Monday, April 17, 2006

Leyland, Maroth and Jones

In what was described by Jim Leyland as a lackluster performance, the Tigers got routed by the Cleveland Indians 10-2 today. One of the few highlights of the day was Chris Shelton's 9th homerun of the year. Other than that, there was not much to cheer about as they had only 4 hits, and Nate Robertson gave up 7 runs in 2+ innings in the team's poorest performance of the year so far.

Leyland was not happy. In a very brief post game report to the press, he repeatedly said "we stunk" and that they were not prepared for the game. He went on to say that this type of thing has been happening in Detroit for a long time and he wasn't going to let it happen to the team this year. Prior to the meeting with the media, he did a lot of ranting inside the clubhouse.

It will be interesting to hear more views of reporters who were there but Danny Knobler, for one, did not think that Leyland's actions were a big deal. He felt it was consistent the manager's philosophy of making sure that the team was prepared to play 162 games a year. He didn't think that any particular event or any one player caused Leyland's anger.

Whether or not the player's respond to his words remains to be seen. From a fan's standpoint, it was good to hear but it's not easy to motivate a squad with a good number of high paid veteran players. Personally, I'm hoping Leyland's displeasure leads him to shuffle the batting order. Specifically, I'd like to see Shelton and Carlos Guillen moved up in the order.

Maroth Update

In more positive news, Mike Maroth said that his elbow felt a lot better after this start than it did after his previous outing:
"Surprisingly, pretty good," Maroth said. "I didn't think I'd feel as good as I did. I was hoping for improvement over the day after my [last] start. I could barely throw the ball at that point. I was just hoping to at least play catch, but it actually felt better than that. Huge improvement."
He also said that he is confident that he will be able to make his next start on Friday. There is still reason to be concerned about his elbow but today's report sounds more positive than last week's news.

Todd Jones Update

The Detroit News reported today that Todd Jones may be able to come off the disabled list this Friday:
Jones said he'll pitch in simulated game conditions Tuesday and Wednesday in Oakland -- "and try to be ready for something to happen Friday.

"I'll tell you this, though, I'm not going to pitch until I don't have to think about my leg. I'm not going out there until I'm ready. I'm trying to get back as quickly as I can without it being weak enough to where if I pop it again, I'll tear it.
I'm not anxious to see Jones comeback to take the closer role from Fernando Rodney but I do want him back to add depth to the bullpen.


  1. Although not everyone expects the Tigers to contend, almost everyone expects them to be competitive. I think Leyland blew up because he realized that he's got a team that has the potential to fall short of that expectation (the second one I mentioned, not the first one).

    Despite the 5-0 start, I think a lot of people thought that we'd find out what kind of team we've really got once they got through the ChiSox series and the Tribe series.

    What we've got is a team that still needs to improve in a lot of areas if they want to be better than a sub-.500 team. What remains to be seen is how they react to adversity or how they adjust after hitting a bump in the road.

  2. Good news on Maroth.

    So what happens when TJ comes back? It would be awfully hard to send Tata back down after four scoreless innnigs to shut the Tribe down after they blistered Bondo on Saturday.

    While I was listening to that game online, Price and Dickerson thought maybe Leyland was stretching him out as a way of prepping him for a start should Maroth not be able to bounce back after Sunday's start.

    Since it sounds like Maroth will indeed be able to recover smoothly, perhaps Tata will get a start in place of Robertson? Knowing that Leyland isn't going to put up with guys who aren't getting the job done, I've got to think his future in the rotation is pretty shaky.

  3. Ozz

    I'm not sure why Robertson's spot in the rotation is in doubt. He's had one bad outing, which is the same number of bad outings that Jeremy Bonderman has.

    I know that Robertson doesn't have the potential and cachet of Bonderman. I'm just trying to figure out the frustration over Robertson's performance this year.

  4. I agree with billfer on Robertson. I think he might ultimately end up as a relief pitcher but I don't think he has pitched poorly enough this year to warrant a change in plans. Over the longhaul, I doubt that someone like Tata who jumped all the way from A ball would do as well as Robertson this year. I wouldn't mind if Zumaya got some starts but I don't think any of the other options would be an improvement over Robertson.

    I think when Jones gets back, they will either send Tata down or try to get Grilli through waivers.

  5. I guess I was probably lumping some of his rough starts last year into this year. I do think he's a guy who is about as good as he's going to get.



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