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Tag:Don Kelly
Posted on: January 26, 2012 2:52 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 4:15 pm
 

Leyland says Fielder hitting 4th, Cabrera 3rd

Prince Fielder

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Sure it's not even February, but like the rest of us, Jim Leyland is having fun trying to figure out the Tigers' lineup with Prince Fielder.

At Thursday's press conference introducing Fielder, Leyland announced his early lineup, with Fielder batting cleanup behind Miguel Cabrera:

Prince to Tigers
Austin Jackson CF
Brennan Boesch RF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young LF
Alex Avila C
Jhonny Peralta SS
Andy Dirks / Clete Thomas / Don Kelly DH
Ryan Raburn 2B

"Pretty hard to mess that one up," Leyland said.

Leyland also said he didn't expect to use a late-game defensive replacement for Cabrera at third base. He also said the team could still use Brandon Inge to play some at third base and DH, as well. However, the way the roster is looking, it's possible he could be released.

The team could also use Young as a DH with one of the trio of Dirks, Thomas and Kelly playing left field, as well.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:59 pm
 

Prince adds new look to Tigers' lineup



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Last week we all wondered how the Tigers would replace the injured Victor Martinez in the lineup -- today we got our answer.

Prince Fielder immediately restores some roar to the Tiger lineup and makes a nice 3-4 combo with Miguel Cabrera, forming perhaps the most feared duo in baseball. And in 2013 you have a 3-4-5 of Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez -- all for the low, low price of $346.5 million (or $69.3 million pizzas from Little Ceaser's) for all three over the course of their contracts.

So, if Fielder signing with the Tigers is the biggest surprise of the day, how about this for the second-biggest shock? The move means Miguel Cabrera is likely headed back to third base. Yep, the bad defensive first baseman will now be a horrendous defensive third baseman (much to the chagrin of Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Co.).

That means the rumors of the Johnny Damon return to Detroit make a little more sense, with the Tigers no longer needing a slugging DH. For now, though, I'll make my lineup with Don Kelly as the DH, knowing that the Tigers could still add a stopgap DH type, like Damon.

Prince to Tigers
Here's a too-early, first-stab at the new Tiger lineup:
1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Brennan Boesch RF
3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
4. Prince Fielder 1B
5. Delmon Young LF
6. Don Kelly DH
7. Jhonny Peralta SS
8. Alex Avila C
9. Ryan Raburn 2B

This, of course, could change at a moment's notice, but it also keeps the door open for a seemless transition when Martinez returns from his knee injury. Or the Tigers could realize that Cabrera at third base is a terrible idea and then they'll be overloaded with first basemen and designated hitters. Whatever happens, Mike Illitch is going to be signing some big checks and Verlander should have more run support.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 7:15 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Detroit Tigers



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

For today's installment of the Homegrown series, I can't stop thinking about a certain trade. Earlier this week, I was reminded of the deal anyway. In a pretty minor move, the Rays traded for relief pitcher Burke Badenhop. That's worth discussing here because he was the last standing of six players Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski sent to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis, for that matter). To acquire one of the biggest superstars in baseball -- and a now-washed up pitcher -- Dombrowski dealt Badenhop, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Mike Rabelo. Upon Badenhop being dealt, the Marlins now have nothing left to show for the 28-year-old Cabrera. Trahern is stuck in Double-A and appears unlikely to help the big-league club, either.

So, yeah, this homegrown club is missing a huge bat in the middle of the order. But this is also an opportunity to praise Dombrowski for one hell of a trade.

Lineup

1. Omar Infante, SS
2. Matt Joyce, RF
3. Curtis Granderson, CF
4. Brennan Boesch, 1B
5. Alex Avila, C
6. Cody Ross, DH
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Cameron Maybin, LF
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Justin Verlander
2. Jair Jurrjens
3. Rick Porcello
4. Guillermo Moscoso
5. Charlie Furbush

Bullpen

Closer - Francisco Cordero
Set up - Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, Jason Frasor, Burke Badenhop, Ryan Perry
Long - Andrew Miller

Notable Bench Players

Will Rhymes, Ryan Raburn, Scott Sizemore, Danny Worth, Brandon Inge, Andy Dirks, Don Kelly, Casper Wells, Andres Torres

What's Good?

That guy sitting atop the starting rotation is pretty decent, no? Getting 34 or so starts out of Justin Verlander gives this ballclub a great chance to win plenty of low-scoring games. Jurrjens is a fine number two as well. I love Avila behind the plate and Maybin in left field would be a defensive force -- most metrics showed Maybin as a far superior defender in center to Granderson this past season, but I went with the logic that Granderson would stay in center as the star of the team. If he wanted to pull a Cal Ripken and move, OK, the defense gets even better. Finally, the bench depth is pretty good, as there are several guys capable of providing good spot starts.

What's Not?

While it's definitely not awful, that batting order leaves a lot to be desired. Joyce is really good and Granderson is great. Otherwise? I'll channel my inner Larry David and just say "eh." There would be an awful lot of pressure on Boesch and Avila in those run producing spots, that's for sure. Also, while it's not horrible, that bullpen bridge to Cordero isn't exactly one that eases the mind. Can you imagine how many cigarettes Jim Leyland would have to choke down to stomach a night with Badenhop, Frasor and Rodney tasked with putting up zeroes? They can do it, but they'll just about give you a heart attack in the process.

Comparison to real 2011

I'll go out on a limb here (please note sarcasm) and say winning 95 games and cruising to the AL Central title is about as realistic with this group as this exercise. A winning record might be possible, as this team feels just mediocre. The likes of Verlander, Granderson, Avila, Joyce and Jurrjens keep them away from "suck" territory. I'd go high-70s in wins with a ceiling of 83 victories.

Next: Houston Astros

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Posted on: October 10, 2011 10:03 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 10:09 pm
 

Raburn, Kelly heroes in disappointing loss

Raburn

By Evan Brunell


Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly weren't supposed to play pivotal roles for the Tigers in the playoffs.

And yet, if Detroit had come away with the victory, the story would have been about these two bench players who provided the bulk of the Tigers offense on Monday, collecting three of eight team hits. Raburn's lone hit was the biggest, launching a three-run homer that ended Derek Holland's night and put the Tigers ahead 3-2. It was even more significant given the Tigers' futility with runners in scoring position, having been just 2-for-29 dating back to Game 3 of the ALDS against the Yankees.

"I was just battling ... he kept throwing fastballs up in the zone," Raburn said of the homer, nothing that over time, the Tigers began sitting dead-red on Holland's fastball "For the most part, we battled him real well."

Unfortunately for Detroit, they couldn't capitalize on starter Derek Holland's wildness beyond Raburn's homers. Holland constantly played with fire, issuing four walks and throwing 80 percent fastballs, most of them up in the zone. Detroit kept clinging onto that 3-2 lead, though, with Raburn calling it "nerve-wracking," but things changed in the seventh inning thanks to a Nelson Cruz home run. (Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman, who hurled 4 1/3 innings of relief, said he thought "my beard was going to turn gray.")

Once that happened and the game was tied,
it was Kelly who gave the Tigers hope by doubling in the ninth inning with a runner on first. Unfortunately, that runner, Ramon Santiago, is far from a speedster and was held up at third base. There was some controversy as to whether Santiago would have scored, but Kelly didn't have any opinion on it as he didn't see the play unfold, but skipper Jim Leyland had his answer ready. "The ball came back to [Cruz in right field]," he said. "We were hoping it would kick back, but it didn't. It just came back to him and that's kind of the luck of the draw."

Cruz agreed, saying he got a good bounce and with a man on first base he had to play "no doubles, as close to the gap, as close to the wall. I picked it up as quick as I could. I even bobbled it a little bit. I threw the ball as quick as I could.'

After an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez popped out. That was the last and best chance Detroit had of coming away with a win and Detroit had to witness Cruz burning them yet again with a walkoff grand slam, the first walkoff in postseason franchise history.

"It's part of the game," Raburn said. "They're a great team out there. They battled."

Kelly concurred, but wasn't ready to give up and start packing his bags for home. "We had some tough games against the Yankees as well," he said, "and we were able to bounce back. That's what we're looking forward to doing tomorrow."

A 2-0 series lead is a tough obstacle to overcome, and going back to the creation of the best-of-seven LCS in 1985, 18 of 21 teams who have taken a 2-0 lead advanced to the playoffs. Those that didn't were the 1985 Blue Jays, Dodgers and 2004 Yankees. Kelly spoke about his experiences growing up as a kid and rooting for the Pirates, loving the chance Pittsburgh gave him as a child to celebrate victories. He's hoping the Tigers can come through for all the Detroit children now that the Tigers are headed back home.

"We've dealt with adversity all year long, and that's not going to change now," he said.

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Photo: Raburn

Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:18 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Grading the Tigers-Yankees ALDS



By Matt Snyder


Jim Leyland's tinkering. Leyland was roundly mocked on Twitter for his choice in the two-hole of the batting order throughout the series. He used a different lineup five different times in five games while Yankees manager Joe Girardi kept the same lineup throughout the entire ALDS. And look at the Tigers' three wins. Magglio Ordonez was 3-for-3 with a run scored in Game 2. Ramon Santiago was 2-for-4 with two huge RBI in a Game 3 victory and Thursday night in Game 5, Don Kelly opened the scoring in the first inning with a solo home run. Give Leyland credit for pushing the right buttons, specifically with who he batted second, but generally throughout the entire series.

The Tigers' back-end duo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde wasn't perfect in the series. Valverde made Game 2 interesting with a bad ninth and Benoit walked in a run Thursday night, even if it was an inherited runner. Still, the Tigers blew zero leads with either pitcher on the mound and the duo was a major reason for the series victory. Benoit in particular had to work out of some pretty rough spots, both in Game 2 and in Game 5. His stuff is nasty and he came up with big strikeouts when he had to have them. Valverde was shaky in his first two outings, but was anything but that in Game 5, with a one-run lead and the season on the line.

Justin Verlander struck out 11 batters and was masterful at times in his lone real start of the series: Game 3. He also gave up six hits, three walks and four earned runs. He did gather the victory, as he outpitched Yankees ace CC Sabathia. And we have to point out the Yankees do have a pretty damn good offense, too. It's just that this was a "C" effort for Verlander considering his body of work. You don't expect him to go out and give up four runs in a must-win game. He wasn't at his best, he was just good enough. That's a C-effort in my book. Probably in his, too. I also fully expect an A-effort in Game 1 against the Rangers.

We're going with Mother Nature/Major League Baseball here. Game 1 was ruined by rain. We have absolutely no way of knowing how the series would have gone -- and, remember, I predicted the Tigers in five anyway, so this is no excuse for the Yankees' loss -- but we were deprived of the real series. If MLB moved the start time earlier or didn't start Game 1 at all last Friday, we'd have seen both Verlander and Yankees ace CC Sabathia make two full starts in the series. Instead, each was wasted in a rain-suspended Game 1 and could only turn around to make one more start. On the other hand, the weather reports aren't always predictable, so this was a tough call. Bottom line, we got screwed a bit, and there's nowhere else to place the blame than with whoever you believe controls the weather in New York City.

Yankees 4-5-6 hitters. Alex Rodriguez is a big scapegoat for many. He has been for years. In Game 5, he struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and then ended the series with a strikeout in the ninth. The boos showered down upon him several times at home. Nick Swisher also struck out with the bases loaded in Game 5, and his was to end the inning. Combined, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Swisher went 9-for-55 (.164) with five RBI in the entire series. A-Rod was the worst, going 2-for-18 (.111), but all three of these guys were bad. If you want to know how bad, here's another illustration: The only two runs Robinson Cano scored all series were on his own home runs. He was left on base seven times.

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Posted on: October 4, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 2:49 am
 

Huge early play: Granderson's catch



By Matt Snyder


We're a few innings in at this point, but it's hard to shake the fallout of Curtis Granderson's first-inning catch. With the bases loaded, Tigers right fielder Don Kelly hit a rocket to dead center field. Granderson at first came in on the ball before realizing it was going to go over his head. He then made an outstanding leaping catch to end the inning.

Considering Kelly can fly, Granderson didn't land on his feet and that the runners were all moving on contact -- there were two outs -- it most certainly would have been an inside-the-park grand slam if Granderson hadn't made the grab. So it would have been a 4-0 lead for the Tigers in the first inning, with fickle A.J. Burnett on the hill and Comerica Park would have been rocking. Essentially, there's an argument to be made that the series was over if Granderson doesn't make that catch.

Instead, it's 2-1 Yankees after four innings and Burnett hasn't been awful (4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K).

It's far from over, but Granderson's recovery could well be the play that saved the season for the Yankees.



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Posted on: September 17, 2011 12:48 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 1:29 am
 

Tigers claim first AL Central title

Justin Verlander

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Before Friday, the last time the Detroit Tigers won their division, there was no Central division and the Brewers were in the American League. With a 3-1 victory over the Athletics on Friday, the Tigers clinched the American League Central, their first division title since 1987.

Doug Fister allowed just three hits in eight innings of work, while Don Kelly had two hits and drove in two on a single and a solo homer to lead the Tigers to the win over the A's, clinching the division for Detroit.

Detroit made it to the World Series in 2006, winning the wild card before losing to the Cardinals in five games. Their last division title came back before there was Central Division and the team finished two games ahead of the Blue Jays and seven games ahead of the Brewers in the AL East.

The Tigers were as many as eight games behind the Indians early in the season, but overtook Cleveland for good  on July 21 after trading the division lead for most of June and July. Detroit's recent 12-game winning streak extended a 5.5-game lead to 13.5 going into Friday.

Fister, acquired in a trade-deadline deal from the Mariners with David Pauley in exchange for Charlie Furbush and others, was 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA in his first eight starts for Detroit, adding some depth to the Detroit rotation behind Justin Verlander. Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 starts for the Mariners.

The Tigers are the second team to clinch a playoff berth, but first to clinch their division. Philadelphia missed a chance to clinch the National League East after the Braves lost to the Mets, but fell 4-2 in 11 innings to the Cardinals at home. 

Cleveland held on to beat the Twins earlier on Friday, keeping the Indians' chance alive for a couple of more hours, but any real shot at making it a race were dashed when the Tigers swept the Indians in Cleveland last week.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 1:32 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Pirates reach .500

Andrew McCutchen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- The Pirates evened their record at 30-30 on the season in large part because of their center fielder. McCutchen had a hand in all three of the Pirates' run, including the walk-off homer in the 12th. McCutchen's sacrifice fly in the third gave the Pirates an early lead and then he extended the game in the 10th when he doubled and scored on Neil Walker's single. He ended the game in the 12th with his shot off Zach Kroenke to lead off the inning.

Ryan Dempster, Cubs -- The Cubs warmed up Rodrigo Lopez just in case Dempster couldn't start because of a pain he felt in his hip before the game. Turns out, he was fine -- allowing just one run on three hits in six innings, striking out eight and ending the Cubs' eight-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over Cincinnati. With the win, Dempster now has 107 career wins, the second-most by any Canadian player -- just 177 behind Ferguson Jenkins.

Ben Revere, Twins -- Starting in the place of Denard Span, Revere led off against the Indians and finished with three singles. All three of his singles figured in the Twins' three runs of the day, as he drove in two and scored one. His two-out single in the 10th scored Drew Butera and gave Minnesota the victory.


Don Kelly, Tigers -- Kelly had a solo homer to put the Tigers on the board in the first inning, but then with bases loaded in the third inning, he air mailed a throw home on Craig Gentry's grounder to third, allowing a run to score. Covering home on the play, he couldn't come up with the throw from the catcher, as Chris Davis scored to give Texas a 2-1 lead. Josh Hamilton followed with a two-run double. That's all Alexi Ogando needed in a 7-3 Rangers win.

Danny Duffy, Royals -- One of Kansas City's vaunted rookie class is having a tough go of it so far in the big leagues. Duffy gave up five runs and eight hits while walking four in his four innings in Wednesday's 9-8 loss to the Blue Jays. Duffy is now 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in five starts. 

Oakland Athletics -- The A's have now lost nine in a  row. During their slide, the team has scored 26 runs and allowed 53, being shut out twice. It's their longest losing streak since a 10-game slide in July, 2008. They head to Chicago to begin a four-game series with the White Sox on Thursday.

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