All-Star Game Notes and Non Sequiturs

Sometimes I want to rail on Major League Baseball about the lameness of so many things it does — the vapid celebrity softball game, the interminable Home Run Derby, the “this-time-it-counts” angle on the All-Star Game — but then I realize it’s probably me just getting old.

  • The Tigers’ collection of All Stars is the largest since 1985 when the club sent six players to the Metrodome for the game managed by Sparky Anderson. Here’s a look at the largest classes of Tigers All Stars since 1984 and the team’s record that season:

1984 (104-58)
Willie Hernandez
Chet Lemon
Jack Morris
Lance Parrish
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

1985 (84-77)
Willie Hernandez
Jack Morris
Lance Parrish
Dan Petry
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

2007 (88-74)
Carlos Guillen
Magglio Ordonez
Placido Polanco
Ivan Rodriguez
Justin Verlander

2009 (86-77)
Curtis Granderson
Brandon Inge
Edwin Jackson
Justin Verlander

Clearly, the better the Tigers were, the more players they sent to the All-Star Game. For a long time though, the Tigers were a team that had little to offer the American League manager. From 1996 through 2003, Detroit sent a single player to the game. In some cases the pickings were particularly slim (see 2002).

1996 (53-109)
Travis Fryman

1997 (79-83)
Justin Thompson

1998 (65-97)
Damion Easley

1999 (69-92)
Brad Ausmus

2000 (79-83)
Todd Jones

2001 (66-96)
Tony Clark

2002 (55-106)
Robert Fick

2003 (43-119)
Dmitri Young

Ugly, no?

  • I still think it’s remarkable that Alex Avila is the starting catcher in tonight’s game. Whoda thunk it, especially after a dreadful Opening Day series against the Yankees when Avila looked about as lost as a player can look. I guess that’s why, as Rod Allen says, you play the games. Jason Beck has a nice piece recapping the Tigers’ All Stars’ respective experiences in Phoenix.
  • The water is so far past being under the bridge, but isn’t it still a bit weird to see Curtis Granderson starting in the All-Star Game … as a Yankee?
  • Six years ago today in the Home Run Derby at Comerica Park, Bobby Abreu destroyed the records for a single round, the championship round and the grand total for all three rounds of the derby by hitting 41 homers into every part of yard. The Phillies outfielder went deep 24 times in the first round, tacks on six more in the second round and finishes with 11 more in the championship round.
  • Looking ahead to the pitching matchups for this weekend’s series against the White Sox:

Friday | 7:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1
Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.15 ERA) vs. Gavin Floyd (6-9, 4.59 ERA)

Saturday | 4:10 p.m. FOX/1270 & 97.1
Max Scherzer (10-4, 4.69 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-7, 4.30 ERA)

Sunday | 1:05 p.m. FSD/1270 & 97.1
Brad Penny (6-6, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jake Peavy (4-2, 4.83 ERA)

Finally, on this date in 1979 the White Sox were forced to forfeit the second game of twi-night doubleheader against the Tigers when more tha5,000 fans refuse to leave the field during Disco Demolition Night. I wrote about it on the 30th anniversary.

Tigers Today: March 31, 2011

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers Record: 0-0

Today’s Game:

Tigers @ Yankees | 1:10 p.m. ET | On the air: ESPN HD, FSD, AM 1270 & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Justin Verlander vs. LHP CC Sabathia

Tigers History Lesson

Birthdays

On this Date in Tigers History

  • 2009 — The Tigers released Gary Sheffield, who is one home run shy of 500 for his career. Sheffield, a 9-time All-Star, is 25th on the all-time home run list and 27th in RBI (1,633). He was owed more than $10 million in ’09.

  • 1998 — The Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the new franchise’s first game, 11-6. Justin Thompson went six innings for the win, and Luis Gonzalez went yard for the Tigers.

  • 1994 — The Tigers acquired catcher Alan Zinter from the Mets for first baseman Rico Brogna.

Tigers Today: June 30, 2010

BallBatGrass.jpgTigers’ Record:

41-35, 2nd place; 1/2-game behind Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Twins | 1:10 p.m. ET – Target Field | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Andy Oliver (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Kevin Slowey (7-5, 4.79 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Twins 11 – Tigers 4

Continue reading “Tigers Today: June 30, 2010”

Friday Freehans: Juan Cruz, Bill James and Andres Torres!

BillFreehan.jpg The other night I saw Edwin Jackson pitch for the Diamondbacks against the Cardinals and he looked sharp (eight innings, 0 walks). I sat behind home plate and couldn’t get over how hard he threw — consistently. He still would like nice in the Tigers’ rotation, wouldn’t he?

Bygones. Here are some Tigers morsels for your consideration:

  • Before the 2009 season I had begged and pleaded with the Tigers to sign free-agent reliever Juan Cruz despite his Type-A free-agent status.

    I’d watched him throw bullets for the Diamondbacks over a few seasons and thought he’d be a perfect fit in Detroit. Instead, they signed Brandon Lyon and Cruz signed with the Royals, handing the D-backs a prime draft choice.

    Today the Royals released him.

    [H]e labored through the 2009 season, blowing three straight saves during one stretch on his way to a 5.72 ERA. Cruz wasn’t much better this year, allowing all six inherited runners to score and a .391 batting average against in 5 1-3 innings.

    Just another example of why I write this blog and don’t work in a front office.

    Continue reading “Friday Freehans: Juan Cruz, Bill James and Andres Torres!”

Tigers Today: March 31, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 15-10-1

Today’s Game:

Tigers vs. Pirates | 1:05 p.m. ET – Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland | On the air: MLB Gameday Audio (Pirates’ broadcast)

Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander (1-3, 5.63 ERA) vs. Zach Duke, (0-1, 3.00 ERA)

Also scheduled to pitch: Phil Coke and Brad Thomas

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 10 – Orioles 9 | Box Score

Mere moments after the Nate Robertson trade was announced — which secured Dontrelle Willis‘ rotation spot — D-Train celebrated by surrendering five earned runs in 4.1 innings — his worst outing of the spring.

Offensively, Miguel Cabrera hit about 1,000 feet worth of homers with one in the first and another in the fifth. Scott Sizemore and Don Kelly also went yard.

Continue reading “Tigers Today: March 31, 2010”

Randy Smith’s Losing Bet

Nine years ago today the Tigers swung a blockbuster trade for the ages — one Tigers fans are trying to forget.
Dealing Cards.jpg
On Nov. 2, 1999, the Rangers sent outfielder Juan Gonzalez, pitcher Danny Patterson and catcher Gregg Zaun to the Tigers for pitchers Justin Thompson, Alan Webb and Francisco Cordero, outfielder Gabe Kapler, catcher Bill Haselman, and infielder Frank Catalanotto.

Sound like a ripoff? That’s not the half of it.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how that worked out for both teams since the day of the trade:

Continue reading “Randy Smith’s Losing Bet”

Remember Rich Monteleone?

Before the names of Kyle Sleeth, Kenny Baugh, Justin Thompson and even Scott Aldred and Steve Searcy evoked images of a star-studded starting rotation for the Tigers, there was one name the personified unfulfilled promise for Tiger fans: Rich Monteleone.

Before the names of Kyle Sleeth, Kenny Baugh, Justin Thompson and even Scott Aldred and Steve Searcy evoked images of a star-studded starting rotation for the Tigers, there was one name the personified unfulfilled promise for Tiger fans: Rich Monteleone. (Actually, Monteleone and 1981 first-rounder Ricky Barlow led this category in the early ’80s, but we’ll focus on Monteleone who celebrates his 45th birthday today. Ironically, Barlow’s 45th was yesterday.)

Anyone who’s followed the Tigers at least since the late 1970s likely remembers the name. Detroit’s first-round pick in the 1982 amateur draft (#20), Monteleone, we were told, would slide into the rotation behind Dan Petry and someday become the Tigers’ ace.

So we waited. And waited.

Continue reading “Remember Rich Monteleone?”