The Non-Sequiturs Three

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  1. Why can’t this Tigers team sustain any momentum? Miguel Cabrera seemingly got the Tigers on the path to victory tonight during the ninth with his opposite-field shot. Instead, the Tigers hacked away at Kerry Wood’s offerings — despite Placido Polanco leading off the inning with a four-pitch walk. Infuriating.

  2. Here’s a nugget from Baseball-Reference.com: On this date in 1917, Boston’s Babe Ruth tops the Tigers 1-0 in Detroit, allowing just Donie Bush‘s scratch single in the 8th. Ruth deflects the ball but the throw by the shortstop is too late. Ruth has a single and triple, but a pinch triple by Chick Shorten in the 9th drives home the only run. Ruth strikes out Bobby Veach, Sam Crawford and Ty Cobb in the 9th; for the last he shakes off catcher and player/manager Carrigan. In early 1942, in a speech in Los Angeles, Ruth will call this game his greatest thrill.

  3. Remember how the loss of alleged catching prospect James Skelton in the Rule 5 draft seemed like a catastrophe waiting to happen? Funny how things turn out:

    James Skelton, who hit just .182 in Mobile, was demoted to Visalia this week. He went 3 for 12 with two doubles and three walks in his first three games. He had just 10 extra-base hits in 214 at-bats with Mobile.

One bonus item of sorts: here’s a Q&A with former Tigers first baseman Tony Clark.

The Monday Report: 2 Weeks to Go

MondayReport.jpg>> 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:

  1. George Kell
  2. Aurelio Rodriguez
  3. 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.

Sunday Tidbits

imagescoffeecupceramic.jpgOnly on rare occasions do I find Tigers-related nuggets in my local paper, The Arizona Republic, and today qualifies as a rare occasion. Here’s one such item from the (excellent) blog of Diamondbacks beat writer Nick Piecoro:

Something we forgot to mention: The Diamondbacks were serious players for Brandon Lyon before Lyon signed with the Tigers, a deal that was finalized on Monday.

Only the Diamondbacks wanted Lyon for their rotation.

General Manager Josh Byrnes said earlier this week that Lyon received “better finances” from the Tigers. Lyon goes to Detroit as the favorite to win the closer’s job.

Lyon’s agent, Barry Meister, said Lyon was interested in the idea of starting, but timing stood in the way of making a deal happen.

“We had gotten pretty much to the end in Detroit,” Meister said, “and we were unable to change gears and do something with Arizona. Sometimes it’s just a timing issue and that was the case here.”

Given what Lynn Henning wrote this morning about the Tigers having seven starting pitchers, perhaps he’ll want to bump that number to eight?

Second tidbit: According to Piecoro, the D-backs may have big plans for former Tigers farmhand, Arizona Rule-5 pickup James Skelton:

General Manager Josh Byrnes said Rule 5 pick James Skelton already has reported to Tucson and is working with coaches Jack Howell, Chip Hale, Lorenzo Bundy and others. He’s hitting, taking ground balls, working in the weight room, etc.

It will be very interesting to see how Skelton looks at positions other than catcher, where he has played almost exclusively in the minor leagues with Detroit. He played a lot of middle infield in high school, and Byrnes wouldn’t rule out the idea of Skelton seeing time in the outfield as well.

“Athletically, he can do it,” Byrnes said.

So — and yes, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here — could he be in the mix at second base in 2010?

“That’s not the plan,” Byrnes said. “But he has a background there, he’s athletic enough to do it, has a nice bat and with his body type, maybe that’s the spot for him.”

Maybe Skelton will be a reverse-Chris Shelton situation for the Tigers. Given how Big Red’s career evaporated, let’s hope that’s not the case for Skelton.

Finally, if you’re watching the Super Bowl today root for the Cardinals. It would be nice to have a team from my town win the final football game of the year. And I don’t mean the Pro Bowl.