Hank Conger

When the Angels were in town playing the Tigers and I saw Hank Conger in the lineup, he seemed familiar to me.  After a little thinking and research, Conger was familiar to me because he was a highly thought of prospect in the Angels organization.  I’m not sure how I knew that, but I watch a lot of baseball, and read just about anything related to the game.

Anyway, I was correct. Conger was a first round pick of the Angels in 2006.  Before the draft he made a deal with his Mom.  If he was not drafted in the first round, he would accept his full ride scholarship to USC.  If he was selected in the first round, he’d play professional baseball.  Well the Angles selected him with the 25th pick in the first round.

In June 2006, shortly after graduating from Huntington Beach High School and just before the First-Year Player Draft, Hank Conger struck a deal with his mother: If he didn’t get picked up in the first round, he’d accept his full ride to the University of Southern California, and — for the time being — put aside his dreams of professional baseball.

“They don’t pick up high-school catchers in the first round,” Conger’s mom, Eun, said, laughing as she recalled her thought process at the time. “In my mind, I was thinking, ‘OK, you’re going to school.'”

And then, with the 25th overall selection — six picks before the first round came to an end — the Angels took a chance on the switch-hitting backstop.

Eun, born and raised in South Korea until immigrating to the U.S. in 1986, came from a culture that preaches studying hard, going to college, obtaining a degree and ultimately working a normal 9-to-5 job.

Draft night brought mixed emotions.

Hank Conger
Angels Catcher Hank Conger

If you’re interested read the rest of the story here.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers Lose 7-4. Dirks Embarrassing!

JV wasn’t great but he deserved better than what happened to him this afternoon.

The story of this game was written in the 4th inning. The Tigers scored 2 in the top of the 4th to tie the game at 2, but the White Sox came back in the bottom with 4 runs, thanks largely to the efforts of Tiger left fielder Andy Dirks. Dirks’ play in left field, makes ex-Cleveland left fielder Albert Joey Belle, look like a gold glover.

With one out and two on, White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers hit a 92 mph JV change up hard to left field that Andy Dirks completely misplayed. In fact, it looked like the ball went off of his glove, but miraculously, the official scorer gave Flowers a double and an RBI.

If Dirks makes the catch off of the bat of Flowers, Verlander and the Tigers probably get out of the inning still tied at two.

The Andy Dirks love affair has to come to an end.  He’s in a platoon role right now and I think that is too much playing time for him.  He’s not hitting much to speak of, he was 0-4 today with 2 strike outs, and his fielding is atrocious. I won’t even mention his pathetic attempt at a catch in the bottom of the second off of the bat of Conor Gillaspie.  All I can say is WTF?

IMHO, give Tui the left field job and let him play until he plays himself out of it. If/when that happens, bring Avisail Garcia back up and repeat the process. Let him play until he proves he can’t. Last time I checked, Avi was hitting over .400 in Toledo.

Next, when Infante comes back, Santiago has to go. He is an automatic out and adds no value. Let Perez back up Infante. On top of not hitting, Santiago can’t even move runners over with a productive out. He is absolutely on my last nerve now.

I understand that everyone is trying their best and nobody wants to suck but Dirks and Santiago have become embarrassing. The least Leyland and the Tigers can do is show some consideration for the fans by not running these shit birds out there on a regular basis.

This afternoon’s game was a shitty way to end this Chicago series.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Tigers Win 4th In Row on Road

Courtesy of their 6-2 victory this evening over the Chicago White Sox, the Tigers have now won four in a row on the road and assured themselves of winning this four game series in Chicago, regardless of what Verlander does tomorrow.

Anibal Sanchez pitched 6 complete allowing six hits, 0 runs, walking 1 and striking out 5.  The offense was powered by a Prince Fielder 3 run shot, solo home runs by Jackson and Hunter, and would you believe it, an RBI single from Alex Avila

As Avila walked to the batter’s box for his third at bat, I was thinking of how bad he’s been struggling.  I haven’t researched the numbers but he seems to get caught looking an awful lot.  And when he does, he walks away with a blank look that seems to be saying, ‘I don’t have a clue’.  Fortunately, he singled and drove in the 6th run.

The last few games I’ve been impressed with Hernan Perez.  He had two more hits tonight and was robbed of a third on a great play by White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie.  If he keeps this up, the Tigers might have a hard time sending him down when Infante gets back and keeping Santiago on the bench.

I was also impressed with Bruce Rondon.  Even though he gave up a run on two hits I thought he showed some composure.  The single that drove in the run was a bloop hit off the end of the bat.  Instead of getting flustered, Rondon got the next batter to ground into an inning ending double play.

Benoit was brought in, again, tonight to get the final two outs in a non-save situation.  I didn’t get it yesterday.  I still don’t get it today.  Is he the closer or not?  As Sark commented yesterday, he probably won’t be available should he be needed tomorrow.

On a different note, the White Sox look horrible.  They look a lot worse than they did a few weeks ago when they took 2 out of 3 at Comerica Park.  I’m wondering if they have quit on Robin Ventura.  Let’s hope we see more of the same tomorrow.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Porcello, Perez Lead Tigers Past White Sox

Ricky Porcello pitched 7 scoreless innings and Hernan Perez had two hits including a triple to pace the Tigers to a 6-2 win tonight in Chicago.

After the first inning, Ricky looked strong.  He recorded 9 ground ball outs, walked 3 and struck out 1.

I was a little worried in the first as I thought Porcello was getting squeezed on the inside corner to lefties and the outside corner to righties.  In the bottom of the first with two out, Alex Rios singled and stole second.  Then it looked like Ricky struck out Adam Dunn but didn’t get the call and Dunn went to first base.  The same corner gave Porcello problems when Konerko was at the plate.  Konerko walked to load the bases.  At this point Porcello could have come unglued but held it together and got Jeff Keppinger to ground out 5-3.

From then on, Porcello really didn’t face anymore trouble.  He left the game after 7 innings and 93 pitches.  Keep in mind that he threw 25 pitches in the first inning.

Al Alburquerque came on in the 8th and retired the Sox 1-2-3.  Leyland sent him back for the 9th and he walked the first two batters he faced.  This brought Benoit into the game who gave up a two run double to Konerko but retired Keppinger, Gillaspie and Viciedo to end the game.

A few things have me scratching my head.

  1. Tuiasosopo started and was replaced by Dirks again. I heard Leyland in an interview say he was trying to protect Tui from getting “eaten up” by a tough right handed pitcher.  But what about Dirks?  He’s not exaclty tearing the cover off of the ball.
  2. If Benoit is the closer, why is he being brought in when the score is 6-0?  The only thing I can think of is that Leyland wants him to get used to pitching the 9th.
  3. Jackson and Fielder are struggling.  If those two don’t hit, the Tigers can be in a lot of trouble.
  4. What is going on with Alex Avila?  I had hope after his 3 hit game a few nights ago and he did have two walks today but his other at bats were horrible.  He got caught looking both times and seemed like he didn’t have a clue on what was going on.
  5. It looks Alburquerque is a one inning pitcher.  When he came out for the ninth he couldn’t find the strike zone and this seems to be his MO.
  6. The Tigers need Miggy back.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Scherzer Goes to 14-1. Tigers Beat Sale, White Sox 7-3.

Max Scherzer improved his record to 14-1 tonight as the Tigers beat Chris Sale and the White Sox 7-3.

There was a lot to like about tonight’s game, not the least of which, is that the Tigers beat White Sox ace, and arguably the best pitcher in the American League this year, Chris Sale.

True, the Tigers were helped by three White Sox errors but good teams make other teams pay for giving them extra outs.  Additionally, the Tigers who had a hard time scoring after the sixth inning before the break, scored one in the seventh and three in the ninth to seal the deal.

Both pitchers pitched well. Scherzer went 8 innings, allowed four hits and two earned runs while striking out 5 and walking none.

Sale pitched 8 innings as well, he allowed 4 runs but only 2 of them were earned.  He struck out 11 and walked 3.

The Tigers bullpen was pretty good tonight as well. Phil Coke came on to start the ninth and got Alejandro De Aza to ground out to second base.  That was the only batter he’d face as Jim Leyland brought in Bruce Rondon to relieve Coke with one out.

Rondon got Alexei Ramirez to ground to short for the second out but then had a hiccup.  He allowed a double to Alex Rios.  Rios took third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk.  But Rondon struck out Adam Dunn to end the game and give the Tigers the first game of the series.

Victor Martinez continued his torrid pace with 4 more hits and 3 RBIs raising his batting average to .270.

Torii Hunter had two hits including a solo shot off of Sale in the 7th.

The big concern is the health of Miguel Cabrera.  As I wrote yesterday, something seemed amiss with the reigning AL MVP, and apparently there is.  It looks like he has a back/hip injury.  Let’s hope it’s nothing serious.

On another note, I like the way Leyland is using Phil Coke.  It looks like he’s just using him for 1 or 2 hitters to hopefully get his rhythm and confidence back. Let’s hope the recent success continues.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry…

are the fields in which Boston Red Sox, relief pitcher, Craig Breslow earned his bachelor of arts degree from Yale University.

Breslow graduated from Yale in 2002 and was drafted in the 26th round by the Milwaukee Brewers that same year.

Here‘s a link to his wikipedia page.

Breslow is a pretty good pitcher on top of being smart, he has a career 2.97 ERA.

Here is a link to his Baseball-Reference page.

“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural