Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hope they didn't dig in

The Tigers faced Venezuela's World Baseball Classic squad today and that means Dontrelle Willis pitched against Detroit teammates Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. Given Willis' struggles with control, wasn't there another option? Couldn't Kenny Rogers have been coaxed out of retirement (or whatever) to soft toss to the boys?

Oddly, the number of Tigers facing each other (Armando Galarraga pitched for Venezuela) seemed to gain little attention compared to Derek Jeter playing against the Yankees. I feel a Jeter rant building, so I'm going to end here.

Aw, hell, I can't. They love showing Jeter falling into the stands on that catch he made in 2004, but he'd already caught the ball before he fell into the seats. There have been guys that have made plays far more impressive while in the act of actually catching the ball in the seats. And remember that play Chase Utley made in the World Series, faking a throw to first and then nailing a guy at the plate? Can you imagine if Jeter made that play? Songs probably would've been written about it.

Aside from 1999, when Jeter had a superstar-caliber season, he's been nothing more than a good to very good player. His career adjusted OPS+ of 120 ranks with Shawn Green and Richie Sexson. It's not even as good as Jorge Posada's (124) or Hideki Matsui's (123). An OPS+ of 120 ranks tied for 329 in history according to baseball-reference.com. Not that OPS+ is the be all and end all; I'm just saying. (And let's not even talk defense.)

So, anyway, I wish the Tigers didn't pitch Willis against their own guys and I'm glad everyone escaped unscathed.

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