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Tigers to stay sharp during layoff by playing games against minor leaguers

Oct 19, 2012, 1:05 PM EDT

Jim Leyland AP

Last time the Tigers were in the World Series, back in 2006, they had a six-day wait after winning the ALCS and manager Jim Leyland thought it hurt their performance.

This time around Leyland will try to keep the Tigers sharp by having them play games this weekend against minor leaguers from their instructional league teams.

Leyland laid out the plans to “Mike and Mike” on ESPN Radio this morning:

We actually have our instructional league team coming to Detroit and we’re going to play a couple of actual games Sunday and Monday and have a workout Saturday as well. We’re going to have our pitchers throw to hitters and we’re going to have our hitters face live pitching. So hopefully we’ll be a little more prepared this time.

That sounds like a good idea, unless of course a hitter pulls a hamstring or a pitcher tweaks an elbow, in which case Leyland will never hear the end of it. It should be a helluva thrill for all the minor leaguers involved, too.

  1. historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Ironically, Verlander tweeted last night that he didn’t have to go to work today. Guessing Leyland is going to make sure that’s a brief respite.

  2. mrfloydpink - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I wonder if playing against minor leaguers isn’t a bit too much–might leave them tired. Maybe they could play the Astros instead?

    • historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      Please. Then Clemens will want to make an appearance.

  3. cur68 - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Smokey Jim, keepin’ it real. Remember to make your pitchers take some BP, Smokey Jim. I wanna see Valverde’s Plate Routine. Should be a gooder.

    • Lukehart80 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Remember to have your pitchers take some fielding practice, so there’s not a repeat of the 2006 fiasco.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

        Luke: I fully appreciate my biased opinion. That in mind…I would much rather they NOT practice any fielding. I mean that literally…NO fielding practice. And in keeping with that spirit…I would rather they take all this time off to rest. It was well earned time off. Verlander is tweeting about it and everything! The Tigers really could use about a week off. You know…to rest.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:40 PM

        Thankfully, we dumped Inge, so there will not be a total repeat of the 2006 fiasco.

  4. mdpickles - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    That is so cool. It would be so fun to pitch to Miggy or stand in the box to swing and miss at Verlander.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

      I’ve said it before: they could raise a lot of money for charity by letting big spenders take a turn at the plate and wet themselves while V or Felix smokes one past them.

      • sandpiperair - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        Felix who?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        That’s a wonderful idea Philiac.
        Make em’ sign a waiver, fork over a mandated donation and let em’ swing away futily.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      Yeah really Pickles. What I would give for the opportunity to swing and miss at a handful of Verlander’s pitches. In fact…I would like to swing and miss at an entire simulated games worth of Verlanders pitches.
      I would NOT however, under any circumstances…pitch to Miquel Cabrera.
      I am thinking my incredibly consistent 60 MPH “heater” would get me killed.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Maybe they’d let you have a consolation hit from Valverde.

  5. blacksables - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Yankees asked for a rematch?

  6. willclarkgameface - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    I like this. Leyland is a ball buster and makes these guys play and play hard. Get to it dudes.

    • cur68 - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      He must keep them strung out on Rage Water™. Lets sue him.

      • historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        It’s Tiger Rage — not Beaver Rage.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        Rage on baseball lovers….rage on.

  7. sdelmonte - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    What happens if the minor leaguers win both games? Do they move on instead of the Tigers?

  8. hk62 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I wonder if they go on and win the WS if they give these kids a share (to split) and a special version of the rings?

  9. Gobias Industries - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    “Tigers to stay sharp during layoff by playing games against minor leaguers” You could’ve used that same title after they won the ALDS.

  10. poprox13 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    No doubt it will be a better matchup than the last 4 games they played

  11. Detroit Michael - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Seems to me that it’ll work better to have Tiger batters + minor league pitchers play the minor league batters + Tiger pitchers. It won’t do a lick of good to see Jose Valverde retire some instructional league players.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Yeah, and I’d love to see Miggy just blast the hell out of one of Valverde’s lobs.

  12. natstowngreg - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Sure, someone could get hurt, and Leyland would be second-guessed.

    But if they didn’t practice, and the Tigers lost Game 1, Leyland would be second-guessed for letting his team get rusty.

  13. 13arod - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    why are they doing this if one of their star players get hurt then what are they going to do

  14. 13arod - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    if miggy gets hurt its the tigers falt then they won’t win the world series

  15. barrywhererufrom - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Have a family friend Joe Rogers P Connecticut Tigers A Ball playing against the big club. As a Yankees fan I hope he drills someone..I know I am bitter but this is the best I got..seriously if the Yankees can’t win it all then I will be rooting for the Tigers..

  16. nbjays - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    I’d say Leyland’s playing it pretty smart. Playing a bunch of minor leaguers is a natural progression between the postseason Yankees and the NL Champs.

  17. thurstonblogging - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    For the love of Sparky – please have the pitchers practice fielding their position. That killed the Tigers in 2006 against the Cards. Don’t let history repeat itself.

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