Friday Freehans: Juan Cruz, Bill James and Andres Torres!

BillFreehan.jpg The other night I saw Edwin Jackson pitch for the Diamondbacks against the Cardinals and he looked sharp (eight innings, 0 walks). I sat behind home plate and couldn’t get over how hard he threw — consistently. He still would like nice in the Tigers’ rotation, wouldn’t he?

Bygones. Here are some Tigers morsels for your consideration:

  • Before the 2009 season I had begged and pleaded with the Tigers to sign free-agent reliever Juan Cruz despite his Type-A free-agent status.

    I’d watched him throw bullets for the Diamondbacks over a few seasons and thought he’d be a perfect fit in Detroit. Instead, they signed Brandon Lyon and Cruz signed with the Royals, handing the D-backs a prime draft choice.

    Today the Royals released him.

    [H]e labored through the 2009 season, blowing three straight saves during one stretch on his way to a 5.72 ERA. Cruz wasn’t much better this year, allowing all six inherited runners to score and a .391 batting average against in 5 1-3 innings.

    Just another example of why I write this blog and don’t work in a front office.

  • Years ago Bill James posited that managers should use their closer at key moments in the game and not reserving them purely for the ninth inning. Last night in Anaheim, Jim Leyland took the Jamesian approach and inserted Joel Zumaya into the game when Justin Verlander‘s pitch count sailed north of 120.

    Zumaya threw 1.2 one-hit innings, striking out a pair and was all but untouchable. With Zumaya and Ryan Perry in the pen, Leyland can essentially call on three closers during any game. Nice.

  • Late last month I went to a Cactus League game between the A’s and Giants and was stunned to see Andres Torres enter the game for San Fran. I was certain he was getting garbage time at bats. Wrong! He was preparing for the big-league season.

    Case in point: He’s starting in center field for the Giants tonight and batting leadoff. In nine games for the Giants he’s hitting a feathery .111, as you might imagine.

    Meanwhile, on the other coast another one-time Tigers prospect of Torres’ era is starting at short for the Braves: Omar Infante.

    No word if Justin Thompson or Raul Casanova are playing in the bigs tonight.

  • Here’s a little tidbit for your cocktail party conversation this weekend: Since the start of the 2006 season, the Tigers are batting .298 with 29 doubles, nine triples, 26 home runs and 110 RBI in 16 games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

  • With his double last night, Miguel Cabrera has hit one in five consecutive games. The last Tigers player to collect a double in five-or-more consecutive games since Frank Catalanotto from April 25 – May 2, 1999.

Have a great weekend and go Wings.

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