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 From the FSN Daily Wire

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laprimamirala
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed May 13, 2009 11:55 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: May 13, 2009, 4:20 AM EST
If Wednesday night's start against Minnesota isn't the biggest of left-hander Dontrelle Willis' career, it has to be in the top 10.
Willis makes his return to the Detroit rotation in Minnesota, his first appearance for the Tigers since coming off the disabled list, where he was placed at the end of spring training due to an anxiety disorder.
No matter how you slice and dice it, the start could have a huge bearing on Willis' future.

Detroit obtained him from Florida two winters ago and gave him a three-year, $29 million extension before he'd even thrown a regular-season pitch for the club. Willis started poorly for the Tigers -- then got worse.

He'll take the mound Wednesday still looking for his first victory in a Detroit uniform.

Willis has pitched well since the anxiety disorder was discerned and, at least in his rehab starts, seems to have conquered his control problems.

A decent showing is critical for Willis. It would indicate he can be a key part of the season, and perhaps others to come.

A poor showing would bring into question his major league future. Detroit can't afford to give starts to a pitcher who hasn't shown the team much in the past and who might need more babying to be a contributor.

The Tigers see a weakened AL Central and feel they can be a part of the chase for first place. A faltering starter can't be a part of that, not with Jeremy Bonderman on the verge of showing whether he can be a help or not. And not with viable candidates to start both in the bullpen (Zach Miner) and in the minors.

Would Detroit be willing to eat the remainder of Willis' chunky contract if he cannot deliver?

It's a question the club hopes it does not have to answer.

TWINS 6, TIGERS 2: Minnesota hit two home runs and so did Detroit. The Twins got four runs from theirs, however, to just two for the Tigers. RHP Armando Galarraga was roughed up for a pair of two-run home runs Tuesday night, while Detroit got solo shots from DH Jeff Larish in the sixth and SS Ramon Santiago in the seventh. The Tigers left eight men on base in the game.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri May 15, 2009 9:16 pm

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange



Updated: May 15, 2009, 3:40 AM EST
--RHP Justin Verlander was sitting and watching when his strong start was squandered by the faltering bullpen Thursday. Verlander got no decision after striking out a career-high 13 batters in 6 1/3 innings. He was removed after giving up a single and a walk following his 122nd pitch of the game. Verlander's fastball was sizzling and his curve devastating for the fourth straight start. He was charged with two runs although he left holding a 5-0 lead. It was his third straight double-digit strikeout performance, the first time that has been done by a Tigers pitcher since LHP Mickey Lolich in 1971.

--RF Magglio Ordonez was restored to the third spot in the batting order for at least one game Thursday. The move primarily was made because Ordonez was hitting .429 in his career against Minnesota RHP Scott Baker. Ordonez grounded a two-run single up the middle in a five-run sixth inning. He could remain third because he seems to be coming around at the plate, although still not with much power.

--1B/3B Jeff Larish has sought out disabled OF Marcus Thames for advice on how to handle sparse playing time. "The guy I go to is Marcus because I feel we're similar players," Larish said. "We're more of power hitters. I can relate to him. I can go and bounce some things off him. He gives me a lot of encouragement. He's the main guy that I go to as far as that. He's had to deal with it for so long, too. He does a very good job of making you feel comfortable and making you feel a part of the team and making you feel like he's there for you and encouraging you."

Larish singled his first time up Tuesday night and added a solo home run, his third, in the sixth. "I look back at my brief career, and I don't remember too many guys' statistics. I just remember how they played the game and what type of teammates they were. I think that's the most important thing. Marcus is one of those guys who really stands out," Larish said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 -- RBIs by Detroit's two shortstops through May 10, most of any team in the majors. Backup SS Ramon Santiago had 13 and regular SS Adam Everett 12.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This is not experimental and it's not developmental. This is the big leagues. He's going to the rotation and we expect everybody there to help us win games. The expectations are no higher on him than anyone else." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on the scheduled return Wednesday to the Detroit rotation of LHP Dontrelle Willis, who has been out all year with an anxiety disorder.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Mon May 18, 2009 9:34 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: May 18, 2009, 4:40 AM EST
Power arms.
General manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland both like them.
Since Dombrowski arrived on the scene shortly after the start of the new century he began stockpiling young high-velocity arms, both for the rotation and the bullpen.

One of Dombrowski's first moves was to pick up Jeremy Bonderman, who came up as a 20-year-old in 2003. Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya arrived in 2006 to bolster the rotation and the bullpen, respectively.

Dontrelle Willis has yet to pay dividends but he throws hard for a left-hander and newcomer Edwin Jackson has a nice mid-90s heater. Rookie Rick Porcello isn't a classic power arm but he sinks the ball with gusto and his curve lately has been devastating.

Rookie Ryan Perry worked a scoreless one-hit inning of relief Sunday to protect an 11-7 lead just after rookie Luke French, whose fastball tops out at 91, worked a pair of scoreless innings. And Fernando Rodney closed it out, featuring his upper-90s fastball and superlative changeup.

It's interesting to note that in the game Detroit blew at Minnesota during last week, in which it coughed up six runs in the seventh after Verlander was removed from the game, it was the lack of a power reliever that hurt the Tigers' chances.

Perry had been burned up two days before and Zumaya was used up to the tune of 46 pitches in Detroit's 13-inning loss the night before. Perry has been able to learn on the job in the majors primarily because he throws a mid-90s two-seam fastball that right-handers find impossible to hit.

Zumaya gave up the game-tying two-run home run in the ninth off a 99-mph fastball but that's a case of "hit it if you can."

For the most part, Detroit's power arms in the rotation are carrying the starters deeper into games and the hard-throwing relievers are shortening games on the back end.

TIGERS 11, ATHLETICS 7: 2B Ramon Santiago had four hits and was a double short of the cycle Sunday while CF Curtis Granderson hit a three-run home run to help Detroit complete a weekend sweep of Oakland. Santiago's three-run home run in the third gave Detroit an 8-6 lead after Oakland had jumped out to a 6-0 lead nine outs into the game. The Athletics routed RHP Armando Galarraga with five runs before he could finish the first inning but RHP Zach Miner, LHP Luke French, RHP Ryan Perry and RHP Fernando Rodney checked the A's as the Tigers fought back with four runs in the second and third innings. LF Josh Anderson had a two-run triple and SS Adam Everett went 3-for-3 with an RBI. Detroit swept Cleveland last weekend but was swept in between at Minnesota
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed May 20, 2009 6:02 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: May 20, 2009, 5:00 AM EST
It was easily the feel-good story of the baseball day, Dontrelle Willis earning his first victory since 2007, but the implications for the Tigers go far deeper.
An effective Willis would give Detroit its only left-handed starter, a big factor for a team that plays in a division against teams loaded with left-handed hitters (Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City).
The Willis that Detroit traded for, along with first baseman Miguel Cabrera, would give the Tigers another starter who could pitch into the seventh inning or later on a regular basis, further easing the strain on a bullpen that collapsed last year from overuse.

With Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson also pitching into the late innings more often than not, it makes it that much easier for manager Jim Leyland to keep a short leash on rookie Rick Porcello. It's important to protect the young man barely two years removed from high school with his innings and his pitch load.

Having a rested bullpen makes it that much easier to do. There's also the matter of Detroit having paid Willis, to this point, $29 million for one victory. Of course Willis has the remainder of this season and all of next to bring the per-victory cost way down. Still, it's a relief for both the pitcher and the organization that signed him to a three-year deal when it obtained him from the Marlins to have finally ended that one-season drought.

Everybody in baseball -- except maybe Texas Rangers fans Tuesday -- has been rooting for the cheery Willis to return to form. He smiles, he laughs, he's funny, he's fun to be around, and if there were a vote for the most-liked player in baseball, Willis would certainly be near or at the top.

TIGERS 4, RANGERS 0: Dontrelle Willis won his first game as a Tiger and his first anywhere since Sept. 25, 2007, with 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball in Detroit's fourth consecutive victory. Willis retired 17 straight after giving up a two-out double and a walk in the opening inning. He was relieved after a one-out walk in the seventh with four pitchers finishing up Detroit's first combined one-hitter since 2007 against Cleveland. Jeff Larish and Gerald Laird hit sacrifice flies as Detroit scored in four innings. Placido Polanco had an RBI single and Miguel Cabrera an RBI double.

Willis did not win a game for Detroit last season after the Tigers had given him a three-year extension shortly after acquiring him from Florida.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri May 22, 2009 8:25 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: May 22, 2009, 4:20 AM EST
Here's one more instance that illustrates why players love being on a team managed by Jim Leyland.
Edwin Jackson struggled Thursday. He walked five and gave up seven hits in eight innings against Texas.
Included were two walks that loaded the bases in the second, an inning that Jackson escaped with only one run scoring thanks to a double-play flyball to right fielder Clete Thomas, who no-hopped a throw to the plate that nailed a runner trying to score.

Jackson, his slider very erratic and his fastball flying all over the place, settled down and pitched well through seven innings.

Jackson's pitch count was well above 100, but the starter told Leyland before the eighth inning he felt fine, so the manager let him try to bring in a win in a game the Tigers led 3-1.

He walked the leadoff batter and, after a visit from Leyland, gave up a one-out double off the right field wall.

"There wasn't a chance," Leyland said of removing Jackson. "He was going to be out there until they were ahead. I felt that he deserved it, that's just the way it goes. If you don't do it, you don't do it.

"Every once in a while you get those games where you say, 'You know what, he deserves to be there.' I just can't take him out. I can't in good faith take him out."

Texas' Nelson Cruz hit a two-out double to tie the score, 3-3, but after a stolen base and walk, Jackson made his 132nd pitch of the game a 97 mph strike-three fastball to end the inning.

Leyland could have pulled Jackson after Cruz's double, but giving him the chance to finish the inning also gave his teammates a chance to rally and pull out a win for the starter.

"It would have been easy to go to the 'pen and pull me out," Jackson said. "But to leave me out there definitely shows that he has confidence in me. It rubs off on a pitcher."

Miguel Cabrera's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth gave the Tigers a 4-3 lead, and Fernando Rodney struggled through the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances. He needed a double play off a Michael Young grounder up the middle with runners at the corners to close out the win.

TIGERS 4, RANGERS 3: 1B Miguel Cabrera's RBI single to center with two outs in the bottom of the eighth scored 2B Placido Polanco from second base Thursday and gave the Tigers their second straight series sweep. RF Clete Thomas hit a solo home run in the first, and in the third he threw out a runner at the plate for an inning-ending double play after catching a flyball in medium right.

CF Curtis Granderson hit a two-run home run in the third.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Tue May 26, 2009 9:46 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: May 26, 2009, 4:00 AM EST
Jeremy Bonderman was scheduled to make another rehab start Tuesday night for Triple-A Toledo.
After that, if all goes well, the pressure will be on at least one Detroit pitcher.

The Tigers could delay Bonderman's return by one more rehab start, which would give Armando Galarraga more time to work out his problems, but indications were the Tigers will activate Bonderman within a week after his start for the Mud Hens -- provided it isn't a disaster.

Reports reaching Manager Jim Leyland are that Bonderman's fastball is now in the low 90s, although not consistently, and that his slider has the bite it lacked much of the last two seasons. Leyland saw that in Bonderman's last bullpen session.

Galarraga -- sinker not sinking, slider not sliding and falling behind too many hitters -- is the vulnerable starter right now (Bonderman is not likely to return in a bullpen role) because he's had five straight losses in which he did not pitch well.

Dontrelle Willis has pitched well, especially in the last two of the three starts he has made since coming off the disabled list, where he was placed due to an anxiety disorder. He remains in the rotation.

Obviously Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and rookie Rick Porcello are not being displaced.

Galarraga, a surprise 13-game winner a year ago, starts Thursday night in Baltimore and will need a good performance to keep the suspense in place.

TIGERS 13, ROYALS 1: RHP Justin Verlander chalked up his fifth straight victory, blanking Kansas City on five hits over seven innings Monday while Detroit pounded out a season-high 19 hits in winning for the eighth time in 10 games. 1B Miguel Cabrera had four hits and drove in three runs while C Gerald Laird hit his second home run, both coming in Kauffman Stadium. Laird, 3B Brandon Inge and OF Clete Thomas each drove in two runs. RHP Zach Miner allowed Kansas City its only run, in the eighth, and RHP Ryan Perry finished with a scoreless ninth
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Thu May 28, 2009 5:28 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: May 28, 2009, 4:40 AM EST
There are many moves managers make that they never get credit for. One of the moves by Tigers manager Jim Leyland is slotting rookie right-hander Rick Porcello right behind high-powered horses Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson.
The way Verlander and Jackson are pitching lately, very effectively and deep into games, takes a lot of strain off the Detroit bullpen.
If it's in poor shape from overuse, running Verlander and Jackson out on back-to-back days means Leyland might only have to call on one or two relievers to work one or two innings.

That means Leyland can be extra cautious with Porcello, the 20-year-old who only two years ago was still throwing in high school.

If it had been any of Detroit's other starters on the mound Wednesday, Leyland would have let them run their pitch count up to 100 or better before taking them out. But Wednesday, Leyland was able to take his precocious rookie out after the sixth inning with his pitch count at 82, more than 20 of those coming in the first inning before he settled down.

The Tigers' bullpen was so well rested, Leyland said before the game, that he was going to pitch relievers Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney because they needed the work.

And now Detroit's bullpen is well rested for a four-game set at Baltimore. Even Rodney, who threw 29 pitches in the ninth, will be available Thursday night.

TIGERS 8, ROYALS 3: RHP Rick Porcello on Wednesday became the first pitcher since RHP Dwight Gooden in 1985 to win five straight games at the age of 20, allowing two runs in six innings of work. Porcello gave up a run in the first as he had trouble keeping the ball down and a solo home run in the fourth that briefly tied the score at 2-2 before Detroit scored three times each in the fifth and sixth innings. LF Josh Anderson had four hits, his RBI single in the fifth breaking the tie and preceding 2B Placido Polanco's first home run of the season. 1B Miguel Cabrera hit his 10th home run. RF Ryan Raburn had two hits and an RBI while Polanco singled in a third run earlier in the game. LHP Bobby Seay, RHP Joel Zumaya and RHP Fernando Rodney split the last three innings, with Zumaya giving up a hit that scored Seay's runner.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri May 29, 2009 5:36 pm

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange



Updated: May 29, 2009, 4:20 AM EDT
--RHP Armando Galarraga might have corrected his troubles Thursday at Baltimore. Galarraga had made five previous starts in May and had gone 0-4 after going 3-0 in April. He gave up two solo home runs and lost for the fifth time in the month Thursday, but he left the game in the eighth trailing only 2-1. His sinker got better and more consistent as the game went on, and his slider, while still erratic, was better, too. Galarraga gave up 10 hits in seven-plus innings, but he walked only one and got help from three double plays. Galarraga was charged with a third run when the leadoff single he allowed before coming out in the eighth came around to score on Luke Scott's second home run of the game.
--RHP Rick Porcello got a nice compliment from an opposing player after running his record in May to 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA in five starts. "I don't know about comparing him to anybody," SS Adam Everett said after Porcello beat Kansas City on Wednesday. "The biggest thing is whenever a guy comes out at second base, like Billy Butler, and says, 'Man, we really have to make this guy (pitch) up. He's nasty.' When you hear that, when you hear other guys say that, you know he's got something special. What I see, the way he makes guys miss, you know he can be something special if he stays healthy."
--RHP Jeremy Bonderman probably is not ready to return to the Tigers rotation following a so-so rehab start for Class AAA Toledo. Bonderman had base runners in every one of his six innings Tuesday night, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks. He struck out four with 60 of 97 pitches being strikes. "When he's ready," manager Jim Leyland said, "we'll think about Jeremy Bonderman." That indicates Detroit won't be bringing Bonderman back right away. His best fastball registered 90 mph, 3-4 mph below what Detroit would like. He was consistently in the high 80s.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10.14 -- The ERA of RHP Armando Galarraga over his last five starts through May 24, each a loss. Galarraga won 13 games last year and went 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in his first three starts of the season.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's the great thing about the game. In spring training, I didn't know Luke French from Sammy Spanish. Then all of sudden here's Luke French. Who's Luke French? I've never even heard of Luke French. That's why it's a great game. He did a hell of a job. I liked him. He's got (guts). He ain't afraid. He made a hell of an impression." -- Tigers' manager Jim Leyland after rookie LHP Luke French was brought up from Class AAA for a weekend and pitched three scoreless, hitless innings in two games before being returned to Toledo.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:52 am

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 2, 2009, 5:20 AM EDT
All those spring questions about pitcher Fernando Rodney have disappeared.
When the Tigers signed Brandon Lyon to a one-year deal this winter, it was with the thought of having him push Rodney and probably supplant him as the closer.
So far the only guy pushed has been Lyon, who has dropped in the bullpen pecking order.

Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Rodney has established himself as the closer and will be cashing in at the end of the season, when he can become a free agent.

Entering play Tuesday, Rodney is the lone AL reliever with 10 or more saves, no blown saves and no losses.

He earned his 10th save in 10 tries Sunday by completing Edwin Jackson two-hit shutout with a scoreless ninth inning.

"He's been doing a really good job, and we expect nothing less from him," Jackson said. "He comes in and gets the job done."

Throwing his mid-to-upper 90-mph fastball for strikes has been the key this year because it has prevented hitters from waiting on his world-class changeup. Those are the only two pitches Rodney throws because they're the only two pitches he needs.

Rodney, like many closers, has struggled in non-save situations and thus his ERA is 3.00. He's only walked six in 21 innings this season and was only scored upon once in 13 May appearances. A year ago Rodney inherited the closer's job when Todd Jones' career was ended by rotator cuff issues. Rodney was only 13-for-19 in save situations, had a 4.91 ERA and walked 30 batters in 40 innings.

"When I come into the game, I am very patient now with the hitters," Rodney said. "I try to make the best pitches I can and get the job done."

Rodney has pitched 20 ninth innings with the lead this year and has successfully protected the margin all 20 times -- pretty good for a guy who was a big question entering February.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:16 pm

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 2, 2009, 5:20 AM EDT
--RHP Edwin Jackson completed an excellent May on Sunday with eight innings of two-hit shutout ball. Jackson allowed 11 earned runs (13 total) over 42 1/3 innings in six starts. He beat Baltimore on Sunday by mixing in more changeups, especially to left-handed hitters, and sliders than usual. "This is not an easy place to pitch," he said. "I was watching them over the last couple of games and they'd been hitting fastballs really well. I wanted to come out and mix it up." Jackson continues to make progress with his control. He walked 10 batters in the month but half those came in one game and he walked just one with seven strikeouts on Sunday. Jackson had allowed 12 runs in nine previous innings pitched in Baltimore.
--RHP Fernando Rodney earned his 10th save in 10 tries Sunday, pitching a one-walk ninth inning to complete RHP Edwin Jackson's shutout. Rodney pretty much goes with his upper-90s fastball and his changeup and that formula worked again. He has picked up four saves in 11 days and allowed just two runs in 13 May appearances.
--RHPs Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello each finished May with 5-0 records, the veteran posting a 1.52 ERA in six starts and the 20-year-old rookie allowing 1.50 in five starts. Verlander won his fifth Saturday night after Porcello had won his three starts earlier. They became the first pair of Tigers pitchers in nine years to win five games in a month, since RHP Steve Sparks and RHP Brian Moehler each won five games in August of 2000.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 -- Years since three Detroit pitchers combined for 14 victories in a single month. RHPs Justin Verlander (5), Rick Porcello (5) and Edwin Jackson (4) completed May with 14 wins between them. In 1993, RHPs Bill Gullickson, Tom Bolton and Mike Moore totaled 14 wins.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know about comparing him to anybody. The biggest thing is whenever a guy comes out at second base, like (Kansas City's) Billy Butler, and says, 'Man, we really have to make this guy (pitch) up. He's nasty.' When you hear that, when you hear other guys say that, you know he's got something special. What I see, the way he makes guys miss, you know he can be something special if he stays healthy." -- Detroit SS Adam Everett, after rookie RHP Rick Porcello completed a 5-0 May with a 1.50 ERA by beating Kansas City on May 27
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 3, 2009, 5:00 PM EDT
--RHP Rick Porcello was on the bench as his five-game winning streak ended Tuesday night. Porcello was removed with one out in the fifth after giving up his seventh hit of the game. He was trailing 3-1. While the rookie's control wasn't bad -- he walked only one -- but his two-seam fastball was up way too high in the strike zone and Boston hitters were squaring up on it consistently. One of the hits he gave up was a two-run home run in the second on a pitch that was up in LF Jason Bay's eyes. Porcello was 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA in May.
--RHP Ryan Perry had one of those rough moments Tuesday night that rookies experience. Manager Jim Leyland has been trying to break Perry in gently as he tries to brush by the fact the rookie, the Tigers' No. 1 draft choice last year, pitched less than 14 innings of pro ball last year. But Boston's veteran hitters laid off his borderline pitches, and pretty soon Perry was aiming the ball. He cleaned up the fifth inning for fellow rookie RHP Rick Porcello, easily getting the last two outs, but he walked two batters around a single to load the bases and then walked in a run before being removed. His fastball at the end was low or wide of the plate and was not in the upper 90s. Porcello dropped to 6-4 after going 5-0 in May.
--RHP Edwin Jackson completed an excellent May on Sunday with eight innings of two-hit shutout ball. Jackson allowed 11 earned runs (13 total) over 42 1/3 innings in six starts. He beat Baltimore on Sunday by mixing in more changeups, especially to left-handed hitters, and sliders than usual. "This is not an easy place to pitch," he said. "I was watching them over the last couple of games and they'd been hitting fastballs really well. I wanted to come out and mix it up." Jackson continues to make progress with his control. He walked 10 batters in the month but half those came in one game and he walked just one with seven strikeouts on Sunday. Jackson had allowed 12 runs in nine previous innings pitched in Baltimore.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 -- Years since three Detroit pitchers combined for 14 victories in a single month. RHPs Justin Verlander (5), Rick Porcello (5) and Edwin Jackson (4) completed May with 14 wins between them. In 1993, RHPs Bill Gullickson, Tom Bolton and Mike Moore totaled 14 wins.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't know about comparing him to anybody. The biggest thing is whenever a guy comes out at second base, like (Kansas City's) Billy Butler, and says, 'Man, we really have to make this guy (pitch) up. He's nasty.' When you hear that, when you hear other guys say that, you know he's got something special. What I see, the way he makes guys miss, you know he can be something special if he stays healthy." -- Detroit SS Adam Everett, after rookie RHP Rick Porcello completed a 5-0 May with a 1.50 ERA by beating Kansas City on May 27.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:52 am

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 5, 2009, 5:20 AM EDT
The Tigers entered the 2008 season with optimistic forecasts of an offense that was going to score 1,000 times.
Slightly more than a year later, it wouldn't be surprising in the next 50 days to see the Tigers swing a deal to add a power hitter to their lineup.
Yes, Miguel Cabrera, Brandon Inge and Curtis Granderson have reached double digits in home runs. But Magglio Ordonez remains stuck on two, Marcus Thames hasn't seen enough playing time to break a sweat because of injury, and none of the other players is a legitimate threat to drive in runs with long hits.

And when Cabrera pulled up limping at second base Thursday, grabbing his left hamstring, you could almost sense general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland holding their breath for 30 seconds.

Cabrera is holding down the cleanup spot with little or no help from the third and fifth spots in the batting order. Ordonez has begun to hit again, but only singles plus the occasional double. Granderson is beginning to look like a possible solution at No. 5, but he's not the tested presence of a Carlos Guillen, for instance.

The decline of Gary Sheffield, let go at the end of spring training, and the sore right shoulder that will keep Guillen out of the lineup cost the Tigers two proven run producers. Sheffield, even at limited strength, drove in runs.

Now Leyland is writing names such as Clete Thomas, Ryan Raburn and Josh Anderson into his lineup on a nearly daily basis. They might be solid run-producers some day, but not today.

The Tigers do not want to attempt a pennant run without a better offense. They can wait some more to see if Guillen is going to come around or if Ordonez will at least show he can hit doubles on a regular basis again.

RED SOX 6, TIGERS 3: Dontrelle Willis took a second consecutive step backward in his bid to come back from extreme wildness and an anxiety disorder. Willis didn't allow Boston a hit, but he only lasted 2 1/3 innings because in the third he hit a batter and walked four.

Willis faced the minimum over the first two innings, his lone walk erased by a double play, but after hitting Jacoby Ellsbury with an 0-2 pitch, "he just kind of came undone," manager Jim Leyland said.

The Tigers, who scored three off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the second, still held a 3-2 lead when Zach Miner came in, but just like the night before, he was roughed up before he could retire the side.

The first batter, Jason Bay, lined a two-run double over third to put Boston ahead 4-3, and the Red Sox added runs on a groundout and single before the inning was over. Miguel Cabrera singled in the second but pulled his left hamstring rounding second on Curtis Granderson's single. Cabrera limped home on Brandon Inge's two-run double, and an RBI groundout by Adam Everett scored the Tigers' final run.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:02 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 9, 2009, 5:00 AM EDT

Was Jim Leyland trying to one-up Ozzie Guillen?
Guillen, manager of the Chicago White Sox, blistered his team between games of Monday's makeup doubleheader for poor at-bats and sloppy play in Detroit's 5-4 victory.
Detroit's manager reacted in much the same manner after Chicago took the second game, 6-1.

"It wasn't very good," Leyland said. "A terrible offensive performance.

"We had a lineup that should have been full of energy, running around. And we got one or two hits. That's absolutely terrible in my opinion."

Veteran pitcher Jose Contreras stifled Detroit on just one hit over his eight innings.

"We didn't do anything to challenge him," Leyland said, warming to his chiding. "That's absolutely sickening, if you want to know the truth."

Unless the bases are loaded, Detroit isn't producing runs in quantities large enough to survive the few mediocre starts it has received lately.

And with first baseman Miguel Cabrera now hurting, right fielder Magglio Ordonez suffering a power shutdown and the top of the lineup not getting on base, Detroit's offense is suffering.

GAME ONE -- TIGERS 5, WHITE SOX 4: 3B Brandon Inge grounded a single to left with one out in the top of the ninth delivered pinch-runner Josh Anderson from third to give Detroit the win in the first game of the day-night doubleheader. RHP Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save in 11 chances. RHP Joel Zumaya earned a win for the second straight game despite giving up a game-tying home run for the second game in a row. RHP Armando Galarraga looked decent in the 6 2/3 innings he worked, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks. SS Adam Everett had an RBI single in the second followed by a sacrifice fly by C Dane Sardinha. Inge drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth and CF Curtis Granderson had an RBI single in the sixth.

GAME TWO -- WHITE SOX 6, TIGERS 1: A pinch-hit home run by DH/OF Marcus Thames in the ninth inning Monday night helped Detroit avoid being shut out. The Tigers were held to only two hits in RHP Jeremy Bonderman's first start since June 1 of last year. Bonderman did not have the precise command he will need to be successful if he's only going throw 88-91 mph like he did Monday. He gave up eight hits, and three were home runs that accounted for four Chicago runs.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:10 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 12, 2009, 6:00 AM EDT
With Ryan Perry having been optioned to the minors, manager Jim Leyland is looking for a seventh-inning reliever.
He'd like it to be Brandon Lyon.
"I have to get this guy more active, and I will," Leyland said after an effective Lyon performance Tuesday followed by a seven-up, seven-down outing Thursday. "He doesn't know it yet, but he'll be a big key to our success as this season goes on. And in turn, he's got to do the job."

Lyon was brought in to contest for the closer's role in spring training, but inconsistency cost him that shot, and more inconsistency early in the season put him further down in the pecking order.

But Lyon has not been scored on in seven of his last nine appearances since getting torched for five runs May 13.

Leyland had been using Lyon, Bobby Seay and Perry in the sixth and seventh innings to set up first Joel Zumaya and then closer Fernando Rodney.

The manager likes to spot Seay against lefties because he's more effective in more limited use.

Perry, despite his walks and inexperience, had shown limited effectiveness as a middle-inning reliever. Jeremy Bonderman can't be expected to fill that role while he's trying to redefine his pitching style to reflect the loss of a dominating fastball.

With Nate Robertson, Zach Miner and Bonderman now being used in early and middle relief, Leyland is hoping Lyon can be the seventh-inning guy. If not, look for Perry to return if he makes some progress in the minors.

WHITE SOX 4, TIGERS 3: Joel Zumaya failed to retire a batter in the ninth inning of a tie game, allowing two hits and a walk while making a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. Zumaya slipped fielding the bunt, then threw it past first base as he tried underhanding the ball to Placido Polanco. A walk loaded the bases, and a single through the right side of a drawn-in infield ended the game, which was delayed almost three hours at the start by rain.

Ramon Santiago hit a solo home run in the eighth for Detroit's first run, and Curtis Granderson added a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth to create a 3-3 tie.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:26 pm

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 15, 2009, 7:40 AM EDT
--LHP Dontrelle Willis continued to regress Sunday with an eight-walk start, the most given up by a Detroit starter in more than three decades (since 1974). Willis walked in two batters in the opening inning as Detroit found itself in a 3-0 hole before its second turn at bat. He lasted just 3 2/3 six-hit innings before needing relief. "I've got to find a way to get the ball in play or Skip (manager Jim Leyland) is going to have to find somebody to do it. I'm going to have to kick it in gear, get it done," Willis said. "I go one step forward and two steps back and it's unacceptable the way I played.
Said Leland: "It's a tough issue for the guy because he's been through a lot to try to get back. Periodically, it's worked a little bit, but consistently, it has not."
--UT Don Kelly started for the second time in three games Sunday and finally got his first two hits as a Tiger. Kelly led off and doubled his first time at bat. He lifted a low changeup into right field for a two-run single in the seventh. Kelly was picked by Detroit in the eighth round of the 2000 draft but never made the majors with the Tigers, leaving for Pittsburgh, his home area, for a cameo in 2007. He went to Arizona's organization in 2008 and signed back with Detroit after being released this winter. The 6-foot-4 Kelly tried to add more muscle to his body this year and was hitting .339 for Toledo at the time he was brought up by Detroit. "Just going out there, working hard," Kelly said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1972 -- Last year a Detroit pitcher had two hits and two RBI in a game he won prior to rookie RHP Rick Porcello accomplishing the feat June 12 at Pittsburgh in a 3-1 victory.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think what it boils down to is this guy is one of those athletes. He's 20 years old, he's just a baby, but he's an athlete." -- Tigers' skipper Jim Leyland on RHP Rick Porcello, who had a rookie-high seven wins and collected RBI singles twice in his first pro at-bats.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:56 am

[b]Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange[/b
]


Updated: June 17, 2009, 5:40 AM EDT
Two bad contracts are coming back to bite the Tigers.
Yes, one is the three-year deal the Tigers gave left-hander Dontrelle Willis before he'd even thrown a pitch for them. The return on that $30 million investment is one win.
But another three-year deal hampers Detroit -- the one with left-hander Nate Robertson to, which also doesn't expire until after the 2010 season.

Willis gets all the attention for his heart-warming comeback from a disastrous 2008 in which he couldn't throw a strike and appeared in only a half-dozen games for the Tigers. Placed on the disabled list at the end of spring training with an anxiety disorder, Willis made headlines with a stirring return, a comeback that over his last four starts has fallen completely apart.

Manager Jim Leyland announced Tuesday that Willis will not start when his turn comes up Saturday. The likelihood of a pitcher who just walked eight batters in 3 2/3 innings going to the bullpen is extremely remote -- especially with a left-hander already in the bullpen who amounts to a coin flip when it comes to getting hitters out.

Robertson was brought in June 13 and gave up a grand slam. He relieved Justin Verlander on Tuesday and faced four batters, and all four not only reached base but scored as well. The first two singled, and Robertson walked the next two.

Leyland made a point of giving Robertson crucial eighth-inning work recently as a means of telling his former starter he was an important member of the team.

It's tough for him to do, though, when Robertson is brought in to face three left-handed hitters and he doesn't get any of them out.

With an offense that is sputtering badly, good pitching becomes more important than ever.

CARDINALS 11, TIGERS 2: Justin Verlander gave up as many runs in four innings -- five -- as he had in his previous five starts combined, losing for the first time after seven straight victories. The Tigers, down 4-0 after the first, managed only two solo home runs, by Brandon Inge in the sixth and Miguel Cabrera in the eighth. Nate Robertson followed Verlander to begin the fifth and faced four batters, the first two singling and the second two walking, before Ryan Perry relieved him and gave up a three-run double. Perry also gave up two solo home runs in the sixth.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:41 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange

Updated: June 18, 2009, 5:40 AM EDT

Sometimes different is good, sometimes it's bad and sometimes it's just different.
Manager Jim Leyland shook up his batting order Wednesday night in an effort to put some spark in a lifeless offense.
But the result was nil. Detroit scored three runs to make it seven straight games of three runs or less and a total of 30 this season, one of the highest in the league. The saving statistic for the Tigers is that division rivals Chicago, Kansas City and Minnesota are also having trouble scoring more than three runs per game.

Leyland restored center fielder Curtis Granderson to leadoff, and his first four times up he walked, hit consecutive solo home runs and singled -- then struck out to end the game. Granderson has 16 home runs this season.

"I'd like to have Grandy there and keep him there right now, to be honest," Leyland said. "But with the way the lineup goes sometimes, it's pretty hard because you're trying to get some punch in the middle. I don't know, I'd like to get him back there, we'll see. We will see what Marcus looks like there. If Marcus or somebody really starts going, I think you're more apt to do that."

Leyland also emulated St. Louis manager Tony La Russa in that he put his best hitter, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, in the third spot in the batting order. Cabrera had been Detroit's cleanup hitter since early last season.

"I might start doing that on a regular basis just to get him up there in the first inning," Leyland said. "I haven't really cared about that so much before because of the way the lineups shook out, but right now we've got to scratch through some things to see if we can find some kind of combination that gets us going a little bit."

Right fielder Magglio Ordonez, one of several scuffling Detroit hitters, was dropped from third to fifth.

The new cleanup hitter is left fielder Marcus Thames, who would figure to get much of the DH time once Detroit is finished visiting NL cities.

"We'll see what Marcus looks like there," Leyland said. "If Marcus gets going, you are more apt to do that. He certainly deserves a shot; he has juice in his bat and a track record. ... It's nice to get Marcus' bat in the lineup.

"You scratch for some things to find a combination that gets us going."

Wednesday, the results weren't different, only the lineup.

CARDINALS 4, TIGERS 3: Too bad CF Curtis Granderson couldn't have batted three or four more times. Granderson had two solo home runs, a single and a walk after being returned to his normal leadoff spot Wednesday night, but the only other run weak-hitting Detroit could muster was on a sacrifice fly by RF Magglio Ordonez. Manager Jim Leyland shook up his batting order, bumping 1B Miguel Cabrera up to third, among other changes, but Detroit has scored three or less runs in seven straight games. Granderson hit his home runs in the third and fifth innings, but St. Louis answered each time to take the lead. A bases-loaded walk by RHP Joel Zumaya in the eighth scored what turned out to be the winning run. "You just have to weather the storm," Leyland said. "You just can't start tinkering all the time. The basic answer is guys just got to starting hitting, no matter where they are in the lineup."
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:32 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 19, 2009, 4:40 AM EDT
The Tigers have called up a young pitcher to start Saturday in place of ineffective and now-disabled Dontrelle Willis. They're hoping Alfredo Figaro can become a part of the rotation for the remainder of the season.
With a more conservative approach, the pitcher the Tigers might have been calling up would have been a 20-year-old by the name of Rick Porcello.
But the Tigers already bucked convention by keeping the rookie around from the start of the season.

Porcello pitched so well and showed such maturity that manager Jim Leyland and general manager Dave Dombrowski decided to stow conventional wisdom and bring the one-year pro north with the club at the end of spring training.

Yes, they are trying to protect him somewhat by limiting his innings and monitoring his pitch count so that it stays south of 100 pitches. But he's also taking a regular turn in the rotation.

The result: eight victories from Porcello and perhaps the best three-man combo of starting pitchers in the majors when you add in Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson.

That's eight victories the Tigers might not have had if they had stashed him in the minors and brought him along in a more traditional fashion.

Given the way Willis and Armando Galarraga have collapsed since the end of April, it is likely Porcello would have been up earlier anyway.

But had he begun the season in the minors, he certainly would have been the pitcher chosen to replace Willis in the rotation Saturday.

As it played out, though, Porcello has 13 starts behind him. He and the Tigers are the better for it.

TIGERS 6, CARDINALS 3: Rookie RHP Rick Porcello, staked to a four-run lead after the top of the first inning, allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings Thursday night to become the Tigers' biggest winner with his eighth victory of the season.

2B Placido Polanco and LF Marcus Thames gave the Tigers, who scored more than three runs for the first time in eight games, some breathing room in the eighth with solo home runs.

Two of the runs allowed by Porcello, 20, were unearned. He allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out three while raising his record over his last nine starts to 7-1 with a 2.64 ERA. The Tigers scored two runs on groundballs in the first, added one on an RBI single by 3B Brandon Inge, and Inge scored on a double to left by C Gerald Laird.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:59 pm

Go get em Rick!!!


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:01 pm

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange


Updated: June 22, 2009, 4:20 AM EDT
--RHP Ryan Perry was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo after Sunday's game following a rough week in which he looked really overmatched for the first time this season. The hard-throwing rookie was sent to Toledo June 8 but recalled four days later without having thrown a pitch for the Mud Hens because RHP Jeremy Bonderman was placed on the disabled list. Since then he had allowed eight hits, walked two and given up five runs in 4 1/3 innings. "He needs to pitch," manager Jim Leyland said. "We were caught in a bind and brought him back up. It's not fair to him right now. He needs to work on his slider. He needs to go get a little better command (of his fastball and slider). This is the best thing for him right now."
--RHP Alfredo Figaro won his Major League debut Saturday and showed the potential of being a serviceable member of Detroit's rotation. Figaro threw a fastball that ranged from 92 to 97 mph and displayed a slider with excellent downward tilt. His changeup needs work to become a reliable pitch and he threw strikes more than pitched to spots but there looks to be enough there for him to survive the jump from Double-A to the majors. He gave up two runs on eight hits in five innings but got help from his defense and made key pitches when he had to. "He had pretty good control but not real good command," manager Jim Leyland said. "But he did fine. He has a really outstanding arm. He handled himself very well for the first time. If you throw strikes, you've got a chance. If this kid goes out there and throws strikes and gets hit, I can live with that. If he walks seven or eight guys, that's hard to live with."

--RF Magglio Ordonez has been the subject of some verbal posturing between his agent, Scott Boras, and his manager, Jim Leyland, in the public prints the past few days. Boras was critical of the Tigers in an interview with the Detroit News for sitting Ordonez down even though he's hitting .273. "The reason I responded was I took that to almost question my integrity," Leyland said. "If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, but I'm not going to have someone question my integrity." Boras left Leyland a phone message, which the manager reported Sunday. "He left me a nice message later, to be honest with you," Leyland said. "He has a job to do, which I'm very respectful of. And I have a job to do, which I hope he's very respectful of. It's over. The main thing is, this is not about Scott Boras and me. This is about Magglio Ordonez the player, Jim Leyland the manager, and the Detroit Tigers. I talked with Magglio (Saturday) and Magglio's fine." Leyland said he may return Ordonez to the lineup Tuesday or Wednesday.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10,000 -- Approximate dip in per-game attendance for Detroit at Comerica Park this season. The Tigers are averaging some 28,000 fans this season, which would track them for a season's total of about 2.4 million, down from the record 3.2 million of a year ago. That average figures to go up as the Tigers traditionally draw better in the summer months.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I say to myself, 'Welcome to the big leagues.' But that is baseball. I said, 'Let me throw it a little harder.'" -- Rookie RHP Alfredo Figaro on his reaction Saturday after giving up a home run in his Major League debut. Figaro struck out eight in five innings and won his first start with Detroit.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:43 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: June 23, 2009, 5:00 AM EDT
The salary numbers have nothing to do with it, not if you know manager Jim Leyland.

The production figures, however, have everything to do with why Leyland is giving Magglio Ordonez a brief vacation.
Ordonez will return to the lineup soon -- Leyland said maybe Tuesday or Wednesday -- because the Tigers need his run production.

They need more than two home runs and 22 RBIs from their starting right fielder/designated hitter. He has not hit a home run since April 27 and has just three extra-base hits since May 25 despite pretty regular playing time.

There has been some speculation the Tigers are laying the groundwork for getting out of Ordonez's contract, an $18 million option that kicks in if Ordonez starts 69 more games or has 215 more plate appearances this season.

"This is about Magglio Ordonez and a manager trying to do something that he thinks may help and get him right," Leyland said right after he announced he was giving his right fielder a breather. "This is about no other issue. This is about Magglio Ordonez and trying to get him right so he can contribute the way he feels good about himself, because, by his own admission, he's embarrassed."

This is a player who won the 2007 American League batting title with a .363 average, including 28 home runs with 139 RBIs. Last year, he hit .317 with 21 home runs and 103 RBIs.

Leyland is hoping part of the problem was Ordonez putting so much pressure on himself to carry the team he fell into a power slump from which he has yet to recover. Taking a few days away from the lineup, especially with the Tigers winning some games while he was out, could help him ease up.

Leyland was taking Monday to deliberate about returning Ordonez on Tuesday. He was a little leery about putting him back in the lineup to face Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

"I am not going to play him one game and if he doesn't get a hit, then take him right out again," Leyland said. "I am really looking at stuff like batting practice and is the ball jumping off the bat, is there more flexibility in the swing, and things of that nature. We are going to continue to study that a little bit. I am just going to try to do like everything else. I am going to try to use common sense. At some point he is going to be out there. Which day? I don't know."
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:31 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: June 24, 2009, 5:20 AM EDT
It looked as if manager Jim Leyland was going against the grain when, to his thinking, he wasn't.

Leyland selected right-handed Ryan Raburn to pinch-hit for left-handed Josh Anderson against right-hander Kevin Gregg with a man out and a man on in the ninth on Tuesday.
Raburn made Leyland look smart by slamming a hanging slider for a walk-off home run that gave Detroit a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs and its fifth straight victory.

"The kid did it," Leyland said. "I was hoping maybe he'd hang a slider and he might run into one. There was nothing genius about it."

Anderson is primarily a contact hitter who keeps the ball on the ground or hits line drives. Raburn has occasional power but is more likely to put one in the gaps so Don Kelly, who drew a nine-pitch walk, could have a chance to score from first.

"Right-handers hit that guy better than left-handers," Leyland said. "He throws more splitters to left-handers and uses sliders more to right-handers. Raburn has a chance to hit one out of the ballpark. That's a situation where you just take a shot."

The usually undemonstrative Leyland gave Raburn a long hug and a big grin after the postgame celebrations were over.

TIGERS 5, CUBS 4: Ryan Raburn hit a two-run pinch home run with one out in the ninth inning to give Detroit its fifth straight win. Raburn, batting for left-handed Josh Anderson, hit a hanging 0-1 slider into the bullpen near the flag pole in left-center field to end a see-saw battle of two-run home runs. Chicago got a two-run shot from Micah Hoffpauir to erase a 3-2 Detroit lead in the eighth after Brandon Inge hit a two-run home run in the seventh to overcome a 2-1 Cubs edge. Edwin Jackson overcame some wildness and worked seven innings, allowing four hits and four walks. Joel Zumaya gave up the Hoffpauir home run and Brandon Lyon got the final out of the eighth and got the victory.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:13 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: June 26, 2009, 4:40 AM EDT

Winning streaks usually are highlighted by two things: good starting pitching and good relief pitching.

Sure, defense and hitting figure in, and sometimes a bad pitching performance is erased by sheer slugging.
But winning streaks such as the Tigers' current seven-game roll generally find the starters keeping the team in the game and the relievers not giving up leads.

The pitchers manager Jim Leyland typically uses in the late innings have been effective.

Joel Zumaya, working anywhere from the sixth through eighth inning, has allowed five earned runs in his last 12 appearances covering 11 innings. He has 13 strikeouts in that stretch, during which he has a 2-1 record.

Brandon Lyon has worked his way out of an early-season hole and is now entrusted with seventh- and eighth-inning jobs. Since May 26, he has been scored upon just once in 16 innings covering 11 games. He's gone as long as 2 2/3 innings and as short as one batter.

Bobby Seay hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 appearances dating to May 28. He has pitched 8 2/3 innings, and Leyland is able to spot him against a specific left-handed hitter or use him for multiple batters. Seay has mainly worked seventh and eighth innings.

Fernando Rodney adds gray hairs to the few Leyland has remaining on his head, but he hasn't coughed up any saves yet. On Thursday, he made it two straight and 16-for-16 this season.

TIGERS 6, CUBS 5: LF Ryan Raburn drove in two runs with a double and a single Thursday, and 2B Ramon Santiago hit a two-run home run to pace the Tigers to their seventh straight win.

Raburn's RBI single in the fifth drove in the winning run. RHP Fernando Rodney gave up a solo home run while earning his 16th save in as many chances this season. RF Magglio Ordonez completed a comeback from early 3-0 and 4-2 deficits when he ended a career-long, 40-game homer drought with a two-run shot in the fourth for a 5-4 lead.

Santiago hit his home run in the third to make it 3-2, and Raburn's RBI double preceded the Ordonez home run. RHP Armando Galarraga won for the first time in 11 starts despite giving up a three-run home run in the first inning. Galarraga allowed just one run after that and struck out five while allowing six hits in his six innings.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:31 pm

Quote :
Fernando Rodney adds gray hairs to the few Leyland has remaining on his head

mine too!


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:34 am

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes
by Sports Xchange


Updated: June 30, 2009, 5:00 AM EDT
--3B Brandon Inge played his 76th game Monday night without a miss for Detroit, but that streak might come to an end at Oakland in the next two days. Inge has tendinitis in his left knee patellar tendon that he aggravated Sunday beating out a single in the fifth inning. Inge was removed after six innings in favor of UTL Don Kelly with Detroit trailing, 6-1. "I'm probably going to rest him a game out here," Manager Jim Leyland said. "He's hurting." Kelly, UT Ryan Raburn or IF Ramon Santiago can play third, the manager said. "Tendinitis means rest, and I don't have time to rest," Inge said. "It definitely hurts. I'm probably missing a couple of steps on defense and probably a couple out of the box when I'm running. But I still feel I can be helpful."
--Rookie LHP Luke French, who made his major league debut in a cameo against Oakland earlier this season, has been recalled by Detroit to start Friday in Minnesota. French was available for relief Monday and could possibly pitch to a batter or two Tuesday at Oakland. French was 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA in his last six starts at Class AAA Toledo and had 41 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings. He's 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA at Toledo, and pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Detroit in two games against the Oakland A's in May. The Tigers made room for French by optioning rookie RHP Alfredo Figaro back to Toledo. Figaro won his first start against the Brewers, June 20, but was tagged for eight runs (seven earned) and 10 hits in Saturday's 8-1 loss to the Astros and Manager Jim Leyland expressed disappointment in his lack of aggressiveness on the mound. It is possible the two will swap places on occasion to take advantage of lineup matchups.
BY THE NUMBERS: 40 -- Games between home runs by RF Magglio Ordonez when he hit his third of the season June 25, a span of 150 at-bats without one. It was the longest streak of games without a home run in his career.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It might be exciting for the guy in section 129, seat six, but it's not worth a hoot to me." -- Manager Jim Leyland, who'd rather RHP Joel Zumaya throw strikes than 104-mph balls.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:53 am

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: July 3, 2009, 4:00 AM EDT
Sometimes the numbers don't tell the whole story. The Tigers will enter the weekend in first place in the American League Central despite just three wins in June from their two best pitchers.

Justin Verlander was 2-1 in June with a 2.91 ERA, while Edwin Jackson, sporting the same ERA, was 1-1. Verlander also lost his first July start.
The Tigers were 15-13 for the month, as a strong effort by the bullpen picked the club up.

The chief reason the aces didn't win more and the club wasn't able to get closer to 20 victories was the offense.

The Tigers hit just .249. Thanks to 35 home runs, they were able to score 108 times, one more run than they had in April but down from 137 in May.

"We're going to have to step it up the second half if we're going to stay in contention or anything," manager Jim Leyland said. "I've been disappointed in our offense the whole first half, to be honest with you. There are some guys who have decent numbers, but sometimes you can make numbers into whatever you want to make them.

"I'm not frustrated. It's hard to say you're frustrated when you're in first place. We've done a lot of good things the first half. But the better days for this team should be lying ahead."
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:06 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: July 6, 2009, 2:40 AM EDT
The schedule now tilts in Detroit's favor.
The Tigers just finished a stretch of 26 games in which all but six were away from Comerica Park, where the club is 23-11 this season.
Detroit returns home to host Kansas City and Cleveland before breaking for the All-Star Game.

Detroit returns to action the Friday after the break at New York against the Yankees.

It's a one-city road trip before Detroit returns home again for two more series.

The series-opener Monday against Kansas City will of course be only Detroit's 35th home game this season with 47 of 81 road contests already out of the way.

While the Tigers are a respectable 21-26 away from home, they've been much batter at home.

TWINS 6, TIGERS 2: Possible All-Star 3B Brandon Inge's 19th home run, a two-run shot in the ninth, was all the offense Detroit could muster Sunday in dropping two of three at Minnesota. Rookie RHP Rick Porcello breezed through three innings but gave up a two-run home run in the fourth and then four more runs before retiring the side in his final inning of work. A two-run throwing error by SS Adam Everett on a bases-loaded RBI single put the game effectively out of reach. "Too little too late," manager Jim Leyland said. "Porcello, for the first time, I thought lost his composure. And, last but not least, our starting pitchers have been getting to the point where their pitch counts are way too high by the sixth inning." At one point Leyland came out to the mound and told LHP Fu-Te Ni to "throw the ball over the plate. You'll be OK."
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:10 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: July 22, 2009, 5:00 AM EDT
Another tough decision about an aging veteran will be facing the Tigers' decision-makers before the end of the month. This time it concerns left fielder Carlos Guillen.
Guillen returns to his rehab assignment Wednesday, bumped up from Class A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo.
"He'll be there a couple of days and then we'll re-evaluate it," manager Jim Leyland said.

Guillen missed games Sunday and Monday, returning to Detroit to have his still sore right shoulder examined again. It was bothering him when he hit right-handed.

But when he does come back, somebody has to go. Josh Anderson is out of options; cutting him would deprive the club of badly needed speed on the bases.

Ryan Raburn and Clete Thomas both have options remaining, which makes both vulnerable even though both have been useful part-time players.

And once Guillen comes back, what do they do with him? He's not about to displace DH Marcus Thames, although putting the cleanup hitter into left field and DH'ing Guillen would be a possibility.

They also could return Guillen to the disabled list.

TIGERS 9, MARINERS 7: Struggling Magglio Ordonez hit a first-inning grand slam and five relievers protected rookie Rick Porcello's ninth victory of the season. Porcello, pitching with 16 days between starts, allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings and left after an 8-1 lead had shrunk to 8-5. Fu-Te Ni and Bobby Seay each gave up solo home runs and Detroit tacked on an extra run on a home run by Miguel Cabrera in the sixth. Fernando Rodney hit a batter and gave up a single, then settled down to make it 20-for-20 in saves this season. Placido Polanco had an RBI double in the first and Ordonez hit his grand slam, his fifth home run of the season, to give the Tigers a 5-1 lead before they made an out. Polanco also had a solo home run and Ryan Raburn a two-run triple.
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:37 pm

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange


Updated: July 29, 2009, 5:40 AM EDT
The Tigers' chances of making a deadline deal for a hitter, either this month or next, go up as the team's success on the road goes down.
Detroit lost its seventh straight road game Tuesday night at Texas, 7-3, a contest that featured 15 straight outs by the Tigers until DH Carlos Guillen singled in the ninth.
Manager Jim Leyland has been going around in circles trying to find solutions for his sporadic offense.

He opened the season with right fielder Magglio Ordonez as a regular and, after gradually cutting him down to platoon status, has returned the slumping slugger to the starting lineup for two straight games. With Cleveland scheduled to start two lefties against Detroit this weekend, Ordonez figures to get one last long look before the Tigers face an $18 million decision -- the cost of his 2010 contract, which vests in slightly more than 100 at-bats.

"The ball's jumping off his bat a little bit better," Leyland said. "He's getting to the ball a little bit better."

GM Dave Dombrowski has never been shy about pulling the trade trigger, but with a scarcity of available game-changing hitters and a limited amount of blue-chip prospects in the minors, Detroit's chances of bringing in offensive help seems slim.

RANGERS 7, TIGERS 3: A three-run Detroit second inning Tuesday night was washed out by a four-run Texas second that sent the Tigers to their seventh straight road loss. LHP Luke French gave up three straight two-out hits on low-and-away pitches that were driven the other way as the Rangers erased the 3-0 deficit. SS Ramon Santiago had an RBI double and C Dusty Ryan followed with a two-run single before the Detroit offense shut down. The Tigers had six of their seven hits by the fourth inning. "The kiss of death was when we scored three and come right back out and give 'em four," manager Jim Leyland said. "That pretty much sums it up."
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PostSubject: Re: From the FSN Daily Wire   Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:51 am

Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch
by Sports Xchange



Updated: August 7, 2009, 4:40 AM EDT
Going against the grain is not something that makes Jim Leyland nervous.
Many managers gravitate toward playing veterans, for reliability and because rookie mistakes tend to grate on skippers as they age.
Leyland likes young talent, though. He has the patience that lets him help youngsters work through their mistakes. And he has the ability to give them the kind of confidence he has in them.

His two primary examples with the Tigers were when he kept young pitchers Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya in 2006, the year the Tigers made the World Series.

This year the Tigers defied tradition by keeping Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry, the organization's top choices from the 2008 and 2009 drafts.

Now they've brought up catcher Alex Avila, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft, and Leyland intends to play him more than once a week.

"To start with, I'm going to catch him with (Armando) Galarraga and (Rick) Porcello," Leyland said, "and have Gerald (Laird) catch the other guys. And that's not etched in stone. That's just that I don't want to break him in trying to catch Verlander and (Edwin) Jackson, not that the other guys aren't that good, but they're a little easier to catch. Those guys have pretty much been on a roll with Gerald."

Part of the thinking is that Laird had already exceeded his game total from last year. Part of it is that Laird isn't hitting much. And part of it is that the two previous backups, Dane Sardinha and Dusty Ryan, weren't hitting a skinny guy's weight.

Avila is only in his first full pro season, although he played in Class A ball last year after signing.

"Even though I'm new to the team, I do know most of the guys," Avila said, noting extensive spring training work with the staff.

Leyland wants to break Avila in as quickly as he can. He'll catch Jackson during his between-starts side session this weekend.

TIGERS 7, ORIOLES 3: Rookie Rick Porcello, 20, didn't give up his first hit until the leadoff batter in the fifth. His rookie battery mate, Alex Avila, had an RBI double in the third and scored after singling in the fifth to lead the Tigers to their third win in a four-game series against Baltimore.

Brandon Inge hit a two-run home run to spark a four-run second inning, and Curtis Granderson doubled home a run in the same frame. Granderson's infield single scored Avila. Porcello became the first Tigers pitcher under the age of 21 to reach 10 wins since Dave Rozema in 1977. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two runs.
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