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Six Pack (of questions) With Bless You Boys' Ian Casselberry

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Last night I exchanged a few questions with great Tigers mind and general all-around good guy Ian Casselberry from the best Detroit Tigers blog on the net, Bless You Boys.

Who's going to start for the Tigers on Sunday?  Is there a secret weapon in store, or is MLB.com just playing it fast and loose with their probable pitchers page?

Up until Thursday morning, Sunday's pitcher was such a secret weapon that even the Tigers themselves didn't know who would start.  Jarrod Washburn, Armando Galarraga, and Nate Robertson were all hurt. 

But as it turns out, it's going to be Robertson.  Apparently, that "pelvic inflammation" he was experiencing (which just sounds like an entirely different malady than "groin injury") has cleared up.  And before he got hurt, he was pitching pretty well, so this might end up working out for the Tigers.

How has Magglio Ordonez been able to rebound for such a terrific second half after being so horrendous in the first half?  What's the difference that's got him back to third in the batting order?


I think part of the difference is that Ordonez just got to play, and had the opportunities to work on what was needed to correct his swing.  But he got those chances because no one else in the outfield was hitting well.  Had someone else been able to keep Ordonez on the bench while he was struggling, he might still be there and wouldn't have reached the plate appearances to trigger his contract option for next season. 

Ordonez still isn't hitting for any power, but he does seem to have made some adjustments with opening up his stance.  That's allowed to him to make up for some of the bat speed he's lost, and he can turn on pitches he was missing earlier this season.

Justin Verlander is awesome.  Please agree.  That's not a question, so it doesn't count.

I agree.

Good, I'm glad that's settled.

Aubrey Huff has been getting the nod against right-handers and has been blowing chunks.  Is there anyone better who should be getting his at-bats?


The best candidate to get Huff's at-bats against right-handers might be Alex Avila.  Then the Tigers could have Avila's bat in the lineup and Gerald Laird's glove behind the plate.  But it's too important for Avila to catch regularly and hone his defensive skills (which really aren't bad). 

Carlos Guillen is probably their best left-handed DH, but Detroit seems to think left field would be an offensive black hole without him playing there.  But really, Ryan Raburn has hit well enough to justify him paying full-time (though he butchers some plays in the outfield), which would allow the Tigers to move Guillen to DH.

Tactically, what's the one thing you hope the Tigers focus on in their gameplan this weekend?

The Tigers often have success when they get to the Twins' middle relief.  So if they can tire Minnesota's starting pitchers out, and get them out of the game after five innings, that might be their best chance to win.  (I'd say they should just pound the starters if they can, but the Tigers don't seem capable of doing that to anybody.)  Of course, Detroit's starting pitching also has to keep it close for that to work in their favor.

If the Tigers maintain and win the division, how do they stack up against the other candidates from the West and the East?

Their pitching gives them a chance against anyone they might face.  That is, if their top starters aren't worn out by the end of the regular season. 

But the Tigers played the Angels tough, winning the season series (5-4) and showing they can go out to the west coast and win on the road. 

I know their season record versus the Yankees looks bad (1-5), but all of those games but one were close.  And Detroit had a chance to win each of the three games in New York.  A break here or there (and the Yankees got some breaks in a couple of those games), and their record would look much better.

This might sound like a loaded question but it's not--who gets your vote for MVP this year?


Wait a minute, hasn't the MVP already been awarded to Joe Mauer?  Is this a trick question?  Because that's who I would've voted for.