Game 141: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: Tonight the NFL kicks off it’s season, and for the first time in recent memory I could care less. The Tigers enter this series knowing that they could A)Effectively knock the Twins out of the divisional race B)Find themselves in a tie for 1st place or C)tread water for 4 more games. Looking at the pitching matchups, A would seem like a possibility, but given the way the Tigers have hit against everyone lately I’d be satisfied with C.

Scott Baker will be taking the hill sporting an ERA 3 runs higher than his Detroit counterpart Justin Verlander. But in his last start (and his only start since August 1st) Baker limited the Yankees to 1 runs on 2 hits over 5 innings.

Verlander is coming off a start in which he threw 126 pitches in just 7 innings. I’ll be watching Verlander’s velocity as well as seeing how quick Jim Leyland is with the hook.

Game Time 8:10

POSTGAME: There wasn’t much not to like about this game with the exception of Verlander throwing 15-20 more pitches than were necessary. But along the way he really staked a claim for the Rookie of the Year award with an excellent performance in a high profile game.

The Tigers had a balanced attack from the offense, and rendered two pitchers unavailable for the next couple nights.

As Pete pointed out in the comments, we’ve been here before with an impressive series opener only to struggle in the subsequent games. Even winning 1 in the next 3 and the Tigers have improved their chances of taking the division. But let’s not think like that yet.

58 thoughts on “Game 141: Tigers at Twins”

  1. I know I’m off the topic of the game and premature to boot, but….

    Off season moves for the Tigers via trade or FA.
    Depending on who is available I’d like to see the Tigers try to improve at the following positions:
    RF-move Magglio to primarily DH
    1B-I’d really like to see Carlos Guillen here full time if a good SS is available. If not, try to pickup a strong 1B.
    LF-I think both Thames and Monroe are decent players with significant weaknesses. I think there is room for improvement here.
    Let the arguements begin!

  2. Neifi is at least batting 9th tonight.

    I think Carlos’s defense this year has been somewhat of an aberration and he shouldn’t be moved. It’s easier (and cheaper) to find a good-hitting 1B than a SS, and Shelton should at least get a strong look.

    Otherwise I agree. And while we’re on the topic, we have a surplus of promising CFs in Granderson, Maybin, and Clevlen. I wouldn’t balk at one being traded for an upgrade elsewhere.

  3. Anyone know the latest on Guillen and Polanco? With Thames playing every day now, if we can just get one of those guys back soon I think we can finally start scoring runs again.

    Meanwhile, it looks like Leyland is going to ride out Casey’s slump as opposed to giving Shelton another look. Casey is hitting .236/.270/.336 since joining the team. He does have 19 RBIs in 33 games, which isn’t bad.

    If we split this series (which would basically require winning two of the first three, given the pitching matchup on Sunday) and show some signs of life on offense, I’ll be happy.

  4. Granderson just can’t help but pull the trigger. He has to cut down on the Ks if he’s ever going to be the type of player we were all expecting him to be at the start of the season.

  5. Greg,
    I also feel that Guillens D is better than he’s shown this year, I was thinking that if a great SS can be had, move Carlos to 1B. If not, look for a 1B.

    As for CF, I think Granderson has a good chance of significant improvement offensively, too soon to tell on Clevlen, and Maybin is probably 2 years out.

    As for trades, I think no one is untouchable except Verlander, Bonderman, and Zumaya.

  6. man, how sweet would it be if we could freeze the scoreboards right now.

    i’m at shea, the mets are a real joy to watch; a blend of old vets–glavine, pedro– prime players–delgado, beltran and youthful exuberance–reyes who in one inning hit a spectacular inside the parker, complete with belly slide, and then dropped a pop fly five minutes later. just a complete pleasure to watch. an organization for the tigers to emulate in 07/08.

  7. Well its the 5th inning, were kicking the CRAP out of the “LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD.” GO TIGERS!!!!!!!

  8. Yessir. Glad your onboard Tim.

    Cleveland is doing it’s bit to help us. 7-0 over Chicago.

    I always forget that Morris is in the booth as part of the Twins broadcasting team. Just stoking the flames.

  9. I may be the only one who thinks this, but I think Bonderman can beat Santana Sunday. Let’s just hope the Tigs don’t use up all their runs for the series in one game.

    The thing I wonder most about for the off-season is will we pursue Soriano or not?

    Also, in case anyone is wondering, the Indians are laying the smack down on the White Sox, 7-0.

    Woot! Tiger double play!

  10. !@#@!$@!$!!! Why is Verlander pitching the 7th??????

    It’s september; We can have 20 guys bullpen.
    We have a 6 run lead
    We’re gonna need this kid in October, not to mention 2010.

    It’s not worth running him out there for another inning. I don’t care how well he’s pitching.

  11. Jeff that’s as animated as I’ve seen you in a while.

    Looks like your objection was given greater weight with that Cuddyer dinger.

    Did I mention I hate that guy?

    Let’s get the bullpen rolling.

  12. It bothers me because it proves that Leyland truly doesn’t believe in protecting young arms. We all knew his reputation, but I’ve been hoping all year that it wasn’t true.

    And I’m not knocking Leyland’s tactics. Even with the homerun and the subsequent struggles, it was the right tactical move to leave him in. Why yank a pitcher that’s dominating your opponent?

    In April, May, June and October, you certainly wouldn’t. But this game isn’t critical. It’s important, but it’s not critical.

    When you calculate it all out, you get this:

    (Probability that Reliever A blows the game – Probability that Verlander blows the game) * (Probability that Game 141 affects our end of the season standing) * (Probability that the net effect of blowing G141 hurts our Postseason run, if any)

    There is no way that the Expected Value of the above calculation is greater than the probability that overusing Verland negatively affects the rest of the season, the postseason, and subsequent seasons.

  13. Morris on the comebacker that hit Rodney in the leg”

    “My teammates used to call that an ugly-finder.”

    Jack has a sense of humor? Who knew?

  14. Does anyone know how the seedings are picked for the playoffs? Is the 4th seed the Wild Card or the worse record? I was wondering the probability that the Tigers would have to play the Twins or the White Sox in the first round. It looks like the Wild Card might have a better record than Oakland? Maybe not. Didn’t it use to be that you avoided your own division until if necessary in the championship series.

  15. Jeff,

    I’m guessing that calculation you just came up with isn’t something Bill James came up with.

    That thing is ridiculous!

    On top of that your argument is fallacious because you’re assuming that sending Verlander out there this game is overusing him. That isn’t simply something you can state as fact.

    To lend what you wrote even the semblence of meaning you’d have to compare all your plus and minuses to the PROBILITY that sending Verlander out in the 7th negatively effects our stretch and post-season runs. And good luck calculating that with any real accuracy.

    I was convinced when you just said:

    !@#@!$@!$!!! Why is Verlander pitching the 7th??????

  16. Nice! Picked up a game on both Twins and Chisox.

    Now if we just get one more.

    Billfer, I’ll be happy with choice C.

  17. Alan

    Let me try again (darn brackets imitating HTML codes)

    The 4th seed is the wild card. A wild card cannot play a team from its own division. If we assume that the Tigers win the Central and the Yankees win the East, and that the wild card comes from the Central, then the Tigers would play the West champ and the Yankees would play the wild card. That’s true whether the Tigers are the 1, 2, or 3 seed (okay, it wouldn’t be true if the A’s are the 1 seed, but that’s not likely).

  18. I’m guessing that calculation you just came up with isn’t something Bill James came up with.

    Sure it is… he just couldn’t fit it in his book 🙂

    you’re assuming that sending Verlander out there this game is overusing him…. [change it] to the PROBILITY that sending Verlander out in the 7th negatively effects our stretch and post-season runs. [and future seasons]

    I stand corrected.

    And good luck calculating that with any real accuracy.

    Of course you can’t actually calculate it; baseball is in no way repeatable. But I think we can all agree that the probable damage of pulling him after the 6th was so minimal that even the slightest appreciation for the risks of pitcher abuse would outweigh the risks of pulling him.

    And just in case my rambling is losing me even more supporters, I’ll finish with: !@#@!$@!$!!! Why did Verlander pitch the 7th??????

  19. What a difference one win makes…
    The grass is greener. The sky is bluer. The birds are singing once again…
    I am now officially optimistic once more.

  20. My question was whether it is possible to play your own division in the first round of the playoffs and I don’t think it is permitted.

    Tigers magic # is now at 18. Not bad with 22 games left. Because of the struggles the Tigers have had I am predicting that the Tigers won’t clinch the Division until the last home stand, but if all goes well it will be against Toronto and not go all the way to the last weekend. If it does though we have the Twins vs. White Sox to hedge our chances on.

    It is amazing watching the White Sox message board on their MLB website. It seemed the majority of White Sox fans actually want the Tigers to sweep the Twins because they feel they can always catch the Tigers later and they want the Twins eliminated. That doesn’t make any sense, especially with the White Sox loss tonight.

    Does anyone knows if it is realistic for Verlander to still win 20 games? I think with 22 games to go he may still get 4 more starts which means he would have to win all of them. My fear is the symbolism of him finishing with 19, which is what the short lived wonder Mark “The Bird” Fidrych did in his rookie year, is not good.

  21. Cameron you forgot the oat meal pies and a quick shot at Neifi. But otherwise I agree with you We all feel better.

    Anne has even been posting tonight, have not seen her in a while good to see you.


  22. We could use a few more nights like this! The Tigers have now won three consecutive (and 6 of their last 8) series openers. Let’s hope the rest of this series turns out better than the last two.

  23. That was supposed to say “6 of their last 8.” I guess when you type an eight followed by a close-paren, it shows up as a happy face. Which is fine because I am actually very happy tonight.

  24. Hey alan,
    Two teams from the same division cannot play each other in the first round. If we end with the best record and win the central, we would play the division winner with the worst record. Probably Oakland.
    It goes:
    Winner West
    Winner Central
    Winner East
    Wild Card– Team with best record that didn’t win division

  25. It seemed the majority of White Sox fans actually want the Tigers to sweep the Twins because they feel they can always catch the Tigers later and they want the Twins eliminated. That doesn’t make any sense, especially with the White Sox loss tonight.

    It’s probably because they don’t care about catching the Tigers as much as they care about locking up the wildcard. They won’t admit that, of course.

    My fear is the symbolism of him finishing with 19, which is what the short lived wonder Mark “The Bird” Fidrych did in his rookie year, is not good.

    I don’t care about symbolism. I just want them to protect his arm.

  26. I’m a big time First Amendment advocate. It’s my favorite one of those pieces of the Constitution. But, when it comes to the Tigs, I’m organizing a book burning tonight.

    Until this morning, I had the Verlander SI cover on my coffee table, next to the john, by my night stand, at work… It was cherished.

    This morning, I threw it with the weekly trash pickup. What happened? Big time Verlander win!

    I’m not a big jinx guy, but that was weird.

    So, do what you want with your Verlander SI covers, but know, for me, it was really nice to throw it out. I’m also pretty sure SI will send us backcovers in the future.

    Yay Tigers!

  27. Tigers Win! Tigers Win! Does anybody think that like the White Sox have our number, we have the Twins number. No matter how much we struggle, we whip on the Twins.

  28. With everything this team has been through this year, still no national recogonition; I hate DC.

    DAVE CAMPBELL, AP Sports Writer
    Though the Tigers still have the best record in the AL, they arrived at this series with a chance to fall out of sole possession of first place for the first time since May 20 — a sobering possibility for a club that climbed 40 games above the .500 mark, at 76-36. With pressure from both the Twins and White Sox, the playoffs are by no means a sure thing.

    Detroit will finish the weekend still on top of the division, but Minnesota wasn’t worried.

    “We’re still in good shape,” Tyner said. “I think we feel all right. We haven’t been playing that great, but luckily neither have the Tigers or White Sox.”

    Keep up the great work billfer !!!!!!!!!

  29. Top 10 reasons Neifi is allowed to play professional baseball:

    10. He and Leyland go camping together at Brokeback mountain during the offseason

    9. During our last road trip, he procured photos of Mike Illitch in a lap-dance at Scores in NYC

    8. DD lost $1 bet with Cubs General Manager, Jim Hendry

    7. Neifi’s employment is actually part of a work-release program Mike Illitch committed to, mistaking the Tigers with Little Caesar Pizza employees

    6. Working the contrarion position worked for Leyland once on his stock portfolio…so what the heck?

    5. DD can boast on resume he led Tigers to 2006 AL Central division champs with 8 player handicap

    4. Neifi carries the teams luggage on road trips

    3. Tigers needed a community spokeman for uplifting underprivagled kids during off-season; “…if I can be a ballplayer, you can be anything…”

    2. Leyland plays the insanity/genius card, in attempt to secure his legacy as one of the best MLB managers ever

    AND THE #1 REASON Neifi Perez is allowed to play professional baseball:

    1. Neifi agrees to deliver pizzas for free for Mike Illitch during offseason

  30. Yeah, right…

    Here’s reason 11:

    11. Verizon Wireless drops call right in the middle of DD’s conversation…he say’s Neifi, Tigers confuse for Dimitri…

  31. Hey T, that’s pretty funny. Dave Letterman couldn’t do it better. 🙂
    Nice to see you all again too. Someone told me there were oatmeal cream pies around here…?

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