Game 20: Tigers at Angels

PREGAME: Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers will take Kelvim Escobar and the Angels on get-away day.

Game Time 3:35pm

118 thoughts on “Game 20: Tigers at Angels”

  1. Wow, that was a miserable inning. Top half: three stright strikeouts. Bottom half: one error, four hits, four runs.

    Nowhere to go but up, I suppose.

  2. What in the world does this team have against Bonderman? Did he run over somebody’s dog with his car? Does he snore on the team plane? Why does it seem like the rest of the Tigers are out to sabotage him?

  3. Maybe it was Guillen’s dog. Maybe they have lockers next to each other and Bonderman is a real slob. I don’t know, there has to be some explanation.

  4. Why did we pitch to Vlad just now? Last night, we don’t pitch to him at all. Tonight, 2 RISP, Bonderman has nothing, and he pipes the first pitch with 1st open.

  5. If the game last night went like this, I would be a lot less sleepy today (and I’m on Mountain Time).

  6. We need to take a page out of the White Sox’ book and starting chipping away quickly. Escobar has always had our number, but this is getting out of hand fast.

    However, as I type this, Sean Casey flies out on the first pitch. Good grief…

  7. This is awful. Bondo is going to have to eat some tough innings today, otherwise we’re blowing out the bullpen right before the Sox series.

  8. I’d like to invoke Leyland’s mantra of “nine full innings” but at this point, I haven’t seen anything to make me think that will help.

  9. I agree, Anne. “Nine full innings” of getting our brains beat in does not sound appealing. The good news is, no matter many they score, it still only counts as one loss…

  10. I hope Bondo can just eat up some innings at this point, since we don’t want the ‘pen worn out heading into Sox and Twins back to back.

  11. A good starting point might be more hits then errors at this point. Just strange to be on the other side of a game like this.

  12. Mark that as a scorekeeper gift. Inge should have had an error all the way on that 3 hop chopper Cabrera hit. He now has 5 saved errors by Polanco and Casey and one utter and complete scorekeeper gift at third. He actually looked afraid as he ran away from the ball and waved at it like he was standing on top of a Homecoming Day Float…

  13. Boy, it feels good to at least get one run. And the Angels seem to be returning the favor with two errors of their own.

    It’s hard to believe, but Bonderman has 6 K’s and no BBs. How in the heck do you give up 5 ERs on that? You’re right Adam, Bonderman hurt himself this game.

  14. Good Lord, Neifi. I’m being serious here — what’s wrong with sending in a DH for a second baseman when he’s this bad?

  15. I was waiting for EZ to speak up on that Inge error. Of course, he didn’t fail me.

    Tigers are back in this one. And I tried to stop watching, but couldn’t.

  16. Adam, I have also posted numerous times when Inge excels.

    And officially it was not an error. I am pointing out that while Inge does make great plays he is the beneficiary of favorable calls. Today’s play being a classic example of how easily he could have more than the recorded 3 errors he has for the season. I believe it to be a legitimate rebuttle to the question of Inge’s “tremendous” defense.

    I would “fail” you more if Inge played like even a marginally talented ball player. In fact, it would be a joy to “fail” you more.

    Is your vexation with me so all inclusive that you can’t admit to or see deficient play?

  17. We should be tied right now. That sucks. Pudge’s GIDP in the fourth…Pudge not getting sent in the sixth – that’s two more runs.

    Not to mention Guillen should have not made at least one of those errors…which I’ll say puts the Angels down at least a run.

  18. I’ve been silent on the Inge thing so far, but with 2 ducks on the pond, 2 outs, 1 K already under his belt and the possibility of coming back to within 1 run, COME ON. Put somebody else in there and let Inge get his looks under different circumstances.

  19. I agree with Ben. Poloanco, who is .200 points above most of our lineup, is sitting on the bench — why not pinch hit with one of our best clutch betters, move Neifi to third, and pull Inge?

  20. Inge is due! He’s DUE!!!!

    Man, he is some kind of terrible right now. K’s are one thing (and not so bad) when there’s nobody on base, but with runners on, you need to put the ball in play.

  21. The man is gripping, and he’s not going to be any more relaxed with 2 RBIs looking at him.

  22. he is the beneficiary of favorable calls.

    As is everyone else over the course of a season. That’s why “errors” and fielding percentage are such weak statistics. There are much better stats you could use if you truly wanted to assess his defense.

    why not pinch hit with [Polanco], move Neifi to third, and pull Inge?

    It’s well documented that Leyland doesn’t like to interrupt a player’s day off. Polanco may get an AB in the 8th or 9th, but the 6th wouldn’t make for much of a day off.

  23. Very nice inning by Rodney.

    Just got back from a meeting, very surprised to see the game so tight after the first few innings. Bonderman must have really gritted out those last couple innings.

  24. Where is that pitching when we’re ahead? Sorry… it’s becoming a reflex to be critical today. Nice inning, Fernando.

  25. Good. Maybe that’s the inning Fernando needed to get his stuff right and get back onto what he’s capable of.

  26. K-Rod is very tough, but at least we have a shot in the 9th. Given how this game started, that’s saying something.

    Hopefully Rodney has things straightened out. Two very good innings.

  27. Everytime I know/see Sheffield come up in a game, I convince myself he’s going to hit a rocket into the LF stands.

  28. Apr. 24 : Rodney worked on some “upper-body misalignment” during a bullpen session Sunday, according to the Detroit News. Manager Jim Leyland wants to put Rodney in a lopsided game to get his confidence back.

    That from his profile on ESPN. I hope it does wonders for him to get confidence in a 1 run game in which we can’t give up any more runs.

  29. Wow, is Sheff back too? He’s starting to put together some good AB’s. C’mon Maggs

  30. Phew! What a comeback, but then Jones…. ugh!

    Sorry… a wild pitch? OK, bad enough Jones puts a lot of guys on base – but then you can’t unleash a wild pitch!

  31. Is it just me or is Pudge a little bit off his game defensively recently? Bad throw to second early today allowed a stolen base, and now this wild pitch (which really looked like a passed ball to me).

  32. Bad B-day for Jones………..

    Glad its on TV, even though we have the Angles crew,

    Billfer, Have not seen you in a while, If you are stuck in traffic maybe we should pitch in for a blackberry for our favorite blog host.


  33. What was that??? Jones wont be getting a cake tonight. Unless its on fire with the Gas he brought out.

  34. How many games is this a-hole going to blow? How long is Leland going to make excuses for this guy?!!! I don’t care if it’s April, they need to win these games now.

    The rest of the teams worked too damn hard for this JERK to blow the game, this is ridiculous.

  35. I am happy that our offense perked up and was able to come back. Just not getting the breaks we got last year so far. The 3 errors cost us this game.

  36. Goddamn! leyland needs to really chew jones out over this, not for the passed ball but that airmail to first base.

    That’s a mistake a rookie makes, not some arsewipe who’s 39 and has 15 years in the big leagues

  37. Calm down guys. Calm it. We lost. Sure it sucks, but we’re going to do it at least 60 times this year. At least we looked really good doing it – is anyone happy that Sheff hit a double? Or that our bats look really good? Anyone?

    We should have won, I know. But it’s NOT the World Series. Not yet.

  38. Wow. He’s blown 2 games. Yes. Let’s chase him out of the closers role. That’s just a little, in my opinion, ridiculous to even think of doing.

    Why didn’t they walk Aybar to load the bases and set up a potential 10th inning ending double play? i don’t get that. I understand Gary Matthews was 2-4 but putting Aybar on just makes more sense in my opinion in that spot.

  39. Actually, Adam, we shouldn’t have won that game. 3 errors, down 7-0 on get away day? Please. I’ll take battling back and taking a lead with our closer on the bump in the bottom of the 9th when we’re facing a cross country flight in the face to play our rival Chicago White Sox.

    I’m stoked we even made it a game. And like someone said in a game thread earlier this year: Good teams play in more close games. The fact that we’ve had so many just speaks volumes to me.

    We got strides from 2 guys we need to be very good/great to succeed this year (Rodney and Sheffield) and managed to turn a blow-out into an extra inning game.

  40. Rock & Rye: If stonehands Guillen doesn’t kick the ball all around in the first inning then we get out with max 1-2 runs allowed and it’s a whole different game. So, the passed ball didn’t lose us this game.

  41. Oh, I know. I’m just saying that the fact that we believe we should’ve won a game like today’s is a good sign; not the apocalyptic sign that some seem to be taking it (not just people on here, my friend flipped out about the game, the jones throw to first, the passed ball, and how the bullpen is doomed with Rodney and Jones in it).

  42. Good news from tonight’s game: We now have 3 hitters above .300 – Polly, Maggs, and Guillen. We can probably count Grandy in there as well since he seems to get to .300 every other day.

    Also, Bondo didn’t get a loss. Maggs is hitting like he should have been last year, and this is our second straight game with ten or more hits. Also, there was a Sheffield double.

    I’m just kind of miffed at the execution in the bottom 9 and bottom 10. Why did we pitch to Guerrero, with one out? Why not put him on and make a double play? Lots of questionable calls here…I think this is one of those games that billfer spoke of a few games ago – the team played well enough (after sucking to start off with) to win the game, but the managing of the lead is what lost us. I mean…everyone knows Jones is a contact pitcher, right? And everyone knows Vlady is a contact hitter, right? Did he think we were just going to get lucky? Guy’s got over a .400 BA.

    Weird game overall, but some good things came out of it. Plus Rodney pitched well.

  43. Great Game.

    Hate to lose it.

    How about 7 extra inning games in 20 (35%). The record is the 1943 Cincy Reds with 31 (in a 154 game schedule – 20%). We are now 2-5 when we go extra and 0-5 if it goes only 10. We are 9-4 in regulation games.


  44. I get the feeling that this team is replicating last year but without the good luck: big heart no brain. They play like Cinderella team in the ncaa’s; there’s a great run for a while, lots of fun, but then they blow it.

    I wonder who the Jeter is on this team. Or the Varitek. They don’t have someone who keeps a cool head while everyone around them freaks out. It’s certainly not Maggs-hey way to be prepared out there without your sunglasses!–It’s not Jones–no learning curve on field from the world series–and It’s not Sheff-a great talent but a surly SOB. I hate to make a comparison to another sport, but the Pistons have about six guys who fill this role. It’s no assurance you will win it all, but if you don’t have leadership it’s pretty certain you won’t.

  45. what a fun game to watch. too bad we lost at the end…i would say that the best thing in this game was rodney…if he has corrected his problem and today sure looked like it…we have a big problem fixed.

  46. They don’t have someone who keeps a cool head while everyone around them freaks out.

    Polanco? Casey? Pudge? Granderson? Leyland?

    It’s certainly not Maggs-hey way to be prepared out there without your sunglasses!

    He had glasses out there, he just decided that the sun was too bright for the modern shades, so he traded them for the old-school flip-downs.

  47. You don’t need leadership to win, you need a team to play like a team.

    Granted, it is nice.

    I’d say we had and have tons of leadership. Pudge and Kenny lead the pitching staff, Guillen is the unofficial capitano of the infield(even though he was terrible with the mit today) and Leyland is the captain good or bad (lately mainly bad).

    And basketball while a fun sport to play or watch is not even remotely similar to baseball especially the NBA.

  48. i don’t care if you’re playing beer league softball or chasing a pennant, you need to have leaders. that’s why they fell apart in september and then in the world series. it’s easy to be confident when things are going well: the first two playoff series, but this time lacks a leader that could inspire a team to come back from 3-1 series deficit.
    pudge: not very disciplined hitter.
    kenny: surly guy who cheated with pine tar
    maggs: clueless in the outfield

    none of these things make you a leader,

  49. Kenny is not a cheater, and was a leader, Guillen was also a leader. You are wrong you don’t need a leader, you need unselfish players.

    You also need pitching, it is a fact that teams with good pitching win games.

    Thats not wh y they fell apart i n sept and the ws.

    Have you been in the clubhouse? Do you really know anything that goes on?

    In your previous post y ou mention Jeter, Varitek and Los Pistones.

    Who did the Tigers beat? Jeter’s Yanks
    Did the Sox even make the playoffs?
    And correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t Billiups and Co. only gone all the way one time? And didn’t they lose to Dwade and Shaq and the Spurs a year prior.

    The fact of the matter is that if the Tigers are going to remain good they need a few things –

    Talent (they have enough)
    Good Pitching (they have enough as long as their aren’t many injuries)
    Hunger for 9 innings (you have to want to win and try hard to do so and never give up), or so far this year 9+

    Leading by example is more important than leadership but it will only take you so far.

  50. I’m sick and tired of everyone mentioning Jeter and Varitek as the prototypical “leaders” If you’d turn off ESPN for a second and stop reading those George Will books you would’ve watched a team that came back from a 7-0 deficit against a strong starter and 2 of the better relief pitchers in the game, and were having a blast doing it. I’ll take Pudge’s bat and defense over any intangibles Varitek brings to the field. As far as Jeter goes, have you ever seen anyone crack a smile in the Yankees dugout? as far as I’m concerned Jeter and Torre are the most overrated personalities in the game. They won their championships with pitching, just like any other championship team. I guess by leadership you mean being the first one to step in front of a camera after the game and sell their teammates down the river after a loss.

  51. The Yankees also have arguably the best closer in the game; Rivera. The Tigers have a guy who throws a wild pitch to send the game into extra innings. Then a throwing error to seal the loss in the 10th. That, to me, is a much more tangible thing than alleged leadership.

  52. Dave-

    Here is Rivera’s line for the season so far:

    Season 7 6.1 7 5 1 2 7 1 2 0 0.0 1.42 .280 7.11

    Note the 0 saves so far, and he has actually blown 2 saves this year already. Every closer has their ups-and-downs, and I don’t think anyone here would argue that the Yankees should switch horses in midstream either.

    This was a game that got away from the Tigs early, mostly due to their own mistakes, and it is awesome that they were able to mount a comeback. I agree that the loss was preventable, but it’s not a symbol of greater problems with the team as a whole.

  53. Bill I think you make some good points about Torre, Varitek, and ESPN…but on Jeter I have to disagree.

    That dude is incredible. He’s in the Stevie Y class of clutch performers who lead by example. He’s completely selfless on the diamond. I’m not saying that he’s the reason they won all those championships, but after living in NYC for 4 years now, I can’t overstate how much he means to that organization.

    I think he’s a great, great player, who has been wrongfully painted as a solid, steady, yet overrated player by a majority of stats-based baseball analysts.

  54. At this point, Jones is the pretty low on my list of concerns. The runs that have been scored on him have been based on fielding problems as much as anything (which are a concern generally). In the last two weeks, we’ve seen BJ Ryan, Rivera, and K-Rod all get hit much harder than Jones (Ryan, admittedly, due to injury).

    20 games down. The top four teams in the AL Central are only a 1/2 game apart. I can almost guarantee the next 142 games are going to be stressful. Best not to get too worked up about things just yet.

  55. Jeter is the most overrated player in baseball.He’s a good player who would be unknown if he played in Cleveland or Pittsburgh.
    Also overrated is the Tigers bullpen.Jones 2006 was an anomaly.His erratic pitching,which caused only chest pain last year,is causing heart attacks in 2007.Comparing him to Rivera(the real Yankee MVP for the last decade) due to the latters bad April is laughable.
    I think what happened with the defense yesterday is that the Tigers confused the red of the Angels uniforms for the Cardinals.

  56. That was a heck of a game. I think the mark of a true team, one with multiple leaders each able to step up to the plate so to speak, is it’s ability to work hard from a deficit. Last night, though they lost, is just one perfect example of such. They never gave up. And that work ethic is what Leyland has pushed. Last night also reminded me of what I’ve noticed over the last few seasons–even under Trammell–is that they do their best work in the later innings as a general rule. I for one will take a loss in which they committed 3 errors but came back to take the lead before lossing in extra innings. Not many teams can fight back from being down by 7. Glad the Tigers are one of those teams.

  57. I think that around here, most of us would say that Tram was a great player.

    Look at Jeter’s numbers. They’re already better than Trammell’s and he’s played 9 fewer years. He’s more than likely going to end up with 3000 hits, which standing on it’s own will legitimately qualify him for the hall. He’s had three MVP worthy seasons (finishing 3rd, 6th, and 2nd), two of which came during the high-point of the steroid era. He’s a World Series MVP, he’s finished in the top 5 in the batting race 5 times (finishing 2nd twice), top 10 in OBP 5 times, he’s won 3 Gold Gloves and 1 Silver Slugger.

    On top of that he’s made more clutch plays than anyone I can remember watching, battles at the plate, plays hard in every phase of the game, and has been remarkably durable while being totally reckless with his body.

    But yeah, nobody would know who he is if he played in Cleveland. Just like nobody’s ever heard of Roberto Alomar or Bob Feller or Jim Thome or even Grady Sizemore.

  58. I guess the way I look at the Jeter argument is as follows:

    There is a group of people that overrates Derek Jeter. You will meet (or read) people who will tell you that Derek Jeter is the best player of the last two decades. These people will point to his intangible qualities to make this argument, because they are generally willing to acknowledge that he is not statistically the best player of the last two decades. He gets an added boost in peoples’ estimation, because, though he played in the steroid era, he is generally (and, I hope and believe, correctly) perceived not to have used performance enhancing drugs.

    Because the aforemention group tends to ignore statistical evidence and rely on nebulous concepts like “intangibles” and “clutch ability”, there has arisen a second group of people that point out that Derek Jeter is overrated — in the sense that he is not the best player of the last two decades, nor a messiah at shortstop who single-handedly delivered his team four championships.

    Some people, confronted with the evidence of the second group, make the mistaken inference that in arguing that Jeter is overrated, this second group is claiming that Derek Jeter is not very good at all.

    The truth is, I think, that Derek Jeter is overrated — but only in the sense that he is not the best player of his generation. Even if he played in Cleveland, and won no championships, he would be shoe-in for the Hall.

  59. Nate, that’s a really great comment on the topic, and I certainly wouldn’t claim that Jeter is the greatest player of his generation. However, he is ONE of the greatest players of a remarkable generation of ballplayers. And I think it’s hard to be overrated if that’s the case. I’ve never run into anyone–maybe a total homer of a Yankee fan–who has claimed Jeter is THE greatest player of his generation.

    I remember guys like Neyer saying he was overrated simply because people wanted to put him in the conversation with ARod and Nomar. And I think that as time has elapsed, it has become more and more clear that Jeter most certainly is in that conversation. He sure looks like a more sure-handed fielder than A-Rod as of the last two years and obviously we can forget about Nomar.

  60. Joey- just want to point out that Jeter’s defense was ranked very low according to many fielding metrics until A-rod came to town, when he improved to average/slightly below average. I don’t know why that might be the case, but if Rodriguez really is impacting Jeter’s defensive effectiveness, there is some circular logic present in that comparison.

    Personally I think Derek Jeter is overrated by many fans, and I think Derek Jeter got robbed of an MVP award last year in a very similar way to Tram in ’87. Overrated AND deserving of an MVP: the lights in NYC shine bright, indeed.

  61. Joey C., I think you’re right: I am probably setting up a strawman by saying that Group #1 says that Derek Jeter is the best player of his generation.

    But I think he is the most-written-about player of his generation, and many of the opinion pieces about Jeter focus on what he can do that someone like A-Rod, who I think has been the better player (except for last year, maybe), cannot. I think that, because (1) he has won a lot of championships on a very popular team, and (2) he is a genuinely interesting player — the leader of what is arguably the most interesting team (at least to tabloid sports journalism) in baseball — frequently he is lionized at the expense of at many of his peers who are genuinely better players.

  62. Nate, I think that’s totally true. People love to write about Jeter’s leadership ability and clutchness (or clutchosity as the case may be). And I know that a lot of my respect for the guy comes from my opinion that he does exhibit these noble qualities. I just can’t divorce these more human characteristics from my evaluation of baseball players and I don’t understand the need to do so.

    Similarly, I can’t discount that ARod is seems to be a moron or that he has failed to produce when the chips were down. I can’t forget about that contract he signed with Texas and how he lobbied to be traded after things didn’t work out all gravy. I can’t forget about all the dumb stuff he says to the press or his crying about the fans in NYC.

    But ARod has unbelievable numbers and when all of the people who saw them both play are dead, and there’s nobody to bring up Jeter’s intangibles, ARod will likely be remembered as the greatest player of his generation.

  63. David, I’m actually a recovering sports writer. I’ve spent a lot of time in locker rooms which is nothing to brag about. But you need a guy on your team that says, ‘this is the way it’s done around here. the tigers don’t have that guy. Trammell was that kind of guy as a player; you just knew he wasn’t going to do something stupid. Now Whitaker, injured down the stretch in 88 doing the hustle at a party, that’s another story.

  64. Stephen, while I respect your opinion as a former sports writer, I have to question whether those of us on the outside (including beat reporters, although they certainly have more access to such information than fans do) can really know that the Tigers lack that kind of leader.

    What are the signs of a good leader? What are the signs that the Tigers lack a good leader? How do you differentiate between good and bad leadership and good and bad luck? How do you differentiate between good and bad leadership and good and bad players around the leader?

  65. Nate, all good questions and much better than the ones most sportswriters come up with. Leadership really is an undefinable thing and i think great teams have both simply great players–ARod– and great leaders–Jeter. And yes, I know they are under
    .500. Even great players need decent starting pitching.

    Then again, a lot of my grousing comes from being in L.A. and listening to the Angels radio broadcaster rejoice over their victory. Man, he is awful.

  66. Jeter is a good player-a very good player.Not even close to the best player of his generation(Rodriguez).He’s made some good plays in the spotlight(earning the clutch label by cliche driven sportswriters),his defense is average(the GoldGloves were gifts),he’s the second best shortstop on his team(the third best in New York),and when arguing his intangibles,don’t forget to mention CaptainDerek not ceding SS to the better player,a period of time coinciding with the Yankees and their numerous AllStars failing to win a World Series.That’s not to say Jeter changing positions would have delivered a championship,but(since his name was mentioned upthread) contrast that with StevieY changing his game to make the Wings winners.

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