Game 44: Tigers at Royals

PREGAME The Tigers head out on the road again for a 4 game set against the Royals. The game isn’t on TV which means Justin Verlander is pitching for Detroit. It is his first appearance against the Royals. Jeremy Affeldt takes the ball for the beleagured Royals.

They have lost 9 in a row, and found themselves visitors in their own stadium when St. Louis came to town. Royals fans – at least those that remain – are imploring owner David Glass to do something, or anything for that matter. It’s only been a couple years since the Tigers were in the same position, and I think all Tiger fans can empathize.

While a sweep is certainly possible, it probably isn’t likely. For one thing, it’s tough to beat a team 4 times in a row (and 8 on the season). For another, its hard for a team to drop 13 in a row.

POSTGAME: Justin Verlander throws a complete game, 5 hit shut out. Nobody has scored on Verlander since May 10th. I believe that only 7 balls reached the outfield the entire game. I know that Jon Papelbon is the early favorite for ROY, but Verlander has to be a very close second right now.

The oddity of the game had to be contact expert Placido Polanco recording 3 strike outs. What made it stranger is that the rest of the strike out prone team only managed one.

14 Comments

  1. Ken

    May 22, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    Game is on TV if yu live in SC like I do and have the MLB package! GO TIGERS!

  2. Steve

    May 22, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    I also have MLB extra innings. Tigers looked good, and we all know that feeling the Royals fans have, but its got to be someone. We had our turn in the barrel. I kinda like a team that is competitive night to night.

  3. Jeff M

    May 22, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    I don’t want to make too much of this, because it hasn’t been a pattern, but I was disappointed to see Verlander take the mound for the 9th inning (114 pitches).

    With an 8-0 lead, even Seay could have wrapped this game up successfully. The only reason I could see for letting Verlander finish the game would be psychological (either positive for V, negative for KC, or both). Leyland has earned the benefit of the doubt, but I would like to know if that’s what his reasoning was.

    Anyone else have a theory?

  4. Tim D

    May 22, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Verlander wasn’t tired.
    The Royals suck and he got them out easy.
    114 is at the upper threshold, not above.
    He got a ML shutout, something good for his confidence.
    I can’t find a negative.

  5. Nick G

    May 22, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    No 0 K, 0 BB outing this time around. Same result.

    Yes, I feel guilty that I can see the game on MLB Extra Innings and people in Michigan can’t.

  6. Jeff M

    May 22, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    114 is at the upper threshold, not above.

    Honest question: Is that true? I was always under the impression that the upper threshold for a young pitcher was closer to 100.

    Disclaimer: I have no expertise on the matter and I know 100 is not a magic number, but there is a 10% difference between 100 and 110, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out that there was a statistically significant difference in injuries relating to the two numbers.

    I’m going to bed. I look forward to reading an interesting discussion at lunch time tomorrow 🙂

  7. Nick G

    May 22, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    TV commentators say how Veralnder hits the mid-to-high 90s “effortlessly.” He has a very fluid motion. He probably doesn’t strain his arm like Zumaya would with his violent delivery. But, I’m no expert either. It just seems that some people can eat more hot dogs than others, and maybe some can throw more pitches, too.

  8. Paul

    May 23, 2006 at 12:15 am

    I wasn’t against the big pitch count in Oakland when he went 121, so I’m definitely not against seven less given the fact that he didn’t appear tired or worn out and he was aiming for a CGShO. I don’t think he’s been abused, but obviously you have to be careful when dealing with such a young arm.

  9. Walt

    May 23, 2006 at 7:05 am

    I think that we will see Verlander throw between 90 – 100 pitches in his next outing. I think that the thinking is that 114 is not too much as long as it is not repeated in consecutive outings.

  10. Dave T.

    May 23, 2006 at 8:35 am

    V threw 121-83 for strikes…seems like a lot to me…at some point they may need to shut him down for the year? or spot start Colon? ( I would like to find out how good he is ) I don’t like the idea of needing V to pitch a game in August or September and having to worry about innings on his arm, but he did get the win and the shut out…so who knows 121 for Nolan Ryan was never a big deal.

  11. Matt in Toledo

    May 23, 2006 at 8:48 am

    I thought the whole thing with pitch counts was that as the pitch count gets high, the pitcher gets tired and their motion suffers as they struggle to get outs while fatigued. Having seen Verlander a few times now, is this really a problem for him? I’m not an expert on pitching motion..far from it.., but he really does make it look effortless, even late in the game. Plus, doesn’t the fact that it looks easy for him and that he’s still hitting 98 and 99 late in games support the idea that he’s maintaining good form even as his pitch count climbs?

    That said, I still hope they take it easy on him the next time around.

  12. Kyle J

    May 23, 2006 at 11:31 am

    My concern is that Verlander may have such a natural throwing motion that he’s never going to look tired, even if he is. This is where Leyland’s reliance on old school instincts over new school statistical analysis may catch up with him. (On balance, though, the old school stuff seems to have done wonders for the team.)

  13. Kurt

    May 23, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    There was an article at the Tacoma newspaper that covered a few of the topics discussed here. It didn’t come down on one side or the other.

    I don’t think it mattered too much either way with Verlander. Personally I’d rather have have come out after 7 or 8, but I don’t think it’s too big a deal.

  14. Cathryn

    May 23, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Personally, I do think Leyland left Verlander in to give him the psychological lift of getting the CG shut-out. This is the first time he’s left the starter in for the ninth, regardless of performance; he’s been good about conserving the starters and not letting the innings pile up too badly. I think this may have been a reward to the rookie for having such a hot start to the season. Verlander’s going to remember this game for a long time.