Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rodriguez Leads Off, Sheffield Homers

The Tigers returned to Lakeland and beat the Phillies 9-7 today. All the regulars started and, as he hinted he might do during the winter, Jim Leyland had Ivan Rodriguez lead off versus a lefty (Jamie Moyer). The idea is that Pudge might be forced into better plate discipline in that spot. I'm skeptical that it will work but spring training is the time for experimentation so there's no harm in trying. Today's line-up looked like this:

Rodriguez, c
Polanco, 2b
Sheffield, dh
Guillen, ss
Ordonez, rf
Casey, 1b
Monroe, lf
Granderson, cf
Inge, 3b

Curtis Granderson, batting 8th, did not strike out for the second straight game. I'm not sure whether that means anything but I thought I'd mention it given all the talk about his trying to cut down on his strike outs. The middle of the order stayed the same as it was in the opening scrimmage versus Florida Southern as Sheffield, Guillen and Ordonez batted 3-4-5. Sheffield hit a three run shot today, his first of probably many as a Tiger.

The Major League pitchers - Mike Maroth, Justin Verlander , Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney - combined to pitch 5 shutout innings. All the runs were scored off of Eulogio DeLaCruz and Dennis Tankersley. Jeremy Bonderman will be pitching tomorrow at Kissimee versus the Astros. I would imagine he'll be throwing a lot of change-ups - probably more than he would be expected to throw in a regular season game.

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