MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Checking in from the land of Google and Apple, on the border of Mountain View and Cupertino, Calif.:
Have a great week.
>> The winds were howling here in Phoenix on Sunday — 45 m.p.h. gusts, dust galore, burning contact lenses — and I was thankful that I wasn’t sitting at a Cactus League game (something I don’t often say). But then I saw this story and had deep regret. Fifteen homers?!
>> So Freddy Dolsi got sent out of big-league camp yesterday. As we watched last season crater, I kept thinking that Dolsi’s experience would benefit him in the long run. Sending him to Triple-A to start this season makes sense. Get him into some pressurized situations in the IL and he could be a nice addition when the bullpen needs reinforcements.
>> Former Tigers farmhand James Skelton continues to get ink in the Phoenix paper about his attempts to make the Diamondbacks as a Rule 5 selection. Arizona is trying to make Skelton — a “card trick connoisseur” according to the piece — a utility player, or so it appears.
>> Every year I pickup The Sporting News‘ baseball preview issue and every year I realize I learned nothing new or different than what I gleaned from off-season reading on the Web. This year, however, I’m singing a different tune. It’s not half bad. In an effort to cram the pages to look like a CNBC feed, TSN added a blurb about each team’s best-ever third baseman. Here’s who they selected for the Tigers:
- George Kell
- Aurelio Rodriguez
- Don Wert
Other than Kell, that sure is some slim pickin’s. (Tom Brookens can’t get an Honorable Mention?) And just imagine if the Tigers had held onto Howard Johnson. Methinks he’s be number one. And to think Chris Brown didn’t make this list.
>> This should be a more offensive — offensive, that is — week in Lakeland for the Tigers. For the first time since who know when they’ll have the complete lineup. I doubt we’ll see anymore no-hitters (or shutouts) this Spring.
It’s not often I go a full week without posting something here at the The Daily Fungo but there were circumstances beyond my control, namely my computer. It went kaput in December and only after the most drastic of all measures — erasing the hard drive and starting over — was I able to resuscitate it…until Monday. I knew that a grinding sound coming from a car was bad, but from a MacBook Pro? That’s even worse.
So, here I am working on a — gasp! — PC trying to get some stuff done. (There’s more on my Windows Vista experience here.) I offer this not as a self-handicapping thing, but as a legit reason. Honest.
On with the Fungoes:
- There’s been much to talk about in recent weeks and it centers on an infuriating lack of activity by the Tigers. Kerry Wood? Gone — to the Indians. Carl Pavano? Gone…to the Indians. Jason Giambi? Gone. Brian Fuentes? John Smoltz? Trevor Hoffman? Gone. Gone. Gone. What’s worse is that these guys, for the most part, were considered low-cost, low-risk investments for the teams they joined. Are the Tigers suddenly so cash poor/talent rich that they can’t take a flyer on the likes of Giambi — a solid lefty bat — or Pavano who could actually be an upgrade over Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis? I would love to know what the master plan is down on Witherell.
- The Padres pick Virgil Vasquez off waivers today from the Red Sox. Let’s hope Double-V gets some appearances in San Diego who will definitely need help when Jake Peavy gets dealt.
- Thereâ€™s nothing like some distance from the past baseball season to provide some perspective on how good or bad a player was. Two examples in each category from the 2008 Tigers:
- The Good: Magglio Ordonez – .317, 21 HR, 103 RBI for the season but he hit .330 in the second half.
- The Bad: Gary Sheffield – .225, 19 HR, 57 RBI. He hit a meager .217 in the first half and .232 in the second. Yeah, I know, he wasn’t completely healthy but still, if it weren’t for his 500th homer chase, Sheff would’ve been persona non grata at Comerica Park in 2008.
Finally, Happy Birthday today to Freddy Dolsi, 26; Ivan DeJesus â€“ what? You didnâ€™t know he played for the Tigers? He did: 1988 â€“ and Phil Mankowski, both 56.
The Score: Tigers 8 – Indians 5
The Gist: Armando Galarraga is to the Indians as Paul Byrd is to the Tigers. Well, not quite, but Galarraga beat the Tribe for the third time this year, Tigers hitters were spared batting practice and turned it on, you know, during a game. But back to Galarraga: three runs over 5.1 innings to earn his ninth win of the year — more than Justin Verlander, folks. (For now.) Brandon Inge stroked three hits including a two-run homer and a double. Miguel Cabrera also went yard as he, Placido Polanco, Carlos Guillen and Matt Joyce collected two hits apiece.
The Quote: “We keep winning, we can come in at 6:15 every night for all I care. The guys liked it, so we’ll have a little fun with it and keep them fresh at the same time.” — Jim Leyland on the Tigers skipping BP on Tuesday night.
The Stat: 20. The combined number of balls thrown by Freddy Dolsi and Fernando Rodney — out of a total of 36. Both threw 18 pitches, eight of them strikes. Sigh.
Up Next: Tigers @ Indians
Nate Robertson (6-8, 5.63) vs. Cliff Lee (14-2, 2.29)
The Gist: Hey now! Jeremy Bonderman earns a quality start — and a win — after a six-inning, eight-hit outing against the Mariners. And what do you know? The Tigers beat the Mariners 9-2 to sweep the series. Freddy Dolsi was lights-out over three innings of no-hit relief. The Tigers banged out 13 hits (43 for the series), including three from Gary Sheffield (to raise his average to .202), two from Matt Joyce and a three-run jack from Brandon Inge.
The Quote: “They want me to run on and off the mound. I smoke three packs a day.” — Jim Leyland on MLB’s efforts to accelerate games.
The Stat: .281 – Placido Polanco‘s average, despite an 0 for 4 day on Thursday. Talk about flying under the radar.
Up Next: Twins @ Tigers
- Friday: Armando Galarraga (3-1, 3.06) vs. Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.49)
- Saturday: Nate Robertson (1-5, 6.08) vs. Boof Bonser (2-5, 5.25)
- Sunday: Justin Verlander (2-7, 5.61) vs. Glen Perkins (1-1, 3.44)
Finally, from Baseball-Reference.com, on this date in 1967, Earl Wilson gives Detroit its third straight win over the Yankees, 9-4. Mickey Mantle hits his fifth homer in six games but it’s not enough for Whitey Ford, who appears in his last ML game.