All Star Game 2009

With four Tigers on the roster, it only seems fitting that we have a game thread. Plus it gives me a chance to catch-up on some All Star related linking.

Most newsworthy and relevant is the fact that Evan Longoria is out with an infected ring finger. Michael Young will start at third base, but maybe this gets Inge to the game earlier? Chone Figgins was added to the roster in Longoria’s place.

Curtis Granderson is having a grand time and blogging each day at the Stew. Last night Grandy thought the Home Run Derby was a little long and tonight he hopes to schmooze the Pres and set up a meeting with the Secretary of Education.

Justin Verlander is sort of available tonight. According to Beck’s Twitter Verlander is only available if needed.

This also gives me the opportunity to link up some Home Run Derby coverage. I intended to do an open thread for that as well. But I got home a little later than planned and I turned on the television to see Inge getting his complimentary Gatorade and Joe Buck joining the broadcast. Not really what I was hoping for on either account. But I don’t think it’s possible for Inge to have a better outlook on the night. Kurt did come away impressed with Scott Pickens arm though.

Edwin Jackson took on the Army in a Playstation battle. Video is below:

So which Tiger will do the best tonight? Inge? Grandy? Jackson? Verlander? Or are you just hoping nobody gets hurt?

Junk Balling – All Star break edition

A pile of links on the eve of the All Star break…

If you find yourself a little bored with the Tigers game today, you can always flip over to ESPN and catch Scott Sizemore, the lone Tigers representative in the All Star Future’s game. With Polanco on the last year of his contract and Sizemore hitting a combined 300/392/508 line between Erie and Toledo it’s reasonable that he may be the Tigers second baseman next year. But Keith Law doesn’t seem to be that high or low on him.

With Brandon Inge making the All Star team he will earn a $25,000 bonus. Really. Given Inge’s career can you imagine that as a negotiating point? Granderson will also get $25K. There’s no mention of what happens if Inge wins the home run derby but the consensus seems to be it doesn’t mess up your swing.

Galarraga carries the bag - screen grab from Sports Center

Before Armando Galarraga got knocked around on Saturday night, I was ready to explore a theory about the good luck charm that is the High School Musical backpack. It’s the backpack that the relievers carry out to the bullpen full of treats and snacks and such and it is the responsibility of the least tenured rookie. Well, Fu-Te Ni has had the bag and he’s pitched well, and then in the 16 inning game Armando Galarraga was the only man in the pen and had to carry it back, and followed it up with his best start. But Ni had a run charged to him last night and Galarraga had 4 so there goes that theory.

The interesting thing about Fu-Te Ni is that he seems to move around on the rubber when he faces righties as opposed to lefties. I’ve wondered why more pitchers wouldn’t do this.

Carlos Guillen is set to begin a rehab assignment. He could equate to a mid season trade if he can return and be productive. I’d hope the Tigers aren’t pinning al their hopes on Guillen, but it does make sense to take a look before giving up too much for a bat.

Rick Porcello won’t pitch in the Yankees series after the All Star game. Luke French, Justin Verlander, and Edwin Jackson will start in the Bronx. Porcello’s next start hasn’t been announced. But he is blogging now.

Inge makes it

After long hours by many many Detroiters and Michiganders, Brandon Inge made his first All Star game. Yes there are flaws in the All Star game, and yes it is largely a popularity contest, ad yes in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter a whole lot, but to borrow a phrase from Jim Leyland “I’m tickled” with this selection.

Inge probably wasn’t the most deserving player on the final stand ballot, I’d give that designation to Ian Kinsler. But that’s not to say that Inge wasn’t deserving of a spot on the team. The qualifications though have been thoroughly debated. And regardless of your stance on the matter, it makes for a great story. I also can’t help but wonder if any other Tiger would have received the same amount of support.

However, what really sticks out for me is the fact that people in and around Detroit came together and accomplished something. I know the something is completely inconsequential, but it is something. The downtrodden state and city bit is too overplayed for my taste, and when the Spartans and Red Wings went on title hunts there was too much made of “it would be great for the region.” This is a little different though.

Those other instances were others making us feel happy for a little while. A nice mood lifter to be sure, but we were passive participants and all we could do was hope for the best.

This was a topic that people united around, a cause they collaborated on (and the Bran-Torino voting was a terrific move by the Tigers and Phillies marketing departments), and 11.8 million times in 4 days people clicked the submit button on the ballot. It was one thing that the people of Michigan had control over and they took advantage of it.

I’ve already read into this way more than I should and this is in no way a turning point or a sign or an indication that Brandon Inge has saved the auto industry. It’s small, it’s insignificant, but it’s something. A win is a win no matter how small, and I’m all about celebrating the wins.

Tiger Striped All Stars

The Tigers are sending 3 representatives to the All Star game, and maybe one more. Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, and Curtis Granderson were all named to the AL All Star Game. Brandon Inge still has a chance ( a slim one) to get on the team if the fans vote him in.

Verlander and his MLB leading strikeout total was pretty much a lock for the squad and was likely voted in by the players. Jackson has had an exceptional first half, but a startling lack of run support has held him to 6 wins despite a sterling ERA. Still, the players thought enough of him to include him on the squad.

Granderson was a bit of a surprise. He’s had better seasons, but Lee points out that he is on pace for a 30-30 season and an argument could be made that he is the second best centerfielder in the AL. Granderson was also a player selection.

That brings us to Brandon Inge. I’ve stumped for Inge already and Jim Leyland opined that Inge should be backing up Evan Longoria. Instead that duty went to Michael Young who is on par with Inge offensively, but atrocious defensively. Defense doesn’t typically get you into the ASG though. But Inge does have a chance if he can beat out:

  • Chone Figgins (which he should)
  • Ian Kinsler (who has a beef that he should be starting at 2nd)
  • Carlos Pena (AL homer leader)
  • Adam Lind

So let’s see if we can get 4 Tigers to the All Star Game and Vote Inge. What works against him though is that he was the 2nd best third baseman, but it’s not as cut and dry that he’s the best of these 5.

Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote Inge

A vote for Inge is a vote for...
A vote for Inge is a vote for...

The campaigning has been going on since April when teams started to promote their players for the All Star Game. On basic principle I try to wait until at least June before filling out a ballot. So much changes so quick early in the season and hot starts can be misleading. But, with 60 games in and the game only a month a way it is time.

The All Star game doesn’t really matter, and when the fans and players and managers make mistakes in the voting people are sure to either a)complain or b) further announce the game doesn’t mean anything. Others say they don’t want their team’s players going and that they’d rather see them rest. I don’t buy any of it. The game is supposed to be fun and I know I have more fun when my guys are playing.

The trouble with the Tigers this year is that it is hard to find a candidate to throw support behind. Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson are certainly deserving at this point, but fans don’t get to vote for pitchers. Miguel Cabrera started off strong, but his recent fade and the seasons of Mark Texeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Justin Morneau don’t even leave  him in the top 3. Curtis Granderson has been okay but not nearly good enough to warrant a big push. But fans do have one position player who they can throw their support behind without feeling too homerish. The man, the myth, the most polarizing force among Tigers fans, Brandon Inge.

Continue reading Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote Inge

Guillen lone Tigers All Star

Remember in the preseason when the Tigers starting lineup seemed to be made up entirely of All Star candidates? Yeah, things didn’t quite work out and Carlos Guillen will be the lone player sporting the English D.

Jim Leyland suggested 5 players to manager Terry Francona. We know the list didn’t include Magglio Ordonez, so I’d guess the names were Guillen, Polanco, Pudge, Jones, and Galarraga. Maybe you can replace one of those guys with Thames.

But Guillen was the one that was chosen and he had to choose between taking his 2 boys to New York or staying home for the birth of his 3rd child.

Looking at the selections it’s hard to say that any Tigers were snubbed. The one eyebrow raiser was Jason Varitek as back-up catcher with his 219/301/360 batting line. Pudge Rodriguez would have been a better selection, but AJ Pierzynski, Dioner Navarro, and Gerald Laird would have been even better.