Game 2: Blue Jays at Tigers

PREGAME: We’ll see if this one gets played or not. The weather forecast is February-esque, so the ring ceremony might look a little odd with the recipients wearing winter gloves. It is almost a guarantee we’ll see the Placido Polanco hoody though.

If they play it, Nate Robertson will be on the hill for Detroit. Robertson owns Reed Johnson, but has had some ups and downs against the rest of the lineup. He doesn’t want to pitch to Frank Thomas (5 walks in 20 plate appearances). He shouldn’t pitch to Aaron Hill who posts and 8 for 10 line.

Sean Casey looks to be the only Tiger excited to face AJ Burnett. While the current roster doesn’t have many at-bats against Burnett, only Casey has demonstrated success going 13 for 23 (with a triple?!).

Game Time 1:05pm

POSTGAME: Just got back, and my fingers are still thawing. Quite the emotional swing in this game to say the least.

Nate Robertson never had a 1-2-3 inning, and like Rodney on Opening Day he seemed to struggle to put hitters away. He threw 104 pitches in 5 2/3 innings and 47 were balls. To his credit though, he kept the ball down with the exception of the Hill homer. As we saw in the 8th inning, anything in the air could have been trouble.

Jason Grilli was only marginally responsible for the 7 runs in the 8th inning. He did fall behind too often, but he induced enough weak swings to get out of the inning with minimal damage. Some wind, some bad luck, and some really bad defense by Ordonez were the big culprits.

Other thoughts:

  • Ordonez defense almost soiled a solid day at the plate where he reached base 4 times.
  • Really, really bad game today for Brandon Inge. He fanned his first 3 times up, and nearly made 2 errors on very routine balls where his infield mates bailed him out.
  • Curtis Granderson now has all 3 of the team’s extra base hits.
  • Despite his big day with the bat, if Toronto had scored another run we might be looking at a couple baserunning decisions while Granderson was on 3rd after his triple. First, he failed to tag on a shallow fly that required a diving catch in rightfield. Then, with Ordonez at-bat he had a chance to score on a wild pitch. I don’t know if it was Granderson or Gene Lamont, who seems to be especially cautious in the first 2 games. When in doubt he’s held runners at 3rd in these first 2 games.
  • When Craig Monroe struck out in the 2nd inning it was his 5th K in 5 games. But he actually bounced back nicely. He drew a bases loaded walk, hit a sharp grounder to short, and lined out to right field in subsequent at-bats.

I took some pictures, and will post those later tonight.

Final Score: Detroit (1-1) 10, Toronto (1-1) 9

Pudge doesn't like the coldSuper POSTGAME: So I took my camera and had decent seats. Mind you I’m not a photographer, and I don’t have a top of the line camera, but I thought I’d share a couple of the better ones anyways. You can find the set from today’s game here.

I also flipped the camera to video mode to capture Kenny Rogers getting his ring. I guess he got to the park just in time. He received a warm welcome, as did all the players, but it was too bad the weather was so awful. It really kept the crowd down.

62 Comments

  1. Mike

    April 4, 2007 at 9:10 am

    A triple?
    It surely must have been one of those “outfielder mucks it up badly + wide throw to 3rd base with casey staggering in”.

    Unless the mere sight of Burnett turns Casey into Ricky Henderson via some mystical mojo.

  2. Jeff M

    April 4, 2007 at 9:19 am

    , only Casey has demonstrated success going 13 for 23 (with a triple?!)

    I remember that triple… pretty crazy play. ’05 in Miami. Top of the 10th, two outs, nobody on. Casey hit a moonshot to right center. He was running full speed out of the gate, so he was already rounding first by the time it cleared the fence. Dude in the 10th row made a nice basket catch and spent a couple minutes showing everyone his new ball. Eventually, everyone talked him into throwing it back on the field. Casey, of course, was barreling into third by this time. Encarnacion was taking a nap in right field when the fan’s throw hit him in the head.

    The third base coach saw that happen and waved Casey home. Unfortunately, the center fielder sped over, grabbed the ball and whirled it home. The throw was a beautiful 5-hopper that rolled into the catcher’s glove in time to nail Casey by 3 steps.

  3. Bix

    April 4, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Yeah, how long does the ball have to bounce around in the corner — seriously, try visualizing it — for the Mayor to get waved on by a 3B coach?

    -casey lumbers into second, looks at coach-
    -coach waves him to 3rd-
    -casey actually stops at 2nd-
    -coach keeps waving, starts yelling at him to run, gets out a stoplight, turns it to green, tries using those airplane landing flashlights, blows a whistle a few times…-

    Casey: Really???

    -casey looks over his shoulder to RF, sees RF’r having a picnic, complete with wine and cheese, so he “runs” to third-

    Also, what does 40,000 people laughing that hard sound like?

  4. Bix

    April 4, 2007 at 9:28 am

    /applause for Jeff M :)

  5. Adam

    April 4, 2007 at 9:45 am

    If we lose today I’m going to panic.

  6. Mike

    April 4, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Funny looking at baseball reference it appears it happened in 2000:

    http://www.baseball-reference......8050.shtml

  7. Bix

    April 4, 2007 at 10:11 am

    I think Jeff was taking creative license with it… :)

  8. Andrew

    April 4, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Robertson is getting some run support today, folks! Lets hope they can do this for him all year long. How ’bout that Granderson line drive home run?!?!

  9. Ed in OR

    April 4, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Granderson’s wasn’t the prettiest homerun, but it sure was pretty! That’s gotta be good for his confidence.

  10. Ben in Denver

    April 4, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    I wish I could have seen that home run. I’ll have to wait for the highlights. You have to like what we’re seeing today – patience at the plate, Nate throwing good stuff, solid D behind him, even some successfully aggressive baserunning early. Maybe the opening day jitters are behind us and we can get in a groove now.

  11. Adam

    April 4, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    i love henry

  12. Adam

    April 4, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    GRANDERSLAM!!!

  13. Nick

    April 4, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Monroe has 2 RBIs but is still without a hit

  14. Anne

    April 4, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Monroe’ll pull it together soon, no doubt. This game has to do wonders for everyone’s confidence, players and fans.

  15. Joey the K

    April 4, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Grandslamderson! SWEET!

  16. EZ

    April 4, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Inge is leaving off where he left off in the spring, and where he left off last post season, and where he left off the regular season… Totally fooled at the plate, going O-fer the YEAR so far racking up whiff’s faster than you can collect call girl pamphlets on the Strip in Vegas. But don’t worry, now that we are up by 7 he will hit one of his patented Meaningless Stat Pad Inge Special Homers, like the last 6 he hit last year.

    BTW, Captain Gold Glove Super Range avoided his first error of the year thanks to a timely Polanco scoop. I can’t wait until Darling Brandon plays himself off the team and Guillen moves to third to finish the last 2 years on his recent contract extention…

  17. New York Post

    April 4, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    A-Rod is leaving off where he left off in the spring, and where he left off last post season, and where he left off the regular season… Totally fooled at the plate, going O-fer the YEAR so far racking up whiff’s faster than you can collect call girl pamphlets on the Strip in Vegas. But don’t worry, now that we are up by 7 he will hit one of his patented Meaningless Stat Pad A-Rod Special Homers, like the last 6 he hit last year.

    BTW, Captain Gold Glove Super Range avoided his first error of the year thanks to a timely Cano scoop. I can’t wait until Darling Alex plays himself off the team and Jeter moves to third to finish the last 4 years on his contract extension…

  18. Joey C.

    April 4, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Wow. Maggs and Grilli conspiring to blow this mega-lead.

  19. Joey C.

    April 4, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    This is ridiculous. Will someone please tell me why Ledezma is warming up?

  20. Chris Y.

    April 4, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Gotta love Rodney’s 36.00 ERA.

  21. Riley

    April 4, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    How many batters are Grilli and Rodney going to allow to reach base before Leyland gets Zumaya in the game?!? Is he waiting for them to tie it up first???

  22. Joey C.

    April 4, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    And now we get to sweat through the 9th with Jonesy.

  23. Chris Y.

    April 4, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Seriously, somebody needs to make sure Grilli gets on a bus to Toledo when the team leaves for KC.

    Bring on Miner or Virgil or somebody with something/anything.

  24. Adam

    April 4, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I can’t believe we’re actually going to lose this game. Start panicking.

  25. JML

    April 4, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I can’t believe it either. Oh, except that we WON. Panic? Bah!

  26. Riley

    April 4, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    WHEW!

    Jonesy certainly made it exciting, as always.

  27. Joey C.

    April 4, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I forgot how nuts this game can make me. I forgot how nuts this bullpen can make me. Rodney looks terrible thus far.

    Here’s hoping that’s the last time Leyland manages as if we have an insurmountable lead.

  28. Chris Y.

    April 4, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Wow. Nice game out of Granderson today. W1.

  29. Nick

    April 4, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    What is going on with the bullpen? I know Leyland likes to let his pitcher pitch out of their own mess, but he needs to shut the door and take every win he can get.

    C-MO is so cold right now but we have him swinging away with two on no outs? Lay the bunt down and get Pudge over.

  30. Kyle J

    April 4, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Nine walks by the Tigers today. Maybe all the offseason talk about being more patient at the plate is actually translating into practice.

  31. EZ

    April 4, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Be sure to tune in this week on The Brandon Inge Apologist Network:

    New York Post:

    April 4th, 2007 at 2:53 pm
    A-Rod is leaving off where he left off in the spring, and where he left off last post season, and where he left off the regular season… Totally fooled at the plate, going O-fer the YEAR so far racking up whiff’s faster than you can collect call girl pamphlets on the Strip in Vegas. But don’t worry, now that we are up by 7 he will hit one of his patented Meaningless Stat Pad A-Rod Special Homers, like the last 6 he hit last year.

    BTW, Captain Gold Glove Super Range avoided his first error of the year thanks to a timely Cano scoop. I can’t wait until Darling Alex plays himself off the team and Jeter moves to third to finish the last 4 years on his contract extension…

    New York: Please don’t forget to add Inge’s 8 LOB today. Time to start infante at 3rd…

  32. Jeff M

    April 4, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Geez, I’m glad I wasn’t hanging around this thread today. Does the taste of success really necessitate such paranoia?

    Guys, It’s April 4th. If you’re not going to use the weaker links when you have a big lead, why are they even on the roster? Call up some pinch runners… we can make it to October with 8 pitchers.

    Infante at 3rd would not be an upgrade by any measure.

  33. Adam

    April 4, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    EZ: Maybe you didn’t know, but Inge got his contract extension before Guillen. Little chance of him “playing his way off the team.” So don’t root against him. Support our Tigers.

  34. EZ

    April 4, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Bilfer nice insight on Lamont. I noticed it as well… He seems to be holding guys at 3rd quite often. I can see the point ie; don’t run players off the bases with Sheffield and Co coming to the plate. But one can always be a little too cautious. I hope, and think Gene will be a little more aggresive in the coming months…

    Adam,

    My guess is I have supported our Tigers for longer than you. The difference between you and I is Blind Following versus Supporting our team and looking for area’s that need improvement. Using your logic, am I suppossed to ‘Support’ Matt Millen because he is GM of “my other team” and he has a contract extention in hand? “Rooting” against him is somehow not Supporting The Team? I admire your loyalty if not your logic and Blind Faith.

    If Inge doesn’t get his act together he will absolutely play his way off the team. He may be everyone’s darling, but given the choice of winning a World Series or putting up with Inge’s God Awful Play, as a Supporter of the Tigers I will take the World Series. And make no mistake about it: Inge not hitting, not playing solid fundamental baseball such as making accurate throws and moving runners up will cost us games. He should already have 2 errors on the year. It took one game for us to miss the Division last year. The difference between being in the playoffs and watching is only a couple of games. Inge right now is the worse kind of “difference maker”. His current play will cost us games. No amount of Rah-Rah can change that.

    Further, Gullien more than likely won’t be able to play shortstop for the last year (or two) of his extension. He will need to find a new position, and while he is MVP of the last 2 years (my opinion), he will not produce the offensive numbers we need at first. But, if we can put him at 3rd base and remove a .250 hitter who averages .240 in strikeouts per year, then we very well may be looking at the 3rd baseman of the Tigers future.

  35. Brandon Inge Apologist Network

    April 4, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Both Inge and Rodriguez are everyday third basemen who get disrespected by some of their teams’ fans– Inge for hitting for a low average and uh…I’m not sure why Yankee fans slam Rodriguez, who’s on one of the shorter lists of the best players of all time, the way they do. Baseball Prospectus rates Inge’s 2006 campaign at 6.2 Wins Above Replacement (WARP), with power, a few walks, and very strong defense adding value. Rodriguez was good for 6.0 WARP despite very poor defense and an off year with the bat in which he “only” hit .290 with much power.

    I know Inge isn’t a better player than Rodriguez – Inge’s career is peaking, and Rodriguez is older and had an off year in ’06. But I see similarities in the way they are both regarded and undervalued by fans. I would be, and am, very happy to have either of these very durable, speedy, heads-up ballplayers on my club because they both have game-winning talents.

    Links: Alex Rodriguez
    http://www.baseballprospectus......rial01.php
    http://www.baseball-reference......al01.shtml

    Brandon Inge
    http://www.baseballprospectus......gebr01.php
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/i/ingebr01.shtml

    Go Tigs
    Colin

  36. Kathy

    April 4, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    It was a terrible nervewracking game today, I could hardly stand it. The Tigers still look a little rusty though and should improve in the weeks to come. Some sloppy mistakes, but they’ll clean it up.

  37. EZ

    April 4, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Colin,

    Nice bit of Sabebabble there… You Saberheads massage Inge’s statistics so much it would make a Thai Massage Parlor go out of business…

    Inge’s “power”. Yeah, that’s a good one. His last six homeruns last year came with the Tigers either up by 4 or more, or down by 4 or more. All of them after the 6th inning, and 3 of the 6 came AFTER Craig Monroe had hit a home run earlier in the game. What your Nintendo/Strat-O-Matic statistics don’t take into account is situation. In this case the pitcher (the best pitcher to give up one of the last 6 dingers Inge hit was Gil “Nolan Ryan” Freaking Meche) was throwing BP pitches while avoiding Monroe who had earlier blown the game open.

    Further, with Granderson and Polanco coming up you can be assured the pitching coach said something on the order of “Pitch around Monroe and DON’T walk Inge”. How do we know this? Look what happened earlier in the game. When the starter was in he actually pitched to Inge because the game was still close. Darling Brandon choked like Chris Webber against North Carolina in those situations. Your Saberbabble speaks to none of this. Inge got well on fat AAA pitching in games out of hand, all the while the Tigers lead in the Central dwindled and were eventually overtaken by the Twins. Inge’s “power” of 27 home-runs misleads because none of them came when the game meant anything (especially his 8th inning grand slam when the Tigers were up 8-2 against Baltimore). Yet when you Dungeon Masters roll the dice it is based on Inge’s 27 homeruns. Great, you just slew the evil brigand orcs the same way Inge’s ‘power’ helped win the game.

    As for heads up play? Yeah, Brandon looked great in the Post Season, leading the Tigers in errors and strikeouts. And that Heads up play with Scott Rolen sure impressed. Runner Interference? That is so little league that it defies description. Heads up indeed. During the New York series Inge had multiple chances per game to move a runner up and he always failed. Or are you going to start spouting your Saberbable “sample size” argument? Yeah, say ‘sample size’ because actaully looking at Inge’s play requires a motion discomfort bag.

    Sabermetrics is handy, but this isn’t a video game. Naunce, situation, and strategy can’t be accounted for and make up a huge portion of the game. When you see garbage such as “optimized” lineups that have Sheffield leading off and Ordonez batting second you then see the folly of fornicating with a calculator. Those line-ups don’t exist in real life because of the incalculable intagibles that make up a huge portion of the game. Or are you saying you and your Saber-lemmings are better manageers than the Leyland’s, Cox’s, Torre’s, LaRussa’s of baseball?

    Final bit of “Did you read what you just wrote”? Inge and A-Rod are 2 years apart in age. Yet, according to you, Inge is at the peak of his career and A-Rod, you seem to imply, is going downhill? Just look at “peak of his career”… His career strikeout average is just a point lower than his career batting average of .241. Exactly where is the “good” point of your argument? Comparing Inge to A-Rod is like comparing the Boyscouts to the Marines, sure the both are organizations, but I would rather have the Marines in a fight.

    Go Tigers.

  38. Walewander

    April 4, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Evidence, not bluster: here are Inge’s splits from last year:

    http://www.baseball-reference......;year=2006

    And anyone who doesn’t think Inge was an elite-level 3B defensively last year doesn’t look at stats OR watch games.

  39. Walewander

    April 4, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Evidence, not bluster: here are Inge’s splits from last year:

    http://www.baseball-reference......;year=2006

    There is nothing conclusively supporting your stat-padding argument. But you knew that. Why bother with evidence when you have funny wizard jokes to throw around?

    And anyone who doesn’t think Inge was an elite-level 3B defensively last year doesn’t look at stats OR watch games.

  40. Walewander

    April 4, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    When you see garbage such as “optimized” lineups that have Sheffield leading off and Ordonez batting second you then see the folly of fornicating with a calculator. Those line-ups don’t exist in real life because of the incalculable intagibles that make up a huge portion of the game. Or are you saying you and your Saber-lemmings are better manageers than the Leyland’s, Cox’s, Torre’s, LaRussa’s of baseball?

    No one said any of this. Take your straw man somewhere else.

  41. billfer

    April 4, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    EZ – I’d venture a guess that most players feast on AAA pitching, that’s kind of what makes it triple AAA pitching in the first place.

    And the whole none of his homers mean anything is just a silly statement. You picked out one homer that meant nothing, so I’ll simply throw another sample of one back at you in that he hit a 2 run homer in the 8th to put the Tigers ahead against Johan Santana.

    And the game is out of hand part, yeah, just like today’s game was out of hand and those last runs didn’t mean anything. Or the time last year when the Tigers were down 7-0 and Inge hit a homer to cut it to 7-3 and see the Tigers cut the lead to 8-7. But that’s okay because you hate Inge so they don’t mean anything.

    I don’t love Inge by any means, but I recognize that he slugs a little better than the average third baseman, and gets on base a little less. I also know that he is an exceptional defender and several seasons worth of statistics that are based on play by play data are there to back me up. I’m not saying he’s infallible, and today was clearly an example of that.

    But why the hate on all the saber-heads who use data to help objectively evaluate a player instead of relying exclusively on personal bias?

  42. Joey C.

    April 4, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    I’m not a huge fan of Inge, but I’m certainly not ready to play Infante (or anyone else in the organization) instead of him.

    Jeff M, I may be mistaken, but I remember you being of the mind that a win in April is the same as a win in September during the whole, “deserving to win” debate from late last season. I don’t really care enough to dig through old posts to verify.

    At any rate, I don’t think that watching a huge lead dissolve and choosing to stick with clearly ineffective pitchers (particularly Rodney) and then warming up a weak link (Ledezma) when the lead has been cut by 6 is a smart play at any point in the season.

    But we did win…which I’m sure is further evidence of Leyland’s fine tuned, point-shaving brilliance.

  43. colin

    April 4, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Hey EZ and billfer–My fake newspaper article was intended to be more funny, than infuriating. Didnt work. Sorry for starting a flamewar amongst tigers fans, I will try to be more considerate in the future.

    A quick note on aging, and then I’m out of this thread.

    I’m saying that Brandon Inge’s career “is peaking” because of two reasons

    1)Batters generally are most productive at/around age 27 or 28. Inge is 29 and turns 30 in may. Most baseball players start to decline after the age of 30. I’d venture a guess just looking at statistics (not watching too many Yankees games) that A-Rod’s defense has taken a downturn from his days in Texas when I saw him play a great shortstop, in person in Arlington, in 2001. Now he seems to be at age 31, a defensively below-average 3B whose Hall of Fame bat has not left him. I sure hope Inge’s agility doesn’t start to leave him for a couple more years, because if he has trouble getting to balls he currently fields, a lot of his value will disappear.

    Barry Bonds is an example of an MVP (age 27, age 28)returning to win more MVPs well after the age of 30 (ages 36 through 39), but that was likely due to steroid use.

    2)More importantly, Inge used to be a worse ballplayer (when he was younger), and I don’t see him getting too much better in the future. This is why I consider him in his prime, or peak. My guess: three more years at or near his current level of production, then a decline. I’ll be quite surprised if he’s starting at any position for any team at age 35 or 36. If he wanted to stick around MLB beyond that age he might get by, as a backup catcher. I know Inge doesn’t like catching very much, so I don’t know if he’d consider that when the time comes.

  44. Walewander

    April 4, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    This is anecdotal, but it seems most players maintain effectiveness a little longer than they used to – whether that’s conditioning, PEDs, who knows.

    BTW, what’s with the hate on Ledezma? I wish he’d been put in the rotation after Rogers went down. He’s no weak link.

  45. Kyle J

    April 4, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Hmmm. This season (and this comments section, in particular) definitely has a different feel to it already. The price of being a contender from the get-go, I guess.

    I’d say anyone who thinks that one player (Inge) is able to hit HRs more proficiently after another player (Monroe) has hit one first probably has a system of valuing “incalculable intangibles” that the rest of us will be unable to grasp.

    As for the bullpen, I’m afraid that Zumaya (the only reliever any of us really trusts in every situation) is not going to be able to pitch every inning in close games.

  46. Jeff M

    April 4, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Jeff M, I may be mistaken, but I remember you being of the mind that a win in April is the same as a win in September during the whole, “deserving to win” debate from late last season. I don’t really care enough to dig through old posts to verify.

    I don’t recall what I may have said, but I don’t think I’m contradicting myself with the following clarification.

    The wins mean the same with the benefit of hindsight, so from a “deserving to win” perspective, the dates of the wins are irrelevant.

    From a managerial strategy perspective, however, the focus has to be on foresight. Yesterday doesn’t matter anymore. “Today”, “the rest of the season”, and “the rest of my players’ careers” are all that matter. You can’t stomp on the gas pedal in April exactly because every game matters equally. Sure we could win a handful more games in April by giving Guitar Hero 30 innings, but it would take a toll on his arm and we’d pay for it several times over during the remaining 135 games.

    So I’ll ask again: If we’re not going to use Grilli in a blowout, why is he even on the roster?

    Side note: When did we start treating Rodney like a rookie? The guy was an integral part of the best bullpen in baseball last year. Yeah, he’s struggling, but he only pitched to five batters. He’s earned at least that much slack.

  47. EZ

    April 4, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Bilfer,

    Try reading what I wrote. I used Inge’s last 6 homeruns. 6 as in numbers 22,23,24,25,26,27. Not just 1 home run as you say. Please reread:

    -”Inge’s “power”. Yeah, that’s a good one. His last six homeruns last year came with the Tigers either up by 4 or more, or down by 4 or more. All of them after the 6th inning, and 3 of the 6 came AFTER Craig Monroe had hit a home run earlier in the game. What your Nintendo/Strat-O-Matic statistics don’t take into account is situation. In this case the pitcher (the best pitcher to give up one of the last 6 dingers Inge hit was Gil “Nolan Ryan” Freaking Meche) was throwing BP pitches while avoiding Monroe who had earlier blown the game open.”-

    Inge feasted on what I call “AAA” pitching. Sorry to confuse you, to clarify my “AAA” reference was to the mop up late inning relivers Inge blasted in out of hand games. Guys like Sreal, Bootcheck, and Meche are the slobs Inge took deep.

    Your sabermetrics does not take into account naunce, situation, and approach. Every pitcher (and manager) will have different approaches inning by inning and batter by batter. In the case of Inge the approach was to pitch around the guy who homered earlier (Monroe) and to avoid setting up the top of the order by walking Inge. So the solution is to groove pitches and “let Inge try to beat us” rather than to pitch to more feared hitters, or hitters who had already gone deep. Any pitcher and coach from highschool through to the bigs will tell you this type of discussion is done constantly. Pitching, hitting and coaching don’t have uniform approaches.

    The same problem exists with Walewanders splits. It treats every pitcher as equal and every situation the same. Sabermetrics can’t take into account items like the “unintentional intentional walk”. Or “pitching around” a batter. That Bootcheck guy is the same as Roy Halladay in Brandon’s splits. One needs to look at each situation and each game along with the splits.

    Walewander, you ask for evidence. I have used Inge’s actual at bat’s (in this case the last 6 homeruns he hit). Your splits treat all pitching and all situations the same. My research is case by case during a division race. I am not saying my research is conclusive, but I can tell you that your research is great if we were playing Strat-O-Matic where situations don’t matter and a roll of the dice determines a hit. So who is right? Both of us and neither of us. I only hope you can see it the same way.

    Bilfer, you go back to a home run Inge hit in August when the Tigers had a double digit lead over Minnesota in the division. All that proves is that when the Tigers faded down the stretch Inge was only capable of teeing off on poor pitchers who were throwing little better than BP. Sounds like a massive choke to me. I have used Inge’s actual at bats and not my “Inge bias” as you claim. I am pointing out what I feel the flaws are in your beloved sabermetrics, and you seem to say I use no stats at all, just my bias. Are yours the only stats that count?

    Sabermetrics is a handy tool, but can’t possibly be treated as gospell, as I think it all too often is. Defensive questions can muck up sabermetrics as well, such as the complete abritary nature of scorekeeping. All of our lives we hear the term “Well, that was a little home town scorekeeping”. The point is scorekeepers are stationed in their “home” cities and are likely to give breaks to favorite players. Further there is little oversight of scorekeeping. Creating absolute statistics off of an arbritary device such as scorekeeping is dillusional.

    Sabermetrics is a good tool, it helps measure, but it has massive shortcomings. Massive is my take on it, but even the most ardent Saberheads out there ought to admit fallibility.

    As far as Inge, you are right, I am biased against him. I admit it. My research shows an opportunistic choke artist who is over rated defensively and strikes out at breathtaking rates. You however are also Inge biased the other way. Your research shows he has “pop”, and “power”, and he has a great glove and wonderful arm, while ignoring the dozen or so friendly calls he gets every year not to mention how often other fielders have to save errors for him by shagging his bad throws… Though Bilfer, you did call him to the carpet today… I will admit my bias, but apparently your research proves there is no bias from the I Love Inge Camp? That hypocracy just reeks.

    Now, let’s remember we really are rooting for the same team. Go Tigers.

  48. Jeff M

    April 4, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Your sabermetrics does not take into account naunce, situation, and approach.

    The same problem exists with Walewanders splits. It treats every pitcher as equal and every situation the same. Sabermetrics can’t take into account items like the “unintentional intentional walk”. Or “pitching around” a batter.

    They do if the sample size is sufficient. When you’re looking at hundreds and thousands of at-bats, most of the randomness is ironed out.

    But even that is only the first step in a statistical analysis. What does X at-bats per home run mean? Diddly squat, until you see that the league average over the same time period was Y. Now you’re starting to learn something about the player. You should still dig deeper to control for things like park, division, and position averages, but league average is still a good, simple starting point.

    you seem to say I use no stats at all

    I think what Billfer was trying to say was that your argument rests almost entirely on anecdotes. To qualify as a statistic, you need to use either every data point in the selected timeframe or a random sample of those data points.

    Sabermetrics is a handy tool, but can’t possibly be treated as gospel

    Indeed. If you stick around, I think you’ll find that few, if any, of us fall into that trap. Our statistical analyses are tempered by a healthy dose of anecdotal observation.

    Now, let’s remember we really are rooting for the same team. Go Tigers.

    Hear, hear!

  49. Adam

    April 5, 2007 at 1:44 am

    EZ: Anyone who says they know what will happen is a wishful thinker. There’ve only been two games this season. Do you have some kind of magic pot that lets your mind time travel to the end of the season? Inge currently has no errors, and “should-have-beens” most definitely do not count. I’d like to see what you say when Inge starts getting his hits, something in the vein of “his average right now doesn’t matter, he’s a below average hitter – anyone can see that,” or “those should have been outs – he got lucky”? Sure, he’s 0 for 7 at the moment, but so is Craig Monroe. Why aren’t you on about him? Are Craig’s 28 home runs that much better than Inge’s 27? Was Craig’s .255 that much better than Inge’s .253? Maybe it’s the errors you’re on about – yeah, that has to be it. Inge had 22 of them, and the most chances (555) out of any 3Bs in the game. So what’s your solution? Put GUILLEN AT THIRD?!?! A guy who had 28 (that’s six more) errors in ’06. Wow.

    No one has to apologize for Brandon Inge, and I’m not going to. I’m just going to point out that you’re inherently and utterly wrong. Fault my logic? Why, for saying you’re wrong? Ha. Inge is a game loser, eh? Tell you what, EZ. Without Inge, the Tigers don’t get to the World Series last year. Got it? I mean, What other star 3B do you have up your sleeve? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Jeez man, give it a rest. Lording over the fact that you’ve been “a fan longer” than anyone doesn’t give you any credibility. No one says the Tigers are perfect, and I’m not executing any blind faith in them. I’m just trying to give them (ALL OF THEM) a chance. Seriously.

    Do us all a favor and come back in a month with the Inge-hating rhetoric. Maybe then you’ll have a sliver of evidence.

  50. Adam

    April 5, 2007 at 1:48 am

    Italics after “him” not intended. Obviously.

  51. Anne

    April 5, 2007 at 6:46 am

    Well, it didn’t take long for Stat Wars: Episode II to get going. Anyone who was reading this site last year knows why I get a little nervous just reading Craig Monroe’s name.

    Anyway, yesterday’s win left me more nervous than Monday’s loss. Fortunately Jonesy pulled their chesnuts out of the fire and avoided a major embarassment for the team.

  52. billfer

    April 5, 2007 at 6:47 am

    EZ – your research consists of 6 at-bats. Look at each one of Inge’s career homers and tell me how many of them were meaningful, and then provide some context. Of the average major leaguer how many home runs are meaningful? I honestly don’t know the answer.

    I do know that he was essentially neutral in terms of win probability added in 2006. Because it is a statistic it will probably be derided, but it is a statistic that does take into account context and situation (at least in terms of score, time of game, runners on base – it doesn’t look to see if Craig Monroe hit a home run in the same game).

    And as for defensive metrics, the ones I site are completely independent of the official scorer. They look at where the ball is hit, the type of hit, how hard it was hit, and whether or not an out resulted on the play. It’s not about deciding whether or not an error was committed. Granted, somebody has to decide all the qualities, but those are done by individuals watching games remotely who are employed by a seperate stat company. These aren’t locals trying to make the home team look good.

    And really, faulting the Santana home run because the Tigers had a big lead in the division is pretty weak. The Tigers had a big lead because of the cumulative efforts leading up to that game. Which of those efforts were irrelevant?

    And just to highlight all the facts in your research:
    22- Inge was batting 9th, Monroe 2nd. Probably not avoiding Monroe.
    23- Solo shot that began a 3 run inning which the Tigers came back and tied the game in the 8th
    24- Inge hitting 8th, Infante 9th, Monroe 3rd. Don’t think they were pitching Monroe to get to Inge.
    25- Inge hitting 8th, Perez hitting 9th, Monroe hitting 2nd. Don’t think they were pitching around Monroe to get to Inge.
    26- I got nothing here. This meant nothing.
    27- Inge hitting 8th, Monroe hitting 2nd. Tigers ultimately blew the lead (with Inge’s help on defense) so maybe the runs were important.

  53. Rings

    April 5, 2007 at 8:07 am

    To compare Inge to A-Rod in any way, shape or form – much less imply that he’s just as valuable, based on statistics – is laughable.
    Let’s face it, Brandon is likeable and a good athlete, but it would be fair to say that, at a minimum, he’s “underachieved” based on his career, playoff run, or spring training/start of the season (since his new contract and “new” 2-strike approach). He’ll be 30 this year and it’s highly unlikely that he gets any better.

  54. Nate

    April 5, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Am I the only one who finds it somewhat amusing that we are discussing “meaningless runs” in the wrap-up to a game which the Tigers lead 10-2 in the seventh but ended up winning 10-9, after a nerve-wracking eigth and ninth?

  55. EZ

    April 5, 2007 at 8:24 am

    I’d like to see what you say when Inge starts getting his hits, –Adam.

    Preceded by:

    Anyone who says they know what will happen is a wishful thinker– Adam.

    Believe me Adam, I would love to say something once Inge starts getting hits, I just hope your ‘wishful thinking’ starts happening soon and for extended periods. But that didn’t happen in the spring, it happened too infrequently last year, and it didn’t happen enough to make up for Inge leading the team in strikouts and errors last post season.

    Debating with double speak like yours is shouting against the wind. I’m wrong and you are right. Ok, Adam? Your wish is granted, for you I will give it a rest.

    Bilfer, I was not faulting the Santana home run. I was faulting his lack of meaningful homeruns from August on. Though, he did hit a HUGE home run against Zito in the playoffs. He hit it early in the game and was a difference maker in that game. But otherwise his average in the playoffs was something like .280 and his strikeout rate was .340. Combined with his three errors in the World Series and I don’t see a “star” player, or even a player who is overly helping the team on the field.

    Treading water is about the best way and highest level I could use to describe Brandon’s play. Clearly you think more highly of him.

    And there it is. We agree to disagree.

  56. Walewander

    April 5, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Ironically, I think the reason many of us root for Inge, stats aside, is the intangible factor. In 03, Inge was the worst hitting C in the major leagues, on one of the worst teams ever. Since then, he has brought his career back from the brink, developing into an above-average (I don’t think anyone here thinks he a superstar) 3B on a pennant winning team. Along with guys like Nate, he symbolizes the journey this team and its fans have been on in the past 5 years.

  57. Kyle J

    April 5, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Well said, Walewander.

  58. EZ

    April 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Well said and agreed Walewander. Another area we can probably universally agree: It massively sucks to have these early postponments. D*mn it, we have been starving for Tiger Baseball! By my internal clock it is now 3 months until KC tomorrow night…

  59. Brian B

    April 5, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I think Inge is okay. He is certainly a replaceable commodity, but he is also good enough to send out there.

    I wish they would put him back in the supersub role someday.

  60. Walewander

    April 5, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I know, and I really thought’d we’d hammer Chacin.

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