Tigers Roster Set … and a Tad Upsetting

In 1984, the Tigers made the no-brainer decision to leave southpaw reliever Sid Monge off the playoff roster. Monge had an undistinguished half seaon with the Tigers after being picked up off waivers from the Padres — 1-0, 4.25 ERA in 19 games.

He didn’t pitch enough in the regular season and, left hander or no, he wasn’t going to appear in the ALCS or World Series. And God knows we didn’t want him to.

This morning we learned that another seemingly no-brainerish decision — to leave Brad Penny off the ALDS roster — was, in fact, not made. What the …? Jim Leyland hasn’t, and likely won’t, offer much to the media to chew on in the way of rationale for this decision.

Here’s the most obvious question: In what scenario, a Game 4 start, long relief, middle relief, would any Tigers fan feel comfortable seeing Penny on the mound? Speaking for myself: None.

Jason Beck reports on his blog:

Both Rick Porcello and Brad Penny are on the roster. One of them is expected to start Game 4 is necessary (sic). The other will work out of the bullpen.

Would I feel better seeing David Pauley? It depends. If it’s relief, absolutely. And would I feel more confident in Porcello starting Game 4? Ditto. (But if there’s a rainout between tonight and Game 4, are we still to believe that Justin Verlander won’t make that start?)

And what about Ryan Perry? Can the Tigers afford his baffling inconsistency in the postseason?

So what we’ve got are four pitchers — the three P’s: Penny, Porcello, Perry, and Max Scherzer — on the ALDS roster that make us wonder if the good version or bad version will show up.

I have no problem with the position-player decisions, even backup catcher Omir Santos. There’s no way Leyland is going to lose a playoff game — or series — by having to put Brandon Inge or Don Kelly behind the plate. No chance. I think Santos makes sense.

But the real news here is Penny. I’m afraid that if we see him in this series we’re going to long for Sid Monge.

Dave Schoenfield weighs in on both A.L. Division Series rosters on the SweetSpot blog.

The Saturday Breakfast: Al’s Okay, Penny’s Good Enough and Happy Birthday to “Schneider”

Good Saturday morning. Thank goodness Al Alburquerque is going to be okay after a batting practice scare yesterday. The Tigers placed Alburquerque on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion effective August 12 and recalled Ryan Perry from Toledo. Perry appeared in 20 games with the Mud Hens, posting a 3-0 record, 3.03 ERA, seven saves and 30 strikeouts.

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Leading Off: The Tigers won their seventh-straight one-run game, topping the Orioles 5-4 [highlights here]. Andy Dirks went 4 for 4 and knocked in the winning run and Brad Penny was good enough for his eighth win … The victory marked the seventh straight game the club has won by one run. According to STATS LLC, Detroit’s seven straight wins by one run matches a club record, equaling the mark established by the 1944 club. The 1944 Tigers won seven straight such games July 18-29 … In other news, the Tigers transferred the option of pitcher Lester Oliveros from Triple A Toledo to Double A Erie on Friday.

Around the Central: The Indians beat the Twins 3-2 in Cleveland and the Royals handed the White Sox their seventh-straight home loss, 5-1.

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The Tigers are in first place, three games ahead of the Indians.

Today’s Game: Tigers @ Orioles: Max Scherzer (11-7, 4.33 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (5-15, 4.38 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Scherzer enters his start this evening at Baltimore looking for his 12th win of the season. With a win tonight, he would equal his career-high win total established with the Tigers during the 2011 season.

His career mark against Baltimore 1-1, 3.46 ERA. This will be the first start of his career at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

With a win tonight, he would join Justin Verlander to become the first pair of Tigers pitchers with 12-or-more wins in the club’s first 119 games of the season since Jeff Robinson and Frank Tanana did so in the first 119 games of 1988.

One hundred years ago today, in a move that only Carlos Zambrano could appreciate, Ty Cobb, apparently believing the Tigers can no longer win the pennant race, begins a vacation.

On this date in 2007, Placido Polanco played his 144th consecutive game at second base without an error. This broke Luis Castillo’s record, set earlier that season. The two streaks overlapped for many months. The Tigers still lose, 7-2, dropping them to eight wins in their past 25 games and a tie for first place with the Indians.

Happy Birthday to Roman Colon, 32, and Jarrod Washburn, 37.

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More great work this week by Paul Swaney and his team at StadiumJourney.com. The spotlight turns to Jerry Uht Park, home of the Erie SeaWolves, the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate. Here’s a taste of Joshua Guiher‘s review:

Jerry Uht Park … was originally built in 1995 at a cost of $8.7 million. In 2006, the park underwent a $4 million upgrade that added a nice scoreboard, a very large picnic area and a second level of seating among other things.

All About Al. In his ESPN.com blog [$], Jim Bowden lists the under-the-radar players on each American League club. His pick for the Tigers is Alburquerque.

Alburquerque has been an important part of the first-place Tigers’ bullpen. The hard-throwing right-hander has an impressive 2.29 ERA with 55 strikeouts and just 18 hits against him in 35 1/3 innings pitched. His fastball plays in the 93-96 mph range, and he has a hard, downward, biting slider that misses bats.

The Phighting Phifty-one-year-old Tony Phillips. Choose your own bizarre angle to this story (with video!), I’ll go with the ‘Tony Phillips is still playing?!‘ perspective.

Did you know that Wilson Betemit is hitting .360 since joining the Tigers last month? With as little as he’s played on this road trip, I’d have guessed it was about 200 points less.

Finally, a Happy 49th Birthday to “Mad Men” star John Slattery. And we can’t forget to mention the 82nd birthday of actor Pat Harrington who played Schneider in the unwatchable 1970s sitcom “One Day at a Time.”

Dare to Compare: Joaquin Benoit vs. Jose Mesa

JoseMesaRemember back in late 2006 when the Tigers signed 41-year-old Jose Mesa to a one-year contract and most of us said, “Is it 1996?”

Fortunately or unfortunately, the Mesa Experiment was short lived. By June 3, 2007, he was released after posting some staggering numbers:

W L ERA SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 1 12.34 0 11.2 19 16 16 3 6 9 2.143
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2011.

JoaquinBenoit

This all came to mind this evening as free-agent prize Joaquin Benoit got ripped by the Blue Jays for three runs in the eighth and notch yet another dreadful appearance in his short time in Detroit.

After Monday night Benoit’s stats might not be as gruesome as Mesa’s, but given Benoit’s age and the amount of dough the Tigers are investing, the numbers are almost worse:

W L ERA SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 2 6.59 0 13.2 17 12 10 1 4 11 1.537
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2011.

 

Of course, two months into his three-year, $16.5 million contract Benoit is going nowhere.

But if he doesn’t turn it around soon and provide Jim Leyland with a reliable eighth inning option not named Ryan Perry, neither are the Tigers.

Sunday Snacks: April in the D Edition

ChipsA few overdue thoughts as I work the previous-channel button on my remote, switching between the Tigers and Wings games.

  • When a few specific things occur, I know for certain the baseball season is in full bloom — eight games in or not. Two of these things have already taken place in the past 24 hours: the Tigers lose to the Royals and Ryan Raburn makes at least one bone-headed play in the field.

  • Speaking of the Wings, if they end up playing the Coyotes in the first round, I’ll have to endure lame Detroit jokes in the media out here.

  • Did the Tigers really lose to Bruce Chen? Bruce Chen?

  • Slowly — very slowly — I’m gaining confidence in Alex Avila. He was miserable in the opening series in the New York but I suppose that can be chalked up to nerves, right? Since then he’s hitting .357 (entering today, that is).

  • I definitely love seeing Will Rhymes as the Tigers’ regular second baseman. You have to wonder if Scott Sizemore is following him and thinking, “what do I have to do to get back on the radar?”

  • Did you notice that Robbie Weinhardt is now wearing Jeremy Bonderman‘s old uniform number, 38? No matter the number on his back, I feel 100-percent more comfortable when Weinhardt enters a game than I do Brad Thomas or Ryan Perry.

  • Happy 47th Birthday to Eric King. In two stints with the Tigers (1986-88, ’92), he appeared in 128 games for the Tigers as a starter and bullpen guy, posting a 25-20 record, 16 saves and a 4.23 ERA.

  • Manny Ramirez. As the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan once said on the old Tony Kornheiser radio show, “Ramirez will never be confused with a member of Mensa.”

  • I’ve heard from many of you about the next episode of the podcast. Hang with us. Ian and I have had trouble aligning calendars — the trouble coming from my end — but we’ll be back soon. Promise.

Finally, happy 82nd birthday to actress Liz Sheridan, who played Jerry’s mom on “Seinfeid.”

Robert Fick: Ultimate Friend and Teammate

Former Tigers catcher Robert Fick earned his reputation as a bad seed thanks to some poor on-field decisions and in-flight activities.

If you followed the Tigers during his five years (and five uniform numbers) in Detroit, you won’t be surprised by this Fick-related anecdote from former-Tigers flamethrower Matt Anderson:

First Anderson drove from Louisville to Atlanta to say goodbye to the kids. Then he headed west to California to see his friend and former Tigers teammate, Robert Fick, who had possession of the two game gloves — a Mizuno and a Rawlings — that Anderson used during his last stint in pro ball.

After continually badgering Fick to send him the gloves, to no avail, Anderson figured it would be easier to just pass through California on his way to Phoenix and pick them up in person.

“For Robert to muster up what it took to go to the packing store, find my address and all that stuff, I didn’t think that was going to happen,” Anderson said.

I, for one, am hoping that Anderson’s comeback is successful. The fact he’s back on the radar, however temporarily, makes me wonder what an Anderson-Zumaya-Perry bullpen might look like.

As for Fick, well, never mind.

Tigers Today: July 7, 2010

BallBatGrass.jpgTigers’ Record:

45-37, 1st place; 1/2-game ahead of Twins

Today’s Game

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

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer (5-6, 4.88 ERA) vs. RHP Brad Bergesen (3-5, 6.44 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 7 – Orioles 5

Continue reading “Tigers Today: July 7, 2010”

Tigers Today: July 6, 2010

PickOffSmall.jpg**Sorry this one’s coming late in the day. I was traveling and got online later than expected. This one include information about tonight’s win and Monday’s too.**

Tigers’ Record:

45-37, 1st place; 1/2-game lead over Twins

Today’s Results

Tigers 7 – Orioles 5 (11 innings)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 12 – Orioles 9

Continue reading “Tigers Today: July 6, 2010”