Blogging a Thursday Matinee Game

The beauty of being self-employed: watching a Tigers matinee game on my office TV while working away. I don’t do this very often but he are my thoughts updated throughout the game.Jeremy Bonderman clearly has the slider going today.Wow, Timo Perez. As I’ve mentioned before, never in their history have the Tigers had a player named “Perez” on the roster. That streak ended last year when Neifi arrived. Chances are the Tigers are the first team in history to have a Timo and a Neifi on the 40-man.What’s with all the pop ups today?Timo Perez is wearing #19. It reminds me of the unfortunate Roger Cedeno years. Let’s hope Timo, if he’s in position to do so, shows up for the team photo.I’d like to see Mike Rabelo go yard. Today.I don’t think I’ve seen a major league game with as many key injuries as last night’s to Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and Marcus Thames.Speaking of Cuddyer, he certainly doesn’t have quintessential clean-up hitter numbers: AVG .289 | HR 10 | RBI 56. I wonder why Justin Morneau doesn’t hit fourth…Timo looking too much like Craig Monroe.Uh-oh. Down a run. Better start hitting lest they want to face Joe Nathan.Good for Rabelo.Placido Polanco legs out a double. Guess his leg’s okay.Jeez, Sheff. You just cost the boys another run! > Bottom of the 7thHow big does that Sheffield blunder at second look now?Bonderman with his typical Metrodome implosion. Man, that’s getting old. > Top of 8thThey walk Curtis Granderson to face Polanco? Gutsy that Ron Gardenhire….freakin’ Neshek.> Bottom of 8thYou just knew that Morneau was overdue. Way overdue.Wow. Umpires always amaze me with their instant recall of the rule book.How in the world did they get out of that mess? Morneau will have to shoulder the blame for that one. > Top of 9thNo surprise Nathan is in this game. Gardenhire has to got to do whatever he can to prevent a Tigers sweep.Will the Tigers continue with Zach Miner in the bottom half or will they bring in Jose Capellan? Is it just me or is Capellan persona non grata in the Tigers’ bully?Think the Twins are eager to see Magglio Ordonez leave town?Sigh. > Bottom of 9thWhat can you say about that Zach Miner? > Top of 10thWho says the American League can’t play small-ball? Good for Brandon Inge. I think Nathan is the toughest closer out there so it’s about time the Tigers made some noise against him. Now, about that insurance run… Bottom of 10thHere comes that Todd Jones queasiness.Hey, Jones’s ERA is under five. When did that happen?Double pl— … d’oh!Nice and tidy by Todd Jones standards.Now I can eat lunch! 

Clearing out a crowded mental notebook

It’s been a while, I know, but a weeklong vacation to New Jersey followed by an annual physical and a balky back will do that to you.

Let’s empty my mental notebook before a family function this afternoon:

Thank you Jim Leyland for finally seeing that Marcus Thames provides more consistent offense than Craig Monroe. The man can hit (righties/lefties it doesn’t matter) and therefore deserves the opportunity to play five times a week. Fill in with Monroe if you must, but I’d just as soon see Ryan Raburn get the spot start out there as well. The kid worked hard to earn his way back up to the bigs, so reward him with the playing time.

I predicted to no one in particular (maybe it was just to myself) that Magglio Ordonez would have to cool off and it appears his offensive inferno has been put out. This isn’t a Home Run Derby hangover is it? That means it’s all the more important for Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco to get on so opposing pitchers can’t pitch around Gary Sheffield. Sheff will wind up leading this team in RBIs when it’s all said and done.

Speaking of Sheff, I’m with our host Mike McClary. I had no idea how good of a ballplayer he was. His baseball instincts are so good and he does the little things that put teams in a position to win games. It’s been a pleasure to watch him play. Of course D.J. on my t-ball team who insists on wagging his bat like Sheff scares the bejeebers out of me, but that’s a story for another day.

Sheffield’s productivity aside, I still think my MVP this year will be Granderson. He’s really growing into an all-around, five-tool player before us this year. He hits for power, has speed, and not enough is made of his fine defense. On a team full of players that are fun to watch, he’s the one I most enjoy. Maybe it’s because I feel the triple is the most exciting play in sport this side of an inside-the-park-homer or maybe it’s because he’s so effortless hawking balls in CF. No matter, he’s the guy I hope’s in the lineup when I show up at CoPa.

Todd Jones still doesn’t instill any confidence in me when he marches in from the pen. But aren’t Cleveland Indians fans saying the same thing about Joe Borowski?

J.J. Putz? Seriously? I believe I saw this kid in college and I never could have predicted this.

Say what you will about the Wildcard in baseball, but it certainly has had the desired effect on teams selling off high-priced players by the end of the July. With over half of each league still in the mix for the post-season, it sure looks like the Tigers are going to have to overpay to get anything of quality to shore up their bullpen.

Ty Cobb died 46 years ago today at the age of 74. Irrascible yes, but I guarantee you he wouldn’t allow Monroe and others to swing at the first pitch after the pitcher walked the previous batter on four straight pitches. To me it’s inexcusable.

Speaking of Cobb, I’ve been reading New Baltimore author Tom Stanton’s latest book Ty and The Babe. An excellent read that chronicles their vituperative-filled playing days and then their peculiar friendship that led to a three-match golf tournament in 1941. Some terrific nuggets to be found in there, like the fact Ruth’s second wife Claire had dated Cobb years before. Who knew?

Is there a better way to fall asleep than to the soothing tones of a baseball game? Sounds crazy I know, but I ponied up and bought XM primarily so I could have baseball filling my ears as I drifted off to sleep. Best $200 I’ve ever spent.

Now if only we could do something about that Price fellow who works for the Tigers!

I went to Cooperstown earlier this year with my father. I thought many of you would find it interesting to note that Gabe Kapler has a Tigers’ jersey in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Yes, that Gabe Kapler! It’s his jersey from the Tiger Stadium finale with no name or number on it when he was representing Cobb. Couldn’t they have chosen Robert Fick‘s #25 in honor of Norm Cash? After all, he cleared the roof in that game against KC.

The Non-Sequiturs: Matinee Edition

After reading Doug‘s pithy and spot-on assessment of Todd Jones — heretofore known by me as the Tigers “opener”, not “closer” — I decided not to waste my or your time with a vitriolic post about him. What more is there to say? For me, nuttin’. For Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski, lots apparently.According to today’s Detroit News:

“I have no problem with Todd Jones. None,” Leyland said. “He’s done an outstanding job, and he’s a heck of a pitcher.“But he’s such a perfectionist and competes so hard, what I think happens to him on occasion is that he outthinks himself. You try to pitch too carefully, it can backfire on you.”

Ahem.And this from the GM in the Freep:

“He’s our closer. He’s done a solid job for us. He’s pitched well at times. Other times, he hasn’t. He’s pitched very similarly to the way he did last year. He’s not your dominant-type closer, but we know what Todd is.”

Insert your own punchline. Or, better yet, don’t:

“It’s not fun to be the butt of everybody’s jokes,” Jones said Wednesday.

Will Jones be summoned from the ‘pen this afternoon? Yeah, probably. Settle in.How’s that for not writing about Todd Jones? Now, on to the Non-Sequiturs:

  • Peter Pascarelli, the new host of ESPN’s Baseball Today Podcast, is a Tigers believer. He’s been on board for a while now and again this morning said he knows this Tigers have inquired about both Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka. Earlier this week he interviewed Leyland about the Tigers’ season so far. Check it out here.
  • One other Pascarelli note, he said that if the Tigers get the bullpen together they could run away with the division.
  • I don’t know about you but yesterday’s rainout was just what the Tigers needed to put the Tuesday nightmare behind them. Let’s see how they respond today. (Rod Allen just said the same thing on the telecast.)
  • Remember in the winter of 2005-06 when Tigers fans were clamoring for Kevin Millwood? Remember, too, the outcry (I might have been the loudest) when the Tigers signed Kenny Rogers instead? So how’d that workout for both teams?
  • Looking to buy the ugliest Detroit Tigers hat ever created? Here it is.
  • I suppose I’m in the minority when it comes to the Tigers first base situation and its lack of pop. I know that the offense is clicking and all that but I’m sorry, one dinger from Sean Casey and six from Marcus Thames is unacceptable. Detroit hasn’t had a full-time power threat at first since the days of Cecil Fielder and Darrell Evans. (Apologies to Tony Clark.) Get Mark Teixeira, if not for this season then at least for the long haul and before the Yankees scoop him up. Here’s what Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has to say about it:

Tigers: An obvious possibility, considering that the team ranks 11th in the American League in on-base/slugging percentage at first base. However, Sean Casey’s OPS is over .800 since his horrid April, Marcus Thames helps against lefties and Chris Shelton is performing decently at Class AAA.”Our offense is not a problem,” GM Dave Dombrowski, noting that the Tigers are on pace to set the all-time franchise record for runs scored. “I don’t think we would put resources into position players at this time. Our biggest need is the bullpen.”

  • Question for you: Who gets an All Star Game invitation as a reserve: Gary Sheffield, Curtis Granderson or Carlos Guillen? One, two or all of the above?
  • Another question: If the Tigers do take the plunge and shore up the bullpen via trade(s), who are you willing to give up for relief help? Nate Robertson? Craig Monroe (but of course)? Thames? Shelton? Omar Infante?

Finally, during the rain delay on Wednesday I had to endure the Monroe spotlight on FSN Detroit. Mike McClary enjoyed Craig Monroe talking about Craig Monroe in the third person. Mike McClary particularly enjoyed the segments of the show in which Monroe was wearing a Texas Rangers uniform.If only it weren’t six-year-old footage.