Game 150: Tigers at White Sox

PREGAME: While the Tigers had success in the friendly confines of Wrigley, their trips to US Cellular have benn anything but friendly. The Tigers have only won once in Chicago this year spanning 6 attempts. However, heading into this series the bulk of the pressure is on the White Sox. If the Tigers can manage to get 1 game in this series, they’ll have a 4 game lead for the wild card with only 10 games to go.

Of course getting that one game out of the way tonight would certainly be satisfactory.

Tonight it will be the battle of crafty lefties Mark Buerhle and Kenny Rogers.

Game Time 8:05

POSTGAME: The trend of taking the series opener in convincing fashion continued in Chicago. This game looked like it might be over before the first inning was done with the Tigers first 4 hitters picking up 4 hits. They did it by basically swinging at anything that was over the plate, which is what they have been maligned for during the slump. When they actually hit line drives it doesn’t seem as problematic.

Unfortunately the rally was short circuited on a triple play. I was going to call it an improbably triple play, but really that just seems redundant. Carlos Guillen was jammed and hit a soft liner to 3rd that made Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez easy outs. Ironically, they were running on the pitch to avoid the double play. Personally I’ve never understood the strategy of sending runners on a full count with less than 2 outs just to avoid the double play, especially runners with the speed of Thames and Ordonez in an inning where the pitcher is getting hammered. I’m not just saying this because of the triple play, because there is really no way to anticipate that. I just hate the strategy in general.

But the Tigers made it through and really only threatened with a couple 2 out runners in the first. The rest was Kenny Rogers doing what he does. Allowing the occasional baserunner but minimizing the damage by inducing a ton of ground balls.

After a couple homers by Magglio Ordonez, the game was put out of reach with a 3 run shot in the 9th from Brandon Inge. The homer was big not only from a comfort standpoint, but it kept Todd Jones in the bullpen. Jones had pitched the last 3 games, and was set to come in for the 9th. Inge turned it into a laugher and the result is Jones being available and rested for Tuesday’s game.

And in all fairness, Neifi Perez played a good game last night. He hit well with 2 singles and a sacrifice bunt while doing a nice job on the Thome/Pierzynski shift. He gets ripped a ton here, but he was good last night.

50 Comments

  1. Tim Mc.

    September 18, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    Rogers is perfect candidate to screw them up tonight! I bet he pitches a gem!

  2. Eric Jackson

    September 18, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    What a way to start off!

  3. Mark in SF

    September 18, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    Triple play?!

  4. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 18, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    you’ve got to be kidding me. why roll the dice in this situation? we could have easily stacked another run on there.

  5. Nate A

    September 18, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    “Carlos Guillen lines into a triple play, second baseman Tadahito Iguchi to third baseman Joe Crede to second baseman Tadahito Iguchi to third baseman Joe Crede. Marcus Thames out at 2nd. Magglio Ordonez out at 1st. ”

    That just wasnt cool. Failed hit and run there?

  6. Kurt

    September 18, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    That was just so unlikely. That’s one of those “the baseball gods don’t want this to be easy things.” Full count, Guillen worked it so perfectly and wasted some pitches, then suddenly broken bat, light line drive right to the SS. If the runners were running on contact it probably would have been only a double play, but it’s really hard to get upset with Leyland. It could just as easily have been two runs.

  7. Kurt

    September 18, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    It was 3B Crede, saw on the replay. I got confused initially by the location of the ball.

  8. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 9:02 pm

    Is Zumaya available tonight? Jones might be tired after three in a row.

  9. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 9:14 pm

    Neifi 2 for 2 Who could it be now

  10. Eric Jackson

    September 18, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Leyland said Zumaya won’t be available tonight.

  11. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Hey Pete I know your Perezident of the Neifi club and Saturday you were considerate to point out that no one was on the blog, either all of you are glued to the TV with your oatmeal pies watching Neifis one good game of the year or helping the kids with home work. Either way we are looking good after 5 and Mags just smoked another one.

  12. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    OOO-EEE-OOO Maaaaaaglio!!!!

  13. Kurt

    September 18, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    haha, Magglio! 2 of em!! Make the White Sox eat their words!!

  14. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 9:29 pm

    Guillen seems to be favoring that hammy still. I sure hope he doesn’t aggravate it.

  15. Pete

    September 18, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    So who comes out of the bullpen tonight? I really don’t want Miller or Tata protecting this lead. Hopefully we can get at least seven or eight out of Rogers tonight. So far, so good.

    Wow, another bomb by Maggs. He is hitting everything in sight, despite being one of the worst free agent signings in Detroit sports history…

  16. Ken from Cincinnati

    September 18, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    It’s good to see things going in our favor so far. I.E. Another double play with two on, and Perez accidentely going 2 for 2. I feel a win here would certainly warrant a round of oatmeal creme pies for the boys. If we lose, however, only Maggs gets one. Everybody else gets stale pretzel rods.

  17. Pete

    September 18, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    Steve, don’t worry, the phones are ringing off the hook here at Neifi 4 Perez-ident Campaign Headquarters. I note that in addition to getting a hit every time he comes up, he has turned two HUGE double plays tonight…

  18. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    One good thing to point out is that we have 9 hits through 6. If we could have a little more fortune this game would be out of reach by now.

    Did anyone see how deep Neifi was against Thome. Good point by the usually useless white sox announcers he was so deep he almost could not throw out his man.

  19. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Does Rodney have his “A” game tonight?

  20. Cameron in Singapore

    September 18, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    C’mon Fernando…hold this lead. Crucial.

  21. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    How many of you thought we were getting out of that with out a run. Rodney was all over the place but got it done. I think a trip on the express way with mother driving would be less stressful.

  22. T Smith

    September 18, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    That was a very stressfull 7th inning. Though it worked out, I disagree with the pitching change. I though Kenny should have gone out there one more inning. How many pitches did he have, anyway? He was dominating, and Rodney always makes me nervous when his control is somewhat shaky. If anything, let Kenny pitch until he runs into trouble…

  23. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    If you think that was rough, Steve, wait until the bottom of the 8th. Zumaya is unavailable, so it’ll probably be Rodney again. It could be Walker, or, God help us all*, Jones.

    *I’m not a Jones-hater, I just know he’s a 3-out closer. No more, no less.

  24. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    Pitches-strikes: Rogers 101-56, Rodney 25-13

  25. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    I saw Jamie Walker warming up, There is a guy who has it made. Making about 1M per year, not really a closer or set up, comes in once in a while for a guy or two.

  26. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    I like having Cleven in there playing Right Field. Maggs did what he needed to and does not have the defense that Cleven does

  27. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Not a bad performance by Rodney, but he threw 40 pitches, so he’ll only be available tomorrow in an emergency situation. This is why I wanted to add a guy like MacDougal at the deadline. The backend of our bullpen will be feeling the effects of yesterday’s game until we get an off-day or we’re involved in a blowout.

  28. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:35 pm

    The TV cut away to Jones warming up. That scares me he could bring out the gas can tonight.

  29. T Smith

    September 18, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    Betcha Jones is pissed he won’t get a save opportunity

  30. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:43 pm

    Neifiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  31. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    Actually, Steve, I want Jones to pitch the 9th. That way Walker will be available to pitch two innings tomorrow if we get 6 or fewer innings from Verlander.

  32. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    That was a nice play by Crede, but both Inge and Perez could have turned two…

  33. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    I agree Jeff, Neifi seems to be coming around a bit (lately), Inge also has a great arm and good mobility

  34. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 10:55 pm

    ARGGH! Why Walker??? I don’t care about that homerun. I want him available to help Rodney and Zumaya over the next couple days. If it’s too big of a lead for Jones, use Grilli, Tata, or ANYONE else.

  35. Steve

    September 18, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    Good win, lets see what Tuesday Brings

  36. Pete

    September 18, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    Jeff, I agree that he could have let one of the young guys mop up tonight, but if Walker can’t pitch tomorrow it’s no great loss. He’s not exactly Mariano Rivera, and he seems to be struggling a bit lately. I for one WOULD NOT want to see him pitch two innings tomorrow, unless we have a big lead (obviously moot b/c he ended up pitching tonight).

    Anyway, great win tonight. Best performance of the year by Rogers. That is not an easy lineup to shut down like that. The pitching matchups turn in their favor the rest of the series, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sox take the next two. But I’m with Billfer, all we really needed out of this series was one win and we are likely to make the playoffs. If we could just split the remaining two games here the Sox would be all but finished.

    90 wins and counting…

  37. Kyle J

    September 18, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Remember at the All-Star break when we were still pinching ourselves and thinking, “They’re 59-29. If they can just go .500 from here on out they’ll make the playoffs.”? Well, they’re 31-31 since then.

    Time to break open the piggy bank and buy some playoff tickets tomorrow.

    P.S. Anyone have any tips on how to beat the on-line random selection system?

  38. Alan

    September 18, 2006 at 11:14 pm

    Tigers magic number to clinch Wild Card playoff spot is now at 7. Of course they won’t be celebrating the Wild Card with the Division still a desire. Go Red Sox! Beat the Twins.

  39. Jeff M

    September 18, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    P.S. Anyone have any tips on how to beat the on-line random selection system?

    Yes, but I’m not tellin ya. Just kidding. 🙂 Maybe.

    Pete, you’re right that I’m nitpicking. It’s not a big deal, but I would like to know what Leyland was thinking. Which takes me to my next question:

    Why do our reporters suck?
    – “What did you think of Rogers’ performance?” Duh, it was a gutsy performance. We’re gonna need more of them.
    – “What do you think of the offense putting up a bunch of runs?” Duh, it was good. We’re gonna need the offense.
    – “What do you think of Magglio hitting two out?” Duh, he was good. We’re gonna need him.

    Why not ask questions we don’t already know the answer to?!?!?!
    I’m not trying to grill Leyland, I just want to understand his decision-making better.

  40. Coach Jim

    September 19, 2006 at 8:48 am

    Multi-hit game or not, Neifi is still the worst hitter I’ve ever seen. Don’t hand me any garbage about the 2-run double he hit Sunday either. That was a ground ball the pitcher should have had.

  41. T Smith

    September 19, 2006 at 9:46 am

    If anybody’s interested, below is a writhing article about those ding bats who call games for Chicago…apparently, even the fans in Chicago are trashing their announcers. It’s so painful listening to those guys

    http://www.pjstar.com/stories/......076.shtml

  42. T Smith

    September 19, 2006 at 10:21 am

    After the last few games leading into the O’s series and this last game, I’ve noticed a few positive trends developing, highlighted by the following:

    1. Sean Casey is beginning to look like a .300 hitter instead of a .100 hitter (key word, is “beginning” to look like one…we still need him to continue trending the way he has.

    2. Kenny Rogers is still solid, apparently the second-half fade theory has proved incorrect this year/Nate Roberston has weathered through the lull virtually unscathed. Right now I see these two as our two best/most consistant pitchers.

    3. Neifi Perez at least looks like a baseball player, instead of somebody bribing either Mike Ilitch, Jim Leyland, or DD to play. (I would still pinch hit for him in a clutch spot, and I would still play Infante first–hopefully Polly will be back soon and this will be a mute consideration).

    4. Opposing pitchers are beginning to look human to Tiger bats, like pitchers that accurately reflect their W/L record, instead of the string of “apparent CY-Young candidates” the Tigers have faced over the past 6 weeks.

    5. Tigers have begun to hit with 2 outs and/or with RISP.

    That said, I have also noticed a few disturbing trends I hope are rather blips, and not trends:

    1. The bullpen, touted as “one of the best in AL” isn’t looking as sharp as its ERA would suggest.

    2. Ledezma (while sharp the first couple outings) appears spent at the starter roll. We have no apparent 5th man in the rotation who can get the job done — which raises a question, would it tax the others too much through the stretch/playoffs to settle into a four-man rotation?

    3. Bondo and Verlander have given sporatic performances–they appear either “on” or “not on”… It’s not a safe bet to call which pitcher will show up on any given night

    Let’s hope Verlander is “on” tonight. A win virtually guarantees us the wild card; moreover, it allieviates the pressure. As much as it’s not necessarily a good thing, I think the Tigers preform much better when they aren’t squeezed… In fact, if they win tonight (and with the wild card viturally a given), I perdict they’ll go 8-3 during the remaining the stretch and actually take the division…

  43. T Smith

    September 19, 2006 at 11:50 am

    “…Tigers magic number to clinch Wild Card playoff spot is now at 7. Of course they won’t be celebrating the Wild Card…”

    By the way, Alan, FYI: Leyland has been quoted as saying they WILL celebrate when they clinch the wild card. Not that I don’t agree with you…they shouldn’t celebrate until we clinch the division. I really don’t relish the idea of playing our first two playoff games at Yankee Stadium

  44. Coach Jim

    September 19, 2006 at 12:03 pm

    Egad, not a 4-man rotation. You don’t want these guys fatigued heading into the playoffs. If anything I would suggest an EXTRA starter. There are plenty of candidates: Maroth, Miner, Tata. I wouldn’t do it vs. Chicago, but it’s relatively weak teams the rest of the season after that. Personally I would drop Ledezma back to the bullpen and let Miner start again. If he gets hit in that start, I would try Maroth next.

    Remember, about 10 days ago I said the Tiger bats would get well against the lower-quality pitching we will mostly face in the last 3 weeks of the season. They will take the division and go into the playoff with confidence high. I stand by that prediction.

    So what will the 25-man roster look like for the playoffs? With Colon and Girattano on the disabled list we can use anyone on the 40-man roster to replace them.

    My roster would look like this:
    1. Ivan Rodriguez
    2. Vance Wilson
    3. Sean Casey
    4. Chris Shelton
    5. Placido Polanco
    6. Omar Infante
    7. Carlos Guillen
    8. Brandon Inge
    9. Craig Monroe
    10. Curtis Granderson
    11. Magglio Ordonez
    12. Marcus Thames
    13. Alexis Gomez
    14. Ramon Santiago (I just can’t include Perez)

    15. Kenny Rogers
    16. Nate Robertson
    17. Jeremy Bonderman
    18. Justin Verlander
    19. Zach Miner
    20. Wil Ledezma
    21. Todd Jones
    22. Fernando Rodney
    23. Joel Zumaya
    24. Jamie Walker
    25. Jason Grilli

    I expect a 4-man rotation through the playoffs because of the days off between rounds.

    If Polanco doesn’t come back, expect him to be replaced on the roster by Clevlen.

  45. Steve

    September 19, 2006 at 12:16 pm

    Something to think about is its not whether you win the Division (that would be nice however) its about winning the series and it looks like the Yankees are tough right now, so from my stand point what ever AL Central “thing” we win is fine, its how long and who we play. Its eaither the Yankees aor the A’s If we win the Division it looks like the A’s if we wild card its the Yankee, so either way it goes through New York.

    >> Does anyone have two tickets to a play off game that they want to unload. Any game is fine with me.

    Steve

  46. Steve

    September 19, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    And another thing, T Smiths link to the Sox anouncing crew is great. I have MLB extra innings and get these ding dongs alot and once you listen to them, you really appreciate how good our guys are. Read the link its all tru

    Rod Allen do you read on this blog? Mario? >>>Keep up the good work and spare me the line of “hegone” after a wiff. If I heard that from my own guys I think I would puke. Ok I better now.

    Steve

  47. Tim Mc.

    September 19, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    Better yet, I think Leyland is already thinking on how to set-up his rotation for the playoffs. How can you not start off with ROGERS FIRST? I think that’s a given. And Nate has been Great, 2ND FOR SURE!
    IT’S GONNA BE FUN ISN’T IT!!

  48. Kurt

    September 19, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    I think once the playoffs are clinched, we might see a spot start from a guy like Chad Durbin and we’ll probably see Ledezma go out for another start despite his lack of success the past 2 (3?). That’s really a small sample. There’s no way Leyland would do 4-man rotation until the playoffs. There’s no need. And even if we’d like to win the Central, once you clinch the playoffs, you don’t cost your guys rest trying to win the division.

  49. Marshall in DC

    September 19, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    FYI: Leyland has been quoted as saying they WILL celebrate when they clinch the wild card.

    What does this mean? Everyone gets two packs of Mobo Reds instead of one!

    Great game! The last 4 games have been good for the tigers. Nothing like a 17-run thumping to put some fun back into your at-bat. I still say we will look back to that game and say that is where the tigers turned it back-around.

    Definately won’t go for a 4 man rotation untill the playoffs.

    I’m feeling much better this morning than I did one week ago!! Whoo Hoo!

  50. T Smith

    September 19, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    Does anyone know how many hits we had/how long Garcia lasted in that 7-3 game we lost to Chicago the last time we faced Garcia? How well did we hit him?