The Detroit Tigers begin the 2011 season on the road against the N..."/> The Detroit Tigers begin the 2011 season on the road against the N..."/>

Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees

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The Detroit Tigers begin the 2011 season on the road against the New York Yankees. Andrew from Yanks Go Yard was kind enough to discuss this opening series with me and share a six-pack of questions.

Series Pitching Preview:
Thursday 1:05 pm
RHP Justin Verlander vs LHP CC Sabathia
Saturday 4:10 pm

RHP Brad Penny vs RHP A.J. Burnett

Sunday 1:05 pm

RHP Max Scherzer vs RHP Phil Hughes

Injury Update:
Detroit:
15 Day DL
Carlos Guillen – recovering from left knee surgery
Joel Zumaya – right elbow soreness
Day-to-Day
Maglio Ordoñez – left hamstring

New York:

15 Day DL

Francisco Cervelli-Fractured left foot

Pedro Feliciano-Left shoulder discomfort

Damaso Marte-Rotator cuff surgery

Day-to-Day

Curtis Granderson-RIght oblique strain

Who’s HOT:

Detroit: Justin Verlander

In 28 innings this spring, Justin Verlander posted a 0.96 ERA, striking out 23. Verlander was on a war path this spring to hopefully finally conquer his historically bad April outings.

New YorkAlex Rodriguez

His numbers this spring have been mind boggling; he led the Yanks with 19 hits, six homers, 15 RBI, 44 total bases (the next closest in TB was 31) and an .898 slugging percentage. His line was .388/.444/.898 in 18 games (49 at-bats).

Who’s Cold:

DetroitJhonny Peralta

This spring,shortstop  Jhonny Peralta hit just .197 in 66 at-bats. Sure it is a small sample size of data but Jhonny-P looked a lot like former Tiger Adam Everett at the plate this spring.

New York: Nick Swisher

He led the Yanks in at-bats with 59, but put up just a .254/.274/.339 line. Swish Dog recorded 20 total bases, 12 strike outs and just two walks while driving in just eight runs and socking one dinger in 20 games.

SIX PACK OF QUESTIONS AFTER THE JUMP…..

SIX PACK:

JAYRC: Position players turned Designated Hitters often struggle. How well will Jorge Posada handle his new role?

ANDREW: There’s absolutely no doubt that Jorge Posada is fuming about not being the starting catcher, or even a back up. I think he will handle the transition with class but his numbers will drop. Posada, who will be 40 in August and is in the last year of his four-year, 52.4 million contract, hit .279/.380/.487 in 5,274 at-bats as a catcher and just .223/.336/.358 in 296 at-bats as a DH. Obviously the numbers as a DH are a small sample size, but it is hard for guys to adjust to hitting every few innings without taking the field. I’ve heard many players say that it just feels weird and even Posada said it’s like pinch hitting three or four times a game. He might get used to it later on in the season, but I don’t think we’ll see the same production from Jorge Posada as a DH as we did when he was a catcher.

JAYRC: In an off-season where three year deals were handed out like Halloween candy, the Yankees inked set-up man Raphael Soriano to a three year $ 35 million deal. How do you feel about that deal and what does he do for your bullpen?


ANDREW: I can’t be upset with the Yanks signing a player of Rafael Soriano’s caliber to be THE EIGHTH-INNING GUY. However, I’m kind of pissed off as to how it went down. It seems like the NYY brass went behind Cashman’s back to get the deal done, to which Cashman made his displeasure abundantly clear, and it wasn’t even a good deal. It seems like the team just wanted to make a big splash and sign a free agent after missing out on Cliff Lee. So (my nickname for him, what do you think?) has an opt-clause after each season and the money is kind of pricey, but what can you do? The eighth and ninth innings are now locked down with So and Mo. How can you be upset with that?

JAYRC: Andy Pettite retired and Cliff Lee chose to sign with Philadelphia. You enter the season with Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia at the back-end of the rotation. How do you feel about that?

ANDREW: Let me start off by saying I’m glad Cliff Lee didn’t sign with the Yanks. I swear to God I’m not a bitter Yankee fan trying to save face. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve loved to have him on the Yanks, but not for seven years and $150 million. That contract was ludicrous and I’m glad they didn’t make it work

Their replacements, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia, are just that, replacements. They definitely won’t give the team the kind of production that Lee or Pettitte would have, but they’ll (hopefully) hold down the fort. SuperNova looked pretty good last year and had a tremendous spring. He was second in innings with 20 and gave up just four runs on 11 hits with nine strikeouts to just four walks. I’m excited he got the fourth spot and I can’t wait to watch him in the Bronx.

Garcia, 36 in June, was decent this spring, though I thought Colon should have been the fifth starter. Fabulous Freddy tossed 18 1/3 innings and was touched for 10 runs on 17 hits with 15 Ks to just four BBs. The soon-to-be-38-year-old Colon went 16 frames and yielded four runs on 10 hits with 17 punch outs to just one measly free pass. I figure that Colon not pitching last year had something to do with the decision, but still.

ANDREW: How do you feel about the signings of Brad Penny and Joaquin Benoit?

JAYRC: I am strongly against three-year deals to non-closing relievers. That being said, the deal was hard to swallow at first. As I mentioned before, three year deals were passed out like Halloween candy this off-season. GM Dave Dombrowski had to be aggressive though to acquire Joaquin Benoit. So, good for Benoit–at least it’s not my cash. Last seasons numbers were amazing. He was also untouchable this spring.With Joel Zumaya injured (again) the signing of Benoit is huge.

Whatever we can get out of Brad Penny is a plus. I’d take his upside over former Tiger Armando Galarraga’s inconsistency any day. Hopefully Brad stays healthy and gives us ten or so wins.

ANDREW: What do you think Victor Martinez brings to the team? Are you happy you guys got him?

JAYRC: I went back and forth on who was the better target–I also wanted Adam Dunn. We already have a good deal of strikeout prone players, so V-Mart was probably the better choice. He is the epitome of a professional hitter. He is also well known for his leadership. V-Mart will provide Cabrera with some much needed protection in the lineup. Statistically, I expect a great season from him. Beyond the numbers I believe that V-Mart will be a good mentor for Cabrera off the field.

ANDREW: What do you think about the AJax/Grandy trade? If you could go back would you undo the trade?

JAYRC: As much as I hated losing Curtis Granderson, he cannot hit lefties and he strikes out a ton. We essentially received a younger and cheaper version of Curtis, plus Phil Coke. I’m quite pleased with A-Jax and Coke was outstanding in the bullpen last season. I have watched Coke since his days with the Tampa Yankees, I have faith that he will be a solid back-end starter this season. When you consider the fact that we also received Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth for Edwin Jackson, it makes the deal an absolute steal. I can’t help but wonder how upset Yankee fans are that they dealt away A-Jax.

I would like to thank Andrew from YanksGoYard for his cooperation on this project. It was nice sharing a six-pack and talking baseball!

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