Game 153: Orioles at Tigers

PREGAME: Here we are, the final 10 games. It starts this afternoon in Baltimore as Nate Robertson and Kris Benson hook up in a rematch of Saturday night’s game. I’m headed to Baltimore for the game and can’t wait.

Game Time 4:05

67 thoughts on “Game 153: Orioles at Tigers”

  1. Have fun in Baltimore — plenty of nice restaurants around the stadium. Just wanted to point out that my wildly irrational prediction of 90-72 back on April 3 is now officially too pessimistic. I hope Joe’s 92-70 prediction ends up too low as well.

  2. I predict a win against Baltimore today, 4 out of 6 against KC, and 2 out of 3 against TOR. That puts us at 98-64. That means the Twins need to go 8-3 to tie, which actually sounds more likely than them going 7-4 or worse. They get to play KC and BAL too.

    Actually, those teams could totally mail it in and we could have 2 teams finish with 100 wins. It reminds me of 1980 when the Orioles won 100 games and finished 2nd…and 1961 when the Tigers won 101 and settled for 2nd. DAMN YANKEES!

  3. As controvericial as this may sound, what we need is for ChiSox to sweep Seattle/Cleveland (let’s resolve to win our way through our magic number), so they can keep gunning for the Twins for the wildcard. If somehow Boston can avoid a sweep at Fenway tonight, and if both Baltimore and KC can manage one win in each of their series against the Twins, Chisox can go into the Metrodome with hope…

  4. Stat of the day: The Tigers have 4 of the top 9 ERAs among starters for the four likely AL playoff teams.

    1. Santana: 2.77
    2. Mussina: 3.57
    3. Verlander: 3.63
    4. Wang: 3.64
    5. Robertson: 3.68
    6. Rogers: 3.74
    7. Zito: 3.91
    8. Haren: 4.01
    9. Bonderman: 4.11

  5. Maggs……so hot right now. Then Carlos almost knocks one out. This is a must win, obviously, with Santana pitching tonight. It’s good to get a couple runs here, with a pretty weak line-up today. No Monroe, no I-Rod. 2 runs may be all we need with Robertson on the mound. By the way, Matt Stairs is the best player on my softball team. I also believe I saw him cut me off the other day in a DHL freight semi. He’s the white Cecil Fielder-minus offensive production of course.

  6. At the end of the year maggs is going to have decent #’s, but I don’t know if I would call this a decent season for him. You need a little more production out of a clean up hitter with a franchise contract.

  7. Right thats my point, maggs will have ~105-110 RBI, very solid #’s, but if he would have hit in August and July he could have had 120-130 RBI. 100 is good, but Higgy also drove in 100 in a year.

  8. Lovin’ Maggs heating up right now. So what if he had the summer doldrums. If he still had the doldrums I’d be upset. But he appears to be getting his game on for the playoffs which is an excellent sign.

    Lets Go Tigers!

  9. “I don’t know if I would call this a decent season for him”

    Nice to see there are still some haters out there after Maggs has basically carried this team offensively the last few weeks. What did you think we were getting when we signed him? I thought we were getting an aging, injury-prone outfielder who parlayed a couple moster seasons during the steroid era into a huge free agent contract. Maggs has been healthy all year, and he’s going to end up around .300/25/105. I’m sorry if you were expecing Albert Pujols, but I like what we’ve gotten from Maggs this year.

    By the way, hands up who thought CHRIS GOMEZ would have a 14-year major league career…

  10. Get him out of there, Leyland…I don’t care if this is a “throwaway” game in Baltimore. He just hit a guy by a pitch after walking another guy and giving up an RBI double…Bases are loaded, and there are no outs. NONE.

  11. In an nutshell – That is why the tigers will not win the world series. Three on – No outs. Two first pitch swings that fly out & and then a fly out in foul territory.

    There are a few moments when you can and should put a team away and when Casey, Ordonez, and Guillen go 1-2-3 with the bases loads and you don’t get any runs.

    May work with the O’s today but don’t expect the twins or the Yanks to let that stuff slide by without punishing us.

  12. his is a must win, obviously, with Santana pitching tonight.

    Let’s quit with the “must win” nonsense. We have 0 games remaining against contenders. The remaining games are all of equal importance. If we win as many as they do from this point on, the division is ours. It doesn’t matter in the least if they surge ahead for a day or two. Heck, it might even be beneficial.

    I’m sorry if you were expecing Albert Pujols, but I like what we’ve gotten from Maggs this year.

    Agreed. A little more consistency would have been nice, but overall he’s had a very nice season.

    Get him out of there, Leyland…

    Relax guys… Nate’s earned the right to work out of a couple jams. If he gets in another one, then Leyland will pull him.

    what we need is for ChiSox to sweep Seattle/Cleveland

    I disagree. I want them out of it. We need to get into the playoffs. Division crown would be nice, but anything can happen once you get in, so it doesn’t matter a whole lot. Besides, the Sox won’t just roll over in the last week. They’ll play hard if for no other reason than to humble the Twins.

  13. In an nutshell – That is why the tigers will not win the world series. Three on – No outs. Two first pitch swings that fly out & and then a fly out in foul territory.

    Nonsense. Even the best teams in history have come up short in similar situations at various times. The probability of scoring in that situation is very high, but it is not 100%.

    As Billfer has pointed out several times, we only notice the first pitch swings when they don’t result in a hit. The bottom line is that you look for a good pitch and swing at it. If that’s the first pitch, so be it. Yeah, you’d like to run up the guy’s pitch count, but if he’s throwing fastballs for strikes early in the count, it’s foolish to take them.

  14. fun fact: perez still playing and has a slugging % with the tigers a hundred points less than dontrelle willis’s with the marlins. the tigers won’t win the world series because perez and casey are still getting at-bats. one is the worst hitting batter in the american leagues the other is the worst hitting first baseman in the american league.

  15. Nate is fighting a cold…ANY trouble whatsoever this inning (6th) Leyand has to pull him…however, I’m not so confident with Grilli in the pen

  16. Loading the bases with nobody out and not scoring is frustrating, but it happens, and I wouldn’t draw any sweeping conclusions about the Tigers’ World Series prospects based on that inning. The only point I would make is that Casey should not be batting third. You load the bases, you set the table for your number three hitter . . . and it’s Sean Casey! Now I can’t see the game, and maybe he hit the ball hard, but Casey is not a very good hitter anymore and should not be hitting third, even in this depleted lineup. I love how everyone (probably including Leyland) likes to point out that Casey’s a career .300 hitter, as though his batting average for the Reds in 1999 and 2000 has some bearing on how he should be used today.

    OK, I hope my reverse mojo (or whatever) is working and Casey will now hit a homer in his next AB.

  17. Who will it be tonight, Grilli then Jones? Zumaya is out maybe Fernando? but which Fernando will show up. Good effort so far. Lets put this away

    Steve

  18. Leyland will probably win manager of the year for the fantastic work he has done with the dynamic and attitude of this year’s team. Not to mention the performance. However; If I had to put together the most strategic line-up together everyday, based on past performance, current streaks, defensive ability, stats vs. opposing pitcher, etc., I don’t think my line-up would have ever closely mirrored Leyland’s on any of the 150 some games we’ve played. I just don’t know that his managerial acumen in this area is any good. I just think someone like Joe Torre would have this team in a better position right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love Leyland because of his attachment to this season; but it makes me wonder how much of our success is due to him and how much is due to our players abilities coming together this year quicker than expected. Not to mention a little luck on the way.

  19. sometimes Leyland hits close to my lineup but after the injury to Placi there’s just been so many lineups. And he has so many guys to play with the trades and 40-man roster.

    Today’s lineup, following a huge series, with the late arrival into baltimore for a 1-day stay and an afternoon game, I just really can’t question that much though. You gotta rest guys. I was surprised, actually that Magglio and Guillen weren’t the guys rested. This game tells us nothign about the postseason either, that’s just getting too excited about nothing. This isn’t college football.

    I think when the playoffs start, especially if Polanco is healthy, we’ll see a lineup that makes sense to most everybody.

  20. Well we need one here. Doesnt matter the lone up we need hits, Inge-Perez-Wilson, someone had better get on and score.

  21. I hope you’re right Kurt. I understand people need their days off. Of course. That doesn’t mean Infante needs almost every day off. That also doesn’t mean Casey should be batting 3rd, or Perez should be batting anything but 9th. These are the things that constantly baffle me.

  22. poor bilfer. 600 miles each way for a loss to a AAA team. Let’s recapitulate: The Tigers have come out of their slump and.. gone 3-3 over the last six games.

    break up the tigers! they’re a juggernaut!

  23. I trust that Leyland implementing a line-up which is “baffling” and not “close to yours” must be a good thing as he has managed this team to 91 wins. There is not one person here or expert that thought the Tigers could win 91 games. Not One. To rip on Leyland at this point is a joke. Sorry, but it is a total joke.

  24. “Nonsense. Even the best teams in history have come up short in similar situations at various times. The probability of scoring in that situation is very high, but it is not 100%.”

    I understand . . but yet – the tigers just lost by 1 run. How big was that . . the heart of the order goes down 1-2-3. (and how many games have we won in the last 30. and how often has those win been due to Great hitting.)

    The curse of the tigs for the last month or so has been inept batting. And this afternoon – in a nutshell – it was seen again. I will say the Tigs will be a wild card team, and then get crushed by the yanks in the 1st round. We can’t score when we need to. It has been fun, but I’m just calling a spade a spade.

  25. I’ve noticed that Rodney doesn’t pitch very well with Wilson catching.

    Here’s Rodney’s results with each catcher:

    Pudge 4 wins, 1 loss, 6 saves, 11 holds, 0 blown saves
    Wilson 3 wins, 3 losses, 1 save, 5 holds, 4 blown saves

  26. i agree with marshall. and j just because leyland managed well earlier in the season, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be held accountable now. that’s like howard dean supporters saying in ’04 ‘well, we never thought we’d be on the cover of time and newsweek, so we’re just gonna overlook the fact our canididate botched iowa and new hampshire.

  27. There is not one person here or expert that thought the Tigers could win 91 games. Not One.

    I agree with your defense of Leyland, but I’ll refute this statement. I, and some others here, thought the Tigers could win 90+, we just didn’t think it was very likely. The consensus was about 85 wins.

  28. Interesting find, Chris M. It’s a small sample size though, so you have to be careful. Are those spread equally throughout the season or is it possible that Wilson happened to catch him a few times while he was working through a mechanical flaw?

  29. There is not one person here or expert that thought the Tigers could win 91 games. Not One. To rip on Leyland at this point is a joke. Sorry, but it is a total joke.

    Settle down J. (J might actually by J. Leyland incognito) As I mentioned, I love Leyland. Whatever he has done in the locker room and with the mentality of the team has been astonishing. However, that doesn’t make him a good in-game manager tactically. If I could have a two manager system, I would be all about it. Leyland managing and training the players outside game-time, with just about any other manager working the line-ups, rotations, in game decisions, etc.

  30. Just because Leyland has done a good job in one area means that he can’t be questioned in another area? Blind loyalty is never a good trait, Ken. Leyland is a grown man, and he can take a little constructive criticism of some glaring mistakes he has made. Just because someone gets an A in psychology doesn’t mean that they can’t fail math.

  31. Twins are in first place by .001 % for a few hours. They can at least say they were in first place at one time. If they lose to Boston tonight, the Tigers are back in first place.

  32. Twins down 4-0 with Santana on the mound. Three run inning sparked by a throwing error by Santana on a bunt he didn’t pick up cleanly.

    If the Twins lose (knock on wood), they will be 5-0 over their last 7 in games Santana didn’t start and 0-2 in the games he did start. Baseball is a weird game.

  33. Please stop using Fernando Rodney.

    This is a recording.

    (it’s almost like… like, they’re not listening to me. Creepy.)

  34. Just because Leyland has done a good job in one area means that he can’t be questioned in another area?

    Question all you want (I do from time to time), just don’t assume that you know the answers too. I know how to play chess, but I would never have the gall to say something like “What a glaring mistake, Kasparov! How could you let him take your rook???” Sometimes you just have to give the experts the benefit of the doubt until all of the results are in.

  35. I was at US Cellular (Sorry Charlie Commiskey) last night. I wore a Tigers hat and a Cubs Shirt. Got no crap on the hat, but got lots of crap on the Shirt (note to self – Never wear a Cubs Shirt on the South Side)

    Anyway, there were some Cub fans behind me. They WERE so glad we took Neifi off there hands. I can’t beleive he was back in the lineup today. I wonder what the team record is with him v. Omar since PP went down.

    -Sam

  36. The best I can tell we are 5-12 with Neifi in the starting lineup and 9-13 (since PP injury) with Omar in the lineup.

    Recently, We are 4-0 and 6-4 with Omar in the Lineup and 1-5 with Neifi in the lineup.

    -Sam

  37. Despite spending most of his carreer in the best hitting park (Coors) in MLB history, Neifi’s career OPS is .65. Mark Belanger’s was .68 depsite playing in a horrible offensive park for someone with no power.

    BENCH NEIFI NOW

    -Sam

  38. And the Mariners just put the real nail in the coffin for the White Sox…Beltre hit a grand slam against them in the top of the ninth. 9-0. And the Twins lost 6-0.

    It’s so good to still be in first place…

  39. I am not expressing blind loyalty to Leyland. However, I do think that he has been a huge factor in numerous wins for the Tigers this season. Whether it is due to his clubhouse demeanor or in-game manging does not really matter. The bottom line for me is that he has had to correctly push a ton of buttons for the Tigers to be in first place on September 22. As long as they get in I will judge that part of the season by the game. I think it is better to judge the regular season as a whole and ask yourself whether the Tigers have maximized their ability as a ballclub this year. To me the answer so far is yes.

  40. Well, J you make some valid points, but judging the season as a whole the Tigers became this afternoon one of only 2-3 teams in baseball history to blow a 10 plus game lead after August 1. And as much as Leyland help them max their talent in the 76-36 of thefirst 112 games, he bears at least some of the responsibilty on a probable 18-32 finish. If you think the wild card Tigers are gonna go into Yankee Stadium and take a game from a lineup of Damon, Jeter, Matsui, A-Rod. Abreu, Giambi, Sheffield, Cano, and Posada you are mistaken. They need to win the division.

  41. “Question all you want (I do from time to time), just don’t assume that you know the answers too. I know how to play chess, but I would never have the gall to say something like “What a glaring mistake, Kasparov! How could you let him take your rook???” Sometimes you just have to give the experts the benefit of the doubt until all of the results are in.”

    Comparing Leyland to Kasparov is not a fair analogy. Leyland isn’t one of the greatest managers in history, and doesn’t have one of the world’s best logical and game theory minds. He makes tactical mistakes that have shown to be tactical mistakes by decades of data. Does that make him different from 95% of managers out there? No. But does that make him wrong all the same? Yes.

    Whether or not I would be a better manager than Leyland has nothing to do with the fact that Leyland has, in fact, made mistakes. I’m allowed to (correctly) criticize him for these mistakes, regardless of what performance the Tigers might have shown under a Chris J led season.

  42. “He makes tactical mistakes that have shown to be tactical mistakes by decades of data.”

    Yes, every manager in baseball makes tactical mistakes that have shown to be tactical mistakes by decades of data. Tell me which Tigers manager from recent decades you thought made all the right moves by sabermetric standards? Now tell me which manager was as good at managing a team’s emotions/confidence as Leyland?

  43. I’m allowed to (correctly) criticize him for these mistakes, regardless of what performance the Tigers might have shown under a Chris J led season.

    I realize that you’re not asserting that you could do better, but at the same time, you are asserting that you’re qualified to judge him. Every manager in the league has forgotten more baseball than we’ll ever know, so the only things that we fans can competently judge are W/L records.

    You have to keep in mind that managers can’t play it by the book all the time. Managing tactics are as much about keeping the opposing manager off-balance as pitching is about keeping the hitter off-balance.

    An experienced manager knows the book. It’s foolish to think otherwise. It’s frustrating because you don’t know why he’s deviating. You never will. Even if a reporter asks him, you can’t be sure that you’re getting a straight and complete answer.

    Could Joe Torre have done better with this team? Possibly, but not necessarily. He’s only had success with one team in his career and that team was pretty good before he got there. He deserves a lot of credit, but there’s a big difference between turning a good team into champions and turning a bad team into a good team.

  44. @ Kyle

    You’re missing the point. I didn’t say there were previous Tiger managers that did better. I’m saying that Leyland makes mistakes. They’re mistakes, stop trying to pass the buck by saying that other managers make the same mistakes- I know they do.

    @ Jeff

    Do I think Leyland knows “the Book”? I think he knows the traditional “book”, but not the correct “book”. I don’t think all of his mistakes are attempts at game theory to throw off the other team (and even if they were he does them far to often for that to even be the right use of game theory).

    I don’t think it’s fair to tell people to stop criticizing Leyland because of x or y excuse. If he screws up he screws up. A spade has to be called a spade. I’m not saying fire Leyland or he’s the worst manager in the bigs, but he is frustrating to watch sometimes, and I think even you two would agree. Thanks for the civil conversation, though!

  45. Chris: Criticism is fine. Being frustrated is fine. I just don’t think those things should dominate a season that’s turned out the way this one has. Not saying they dominate your comments–just that they seem to get a disproprtionate amount of attention around here at times.

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