Kenny Rogers Done for '08 – and Likely for Good

Just came across the ESPN wire:

“We’re not going to pitch Kenny. We shut him down for the rest of the season,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Monday. Leyland didn’t give a reason for his decision.

We all suspected that when Rogers was done he’d be done in a hurry. And that’s how it played out.

This team was a such house of cards. Who knew?

Game 140: Kenny's Cooked

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ESPN highlights available here.

The Score: Angels 7 – Tigers 1

The Gist: Well, Kenny Rogers certainly looks finished, doesn’t he? At least he lasted this long, which is more than can be said about his teammates who packed it in about six weeks ago. It wasn’t like watching Rick Ankiel lose it during the playoffs but this outing was painful enough. Rogers pitched two innings, faced a dozen hitters, allowed eight hits and six earned runs. At least he was democratic, giving his defense a chance to participate: he allowed no walks or strikeouts. If not for Curtis Granderson‘s eighth-inning homer, his 17th, you would be hard-pressed to confirm the Tigers even showed up for this one. Then again, the seven Angels runs had to come from somewhere.

Bonus Gist: Even with a modicum of luck, the Tigers can’t cash in:

With the Angels leading, 6-0, on their way to a 7-1 victory, home-plate umpire Tim Welke reset the count at 1-2 when the scoreboard showed 2-2 after consulting with Rodriguez and Tigers catcher Brandon Inge.

Rodriguez took two balls to take it to a 3-2 count officially — when he should have walked. He remained in the batter’s box, and on the next pitch, Tigers right-handed reliever Aquilino Lopez struck him out for the second out in the inning.

The Quote: “I’m really getting sick of seeing Aquilino Lopez,” Ian Casselberry in an IM exchange.

The Stat: 10. As in 10th place, the Tigers’ standing in the 14-team American League.

Up Next: Tigers @ Twins

Armando Galarraga (12-4, 3.17) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-3, 3.45)

Rogers Flunks Job Interview with Yankees

CrabbyTeacher.jpgWell, I’d guess that Kenny Rogers won’t be going to New York in a waiver deal in the next few days. Seems the Gambler is pointing a finger toward the Yankees as the main driver behind MLB’s insane instant replay implementation — with five weeks to go in the season.

Sayeth Rogers:

“I don’t know how [other] players feel about it, but as a pitcher, I don’t like it. I think that they overshot the mark by far just because in a Yankee game, I guess, somebody didn’t get a homer.”

Rogers is referring to a disputed home run during the Yankees’ win over the Orioles on May 21. Alex Rodriguez hit a home run that cleared the fence in right-center field, replays showed, but umpires ruled it a double after conferring.

“Please,” Rogers said. “It’s happened thousands of times. It’s part of the game. It’s the beauty of the game. I mean, mistakes are made. It’s not like anybody wants to make mistakes, especially the umpire. They’re doing the best they can, and that’s always enough. The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”

As moribund as the Tigers are right now, I think this adds a little zing to the mix. Keep it coming, Kenny.

Game 130: Robertson Brilliant in Relief!

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The Score: Royals 7 – Tigers 3

The Gist: The Tigers got off to a fast start but the Royals decided not to lose their eighth straight on Sunday and scored seven unanswered runs off Tigers starter Kenny Rogers. Recently banished Nate Robertson pitched two-thirds of scoreless, hitless relief (huzzah!). Placido Polanco had three hits and two RBI and took a five-point edge over Magglio Ordonez for the team batting lead.

The Quote: “What should have been a good game for us turned into a not-so good game.” – Jim Leyland

The Stat: 8. The number of games under .500 that Rogers, Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman and Robertson find themselves. In contrast, Armando Galarraga is eight games over. Ugliness.

Up Next: Indians @ Tigers:

  • Monday: Armando Galarraga (12-4, 3.17) vs. Zach Jackson (0-0, 5.17)
  • Tuesday: Chris Lambert (0-0, -.–) vs. Cliff Lee (18-2, 2.43)
  • Wednesday: Justin Verlander (10-13, 4.42) vs. Fausto Carmona (6-5, 4.40)

Game 125: Rogers Enjoys the Home Cooking

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The Score: Tigers 8 – Rangers 7

The Gist: Gary Sheffield hit his 493rd career jack and went 3 for 5, and Curtis Granderson drove in four as the Tigers escaped with an 8-7 win in Arlington. Kenny Rogers eeked out a win thanks to two four-run outbursts by his teammates in the seventh and eighth. (And Rogers struck out seven in his six innings…usually a sign of impending doom. But not on Monday.) Kyle Farnsworth, a model of consistently sub-optimal pitching since his return to Detroit, made it too interesting in the eighth but Fernando Rodney pitched not awfully and sealed the deal.

The Quote: “[I]t would be the biggest mistake of his life if he goes on the mound hoping to show the Rangers something. That’s high school [stuff].” — Jim Leyland on Tuesday’s starter and former Rangers farmhand Armando Galarraga.

The Stat: 12. The number of errors by Edgar Renteria so far this season. He leads all A.L. Central shortstops in flubs — but not by much. Orlando Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta each have 11. The Twins’ trio of Adam Everett, Nick Punto and Brendan Harris average about six. KC’s Tony Pena (8) and Mike Aviles (6) roundout the Central.

Up Next: Tigers @ Rangers

Armando Galarraga (11-4, 3.11) vs. Vincente Padilla (12-6, 4.85)

Game 95: Tightrope Walking

ESPN highlights available here.

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The Score: Tigers 6 – Orioles 5

The Gist: Gary Sheffield went yard (almost twice), as did Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge, and Kenny Rogers pitched just good enough to win the opening game of the four-gamer against the Orioles. Magglio Ordonez went 1 for 5 in his return from the DL. In the eighth, Baltimore leftfielder Jay Payton robbed Sheffield of his second homer of the game. Todd Jones freaked everyone out for his 18th nearly blown save.

The Quote: “But like I say, `If you see something, say something.'” — Sheffield on his willingness to take hitting advice from, say, a former big-league star that Jim Leyland ran into in New York this week.

The Stat: 13. The number of baserunners Rogers allowed (11 hits, two walks) in six innings of work.

Up Next: Tigers @ Orioles

Armando Galarraga (7-3, 3.27) vs. Daniel Cabrera (6-5, 4.33)

Game 86: Tigers Offense Fizzles on Francisco Cruceta's Birthday

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The Score: Mariners 4 – Tigers 1

The Gist: Erik Bedard looked like the pitcher the Mariners thought they were getting in the offseason trade with the Orioles and the Tigers fell back in to old habits. You know, leaving gobs of runners on base in key, tight-game situations; wasting a stellar performance by Kenny Rogers, etc. If not for a Miguel Cabrera homer, the Tigers would’ve been skunked in this one.

The Quote: “No question about it, we did a poor job of hitting.” — Jim Leyland.

The Stat: 9. The combined number of men left on base by Edgar Renteria and Ryan Raburn.

Up Next: Tigers @ Mariners

Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.40 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (2-4, 4.53)

Game 81: Fortune Dane

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The Score: Tigers 4 – Rockies 3

The Gist: Dane Sardinha tripled for his first big-league hit and drove in two runs to power the Tigers to a sweep of the Rockies. Kenny Rogers allowed three runs in six innings and raised his record to one above the .500 mark. Marcus Thames went 3 for 4 with an RBI.

The Quote: “Couldn’t hit the kid [Dolsi] and Jones, we got him last night, couldn’t get him today.” — Rockies manager Clint Hurdle

The Stat: 42. The number of hits for the Tigers in the three-game series.

Up Next: Tigers @ Twins

Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.32) vs. Glen Perkins (4-2, 4.47)

*If you don’t get the headline reference, click here to read about another one-hit wonder. Well, sorta.

Game 46: Offensive Downpour Continues…We Hope

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The Gist: Kenny Rogers pitched good enough to win — only if the offense provides nine runs, of course — and Marcus Thames hit a grand slam to lead the Tigers to a soggy on the outside, sunny on the inside, second-consectuive win over the Mariners, 9-4.

The Quote: “The political answer is I’m rooting for the guy who signs the checks.” — Pittsburgh-resident Jim Leyland on his rooting interest in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Stat: 31. The number of hits the Tigers have collected in the past two games. They tallied 19 in the three-game weekend series against the Diamondbacks. Go figure.

My Two Cents: Yeah, yeah. The Tigers are thumping the Mariners. They also took the Rangers to the woodshed last month and that little roll didn’t last. If the offense continues to motor through the weekend series against the Twins, maybe I’ll be more optimistic.

Did you know…? The Tigers have yet to win on Sunday in the 2008 season? Yep, they’re 0 and 6. Counting tonight’s win, the Tigers are 6-2 on Wednesdays, by far their winningest day of the week.

Wednesday Walewanders

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  • Dontrelle Willis returns to the D as a reliever. If he continues to pitch the way he has in Spring Training and early in the regular season, his name might very well end up ahead of Damion Easley as the Tigers most expensive contract-as-main-course ever. Rob Neyer‘s already weighed in on the move.

  • Speaking of Mr. Neyer, in case you haven’t listened, today I posted an interview with him on the podcast. He thinks the Tigers are still very much alive in the A.L. Central; it’s Kenny Rogers and Willis, Neyer’s all but certain, who’re finished.

  • In case you need one more article on the effect of Jim Leyland‘s verbal fireworks, check out Mike Bauman‘s column on MLB.com.

  • Baseball and poetry? Why not? In college I penned a poem about my first game at Tiger Stadium. At BardBall.com, Tigers fan Jim Garner publishes baseball poetry — doggerel to be exact (I had to look it up). He’s featuring a poem on Freddy Dolsi’s first major league pitch. You remember it, the one to Manny Ramirez that might still be sailing. Here’s a sampling:

    Freddy went down the middle

    To show off his heat.

    Manny clobbered that apple

    Five hundred feet.

  • Remember Andrew Miller? (Ahem.) He has a birthday today — his 23rd. Other former Tigers celebrating include: Bryce Florie, Bob Molinaro and Earl Averill.

  • Wondering how some former Tigers are faring with their new clubs? Me too:
    • Chris Shelton, Rangers: .179, 2 HR, 3 RBI
    • Wil Ledezma, Padres: 0-1, 3.54 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
    • Tony Clark, Padres: .238, 0 HR, 1 RBI
    • Mike Rabelo, Marlins: .219, 1 HR, 7 RBI

    And here comes the Omaha Royals Trio:

    • Mike Maroth: 0-2, 12.91 ERA in three starts (7.2 IP)
    • Roman Colon: 0-0, 6.30 ERA in 10 IP
    • Jason Smith: .253, 10 HR, 27 RBI (His 10 homers lead the team.)

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.