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 Ex-Tiger Alan Trammell sings praises of Porcello, Inge

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PostSubject: Ex-Tiger Alan Trammell sings praises of Porcello, Inge   Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:20 am

Ex-Tiger Alan Trammell sings praises of Porcello, Inge

BY JOHN LOWE • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • June 25, 2009

Alan Trammell has a direct connection to Brandon Inge and Rick Porcello.

Trammell met Inge on what Inge recalls as his first day in pro ball -- at the Detroit Tigers' Jamestown (N.Y.) farm club 11 summers ago. Trammell later became Inge's Tigers manager.

Porcello is 20. He is likely the Tigers' best performer at that age or younger since ... Trammell, also 20, played full-time at shortstop in 1978.

On Wednesday night, Trammell watched Porcello from his coaching post in the Cubs' dugout.

"He handles himself quite well, and he looks like he's going to be around a long time," Trammell said. "He's got a nice feel for a breaking ball and a good sinker.


"At 20 years old, that's pretty impressive."

Inge bailed out Porcello from the first of many jams that he and the bullpen faced. With runners at first and second and none out in the second, Inge fielded Jake Fox's grounder and began to throw to second before he even stepped on the bag for the force.

Second baseman Placido Polanco had to reach down for Inge's throw, and Fox barely beat Polanco's relay to first. Otherwise, Inge would have launched an around-the-horn triple play.

The play exemplified to Trammell why Inge is a standout third baseman.

"Any great third baseman has good first-step quickness," Trammell said. "That has to be the case, so you can read the hop and be on it.

"Brandon is exceptional at it. His first-step quickness is as good as there is in the big leagues. Really. He's that good at that. He should win a Gold Glove at some point."

The Tigers' last turned a triple play on Aug. 1, 2001. That one began when Seattle's Mark McLemore lined to second baseman Damion Easley.

The crowd saluted this triple-play attempt with a huge ovation.

"I appreciate that," Inge said. "The way they responded was awesome.

"It was a fun try. But the same knee (the left one) that kind of hurt me the other day is the same knee I tagged the base with, and I couldn't get enough on the throw to Polanco. If my knee was OK, we would have turned it."

He aggravated the knee when he charged a ball the night before. He said both knees have hurt lately.

"I think it's from catching last year, and it's catching up to me a little bit," he said. "It's nothing I haven't been dealing with all year."

WHO'D A THUNK IT: There’s a curiosity about Miguel Cabrera’s power production this season. His homer Wednesday night was his 16th of the season. All but one of them have come off right-handed pitching.

Cabrera has one homer in 59 at-bats off lefties. Last season, when he led the AL in homers, he had nine homers off lefties -- one for every 17 at-bats off them.

This will all be something to keep in mind today when Tigers’ latest streak of not facing a left-hander ends. Lefty Ted Lilly is due to start for the Cubs in the finale of the three-game series.

This will mark the first time in 10 games, and only the sixth time in the last month, that a lefty has started against the Tigers.

For the season, the Tigers are eight games above .500 when a lefty starts against them. They’re a game above .500 when they face a right-hander -- as they’ve done in all six games of their winning streak.

LOW-SCORING WINS: The Tigers have nine wins this season in which they’ve scored three runs or fewer. That ranks second in the league to Seattle, which has 10, according to Baseball-Reference.com. In 2006, when their pitching led them to the playoffs, the Tigers won 19 games in which they scored three runs or fewer.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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