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.

Game 22: Hey Nineteen

ESPN highlights available here.

ScorecardXSmall.jpg

The Gist: One night after Tigers’ TV analyst Rod Allen predicted that Detroit would put 20 runs on the board in a game this year, the Tigers got darned close in crushing the Rangers, 19-6. Kenny Rogers was nothing short of dreadful in his 3.1 innings pitched: nine hits, six runs (all earned), three walks and a wild pitch. On the opposite end of the spectrum was winning pitcher Clay Rapada: 1.2 scoreless innings of work, no hits, no walks and two strikeouts. Soon-to-be-erstwhile-first baseman Carlos Guillen went 3 for 4 plus a walk and five RBI. And how about Curtis Granderson? In his season debut he went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI, three runs scored and two walks.

The Quote: “Our pitchers took a serious beating tonight.” — Rangers manager Ron Washington.

The Stat: 223. The number of pitches thrown by six Rangers pitchers (just slightly more than half of which were strikes) and 77 more than Tigers pitchers. Runner Up Stat: 10. The number of walks allowed by Texas.

Up Next: Rangers at Tigers

Jeremy Bonderman (1-2, 4.37) vs. Scott Feldman* (0-0, 4.50)

*Jason Jennings was scheduled to start on Thursday but, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers blog, it’ll be Feldman.

The Non-Sequiturs: Matinee Edition

After reading Doug‘s pithy and spot-on assessment of Todd Jones — heretofore known by me as the Tigers “opener”, not “closer” — I decided not to waste my or your time with a vitriolic post about him. What more is there to say? For me, nuttin’. For Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski, lots apparently.According to today’s Detroit News:

“I have no problem with Todd Jones. None,” Leyland said. “He’s done an outstanding job, and he’s a heck of a pitcher.“But he’s such a perfectionist and competes so hard, what I think happens to him on occasion is that he outthinks himself. You try to pitch too carefully, it can backfire on you.”

Ahem.And this from the GM in the Freep:

“He’s our closer. He’s done a solid job for us. He’s pitched well at times. Other times, he hasn’t. He’s pitched very similarly to the way he did last year. He’s not your dominant-type closer, but we know what Todd is.”

Insert your own punchline. Or, better yet, don’t:

“It’s not fun to be the butt of everybody’s jokes,” Jones said Wednesday.

Will Jones be summoned from the ‘pen this afternoon? Yeah, probably. Settle in.How’s that for not writing about Todd Jones? Now, on to the Non-Sequiturs:

  • Peter Pascarelli, the new host of ESPN’s Baseball Today Podcast, is a Tigers believer. He’s been on board for a while now and again this morning said he knows this Tigers have inquired about both Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka. Earlier this week he interviewed Leyland about the Tigers’ season so far. Check it out here.
  • One other Pascarelli note, he said that if the Tigers get the bullpen together they could run away with the division.
  • I don’t know about you but yesterday’s rainout was just what the Tigers needed to put the Tuesday nightmare behind them. Let’s see how they respond today. (Rod Allen just said the same thing on the telecast.)
  • Remember in the winter of 2005-06 when Tigers fans were clamoring for Kevin Millwood? Remember, too, the outcry (I might have been the loudest) when the Tigers signed Kenny Rogers instead? So how’d that workout for both teams?
  • Looking to buy the ugliest Detroit Tigers hat ever created? Here it is.
  • I suppose I’m in the minority when it comes to the Tigers first base situation and its lack of pop. I know that the offense is clicking and all that but I’m sorry, one dinger from Sean Casey and six from Marcus Thames is unacceptable. Detroit hasn’t had a full-time power threat at first since the days of Cecil Fielder and Darrell Evans. (Apologies to Tony Clark.) Get Mark Teixeira, if not for this season then at least for the long haul and before the Yankees scoop him up. Here’s what Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal has to say about it:

Tigers: An obvious possibility, considering that the team ranks 11th in the American League in on-base/slugging percentage at first base. However, Sean Casey’s OPS is over .800 since his horrid April, Marcus Thames helps against lefties and Chris Shelton is performing decently at Class AAA.”Our offense is not a problem,” GM Dave Dombrowski, noting that the Tigers are on pace to set the all-time franchise record for runs scored. “I don’t think we would put resources into position players at this time. Our biggest need is the bullpen.”

  • Question for you: Who gets an All Star Game invitation as a reserve: Gary Sheffield, Curtis Granderson or Carlos Guillen? One, two or all of the above?
  • Another question: If the Tigers do take the plunge and shore up the bullpen via trade(s), who are you willing to give up for relief help? Nate Robertson? Craig Monroe (but of course)? Thames? Shelton? Omar Infante?

Finally, during the rain delay on Wednesday I had to endure the Monroe spotlight on FSN Detroit. Mike McClary enjoyed Craig Monroe talking about Craig Monroe in the third person. Mike McClary particularly enjoyed the segments of the show in which Monroe was wearing a Texas Rangers uniform.If only it weren’t six-year-old footage.

The Detroit Tigers Podcast Episode #6: Talking Tigers with Rod Allen

download The Detroit Tigers Podcast Welcome to The Detroit Tigers Podcast, the podcast for Tigers fans, by Tigers fans. This is Episode #6, a 36-minute podcast about the American League Champion Detroit Tigers recorded live from Detroit and Scottsdale, Arizona U.S.A.Listen to the podcast on the show Web site: www.TigersPodcast.com.In this episode, in addition to a review of Tigers headlines, who’s hot/who’s not, and we talk with Tigers television analyst Rod Allen. We spoke to Rod from Metro Detroit.Items Mentioned in this Episode:

Download the audio file or grab the RSS feed here.Improve our iTunes Ranking: If you like the podcast, please leave a comment on our iTunes page!Comments? Leave a message on the listener line, (480) 383-6350, or leave a comment here!Talk to you next time…on The Detroit Tigers Podcast.Also, be sure to check out The Daily Fungo, my Tigers blog, for more conversations about the team. To stay current with the blog, use this RSS feed.The Detroit Tigers Podcast is not affiliated in any way with the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club or Major League Baseball.