Game 2009.026: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: Rick Porcello takes on Nick Blackburn tonight, but that news kind of takes a back seat to the Tigers roster moves and their new lineup.

The roster moves have been covered already, but the lineup? Here you go:

  1. Anderson
  2. Polanco
  3. Thomas
  4. Cabrera
  5. Granderson
  6. Ordonez
  7. Inge
  8. Laird
  9. Santiago

Aside from putting your best (not necessarily fastest) baserunner behind your slowest runner, you are also taking 70 plate appearances over the course of a full season away from Curtis Granderson*. I understand trying to protect Cabrera (and there is even doubt that protection is real) and put Granderson in a position to drive in more runs. BUT…You can protect Cabrera by having guys on in front of him as well. You pop Granderson in at 3rd and you get 35 of those PA’s back.

*I understand that the 70 PA thing may be inflated because we’re part way through the season and who knows how long this lineup sticks. But I do want to highlight the impact of sliding that far down the order.

I have more complaints about this lineup (especially with Porcello on the mound), but that’s enough for now.

Minnesota vs. Detroit – May 5, 2009 | Gameday


  1. Chris in Dallas

    May 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Egads that’s an odd lineup. I’m sure it will only last one game (you know how Jimmuh likes to tinker), but good golly Miss Molly.

  2. Mike R

    May 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    This line up is straight-up atrocious. There’s no other way to put it. Dude has lost his mind.

    • Andre in Chi

      May 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm

      While the 1-2-3 spots are certainly strange (at least 2/3 of it), Cabrera has certainly been doing a better job of getting on base than driving runs it, recently in any case (and I’m sure that can change in a heartbeat), so batting a guy (Granderson) who’s shown more pop (again, recently) might not be that bad. Ditto re: Ordonez and Inge. I don’t think anyone is going to look at this lineup and think that Leyland has reevaluated the talent of these players. Its probably more along the lines of trying to maximize their respective “streaks” for the short-term.

      • Mike R

        May 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm


        If you’re going to switch things around, this is what I would do. If he wants to ride the “streaks” of the players for the short-term, why the hell hasn’t Inge moved higher in the lineup?

  3. Ryan P.

    May 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    To put it nicely…that is the dumbest lineup I have ever seen. I love trying Anderson leadoff, that’s great. But Grandy 5th makes absolutely no sense. Clete in the 3-hole? What? Maggs batting 6th? Huh?

    Should be Grandy 3rd, Maggs 5th, slide Inge and Laird up and slot Clete at 8th. It’s not that hard, Jim.

    Absolutely amazing.

    • Jeff Molby

      May 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm

      Should be Grandy 3rd, Maggs 5th, slide Inge and Laird up and slot Clete at 8th. It’s not that hard, Jim.

      Do you think he didn’t consider that option? Odds are he’s doing this because he sees something in tonight’s matchups or he just wants to give everyone a jolt.

      Sometimes it makes sense to ignore “the book”. I he sticks with it for a week sans positive results, then you can complain all you want.

  4. Mike in CT

    May 5, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Leave it to Leyland. Thomas up from the minors third and Grandy fifth? Magglio is in a big-time slump, granted, but this doesn’t even make sense if you’re playing a video game.

    I’d like to buy the hat Leyland pulled this starting IX out from on eBay and burn it.

  5. Brian P

    May 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    This lineup is like a stupid, pointless piece of abstract art — no one can understand it, so they have to make their own interpretations. In part of this, I see punishment to Magglio for yesterday. He saw 7 pitches in 4 PA, and he dogged it on a double play ball, making it closer at first then it should have been.

    Clete Thomas shouldn’t even be batting third in the minors, let alone up here. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

  6. Matt

    May 5, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I got no beef.

    The standard line-up certainly hasn’t been getting the job done so maybe this bizarro line-up will do the trick. Guess we’ll find out.

    • Adam

      May 5, 2009 at 7:22 pm

      Yeah, at least he did SOMETHING to it.

  7. Ryan P.

    May 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Yeah. Knowing how weird this game can be, I’m sure the Tigers will pound out like 14 runs tonight or something.

  8. Mike in CT

    May 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Does anyone know/have a theory why Clete Thomas became a Leyland favorite?

    • Andre in Chi

      May 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm

      Its May. Inge has more HR and RBI than Cabrera, and Ordonez is barely out-producing Santiago with three times the ABs.

      Leyland can’t win, either he’s showing too much preference for veterans who aren’t producing, or he shakes it up and gets labeled a lunatic.

      For petesake, its one lineup, one game! They weren’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball with last night’s “traditional” line-up.

      • Mike R

        May 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm

        Who would complain that he’s favoring veterans when it’s this early? Favoring veterans is leaving Craig Monroe or Jacque Jones in the lineup about 100 PA’s way too long.

        Edit: It’s his job to put the best lineup possible on the field. This is not that.

        • Andre in Chi

          May 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm

          Although it wasn’t the main point I was making, I would complain for a start. For the amount of ABs they both have had, there’s no reason for allowing Ordonez and Guillen to continue sandwiching Laird in terms of production (I’m looking at total bases). In Guillen’s case, its probably been due to the injury thing, but I’m ok with Ordonez getting shuffled a little bit. In either case, players with lesser reputations would have been moved (possibly sent down) much sooner. I actually don’t have a problem with letting either of these two work through their slumps/injuries.

          I was just pointing out that Leyland is going to be second guessed no matter what. As far as I’m concerned Laird can lead-off – there’s no excuse for any line-up including the names our does to misfire so frequently. It doesn’t bother me in the least to see a shake up. Your right, his job is to put the best line-up on the field. Its also the job of the players to make picking the best more evident than it currently is. The #3 slot in the order is not Ordonez’s by divine right. I don’t know what the best order is anymore, but that’s not Leyland’s fault, its the players’.

    • Jeff Molby

      May 5, 2009 at 5:55 pm

      He’s the anti-Thames

    • Adam

      May 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

      It’s because he’s good.

  9. charlie

    May 5, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    i like the outfield and something had to be done sooner than later. i don’t mind anderson leading off and everyone loved thomas last year and i’m hoping he brings the same excitement with him this year.

    a couple of JL’s favorite guys aren’t playing well and he is addressing it. there is only so much he can do…if he moved inge up in the lineup there would be 100 negative comments on here already.

    go tigers

  10. Matt

    May 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    @ Brian P: I was thinking the same thing about punishing Maggs.

  11. jri

    May 5, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    If the reasoning is to punish Maggs while improving the outfield defense, why not put Granderson at 3rd and Larish-DH at 5th behind Cabrera, hitting Inge 6th and Thomas 7th, then Laird and Santiago? That would go L-R through the order, give Maggs the night off to get straight, not handcuff Granderson’s speed with Cabrera, and keep Clete Thomas and his minor league career OPS of .752 out of the 3-hole.

  12. Chris in Dallas

    May 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Oddly, Clete Thomas once batted cleanup for the Tigers against the Twins (6/30/08). Granted he pinch hit for Cabrera in the 3rd inning, but the Tigers won 5-4. Zumaya with the save.

  13. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Leyland is just playing match-ups. Clete Thomas has a lifetime .333 avg and 1.111 OPS vs Blackburn. I suspect that’s why he’s batting 3rd. There would be no other reason for it.

  14. Kathy

    May 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Getting a good laugh from all the comments and “suggestions.” I don’t have a problem with Cletus in the lineup. Hell, Leland had Raburn batting DH with a batting average under .100.

  15. Chris in Dallas

    May 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    At the very least, this has generated much more pregame discussion than the typical lineup card. If only it were April 1, I could rationalize it as an April Fools prank. I’m willing to bet that Anderson and Polanco get on to start the game, and JL has Cletus sacrifice them over as the 3-hole hitter…

    • Mr. X

      May 5, 2009 at 6:44 pm

      If Anderson gets on base, he’ll just steal 2nd and Polanco will get him to 3rd. Clete gets walked or hits a sac fly.

  16. Ken in Vegas

    May 5, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I’m pretty sure that Jimmy just stuck Polanco in the 2 spot, Cabrera in the 4 spot, and then put the rest in a hat while Gene Lamont turned his head and drew names. Van Slyke passed by and said “What are you guys doing?” “Shut up, Andy. You got any better ideas!?”

  17. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Maggs deserved to get moved down. He was a DP machine batting 3rd.

  18. tiff

    May 5, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    hey, Miggy did steal one base this year!

    I think the lineup is a little crazy, but sometimes you gotta get crazy. Last night’s offense was a total snore.

  19. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Clete baby Clete!! Leyland you’re a genius!!

  20. Mason

    May 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Welcome back Mr. Thomas!!!

  21. Ryan

    May 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I forgot how compact Clete’s swing is.

  22. Ryan P.

    May 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Clete already making us all look dumb with our comments.

  23. RPS

    May 5, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    If we’re finally shaking up the lineup, howsabout this becomes the first team to realize that you want your best hitter to bat the most?

    Miggy for leadoff!


    Nice looking, eh?

    • Mr. X

      May 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm


  24. Andrew in Toronto

    May 5, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    On another note…

    I was at the Indians – Blue Jays game today.

    If there are other Tiger fans like me who remember a certain game from last summer, you can imagine how pleased I was to see Kelly Stoppach take two HBPs in his first 2 at bats. I was really hoping for 3 or 4!

  25. Ryan

    May 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Over/Under on RBI total for Santiago: 40

  26. Brian P

    May 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Young pulled a Raburn.

  27. tiff

    May 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    talk about making something happen! I love these kids.

  28. billfer

    May 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I don’t know why everyone is complaining. This new lineup is awesome.

  29. Ryan

    May 5, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Well, you know what they say about those walks…

  30. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 7:40 pm


  31. Mr. Jimmy

    May 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Leyland the genius!

  32. tiff

    May 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    so clete has doubled and tripled? Well come back dude. The 3rd spot fits you just fine.

  33. Mike in CT

    May 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Jeez…did Leyland bet Mine That Bird at the Derby on Saturday, too?

    • Coleman

      May 5, 2009 at 8:04 pm

      I don’t know if he did, but I did–in the 2 and 3 spots in Exactas and Trifectas, @!!#*!

  34. Jeff Molby

    May 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    lol, it’s official. Everybody that made exaggerated complaints has to STFU for a week. 🙂

    • billfer

      May 5, 2009 at 7:49 pm

      Ummm. So no more game posts this week?

      • Jeff Molby

        May 5, 2009 at 8:25 pm

        lol, I’d just like to come in for a couple days and see a generally positive tone. Aside from 2006 (one o those glorious years when everything goes ridiculously well), 2005 was my favorite. None of these silly expectations that every decision has to work out perfectly. Everyone was just happy to have a team that stood a fair chance of winning on any given day.

  35. Ryan P.

    May 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Totally called this happening.

  36. Ken in Vegas

    May 5, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Like I said…Brilliant.

  37. Russ

    May 5, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    YAY! for the new lineup!!! Woo Hoo!!!
    Gotta give it a chance folks. Gotta give it a chance.

  38. Coleman

    May 5, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Actually it looks like Leyland followed my suggestion–the lineup alternates fast/slow runners for the most part, severely dropping the odds of the dreaded GIDP.

    Thomas will beat some throws that were Ordonez GIDP; Cabrera will have fewer GIDP without leadfooted Ordonez on first; Granderson will beat out a lot of the throws that were resulting in Carlos’ GIDP; Ordonez will hit into fewer GIDP with Granderson on base than with Polanco; and not only will Inge beat some throws that Cabrera wouldn’t, but he just doesn’t ever ground into many DP.

    This explanation of the lineup makes more sense than any other…

  39. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm


  40. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Miguel is country strong.

    • Ryan

      May 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

      Haha, no.. According to Rod Allen, only the African American players are country strong.

      • Coleman

        May 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm

        That part may vary, depending on your “country”

  41. EvoLuTioN

    May 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    so clete thomas is a HR shy of the cycle

  42. Brian P

    May 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    My goodness. Furthest home run in Comerica this year.

  43. EvoLuTioN

    May 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    miggy bombbbbb

  44. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    BACK to BACK baby!! Granderson !! Leyland !!!

  45. Coleman

    May 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    The lineup has one of our slowest runners in front of one of our fastest, but the other way to look at it is the lineup has our guy most likely to be on base–and more specifically most likely to be on 1st base (43 times so far), in front of our batter least likely to hit into a GIDP (career 1/135 AB, 1/19 GIDP opportunities, 2009 0 GIDP 16 OPP).

    What I don’t like about the lineup are the 1-2 hitters: Neither see many pitches, which is going to mean a lot of quick innings to start games, neither have great OBP, which means you haven’t solved the problem of Cabrera not getting RBI opportunities.

    The 2 hitter who makes sense to me is Inge; 2nd highest OBP, team best P/PA, 2nd least likely to hit into DP, all of those things = extending our 1st innings AND increasing RBI opportunities for Cabrera.

  46. EvoLuTioN

    May 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    is clete a real threat with the bat or just having a good day?

  47. Steve

    May 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Nice shot by the Big guy

    >> Wouldn’t it be funny if Leyand read the blog tonight. He might get a big laugh

    Best thing to do is rearrange the schedule to miss Lariano in the rotation. Now that would be managing.

  48. Steve

    May 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Repeat…………… Still a good shot by Miggy

  49. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Granderson’s 9th HR. 5th is actually a very good spot for him to bat.

  50. Coleman

    May 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Hmm, maybe the lineup is irrelevant, and the Twins just have some guy up there throwing BP stuff to us?

  51. RPS

    May 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Officially time to be worried about Magglio?

    Edit: Is it possible he’s playing through something because he desperately wants his option to vest?

  52. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Magglio has a 1.26 Groundball/Flyball ratio this season so far. His career average G/F is .81 . He’s got to fix that swing.

  53. Coleman

    May 5, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Nice defense, we need some of that next time Ed-Jack is pitching…

  54. Steve

    May 5, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Looking ahead, guess we will see Robertson, Miner and Rincon or some variation of that. saving some arms for Chi-Town. I hope we can put a beat down like this on them.

  55. Ryan

    May 5, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I think Porcello could go the distance.

  56. Brian P

    May 5, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    • Steve

      May 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

      Brian nice tag good for Clete. Nota bad way to start off.

      How about a TAG for Nate Robertson gear at Bet theres a lot on sale 😉

  57. mcb

    May 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Magglio will hit cycle before Clete – ground out to every base – LOL

  58. Adam

    May 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Nobody wants to let us have a shutout.

    • Brian P

      May 5, 2009 at 9:12 pm

      Except for Casilla.

    • Steve

      May 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

      Adam my good man, we are just one out away from getting out of a Nate Robertson inning

  59. scotsw

    May 5, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Let’s keep this lineup one more day, at least

  60. Steve

    May 5, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    That was nice, A shut out and all. Kind of made up for last night a little.

  61. Mr. X

    May 5, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Great game. 4 stars – Porcello, Clete, Leyland, and Miggy.

  62. charlie

    May 5, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    well bill, the postgame should be easier to write tonight lol.

    cheers all

  63. Mike in CT

    May 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    In the words of Herm Edwards — We can build on this!

    Bring to to Chi-Town.

  64. Dave

    May 5, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    How ’bout some props for Miggy – now leading the majors with a .406 BA. Granderson may have 9 HRs vs. Cabrera’s 7- but Granderson’s batting .259 – not exactly what you want from a leadoff hitter….

  65. Chauncey

    May 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    The head scratcher to me is Granderson 5 and Thomas 3rd- its not all that surprising to see them do something with the lineup, and not even surprising to see Granderson taken out of the lead off spot when you look at the way he’s been hitting of late- I would have thought the 3-4-5 would have been Granderson, Cabrera and Inge if this type of change were going to be made. What will be interesting to see is how long Thomas bats 3rd.

  66. Kevin

    May 5, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Over the course of a season the difference between sending out the most optimal batting order and absolute least optimal order (ie, the order that might really get a manager fired) is marginal at best. Over the course of a season, however, taking away 12 percent of grsnderson’s plate appearances is a bad idea. The problem is not that leyland changed the order (coincidentally for the better on one random night) it’s that his thought process for doing it was apparently learned from his friends in the wheel of fortune nickel slots section at greektown casino. Leyland apparently has a rule to play call-ups the day they’re called up. It’s the kind of hunchy practice that he lives by, like finding the hot slot machine at the casino (you know, the one that’s ”due” to hit for a jackpot?) instead of playing poker, blackjack or craps for better odds againat the house. if magglio and polanco are gidp machines, and they are, it does not matter where they go n the order–there is no way to hide the impact of age and declining skill sets for players like that. Look at magglio’s gidp numbers with the white sox–this is not a new or surprising development.

  67. Mike R

    May 5, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    100% love the result. 100% don’t take back a word I’ve stated about this lineup.

    • Andre in Chi

      May 6, 2009 at 1:47 am

      Well, nobody expected you to admit your faults. JK. While probably not in the 100s of percents, I doubt most people looked at 5/5’s line-up as the model for going forward. I would assume it was meant to shake things up. As a nice side-effect, the Tigers plated many runs. I doubt that we’ll see anything resembling this line-up for the majority of the year, but reverting back to a “traditional” line-up may or may not solve the bigger problem of Ordonez + the hole the Guillen leaves. In the mean time, your freak out remains rebutted. For now…

  68. David

    May 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    It was much more Blackburn and the Twinkies D, than this lineup for sure. Porcello finally pitched like he is supposed to. And we split the home-stand 4-4. Inge looked a little off. I agree with you Coleman – alternating fast/and slow guys – also LRLR etc. for the top. I do not understand Granderson fifth in this way, the only way I would if it looked something like this.

    Josh Anderson
    Placido Polanco
    Magglio Ordonez
    Miguel Cabrera
    Curtis Granderson

    (Ordonez or Cabby can be flipped)

    However Ordonez hasn’t been hitting and he batted him behind Grandy anyways – so this makes no sense.

    Watching these two games made me sad we didn’t get Crede for third and stick Inge at SS. Although Santiago looked slick today, even when Bill (I believe) showed me a few years ago that his range wasn’t all that great.

  69. Mr. X

    May 6, 2009 at 12:08 am

    Before the game, Clete Thomas had a lifetime .333 avg and 1.111 OPS vs Blackburn. Why not bat him 3rd?

  70. Kevin

    May 6, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Small sample size. I like how several tigers players match up against Blackburn because he is mediocre. This is also proven by the fact that clete Thomas apparently owns him across ten AB’s.