Archive for May, 2006

Wednesday: 05.31.2006

Zach Miner Up.

The Detroit Tigers called up pitcher Zach Miner from the Toledo Mudhens while optioning Jack Hannahan. The 24-year old righthander was brought over with Roman Colon in the Kyle Farnsworth deal last season and has pitched exceptionally well for the Mudhens over the course of two seasons. This year in nine starts covering 51 innings, he was 6-0 with a 2.82 earned run average, 1.26 WHIP, and 1.9 K:BB. The move looks to shore up the front end of the bullpen. an area that hasn’t been clicking on all cylinders of late for the team.

A look at Miner’s numbers prior to 2006:

Year Team Name Lg Age Org. Lvl W L ERA G SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HR/9 WHIP K:BB
2001 Jamestown NYPL 19 Atl A- 3 4 1.89 15 0 90.2 76 26 19 6 16 68 0.60 1.01 4.25
2002 Macon SAL 20 Atl A 8 9 3.28 29 0 159 143 73 58 10 51 131 0.57 1.22 2.57
2003 Myrtle Beach Caro 21 Atl A+ 6 10 3.69 27 0 153.2 150 74 63 10 61 88 0.59 1.37 1.44
2004 Greenville Sou 22 Atl AA 6 10 5.22 27 0 129.1 132 87 75 14 55 111 0.97 1.45 2.02
2005 Mississippi Sou 23 Atl AA 0 1 4.32 4 1 16.2 21 10 8 0 5 18 0.00 1.56 3.60
2005 Toledo IL 23 Det AAA 3 1 2.36 6 0 34.1 28 10 9 4 20 20 1.05 1.40 1.00
2005 Richmond IL 23 Atl AAA 1 7 4.23 17 0 89.1 97 47 42 6 45 63 0.60 1.59 1.40


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Wednesday: 05.31.2006

Phil Nevin Traded.

It is being reported by the Texas Rangers that 1st basemen/designated hitter Phil Nevin has been traded to the Chicago Cubs. No details yet on who the Rangers received in return. I’ll update with the players headed back to Texas and my thoughts on the deal when it is officially completed.

Update: The Rangers will reportedly receive Jerry Hairston Jr. for their end of the trade. I’m unsure the thinking of either team regarding the trade. I guess the Rangers were looking for a way to get Jason Botts into the lineup. For the Cubs part, Nevin can play 1B or LF, but Matt Murton has been solid in left so maybe they are going to move Todd Walker from 1st to 2nd, put Nevin at 1st, and Tony Womack on the bench. When Derrek Lee returns, who knows where Nevin will play?

Tuesday: 05.30.2006

Around the Minors

It has been a while since I last toured the minor leagues updating everyone on not only the best Tigers prospects, but also some of the most high-profile prospects around the majors. Once again, I will start with the best of those from Baseball America’s top 10 list for the Tigers that doesn’t include major leaguers Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya. Tomorrow, I’ll tour the rest of the minors and drop in on several of the best prospects from other teams.

1. Cameron Maybin, OF – West Michigan Whitecaps (A)
Maybin hit the disabled list on May 18th with a right index finger injury. Before that, he had exactly 100 at-bats in his 27 appearances. Of his 33 hits, 12 have gone for extra bases, though just one home run. He is hitting .330/.409/.510 with six stolen bases and a 2.5 K:BB ratio. With his placement being retroactive to May 16th, Wednesday will be Maybin’s 15th day on the disabled list. Hopefully he is able to come back soon and continue his torrid pace.

2. Brent Clevlen, OF – Erie Seawolves (AA)
Clevlen continues to struggle mightily. In 49 games, he is hitting a paltry .212/.311/.315 with three home runs and 18 RBIs. He has 61 strikeouts against 24 walks (2.5) and four stolen bases. A promotion does not appear to be anywhere in his near future.

3. Wilkin Ramirez, 3B – Lakeland Tigers (High-A)
Ramirez has not improved much since the last update through 11 games. He is now hitting .231/.266/.399, but 15 of his 40 hits have gone for extra bases including six home runs. He hasn’t improved on his already lacking plate discipline with just eight walks to his 48 strikeouts (6.0). He has been running well with seven stolen bases. At 20 years old, he is not out of place in High-A, but if he doesn’t start putting up better numbers, he could find himself stuck in High-A and growing stale.

4. Humberto Sanchez, SP – Erie Seawolves (AA)
Since my last look at the minors, Sanchez has raised his ERA just 0.19 to 1.84 and continued his domination of his AA opponents. In 63 2/3 innings, he has struck out 77 batters and allowed just 42 hits. He holds a sparkling 3.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio as he has won five of his eight decisions. A promotion to AAA Toledo may be in his near future.

5. Jordan Tata, SP – Toledo Mudhens (AAA)
Tata started the season with the big league club in Detroit before being sent down. He has been with the Mudhens since May 10th and in that time he has made four starts. His control has been a bit of a problem with 11 walks, but he is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA. In 20 2/3 innings, he has 17 strikeouts and allowed 17 hits. If the long relief remains a problem in Detroit, the Tigers might look at bringing Tata back up.

6. Tony Giarratano, SS – Erie Seawolves (AA)
He has only slightly improved on poor numbers since the last update. He is still scuffling with just a .227/.271/.329 line for Erie. His speed has been his best asset so far with five triples and 12 stolen bases. He has a 3.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which hasn’t helped his problems at the dish.

7. Jeff Larish, 1B – Lakeland Tigers (High-A)
The hard hitting Larish has continued his hot start with six home runs through 50 games. Nearly half of his hits (25-of-51) are extra-base hits including 17 doubles. His 1.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio has contributed to an impressive .276/.382/.486 line. Larish should be promoted very soon with his performance given that he is a bit old (23 years old) for High-A as it is.

8. Kevin Whelan, RP – Lakeland Tigers (High-A)
Larish’s teammate hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success. Whelan started off the season with four perfect saves, but has since come unraveled a bit. In 18 games and 16 innings of work, he has managed 10 saves, but has walked 17 batters against 19 strikeouts (1.1). He is currently carrying a 5.63 earned run average as well. He obviously needs to work on his control to get back to where he started off the season.

Tuesday: 05.30.2006

Motown Meltdown

What started off very poorly, ended in the same fashion. The Tigers dropped their second straight game to the New York Yankees despite erasing a five run deficit late in the game. Roman Colon was rocked in his first start since substituting for Mike Maroth in the rotation, allowing five runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. After Ivan Rodriguez‘s 4th home run in the bottom of the third, the Tigers were down 6-1. Their comeback was spurred by a Derek Jeter error that led to two runs in the three run fifth. Runs in the 6th and 8th innings tied the game and sent it to extra innings. After a scoreless 10th for both teams, Todd Jones came unglued in the top of the 11th. A solo home run by Jason Giambi was good enough to seal the victory, but the Yankees piled on four more insurance runs. Mariano Rivera polished off the win in his third inning of work with a 1-2-3 11th inning for the 11-6 win.

I am very displeased by the back-to-back losses, as expected being that I’m a Tigers fan, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even more angry because they have come against the Yankees. Though the team was able to come back, I had a bad feeling about the game as early as the first inning. It was during that inning that the first three batters got on against the Aaron Small and the Tigers managed ZERO runs! You simply have to convert that opportunity for at least one run and get your pitcher a lead. Despite posting three runs in the fifth inning with Pudge’s triple and Magglio Ordonez‘s RBI single, I’m still a bit miffed they weren’t able to have a real big inning considering they had no outs after Ordonez’s at-bat. Instead, it was three straight outs. Then in the 8th inning, they had the bases loaded with no one out and score just one run. That is abysmal and unacceptable for a team that strives to be one the league’s elite. The hitters left 22 men on base (8 left on as a team), which is actually fewer than the Yankees’ 23 and 12, but it was the situations that the Tigers did that cost them this game.

Fernando Rodney‘s control, or lack thereof, almost prevented this game from going to extra innings in the first place. After a walk to Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano grounded into a busted double play that ended up being a fielder’s choice with an error by Rodney that allowed Cano over to second. Bernie Williams was intentionally walked, a move I hate in general though it was at least justified because there were two outs. After reading Baseball Between the Numbers by the guys at Baseball Prospectus, I’ve seen that it is never a good idea to increase the expected runs of a team even to set up a force play. Walking a man to get runners on 1st and 2nd is especially bad if your pitcher throws a wild pitch to the next batter moving those runners to 2nd and 3rd. Not only have you eliminated the edge you aimed to get by walking that batter, but the expected runs for the opposing team goes from 0.457 to 0.661. Then, in an attempt to get me to throw my monitor out the window Rodney threw another wild pitch, but Pudge chased it down and threw a BB to Rodney to nail Cano at home. Upon further review, it was an excellent call by homeplate umpire, Tim Tschida.

Even with that great escape and the comeback to force it into extras, the Tigers were still dropped for their third straight loss. In terms of the big picture, they remain a game and a half ahead of the Chicago White Sox as they were dumped by the Indians, 4-3. On a smaller scale, the Tigers have started off a huge 13-game stretch down 0-2 to the New York Yankees and I don’t like the possible effects it could have on their confidence if they don’t grab the final two wins of this series. Not an easy task with Mike Mussina (6-1, 2.72 ERA, 5.4 K:BB) on the hill tomorrow against Nate Robertson (5-2, 3.02 ERA, 1.7 K:BB).

By the way, I’ve dubbed the nine games after the Yankees series as the All American Stretch. I realize it contains three against the Toronto Blue Jays, but it is against the Red Sox, the White Sox, and the Blue Jays in that order.

Monday: 05.29.2006

Huge Stretch Upcoming; New Feature.

I’m not going to get too deep into the Detroit Tigers today. They took 2 of 3 from the Indians over the weekend, which is something I pretty much expected. That is just weird that the team is playing so well as to expect something like that. At any rate, they start a four game set with the Yankees today then get the Red Sox and White Sox. It is obviously a MASSIVE 10 games ahead. Meanwhile, on this Memorial Day holiday, I’d like to introduce the most gratuitous of all possible features. It is called Hot Girls Being Hot. It pulls no punches and really lets you know what you’re getting into from the outset. Enjoy your day off if you were fortunate enough to get it and enjoy these scorchingly hot women (also feel free to place your requests in the Comments).

HGBH
Let’s start with a beautiful picture of Julia Stiles looking like an absolute doll. She possesses a good bit of that girl-next-door wholesomeness. I’d assert that she’s underrated in terms of her looks.

I honestly have no idea who this girl is, but frankly, I don’t care. Wow! Elisabetta Canalis is some kinda hot. Just sit back and let her hotness sink into your eyes.

I couldn’t tell you a damn thing about characters, stories, or episodes of Veronica Mars, UPN’s most famous show, but I do know that she, or rather the actress playing her (Kristen Bell) is so pretty. She doesn’t have the sexiness of someone like Canalis, but she’s damn attractive as evidenced by this picture. She and I are both from Detroit, Michigan, yet I doubt that improves my chances at all.

In terms of celebrities I’d love to date, Scarlett Johansson tops my list. Even before seeing this fine piece of photography, I was a huge fan. Now, I’m just left speechless. She is so gorgeous. I was both surprised and pleased that the lovely Ms. Johansson topped FHM’s list of 100 Sexiest Women. I obviously feel she was more than deserving, I’m just surprised the dolts that read that kind of drek didn’t pick some 14-pound skank like Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan. Well done FHM readership, you were a shoo-in to screw up and pulled a proverbial rabbit out of your hat. While we’re on the subject, I highly recommend the movie Match Point if only because it stretched the Scarlett section long enough to post another picture.

Even back when their rivarlry of hotness matched the Red Sox-Yankees battle, I always picked Christina Aguilera over Britney Spears. Now it’s like matching the NL All-Stars against the Royals with Aguilera crushing the cud-chewing trailer trash formerly known as Britney Spears. This GQ photoshoot was like Pujols smashing a grand slam in the bottom of 7th off of Steve Stemle with the All-Stars up 22 to negative four. (Sidenote: that Steve Stemle reference is sure to send Stemle Google searchers here, which has to be good for at least three extra visits over the course of the next seven months.)

One of my best friends simply cannot stand Penelope Cruz, something I find unfathomable. I love the accent, the look, the hair, the name, all of it. She’s beautiful. Seriously, what is his problem? I need new friends.

This picture being taken at the Golden Globes is quite coincidental. Note that many would tend to use the word “ironic” where I used “coincidental”. I did so because I like being correct and ironic wouldn’t be the right the word based on its defintion:

i·ron·ic adj.

1. Characterized by or constituting irony.
2. Given to the use of irony. See Synonyms at sarcastic.
3. Poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended: madness, an ironic fate for such a clear thinker.

This addendum is also found after the definition:

Usage Note: The words ironic, irony, and ironically are sometimes used of events and circumstances that might better be described as simply “coincidental” or “improbable,” in that they suggest no particular lessons about human vanity or folly. Thus 78 percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of ironically in the sentence In 1969 Susie moved from Ithaca to California where she met her husband-to-be, who, ironically, also came from upstate New York. Some Panelists noted that this particular usage might be acceptable if Susie had in fact moved to California in order to find a husband, in which case the story could be taken as exemplifying the folly of supposing that we can know what fate has in store for us. By contrast, 73 percent accepted the sentence Ironically, even as the government was fulminating against American policy, American jeans and videocassettes were the hottest items in the stalls of the market, where the incongruity can be seen as an example of human inconsistency. (Source: Dictionary.com)

Wow, talk about straying off-topic.

He is a pro football quarterback, he has won multiple Super Bowl rings, he has gobs of money, he’s an overall badass that most women find very attractive and as if that weren’t enough for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, he is also dating the lovely Bridget Moynahan. Rough life.

I recently discussed my new-found love for HBO’s Entourage and make no mistake that it is due at least in part to the presence of Emmanuelle Chriqui. Despite 36 IMDb credits, she is not very high-profile, but she really lights up the screen in her performances. So for that, I will post six straight pictures of her:

One
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six

I’m actually going to sit through National Lampoon’s Adam & Eve went it reaches the top of my Netflix queue just because she stars in it! She will definitely be a regular in HGBH.

Natalie Portman never takes a bad picture as far as I’m concerned. Even when she’s donning a shaved head, or better yet, with a pink wig… she’s still so damn pretty. She gives Johansson the most competition for tops among the Baseball By Paul list of celebrity beauties.

Speaking of girls contending for that top spot, Brittany Murphy is so damn sexy. She has come a long way since
Clueless
.

A very underrated hottie is singer Nelly Furtado. She’s making a comeback and I, for one, am glad she will be popping up more and more often in the media.

Finally, let’s close the debut of Hot Girls Being Hot with Anne Hathaway, or as I like to call her, Anne Hothaway. What an amazing shot of her here.

Hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed finding the links for it. Every once in a while, I’ll drop one of these just to give you all some eye candy. Just over an hour until Jeremy Bonderman takes on Randy Johnson in game one with the Yankees. Go Tigers!!!

Friday: 05.26.2006

Tigers Sweep; Cleveland Next.

A four game sweep of the Kansas City Royals is hardly anything to brag about. They are easily baseball’s worst team with absolutely no redeeming qualities. However, the Tigers made two big comebacks including one from 6-0 yesterday. Mike Maroth surrendered the six runs in the first inning yesterday and was promptly placed on the disabled list shortly after the game. Left elbow tightness was the problem that led to the shellacking. The same elbow soreness caused a missed start and a pushed back start earlier in the season. Hopefully Maroth, who is enjoying his best season yet, can get back to 100% and continue his success all year.

The Tigers drew closer at 6-5 in the fourth inning before allowing another run pushing the Royals’ lead to 7-5. Big innings in the 8th and 9th led to 8 runs and a 13-8 win extending the team’s winning streak to six while pushing the Royals losing skid to 13. Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames came up huge at the bottom of the lineup. Monroe was 4-for-4 and scored four runs. Thames hit his seventh and eighth home runs driving in three and scoring three of his own. Thames is hitting a home run every 8.5 at-bats. Comparing against the top 40 in home runs for all of baseball, only Albert Pujols has a better pace at 6.8 at-bats per home run. Here is a look at the 10 best of those found in the top 40:

At-bats per Home Run:

RK PLAYER TEAM AB HR AB/HR
1 Albert Pujols StL 158 23 6.87
2 Jim Thome CWS 158 18 8.78
3 Adam Dunn CIN 159 16 9.94
4 Jermaine Dye CWS 120 12 10.00
5 Carlos Beltran NYM 135 13 10.38
6 Morgan Ensberg HOU 169 16 10.56
7 Jason Giambi NYY 127 12 10.58
8 Carlos Lee MLW 171 16 10.69
9 Ryan Howard PHI 166 15 11.07
10 Lance Berkman HOU 162 14 11.57

With Dmitri Young‘s injured right quad landing him back on the disabled, Thames should get a shot at regular playing time. At this point, I think Thames might be the posterboy for Baseball By Paul because I am dying to see this guy get playing time.

The team heads home for sets against Cleveland, New York, and Boston. As the luster of Detroit wears off for the mainstream media, the critics are now pointing to an easy schedule as the reason for success. If they come out of this stretch with seven or more wins, the excuse pool will be officially dried up. I am really eager to see how the team does against New York and Boston. The pitching staff of New York is in shambles (given their expectations), but even with the injuries they have suffered, they still put out one helluva lineup. Boston also trots out a pile of hitters that can do some damage. The bullpen, rated the league’s best by many, will be instrumental to the success of the team during those two series. Things don’t get much easier because the team travels to Chicago immediately after for a three-game tilt against the White Sox.

Off-Topic
I recently caught all the way up on the HBO series Entourage in preparation for the season three debut on June 11th. I gotta say, what a great show. I really enjoy it. I had heard a good bit about it, but never got into it. With the shows I do watch all wrapped up for the summer, I decided to check it out. I liked it so much, I plowed through all 22 episodes from seasons one and two in a day and a half. The cast is dynamic led by Jeremy Piven‘s scene-stealing Ari Gold. Years upon years as a bit player finally paid off for Piven as he has struck gold (pun not really intended, but went with it anyway) with this role. The guest stars are plentiful and always a delight. Whether it’s the beautiful Jessica Alba dropping in to invite the boys to her party or the foul-mouthed James Cameron directing Aquaman starring the show’s protagonist, Vince Chase played marvelously by Adrian Grenier. The show is loosely based on executive producer Mark Wahlberg‘s life. He made a quick cameo early in the series with his own entourage. If you aren’t already into the show, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday: 05.24.2006

Inge With Another Bomb.

I know just two days ago, I said Brandon Inge wouldn’t hold his huge home run pace. Maybe he took exception that assertion as he raised the pace a bit to 38 with his 11th home run. His two-run homer against Kansas City tonight has the Tigers up 3-0 through five right now.

Wednesday: 05.24.2006

Never Quit, Especially Against the Royals.

I don’t have much today, despite the big comeback win. I went to the bar to watch the Pistons lose game one and missed the entire Tigers game. Even at 4-0, which I saw on the ESPN scroll, I was sure the team could come back and sure enough they did. I’m pretty tired so I’ll leave on this note. Here is why the Hold statistic is a joke:

Pitcher-Ambiorix Burgos (H,1)
IP 2.1
H 2
R 2
ER 2
BB 1
SO 3

That performance should be labeled (S, 15) for Burgos’ 15th Suck of the season.

The WPC from last night:

Monday: 05.22.2006

CGShO

In his last game, a heavyweight match against Johan Santana, rookie starting pitcher Justin Verlander failed to strikeout a batter, but allowed six hits and walk no one in the 2-0 win. Tonight, he one-upped himself against the Kansas City Royals throwing a complete game shutout striking out seven and yielding just five hits and one walk in the 8-0 win. He dropped his earned run average to a miniscule 2.70 and raised his K:BB ratio to 2.3 (34:15) notching his sixth win against three losses. Say what you will about the quality of competition (or lack thereof), but a complete game shutout as a rookie in the majors is a feat no matter who it is against.

Verlander was backed nicely by his offense as they jumped all over Jeremy Affeldt, scoring five in the second and three more in the fifth. Everyone had at least one hit while Magglio Ordonez and Omar Infante each had three. Brandon Inge clubbed his 10th home run raising his pace to 37 for the season. There is almost no way he’ll reach that lofty mark, but you cannot say enough for far he has come as a major league player.

Year AB AVG OBP SLG
2001 189 .180 .215 .238
2002 321 .202 .266 .333
2003 330 .203 .265 .339
2004 408 .287 .340 .453
2005 616 .261 .330 .419
2006 130 .223 .299 .492

His on-base percentage and average thus far in 2006 leave plenty to be desired, but he has made the most of his hits with 17 extra-base hits. He isn’t great, but after his 2001-2003 seasons, I pegged him as one of the worst players in all of the major leagues. Now, at age 29 he is a solid if unspectacular everyday player capable sustained periods of big offense.

I won’t rain on Verlander’s parade by pointing out the utter incompetence of the Royals. We all know about it, but if it were easy to dominate even the worst teams then we would routinely see no hitters and complete game shutouts against them, but we don’t meaning it is always an accomplishment. There were 63 CGShOs in 2005 and the league is on pace almost the same amount in 2006. I’ll post the WPC tomorrow morning when it becomes available, though I doubt it shows any significant variance over the course of the game.

Detroit Getting Pub Elsewhere
At this point, there isn’t really anyone who hasn’t noticed what the Tigers are doing through 44 games and many sites and media outlets have addressed it. The folks over at Hardball Times.com are the latest as Tigerblog.net writer Brian Borawski put together a piece examining the Tigers huge start. In keeping with the HBT theme, Mr. Borawski does a fine job with the breakdown.

Monday: 05.22.2006

Just For Fun

I’ll update on the Cincy series and game one of tonight’s Kansas City series later tonight, but in the meantime, I wanted to share something I found that made me laugh. Lima Time!!!!!!

Great use of Photoshop to improve the hilarity of an already funny Family Guy scene.

I’d also like to add this picture that takes a little jab at LeBron James. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a great player, but as a Detroit Pistons fan I was very happy at yesterday’s outcome: