Tag Archives: Jacob Turner

Spring training update- Tigers vs. Mets

I have Spring Break this week, which means bonus baseball!  I headed down to Lakeland this afternoon to catch the Mets against the Tigers.  After yesterday’s cancelled game, this proved to be a parade of pitching prospects and did not disappoint in that regard.  It DID disappoint in that it was the third tie game in a row, but, Spring Training, doesn’t count, whatever.  A few notes from today:

– Smyly’s line looked good and people seemed pleased with his start, but I need to point out that watching him pitch felt like watching Penny.  His pace was so. so. slow.  I don’t know if this is normal for him or if he was being extra careful because he knows he’s competing for a spot, but it was tiring to watch.

– Jackson had good contact, for which my section cheered heartily.  Inge also had good contact, also earning cheers from us.  Cabrera was Cabrera.  I don’t get to see him hit in person often but am always so impressed with his swing.  Everything people say it is and more.  Avila had two beautiful hits and Laird, LAIRD, hitting a double!  Amazement!  Really, overall, the hitting was what it has been all spring.  Nice stuff.

– Turner needs time, which I think all of us know and saying so is kind of beating a dead horse.  He got beat up pretty badly.  I don’t worry about them rushing him through the system after seeing what else we have out there, but I still feel the need to plead with people to give him time to develop.

– Avila had two beautiful throws to Inge at second but didn’t get the call on either of them.

– I feel like Balester has kind of been lost since we’re so focused on who our fifth starter will be, but I’ve been impressed with him so far.

– Speaking of fifth starters, I think I’m officially casting my vote for Oliver.  Yes, he was pitching against mostly second string today, but he looked great doing it and his control has improved significantly.  No walks in four innings!  Two broken bats!  Hooray!

This has nothing to do with the game, but I’m sure you’ve all heard that Pauley was released.  I could hear the Tigers faithfully collectively saying “No, really?” in a sarcastic tone at hearing this.

You all want pictures, right?  Here you go:

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Spring training update 5- Tigers at Braves

Husband and I headed out to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the opening Tigers game of the Spring against the Braves.  Typically, this game is a night game and the weather is delightful.  This year, we were faced with an afternoon game during an unseasonable heat wave with 15+ mile per hour winds.  In case you were curious, 30 SPF sunscreen without reapplication is not sufficient.  My shoulders are spectacular.

Anyhow, if you’ve been following any of the media surrounding the Tigers this spring lately, you’ll know that a) the press is confused by Leyland’s raging man crush on Clete Thomas, b) Inge’s playing time this year is wholly dependent on his ability to hit, c) Leyland loved how Santiago played at second last season, and d) there is some kind of created battle between Worth and Inge for playing time (… I have no idea).  All of these points will be important as I give you some highlights.  Pictures will come after that.

– I hate to tie a team to their fans because they have no control over them, but I’ve been going to Braves vs. Tigers games every March for a few years now and there’s a definite pattern.  While most fans are great, the ones who are not are obnoxious, drunk, and rude.  We always sit in the grass seats along the third base line and there’s a beverage stand on the other side of the fence behind us.  As the games progress, the heckling gets more and more crass.  Today, there were some guys who started in from the first inning with stunningly tasteless comments about Cabrera’s drinking and Fielder’s weight.  Stay classy, Braves fans.

– Austin Jackson struck out to lead off the first inning.  You could feel the Tigers fans (and there were a LOT of us) groan inwardly.  Then Boesch and Cabrera proceed to strike out, as well, and things didn’t seem so terrible.

– Fister looked like his usual, awesomely efficient, self.  Worked through the first two innings cleanly with fairly quick outs.

– Speaking of awesome pitching, a combined 1 hit game?  Awesome.  Granted, starters started coming out in the 6th, but still.  Pauley was the only troubling one with back-to-back walks.  Guh.  Way too familiar.

– Clete Thomas started in left field and made me wonder why on earth we continue to play Delmon at that position.  He could have let that ball go foul, but no, he wanted a job and proceeded to chase it into foul territory, crash over the left field fence, fall into the bullpen, and come up with the ball still in his hand.  INSANITY.  Full confession- I’ve had a crush on Clete since his debut with us, so I don’t really blame Leyland.

– Inge walked in his first at-bat and didn’t do much else at the plate, though still, it wasn’t a strikeout!  HOWEVER.  It was like he told Leyland “I’ll see your Inge Can Play Second But Still Must Hit” and raise you two web gem plays at second.  It was RIDICULOUS and the fans ate it up.  (I realize the Inge haters are vocal, but every time I go to a game, he always gets crazy cheers when his name is announced.)  First play- stretched out fully horizontal and snagged a ball scorched up the middle, saving a run.  Second play- I missed while getting food, of course.  I came back to our spot and asked my husband what I missed, to which he replied, “Inge being a bad ass”.  Apparently he made some insane underhanded flip to the bag to get the last out of the inning.  Both plays also required different movement than any of the plays he’s made at third, meaning this was just a direct skill transfer.

– Keep your eye on Ryan Strieby.  He was impressive during batting practice today.  His swing is crazy smooth and has a ton of power behind it.  Four balls left the park off his bat during batting practice.  Head hit a lovely ball out during the actual game, earning him a second look in my book.  Keep your eye on Luis Marte on the pitching end of things, as well.

– Turner was great to see pitch in person.  He looks fantastic, and there’s not much more I can say there.

And now, pictures!

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Spring training update 4- MOAR PICTURES!

Really, just a continuation of the last update.  Apologies for taking so long.  The laptop went in for a hard drive transplant and is now back and running.  Also, there was a birthday and a Flogging Molly concert in there, somewhere.  Anyway!  To the pictures!

When we left off, the infielders were doing drills with some assistance from a few pitchers.  The rest of the pictures were with Kenny Rogers learning how not to commit errors.  A few of the starting pitchers started throwing from the mound without the screen but the hitters weren’t really taking swings (though I did see a few balls fly…).  Fister and Scherzer were throwing on the front to fields so I could actually watch them.  We weren’t watching what everyone important- and I’m talking Leyland, Verlander, Al Avila, La Russa, Kaline- went to the back to watch.  Wunderkind Turner was throwing his session from the mound.  Early reports are pretty impressive, but I have no first-hand information on this.

Fister pitching

Doug Fister pitches while being incredibly lanky.

Max Scherzer pitching

Scherzer pitches from the mound while being Scherzer.

Of course, the outfielders had very little do to while waiting for actual batting practice to start.  Prince Fielder took some time chatting with our corner outfielders while not shagging balls.

fielder boesch and young

I'm 99% certain that Delmon Young is the one with his back to the camera as he talks with Fielder and Boesch.

HALL OF FAMER ALERT!

Willie Horton

Husband and I were standing out by the road when a golf cart rolled past (not unusual during spring).  After a beat, we were both like “Holy crap, Willie Horton!”.  We had pretty much the same encounter with Al Kaline, who was warmly greeted by everyone he passed.  His cart also drove within inches of us, which was just awesome.

Everyone broke into rotations at this point between the four fields.  On the near fields, where we were, they were working on base running and batting practice.  The base running was actually fun to watch.  I got a good luck and the guys taking leads from first and taking off.  This, of course, will be important this year because we have possibly the slowest line-up in all of baseball.  I have no data to prove it, but I’m fairly certain this is a fact.

 

base running

You can see out entertaining they found this. Don Kelly takes a lead while Laird laughs at him.

 

Jackson running

Help us, Action Jackson, you're our only hope!

first base

Brandon Inge and friends wait for first base to move or something.

Batting practice was fairly exciting.  Fielder, Young, Boesch, Cabrera, and Avila were all in the same hitting group and it was delightfully terrifying.  And by typing that, I may have just jinxed our entire season, of course.  Boesch whiffed at probably 4 or 5 pitches in a row off the pitching machine which had Cabrera practically doubled over laughing.  After that, he looked crazy good.  As many, many have already said, Austin Jackson looks great with his new stance.  His swing looked quick and he was the only one who cleared the fence while I was watching.  I watched one group of prospects that looked surprisingly good.  If we don’t trade them all away, we have some nice hitting on the farm right now.  Inge looked much better than last year- nice bat speed, good eye, hitting multiple parts of the field- but no one will even talk about that until he starts seeing real pitching this week.

Jackson hitting

Austin Jackson pops one over the fence while everyone watches.

Inge and Thomas

Inge and Thomas watch the ball fly.

And now for some bonus “Awwwwwww” shots:

Leyland and Leyland

The Skipper checks in with his son.

Awwww.

Leyland and Leyland. I'm cynical as all get out and this makes me warm and fuzzy.

Kaline's scooter

We were on our way out for the day, saw this, and nearly lost our minds. How incredibly COOL is this?! Kaline forever, dude.

Just a few blog notes for those of you who seem to have stumbled in lately (Thank you!):  I do plan to link to photo galleries.  I’ve taken a load of pictures and I seriously had a hard time picking which ones to put in these updates.  I’ll share, I promise.  Also, the blog and Husband will be at the Braves game on Saturday afternoon, so you can expect some pictures and an update later!

On a final note, is anyone at all surprised that Grady Sizemore is injured?  Anyone?  Not a good time to have the last name Sizemore right now, I tell ya’.

Spring training update- pitcher and catcher report continued

When I left off, the pitchers and catchers were stretching and warming up.  There was a LOT going on from here on, so I’m going to mix pictures and bulleted thoughts for the majority of this entry. 

– Throughout their stretching routines, someone kept singing the chorus of “La Bamba” at the top of their lungs.  Having been at training some last season, I knew immediately that this person was Valverde.  There was also random whooping and shouting.  If you’ve ever wondered if Valverde’s schtick on the mound is an act, believe me, it is not.  More on that later.

– Pitchers and catchers broke out for workouts, with the catchers heading over to one field and the pitchers dividing up between the remaining four fields.  I followed the catchers, where Avila and Laird were playing catch together.  Avila looks excellent- smiling, relaxed, healthy, and moving well.  That was a massive relief to see.  He and Laird seemed happy to be working together, which was also great.

Laird

He's baaaaaaaack!

Alex smiling

I much prefer smiling Alex to the grimacing Alex from the end of last year.

– It seemed like the pitchers were broken into four groups, each with one of the four known starters and a various selection of prospects and relievers.  Got a look at Justin’s group first, which included Oliver, Balester, Hoffman, and a few I couldn’t identify.  The were working fielding drills, which with our history, was a very good thing to see.

Justin running

Justin running to first base.

– Saw Fister’s group next.  Fister is tall.  So, so tall.  I mean, we know that, but you don’t really get a sense of his legs until you see him person.  His group included Schlereth, Pauley (remember him?), Below, Villareal, Owen, and friends.  At one point, Schlereth was standing next to Fister and I almost died laughing.  I mean, look at this:

Pitching huddle

Height difference hillarity.

– Porcello’s group was next, including Coke, Valverde, Ortega, and a few others.  Now, I have no idea how these groups were formed, but putting Coke and Valverde in the same group proved the highlight of the day for the fans.  Poor Porcello (heh) was all Serious Face and working hard while Coke and The Potato worked hard . . . while being completely ridiculous.  Coke ran for a ball and was followed by the shout of “Get ’em, Cokey!”.  Valverde stood up against the fence, struck a pose, and yelled “Cheese!” to the fans.  A particularly amusing “hustle” from Valverde was awarded with the first round of applause I had heard on the back fields.  Coke completely biffed a ball coming to first and we all “ooooooooh”-ed dramatically.  He then turned to the coach, stared in disbelief, and exclaimed, “Come on, do I look like a hitter?!”.  Papa Grande made it to first and a fan yelled “Safe!”.  Without missing a beat, he retorted with “OUT!”.  The fans were into it and the whole experience was just beautiful.  It was why I love spring training in a 15 minute burst of bullpen awesomeness.

Porcello and Valverde

I don't know what was happening, but apparently both Rick and Jose found it funny.

Papa Grande

The Big Potato hustles! Go Potato, go!

Coke

Coke awesomely blames a coach for his error.

– After that crew, it was Scherzer with Benoit, Wilk, Downs, Turner, and a few others.  Scherzer is a clown, pretty much exactly as you would expect. It wasn’t that he wasn’t working hard so much as he seems to have a pretty laid back attitude about everything.  (Completely the opposite of Porcello, who seems pretty tense regardless of his years pitching at this level so far.  I have some thoughts on that for later.)  Benoit missed two grounders to the mound in a row and kicked the second one in frustration, but otherwise, he seemed loose and happy.

Pitchers

Wilk throws while the others look on.

Scherzer

Scherzer being himself.

– Have I mentioned Fister is tall?  I mean, come on:

Fister running

Holy legs, Batman!

– At this point, they were done and the hitters (those who were there) came out to practice.  Unfortunately, they took the back two fields where there really isn’t access for fans.  Through Twitter, I knew that Brennan, Prince, and Miggy were tearing it up back there, but I have no photographic evidence of this.  Instead, here are a few random photos and thoughts to finish.

Phil Coke

Phil Coke, man of the people. He signed for EVERYONE and had conversations with many.

Batters

Jackson and Boesch!

Prince

Prince, Kelly, and friends.