Game 126: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: Well the last time Mark Buerhle faced Kenny Rogers, the Tigers scratched out 3 runs. But then the Tigers surrendered 4 unearned runs amid an awful weekend series.

Then again, the last time the Justin Verlander faced Jose Contreras things didn’t work out so well for the Tigers either but last night’s game had the opposite result.

Game Time 7:05

POSTGAME: The Tigers came in to the series scrambling, but by taking the first 2 games of the series, the pressure is squarely on the White Sox.

Kenny Rogers seems to have shaken his July slump. In his 4 August starts he’s allowed only 5 earned runs. He also has owned the White Sox only allowing 3 earned runs in 4 starts.

In the process the Tigers secured a .500 season, which based on preseason expectations already makes this year’s edition a success.

Other thoughts:

  • It was nice to see Magglio Ordonez laying out for a ball. His defense hasn’t been very good this year, but the effort on that play was very much appreciated by this blogger.
  • It was nice to see Marcus Thames crush the ball a couple times and work a walk. What I don’t understand is pinch hitting for a hitter who is doing that well with a 4 run lead. This wasn’t giving a regular an early night off, it was taking the bat out of the hand of a guy in need of playing time.
  • And speaking of things I don’t understand, Neifi Perez leading off? Sorry Omar, you’re getting the short end of something. Neifi did make a nice play getting up for Thome’s line drive in the 9th inning.
  • And one more thing I didn’t understand was having Brandon Inge sacrifice bunt when the Tigers had tagged Buerhle for 7 hits that early in the game. Why concede an out with the team’s most prolific out maker (Perez)waiting on deck?
  • I know I shouldn’t complain about strategy in a 4-0 shut out, but some of Leyland’s moves have left me scratching my head lately. And I won’t rip Neifi everygame. Besides, the way things have been working for the Tigers this year he’ll probably hit .350 with 4 homers over the next couple weeks.
  • And while I’m all for Ozzie Guillen getting tossed out, again I don’t understand umpires yelling back. Dan Iasogna had to be seperated from Guillen by his crew chief. I don’t understand why umpires are allowed to do this.

36 Comments

  1. Joey C.

    August 22, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    Neifi gettin it done at the top of the order!

    I can’t believe this guy is leading off for the Tigers.

  2. Brian A.

    August 22, 2006 at 7:25 pm

    neifi perez is leading off

    lets just say with that move my confiendence in leyland is at an all time low

  3. Joey C.

    August 22, 2006 at 7:45 pm

    HAHA! Mario is so clueless.

    “High Flyball to center…” that was caught be Perez a foot in front of 2nd base.

  4. Lou

    August 22, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    What exactly in Neifi’s 0-4 debut made him a candidate for leading off? This is such a slap in the face to Omar, I bet he’s seething.

  5. Marshall in DC

    August 22, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    Mind boggling . I guess the 1.000 winning percentage for Perez put him at the head of the class.

    however – 4-0 – You can’t bitch too much.

  6. Bryan

    August 22, 2006 at 8:59 pm

    I think its because he has a good history against Buerele or something

  7. Nick

    August 22, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    I keep saying this guy is solid and people keep knockin me.

    And for who ever says GOLD GLOVES dont mean anything????? are you serious?

    If you can not make plays in the field and you commit errors you’re putting yourself in a situation to lose.

    Great ex. when Kenny pitched against Mark in Chi….

  8. Joey C.

    August 22, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    That play on Thome’s screaming liner in the 8th was really strange.

  9. Anne

    August 22, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    I would never say GG’s don’t mean anything, I’m just wondering: if Perez’s fielding is his strong point, is he really a good lead-off candidate? Then again, if Granderson sits, who else would you have bat first?

  10. Chris Y.

    August 22, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Awesome start to this series; Rogers has been a real Sox killer for us. Is it just me or have the Tigers of late spring come back to life?

    Joey C.: the boy is already wiser than his old man….

  11. Joey C.

    August 22, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    Anne, I’d contend that Granderson shouldn’t be leading off right now.

    The problem is that nobody on this team is a viable lead-off candidate. If Pudge could consistently give us the type of at bats we saw when he was leading off versus Texas, that would be great. But of course history indicates that he isn’t too patient.

    Guillen has the highest OBP on the team, he’s a good baserunner, and he’s leading the team in steals. Losing his bat in the middle of the order would hurt though.

    It’s tough finding someone to bat up there.

    Another big win. I’m certainly impressed with the way they’ve come out to start this series. However, the continued fielding mistakes are troubling.

  12. KS

    August 22, 2006 at 9:42 pm

    You just got to find a way to get one of the worst hitters in the history of baseball to the plate as often as possible. Another of those idiotic “gut” decisions. Neifi Perez, leading off….are you kidding me?

  13. Kyle J

    August 22, 2006 at 9:44 pm

    A couple fielding notes:

    1) Great sliding catch by Magglio to make up for losing the ball in the lights.

    2) Interesting that Perez (a) dropped the line drive and (b) didn’t have the wherewithall (sp?) to throw to first instead of second. As indicated previously, I give Leyland the benefit of the doubt on Perez, but I hope–at minimum–his fielding is in fact top notch.

    Great win. This should get the White Sox monkey off our backs.

  14. Jeff

    August 22, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    I didn’t get the Perez leadoff thing either, but “confidence in Leyland at an all-time low”??? The team is 81-45 right now. I’m willing to tolerate his occasional goofy decisions, if it means his team is loose and everyone feels a part of the action.

  15. Scott

    August 22, 2006 at 9:52 pm

    now that was a well-pitched game by Rogers. I was sorry to see him go for the 8th; I guess too many pitches. I was a little worried when Rodney started walking guys – sigh – but the Sox never got the big hit. I’m not really that impressed by Perez either; should’ve had a DP there on that dropped liner. Except for Rogers muff, and Mags losing the one in the lights, a pretty good game for the Tiges…..

  16. Anne

    August 22, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    Joey–I actually agree with you that Granderson has too many strike outs and maybe isn’t quite speedy enough to be a good lead-off guy. However, he is 2nd in OBP and I also agree that Guillen is better in the middle of the order. Curtis sort of wins by default. So if there’s no other clear-cut choice, why not give Perez a shot? KS–just in the spirit of conversation, who would you like to see lead off?

  17. Lou

    August 22, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    Why not try Clevelen at lead-off? He’s got a pretty high OBP right now. Seems to have moderate speed.

  18. Bob S.

    August 22, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    The Tigers have enough bang in the middle of the order to bat Guillen lead-off,where he belongs.Keep Clevelen and Granderson lower in the order,where there’s not so much pressure on them.In fact,until Clevelen shows he’s not ready for prime time,I’d be platooning those two in center field-maybe a steady diet of right-handed pitching could shake Granderson out of his slump,with the added benefit of giving him a rest.And play Infante!

  19. Mark P

    August 22, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Leyland has had some strange moves this season, but for whatever reason he has a great feel for the team. His moves usually seem to work out.

    I am glad Thames had some good at bats. I was beginning to worry about his slow bat speed recently.

    Neifi can bunt (unlike any other Tigers)…maybe reason to leadoff????

  20. Pete G

    August 22, 2006 at 10:28 pm

    If we weren’t in a pennant race Omar would be playing second. DD wants a veteran out there. Omar’s day will come. He is a very good player.

  21. Jeff M

    August 22, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    Interesting that Perez (a) dropped the line drive and (b) didn’t have the wherewithall (sp?) to throw to first instead of second.

    The throw to second was correct. The Sox just played it perfectly. If you throw to first, all you do is get Thome. That’s no good, because he’s the slowest guy on the team. If you throw it to third, you’ll get the lead runner, but Iguchi, who was half-way, would get to second before you could double him up. If you run at Iguchi, you’ll likely get him, but not before Thome gets to first. If you throw to second, you might get the lead runner (they didn’t because he was smart enough to stand on the base, even though he was theoretically forced to go to third), and Iguchi has nowhere to go.

  22. Pete

    August 22, 2006 at 11:13 pm

    That’s 2-0 with Neifi in the lineup!

    One little thing about Neifi that no one has mentioned, and that any Cubs fan knows, is you can never underestimate the value of leaving the Chicago Cubs. It is the best career move any player can make — just look at Nomar, Maddux, Borowski, Matthers Jr., etc. this year. I don’t know if this theory applies to guys like Neifi who have stunk for like nine different teams, but I predict significant improvement in Neifi’s numbers now that he’s off the Scrubs.

    Pete
    (aka Perez-ident, Neifi Fan Club)

  23. Bob S.

    August 22, 2006 at 11:49 pm

    Leyland’s batting Perez lead-off has impressed the crew at Fire Joe Morgan.

  24. ron

    August 23, 2006 at 1:17 am

    I have never heard such trivial criticism of a team that is going to win at least 100 games this season.Tiger fans should enjoy the ride.Its been a loooong time.Playoff tickets are about to go on sale.Who woulda thunk?

  25. Marshall in DC

    August 23, 2006 at 9:13 am

    Give me two mores win before I start saying the “Sox monkey is off our back.” One more win before I say they are “like the tigers from last spring”

    We were swept by these guys and then lost the series with the Rangers (at home)

    Winning is nice but step back. This is when we have to put the Sox away. Bury’em guys!

  26. Andrew

    August 23, 2006 at 9:19 am

    The last time the Tigers were in the playoffs I was too young and ignorant to realize that the Tigers are not in a pennant race every year or even into August once and a while. These guys just play with grit and determination and are winning a ton of games without any one player bearing the offensive load.

    I have no complaints about beating the White Sox 4-0. Sure, I could find nitpick things here and there, but I share Ron’s opinion above.

    These Tigers just bring a smile to my face. I am just enjoying this wonderful season. Great win, Tigers!

  27. BigMax

    August 23, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Strange moves. I would certainly be much happier with Omar playing.

    Still, you can’t beat the results, and lineup really doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things (although who plays does matter).

    I agree most with the comments about DY hitting for Thames… Thames was crushing the ball (that homer by the flagpole was a real blast). Free Marcus!

    Still, after all my griping — how does one improve on a 4-0 win?

  28. Jeff M

    August 23, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Besides simply playing the L/R matchup, I think Leyland wanted to give DY a chance to warm-up for tonight’s game.

  29. Jason

    August 23, 2006 at 10:14 am

    The Perez problem is this:

    Neifi has the most Runs Created Below Average ever. Sabermetric analysis has its limits, but it clearly shows that Infante (3 for 4 in his last start, BTW) creates more runs batting than Perez saves fielding.

    When we acquired Perez, I thought Leyland would use him like Santiago – a late-inning DR and very occasional starter. Not only starting Neifi, but batting him leadoff, shows a troubling ignorance of how baseball games are won.

    I agree that Granderson should be batting lower in the order with his prolonged slump. Who should bat leadoff? Pudge or Inge.

  30. Jim

    August 23, 2006 at 12:02 pm

    There is but one requirement for batting leadoff: ON BASE PERCENTAGE. A strikeout is an out just like a long fly to the warning track, so who cares? Actually, you would rather your leadoff man strikeout a lot rather than your #3 hitter. You don’t want strikeouts with men in scoring position. I would vote for Guillen 1st, and Granderson as my 2nd choice to bat leadoff.

    Caveat: When Pudge batted first he seemed to be a different hitter, much more selective at the plate. Maybe if he stayed there he would draw tons of walks. It would be fun to try, but not in a pennant race.

    Somebody please teach Nook Logan how to hit line drives!

  31. Jeff M

    August 23, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    how does one improve on a 4-0 win?

    It’s hard, but a 95 pitch CG would have kept Rodney fresh for tonight.

  32. Bob S.

    August 23, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    I agree that Pudge showed more discipline batting lead-off,but I still think(and have thought for a couple years now) that Guillen is a natural born lead-off hitter.High OBP,good base runner,has some power,and a switch hitter to boot-yeah,why would you want him in a spot in the line up where he’s getting more at-bats.(Of course,you could make a similar argument for Perez-he’s a switch hitter.)With Ordonez,Rodriguez,Monroe,Young,and now Casey,the Tigers have the bats in the middle of the order,not to mention Thames and Inge.

  33. Jim

    August 23, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    Guillen is the best choice to bat 1, 2 or 3 in the lineup.

    Who was the last REAL leadoff hitter the Tigers had? Logan started off hot a couple times, but couldn’t sustain his “luck” for a whole year. Alex Sanchez wouldn’t take a walk…same goes for Roger Cedeno and Brian Hunter. How about Luis Polonia or Chad Curtis? I would say the last leadoff hitter we had that I LIKED was Tony Phillips. Whitaker had some success there, but I don’t count him as a leadoff hitter, he just batted first. Jeeze, before him was Ron LeFlore.

  34. michael

    August 23, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    from Baseball Prospectus on Nefi

    Oh, the humanity, etc. There’s something fundamentally ugly about letting Perez glom on to a good ballclub and get handed the ninth slot in the lineup with a post-it asking that he not be any worse than usual, but that’s what happens when you’re born under the right stars, I suppose. I can accept some sort of argument that there’s virtue in leaving Omar Infante in a utility role, and I think we can all accept that Santiago is one of the few utility infielders who might be worse than Perez. (We’ll get to the return of Manny Alexander in the Pads section.) I just don’t really buy into it all in concert: the Tigers would be best off with Infante in the lineup, and if you stick Perez in a reserve role as an infrequently-used reserve, that’s not the end of the world. The decision to make Perez the team’s everyday second baseman, however, might actually cost the team just enough runs and outs that a hot streak by the White Sox or Twins starts making things interesting. I know, it’s a stretch, but Neifi’s one of the game’s all-time execrables.

  35. michael

    August 23, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    from Baseball Prospectus on Nefi

    Oh, the humanity, etc. There’s something fundamentally ugly about letting Perez glom on to a good ballclub and get handed the ninth slot in the lineup with a post-it asking that he not be any worse than usual, but that’s what happens when you’re born under the right stars, I suppose. I can accept some sort of argument that there’s virtue in leaving Omar Infante in a utility role, and I think we can all accept that Santiago is one of the few utility infielders who might be worse than Perez. (We’ll get to the return of Manny Alexander in the Pads section.) I just don’t really buy into it all in concert: the Tigers would be best off with Infante in the lineup, and if you stick Perez in a reserve role as an infrequently-used reserve, that’s not the end of the world. The decision to make Perez the team’s everyday second baseman, however, might actually cost the team just enough runs and outs that a hot streak by the White Sox or Twins starts making things interesting. I know, it’s a stretch, but Neifi’s one of the game’s all-time execrables.

  36. KS

    August 23, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    I completely concur with Prospectus sentiment. It’s not exactly like Infante is Todd Walker out there at second base.