Detroit Tigers, 24-27, 5 games behind Chicago, winning streak: 1 game. And it’s Polish-American night.
It was all a terrible misunderstanding.
A lot has been written about the last day of the current installment of the Ryan Raburn Experience, mostly about the surprise appearance of Raburn in the 2nd spot in the order.
Subsequent stories have described this as a last ditch effort to see if Raburn could produce before lopping off his head, or at least fitting it for a Mud Hens hat. Because nothing relaxes a player who is pressing like being moved up to the 2nd spot in the order (there are two ways, of course, to look at this: Leyland is a fool, or Leyland is a genius, who could have predicted Raburn would strike out 3 times and just wanted to get this demotion thing done with).
The real story though is much simpler, and shows the importance of good communication within an organization.
Dave Dombrowski walked by while Leyland was in a pre-game fret about Raburn, and was asked for advice on what to do with Raburn. Dombrowski: “He would be a good table setter.” Leyland, already stumped at how to get a table setter in the 2 spot on base in front of Cabrera and Fielder, jumped at the suggestion. Much to his embarrassment, only later did he find out that Dombrowski was suggesting Raburn spend the day setting up the post-game buffet.
When asked why he didn’t question Dombrowski immediately about the unusual suggestion, Leyland said it fit with what he thought Dombrowski had previously said about Raburn: “He’s scrappy.” Turns out he had misheard that.
Of course, the Raburn affair was overshadowed by the foul tip in the dirt which was neither tipped nor in the dirt, which joined the balk which was not a balk and the bunt off the invisible leg at the top of the list of Tiger umpiring travesties. But be that as it may, how would you like to have to deal with what the Yankees have had to deal with from the umpires?
Why just Wednesday, the Yankees had to contend with an umpire throwing new balls to the pitcher, instead of letting the catcher do it! Remarkably the Yankees were able to prevail under these adverse conditions, and still beat the Angels 6-5. Still catcher Russell Martin had no hard feelings over the incident, leaving umpire Laz Diaz with the conciliatory words, “you’re such a d—. You’re a d—, dude. Like, for real. Unbelievable.”
Tonight the Yankees will have to overcome the unknownness of Tiger rookie Casey Crosby, making his MLB debut against the enormous talent of C.C. Sabathia. Crosby posted an uninspiring 4.26 ERA at Toledo, but will be aided by the Yankee inability to recognize him from his generic Gameday photo. I hesitated before posting the Game Post pic (it clearly reveals Crosby as a lefty), but have been assured that Yankee players rarely frequent this blog.
No word on whether Avila is out as a precaution after getting his mask knocked off, or whether Leyland is playing the usual RH/LH strategy. Dirks is out with a sore achilles, which is apparently getting worse. And still no Jackson. We may see Raburn back at this rate.
Stat of the day: Prince Fielder (at 275 lbs) just hit his 10th career triple. According to baseball-reference.com, Prince Fielder is the second player in MLB history weighing at least 275 pounds to have 10 career triples. Adam Dunn (285 lbs) also has 10. I’m not sure which is more astonishing: the 10 triples, or that Fielder is listed as 10 lbs less than Dunn. Although if I read this correctly, all Austin Jackson has to do to break this record is to gain 90 lbs.
Tonight’s Player of the Pre-game: Prince Fielder. The matchup between Fielder and fellow ex-Brewer Sabathia will be huge. Apparently, Sabathia was trying to convince Fielder to become a Yankee. Tonight Sabathia will really wish Fielder was a Yankee.
Tonight’s Rookie Hazing Lineup: