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.
  • 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”

    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 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.