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Morning Prowl: Lyon Gets Love, Inge's Fill-In, Unsigned Draft Picks, and Cabrera's RBIs

With today's off-day giving us a chance to take a breath, there's also a chance to reflect. Mack Avenue Tigers takes the opportunity to look at Brandon Lyon, and how well he's pitched over the past three months. How well? He has a 1.34 ERA since May 13, and hasn't allowed a run since the All-Star break.

Hey, Lyon gets some love in today's Detroit News, as well. What's been the key to his turnaround? A cut fastball, according to Jim Leyland.

Tiger Geist has a candidate to fill in for Brandon Inge at third base when he needs a day off. And it's someone we've seen in Detroit previously this season. (Although he played very little third base in that tour of duty.)

Ernie Harwell was hospitalized last week because of an obstructed bile duct. He was released this weekend, and is resting at home.

Major league teams have until midnight tonight to sign this year's first-round draft picks. The Tigers still have yet to sign their first two selections, pitchers Jacob Turner and Andrew Oliver. But several other picks also remain unsigned, including their sixth-round pick, shortstop Daniel Fields, who's trying to decide between the Tigers and the University of Michigan.

If you'd like to discuss this or post any pertinent updates, we have a Signing Deadline Open Thread in the FanPosts section. You can find that on the front page on the right-hand sidebar.

Baseball Musings wonders why Miguel Cabrera doesn't have more RBIs this season. Cabrera has 70 RBIs, yet's he driven in just 15% of the runners that have been on base when he's come to the plate.

Jim Leyland said over the weekend that he didn't expect to call up many minor leaguers when rosters expand in September. That's consistent with Leyland's philosophy since he's been in Detroit. One player that might get added to the roster is another back-up catcher, which would allow Alex Avila to be used as a pinch-hitter in late innings.

Could one of the September call-ups be Dontrelle Willis? He's pitching a rehab start for Triple-A Toledo tonight.

In his minor league report for this week, Lynn Henning features Scott Sizemore and Brent Dlugach. Where do they factor into the Tigers' middle infield plans for next season?

Staying in the minors, I'm a couple days late on this, but The Detroit Tigers Weblog interviewed Single-A pitcher Adam Wilk, who's been posting some impressive strikeout numbers with Oneonta and West Michigan this year.

The Daily Fungo looks back at the last time the Tigers pitched a shutout at Fenway Park, in light of Justin Verlander's allowing no runs last Thursday vs. Boston. Had it really been 22 years?

We all know Edwin Jackson's won-loss record should be better, but he's received some terrible run support throughout the season. But It's Just Sports points out that the lack of scoring is even more galling when you consider some of the pitchers that have opposed Jackson in several of his starts.

The Spot Starters lists several of the big contracts the Tigers are committed to pay next season, and sees a $100 million payroll even before the team re-signs arbitration-eligible players such as Verlander, Jackson and Lyon.

West Michigan Whitecaps hitting coach Benny Distefano is interviewed in this New York Times feature asking why there aren't any left-handed catchers. There are some very practical reasons for not playing a left-handed thrower behind the plate, as it turns out.

(Thanks to murrajo for posting a link to this article in Saturday night's GameThread.)