Opening Day Facepalm
If this keeps up all year, Jim Leyland and I are going to have words. WORDS, I tell you!
1. Will Rhymes and Alex Avila shouldn't have started today.
Please don't give me that "It's opening day and you have to put your regular lineup out there" nonsense. Every game counts (especially in what should be a tight AL Central) and you need to put the team out there that gives you the best chance to win. If it hurts their feelings, then they can go fist themselves. They're grown men making a shit-ton of money. They'll get over it.
CC Sabathia, despite being fat and stupid, is, with Jon Lester, one of the two best lefties in the AL. If you have other options, you sit your left-handed bats against him. Predictably, Tinkerbell and Al Jr combined to go 0-7 on the day with 4 strikeouts (3 by Avila). Alex also looked lost behind the plate, but I think that'll improve and is beside the point.
What would I have done, you ask? First off, sit Avila and have Victor Martinez catch today. That was supposed to be the plan against lefties anyway, right? You then move Magglio to DH (not a bad idea since he's been hurt) and start right-handed Casper Wells in right field. That gives you better defense in the outfield (which would've helped on the ball that Maggs missed today) and a better bat in Wells over Avila. Finally, you start Ramon Santiago instead of Rhymes. Little Ramon is 7/24 (.292) lifetime against Sabathia. Only Miguel Cabrera (.538) and Carlos Guillen (.295) have hit CC better in their careers on the Tigers' team. (Brennan Boesch is 2/6, but I'm not counting him quite yet.) Ramon is also better on D than Rhymes and his matchstick-sized legs.
How this isn't a better lineup to put out there against CC F'n Sabathia in Yankee Stadium, I'll never know. But when you're one of the boss' kids or one of the manager's special little guys, the rules are different, I guess. Fuck winning.
2. Daniel Schlereth should have been brought in to face Curtis Granderson, not Phil Coke.
Now I've made it clear that I love Phil Coke. He's a nutjob and makes me smile. And I understand that since you're skipping his first start, you need to get him work in the pen. That's fine and dandy.
But you've spent all offseason and spring preparing him to be a starter. You have fireballing lefty Daniel Schlereth as your lefty specialist this year. Ex-Tiger and strikeout machine Curtis Granderson is at the plate in a tied game. Schlereth is made for getting outs from guys like Granderson. Instead, you put Coke in, pass over Schlereth in the role you've assigned him, and watch Curtis hit a ball that I'm not quite sure has landed yet. Tie broken, the three-headed monster of Joba/Soriano/Rivera looming, and game over. You have to get to the Yankees early, or you're not going to win many against them.
Point is, there will be a better time this week to get Phil Coke some work. Let Schlereth do his job.
Would any of this have made a big difference in today's game? Maybe. Maybe not. But these things add up over time and have, in my mind, defined Jim Leyland's tenure as Tiger manager: Goofy decisions that make my head and liver hurt.
A.J. Burnett is pitching for the Yanks on Saturday. against Brad Penny for us in the battle of the ex-Marlins. I'm sure Dave Dombrowski will be thrilled.