006, not counting the brief appearances, September callups and such.

    Granderson
    Polanco
    Ordonez
    Guillen
    Thames
    Inge
    Santiago
    Clevlen EDIT: Probably a September guy, right?
    Verlander
    Rogers
    Bonderman
    Robertson
    Miner
    Jones
    Seay
    Rodney
    Zumaya

    That’s not such a great deal of turnover, I suppose. After this 2008 season, it’s just hard to imagine there won’t be a little more than usual.

  82. Tigercub33

    August 20, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Other than CC (who would be AWESOME) one lefty to consider for the rotation is Oliver Perez. He will be a FA and the Mets (who will be going after CC/Sheets) might let him walk.

    I do think you can pencil Burnett in for next year – he has the former Marlin thing going for him and DD and ex-Marlins are like Rod Marinelli and Buccaneers.

  83. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    “Dude can’t get lefties out anymore.”

    Doesn’t look so wildly inconsistent if you consider 2006 his “Galarraga year” in BABIP vs. LHB. A similar fate could befall the Little BattleCat next season vs. RHB.

  84. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Sorry Chris – just noticed you said OBA and not BABIP. My bad.

  85. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Using Nate in relief isn’t the worst idea I’ve ever heard. He doesn’t walk an alarming number of guys for one. So that’s a positive, though I’d like to see more K’s coming out of the ‘pen than what he can offer. To me it seems his biggest pratfall is giving up the big inning, and maybe by spreading out his innings to one or two at a time you avoid the big one. He could end up pitching 70-80 innings with favorable results. Theoretically.

  86. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 20, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I like Nate in the pen more and more. But I’m still waiting to hear even a whisper of this possibility from the Tigers camp (and it wouldn’t possibly happen – the whisper, I mean – until the season was over, anyway). But JL did mention “tinker.” A code word!

  87. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Obviously ’06 was out of character for Robertson, in that he really dominated the lefties that year. But in ’04-’05 he was pretty effective against them as well. Keeping the OPS against in the low .600′s is hardly awful. Maybe all of the innings he piled up in ’04-’06 (averaging 200) took their toll. I don’t effing know.

  88. Chris in Dallas

    August 20, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    BTW it’s raining like a bitch here again. Not sure what it’s like in Arlington since that’s like a half hour west, but we may be looking at some weather related things happening tonight.

  89. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Maybe “tinker” means they’re going to have Nate start throwing right-handed.

    CH is a wizard, after all.

    (Boy, it occurs to me this is a really snarky post. It’s funny though, so I’ll leave it.)

  90. Chief Monday

    August 20, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Back in March, most people thought that this Tigers roster was going to get them to the world series this season.
    I think everyone was right except for that it won’t be this season.

    DD needs to run this team out there again next season to prove that he was right. Everyone will get a 2nd chance to make good. There won’t be much of an overhaul after this season.

  91. Chief Monday

    August 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Todd Jones and Rogers won’t be back, but other than that I don’t see much happening.

  92. Mark in Chicago

    August 20, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    I dunno, Chief. DD is a pretty aggressive GM, I have a feeling he’ll make a move or two to get pitching help or an everyday player.

  93. Dave BW

    August 20, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Psh, show me a major league pitcher that HASN’T nailed Alyssa Milano.

  94. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 21, 2008 at 9:03 am

    “Psh, show me a major league pitcher that HASN’T nailed Alyssa Milano.”

    Nate Robertson? Maybe that’s his problem.

  95. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 21, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Just having fun here, Chief. Don’t take offense.

    “Back in March, most people thought that this Tigers roster was going to get them to the world series this season.

    I think everyone was right except for that it won’t be this season.”

    I think everyone was right except for that it won’t be this roster. I think everyone was right except for that it won’t be the World Series. I think everyone was right except for that they inadvertently said “Tigers” when they meant “Angels.” I think everyone was right except for that it took place in an alternate universe. I think everyone was right except for that everyone was wrong.