Rebounding Against Chicago & Other Notes.

After dropping three of four to the Texas Rangers, Justin Verlander snapped his two game losing streak in a 7-1 victory. He was vintage Verlander (can you be vintage in your rookie season?) going seven strong allowing five hits, two walks, one run and striking out two. The bats came alive ripping Jose Contreras for seven runs in five innings including three runs driven in by Sean Casey (who else?!). Casey has been excellent since coming over at the trade deadline with 16 runs batted in 20 games while hitting .286. He isn’t walking as much as I’d like (just three in 66 plate appearances), but it is tough to complain about the addition of his bat thus far. Not only has Casey been excellent since his arrival, but he also plays fantasy football, which is awesome!

As for additions that are complaint-worthy, the Tigers added Neifi Perez to shore up the Placido Polanco issue. He is a Jim Leyland favorite, which is why he brought in: “I loved him in 1999 (with the Colorado Rockies) and I still love him,” Leyland said. “He’s got energy.” Red Bull has got energy, too, why not get a can of it to play 2nd base while Polanco is out. Well Perez could outperform the can defensively, but at best he’d draw in terms of swinging the bat. Aaron Gleeman flawlessly outlined just how horrible Perez is with a bat in his hands. The article, written in April, chronicles just how bad Perez is at the dish and shows that he is arguably the worst hitter ever when judging by Runs Created Above Average.

Perez was acquired for 2005 third round pick Chris Robinson, a catcher at A-level ball right. It isn’t so much that Robinson was a big price tag, it’s more that ANYTHING is a big price tag for Perez. He is wildly overpaid ($2.5MM due next year) and has clearly lost a step defensively, his only positive. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox were offering Mark Loretta for some pitching help according to Gordon Edes. In fantasy terms, I will almost always move pitching for hitting whereas in real-life, I’m more skeptical. The names being thrown around included Wil Ledezma, Zach Miner and Jamie Walker, all three of whom hold significant value to the Tigers staff. However, given Loretta’s ability with the bat and patience at the plate (a glaring weak spot in this lineup), you would think that the team could have worked something out.

Overall, I’d have rather seen the team just stand pat and go with Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago especially given the prognosis on Polanco that Edes points out, “with their medical staff now saying Polanco could be back in 4-6 weeks (the team feared he was lost for the season), the urgency for making a deal became considerably less.” Basically, I just think Neifi Perez is garbage and completely worthless.

Tonight, Kenny Rogers will aim to stymie the Chicago White Sox once again as he is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts against the Southsiders. The reason the Texas series didn’t set off panic alarms was the fact that the White Sox were busy losing to the Minnesota Twins at the same time and after Monday night’s win, the Tigers are 6.5 games up still. I was fortunate enough to see Mario Impemba and Rod Allen this morning when I watched the replay of the game, but I’m fearful that my luck will run out tomorrow when I watch the replay of tonight’s and get saddled with Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson.

In the geek department, Madden 07 came out today and I cannot wait to start playing it. I’m on my lunch break at work as I type this, but rest assured that I will have it waiting for me when I get off of work tonight. I like the NCAA version that EA releases each year, but I really immerse myself in Madden 07 and basically use the NCAA version to import rookies. Like I said, geek department.

Finally, I had my fantasy football draft for work last night and I thought I’d share the results as if any of my readers really care. I had the third pick and here’s how I fared (round selected):

QB Jake Delhomme (5th)
RB Ladainian Tomlinson (1st)
RB Kevin Jones (3rd)
RB/WR Mike Bell (6th)
WR Anquan Boldin (2nd)
WR Roy Williams (4th)
WR Darrell Jackson (7th)
TE Randy McMichael (8th)
K Shayne Graham (10th)
D/ST Seattle (9th)
B Kevin Curtis (11th)
B Greg Jones (12th)
B Chris Simms (13th)
B Ernest Wilford (14th)
B Cincinnati (15th)
B Michael Turner (16th)

I homered it up in back-to-back picks with Jones and Williams, but I stand by each pick. Jones was a bigger reach, but Williams be a beast this season. Overall, I think have a pretty good team and was very happy to see Larry Johnson and Shaun Alexander go 1st and 2nd leaving me my top-ranked player in Tomlinson. The Simms pick can also be viewed as some homerism as he is from my alma mater, the University of Texas. Once again, I stand by it. It was late and he’s my backup. He could shock people this year. Sadly, I’ll probably keep you updated on the progress of this team throughout the season even though there might not be a heavy level of interest.

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