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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their back-to-back American League Central titles.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Schedule-maker does Tigers a favor with early West Coast swing


DETROIT — Wanna get away from all the dreary, wet coldness?

If so, you’re not the only one.

The Detroit Tigers’ upcoming 10-day, nine-game trip to the West Coast comes at the most fortuitous time, simply because they’ll be able to get away from all the uncertainty of Michigan spring weather.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to get the obligatory West Coast trip out of the way now, rather than later in the season, when they’ll already be all traveled out.

“Well, yeah. You gotta play good anywhere, but it’s nice that after this trip, we’re condensing our travel pretty good. We’ll have Florida and (Texas), but we’re out of the way with the West Coast. That’s pretty good,” Tigers manager Leyland said.

“We’re not going out there two, three times. We’re going out there early where hopefully we can dodge some inclement weather here. So, it’s not all bad. Pretty good, really.

“These 10 days out there, we’re done out there. We’ve got Texas, Florida, but that’s not bad. You get into Minnesota, Boston, New York, Chicago, it’s not too bad.”

That’s exactly true. After this one, to Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim, the Tigers’ remaining trips are all so much more manageable.

Only a trio of three-city road trips remain: Tampa Bay/Toronto/Cleveland in late June, early July; Cleveland/New York/Chicago in August; and Boston/Kansas City/Chicago in September.

It should help, too, that the weather can’t be as bad — or at least as uncertain — as it’s been in Detroit for this week’s games against the Blue Jays.

The start of Wednesday’s game was delayed 2:29 by the rain which fell throughout the game.

There’s no guarantee Thursday’s start won’t be similarly impacted.

“We see what happens today. They’re talking we might get it in, heavy rains later. Misty stuff all day long. Rain all day,” Leyland said. “I don’t know how this is going to play out.”

But there’s less of a chance of having that problem out west.

“Well, I’m not really sure what we’re going to get into out there. I’m not sure. I heard tonight it’s going to be pretty cold in Oakland. It’s going to be cold in Seattle, I would think. Anaheim, it should be all right,” Leyland said.

“But, we won’t have this kind of weather. We might get some rain in Seattle, but they’ve got the dome, so it won’t make any difference.

“The one thing about it is, we should not be sitting around worrying whether we’re going to get the game in or not. We should be able to get in a flow, where we’re playing for 10 straight days, with the exception of that off day Monday.

“So that doesn’t bother me at all. That’ll get guys going. I think the biggest thing is, it gets your rotation going. That’s a big thing, to get them going.”

Barring weather-related hiccups, the rotation will turn over four more full times before that becomes an issue again, when the Tigers have an odd couple of off days in one week in early May: Monday, May 6 and Thursday, May 9.

If the Tigers get rained out Thursday, it might become an immediate problem, since they do have Monday off before the three-game set in Seattle.

“We’ve got 20 different scenarios on our pitching staff, as far as starting guys, and not having them sit eight days — somebody’s going to have to sit at some point,” Leyland said. “One day’s not bad, but if you get a Monday off and a Thursday off, that’s a little bit different.

“It’ll all work out. There’s nothing you can do about. There’s no sense worrying about it. You can worry about it until the cows come home. If you’ve got Monday and Thursday off, you’re off. You don’t have a game.”

One scenario for that time frame is to have a starter head to the bullpen for a few days, and have a turn skipped, in order to keep everyone else’s turns in line.

“I would think that’s a strong possibility, depending on the situation today, the situation with the two off days, there’s a possibility someone might work out of the bullpen for a little bit before they get back into their start,” Leyland said. “I’m not going to get into the details right now, but that’s a strong possibility.”

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