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Detroit Tigers

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On April 29, 2008 @ 12:42 pm In Bronx Banter | Comments Disabled

Detroit Tigers

2007 Record: 88-74 (.543)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 90-72 (.553)

Manager: Jim Leyland
General Manager: Dave Dombrowski

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Comerica Park (101/101)

Who’s Replacing Whom:

Miguel Cabrera replaces Sean Casey
Jacque Jones replaces Craig Monroe
Edgar Renteria replaces Brandon Inge in the lineup
Brandon Inge replaces Mike Rabelo on the bench
Ramon Santiago takes over Omar Infante’s playing time
Armando Galarraga is filling in for Dontrelle Willis (DL)
Dontrelle Willis (DL) replaces Andrew Miller and Chad Durbin
Kenny Rogers takes back starts from Jair Jurrjens and Mike Maroth
Aquilino Lopez is filling in for Fernando Rodney (DL)
Denny Bautista is filling in for Joel Zumaya (DL) and replacing Wil Ledezma Clay Rapada is taking over for Tim Byrdak and Macay McBride

25-man Roster:

1B – Miguel Cabrera (R)
2B – Placido Polanco (R)
SS – Edgar Renteria (R)
3B – Carlos Guillen (S)
C – Ivan Rodriguez (R)
RF – Magglio Ordoñez (R)
CF – Curtis Granderson (L)
LF – Jacque Jones (L)
DH – Gary Sheffield (R)

Bench:

UT – Brandon Inge (R)
OF – Marcus Thames (R)
OF – Ryan Raburn (R)
IF – Ramon Santiago (R)

Rotation:

R – Justin Verlander
L – Kenny Rogers
R – Jeremy Bonderman
L – Nate Robertson
R – Armando Galarraga

Bullpen

R – Todd Jones
R – Jason Grilli
L – Bobby Seay
R – Aquilino Lopez
R – Denny Bautista
R – Zach Miner
L – Clay Rapada

15-day DL: L – Dontrelle Willis, R – Joel Zumaya, R – Fernando Rodney, R – Vance Wilson (C)

Restricted List: R – Francisco Cruceta

Typical Lineup:

L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
R – Placido Polanco (2B)
R – Gary Sheffield (DH)
R – Magglio Ordoñez (RF)
R – Miguel Cabrera (1B)
S – Carlos Guillen (3B)
R – Edgar Renteria (SS)
R – Ivan Rodriguez (C)
L – Jacque Jones (LF)

The Tigers made a big splash during the offseason with a pair of high-profile, win-now trades. First they traded talented 21-year-old starter Jair Jurrjens and center field prospect Gorkys Hernandez to the Braves for All-Star shortstop Edgar Renteria. Then they pulled off an utter blockbuster by trading a six-player package headed by their top hitting prospect, center fielder Cameron Maybin, and top pitching prospect, tall lefty Andrew Miller, to the Marlins for Florida’s best hitter, 25-year-old superstar third baseman Miguel Cabrera, and pitcher, 26-year-old lefty Dontrelle Willis.

With Renteria, replacing the punchless Sean Casey via Carlos Guillen’s move to first base (he’s since swapped positions with the defensively challenged Cabrera), and Cabrera joining what was the third-most potent offense in baseball last season, and Willis and a healthy Kenny Rogers filling out a solid rotation built around youngsters Justin Verlander and a healthy Jeremy Bonderman, the Tigers were expected to crush a lot this year. Then they opened the season by losing seven straight while scoring just 2.14 runs per game and allowing an average of 6.29.

What’s wrong with the Tigers? Here are a few answers:

1) Injuries: Center fielder and leadoff man Curtis Granderson missed the first 21 games of the season because of a finger that was fractured by a pitch late in spring training. Cabrera got off to a slow start (2 for 20) while slowed by a sore quadriceps. Guillen, despite the position switch, missed a couple of games early due to a hamstring and a few more recently after fouling a pitch off his knee. Second baseman Placido Polanco has missed several games while battling lower back problems and a sore left hip flexor. Gary Sheffield is still bothered by his bad shoulder, recently missing five straight games as a result. Willis hyperextended his knee two batters into his second start and is still on the DL. In the bullpen, neither of the team’s two ace setup men, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, has thrown a pitch this season. Zumaya had offseason shoulder surgery after suffering an injury while moving his belongings during the California wild fires. Rodney was shut down at the beginning of spring training with shoulder tendinitis and has suffered repeated setbacks since.

2) The Rotation: The Tigers missed the playoffs last year because of a vicious August slump that was largely the result of bad starting pitching. From July 20 to August 23, the Tigers went 0-7-3 in series and 11-23 overall. Here are their starters’ ERAs from that stretch:

5.32 Nate Robertson (7 GS)
5.95 Justin Verlander (7 GS)
8.41 Jeremy Bonderman (6 GS)
8.56 Andrew Miller (3 GS)
7.90 Chad Durbin (3 GS)
7.71 Jordan Tata (3 GS)
15.75 Kenny Rogers (1 GS)
5.14 Jair Jurrjens (1 GS)
3.60 Virgil Vasquez (1 GS)

Here are the Tigers’ starters’ ERAs thus far this year:

6.50 Justin Verlander (6 GS)
4.28 Jeremy Bonderman (5 GS)
6.91 Nate Robertson (5 GS)
7.66 Kenny Rogers (5 GS)
1.50 Armando Galarraga (3 GS)
5.79 Dontrelle Willis (2 GS)

Only the Pirates have a worse rotation ERA than the Tigers’ 5.74 thus far this season.

3) Nothing: The Tigers bottomed out at 2-9, but since then have gone 9-6 while scoring 6.47 runs per game and allowing a respectable 4.27 R/G.

As for the Yankees, they’ve swapped out Chris Britton for Edwar Ramirez, whose ten days in the minor leagues are up. There’s still no official news on Posada’s shoulder, but Pete Abe reports [1] that the word is that he won’t need surgery, though it sounds like Posada’s going to get a few more opinions. Brian Bruney is also looking for more opinions before putting his foot under the knife.

Chris Stewart gets his first start behind the plate as a Yankee tonight against Kenny Rogers. Rogers was solid against the Royals in his first start of the year, but has a 9.16 ERA in his four appearances since then. Morgan Ensberg plays third tonight in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez (quad). Melky Cabrera gets the night off with Damon in center, Matsu in left, Giambi at DH, and Shelley Duncan at first base behind Phil Hughes. Hughes looked good in his two innings in Chicago before the rain ended his evening. Here’s hoping he builds on that tonight.


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[1] Pete Abe reports: http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2008/04/29/optimism-for-posada/

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