Nate – I’m sorry

On April 30th I wrote the following paragraph about Nate Robertson:

Second, something is wrong with Nate Robertson. He only hit 90mph a couple times that I can remember last night. I know it was cold so his 87mph velocity in the first couple innings didn’t concern me because he was probably still getting warm. However, he never really moved above that throughout the game. With his 7:1 walk to strikeout ratio last night, his numbers for the season are 15 walks, and 9 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. Don’t let the one run and 4 hits fool you, last night was not a good performance. He benefitted from two balls being caught at the wall, and two double plays. His BABIP for the season is .260, against a league average of .297. That is probably going to catch up with him sooner rather than later. I’m concerned that Robertson is injured. Often times a loss in velocity is a sign of shoulder troubles, while a loss of control is indicative of elbow problems. Nate seems to have lost both. Hopefully there is just a problem with his mechanics, but it is safe to say that Robertson is the pitcher that should have Tiger fans most concerned.

I was legitimately concerned about Nate Robertson after that start, and that concern didn’t really go away for the next 6 weeks either. He wasn’t striking batters out, and he was walking quite a few. The one thing he had going for him was that he was keeping the ball in the park and not allowing homers. But somehow, he managed to keep his ERA low. Courtesy of the Day by Day database, here are his numbers through June 7th, and after June 7th.

          GS    K/9    BB/9    K/BB   HR/9    IP    ERA
Thru 6/7 11 4.2 4.5 .94 .42 64.7 3.48
Post 6/7 7 6.9 1.8 3.80 1.08 49.3 3.10

Suddenly Robertson started striking guys out, and not giving up free passes. He also has allowed more homers, but his rate is still reasonable. His ERA is more in line with what one would expect since June. While Robertson was getting decent results earlier, it wasn’t because he was necessarily pitching well.

Robertson has also been more efficient over that span. In his first 11 starts he pitched 7 innings only twice, maxing out at 7 2/3. In his subsequent 7 starts (there have actually been 8, but I’m not counting his one pitch outing against Tampa Bay), he has gone at least 7 innings five times – including 2 complete games.

I know that Robertson was battling a sinus infection early in the season, and he may have just taken a long time to recover. Perhaps, his arm was hurting or weaker early in the season and he’s feeling stronger now. In any case, Nate Robertson turned the corner in June and is now pitching the way Tiger fans hoped he would. So Nate – sorry for doubting you this spring.

While I got to attend the Tigers game Friday night with my 4 year old, that was the last Tiger game action I’ve seen. I was up north this weekend so all I had was radio access. Now, with the team headed to the west coast and limited TV coverage, I won’t see much of the team this week either.

As for listening to the game on the radio, I’ve got two comments. First, at times this weekend I was listening continuously, while other times I was tuning in sporadically. For those times tuning in sporadically I have to give both Dan and Jim credit for mentioning the score. I never had to wait more than a minute or two to find out where the Tigers stood. Both seemed to make a effort to update the score regularly. I know that was an area of criticism with Tiger broadcasts and it seems they are working to improve it.

Second, I really enjoy listening to Dan Dickerson call a game. I’ve always thought he did a decent job, but he seems to have really come into his own this season. When he’s doing an inning, the game seems to have a natural rhythm. He’s very descriptive and strives to paint a picture of what is happening on the field. He has a very good understanding of visiting teams and player strengths and weaknesses and he’s uses relevant statistics to bolster those points. I’d like to see Dickerson stick around a long time to become the next great Detroit broadcaster.


  1. Joe

    July 25, 2005 at 1:04 pm

    “I’d like to see Dickerson stick around a long time to become the next great Detroit broadcaster.”

    It will take Dan about 10 years just to become the next mediocre Detroit broadcaster. I absolutely cannot stand the way he and Jim call a game. It’s brutal.

  2. Luke

    July 25, 2005 at 1:27 pm

    I’m not a big fan of jim price, but i do quite like dickerson. Get him a better color man and he could be pretty good.

  3. G.

    July 25, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    Did anyone else notice that the Baseball Tonight crew was enthusiastic about the Tigers Sudnay night. While they were showing highlights of Sunday’s win, one of them (I believe Harold Reynolds) said something like “This team is going to make a run.” I am very excited about this team. They likely won’t make the post-season this year but they are competing and next year should be great.

  4. Brian

    July 25, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Dan Dickerson does a great play-by-play. The listener knows when something is happening by the tone of his voice. His genuine excitement over the game enhances the experience. Jim Price, I think, grows on you (whenever I think about complaining about him I turn on the color man for the White Sox and I feel better). Both men seem informed not only about the Tigers but about the basics of the opposing team as well. I always look forward to listening to them!

  5. John R

    July 25, 2005 at 2:29 pm

    I generally like the radio broadcasts, Jim Price has even grown on me as a color guy.

    However, the three innings in the middle of the game where Price does play-by-play are very bad. Does every team do this to give the play by play guy a break? I thought it was something the Tigers cooked up for Ernie in his last few seasons, but they have kept it now with Dickerson as well.

  6. Leelanau Sports Guy

    July 25, 2005 at 4:36 pm

    Being up north and with only basic cable, about the only way I get to watch/listen to the Tigers is on the radio, and I love the job Dan and Jim do. Very entertaining, lots of great stories and like billfer said, you always know the score and situations. They get an A+ from me!

  7. Leo

    July 25, 2005 at 6:38 pm


    I’m a reader living in Seattle, and I will be at tonight’s game, wearing the Old English D proudly and hopefully helping to cheer them over 500.

  8. Ian C

    July 25, 2005 at 8:16 pm

    Was it Lynn Henning who said yesterday that the Texas Rangers love Nate Robertson and would love to get him? That should tell the Tigers what they have, if they don’t know already.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with seeing what they’d give up in a trade. 🙂

  9. Doug

    July 26, 2005 at 9:16 am

    I agree completely with John R. I really like Dickerson now, and I have started to enjoy Jim Price as the color guy, but those 2 or 3 innings when he is the pbp announcer are horrible.

  10. Boston Fan in Michigan

    July 26, 2005 at 1:48 pm

    Normally I don’t listen to the Tigers on the radio, since I can’t get them out here, but I was on an afternoon flight on Sunday and the plane had XM satellite radio piped into it, so I tuned into the Tigers game. I’m used to Castiglione and Trup, the Boston announcers, so it was pleasant to discover that the Detroit guys were just as enjoyable. Also it was cool to listen to part of a Tigers game, live, while I was on an airplane.

  11. Joe

    July 26, 2005 at 6:47 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve listened to an entire half-inning of a Price/Dickerson broadcast and have only heard the score once. Heck, there was one game where someone hit a homerun, and they had never even mentioned who was up to bat! I constantly find myself asking what the score is, what the situation is, if anyone is on base, etc., because Jim and Dan do a poor job of letting us know. Perhaps I am in the minority on this one, but I really feel like these guys are not doing a good job. I’m not expecting Ernie Harwell, but I do expect a competent broadcast where I know what is going on on the field at all times.

  12. Strike3Forums

    July 27, 2005 at 1:50 am

    Tigers are a great team. They have some very exciting players on their team.

  13. Brian

    July 29, 2005 at 11:53 am

    The following recent article lists the Tigers as having the twelve best radio team in the American League.

  14. Jeff Griffith

    June 28, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Just want to post a quick “Great Job” to Nate Robertson! I thought last night’s game was fantastic and its good to see him get some recognition in the City of Detroit…Go Tigers!