Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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Whenever I am shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice or sitting in the bullpen trying to find something and anything to occupy my attention during down time I try to work on my foreign relations. In professional baseball, most of the time you will have several players from other countries and they are mostly Spanish speaking. So, I like to do what I can to find out what I can about my fellow teammates by attempting to get information across without knowing anything the other guy is saying. So far I have came to learn enough Spanish to not totally sound like an idiot while trying to converse with them, and to their credit many know enough English to let me know how things are. I have come to find out that my teammates from abroad are not just good ballplayers, but pretty good guys as well. So far I have managed to make up a handshake with my bullpen brother Kelvin Cedano, and have garnished many nicknames from some of the others (Flaco, meaning skinny, and “my friend” are the two most popular). We have also reached the point to where practical jokes are fair game to anyone. It used to be the American guys only messed with each other and vice versa, but now, if there is an easy target, no one is spared. I am very fortunate to be friends with these guys because as I said they as much to teach me as me to them. Plus somewhere down the line in life, whether it be in another job or travels, I think that being able to communicate with people who don’t even speak my same language may come in handy.
Dealing with success and failure in the game of baseball really boils down to a few main things. Either way a player must be able to shed his emotions after 12 hours because any more than that this could carryover into the next game and you want to have as clear a mind as possible to focus on the task at hand. For a pitcher, the rules change a little in that starters can take a little more time to think about their outing due to the long time between starts, but relievers need the same mindset as I mentioned earlier. Personally I have found it beneficial after a game, whether good or bad, to look back at what I did well that night to build on for the next time I throw. There is plenty of analysis after a game which comes from coaches and also myself which focuses on what I need to do better, and this is something which cannot be ignored either. However my thought is that if I continue to build on what I am doing well, eventually the mistakes won’t happen as often. It has been said that baseball is a game of failure and the numbers we use to determine how good a player is speak to that testament. Three for Ten at the plate is a hall of fame career, which means he is failing seven out of ten times. An ERA is based on how many runs the other team can expect you to give up. This is what makes baseball so great, it’s hard. The challenge of trying to beat the game is what motivate players to keep going. The other team can beat you every now and then, but the game will get you every time if you overlook what is happening at that given moment. Baseball is too hard to always be good, there will be downs and it is how a player is able to deal with them and bounce back for the next pitch or at bat. As Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) said in A League of Their Own, “Baseball is what gets inside you. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”
Today’s travel situation was too good not to talk about. I have spoken before about the bus chronicles and what we do getting to the destination, but this is the first time something has happened once we arrived at our destination. So, following a six hour ride to Davenport, Iowa from Grand Rapids, I was looking forward to relaxing in the hotel room before heading to the field for the game. To my surprise my roommate, Paul Nardozzi, and I walked into our room and did an immediate 180. The smell of about ten years of a constant burning cigarette filled the place and right away knew that this wasn’t going to work. So we went to the front desk to see if it was possible to rearrange our situation. Now let me lay this out, we are staying at the AmericInn in Davenport, Iowa, and are told there are not any more rooms for the time being. I am still trying to wrap my head around that one. Then the conversation with the front desk attendant was quite interesting as well. First they asked US if we wanted to go over to the Cracker Barrel restaurant and borrow their cleaning solution to try and get the smell out. Thanks, but no thanks. Then the next logical question to ask (apparently) was, “Well do any of your teammates smoke? Maybe they can switch with you.” I don’t think I really have to do much more explaining of the situation to help you, the reader, understand what we are dealing with here. So for now we made it into a room, but tomorrow morning we have to check out and go to another open room. I can shed humor on the situation because it’s nothing we minor league ballplayers can’t handle. I just wanted to make sure for all you aspiring professionals out there, what you are in for.
Mark Brackman gave up three unearned runs in the top of the twelfth inning in the Tigers 5-2 loss to Tri-CIty. Anthony Shawler was had the best outing. He gave up four runs and a walk with six strikeouts in four shutout innings.
Eric Harryman was the hitting star in the loss. He finished the game three for five.
Virgil Vasquez’s troubles continued and he fell to 6-11 in the Hens 8-5 loss to Pawtucket. He gave up six runs on eight hits in just 2 1/3 innings.
Mike Hessman belted two homers and he drove in three in the loss. We’ll miss his bat come Olympic time. Clete Thomas went two for four with a run.
Josh Rainwater was roughed up and he fell to 7-5 in the SeaWolves 10-1 loss. He gave up nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and four walks with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
Santo De Leon went two for four with an RBI. William Rhymes went three for five and all three hits were singles.
The White Sox didn’t push a single base runner across the plate in their 5-0 loss to Cedar Rapids. Justin Henry was the only hitter to reach base twice with a pair of singles.
Emmanuel Miguelez took the loss and he fell to 2-5. He gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
This season has been one of several ups and downs but still overall very positive. We have also rearranged our team quite a few times, I read in an article recently that we have something like forty plus roster moves. This includes moving people up and down along with putting guys on and taking them off the disabled list. I get a kick out of it when a little kid comes up to a new player and asks him to sign their picture in the program and he has to try and explain “Sorry kid, I’m not in there yet.” Does this get old or is it hard to settle in as a team? Not really actually, you kind of get used to it and at the end of the day you still have to go out and do your job. There really isn’t time for worrying if the new guys like the same movies you do. Plus, when you spend the majority of every day with the same people, you get to know your teammates pretty well, and sometimes too well. I’ll admit it’s sad to see you’re friends leave but that’s the nature of the business. As long as when playoffs roll around everyone gets along, and more importantly is playing well, that is all that matters. So for the fans, even if you can’t recognize the same faces on the field, the team is still the same and no matter what, tomorrow baseball will be played with or without people you know.
Jade Todd wasn’t the only GCL Tiger pitcher hit hard tonight but he was knocked around the worst. He gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts in four innings.
Jordan Lennerton and Chao-Ting Tang both drove in three in the loss. D’Andre Vaughn went two for four with two walks and two runs.
Mark Sorensen didn’t get a decision in the TIgers 1-0 win over Tri-City but he definitely got it done on the mound. He gave up four hits and he struck out four in six shutout innings. Daniel DeLucia improved to 2-1 and he gave up two hits and a walk with one strikeout in two innings of shutout relief.
Bryan Pounds tripled and drove in the lone run for either side. Christopher White reached base twice with a pair of walks.
A solid start by Yorman Bazardo went to waste as the Pawtucket Red Sox edged the Mud Hens 3-2. Bazardo gave up three runs on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts in seven innings and the loss dropped him to 4-6 on the season.
Clete Thomas went two for four in the loss. Derek Wathan tripled and drove in a run.
Normally, eleven runs will cut it but the Flying Tigers lost 17-11 in a game that saw both teams combine for 30 hits. MIchael Bertram had a monster game and he went three for five with two homers and six RBIs.
Matt O’Brien fell to 5-7 with a tough start. He gave up seven runs on nine hits and a walk in just 1 1/3 innings. Of the three relievers that followed him, all gave up at least two earned runs.
Justin Henry was one of the hitting stars in the White Caps 8-5 win over Wisconsin. He went two for five with a double, two runs and three RBIs. Chris Carlson also had a nice game and he went three for four with a double and two RBIs.
Alfredo Figaro had a rough start and he gave up four runs in five innings in a no decision. Paul Nardozzi improved to 4-5 with a perfect inning of relief.
Things looked grim for the GCL Tigers when Victor Larez gave up four runs in the second inning (all were unearned), but the Tigers battled and scored six unanswered runs to win 6-4. Luis Palacios had a big day at the plate and he went four for five with a double and three RBIs while Jordan Lennerton singled and drove in a pair.
Luis Sanz improved to 3-2 with some solid work out of the pen. He gave up just one run and he struck out five in four shutout innings of relief.
The Seawolves and B-Mets exchanged shutouts today and while Erie was outscored 11-1 combined over the two games, they actually walked away with a win. Game one was a brutal 11-0 shutout. Lauren Gagnier was tagged for nine runs in 2 2/3 innings and he fell to 1-2. His ERA now sits at 17.36 in his three starts for Erie. Danny Worth and Louis Ott both had a pair of singles.
Game two was a 1-0 shutout win and it was Daniel Christensen who threw 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball. Casey Fien got the final two outs and he improved to 2-3 with the win while Casper Wells singled and scored the lone run for either side.
Chris Lambert gave up five runs in the fifth and final inning of the Hens rain shortened 6-1 loss to Rochester. He fell to 10-6 and he gave up six runs on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in five innings.
Mike Hollimon drove in the lone run with a solo shot in the second inning. It was his fourteenth homerun of the season.
Ryan Strieby had just one hit in the Flying Tigers 11-5 win over Vero Beach but that was a two run blast. Combine that with two sac. flies and he finished the game with a team high four RBIs. Brandon Timm also had a big day and he went three for five with a triple, three RBIs and two runs.
Jonah Nickerson improved to 8-3 with the win. He gave up five runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings. Zach Simons threw three shutout innings to close out the game and he picked up his second save of the season.
Mauricio Robles improved to 4-1 on the season with a very nice start in the White Caps 6-1 win over Wisconsin. He gave up just two hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings.
Kyle Peter went two for three with two RBIs and a run. Kody Kaiser didn’t get a hit, but he walked twice and scored a pair of runs.
David Stokes fell to 2-2 on the season after a tough start in Oneonta’s 5-3 loss to Batavia. He gave up five runs on six hits with four strikeouts in five innings of work. The pen got it done and three relievers combined to throw three shutout innings with six strikeouts but the offense couldn’t get it going in the late innings.
Ben Guez belted a two run homer in the loss. Hayden Parrott also went yard with a solo shot.
Erie’s second game of their doubleheader didn’t go nearly as well as they lost 11-4 tonight. Juan Cedeno was roughed up and he fell to 3-2. He gave up six runs on ten hits and two walks with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
Casper Wells went three for three with a double and a run. Ryan Roberson went two for three with a solo homer.
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