Humberto Sanchez was picked for the Futures Game.
In today’s notes, we look at the return of Aramis Ramirez’s power stroke, the fuss over Manny Ramirez and Ichiro Suzuki’s recent slump.
- Aramis Ramirez is starting to hit with power right on cue. He’s on a 7-for-14 tear heading into the break, and smoked his 16th dinger of the season Sunday. In the past three years, Ramirez has slugged 56 points higher after the break. You definitely want to avail of his second-half surge.
- So Manny Ramirez is sitting out the All-Star Game. Big deal. If his knee is hurting, then that’s his call. Let someone else play. Why all the fuss? It’s just Manny being Manny. And despite the whole beaten to death ‘This time it counts’ mantra of the All-Star game, look at what Manny is doing when it really counts. He’s on pace for a fourth straight 100-run season (sixth overall) and a third straight 125-RBI campaign (also, sixth time overall). And his .615 slugging percentage is his highest in four seasons. Now that’s Manny being Manny. And if he wants a few days off before he begins terrorizing AL pitchers again, who the hell cares?
- The break comes at a good time for Ichiro Suzuki. He limps into the break mired in a 2-for-22 skid dropping him under .345 for the year. My god, what a stiff! All kidding aside, I wouldn’t sweat it. The AL All-Star’s lead-off hitter was batting just .177 on April 18 but was up to .311 by May 18. This guy can turn it on like few we have ever seen.
- Unsightly line of the night: The Cubbies score 11 runs and lash 14 hits, yet Derrek Lee takes an 0-for-6 with a trio of Ks, one GIDP and leaves — get ready for it — 10 runners on base.
- If the Tigers need to reach down the minors for a spot starter, don’t look for it to be Lance Davis. The 29-year-old journeyman southpaw was slapped around for seven hits and four runs in 4 2/3 IP in his first Triple-A start since April 25. Davis, a 16th round pick of the Reds back in 1995, was only starting because scheduled starter Humberto Sanchez was appearing in the Futures Game. Davis went 8-4, 4.74, in 20 starts with Cincinnati in 2001, but hasn’t been back to the Show since. And given his middling numbers at Toledo this year (4.21), it’s doubtful he’ll return anytime soon, especially considering that pitching is suddenly an organizational strength in Detroit.
- Another Tiger farmhand, Kevin Hooper, is having his finest Triple-A season. the 29-year-old shortstop, an eighth-round pick by the Marlins in 1999, went 1-for-5 in six games with the Tigers in his major-league debut. A three-hit performance Saturday has him up .274 for the season. Hooper doesn’t walk a lot, but also doesn’t strike out much. His game is speed: 16 steals in 85 games for Toldeo last year, a mark he’s already matched this season. Hooper can play second base as well, so come roster expansion time, he might make a decent utility man/pinch runner for Detroit, a job currently filled by Ramon Santiago. With just 37 steals against 27 times caught stealing, the Tigers could definitely use some better base stealing ability.