Thursday, July 10, 2008

Today's Lineup; Gary Sheffield; Chris Lambert

Granderson CF
Polanco 2B
Guillen 3B
Cabrera DH
Joyce RF
Thames LF
Larish 1B
Rodriguez C
Santiago SS

I was a bit curious what today's lineup would look like. They wouldn't call up Larish only to have him ride pine. It looks like he is up to possibly spot Cabrera in the field. This does mean less playing time for Gary Sheffield, who may need the part time treatment to stay fresh. Santiago gets to play shortstop while Renteria is out with a mild hamstring strain.

Speaking of Sheffield, it's amazing how close to a nothing for nothing deal his acquisition from the Yankees has become. While Sheffield was fine through last July, he has had little to no production since that time. Unlike the players used to acquire Renteria, there has been little to no griping about the Yankees' package.
  • Humberto Sanchez, who was already suffering with arm problems before the trade, underwent Tommy John Surgery right away. He's finally showing up in the box scores in the Gulf Coast League on rehabillitation assignment.
  • Kevin Whelan would be the next logical centerpiece, but now he is out with elbow problems. I haven't found word that this is anything serious, but the fact remains that he hasn't progressed very far since the trade.
  • Anthony Claggett is sort of the last man standing. Turning 24 next week, he's in AA for the Yankees, and is the type of guy who will need some breaks to crack the big leagues.
Given the struggles of Sheffield, it's tough to classify the Tigers as winners of the deal, but so far it appears as if they are.

On a completely unrelated note, take a look at Chris Lambert's recent starts in Toledo:

Jul 7: 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K
Jul 2: 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 3 BB, 5 K
Jun 27: 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 8 K
Jun 22: 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 0 K
Jun 16: 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K
Jun 11: 6 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Jun 5: 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K
May 31: 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K
May 26: 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Now, consistency is the word most overused by baseball analysts in part because they don't define the time interval of consistency. Do they mean consistent from pitch to pitch? Consistent from month to month? Game to game? Year to year? That's an important distinction that is never made, which leads me to believe that it is just lazy analysis.

That said, Chris Lambert's last nine starts have been far from a model of consistency. With the exception of his June 11 and 16 starts, Lambert has alternated good-great starts with terrible outings. As a contender for the fifth starter spot after the All Star break, Lambert's inability to pitch consistently from start to start could be what keeps him from getting that shot.

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