Starting with Toledo, where the Mud Hens kick off their championship series tonight in Toledo at 6:30. Andrew Good will face Bryan Bullington in the opener, with Kenny Baugh taking the mound in game two, and Jason Grilli getting the ball in the third game.
The ‘Hens haven't announced who will take the ball in games four and five, but Wilfredo Ledezma and Zach Miner would be the ones under consideration, especially Ledezma. One who will not be under consideration is Joel Zumaya, who was shut down after an unimpressive start earlier in the playoffs.
Of course, concern over Zumaya certainly won't go away now, after everyone thought Zumaya was healthy after missing a start and having another delayed because he ‘didn't feel right'.
Now, it is completely possible that Zumaya's arm just tired out as the season wore on. It's been widely stated that many thought he would have to convert to relief at some point because he simply didn't possess the stamina to make it as a starter. He's obviously put many of those concerns to rest, but being just 20 years old and having already thrown over 150 innings this season, the Tigers made a wise move in sitting him down to rest.
Justin Verlander is another pitcher that will not be considered an option, as while he will pitch again somewhere this year, it won't be anywhere in regular season baseball. Verlander will remain in Lakeland for the near future, continuing to work his way back. Unfortunately, Verlander isn't completely out of the woods yet, as it's impossible to be 100% confident about his future in 2006 with the Tigers until we see him back on the mound throwing in the upper 90's, as he was during the year.
Back to the Mud Hens, manager Alan Trammell has hinted that once the ‘Hens are done, he'll be bringing up at least a couple more players from Toledo, after having already brought up Matt Ginter recently to aide his bullpen.
Marcus Thames will certainly return, and Trammell has made little secret of that. It remains to see what type of future Thames has in the organization, with Magglio Ordonez and Craig Monroe still around to man the corners, plus Rondell White being a possibility to return. While many still love his power potential, it'd be a surprise to see Thames return to Detroit in 2006.
As for other call up possibilities, one has to think that Kenny Baugh will finally be given a chance to get a few starts at the big league level. Baugh has remained a constant in the Toledo rotation, consistently being the best performer in the Toledo rotation. Baugh likely should have been given the opportunity back in June when the Tigers needed another starter, but Sean Douglass was instead given the nod. But he has tailed off badly over the past month, and with Jeremy Bonderman not knowing when his next start will be, Baugh figures to get a look.
Among others, Ryan Raburn could certainly see another opportunity, though he struggled mightily in his call up last year. Ledezma could also get another look (though the Tigers would prefer he have some confidence going into '06). Many in the Toledo rotation could also be a possibility to get another look, especially Andrew Good, who is already on the 40 man roster and would be an easy promotion to make.