Game 149: Orioles at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers go in search of win 90. To do it they’ll send out Wil Ledezma who hasn’t pitched since he ate his hat (literally) last Saturday against Minnesota.

Ledezma will be opposed by Daniel Cabrera. Cabrera fans more that a batter an inning, but he combines that with a ridiculously high walk rate of 6.67 per 9 innings pitched. As you might expect he throws a ton of pitches. In his last 3 starts he eclipsed the 100 pitch mark without getting out of the 6th inning.

Game Time 1:05pm

POSTGAME: Given that the Tigers had won the previous 2 games, this loss was easier to take. The 2 much maligned acquisitions, Neifi Perez and Sean Casey, combined for 5 RBI’s. Newest Tiger Matt Stairs also had a homer taken away on a fine defensive play.

I’ve been in the camp to get Shelton more at-bats, but Casey did have a very good series.

What I liked is that the Tigers came back a couple times and showed that their bats do have some life. Granted, the first rally was heavily fueled by Daniel Cabrera’s inability to find the plate, but the Tigers took advantage. And it all started with a 2 out walk to Magglio Ordonez.

Unfortunately, the Tiger pitchers couldn’t do much to keep the O’s off the board. Ledezma was dazzling in the first inning becoming homer happy. Zach Miner was ineffective. Jamie Walker was good for 1/3 of an inning. Joel Zumaya looked pretty good until it appeared he fatigued in his 2nd inning. (Speaking of which, I’m not sure why Leyland left him in as long as he did. He’s coming off soreness, hasn’t pitched in a week, and you leave him out for 33 pitches?).

Jason Grilli didn’t pitch as poorly as his final line will indicate. Where he was hurt the most was on the wild pitch that allowed Brian Roberts to advance to 2nd with no outs, and then 3rd on a sacrifice. An intentional walk to set-up the double play brought up Miguel Tejada. He hit a smash that Inge made a diving stop on. The ball appeared to be hit hard enough to give the Tigers a shot at an inning ending double play. But Inge’s throw to 2nd was high and tipped off of Perez’s glove. Now the throw wasn’t right on the money, but Perez seemed to make the play look difficult. (Neifi rant: It very may have been, but that’s part of the problem with Perez. He doesn’t make any great plays. He’s merely adequate defensively. Given his offensive problems, he has to do more with the glove). And then there were more walks and hits and runs and the game ended.

I know that Perez had the bases clearing grounder up the middle earlier in the game, and he successfully sacrifice bunted as well, but Leyland simply cannot allow Perez to hit in the 8th. The go ahead run was in scoring position with Chris Shelton on the bench. He’ll pinch hit for Thames despite what else Thames has done in the game, but he won’t pinch hit for Perez?

As for Grilli pitching the 10th, it pretty much had to be that way. This was Jones 3rd day in a row pitching, and Zumaya won’t be available tomorrow night. Leyland had to limit Jones to 1 inning.

Fortunately Chicago lost, so while the Tigers division lead was trimmed they are one day closer to a playoff spot.

64 Comments

  1. Anne

    September 17, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    Don’t these last two games make it seem like the REAL Tigers are back? Particularly last night’s game–just barely enough offense and awesome starting pitching made it stand up. I don’t know where those 17 runs came from Friday night, but boy I was sure glad to see’em. 😀

  2. Andy in NY

    September 17, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    We pick up Matt Stairs on Friday, a guy who won’t be available to play for us during the postseason, and now he’s batting 3rd on Sunday. As nice as the last two wins have been, this is still unsettling.

    This is something I haven’t figured out for weeks now. With the whole team struggling, Carlos is the one guy who’s been hitting well (when healthy). Can someone explain to me why Guillen doesn’t bat third?

    To me, he’s our best hitter, both subjectively when you watch the team play and objectively when you look at the numbers. Isn’t the best hitter supposed to hit third?

    Questions to consider: Does Maggs see better pitches because Carlos is hitting behind him? Would he be less effective if Stairs/Thames/Casey were there instead? Does that outweigh the overall impact moving Carlos to the 3-spot might have? Would people pitch around Carlos to get to Maggs if you moved him to the 3-spot?

    It can’t be a lefty-right-lefty thing, because Carlos is a switch-hitter and you could bat Stairs 5th if you wanted to keep that intact. Maybe, it’s a speed thing, Leyland doesn’t want his top basestealer batting ahead of his cleanup man, but Carlos is only our best basestealer by default, and that’s not really a hallmark of his game or the Tigers’ game. So… I can’t figure it out. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

  3. stephen

    September 17, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    Andy, take a look at my post on Stairs on the game 148 log. the sad truth is he is one of the tiger’s best offensive threats with a .392 oba average with risp over the last four years. that tells you all you need to know abt the tigers’ offense

  4. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Who wants to bet that Cabrera lowers his walks per nine innings with today’s game?

  5. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Can anyone give me a reason–just one is all I’m looking for–why Neifi Perez is playing today? What am I missing?

    I guess if I were him I would assume the minute I hit the ball it’s an out, too…and I would stop running to first, too. Better yet, why even run at all… when you go 0-bizillion, just concede the out and walk to the dugout.

  6. Andy in NY

    September 17, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Just to clarify, I’m not making an argument against Matt Stairs. I think he’s a gorgeous man and potentially an upgrade from what we’ve been getting out of the DH position during our 5 week slide. I was just wondering if anyone has thoughts on why we don’t ever try hitting Guillen third, especially since Stairs is not a playoff option.

  7. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Not looking good. The Twinkies are already up, every other Tigers batter is going to strike out for the rest of the game, and Wilfredo is terrible.

    GET HIM OUT OF THERE!!!

  8. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    I read somewhere last week that given the two days off this past week Leyland was going to skip Ledezma in the rotation…when I read that I thought it was a good idea…(and it now seems like a GREAT idea)…what happened to that plan?

  9. Anne

    September 17, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    I also can’t figure out why Guillen isn’t batting 3rd. I mean, I assume Leyland knows what he’s doing, but as Andy points out, there’s no fathomable reason to keep Guillen 5th.

    Picking up Stairs was a smart option, I thought. In fact I had been hoping the Tigs would acquire him by the July 31 deadline.

  10. Nate A

    September 17, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Sigh, looks like Ledezma is back to his old ways. Knocked around in one terrible inning, and giving up way to many HRs.

    He’s had his chances with the oranization onver the past few years and really only showed a few good performances with the Tigers. I think its time to move him out. He seemed ok out of the pen tho. Maybe we can use him there if front office insists on keeping him.

  11. Andy in NY

    September 17, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    Who’s doing worse at the moment, the Lions (down 24-0) or the Tigers?

  12. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    Good god. These at bats are god awful.

  13. Anne

    September 17, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    Well, if you consider that 24 points represents scoring 4 times, I’d say it’s about even.

  14. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 2:20 pm

    You gotta love that Lions result considering the idiot comments from Roy Williams this week.

    “If we do what we do there isn’t a defense that can stop us.” Right Roy. That’s a pretty monstrous if.

    By the way, Mike Wiliams is inactive again…solidifying his status as a complete bust. How do you totally blow 3 out of 4 first round picks (high picks I might add) and still keep your job? How is a team supposed to recover from that?

    The Fords are clearly the dumbest people in the city of Detroit.

    Nice to work out a run with two outs here in the 4th.

  15. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    Well here’s Neifi…that rally was short lived.

  16. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    HAHA!!!

    How did inge Score?

  17. Nate A

    September 17, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Who are you and what have you done with Nefi?!?!?!?

  18. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Wow…

    I stand corrected…1-bizillion….and good for 3 runs…

  19. Andy in NY

    September 17, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Frogs are raining from the sky.

  20. Joey C.

    September 17, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    I can’t stand watching Curtis bat anymore.

  21. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    IMPOSTER ALERT!!! Somebody put out and Amber alert for the real Neifi Perez…apparenly his double was just spotted at Comerica Park at the plate with bases loaded

  22. Adam

    September 17, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Let’s hope he stays kidnapped…and give this imposter more playing time.

  23. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    It’s nice to see Leyland managing the game with some kind of urgency…keeping the pitchers on a short leach when they get into trouble (execpt for Ledezma…in my opinion, he should have been pulled before giving up the last homer)

  24. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    I’m surprised Leyland is putting in a pinch runner for Guillen…

  25. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    What I meant to say, is “isn’t” putting in a pinch runner

  26. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:04 pm

  27. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    that was CLUTCH.

  28. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    the tigers just outscored the lions…

  29. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    Okay, I guess leaving Guillen in makes sense now

  30. Andy in NY

    September 17, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    I can dig that long ball.

  31. Steve

    September 17, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    Neifi is up again, what are the chances of two doubles in one game?

  32. Ryan A.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    ahh yeas nefi back up to his old rally-ending tricks.

  33. Andy in NY

    September 17, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Time for Mr. Clutch Perez to do something again.

  34. Steve

    September 17, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Alas, a flyball to center. Billfer does not have to name his next boy Neifi ;).

  35. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    No need for concern, Neifi is safe, unharmed, and back.

  36. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    where has that pitch been jones’ whole career?

  37. Ryan A.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    Lets get Jonesy a win here, and come into Chicago on a roll.. I actually live in chicago, and I’ve got tix to the monday and wednesday games…

  38. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    who thinks this game ends with an ordonez RBI?

  39. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Okay…whose going to hit the walkoff, Monroe, Stairs, or Pudge?

    Who else do we have available to pitch anyway, once Jones gives us two?

  40. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    anyone? anyone? … ha ha ha.

  41. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    I guess Grilli?

  42. Steve

    September 17, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    That was a bummer, cant score if your not on base

  43. Ryan A.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    maroth? lol.

  44. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    probably a good call. jones is terrible when he pitches two.

  45. McB.

    September 17, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    hmm…. or he could give away two runs to lose the game.

  46. Ben

    September 17, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    My main question is why was Perez not pinch hit for in the eighth, they had Infante or Santiago to play second and lose little to nothing defensively, I would have rather seen Alexis Gomez bat than Perez and if the Tigers do make the playoffs, I sure hope Perez is not on the playoff roster so he has no chance of killing a rally or making an error that would cost a game. I hope the White Sox score holds up giving the Tigers a good margin going into tomorrows game.

  47. Kyle J

    September 17, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    Hard to argue with leaving Perez in to bat given:

    1) He had one of the two key hits of the game up until that point.

    2) With the game tied and a runner on second the only real consideration is batting average. Perez may only be a .260 hitter, but there wasn’t anyone on the bench that can beat that by more than 10 points or so. If there were a runner only on first, I’d be more inclinced to bat someone with a little more power.

  48. Sam

    September 17, 2006 at 7:24 pm

    I was at the game.

    WHY DID NEIFI BAT IN THE 8th???

    Anyone: Gomez, Shelton, Infante, Freaking Vance Wilson! I would of rather seen bat than Neifi. I can’t understand Leyland’s infactuation with this guy?

    -Sam

  49. paulmig

    September 17, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    Neifi with 3 RBI’s and Casey with a two run dinger and we lose? I’d have bet the farm.

  50. stephen

    September 17, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    Well, Kyle what would suggest pinch hitting for Perez is that, statistically, he is one of the ten worst hitters in the major leagues over the last three years.

    and batting average isn’t all that counts in that situation. if you draw a walk, the lineup turns over.

    on a contending team, perez can only be a defensive replacement, 25th man type of guy. and the fact he had a hit earlier in the game is, while nice, irrelevant. if a pitcher gets a rbi double in a national league game, they’re still pinch hitting for him in the eighth. and perez’s slugging % this year ain’t much higher than a pitcher.

    i know infante isn’t lou whitaker, but perez shouldn’t be playing. leyland’s infatuation with one of his guy from his rockies days has probably cost the team one or two games already and indicative of a managerial stubborness that is reminiscent of Mauch going with a 3 man rotation in ’64, McNamara not replacing Buckner in 86 game six, and Grady Little leaving Pedro in an inning too long in ’04. In a pennant race that can’t happen.

  51. Chris Y.

    September 17, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    Man, I totally agree with the Neifi rip in your postgame. The guy got lucky knocking it of the mound. Evrything else he did in the game was a detriment. Inge tries to make a great play, throws a LITTLE high and Neifi can’t adjust.

    Apparently, jumping is another thing Perez can’t do.

    Maybe we won’t get a chance to see first-hand all his shortcomings as a player over the next few weeks.

    Please, please, please, please, please, please……

  52. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    All jokes aside… Neifi Perez DEFINATELY should not have come to bat in the eigth inning. It makes absolutely NO sense. Yes, he got the 3 run RBI, earlier. It’s more like Leyland was rewarding him for that hit, keeping in there in a clutch situation. Can anyone (even Leyland, who is, as someone noted, “infatuated” with this guy) say that he would have been batting in that clutch situation had he not got the double (which was really only a single) in the forth? Even Leyland would have pinch hit for him any other time… But no.

    I honestly think we would have won this game today if Leyland managed it differently. If anything, go with the odds…Neifi got his one hit, it’s gonna be another 10 at bats until he gets another one. For God’s sake, pinch hit for him!!!

    Please, somebody, if I am wrong, I humbly seek a reason–ANY REASON WHATSOEVER–why Neifi Perez was batting in the eighth inning with runners in scoring position, to win the game. Please, someone, respond and give me a reason. Bilfer? You must have one… Someone PLEASE play devil’s advocate here.

  53. T Smith

    September 17, 2006 at 9:34 pm

    Okay, sorry for bringing you into this Bilfer, I just read your Postgame, so I guess you’re not going to be the one to give me a reason. Anyone else?

  54. Chris J

    September 17, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Being at the game at least made me realize that none of the less hardcore fans like Neifi either.

    At least there’s that…

  55. Kyle J

    September 17, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    I agree Perez is a terrible offensive player. I’m just saying, in that particular situation, there’s not a lot of advantage in pinch hitting for him. If I were Leyland, I probably would have pinch hit for him, but I don’t think it’s a critical mistake. Bottom line is that this team only has one legitimate offensive player on the bench at any given time (until Stairs turns into a pumpkin, at least). That player got used up when Monroe hit for Granderson.

  56. Coach Jim

    September 18, 2006 at 11:53 am

    Tiger fans unite and BOO this clown out of town. If 40,000 fans boo Perez unmercifully every time he bats, DD will give into the pressure.

    We can do this!

  57. T Smith

    September 18, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    Buy the way, if Kenny Rogers were on the mound and fielding, Neifi’s double–single, whatever–would have been a routine out.

  58. T Smith

    September 18, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    Okay, thanks Kyle for at least some kind of explanation. However, I’m not sure what kinda “Enron” accounting gives Niefi a .260 batting average. I simply refuse to believe it.

    Did he really bat .260 with the Cubs prior to coming to the Tigers? There has to be a mistake. Maybe the decimal point is off to the right by one… “.0260”

    Anyway, I’ve seen him hit exactly three hits for the Tigers since we got him (all loopers or mistake hits–grant it, he may have more, I’m not 100% sure on this stat, but I would bet the farm I could count the hits he’s had with this club on ONE hand), and the one hit that produced any RBIS would have been an out with a fielder on the mound of Kenny Rogers caliber.

    I HAVE seen Gomez, Wilson, Clevlen, Shelton–even Santiago–and every other player on the roster–belt the ball like a professional baseball player.

  59. Ryan S

    September 18, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    He’s another thing Leyland coulda (shoulda?) done. After Inge led of the 7th with single, why have Neifi sacrifice? We were down two runs at that point. The sac bunt is a fine call if we’re playing for one run. But at that point we needed two just to tie it. IMO, he should have pinch hit Monroe for Neifi right there and tried to get a big inning started. We were facing a pitching with an ERA over 10! We didn’t need to grind out a single run – we needed a rally. I’m in total agreement with all who have posted saying that Leyland may have managed us out of a win here.

  60. Kurt

    September 18, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Two hands, T Smith. It’s nine.

  61. T Smith

    September 18, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    I stand corrected. How many of those 9 hits were clutch? How many were more than a week blooper, or infield single? How many of the 9 hits were with RISP (excluding yesterdays hit)? I did see him hit a line drive base hit the other day into Center, and that was the best hit ball I’ve ever seen him hit–but I would exactly catogorize that as a baseball hit with authority.

    Save for the RBI double yesterday, are there any hits for extra bases? If I could win the farm back now, I would wager the answer is none (or maybe one?) I haven’t seen every game, obviously, but I still would make the bet.

  62. Kyle J

    September 18, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    Perez was batting .254 for the Cubs when he was traded. Last year he hit .274. His career average is .268. I agree he doesn’t look like a .260 hitter right now. But other than Shelton, none of the guys listed by Mr. Smith above has any track record to indicate they’re substantially better than .260 hitters. Again, I think as poorly of Perez as anyone, but I don’t think this particular situation should be too angst-producing for us.

    Humorous piece on the AL Central race linked below. Particularly liked the parts about the Tigers’ uniforms and Boof Bonser (new stat: VORN).

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....eel/060918

    Bad news is that the main story on ESPN’s webpage right now is about the pressure that’s on the Tigers due to the recent losing spell.

  63. Chris J

    September 18, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    Batting average is the absolute best thing that Neifi does.

    Not that he does it well, he just does everything else poorly. Very poorly.

  64. Kyle J

    September 18, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    I’ll second that, Chris. He really is a poor man’s Polanco (a VERY poor man’s). Polanco hits for good average but has very little power and doesn’t walk much–and he’s a competent fielder. Perez hits for mediocre average and has absolutely no power and never walks–and he appears to be a below average fielder at this point in his career.