Game 55: Red Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: In what is probably the oldest pitching match-up of the day, or maybe week, Kenny Rogers takes on Curt Schilling.

Rogers looks to rebound from a couple shaky games. After going 7 innings or more in 4 straight April starts, he failed to hit that mark in any of his 5 May starts. Among the Sox, the only starter to have significant experience and success against Rogers is Manny Ramirez with an 18 for 55 with 2 homers.

Curtis Granderson has reached base in each of his last 11 games and has seen is OBP rise from .351 to .371.

Jim Leyland has already announced that Pudge won’t be playing tonight or Sunday. I wonder if we’ll see Marcus Thames hitting in his place at the 3-hole?

And my favorite part of a Red Sox/Tigers series is watching Samela (and the alter-ego) be miserable and excited all at the same time.

POSTGAME As good as the Thursday’s win felt, this one hurts just as much. I’m not going to get into the whole closer debate right now. It deserves more space, and I’m just not emotionally prepared to do so. I think Tim’s comment summed up my feelings the best right now:

Some games leave you with a sick feeling. Jones can’t do this. He can’t get Manny and Varitek out and then let Kevin Youkilis beat him.

It ruined what was otherwise a pretty good effort. It was outstanding pitching by Kenny Rogers. The Tigers hitters battled against another very good pitcher in Schilling, and looked to have scratched out enough for a hard fought victory. Ergh.

20 thoughts on “Game 55: Red Sox at Tigers”

  1. How much longer does Polanco bat 2nd? When Pudge is playing I wouldn’t mind seeing him bat 2nd.

  2. Some games leave you with a sick feeling. Jones can’t do this. He can’t get Manny and Varitek out and then let Kevin Youkilis beat him.

    Rodney, Zumaya and Walker are all better pitchers right now. They should be in the high leverage situations. Rodney, in particular, has been lights out and very consistent. He won’t become a “proven closer” unless he’s given a chance to fail. Jones has had plenty of chances and by and large he has done the job, despite the fact that he has not pitched well. He has been lucky. But that is two critical games flushed in one homestand. We are fighting for the playoffs right now. Come September another win over Boston and/or New York could be huge. You can’t give away games and Jones gave this one away tonight. Time for Rodney. Jones should be in the fifth or sixth inning until he gets sorted out.

  3. It gets worse when you remember how much dough the team is paying him.

    Actually at the moment, I’m not seeing any solid options in the 9th. Rodney lets way too many men on base and Zumaya doesn’t have the control to handle the job yet either.

  4. Let the Jones bashing begin!

    Hey, I was bashing him three nights ago.


    This is where I fear Leyland’s old-school, refuse-to-listen-to-the-critics style (which, for the most part, I like) will catch up to him. He has to make a change at closer and I’m afraid he’s going to wait too long to do it. We can’t afford to be blowing close games during this stretch against the very teams we’ll need to beat out for a playoff spot.

  5. “Actually at the moment, I’m not seeing any solid options in the 9th. Rodney lets way too many men on base and Zumaya doesn’t have the control to handle the job yet either.”

    Opponent’s OBP (before tonight)
    Jones: .366
    Zumaya: .295
    Rodney: .250
    Walker: .207

  6. I have a different opinion on Rodney. He’s finished a lot of games; probably nearly as many as roller coaster. He struggled when he first came up, but seemed to come into his own last year. He’s doing even better this year. Looks like he’s got the maturity to put him back in the closer role which he had for a short stretch last year. His WHIP is under 1.0. If anyone remembers, Aurelio Lopez put a lot of guys on base and didn’t let ’em score.

    FWIW, I never really thought Jones was a good reliever. He filled the role in the days when the Tigers were a mediocre to bad team. Jones was an above average reliever, who worked OK for the time. Yet… the inconsistent tendency has always been with him. Ironically, his best season was probably last year.

  7. I blogged about this just a few minutes ago after looking up all the numbers and came to this conclusion: Jones has to go. Rodney or Zumaya are both better options. Rodney’s numbers are nothing short of awesome but sometimes his emotional makeup makes me think if he gets into trouble closing he may not be able to fight back. Zumaya, I think, is the better choice. But right about now, I would take either of them. Their stats are a lot, lot, lot better. I didn’t throw Walker into it, though it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he could be successful. He just wasn’t on my radar.

  8. I’m kinda glad I don’t have to watch the pistons anymore. They were terrible this post season. Arrogant and terrible. They were hard to watch and truly deserved to lose.

    Obviously the numbers favor Rodney–and even Zumaya–over Jones. But Jones’ numbers are so bad that isn’t saying much. Posting Zumaya’s .295 and Rodney’s .250 doesn’t do anything to refute:

    “Actually at the moment, I’m not seeing any solid options in the 9th. Rodney lets way too many men on base and Zumaya doesn’t have the control to handle the job yet either.”

    Of course, after doing some research…

    Only 5 regular closers in MLB have an OBA that’s lower than Rodney’s. My recollection tells me that he’s always pushing the envelope in terms of walks and baserunners, but I guess I’m mistaken.

    But I know assert this!

    Dude goes deep into counts before getting outs. Something must be making my stomach twist into knows when he’s on the mound.

    Numbers anyone?

  9. my opinion: Jones is a “hold” man; good for the 7th or 8th innings. What I’ve always felt is Zumaya should be the closer (actually feel he should be in the starting rotation, but I suspect Leyland wants to get him some experience first). Anybody who can throw 100 mph and can throw strikes should be the closer. Here’s some stats:
    name ip so bb h era
    Zumaya 26.2 31 13 17 2.70
    Jamie Walker 15.1 13 1 11 0.59
    Jones 20 7 4 27 5.85
    Mariano Rivera 27.1 18 5 26 2.30

    Z has a way better SO ratio than anybody else listed (100 mph is tough to hit); hell, Jamie Walker almost has 1 SO / inning. Jones gives up more than 1 hit / inning; Rivera almost 1 per inning. Z + Walker, not even close. Walker could even be the closer v lefties – only 1 BB shows control to me. Z gives up 1 BB / 2 innings; his only fault. But, still, that 100 mph fastball is very tough to hit. Z has allowed less hits, and struck out way more men than Rivera in about the same innings, and has about the same ERA. And Jones? 5.85?? Pfffft. A closer has to be able to strike men out; both Z and Rivera can do that. And Walker’s 0.59 ERA should be considered, too. Anyway, that was disgusting last night; am very p’d off about it. And Rodney? I don’t really like him all that much; he almost blew that games v the Yanks with those 2 WP’s in the 9th. A closer can’t get hyper like that; he has to keep within himself much better, show more discipline, for me to consider him for a closer.

  10. It doesn’t surprise me that Rodney’s OBP is among the best in baseball. Here’s the way I look at it: With my team up by a run, would I be happy with the other team sending up three batters with a .250 OBP?

  11. At the beginning of the season, when Jones was hurt, Rodney was able to close games just fine.

  12. Usually I’m a numbers guy, but there have been plenty of posts supporting the statistical fact that Jones shouldn’t be the closer.

    Instead, I’d rather point this out… when Papelbon, Riviera, F-Rod, Wagner, or any other great closer comes to the mound, the other team feels a sense of defeat already. They know their chances aren’t too good.

    With Jones, that simply isn’t the case. Everyone knows he’s going to give them a chance.

    I think Zumaya should be used as a situational stopper, especially since he’s such a good change of pace from our soft-pitching lefty pitchers. Jones would be a decent setup man.

    Rodney, I think, gives the best chance to put some fear into the hearts of the opposing team with that nasty changeup. When Jones pitches, the batters feel that they’re waiting for the right time. When Rodney pitches, you just hope you guess right.

    Yes, we paid Jones a lot of money… but that just doesn’t justify his struggles. Anybody have stats on how many of his saves already had a two or three run cushion? I seem to recall him giving up some runs in those “saves” as well.

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