Post-Game Reading: Game 2 Edition

  • Magglio Ordonez went three-for-three in Game 2, but he almost retired at midseason.

  • Interesting scoop here from Danny Knobler on Dave Dombrowksi’s dogged pursuit of Doug Fister. Teaser: “Over a three-week period, we called [the Mariners] a couple of times a day. Sometimes three times.”

  • Ian O’Connor says that Yankees’ Game 4 starter A.J. Burnett should strike fear in New York fans, not the Tigers lineup:

    A.J. Burnett is the Yankees’ worst nightmare, a pitcher with good stuff and bad everything else. He isn’t wired to carry the burdens tethered to a 2-1 division series lead, never mind a 2-1 division series deficit.

    And yet there he is lurking around the bend, ready to follow Verlander versus Sabathia with a misadventure his team can’t afford to weather in the early hours of October. If Mariano Rivera is the indomitable closer, Burnett is the indefensible opener.

  • Buried deep in this piece from Knobler we find out that Kenny Rogers is throwing out the first pitch Monday night before Game 3.

  • And to think I used to like A-Rod:

    “I’m assuming over the next day or two or three that there will be some big at-bats I’ll be waiting for,” Rodriguez said. “Two outs, runners in scoring position all over the place. It’s something that I relish.”

  • Nice article on Scherzer and Alex Avila in The New York Times.

    Avila tracked the ball, moving slowly, and stole a glance at the railing, before he stepped onto the plastic on-deck circle, which he later said felt like a slip-and-slide.

  • Jose Valverde declares the series over … but not really.

  • Great stuff from Ian on Scherzer showing the world that the Tigers are more than a one-man rotation.

  • Happy 42nd Birthday to former Tigers catcher and minor-league manager, Matt Walbeck. Today’s the 52nd birthday of Dave Beard, who pitched in two games for the 1989 Tigers.
  • Opening the Tigers’ History Book

    OldBookXSmall.jpgWhile we await the Tigers’ next move this offseason, let’s look back on the trades the club made on this day in …

    And on Nov. 20, 1985, the Pirates hired White Sox third base coach Jim Leyland to be the club’s 33rd manager in history.

    Tigers Today: October 2, 2010

    Orioles.gifTigers’ Record:

    80-80, 3rd Place; 13.5 GB

    Today’s Game

    Tigers @ Orioles | 7:05 p.m. ET – Oriole Park at Camden Yards | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

    Pitching Matchup

    Armando Galarraga (4-8, 4.58 ERA) vs. Brian Matusz (9-12, 4.30 ERA)

    Yesterday’s Results

    Game 1: Orioles 10 – Tigers 6

    Game 2: Orioles 2 – Tigers 1

    Continue reading “Tigers Today: October 2, 2010”

    Gerald Laird Likely to Lose at His Uniform-Number Shell Game

    LairdHead.jpgOn May 29, Gerald Laird changed his uniform number from 8 to 12 in the hope his offensive luck would change. Who could blame him for trying something — anything — to inject some life into his bat.

    How’s it worked? He’s 2 for 16, or .125 since the switcheroo.

    Before he had clubhouse guy Jim Schmakel sew him up a new uni, Laird was 16 for 101, or .158. And his overall stats for Laird while wearing #8 — the ones we’ll compare below with his predecessors are: .184 avg., 5 HR, .271 OBP, .553 OPS

    This uniform-change ploy got me thinking about recent Tigers players that wore number 8 or number 12 to see which had the best offensive numbers and if, based on recent history (going back to 1995ish), Laird might luck out by some numerical karma.

    Continue reading “Gerald Laird Likely to Lose at His Uniform-Number Shell Game”

    Give Leyland His Extension

    I know I’m in the extreme minority on this one but I think the Tigers should extend Jim Leyland‘s contract to 2010 or ’11.

    HomePlateXSmall.jpg

    In the most recent Fungo Pulse Check poll, 67 percent of respondents said Leyland should not get an extension to ’01 and beyond. Thirty-three percent said he should. Why do I think he should get a few more years? Three reasons.

    1. Leyland isn’t suddenly Luis Pujols. This past season was awful on every level but after one stinker of a year you leave a guy like Leyland hanging? The guy can manage like nobody’s business and is the victim of his own success. His problem is, his three seasons in Detroit produced won-loss records that no one expected — particularly in the order they occurred. The Tigers went from unwatchable in 2005 to a World Series in ’06 to a disappointing-but-solid ’07 to a last-place finish in ’08. The real Tigers are somewhere between the 2006 and 2007 teams — and probably better. If that’s the case, as I believe it is, I definitely want Jim Leyland managing that group of guys.

    2. The Tigers don’t want to be the Rangers. Perhaps it was an aberration for Detroit to have one manager from 1979 to 1995; I’ll grant you that. But do the Tigers want to get back into the managerial-revolving-door thing again? Do they want a new manager every three or four years? I’d be surprised if the club’s answer is yes. Think about the teams that’ve experienced sustained excellence — the Angels, Yankees (until this year), Cardinals, Red Sox, Braves — they’ve all had one manager locked in and establishing his methodology for winning baseball. On the other hand you have the Rangers, Orioles, et al. The Tigers aren’t going to achieve sustained winning with another merry-go-round approach to the manager’s slot.

    3. Who else is going to manage this team effectively? Seriously. Who? Lloyd McClendon? Matt Walbeck? Truth is, I’d take either one of those guys in a perfect scenario: the Tigers win a World Series and Leyland retires. Handing over the reins of a high-powered club to someone like McClendon or Walbeck makes sense. But if the Tigers think either of those two guys (whose names I pulled out of the air) can get this club over the hump, I’m not sure I want to watch what happens next.

    Leyland was dealt a 2008 hand loaded with fragile pitchers and a half-dozen designated hitters. He did what he could with what Dave Dombrowski provided.

    It’s up to Double D to fix the roster and let Jim Leyland do what he does best: manage the Detroit Tigers.

    Happy Birthday, Matt Walbeck

    10.jpgHe’s 39 today.

    On Dec. 11, 1996, the Twins traded Walbeck (pictured with Carlos Pena and Matt Anderson) to the Tigers for minor leaguer Brent Stentz. Walbeck played for the Tigers in 1997 and wore number 8. In 47 games, he hit .277 with three home runs.

    Then, on Nov. 20, 1997, the Tigers traded him with Phil Nevin to the Angels for minor leaguer Nick Skuse. Another terrific Randy Smith deal.

    Fast-forward to March 22, 2002. He was sent back to the Tigers — from the Padres, of course — with Damian Jackson for Javier Cardona and minor leaguer Rich Gomez. This time he wore #45 and played in 27 games for the ’02 Tigers, batting .235 in 85 at-bats. He spent 21 games in the minors that year, hitting just .213.

    His final year in Detroit — and in the bigs — was in 2003. In 138 games for the Tigers, and back to wearing number 8, he hit a career-low .174.

    After his playing career, according to Walbeck’s Baseball-Reference.com Bullpen Page

    In 2004, he became the manager of the West Michigan Whitecaps, a position he held until 2006. In both 2004 and 2006, the White Caps were league champions. 

    In 2007 Walbeck was promoted to become the manager of the Erie SeaWolves, AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. With Walbeck at the helm, the SeaWolves improved from near the bottom of the Eastern League (Last place in 2006) to make their first playoff appearance since 2004. Walbeck was named the E.L. Manager of the Year.

    In 2008 Walbeck will be the 3rd base coach for the Texas Rangers.

    Earlier this week he was fired by the Rangers. Perhaps his birthday present is a new job in the Tigers organization? (Bullpen coach, anyone?)

    Happy Birthday, Matt.

    So Long, Matt Walbeck

    In one of our recent (and frequent) late-night instant-message conversations, Ian Casselberry and I discussed possible successors to Jim Leyland. We both thought AA Erie manager and former Tigers catcher Matt Walbeck had the best chance of any internal candidate.Not anymore.Walbeck will join Ron Washington‘s staff in Arlington as the Rangers’ new third base coach.Wonder what the story is behind this move. It appeared that Walbeck was on the fast-track in the Detroit organization.Perhaps he’s going to Texas to get some big-league experience under his belt so he’s more prepared when Leyland decides to call it quits?Or maybe he wants to be first in line when Washington is fired next June.