Wednesday Walewanders: LCS Edition

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  • So this is what we’re left with: rooting for former Tigers still playing in the ALCS and NLCS. The Phillies’ Matt Stairs and Chad Durbin, the Rays’ Carlos Pena, and the Red Sox’s Sean Casey are a Tigers fan’s only connection to playoff baseball.

    Was I the only one who thought Stairs’ bomb on Monday night at Dodger Stadium was a carbon copy of the one he hit at Comerica Park on the last day of the 2006 season? Fortunately for Stairs and his teammates they had Brad Lidge to hold a lead. (By the way, when in the postgame interview Fox’s Ken Rosenthal mentioned Stairs being 40, it was the first time I’ve reacted by thinking: Hey, watch it. I’m 40!)

    I honestly don’t know what to say about Pena. For him, I’m glad he’s found his groove. For the Tigers, well, let’s put it this way: Imagine the roster issues the Tigers would’ve dealt with this year if they had Pena in the mix. Oy vey. But good for Carlos, his fellow Rays and their dozens of fans. I’m enjoying every deliciously exposed chink in Red Sox Nation’s armor. If you want to read what Pena’s thinking about these days, read his playoff blog on MLB.com.

    As for Durbin and Casey, the Tigers could’ve used both of them this past season but for different reasons. Durbin would’ve spared us the Eddie Bonine Experience while Casey’s personality might have been a soothing influence on a prickly clubhouse.

    Bygones.

  • Wow, Leo Mazzone doesn’t make the Tigers’ short list of pitching coach candidates? Tell me this is some sort of smokescreen. Or joke. Or inexcusable oversight. How can Mazzone not be at the top of the list? Sure, Rick Peterson is a good choice and a solid Plan B. But Mazzone seems to be a no brainer. What do you think?

  • I keep thinking that Nate Robertson will end up out here in the desert next season with catcher Miguel Montero heading to Detroit. I’ve been beating the Montero Drum all season to Ian at BlessYouBoy.com — so much so that Ian has reportedly started coding an eyes-rolling emoticon for Google Talk instant messaging. Better late than early, a week or so back the Free Press‘s Jon Paul Morosi got on board the Montero Express.

  • Congrats to Eric Howell of Clawson who correctly answered our Name That Tiger Quiz. The correct answers: Chuck Scrivener, Eric Munson and Steve Foucault. Eric received a copy of George Cantor’s Tigers book, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

  • Sean Heyboer, an Orlando-based Tigers fan, launched a new Tigers blog recently, titled Trumbull and Michigan. Check it out when you get a chance.

Happy Birthday, Fernando Arroyo

FernandoArroyo.jpgIf you spend time looking through old Tigers yearbooks, especially those from the 1970s, and you have no recollection of the barren period of Tigers baseball, you might think those teams were this close to pennant contention.

As if.

The descriptions of the players in the yearbook are deftly crafted. Take, for example, Chuck Scrivener [emphasis is mine]:

Chuck bounced around the Tiger farm system for seven years before getting his first chance, low plate figures holding him back. But he broke loose with a .251 average at Evansville in 1975 to help lead the Triplets to the Junior World Series title.

Hmm. Batting .251 in Triple-A is considered “breaking loose”? Those were lean times for Detroit.

Another name you’ll find in the Tigers yearbooks of that era is Fernando Arroyo, who just so happens to turn 56 today.

In 1975, Arroyo appeared in 14 games and earned a 2-1 record, with a 4.58 ERA. The Sacramento native spent all of the ’76 campaign in Evansville before returning to Detroit in 1977. In 38 games that year his record was 8-18 with a 4.18 ERA.

Here’s what the yearbook had to say about that ’77 campaign:

Fernando had lost 18 games — but six were by one run and 12 came when the Tigers failed to score, scored once or scored twice. That’s not the kind of support to enhance a pitcher’s record.

In 1978 and ’79, Arroyo — who wore number 36 — pitched a mere 16 innings in eight games for Detroit compiling a 1-1 record.

On Dec. 5, 1979, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Jeff Holly. He spent parts of three seasons with the Twins before being released. Arroyo pitched in the White Sox organization from 1982-84.

Almost two years later, he reappeared in the big leagues, this time with Oakland. On Monday, Aug. 11, 1986, Arroyo came into a 4-4 game in the top of the ninth against the Mariners with two out, Danny Tartabull at first and Ken Phelps at second.

He walked the first batter he faced, Bob Kearney, to load the bases. Next he walked Spike Owen to bring home Phelps and the go-ahead run. Then he walked Domingo Ramos, plating Tartabull and giving the Mariners a 6-4 lead. Dave Leiper replaced Arroyo and got Harold Reynolds to flyout to center to end the inning.

And that was the last we heard of Fernando Arroyo.