Checking in on Carlos Guillen’s Move to Second Base

GuillenHead.jpgIt’s been two months since the Tigers announced that Carlos Guillen, not rookie Scott Sizemore, would be the Tigers’ second baseman in 2010.

Who at the time would’ve guessed that the brittle Guillen could stay healthy for two months and regain his status as a productive member of the Tigers’ lineup?

But let’s be honest: the concern wasn’t Guillen’s offense, it was the defense. How many ground balls would he, could he, get to…without pulling a hamstring? Could he turn the double play with Adam Everett (and now Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth)? The answer to all those appears to be yes.

Let’s see if the numbers bear it out.

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Weekend Wrap: Adios, Interleague

outside.jpgWe knew that the interleague schedule would catch up to the Tigers at some point.

After losing two of three to the Dodgers way back in May, the Tigers ran roughshod over the dregs of the National League. Against the Pirates, Nationals and Diamondbacks, Detroit won eight of nine.

This past week the Tigers crashed back to reality while facing the top two clubs in the National League East. After losing two of three in New York, the Tigers needed to reverse that outcome in Atlanta to make it a .500 trip. Unlike the series at Citi Field, the Tigers were in every game against the Braves thanks to stellar pitching — and despite an often-dormant offense.

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Tigers Today: May 17, 2010

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Tigers’ Record: 22-16, 2nd place; 1.5 GB Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. White Sox | 7:05 p.m. ET – Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Rick Porcello (3-3, 6.08 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (2-2, 4.75 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 5 – Red Sox 1

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Weekend Wrap: Where to Begin?

CoffeeCalendar.jpgAfter the Tigers took three of four from the Yankees, the three-game weekend set with the Red Sox had all the makings of a classic letdown.

Max Scherzer certainly did his part on Friday night by serving up five runs in the first inning which fueled Boston’s 7-2 win.

What happened on Saturday was the stuff that magical seasons can be built on. An overstatement? Maybe. But when Dontrelle Willis plays the role of Scherzer by yielding four runs and seven walks in just 3.1 innings, you could almost expect the Tigers to mail it in. Except they didn’t. Instead, they chipped away at Jon Lester and the Red Sox bullpen and mounted a thrilling comeback behind Brennan Boesch‘s four-hit game — and near cycle.

Another letdown appeared imminent with John Lackey starting for the Sox on Sunday but that wasn’t meant to be either. The Tigers wore down Lackey with nine hits and four walks and Ramon Santiago went deep in the fourth for his first homer of the year.

Meanwhile, Armando Galarraga made a triumphant return to the majors and was superb (despite walking two of the first three hitters): 5.2 IP, three hits, one run, three walks and five strikeouts. And what about Jim Leyland bringing in Jeremy Bonderman for an inning of flawless relief? Whatever works.

For me, the most interesting part of an exciting week were the roster moves made after Saturday night’s game. Scherzer being sent down came as no surprise after he showed on Friday how truly out of sync he is. With Galarraga seemingly ready to resume his big-league career, this makes sense.

Demoting Scott Sizemore jolted me a little. Based on everything we heard since spring training — and that they let Placido Polanco walk — I expected the Tigers to ride it out with Sizemore. Then again, when your keystone combination is hitting a combined .399, you’ve gotta do something.

I’ll say this about Dave Dombrowski, he’s certainly not afraid to bring up the kids. Right now, the Tigers have five rookies on their roster. And good ones. Who knows how long Danny Worth and Casper Wells will stick in Detroit, but it certainly is fun to watch it all play out.

The stunner in all this was the announcement of Carlos Guillen becoming the Tigers’ starting second baseman when he returns from the disabled list. Tell me how this can possibly end well? One wrong twist trying to turn a double play and Guillen could be on the shelf again. Then again, this is a player — a favorite of mine, actually — who landed on the DL running the bases. Add the more demanding defensive requirements of the middle infield and, well, yeah. This can’t end well. (Of course this isn’t saying much, but I’d certainly rather have him at second than in left.)

In his career, Guillen has played a dozen games at second base, all with the Mariners in 1998 and ’99 and he had 56 error-free chances. He’ll have to make quite a few to catch up with Sizemore’s six errors so far this year.

A weekend that started out poorly — and could’ve gotten a lot worse without much effort — certainly turned around in a hurry and featured lots for Tigers fans to chew on as the dreaded White Sox come to town on Monday.

Game 18: Tigers 8 – Rangers 4

ESPN highlights available here.
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The Score: Tigers 8 – Rangers 4

The Gist: For the first time in nearly nine years, Brad Thomas took the hill as a starter and did enough to keep the Tigers in the game until the offense took over in a kooky fourth inning. With two outs that inning, Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago scored on a wild pitch when the ball ping-ponged off the brick backstop and rolled toward Gene Lamont along the third-base line.

Winning-pitcher Eddie Bonine (2-0), Joel Zumaya and Jose Valverde combined with Thomas to hold the Rangers scoreless over the final seven innings. Johnny Damon drew three walks — a season’s worth for Pudge Rodriguez.

The Quote: “They’ve been getting us our wins.” — Damon, on the Tigers’ bullpen.

The Stat: 5 – The number of strikeouts by Zumaya on his two innings of work.

Up Next: Tigers @ Rangers | Sunday – 3:05 p.m. ET

Rick Porcello (1-1, 6.46 ERA) vs. former Tigers RHP Colby Lewis (2-0, 3.12 ERA)

On the air: FSD/1270 AM & 97.1 FM

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Tigers Today: April 1, 2010

Apologies for the late post. The benefit is that I have today’s results. BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 18-10-2

Today’s Games

Tigers 4 – Braves 1

The Tigers dinged Jair Jurrjens for a pair of runs on Don Kelly‘s home run and Eddie Bonine pitched four scoreless, one-hit innings to pace the Tigers in the front end of Grapefruit League finale.

Tigers 4 – Astros 2

The only worthwhile tidbit about this matchup of Tigers minor leaguers versus primetime Astros is former Tiger Chris Shelton appearing in the game for Houston. Oh, Brandon Lyon and Tim Byrdak pitched for the Astros.

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