Tag Archives: Tigers

Dodgers Have Good Shot to Capture NL West Lead by Week’s End

On paper it looks like the San Diego Padres, who hold a tenuous one-game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers, will still lead the NL West after the weekend. The Padres get to play at depressed Seattle while the Dodgers have to play the NL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

But the Padres may be a good fit for the Mariners to earn a few wins and the Dodgers get to face the back of the Tigers’ rotation. Take a look:

Tonight: SDP Wade LeBlanc vs. SEA Cliff Lee
Tomorrow: SDP Clayton Richards vs. SEA Ryan Rowland-Smith
Sunday: SDP Mat Latos vs. SEA Felix Hernandez

In the Dodgers-Tigers match-up?

Tonight: LAD Chad Billingsley vs. DET Dontrelle Willis
Tomorrow: LAD John Ely vs. DET Armando Galarraga
Sunday: LAD Hiroki Kuroda vs. DET Rick Porcello

Gotta like those odds as a Dodger fan. The Latos-King Felix match-up looks most interesting for Sunday. On the other hand, the Mariners’ offense can make any team look like they’re facing the 1890 Cleveland Spiders, so who knows.

It’s a little more complicated than starting pitcher match-ups, but long and short of it is the Dodgers are at least tied for the division if they win two of three and the Padres lose two of three. With the Mariners throwing out two of their best starters, I’d lean in their favor. Likewise, the Tigers are starting their two worst pitchers this year (Porcello has a 11.9 hits per nine rate; Willis has a 6.1 walks per nine rate) and a minor league call-up. The Dodgers don’t have to see Justin Verlander and the Dodgers’ offense should be able to take advantage even without Andre Ethier. while two of Kuroda, Bills and Ely should find their way through the Tigers’ line-up.

That’s my one unknown, is what the Tigers’ line-up has to say. Starting four guys with sub-.80 OPS+s is hilarious, but it’s not those four that I’m worried about.

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Ryan Raburn should play second like [pop culture reference]

Over here, we got Matt Sussman of the MLive.com Tigers blog.

Last week after my one-man John Belushi “Animal House”-style crusade against spring training, it was apparently received with deafening silence akin to Elaine Benes dancing at the company party.

Heh, [pop culture reference]. I actually agree that spring training is completely irrelevant to us fans and has been turned into a production gimmick by MLB to earn more money, but I definitely don’t know why he’s dropping references like he’s got a handful of ’em. (There’s more self-confidence issues coming, btw.)

… Johnny Damon is with the [Tigers, and] once he grows that neckbeard there will be even less room in the outfield, Ryan Raburn is the odd Tiger out. After all, once you reach sixth grade, you have to stop using four outfielders.

Yep, no argument there. You can argue that Raburn’s production at the second half of last season earned him a spot on the roster, but it was so obviously a small sample size and Damon’s 2009 was very good, you’d have to give it to Damon.

I have no idea what Sussman’s second sentence means there.

But all is not lost, Ryan Raburn groupies. I found a perfect spot for him, and it’s coincidentally where you’d let him go if given the chance: second base. And what better time than meaningless games to figure out if he can play the position?

Everything we’ve read has stated that second base is Scott Sizemore’s position to lose. But the rookie has not fully healed from that broken ankle last fall, and Raburn even saw a little action at second base* in their loss to the Phillies.

* – That’s what she said.

heh.  HEH.

In the minor leagues, Raburn played more games at second than any other position. He was slowly converted to patrol the outfield once he finally graduated from Triple-A and last year hit 16 home runs as a big league left fielder. If one were to put that same production at the 4-position, suddenly Detroit would have one of the bigger boppers among his peers. And like forbidden wizardly, the Damon signing would instantly make a little more sense — an admitted upgrade from “not at all” — and the loss of Placido Polanco to free agency wouldn’t be such a chasmic void in the field and lineup (or in our hearts).

An interesting proposition, I really like it. Though he ignores that Raburn’s production at the end of last year wasn’t a significant sample size, he makes a great point about Sizemore being not fully healed and maybe two months at AAA would benefit Sizemore while Dombrowski figures out what to do with Raburn (trade him? start him at 3B over Inge?).  Raburn wasn’t exactly a seasoned veteran at second base in the minors, but his batting from the end of last year should have earned him a chance to play more at the pro level and it might negate whatever negative impact he’d have on defense. Point being, he’s shown some skills and deserves a shot, so why not? You got Sizemore in your backpocket anyway.

They have a few weeks to beta test this formation. And even if he hits something ridiculous like .168, just remember: these games don’t count, and you can’t disprove my theory with meaningless stats.

Wait, what? Which meaningless stats?  Spring training stats?  This is the ultimate “and if I’m wrong, you can’t disprove me” gone wrong. No one’s gonna pay attention to Raburn’s bat in spring training–or at least, they shouldn’t–the problem is if he’s going to FIELD at second base.

This is more or less nitpicking, but if you’re gonna go out on a limb, you gotta protect yourself with information.  Strangely, Sussman has and yet he’s still defensive by the end of it. Going on the defensive in any article opens you up for criticism because you’re already acknowledging people will think you’re wrong.

I also appreciate the attempt at humor, but some original material wouldn’t hurt …

So let’s all hop on the Ryan Raburn For Second Base caravan to the promised land. Who’s with me?

HEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Filed under fire joe morgan, MLB

A kinda, sorta, mea culpa?

The Tigers have been playing with money a bit in the last couple of months, ditching Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson, both of whom are still valuable pieces to a baseball team and in return got Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer.  Scherzer will likely be very good in the coming seasons, but the trade of Granderson–and then the signing of middle reliever Jose Valverde–had me thinking the Tigers were in financial straights and making poor decisions to make up for it.

As far as I know they still are, but the Tigers made some progress by signing pitching star Justin Verlander to a big contract through 2014-five years, $80 million–and it was probably thanks to shipping Granderson. A lot of that comes on the backend too, according to Jason Beck of MLB.comJon Morosi of FoxSports.net reported GM Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers are going to keep payroll up to its level in 2009.

This doesn’t necessitate that the franchise is doing well, but that any financial surplus may be used for this year and debts will be paid off next.  The Tigers lose a lot of payroll after 2010 because of expiring contracts. They could either try to compete immediately again by signing a ton of free agents with the extra hooch or let Cabrera and Verlander own the heck out of the AL Central with a bunch of replacement players and flirt with being below .500 while paying off debts.

A friend whose a Tigers fan noted that Jackson for Scherzer was a great value swap (I agree) and getting Austin Jackson for Granderson will prove fruitful in the long run.  Granderson’s split versus lefties is indeed atrocious and a good reason for shipping him, but that would mean the Tigers looked at Granderson and understood his inherent value was stunted by his splits–this from a team that just threw $14 million at an aging and overvalued “closer.”

I dunno.  For all I know, the Tigers were having a cash flow problem in the months between the Granderson trade and the Verlander signing.  Seems kinda sketch to me, but it looks more like Dombrowski is playing with financial flexibility. I want to see what he does when all that money gets free after this season.  One thing is for certain, though, and that’s that the Tigers did actually make themselves better, and maybe even for the 2010 season, with Jackson and Scherzer instead of Granderson and Jackson.

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