Game 91: Royals at Tigers

PREGAME: Mark Teahen (4 for 7, 2 HR’s, 2B, 3B, 2 walks) and the Royals offense have done a pretty good job knocking Tiger pitching around the last 2 nights. It will be up to Justin Verlander to try and not spot them a 4 run lead again.

Jimmy Gobble will be making his 4th start this season as he transitions from the bullpen to a starting role. His first start was back in May against the Tigers and he allowed only 3 hits and one run in 4 innings before being lifted because of pitch count.

Game Time 7:05pm

POSTGAME: Now that looked more like a first half pitching performance. It looked like it took Verlander an inning to settle in as he appeared to be overthrowing and couldn’t get the ball down. But then it was all over.

Once again it was a very balanced offensive effort. But why has Granderson sacrifice bunted 3 times in the last 2 games?There are places for it, but not tonight, especially after a pither had walked 2 guys in a row and was about to face the teams most selective hitter. It all worked, but there’s no need to go small ball with a 4 run lead late in the game – especially when the guys on base stood a good chance of being advanced and the batter had only bounced into one double play all year. But I digress.

The Tigers go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.

17 Comments

  1. Lou

    July 15, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    8 more games against the Royals!

  2. Anne

    July 15, 2006 at 9:37 pm

    So the Tigs are 4.5 games up on the Sox. ESPN sounds increasingly embarassed and defensive about ranking the Sox ahead of the Tigers, yet they insist on doing it. Seriously, the Tigs could sweep them this week, finish the season with 110 wins, sweep the world series and ESPN will still call Chicago the better team. It’s just fuel for the fire, boys, fuel for the fire.

  3. Nick G

    July 15, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    Billfer, my man, I’ve never known you to question Jimbo’s thought process before, so… Those were two great bunts by Curtis. Something to celebrate. I have a feeling we will need CG to do more of that down the road. Good practice.

    And, on the other side, Verlander was sick! He threw a bunch of cheese by them! (My favorite Rodism.)

  4. Kurt

    July 15, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    I thought for sure he’d swing away the second time…. maybe just practice?

  5. Jeff M

    July 15, 2006 at 10:31 pm

    The bunts are debatable, so I imagine that “practice” was probably the tie-breaker in the decision making. When Gomez pinch-hits for Thames midway through the game, you know Leyland’s thinking long term. Honestly, I’m perfectly happy with the way the game went. Verlander was dealing, but Leyland didn’t leave him in there past 100 unnecessarily. Walker pitched a couple good innings. Everyone hit the ball.

  6. Nick G

    July 15, 2006 at 10:47 pm

    The way Leyland tests his players (and uses performance, not hype to make decisions), he probably wants to be certain Curtis can lay one down in a game situation when the chips are (sort of) down. Curtis gets an “A” in my mind.

  7. Rob

    July 15, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    As long as we are wondering about decisions, here’s a lineup question: why on earth does Leyland ever put Thames in LF with Monroe at DH? Yes, Thames is worlds better at the plate, but if you are going to play shouldn’t you just put the better defender in the field? I mean nobody will ever confuse Monroe with a good hitter, but he’s pretty athletic and above average defensively in LF. Thames can rake, but he is weak defensively.

  8. Nick G

    July 16, 2006 at 1:10 am

    I’m with you, Rob. The craziest stat I’ve seen in a Tiger game all season was tonight on TV when they showed that Thames only has ONE error in his last 100-some games he’s played in LF. I can think of at least four balls in front of him that he’s misplayed this season. For some reason, he plays the balls behind him rather well.

    For a while, I thought Monroe (who has the range of a centerfielder, and should really be out there) wasn’t playing left field because of his ankle injury going for a ball a while back. Now, I’m just confused. Love both players (Marcus might be THE best Tiger story of the season), but Craig is obviously the better defender.

    Confused, like you.

  9. Lou

    July 16, 2006 at 1:13 am

    Today Mario and Rod were saying that Craig’s injury is “almost” healed to allow him to play in the field. I think he must still not be 100%.

  10. Kurt

    July 16, 2006 at 1:13 am

    Is Monroe’s ankle back to 100%? I assume (possibly wrong) Leyland is giving him more time to have it recover fully. I know you can play on a bum ankle, but it’s one of those re-occuring things. So best I remember, he has hardly played the field since the injury. Otherwise, agree totally, Thames is a great DH, but sometimes a scary fielder.

  11. Rob

    July 16, 2006 at 7:07 am

    I understand about the ankle, but without digging through 90 boxscores it seems to me that Leyland did this a few times back in May and June when Monroe wasn’t hurt.

  12. Jeff M

    July 16, 2006 at 8:18 am

    I understand about the ankle, but without digging through 90 boxscores it seems to me that Leyland did this a few times back in May and June when Monroe wasn’t hurt.

    I don’t want to see him start in the field any more than you guys, but
    Thames
    has only started 37 of his 64 games in the field. I don’t want to dig through the boxscores either, so I figure 20-25 of those have come after Monroe’s injury. The other 12-17 were most assuredly to give another outfielder the day off. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

  13. KS

    July 16, 2006 at 10:30 am

    Craig Monroe has the range of a center fielder and should really be there? Couldn’t let that comment pass. Wow! I’ve been watching something completely different these past 4 years.

  14. Kurt

    July 16, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Monroe is an above-average left fielder according to the stats here, but no way I’d want to swap him with Granderson.

    http://www.baseballthinkfactor.....an_league/

  15. Matt in Toledo

    July 17, 2006 at 8:48 am

    I think he meant that Monroe should be “out there” in left field rather than at DH. I don’t think many people would advocate taking Granderson out of center field in favor of anybody on the Tigers’ current roster.

  16. Nick G

    July 17, 2006 at 10:28 am

    Yes, I did mean Craig should be “out there” in LF instead of DH-ing, not taking Granderson’s position in Center, which would be ridiculous. Sorry for the confusion.

    When I said Monroe has the range of a CF, I was thinking of his ability to play Centerfield, as he did for us last year on occasion. That’s not something you would ever see a manager make Thames do.

  17. Jason

    July 17, 2006 at 11:49 am

    ESPN respected the Tigers with Buster Olney’s article in the Magazine. If we sweep the White Sox, they will respect us even more.

    I liked both of Granderson’s sacrifice bunts. Leyland trusted Polanco to score the runners, and he drove in 3 of 4 – not bad.