Miguel Cabrera: good at baseball. Fastballs, curveballs, it doesn’t matter to Miggy. He hit everything that was thrown at him on Friday going 4-for-5. He lined a couple singles, then smashed one past Ryan Flaherty at shortstop. In the eighth, he muscled a homer over the bullpen in left for his 2,000th career hit. Kinda cool. The big guy even started a 3-6-3 double play in the sixth. What a mensch! How could anybody not like him?
News and Notes
- Anibal Sanchez was just okay on Friday. He got into some trouble in the first allowing a single to David Lough and he walked Adam Jones. He was ahead of Chris Davis 0-2 before he left a changeup down the middle of the plate, which he promptly smacked to right field for a two-run double. Those were the only runs on Anibal’s record as he was pretty clean the rest of the way allowing only two O’s to reach base after the first and both were walks in the fourth. He didn’t return after a short rain delay in the bottom of the fourth. In all, he went four innings, allowing two hits, three walks, and two earned runs. Sanchez struck out three and walked three. Not bad considering it was cold and rainy and he hadn’t faced major league hitters since March 12th due to a shoulder injury that kept him out of spring training action. Not bad at all.
- If it’s not clear to you already, Nick Castellanos can really hit. He’s certainly not here for his baserunning (more on that later). With two men on and the Tigers trailing by two runs in the second, Castellanos was jammed by an inside fastball from Miguel Gonzalez and still muscled a double almost to the warning track in right field. I’ve seen him take batting practice twice this week and even in BP he goes to right field like a madman. Casty is still not someone I’d call a disciplined hitter—he took an ugly half swing on a pitch that never threatened the zone before making an out against Ryan Webb in the 7th—but you can see why the Tigers have always liked his bat and it should play well, especially at home with the spacious gaps at Comerica. Sweet swing. He finished the day 2-for-3 with a hit by pitch. Good stuff, kiddo.
- Castellanos had a major TOOTBLAN in the second inning. Ian Kinsler singled with Castellanos on second. To say that Casty ignored his third base coach is an understatement because our dude was simply running with his head down looking at the dirt. Dirt isn’t even that great to look at, so next time he should pick up his coach because Adam Jones got the ball in quickly and by the time Castellanos held himself up well past third he was toast trying to get back to the bag as Davis cutoff Jones’ throw and Jonathon Schoop made the tag. Castellanos is a big moose, so I don’t understand why he thinks he’s fast but it seems like he does. He hit a long single in the fourth and the first base coach had to give him the stop sign, so the coaches seem to be aware of his aggressive baserunning (Puig-ness). Nick has to, you know, look at them for that to actually matter, though.
- Austin Jackson had a TOOTBLAN of his own in the third, but it was much easier to explain. On a line drive single, Jackson was clearly thinking about two bases right out of the box. Unfortunately, Lough got to the ball quickly and fired it in. Jackson was dead meat. Perfectly understandishable, but you don’t run on David Lough, I guess. Former Royal. Arrrg.
- Drew Smyly picked up the ball after the rain delay and looked good in his three innings striking out three and allowing just two baserunners (a hit and a walk). Brad Ausmus said before the game that Smyly is having his start skipped and Justin Verlander will start on Sunday so it was no surprise to see Smyly in the game. He’ll continue to pitch out of the bullpen as the Tigers hit the west coast next week. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all for the Tigers to watch Smyly’s innings closely this season as he threw just 75 innings out of the pen last year. He only threw 30 pitches today. Good stuff, Drew.
- Andrew Romine got his first start and base hit—a bunt single in the fourth—for the Tigers, but his best contribution was undoubtedly in the field. In the eighth, Romine went deep into the hole as a Jones grounder got by Castellanos and showed off a strong arm by getting it to Cabrera in time. It was a fine defensive play and one that I’m frankly unsure Alex Gonzalez can make anymore. It’s nice to have Romine in that he’s a guy who can play shortstop and isn’t 37 years old. Seems to be a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, though. He’s a little 2000 and late on that, bleh.
- Ausmus lost his first challenge in the fifth. Romine bobbled a potential double-play feed from Kinsler and the runner was ruled safe at second. I thought he clearly lost the ball on the transfer, but the call on the field was confirmed. If anything, Romine might’ve missed the bag with his foot, but remember the neighborhood play is NOT eligible to be challenged. Ausmus is still undefeated where it really matters, though, and he seems very relaxed watching most of the games so far with his feet up in the dugout. Nice work if you can get it.
- Rajai Davis hit a three-run homer when play was resumed after the rain delay. Cool. He didn’t really do anything else worth talking about today and we shouldn’t expect many more home runs the rest of the way. Still cool, though.
- Did I mention it was cold? Because it was really cold. You could see the guys’ breathe on the field like it was a football game or something. Omar Vizquel, who to his credit wasn’t wearing a jacket over his jersey, seemed to be the coldest person in the Tigers dugout. I saw him go right in front of the heater more than pretty much everyone else did combined. Toughen up, Omar. Everybody knows you couldn’t hold Alan Trammell’s jock.
- Joba Chamberlain stinks. Is stinky. Stunk. He’s bad. Really bad. Either that or the Orioles just saved all of their hard contact for him in the ninth inning, which is a pretty dubious theory. Let’s hope this is the highest leverage situation he sees all season. Perhaps if we get #NoJobas trending on Twitter some decision maker will see it and act accordingly. No freaking Jobas, you guys. There should be none.
- Ausmus put the super subs in for the ninth inning with the score 10-2. It was like spring training. Don Kelly came in to play first, Tyler Collins went out to right, and Brian Holaday put pads on but that was just to warm up Joba, the scruby-est scrub of all.
- As I'm writing this I'm re-watching the game on FSD and Mario just did his first April in the D read so I figure this is as good a time as any to stop. We get Rick Porcello against Bud Norris tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. I'm sure their parents are very excited.
Around the Org Scores
AAA Toledo Mud Hens
0-1, t-3rd in West Division
AA Erie SeaWolves
0-0, t-3rd in Western Division
A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers
1-1, t-2nd in North Division
A West Michigan Whitecaps
1-1, t-3rd in North Division
About the Daily Smoko
Smoko is an Australian and New Zealand term for a short cigarette break during work. It can also describe a short coffee or tea break. I’m not here to advocate for or against smoking really, I just want to honor Jim Leyland and have you guys read my recaps while you should probably be working.
Nick Shlain is TigsTown's staff writer and resident eccentric. He has better control than Joba. Follow him on twitter @electricsnuff