Notes: Robertson revamps his stuff
Southpaw has bullpen session to work out minor kinks
ST. PETERSBURG -- Nate Robertson wasn't quite sure what is keeping him from fooling hitters lately. He put in some positive work in a bullpen session Tuesday though, and is anxious to get back on the mound and test out what he's learned.
"It's just a matter of fixing a few things mechanically, and getting back to my game a little bit," said Robertson, who will start Wednesday's series finale vs. the Devil Rays. "I feel good about it."
The lefty remembered three specific pitches he left over the plate against Cleveland on Saturday, all of which resulted in homers. Those were just three of 101 pitches he threw during the outing and yet the main concern lately about Robertson is a pitch count that rises too high, too fast.
Like any good manager, Jim Leyland knew just where to steer Robertson for advice.
"Pitching is a real sensitive position because there's so many things involved: Arm slot, release point, things like that," Leyland said. "I think sometimes [pitchers] get in situations where they can overanaylze. That's why I think [pitching coach Chuck Hernandez] does such a good job. He keeps it simple. He doesn't try to fill them with a bunch of stuff."
And so, thanks to Hernandez's tutelage, Robertson again can clear his mind and focus on going later into his starts.
"That's why we have our bullpen sessions," Robertson said. "You just go and try to pick the one thing you think you need work on and you work on it, and you go from there, and you take it into your next start."
Lineup, lineup: Second baseman Placido Polanco was back in the lineup Tuesday in the No. 2-hole, three days after he suffered a strained oblique muscle. This gave Leyland the freedom to return to his usual lineup against left-handed pitchers, which includes catcher Ivan Rodriguez batting leadoff. [20:16] cbost2: Rodriguez, who sat on Monday night after playing three straight against Cleveland, holds the record for highest batting average of any opponent at Tropicana Field. Entering Tuesday, he was hitting .364 (100-for-275) with 17 doubles, 18 homers and 56 RBIs. Omar Infante was in center field, while starter Curtis Granderson was given the day off.
Rodriguez, who sat on Monday night after playing three straight against Cleveland, holds the record for highest batting average of any opponent at Tropicana Field. Entering Wednesday, he was hitting .364 (100-for-275) with 17 doubles, 18 homers and 56 RBIs. Omar Infante was in center field, while starter Curtis Granderson was given the day off.
Today's question: Entering Tuesday, Detroit had 65 doubles in May, the most since July 2005, when they also had 65. What is the club record for doubles in a single month?
Tiger bites: All relievers were available in the bullpen on Tuesday, although Leyland said he'd be careful using Zach Miner, who threw a full inning on Monday. ... The next home run Craig Monroe hits will be the 100th of his career. ... Fernando Rodney threw on flat ground Tuesday, and he should move to the mound on Friday. ... As a team, Detroit is hitting an American League-high .306 (271-for-887) in May, with 148 runs scored, 65 doubles, 10 triples, 37 homers and 144 RBIs. ... The Tigers are tied for the AL-lead in triples, and are second in runs scored, doubles, home runs and RBIs. ... Gary Sheffield is 10 home runs shy of tying Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 27th place on the all-time list. ... Detroit is 21-12 when it scores first, and 21-6 when it outhits the opponent.
Down on the farm: Triple-A Toledo suffered a 2-0 setback at Scranton on Monday, courtesy of future Hall of Fame pitcher Roger Clemens, who three-hit the 'Hens during his third Minor League rehab start. ... Dallas Trahern won his league-leading seventh game of the year and Double-A Erie earned a split with Akron with a 5-4 win. ... Class A West Michigan downed Fort Wayne, 11-5, and Scott Sizemore went 4-for-5 with three runs scored.
He said it: "I don't know. [Brandon] Inge is pretty good every way down there." -- Leyland, on whether he thought third baseman Brandon Inge played better to his glove side or toward the foul line
And the answer is: The last time the Tigers hit more than 65 doubles was in August 1987, when the team clubbed out a team-record 69, a record that still stands.
Up next: Detroit will close out its three-game series against Tampa Bay with a 7:10 p.m. ET game on Wednesday at Tropicana Field. Robertson (4-4, 4.03 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Tigers, and right-hander James Shields (3-0, 3.15 ERA) will oppose him for the Rays.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.