That’s what Jayson Stark says in today’s column:
Clubs that have spoken with the Tigers say they’re starting to look around for a left-handed reliever. Daniel (Son of Mark) Schlereth is their primary left-hander at the moment — “but I don’t think Jim Leyland trusts him yet,” one exec said.
Interesting. This must mean that David Purcey isn’t enough to make Leyland comfy or Brad Thomas isn’t ready to return anytime soon or … ?
A few overdue thoughts as I work the previous-channel button on my remote, switching between the Tigers and Wings games.
- When a few specific things occur, I know for certain the baseball season is in full bloom — eight games in or not. Two of these things have already taken place in the past 24 hours: the Tigers lose to the Royals and Ryan Raburn makes at least one bone-headed play in the field.
- Speaking of the Wings, if they end up playing the Coyotes in the first round, I’ll have to endure lame Detroit jokes in the media out here.
- Did the Tigers really lose to Bruce Chen? Bruce Chen?
- Slowly — very slowly — I’m gaining confidence in Alex Avila. He was miserable in the opening series in the New York but I suppose that can be chalked up to nerves, right? Since then he’s hitting .357 (entering today, that is).
- I definitely love seeing Will Rhymes as the Tigers’ regular second baseman. You have to wonder if Scott Sizemore is following him and thinking, “what do I have to do to get back on the radar?”
- Did you notice that Robbie Weinhardt is now wearing Jeremy Bonderman‘s old uniform number, 38? No matter the number on his back, I feel 100-percent more comfortable when Weinhardt enters a game than I do Brad Thomas or Ryan Perry.
- Happy 47th Birthday to Eric King. In two stints with the Tigers (1986-88, ’92), he appeared in 128 games for the Tigers as a starter and bullpen guy, posting a 25-20 record, 16 saves and a 4.23 ERA.
- Manny Ramirez. As the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan once said on the old Tony Kornheiser radio show, “Ramirez will never be confused with a member of Mensa.”
- I’ve heard from many of you about the next episode of the podcast. Hang with us. Ian and I have had trouble aligning calendars — the trouble coming from my end — but we’ll be back soon. Promise.
Finally, happy 82nd birthday to actress Liz Sheridan, who played Jerry’s mom on “Seinfeid.”
28-25, 2nd place; 2.5 GB of Minnesota
Tigers @ Royals | 8:05 p.m. ET – Kauffman Stadium | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM
Max Scherzer (2-4, 6.42 ERA) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (1-0, 2.70 ERA)
Tigers 12 – Indians 6
Tigers History Lesson
On this Date in Tigers History
- 1996 — 21-year-old right-hander Pamela Davis pitches one inning of scoreless relief for the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate and gets the win in a minor-league exhibition game. She is believed to be the first woman to pitch for a major league farm club under the current structure of the minor league system. The win comes at the expense of the Australian Olympic team.
- 1990 — The Tigers acquired RHPs Lance McCullers and Clay Parker from the Yankees for C Matt Nokes.
Two weeks ago I wrote that the Tigers had few options for the struggling Max Scherzer.
Given their inconsistent rotation, I couldn’t see them sending him to the minors.
Then again, who knew he’d be as abysmally bad as he was in his final start on May 14: five IP, six hits, six earned runs, three homers against the Red Sox. After that performance the club had no choice but to send him to Triple-A.
Scherzer has been lights out in two Toledo starts: 15 innings, one run, four hits, 17 strikeouts and a 0.60 ERA. It certainly will be interesting to see how he fares on Sunday agains the A’s.
Now, the question without an answer at this point is, of course, who gets moved out to make room for Scherzer. There are a few candidates, none of them surprising:
- Armando Galarraga — He’s been anything but stellar since being recalled and has a minor-league option.
- Brad Thomas — He’ll likely stick around because he’s a wrong-hander but he’s survived this far, so who knows?
- Ryan Perry — The kid’s had a miserable week but has been reliable for most of the year. Will his two bad outings this week convince the Tigers he needs a visit to the Glass City?
- Don Kelly — Jim Leyland loves the guy so that works in Kelly’s favor. He has no remaining options which means he’d have to clear waivers, and that ain’t happening.
Under different circumstances, you could see them sending Alex Avila but there’s no viable option in the minors.
So, I’m guessing that it’s Perry … maybe. Or Galarraga. I’ll be stunned if it’s Kelly.
In less than a few hours we’ll know for sure.
Who do you think gets demoted?
In the back of our minds we expected, then we hoped, to see Zach Miner pitch for the Tigers in April, then May, then…
Well, we’re not going to see Miner at all this season, and who knows if we’ll see him again in Tigers uniform. The club announced today that the right hander will have season-ending — wait for it — ligament reconstruction surgery — a.k.a. Tommy John surgery — on Friday in Los Angeles.
Miner, a valuable if not altogether aggressive part of the Tigers bullpen the past few seasons, is not signed after this year and may not return. As Lynn Henning notes:
[A]lthough he will remain Tigers property until he comes off the disabled list, at which point his roster situation will be determined.
With Miner lost, it looks like Brad Thomas can breathe a tad easier — again. Now if word comes that Bobby Seay (left shoulder strain) is officially through for the year, Thomas can stop going month-to-month on that condo lease.
For several reasons, I had an uneasy feeling during last night’s win over the Yankees, not the least of which was Brad Thomas getting the emergency start.
But the more I watched and considered the situation, the better I felt. After all, the Tigers only needed three to four innings out of Thomas and they could hand it over to Eddie Bonine, then the back end of the ‘pen.
Both guys were solid and showed a national TV audience why the Tigers are hanging around the upper floors of the A.L. Central: the relief corps, of course. This is a much more preferable scenario than the tension that normally accompanies a Dontrelle Willis start.
Other thoughts rattling around my brain:
That’s all I got.
ESPN highlights available here.
The Score: Tigers 11 – Twins 6
The Gist: Who saw this coming? Not I. Thanks to a blown call by the umpires, the Tigers were able to mount a comeback against Twins starter Scott Baker, relievers Ron Mahay, Pat Neshek and the and rescue their own starter, Max Scherzer.
Magglio Ordonez went 3 for 4 with three RBI and Brandon Inge continued his recent power surge with a solo homer that sparked a four-run fourth. The Tigers tacked on six more in the sixth behind doubles by Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch. Brad Thomas had his best outing as a Tiger, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Scherzer and earned the win. Oh, and guess what? Jim Thome hit another home run against the Tigers.
The Quote: “The Tigers are a team without a pulse.” — Eric Karabell, host of ESPN’s The Baseball Today Podcast
The Stat: 10 – The number of hits Scherzer allowed in a Porcello-like 3.2 innings pitched.
Up Next: Thursday: Tigers vs. Twins @ Comerica Park | 1:05 p.m. ET | On the air: FSD/1270 & 97.1
Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. RHP Carl Pavano (3-1, 4.24 ERA)
On the air:
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ESPN highlights available here.
The Score: Tigers 8 – Rangers 4
The Gist: For the first time in nearly nine years, Brad Thomas took the hill as a starter and did enough to keep the Tigers in the game until the offense took over in a kooky fourth inning. With two outs that inning, Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago scored on a wild pitch when the ball ping-ponged off the brick backstop and rolled toward Gene Lamont along the third-base line.
Winning-pitcher Eddie Bonine (2-0), Joel Zumaya and Jose Valverde combined with Thomas to hold the Rangers scoreless over the final seven innings. Johnny Damon drew three walks — a season’s worth for Pudge Rodriguez.
The Quote: “They’ve been getting us our wins.” — Damon, on the Tigers’ bullpen.
The Stat: 5 – The number of strikeouts by Zumaya on his two innings of work.
Up Next: Tigers @ Rangers | Sunday – 3:05 p.m. ET
Rick Porcello (1-1, 6.46 ERA) vs. former Tigers RHP Colby Lewis (2-0, 3.12 ERA)
On the air: FSD/1270 AM & 97.1 FM
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The cynical view, of course, is that we all knew Carlos Guillen would make at least one appearance on the disabled list this season.
But come on, who had him on the shelf in the third week of the season?
Certainly not Jim Leyland. But that’s the sitch as the Tigers’s number-five hitter lands on the shelf for the next 15 days.
The silver lining to this cloud is that the Tigers (and Tigers fans) get to see left-handed slugger Brennan Boesch, who was promoted this morning to take Guillen’s place on the roster. (He’ll wear number 26.)
The 25-year-old Boesch won the Double-A Eastern League home-run title last year and is batting .379 and leading the Triple-A International League in RBIs this season for Toledo.
What does it mean for the Tigers lineup as they head to Arlington for a four-game wrap-around series against the Rangers? For starters, it likely means we’ll see more of Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly.
In terms of the batting order, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez flipped (something that Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi believes too).
The next 15 days will be interesting for sure. And on that 15th day (assuming Guillen returns on schedule) you have to wonder if it’s Boesch that gets sent back down or someone like Brad Thomas that’s shown the door.