News, and more news

Some rapid fire linking before I call it a night:

  • Cameron Maybin has been tearing it up on the field, but he ran into a little bit of trouble. Apparently he was in an accident on July 13th in which he blew a .04 which is well below the legal limit. But he’s 19 which is well below the legal age. This doesn’t seem like a big deal. No one was hurt. He called the police himself. And the only other living thing involved was the deer he swerved to avoid.
  • Of course most of you have seen the link to the Bill Simmons article where he breaks down the AL contenders. In case you haven’t, he has Detroit ranked behind the Yankees.
  • The early prognosis for Placido Polanco is a 2nd-3rd degree seperation and he’ll see the team physicians tomorrow. Will Carroll notes the short term objective is to control swelling.

    The key will be controlling the swelling inside the joint and making sure that it has stabilized. Remember, a separation implies that the shoulder is now in its proper placement, in contrast to a dislocation.

  • And a little more Will Carroll from a couple days ago. While others were worried about Verlander tipping his pitches or his veloctiy, Carroll picked up a flaw in his mechanics.

    Justin Verlander might have been tipping his pitches, but he was definitely “pitching uphill.” I mentioned that I watched his start on Friday with Rany Jazayerli. I pointed out how Verlander was dropping his back shoulder and actually raising his front arm, as he is in this picture. Looking through tape and images, it’s clear that Verlander often throws this way. While not ideal, he’s certainly getting good results. Verlander’s mechanics do not hold up well when he’s fatigued; he gets looser with his arms and spins at the end of his release, losing his balance in the midst of his delivery. The Tigers are well aware of these flaws and his fatigue. The question now is whether he can be effective enough while being used the proper amount in the midst of a pennant chase.

    I wonder if it is this same issue that contributed to his inability to throw strikes tonight?

  • Via Aaron Gleeman I found a site with a bunch of useless yet interesting baseball info. For example, did you know that Lou Whitaker is the Tigers all time leader in walk-off hits?
  • Lynn Henning from the News wrote about defensive efficiency ratio today. This is excellent that something else besides fielding percentage is being mentioned in the mainstream media. Even better is that Chris Shelton and Leon Durhan seem to be figuring it out in Toledo.
  • I think we’re all familiar with the Magic Number concept which is the number of wins for the first place team, and losses for the 2nd place team that will guarantee victory. To calculate simply add the first place teams wins and the 2nd place team’s losses and subtract the sum from 163. However, there’s a more accurate way. Because remaining schedules vary, there are certain scenarios that may lead to the 1st place team locking things up earlier than the magic number would indicate – especially in terms of securing a playoff spot. Some smart folks at Berkley actually test every remaining scenario to determine the true magic number. Going into tonight the Tigers clinch number for a playoff spot was 31.
  • Late addition as I forgot one piece I’d been meaning to link to. Stephen Rodrick wrote a nice piece detailing the excruciating period in Tiger fandom since Darrell Evans was picked off third in the 1987 ALCS. Again, this was linked to on several other blogs (Ian and M.A.T. to name a couple) but I’ll include it here as well.


  1. Jeff M

    August 17, 2006 at 12:20 am

    Even better is that Chris Shelton and Leon Durhan seem to be figuring it out in Toledo.

    I don’t necessarily believe it. It’s only been two weeks. Plus the article talks a lot about “rebuilding his confidence”. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that Durham gave this interview solely to build Chris’ confidence.

  2. George L.

    August 17, 2006 at 8:29 am

    Did anybody see the Sports Weekly for USA Today this week? Bonderman made the cover. The article takes a good look at why the AL seems to be dominating the NL as of late.

  3. Kyle J

    August 17, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Free Press explains why there’s no chance we can get Soriano:

    Anyone watch the postgame show last night? I turned the TV off when the game ended, but one of the promos said Henning was going to discuss a major move the Tigers could still make. Not sure what that would be besides Soriano.

  4. Joey C.

    August 17, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Great post Billfer. This will keep me occupied all morning!

    Kyle, each year I seem to forget all the ins and outs of claiming players of waivers, so the Freep article straightened that out for me. Damn it.

  5. Kyle J

    August 17, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    To follow up on my question about winning vs. good teams, I thought I’d look at the 2005 White Sox, who actually bear quite a bit of similarity to the 2006 Tigers in terms of (1) being a surprise contender, (2) getting off to an extremely hot start, (3) struggly a bit down the stretch. Some facts:

    1) The 2005 Sox were 10-13 against the other 3 AL playoff teams (Bos, NY, LA). Tigers are currently 12-20 vs. the 4 most likely playoff teams (Chi, Box, NY, Oak).

    2) A year ago today the White Sox were in the middle of a 7-game losing streak against Boston, Minnesota, and NY.

    Certainly doesn’t prove anything in terms of odds of advancing in the playoffs, but does add some context.

  6. michael

    August 17, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    Soriano just cleared waivers. Where is he gonna go? Back to second base perhaps?

  7. Jeff M

    August 17, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Soriano just cleared waivers.

    Do you have a source, Michael?

  8. Kyle J

    August 17, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    More useless info: Tigers have turned more triple plays in their history than in any other team.

  9. Miguelito

    August 18, 2006 at 2:09 am

    Oh my God. I’d almost gotten over not getting Soriano and he ends up on waivers. And he cleared waivers? Does that mean he can be traded now? I really don’t know.

    I kept saying, and quite stupidly I admit, that Soriano could play second in Detroit but that was the soriano fever talking not me. The prospect of my favorite player on my favorite team was simply too much for my brain. I am a Michigander in exile and have been living in New York for the last eight years and had the pleasure of watching Soriano come up. His swing is like nobodys (he used the heaviest bat on the team — just look at his forearms) and I will always remember those first nights in the Bronx watching this rookie hit lasers around the stadium but I would certainly like to forget his awkward footwork on double plays and his non-existent range to his left. Even with Polanco gone, Soriano, should a miracle occur and the great Dominican blow into Motown, needs to stay in left-field and the underated Infante gets his chance at second. Infield defense is just too important (while Guillen is great at turning two we are already holding our breath on ground balls to short) and I really believe Infante can get it done and give us some Dave Bergman style key hits done the stretch and solid D (what a gorgeous play wen night).

    Monroe goes to right and Ordonez goes to DH or the DL whichever comes first. Am I the really the only one who noticed that his defense gave the Red Sox 3 runs on wen? I really appreciate the patiance and civility of Michigan media after enduring the truly poisonous atmousphere in New York but it is time to admit that the emperor has no clothes or at least no knees to speak of. No Homers for over a month? Who is really scary in the Tigers lineup? Right or left handed it doesn’t matter but the Tigers desperately need a big bat. Dembroski is a genius I agree and their are checks in Ordonezs contract against continuing knee problems but there are no checks against mediocre performance at plate and disastrous play in the field. Thames, in no at-bats, as well as Monroe and Inge all have more homers than Ordonez and Guillens’ numbers are comparable to Magglios except that his batting average his higher. Is 18 HR really that much better than 14? Johnny Damon has as many homers as ordonez. Johnny Damon. Even Inge (who I love and so want to do well — please get red-hot down the strech Brandon) would have 100 RBIS if he batted 4th in this lineup.

    So Monroe would have to get used to right field. Does anyone really believe he would get to less balls than Magglio? It would mean that Magglio would have to compete for at-bats with Thames at DH. OK — incidentally the secret is clearly out on Thames across the league, somebody tell him that up there beyond the second baseman is something called right field. If it lands out there it is still a hit.

    Sorry for the long post, maybe the rum and cigar has gone to my head or it could just be the rush of childhood memories that have come back to me with this wonderfully improbable summer. How can you not root for Brandon Inge, hes a walking metaphor for the tigers rebirth. Catch fire kid, stop swinging at that nonsense in the dirt and taking fastballs down the middle — you can do it. Believe that you are that good and you will be. Were going to need 12 more Hr and another 40-45 RBI from you. Thers no reason he couldn’t hit 280.

    Last thought — my other favorite player is Dontrele Willis and I think hes a free agent next year. Is that true? How good would he look with an English D going sideways on his head?

  10. Miguelito

    August 18, 2006 at 3:38 am

    My insomnia is back and I just got myself up to date on the great Monroe/Thames debate. I realize that my comments about Thames and opposite field hitting could be seen as incendiary. For the record I love and respect both Thames and Monroe. C-Mo has had a lot of big hits the last 60 days and we need him to keep performing like that because there just isn’t a lot of pop in the lineup. But I have found Thames’ lack of playing time troubling. Similiar to the point I made about Clevlan — why can’t Thames play against right-handed pitching sometimes?

    I don’t think the Tigers have any “bad ballplyers” in the sense intended by that comment. Not even the ridiculously overpaid Ordonez, not by any stretch of the imagination. But they have the record they do because of phenomenal pitching which keeps us in every game. All it takes is a hit or two at the right time and we can put another one in the books. That is not simply good luck but it is hard to count on perfect pitching every night. It is very Michigan, very Detroit that we have no stars (except for Rodriguez but he is the polar opposite of that other Rodriguez, he is a fiery, streetwise kind of star. Alex Rodriguez is also Puerto Rican — sorry Van Slyke)
    I find it hard to believe that Dembroski won’t get us a real bat to go with the talented Thames and Monroe.