Detroit Tigers, 26-32, 6 games behind Chicago. Injury Report: Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Fog.
While the result of last night’s game lingers over Tigerville like a noxious fog, a flurry of movement can be seen at the town gates.
Austin Jackson is in, finally returning from the 15-Day DL. Jhonny Peralta, have a cigar, and enjoy your paternity leave. 20 year old Hernan Perez (2B, .253) has been recalled from Lakeland, and will no doubt pinch-hit in a bases-loaded, 1-out situation. And Octavio Dotel is… something. And there is still a shoe to drop: someone has to go to make room for Jackson
(Matt Young, anyone?) (Update: Jose Ortega draws the short straw).
And don’t worry, none of this will result in Berry and Jackson in the outfield at the same time: “It is what it is. He’s an extra player on the bench,” Jim Leyland said in his pregame remarks. “I’m not going to take Boesch out. Hopefully we’ve got him going. I’m not going to take Delmon out.”
I am trying to keep this all straight. Apparently Dotel, like Benoit, was newly unavailable last night (elbow inflammation, day-to-day). And Benoit was unavailable (forearm tightness, day-to-day), thus The Jose Ortega Experience. Although apparently Benoit may be available today. And Dotel. Different day I guess.
“Day-to-day” pretty much sums up the Tigers this season, doesn’t it?
The Tigers easily lead MLB baseball in total number of day-to-day days. There is seemingly a new day-to-day player every game. Some will go on and off the list…some will be day-to-day, then go to the DL. But both the bench and bullpen have been shorthanded all season because of the day-to-day action. Is this bad luck? Bad conditioning? Too much work (bullpen)? Is this about the thinness of the minor league ranks (why DL a player if there is nobody to bring up)?
The Tigers were beaten by a squeeze bunt. It’s the kind of play other teams use to beat Detroit, and the kind of play Detroit could never execute to beat other teams. The Reds are hardly a small ball team: they are 4th in the NL with 64 HRs (Votto crushed one last night that would make Cabrera envious). But they showed that both kinds of skills can happily co-exist.
As for the bullpen moves, they make a little more sense now that we know that Dotel was unavailable: Leyland was stuck in a Don’t Ask, Dotel situation. Then there was the double-shifting that took Boesch and Peralta out of the game early, and left poor Matt Young manning RF in clown shoes. Leyland rightfully took a lot of heat for yesterday’s game.
Maybe we should extend the Jim Leyland Signature Song poll question: In Jim Leyland’s future career as a singer, his signature song will be: ______.
Speaking of Votto, ESPN has a good comparison between Votto and Hamilton, and argues that Votto is the better hitter. They have one of those cool “heat maps” that show that Votto just does not swing outside of the strike zone, and almost never at outside pitches. (By the way, in the Alternate Baseball Universe in which the Tigers won last night’s game, Coke’s strikeout of Votto was the play of the game).
It will fall to Justin Verlander to make Tiger fans forget the bunt force trauma of last night. Although apparently nothing is more important than for Verlander to get his first career hit.
Stat of the Day: The Tigers are undefeated in games in which they have led after 9 innings.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Austin Jackson. Jackson has been leading the Tigers in about everything (Batting Average, On-Base %, OPS). Can he pick up where he left off? Or will he come back as 2011 AJax?
Tonight’s Would-It-Really-Have-Killed-Him-To-Try-Austin-And-Berry-Together? Lineup: