Game 106: Tigers at Devil Rays

PREGAME: The Tigers will turn to Justin Verlander to try and nip a 2 game losing streak in the bud. Verlander was awesome in July with a sub 2.00 ERA. He’ll be opposed by J.P. Howell who is seeing his first big league action this season.

Howell pitched with the Royals last year and walked 4.9 batters per 9 innings while striking out 6. Let’s just hope the Tigers hitters don’t make him look as comfortable as Casey Fossum did last night.

Speaking of Tigers hitters, Sean Casey will make his debut and bat 7th. I asked JD Arney from the Red Reporter about Casey from a fan’s perspective. JD said:

He grounds out to second base more than any other player I’ve seen in my life. Expect lots of double plays.

Otherwise he’s got a pretty decent bat, gets on base a good bit, should hit over .300 without a lot of power. Defense is average to below average, and he’s really slow. But not a bad player to have around, I think he’ll help you guys out a lot.

Also of note, Brent Clevlen will make the start in centerfield and bat 9th.

Game Time 7:15pm

POSTGAME Well that was certainly more fun. Justin Verlander did his job, while not being his sharpest. But the offense which looked so miserable last night is what really played the role of stopper. There were so many neat stories tonight:

  • Brent Clevlen picks up his first and second career homers and adds a single.
  • Carlos Guillen hits for the cycle with flat out hustle on the double.
  • Sean Casey gets an RBI chance his first time up and takes advantage after a lengthy at-bat with a single. He later hit his first AL homer.

Marcus Thames seems to be emerging from his slump with some solid at-bats for 3 games in a row and Craig Monroe continued to pepper the left field corner.

Really, the only disapopinting performance was a rare clunker from Jamie Walker.

And with the win, the Tigers match last year’s win total.

39 thoughts on “Game 106: Tigers at Devil Rays”

  1. Not to mention Clevlen’s homer to CENTER. The two people you were never expecting to homer. “Casey’s not a power guy like Shelton – so don’t expect any home runs.” Um. What’s going on?

  2. It is morning, 10:08 am. I am at work just following the MLB Gameday interface. Would love to listen to the radio play-by-play, but wouldn’t get away with it in the office here. πŸ™

    I pretty much do most of my work after Tigers games wrap-up. πŸ˜€

  3. is providing the Rays’ broadcast. They just threw it to the on the field guy who announced that Ron Leflore would be signing autographs at Tropicana next Monday.

    Ron Leflore? Is he supposed to draw people to the ballpark? Detroit fans wouldn’t show up to a ballpark to get Leflore’s signature! Desperate times in Tampa.

  4. Jeff, The reason he missed the one-hopper was that he was trying to apply the tag in time. If he waits to catch the ball, he doesn’t get the tag down in time.

  5. Also a good time to recognize exactly how good Guillen is. Coming into tonight, here were his projections for 162 games:

    Games: 156
    At bats: 551
    Runs: 95
    Hits: 165
    Doubles: 43
    Triples: 5
    Home Runs: 18
    RBI: 95
    Walks: 75
    Stikeouts: 89
    SB: 22
    CS: 8
    OBP: .385
    SLG: .494
    AVG. 299

    Those are Derick Jeter numbers–for 20% the price.

  6. Clevlen!?! OK, I’m confused. I’m the one who’s the born and raised Detroiter who’s lived in Chicago most of his adult life. I never heard of Clevlen. Don’t really understand why he was called up. His Erie record this year isn’t very impressive. Can’t argue with the results, so far, though…. but I probably missed it. Why’d they call him up?

  7. Dave,
    Clevlen had a great year in spring training. He really impresed the Tiger’s coaching staff with his stuff. Unfortunatly, after playing with the Tigers, he got a little cocky in the early parts of the season (Somewhat like Chris Shelton after his April). He strugled the first part of the season in Erie, but really picked up the pace in July. His spring training and July were the main reasons he was called up. Also, Alexis Gomez was not able to be called up at the time becuase he had just been sent down to AAA Toledo. Brent Clevlen was already on the 40 man roster also, which helped the case for bringing him up.

  8. Didn’t Ron LeFlore get arrested when he came back to Detroit in ’99 for the Tiger Stadium farewell/reunion ceremony thing? For non-payment of support or something? I confess I have no idea what his connection is to Florida, but I’d still get his autograph if I could. I have some fond, albeit very distant, memories of his days with the Tigs.

    I sort of had the impression Clevelen was called up to show him off a bit before the trade deadline. Apparently I was wrong or the strategy didn’t pan out; either way it turned out lucky for the Tigs. Just another example of Leyland’s Midas touch.

  9. The reason he missed the one-hopper was that he was trying to apply the tag in time. If he waits to catch the ball, he doesn’t get the tag down in time.

    Hard to say. It was certainly a bang-bang play, but i think an above average infielder makes the play 8 times out of 10.

    Dont get me wrong… I love hustle. Even more so when it comes from a talented player that can get by without hustling. I guess it just rubs me the wrong way because it was a low percentage play for purely selfish reasons.

    Ah well. It wasn’t a close game, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I guess I just worry that the success has come a little too quickly. It’s a good problem to have though. πŸ™‚

  10. Anne, you are indeed right about Ron LeFlore’s last appearance in a Tigers uniform. His days as a player predate my memory as a Tigers fan by a couple of years, so I don’t have any nostalgic tie to him.

  11. Dawn Klemish wrote the recap for tonight’s game, which included this sentence:

    “Starter Justin Verlander seemed to have righted whatever had been hampering his past three outings, and picked up his first win in nearly a month.”

    What was she smoking? Verlander now has a ‘W’ in 7 of his last 8 starts, gave up 3 ER in the 34.2 innings leading up to tonight’s game, and now leads the majors in wins…

  12. casey, clevelen, this is pretty exciting to see these guys get in the mix just a few games in. other then that breakdown in minnesota tigers seem to be the real deal!

  13. I attended this game, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone hit for the cycle in person. My days following the Tigers goes back to the 60s watching games in Tiger Stadium. So, I’ve seen a few. When Guillen first hit that soft liner in the 9th, he ripped it right out of the box; he was thinking 2 bases from the get-go. As I saw the play unfolding, I thought Guillen would be out at 2nd. But the Tampa CF either didn’t get a good jump, or kind of dogged it getting to the ball, and Guillen didn’t even hesitate rounding 1st. Without benefit of re-play, I thought he was safe at 2nd regardless. It’s funny, the double was the ball he hit the worst; must’ve been close to the label – it was a soft liner kind of dumped into right-center field. And his triple was a mis-play by Crawford in left; Crawford let the ball get by him and carom away. So, really and truly, with proper fielding, Guillen’s night should’ve been: 2B, HR, out, 1B, 1B. But hey, it was fun to watch; a great performance, and his hustle got him the cycle….I’m starting to be impressed with Clevlin; his future looks bright to me……The ump’s strike zone tonight was weird; more than once, I questioned his call; but I was sitting by 3B, and could miss the close ones on the corners. Verlander wasn’t sharp, but must’ve been close to 100 pitches to be taken out after 5? …. I may have to make another appearance at the ballpark on Thursday…. πŸ™‚

    Rock on, boys

  14. While it was pretty cool to see Guillen hit for the cycle,I wondered about him taking the extra base with a 6 run lead that late in the game.It wouldn’t surprise me to see him get hit by a pitch tonight(I’d bet on it if Lou Pinella was still managing TB).

  15. Needed that game.

    I just love that Everyone says casey has no power and what does he do? Homer in his first game.

    Sort of how the season is going . . .everyone says one thing but the tigs go out and do the opposite.

  16. Anyone notice that Gullien missed the cycle by a HR a week or so ago (maybe the Cleveland series, hmmm)? Nice to see him get it this time. He’s been on fire.

  17. more Clevlin thoughts: so far, he’s looking real good. But he’s only faced a AAA-caliber staff in Tampa. Once he comes up against some real major league quality pitching, up against pitchers that can really rip a hard curve or slider, or a sinkerballer, then we’ll know more. We now know he can hit a fastball……..and he’s got a pretty good arm out there for the OF…….

  18. I remember Ron LeFlore and other players from the ’70s like Aurelio Rodriguez (who had even worse luck than LeFlore on a recent visit to Detroit) as sort of the transition from the Kaline era (which I do remember, barely) to the Sparky Anderson era. Plus there was that made for TV biopic about LeFlore, something along the lines of “from Jackson prison to Tiger Stadium”. Does anyone know his connnection to Fla? Is it just where he lives now?

  19. After Clevlen’s debut against Johan Santana, Tampa pitching must look pretty good in comparison.

    I like his defense. If he controls his batter better than in Erie, great. It’s hard to say when we’ll know more though. Shelton hit for a month and looked pretty good doing it.

    Scott, how’s the feel of the crowd? On TV, it sounds like the crowd is pretty pro-Tigers.

  20. Who drafted Clevlen?
    He isn’t a Randy Smith draft pick is he? Are there any Randy Smith guys left in the system? This is one of those years where all things seem to go right…if Clevlen would have been in the Tiger’s system 5 years ago he would have already have been traded to Houston for Doug Brocail.

  21. Good point, Bilfer, about the Tigers matching last year’s win total. Amazing related stat: They have only 38.5% as many losses (35 vs. 91).

  22. Scott,
    Don’t you consider Johan Santana major league quality pitching? Clevlen went 2-3 in that game

  23. if Clevlen would have been in the Tiger’s system 5 years ago he would have already have been traded to Houston for Doug Brocail.

    Is Brocail available????

  24. I can see that Clevlen has the Travis Fryman syndrome from his first taste of the bigs, cocky attitude for someone who hasn’t been around for long. Hope some of the vets let him know his place.

  25. yeah, Jeff, I do. I’d forgotten that. I stand corrected on that point. The crowd last night was about 15,000, and I’m guessing well over 33% were Tiger fans – I saw a bunch of us (like me) wearing Tiger paraphernalia. By the way, if any of you guys saw someone in the crowd with a visiting Tigers jersey on, over on the 3B side…….it was me………. πŸ™‚

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