Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Should Leyland Keep Playing Inge?

The most difficult decision Tigers manager Jim Leyland currently must make is whether Brandon Inge is helping or hurting the club by playing through his knee ailments.
Inge’s slump since the All Star break is alarming. Yet, he adds a lot to the club defensively. And the Tigers win, above all else, with pitching and defense.
It leads to another question: Just how good a third baseman is Aubrey Huff? His career fielding percentage at third base: .947. Brandon Inge’s career fielding percentage at third base: .958.
I think it is a fair assumption Inge has much better range at third than Huff, who has actually played more games at third base than any other position in his career, but only sporadically in recent seasons - and not at all this season. A note: Huff’s fielding percentage at third base has actually been much better in recent seasons than it was earlier in his career when he played the position on an every day basis.

Random Thoughts

- A few more games mixed in on the road by Miguel Cabrera like he had last night and the Tigers will win the division in a romp. He is capable of doing special things. Will he do them?

- Big hit by Curtis Granderson against a left-hander last night. Another good sign.

- Jered Weaver seems to be just as big a hot head as his brother, Jeff.

- I don’t think it’s a bad thing Justin Verlander and Gerald Laird were yelling at each other on the bench. A little fire never hurt anybody.

My column in Tuesday's Oakland Press about the Tigers: http://tinyurl.com/m6h77g



Blogger Larry Baker said...

I think it is quite odd that Huff has only been DH. As a guy who had played LF, 3B (& 1B); his versatility seemed like part of his appeal. I'd sure like to see him play a game or two at third agaisnt right handed pitchers, just to see what we have.

12:28 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I don't think you will find anybody better then Inge at thirdbase on this team. However, I think you have to start spelling to see what you have i.e. giving a Huff a shot over there for a game or 2. I think a lot of inges struggles are that of many of the other tigers. Bad Decision making at the plate. For example you watch opposing pitchers you will see them throw it above Brandon's Helmet cause they know he will swing at it. Other guys are the same. You can watch where the catchers are setting up they know this team is chassing bad pitches. So I don't blame McCleandon.. This team just needs to make better decisions. I think they will be ok other wise. I mean u said it the other night. Clete Thomas and Rayburn are what they are. Though Clete Thomas needs to slow up a bit cause his swing is way out of control at the moment. But this team competes and takes 1 out of the 2 the next two games .. Then no question I think this team will be a big surprise come playoff time, but better decisions need to be made at the plate.

As far as the lions..Now you see my point about being realistic with this team. Fans get so excited and then we see a performance like saturday and we start calling for heads. Stafford is going to be good. I think thus far the second tier lineman have been much better then some of the first string guys. I'd like to see us start evaluating guys like Cohen and jensen with the starters. Lets see what they do against the other teams best.

I think the Lions biggest concern is Defense. You look at all those mistackles and it is disgusting. If we don't find some sort of pass rush(halfway descent), or start tackling I can see why Drew Sharp says another 0-16 could happen. Tackling is a major peice of football. You can't do it you won't win.

I'd like to see how this regime responds. Will they really put up with all the junk talent or will they tweak when need be. I mean a guy like Hollis Thomas, Chris McAllister, and even a Marvin Harrison could add much needed debth for a 1 or 2 years deal until we can build through the draft. I jsut think lions fans need to relax and let this thing play out some.. We have no choice but to give this regime a chance.

12:43 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, Tigers have been lucky with Inge or it would be consider another bad signing by DD. If Inge defense is still up to par what choice do the Tigers have? I guess you could try Huff and see how goes. That would be super if he plays it half decent. As we wrote before, I never understood why the Tigers keep playing Hessman at 3B at Toledo when they could have tried to develop Rhymes or Sizemore there. Could Dlugach move over to 3B?

12:55 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

It's obvious Inge is hurting and impeding his play. There have been some defensive errors - one where he ran to scoop up a simple grounder but he didn't get down far enough to scoop it.

His hitting has waned - but I don't think it's his knees - he has slipped back to his old stroke of .240 calibre. When he was hot and bang on - the barrel of his his bat head didn't move as he watched the pitch coming in and he swung smooth through (kind of John Olerude-like). But lately he has a hitch in his swing - and the hitch takes his bat head out of position like Jim Furyk swinging a golf club - so I am not counting on him returning to first-half-form until he recognizes that and corrects it.

I'm all for trying Huff at 3B - letting Inge rest and work with the hitting coach to get rid of that damned hitch.

Huff deserves a shot.

If Inge complains - he will drop considerably on this Inge-fan's respectabilty list.

That's how I see it anyway.

3:26 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Pat, you've beaten the horse named Cabrera needs to do more to death 10x over, and he's outperformed almost everyone in baseball since the allstar break. Let it die and get new material.

Tough call with Inge. They definitely should be trying Huff out at 3rd. That was the main reason I was excited about the Huff trade. I think Guillen and Thames are a pretty good LF / DH combo, so Huff at 3rd is where I see the Tigers offense being most improved. And maybe a few days off will get Inge going again.

The main problem with the Tigers offense is that we have 3 defensive specialists that are providing no offense right now: Inge, Everett, and Laird (and Grandy is a 4th against lefties). Having even 2 of these guys in the lineup on the same day is tough, 3 is stagnating.

4:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree that this is a critical juncture for the Inge situation. If he is going to go in the DL or sit for multiple games in a row, the time is now. Even though it may be by a slim margin, the Tigers are in first place and should take advantage of that. Inge makes the team much better defensively, so he will be needed when we play the Sox and Twins in September. The time to sit him for 3-5 days in a row is now while we are playing opponents outside of the division, and while the Sox are playing the Red Sox and Yankees.


4:31 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Larry Baker,
It's kind of like, as a fielder, Huff is the jack of all trades - and the master of none.

1:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

There is a tradoff. What benefits the team more? Inge's fielding or Huff's hitting. So far, Leyland has taken fielding.

1:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

They did try Larish at third, but it was kind of a futile effort.

1:21 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Inge won't complain. He won't pull out of the lineup, either. He is taking it for the team - and that shows his character.

1:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
Miguel Cabrera is the most important player on the Tigers. I will write about him a lot. Just the way it is.

1:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
Miguel Cabrera is the most important player on the Tigers. I will write about him a lot. Just the way it is.

1:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think they should sit him out for a few days - if it would help him in the long run. Not sure it would, though.

1:24 PM 

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