Game 2102.4: Rays at Tigers

With the first round of MLB series in the books, the two hottest teams in baseball meet in Detroit for a 3-game series.  The Tigers swept their opening series with the Red Sox and the Rays swept the Yankees, only the 2nd time the Yankees and Red Sox were simultaneously swept in their opening series. This will be the first time an opening series Soxsweeper meets an opening series Yanksweeper.

This series will also feature a matchup of the early edition two hottest hitters in baseball. Sorry Miguel, but that would be Evan Longoria and Austin Jackson. Longoria merely bashed the Yankee pitching for a 1.792 OPS, reaching base at a ridiculous .692 clip.  Jackson was almost as good, with a .625 OBP and 1.482 OPS.

One of the stories of spring training was Austin Jackson’s new swing, which was designed to cut down on strikeouts, but didn’t seem to be having a great effect.  But that was spring training, which doesn’t always predict future performance (see Raburn, Ryan).  Was kidding a bit about leaving Cabrera out of the hottest hitters discussion, but if Jackson can improve his OBP significantly from last season (a thin .317), it may end up being the story of the year in Detroit.

Rick Porcello takes the mound today to take his shot at Best Pitcher on the Team Not Named Verlander.  I won’t trot out the stats about how Porcello has fared with different game time temperatures again, since it’s cold and windy in Detroit, and…well, the Tigers score a lot of runs anyway.  The Rays counter with Matt Moore, who is younger than Porcello, and has never faced Detroit–in fact he has had a 9-inning pro career so far.  Look for a some heat (97) and a good curve.

And if it comes down to it, look for old crooked-hat himself to come in to close out the game:  ex-Tiger Fernando Rodney has replaced ex-Tiger Kyle Farnsworth as the TB closer.

***

Meanwhile Adam Wilk gets the surprise nod to take Doug Fister’s spot in  Saturday’s game against the White Sox. (Well, technically, Scherzer is moving up from Saturday to Friday to take Fister’s spot). And let the Inge watch begin: Inge is starting a rehab assignment in Toledo today, in the lineup as a…DH).

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Today’s Player of the Pregame:  Ryan Raburn

As DH, Raburn will be ineligible to be anyone’s defensive replacement.  Sunday Raburn played 2B like a DH, and LF like a DH. Today he gets to DH.

Today’s totally sick lineup (Santiago was scratched with bug, Leyland has it also):

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Brennan Boesch RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young LF
  6. Ryan Raburn DH
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Gerald Laird C
  9. Danny Worth 2B

28 Comments

  1. Coleman

    April 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    He is not in today’s lineup, but it is also worth mentioning: the Rays have Luke Scott on their roster.

  2. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Let’s hope Gerald Laird isn’t terrible at the plate; Avila really needs to take a few games off here and there this year.

    Really hopeful that Porcello can finally take a step forward. He’s still just a kid.

  3. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    The Mets, who are 4-0, are the hottest team in baseball. Just sayin’.

    • Coleman

      April 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      In the ESPN Baseball Tonight Power Rankings the Tigers came out #1, the Rays #2. #3 was the Diamondbacks, #4 The Rangers. The Mets: 17th!! They don’t get no respect!

  4. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Ajax is in ur base runners, throwin’ em out

    • Kevin in Dallas

      April 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Looks like big Prince pulled his foot off the bag early. But we’ll take it.

      • Vince in MN

        April 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        That is almost always a “gimme” from the umps, same as forceouts at second on DP attempts when many times the SS will be past the bag before catching and throwing the ball to first.

  5. Kevin in Dallas

    April 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    These scout comments on Gameday are annoying.

    • Vince in MN

      April 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      I haven’t checked out Gameday yet this year. So they continue to add more superfluous junk?

      • Kevin in Dallas

        April 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

        It’s really bad.

        • Kevin in Dallas

          April 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

          Let me clarify. Gameday is awesome. But the “Scout” comments are ridiculous.

    • bada bing

      April 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Agreed. I’ve been trying to figure out how I can cancel these comments but it seems there is no avenue for this.

  6. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    A 2-out rally culminating in a bases loaded walk? Not good.

  7. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    A two-ot rally culminating in a wild pitch to score a run. Not good either, but since the good guys did the scoring it is OK.

    That inning just goes to prove the old adage: “Oh those bases on balls.”

  8. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Who goes out when Wilk comes up? Since Inge will be technically eligible by then, there may two roster spot changes by Saturday.

  9. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    The game is moving right along. 1:10 in and it is half over. Is it the chilly weather? Maybe a solo homer wins it.

  10. Andrew in Toronto

    April 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    How many IBBs did Ryan Braun get with Fielder behind him last year? That’s 2 already for Cabrera, in 3.5 games.

    • Andrew in Toronto

      April 10, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Answer is 2.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        April 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

        I’m not sure if you handled that Ryan Braun question under the correct protocol, so I’m gonna go ahead and clear him.

      • Vince in MN

        April 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        Yep, I think we’ll see ths strategy a lot this year. Despite the fact that Fielder is a big bopper, Cabrera is certainly more dangerous. Fielder’s career stats vs. LH: 257/.340/.458 /.798. Respectable, but pedestrian compared to how he hits RH.

        • Coleman

          April 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

          Career stats vs LH: .265/.342/.458/.800…that’s Inge.
          So yeah, basically they were pitching around Cabrera to get to Inge there.

  11. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Laird-mentum!

  12. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Badenhop proves the wisdom of making him an ex-Tiger.
    Worth, under pressure of Inge looking over his shoulder, fails to cement his roster spot. – will he get another shot?
    Can the Big Potato redeem himself and begin another Save streak? Inquiring minds want to know,

  13. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    And with that win, at 4-0 the Tigers officially become one of the hottest teams in baseball.

    • Steve

      April 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      I can hear that coming out of Vin Scullys mouth. Nice job

  14. Stormin Norman$

    April 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Both starters looked good today – and though the chilly weather in DET chilled the Tiger’s bats, they proved they can win with pitching and ‘some’ hitting. 6-9 hitters were 1 for 15 today… with Laird getting the only hit.

    Porcello’s importance has increased with the injury to Fister, he responded well today.

    • Vince in MN

      April 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      Porcello is going to give up hits and I don’t think his K rate is going up much, but if he can keep the BB down he’ll do OK. Any time you get a performance like today’s out of your #4 is something to cheer about. I’m more iffy about Scherzer, and not just because of his start this past Friday. Looking forward to Smily on Saturday too. We know the offense is going to score, but the starters have the potential to be great run preventers as well.

  15. Andrew in Toronto

    April 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Porcello and Jackson were two young talents who, last year, showed signs of turning into big disappointments.

    Really great to see them turning it around.