Game 20: Armando Does It Again

ESPN highlights available here.

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The Gist: While he wasn’t as sharp as his Tigers debut in Cleveland last week, Armando Galarraga gave the Tigers another solid outing in the finale at SkyDome — or whatever5-1, to earn a split against the Blue Jays. The bullpen was superb though Todd Jones allowed a ninth-inning home run, of course, to spoil the shutout. Ryan Raburn knocked in two runs in the Tigers’ three-run second, and Edgar Renteria hit another homer, a solo shot in the sixth.

The Quote: “If we were really going good like we thought we would be at this time and went to Cleveland and Toronto and came home [3-3], we’d be pretty happy. But with our record the way it is, it doesn’t look too good.” — Jim Leyland, in the Tigers.com game story.

The Stat: .667 – Pudge Rodriguez‘s average in the four-gamer in Toronto. Here’s his line: Friday, 3 for 3; Saturday: 3 for 3; Sunday: 0 for 4; Today: 4 for 5. And what do you know? Pudge is now hitting .271 for the season.

Up Next: Rangers at Tigers

Justin Verlander (0-3, 7.03) vs. Vicente Padilla (2-1, 3.12)

Happy Birthday, Ryan Raburn and Other Notes

Raburn turns 27 today.

A bevy of Tigers historical items occurred on this date in history. Here they are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:

1955Al Kaline hits three home runs in Briggs Stadium, including a pair in the sixth inning, to drive in six runs. The Tigers rout the A’s 16-0, behind Steve Gromek‘s strong pitching.
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1960 – Cleveland Indians general manager Frank Lane, notorious for his multiple transactions, send American League home run king, Rocky Colavito, to the Detroit Tigers for the league’s defending batting champion, Harvey Kuenn. The trade is especially unpopular with Indians fans, who regard Colavito as their most popular player and best hitter.

1993 – The Detroit Tigers score 20 runs in a game for the second time this week, beating the Seattle Mariners, 20 – 3. Rob Deer is 1-for-2 and scores four runs, while Travis Fryman has four hits and scores five times. Chad Kreuter adds four hits and three runs and Gary Thurman paces the Tigers with four RBI. [Editor’s note: Gary Thurman?!]

2006 – Detroit’s Chris Shelton and St. Louis’ Albert Pujols hit their major league-leading ninth home runs, joining Mike Schmidt (1976), Larry Walker (1997) and Luis Gonzalez (2001) as the only players in MLB history with at least nine home runs in his team’s first 13 games.

Game 14: Tigers Borrow Rally Monkey Again

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ESPN highlights available here.

The Gist: Powered by four home runs — solo shots from Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez and a two-run dinger from Miguel Cabrera — the Tigers defeated the Twins 6-5 and swept the mini-series. Nate Robertson appears to be working his way back into form with 6.1 innings pitched, four runs (all earned), five strike outs and a walk. Clay Rapada earned his first major-league win. And, in another sign the offense is thawing, the Tigers’ 3-5 hitters went a combine four for 12 with five RBI.

The Quote: “I saw the ball coming out and said ‘Stop,’ but it didn’t.” — Ryan Raburn on his near-catch of Delmon Young‘s near-home run/near-flyout turned triple in the top of the ninth.

The Stat: 0. The number of times the Tigers had to face Joe Nathan in this series. Wonder how this all would have worked out for the Twins if Nathan were brought in during the eighth inning on either or both nights?

Up Next: Tigers at Indians

Armando Galarraga (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (0-2, 11.57)

Are You Kidding Me?!

Shortly after the Easter egg hunt at Casa de McClary this morning, I planned on reading details of Miguel Cabrera’s record-setting contract extension. What I did not expect was this headline from the Free Press: Granderson will start season on Tigers’ disabled list.

ViewFromOutfieldXSmall.jpgShortly after the Easter egg hunt at Casa de McClary this morning, I planned on reading details of Miguel Cabrera‘s record-setting contract extension. What I did not expect was this headline from the Free Press:
Granderson will start season on Tigers’ disabled list.

Wha-? How did this happen!?

It was eerily reminiscent of last year when, at the end of Spring Training, we were suddenly hit with news that Kenny Rogers would start the season the disabled list and would have surgery on his throwing arm and would miss the first half of the season.

The Freep story lists Brandon Inge, Ryan Raburn and Freddy Guzman as options for replacing Granderson. But is there any doubt that we’ll see Inge roaming the pasture for most of April? For a split-second I thought to myself that maybe Inge will see the long-term benefits — and opportunities — of the super-sub role.

But on second thought, I doubt it.

Double-D Cookin' Up Some Hot Stove Fun

Are you kidding me?When Mike first broached the possibility of Dave Dombrowski‘s blockbuster this afternoon late this morning by forwarding me Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal I thought it must’ve been some posturing and cheap talk.When I nosed around ESPN.com and saw Peter Gammon‘s blog entry saying there was some validity to it I let my mind wander a bit as to what the lineup would look like.When fellow teacher and baseball coach Paul Diegel e-mailed with news his buddy told him the deal was happening (Maybin and Miller straight up for the two), I knew it was too good to be true, and put those pipe dreams to bed.By the time I left work this evening and turned on sports yappers it was apparent there was still some smoke billowing up from these smoldering trade talks.And finally, when I heard Steve Phillips on WXYT say it was pretty well done I darn near drove off the road.I do realize the ramifications of this deal – a farm system left as barren as an 85-year-old post-menopausal woman – but I also realize this deal isn’t quite the same as that Smoltz-Alexander deal of 20 years past. For starters, Dontrelle Willis (25) and Miguel Cabrera (24) are nowhere near as long in the tooth as Doyle Alexander (37) was in 1987.Sure, the Tigers gave up a ton of prospects, but they did so for two bonafide Major Leaguers who haven’t yet reached their prime.I got no beef with the deal especially since it probably means Brandon Inge is on his way out of town. You aren’t really going to pay him $6-million+ a year to be a super-utility guy, are you? But hey, it’s not my money. If Mr. I gives the greenlight to this, then have Inge work as a catcher every chance he gets so he can take over for Pudge Rodriguez next year. With the offense that would be around him, Inge can return to his light-hitting catcher role for all I care.For his next move Dombrowski will no doubt try to move Inge, Marcus Thames, Chad Durbin, and Ryan Raburn for whatever prospects he can find. Certainly he needs to reload his minor-league pitching somehow.Of course my main questions walking away from this deal are as follows:Are there any other Dombrowski-era Marlins worth acquiring (what with Gary Sheffield, Nate Robertson, Edgar Renteria, et al)?How many times will Willis (a .508 sluggling percentage last year) pinch-hit this year?

The Monday Report

My son woke me up at 5:45 this morning so I had some time to catchup on my reading and thinking…

  • Call me naive, but I thought the Kenny Rogers thing would be a slam dunk, even with The Scott Boras Factor. Now that Rogers, who turned 43 on Saturday, is testing the market — the market for a mid-40s pitcher coming off a season virtually lost to serious injury that is — one has to wonder if the Tigers have used up the patience they reserve for dealing with Boras. From everything I’ve read, most still expect a deal to get hammered out. And I tend to think so too if only because Dave Dombrowski doesn’t seem to be a cut-off-the-nose-to-spite-the-face kind of guy.Speaking of Rogers, I thought I’d stumbled upon major news over at Yahoo! Sports when I read in this Tigers rumor:

    According to the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Tigers and free agent lefty Kenny Rogers have parted ways.  

    If you read to the story referenced in the piece you’ll see that nowhere does it say Rogers isn’t coming back. Perhaps a little fact checking would help.I’m intrigued by the Dontrelle Willis thing but can’t fathom what it would take to acquire him (for starters, Brandon Inge, perhaps?). Sure seems like a drastic change of course going from re-signing Rogers to dealing for Willis.Ah, but you gotta love the smell of hickory on the Hot Stove.

  • Our man Ian Casselberry notified me of the Omar Infante-for-Jacque Jones trade this afternoon. I think it’s safe to say Ian and I were both underwhelmed by the move. As Jon Paul Morosi suggests, this is likely a stop-gap solution until Cameron Maybin is ready for prime time, all the time. If that’s the case, I supposed I can live with it.

Still, you have to believe that somewhere in the Dominican Republic, Timo Perez is wondering what he has to do to become more than a September call up.But probably not in those words.

  • If you missed it, Joel Zumaya turned 23 on Friday. Here’s hoping his birthday wish was for health and wellness. And, while the Lions were stinking up University of Phoenix Stadium yesterday, Jason Grilli and Chuck Hernandez were celebrating birthdays. A belated #31 to Grilli and #47 to Hernandez. To help you plan your card and gift shopping, here are the upcoming Tigers birthdays of note: Nov. 18 – Gary Sheffield (39); Nov. 19 – Preston Larrison (27); Nov. 29 – Tony Giarratano (25); Nov. 30 – Ivan Rodriguez (36). 
  • Mr. Casselberry and I also wondered aloud who the Tigers backup catcher would be on Opening Day. Vance Wilson should be ready to come back and reclaim his job, but Mike Rabelo certainly made a case for himself in 2007. Too bad one of them can’t play another position — or that Ryan Raburn can’t catch. Ian thinks Rabelo comes North. I’m undecided but tend to think Wilson will rejoin the team if he has anything that resembles a decent spring.