Game 99: Tigers at Indians

PREGAME: The Tigers venture into Jacobs Field looking to continue the success they enjoyed on their last trip. You may remember that the Tigers swept the Indians in a mid May weekend series. That series featured Jeremy Bonderman limiting the Indians to 3 hits and no runs over 8 innings. I bring this up because Bonderman will be taking the hill for the Tigers tonight.

He’ll be opposed by Cliff Lee. Lee has faced the Tigers twice this year. The first time he was a hard luck 1-0 loser to Mike Maroth. The second time the Tigers touched him for 5 runs in 7 innings.

Placido Polanco will get the day off after being hit in the jaw and Craig Monroe will bat in the 2-spot despite being 3 for 21 lifetime against Lee.

This series makes me nervous. Yes the Indians have a lousy record, but they aren’t a lousy team. The offense can put runs on the board (2nd in the AL in runs scored) and they have quite a bit of talent. You wouldn’t know it by the standings, but they have actually outscored their opponents for the season.

Game Time 7:05pm

POSTGAME: Phew!! That game was long and ugly – but a win. Quick observations before heading to bed:

  • Glad that the bats continued to stay hot. Dmitri Young hits his first homer, Inge adds a homer, Infante picks up 3 hits, Shelton had mixed results. Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez were the only ones not to really enjoy the hits.
  • The Tigers were the beneficiary of a couple calls. Alexis Gomez was picked off, but called safe and Ordonez dropped a ball along the foul line.
  • Bonderman couldn’t buy a strike the first 2 innings and yet held the Indians scoreless until he settled down.
  • Fernando Rodney just wasn’t right. That was ugly combined with bad luck. Jamie Walker was solid until it looked like he got gassed at the end of his 2nd inning.
  • When they’d show the Tigers dugout, I saw something I hadn’t seen all year – tension. That wasn’t a light and jovial bench the last few innings.

24 Comments

  1. Brian A.

    July 24, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    the Indians field like the 2003 Tigers though. In fact, Peralta as of late has made Shane Halter look pretty darn good.

  2. Joey C.

    July 24, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    Wow! Early run support for Bonderman!

  3. Lou

    July 24, 2006 at 6:56 pm

    What’s the deal with Thames? Seems like Leyland is giving all of his time to Craig now with Dmitri back on the team. I recognize that the Tigers (and other teams?) need a good evaluation of Dmitri, but shouldn’t Craig and Marcus be splitting the LF duties during that time?

  4. Mark S.

    July 24, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    Lou,
    Some of the things you’ve said lately have been a little off. First of all:
    -Thames and Monroe have been splitting LF lately, Thames played yesterday, Monroe plays today, thats a pretty even split to me. U???

  5. Lou

    July 24, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    You know, I missed the game yesterday and forgot about it. You’re right, that’s a better split.

  6. Jeff M

    July 24, 2006 at 8:43 pm

    If his home run and line drives didn’t already have you convinced, ya gotta believe in DY after seeing that 7th inning walk. That man is seeing the ball well. He’s every bit as likely to help this team out down the stretch as any other player in the league…and the price is right.

    If DD is even paying the slightest bit of attention, we’re already out of the “blockbuster trade” business. Show me a couple small moves to improve depth at the bottom and I’ll put down my deposit for postseason tickets right now.

  7. Joey C.

    July 24, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    Yeah…after 14 at-bats since returning from Betty Ford, I’m willing to bet the season on Young.

  8. Jeff M

    July 24, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    But we’re not betting the season on him. He’s simply the 25th man. He’s as much of an improvement over Santiago as Soriano would be over Monroe.

    You’ve probably already noticed, but I haven’t really been in favor of a huge move anyways. This roster has done everything you could ask of it and there’s no reason to think that will change. Nothing can guarantee results, but I think a couple incremental changes will keep us in the driver’s seat.

  9. Lou

    July 24, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    Completely off topic, but did anyone notice Cole Hamels “performance” tonight?

    5.1 IP with 12 Ks… and 7ER. Unreal.

  10. Steve G

    July 24, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    Anyone know what our ERA is since the all-star break? Our pitching is not at the level we need right now. Good thing the bats are hot.

  11. Alan

    July 24, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    A 7 1/2 game lead looks good, but after the Twins beat up on the White Sox, they need to get some more lossses.

  12. Nick G

    July 24, 2006 at 11:43 pm

    The list of salaries below is from the Tigs’ ESPN page. I’d say that we need our 4th highest paid player to deliver a return. How can we expect anybody to trade for Dimitri’s salary without a track record this season (and all his recent problems)?

    As Rod said on the Dimitri comeback day, Young was the face of the franchise the last couple of forgetable years. DY took the throne from Higgy (that’s me, not Rod). So, let’s hope DY gets to enjoy some redemption. And a ring would be nice, too.

    Tigers 2006 Salaries

    1. Magglio Ordonez 16,200,000
    2. Ivan Rodriguez 10,616,410
    3. Kenny Rogers 8,000,000
    4. Dmitri Young 8,000,000
    Team Total 82,302,069
    Team Rank 14th

  13. Jason

    July 25, 2006 at 12:03 am

    Jim Leyland showed me something today.

    I watched the loooong Cleveland half of the eighth with two buddies. All of us agreed that Rodney had to go. But Leyland kept him in to finish the inning.

    People with a sabermetric inclination, like me, focus on optimal moves within a game. Leyland decided that sending Rodney a message was more important than the strategic optimum. “Either you’re going to finish the inning or you’re going to blow the lead”, Leyland implied, “but if you blow it, the other 24 guys in this dugout will hold you accountable.” That’s why he’s a winning manager and I’m not.

  14. Nick G

    July 25, 2006 at 12:39 am

    The Cleveland announcers (who are pretty good compared to some of the homers other teams have) said that getting a player like Dimitri at this point in our season is as good as a free agent signing. I see it. Do you? I mean, without judging him off the field?

  15. Scott

    July 25, 2006 at 8:10 am

    good thing we put up that 5-spot in inning 1. We needed ’em all. Don’t know what’s up with the pitching, but it’s gone south pretty much this whole month. I was concerned when the Pirates hit ’em like a AA squad; nothing’s really changed since then. We’ve had a couple good performances, but, for the most part…. 🙁 Luckily, the White Sox are fading, and Guillen’s feeling the heat (his blow-ups). On Mag’s item: it doesn’t matter where the fielder is standing, it’s where the ball would’ve landed. They never did show a “definitive” view; everything off-angle so I can only assume the ball would’ve landed foul. The Indians picked off 2 on the bases tonight; c’mon guys, can’t go to sleep out there. One was called and one wasn’t. Inge’s in particular took us out of a possible inning. But at least we’re scoring plenty of runs; we need ’em. Rock on, boys….. 🙂

  16. Kyle J

    July 25, 2006 at 8:22 am

    I agree, Nick G. Getting a healthy DY back is as good as picking up any of the generic left-handed bats people have been talking about. At this point, the only significant move I think would be worth making is for Soriano (for the right price). This team has the right player for every spot on the roster right now. The only clear upgrade would be adding a second top-tier bat to the middle of the lineup.

    Another in a long line of amazing stats this season:

    • With a win over the White Sox Monday, the Twins are 32-8 over their last 40 games — almost one-quarter of the season. Through June 7, the Twins were 25-33, 11½ games behind the Tigers. However, while the Twins have played .800 ball over the last six weeks, the Tigers have gone 30-10. The only other major league team even playing above .600 since then is the Red Sox (27-15).

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....id=2528939

  17. Pete G

    July 25, 2006 at 8:39 am

    Not to pick on Mario and Rod but I can’t believe they thought the ball Magglio dropped was fair because his feet were in fair territory. The ball is fair or foul based on where it is, or where it would have landed. On the line or inside,fair. Outside the line, foul. They wondered why the Indians didn’t argue the call. Rod, my man, you played the game for crying out loud!

  18. Steve

    July 25, 2006 at 9:10 am

    These games that become close are actually good for the team. When pennent or playoff time comes they need to be able to handle it with out tweeking. Close games and pressure as the season goes along will make these guys like iron when it counts. I like a guy up there that needs to get a hit or needs to be accountable.

    Its all good…………………………………………….

    Steve

  19. Chris Y.

    July 25, 2006 at 9:29 am

    I think we all need to settle down a bit. There are still two months ’til the end of the season — we’ll either still be there or we won’t.

    As for recent trends, an optimist might see Verlander pitching absolute lights out (sub-1 ERA over last month), Bonderman tracking as he has all season, and the bats really lighting up. More importantly, the vets are coming around: Pudge, Maggs, Polanco, Inge (I’d call him a vet), and Dmitri have all been stellar at .300+ with power.

    I really like our chances with those hitters supporting Verlander and Bonderman versus Liriano and Santana. I’d take Rogers any day over Radke in a must-win game, and even Robertson over Baker. As for the #5 spot, my grandmother has better stuff than Silva.

    And don’t forget, the White Sox are not gone…. say they win the final two games of this series.

    However, I do think Rodney might be a good man to ship off. He’s got talent, but the guy’s pitched like a selfish teenager out of the set-up role all year. Maybe we should let him go be “the man” for some other team before the deadline?

    Any news on H. Sanchez’s injury?

  20. Kurt

    July 25, 2006 at 11:22 am

    ERA after the All-Star break is 5.00. Nothing to sweat at this point. Detroit’s sandwiched among Boston, Chicago, New York and Oakland in runs allowed after the break.

  21. Jeff H

    July 25, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Starter ERA since break is 5.43.

    Since June 28, starter ERA:
    Verlander – 0.64 (4 starts)
    Bonderman – 3.69 (5)
    Robertson – 5.65 (4)
    Miner – 6.75 (4)
    Rogers – 6.75 (4)

  22. Scott

    July 25, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    regarding Rodney – yeah, he’s a little too wild for my taste. When he’s on, he’s incredibly good, but when he’s not, like last night….Jones seems to have worked thru his earlier funk, and has settled down, but I’m really concerned about Colon. His last couple outings weren’t just bad, they were worse. Maybe it’s time to give Spurling a chance, again. He could hardly do worse. Verlander’s pitching like a seasoned vet; just stellar. Miner’s been sub-par, too, but he’s gaining valuable experience. I didn’t realize the Twins were 32-8….and they’ve gained only 2 games on us….

  23. Dave T.

    July 25, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    I agree that Spurling deserves another shot in the bigs…Leyland needs to use more of the bullpen, more often. Teams have been slugging against us…perhaps the tigers need to change things up a bit…send colon back down for a couple of weeks bring Tata back up?

  24. Kyle J

    July 25, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    Just to fan the flames of speculation: SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers inquired about Tejada.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....index.html

    Also questions whether the White Sox are really interested in Soriano since one of the pitchers they traded to KC is a left-handed prospect the Nationals had asked for.