Detroit Tigers, 52-44, 1st place, up 1 game.
Game 1 of the new Tiger lineup starts tonight. Omar Infante rejoins the Tigers, as they look to continue their 5 day win streak and command of their Central division foes (20-14 in the division).
Tonight Doug “2nd Half” Fister goes for his 3rd straight strong outing, against Ubaldo “Human Trade Deadline Warning Label” Jimenez.
Infante is in the lineup tonight, despite the right-hander on the mound. Which is either the Leyland thing where the new guy starts right away, or means there won’t be any more platooning at 2nd.
Kevin’s trade thread is here.
I like the trade too, and the Infante part of the trade I had been expecting. An ex-Tiger, a Marlin, a Venezuelan, and a 2nd-baseman who can hit. What’s not to like?
The Anibal Sanchez end of the trade is more interesting. Trading for a rental always has its downside (Sanchez is a free agent at the end of the year). But there is all the reason to believe that the Tigers can keep Sanchez if they want him: he should feel comfortable amongst his fellow Venezuelans (Miguel Cabrera is from the same home town, Maracay), and his agent is Scott Boras, who seems to work better with the Tigers than any team in baseball.
There are also a couple of intriguing things in the Sanchez stat line for this season. In addition to his excellent 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio (look out Leyland–too many strikeouts!), his ground ball to fly ball ratio has shifted dramatically this season toward the ground ball, a 1.43 vs career 1.21. This on a team with a much worse left-side of the infield than the Tigers, which may explain in part why his performance against RHB has taken a dive this season (2.88 BAA vs career 2.55 BAA).
Which brings up another concern about the Sanchez part of the trade. The Tigers are now left with a pure right-handed rotation, which is a big vulnerability (think facing the Yankees in Yankee stadium). I feel a bit better after looking at Sanchez’ splits. Over his career he actually is as tough on lefties as on righties (career .253 BAA vs career .255 BAA), and this year actually much tougher (.229 BAA vs .288 BAA).
Sanchez is scheduled to make his Tiger debut against Toronto saturday.
To make room for Omar Infante, Detroit has shipped Danny Worth back to Toledo. No tears were shed, nor did Danny curse his fate: “In honor of getting optioned down for the 11th time (I think?) of my career, I shall buy a sweet ass electric guitar.”
There are more moves to come. Andy Dirks continues his rehab assignment at Toledo, and Al Alburquerque begins his at Lakeland.
Stat of the Day: This one is for you Anibal: meet your new 3rd baseman. Hanley Ramirez Runs From Fielding Value: -10 runs. Miguel Cabrera: -1.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Omar Infante. Welcome back to the D.
Today’s Infantastic Lineup: