Game 9: Tigers at Blue Jays

PREGAME: So the Tigers already have a pattern in this young season. Drop the series opener, and then come back and take the rest of the games in the series. So make of that what you will as Detroit opens a new series in Toronto.

Has a dome ever looked more appealing? Gone will be the talk of cold impacting hitting and fielding and everything else. Let’s just hope the turf doesn’t effect any extremities.

If the offense responds tonight, the temperature will be given the credit. However, the Tigers showed signs of life last night. Despite the 11 scoreless innings, they did have 18 baserunners – they just couldn’t get the big hit until the 12th.

For the Tigers it will be Mike Maroth who will look to extend the 14 1/3 inning scoreless streak put up Tigers starters the last 2 nights.

Tomo Okha will take the mound for the Blue Jays. The Tigers as a team haven’t faced Ohka since 1999. But some of the current Tigers have had success in very limited at-bats.

Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez will swap duties tonight. Maggs will shelter his knees from the artificial surface while Sheffield will try to get into the flow of the game playing right field.

It will also be the first start for Mike Rabelo. He’ll be hitting 8th. And as a switch hitter will bring another lefty stick to the lineup.

Game Time 7:07

And great job everybody last night in the game thread. That was fun.

Nice win tonight. The Tigers got enough offense, and some help from the Toronto defense, to push across 5 runs. It was especially nice to see Brandon Inge swing the bat the way he did. He put the ball in play each time up, which was a win. Plus, 3 of the 4 balls were hit hard. It didn’t even look like the same guy at the plate as last night.

Mike Maroth somehow managed to hold the Blue Jays to 2 runs despite allowing 9 hits (5 for extra bases) in 6 innings. They were tough innings, but he helped protect a bullpen short on arms. The double play by Troy Glaus may have been the difference in the game.

Granderson struggled in his 2nd straight game, this time picking up 3 strikeouts.

Jose Mesa was about what I expected. He made some nice pitches, but then he walked Jason Smith on 4 straight. Joel Zumaya came on and looked quite awesome. Though the baserunners scored, the second one was on a jam shot.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tigers 5, Blue Jays 4
Fangraphs Win Probability

95 thoughts on “Game 9: Tigers at Blue Jays”

  1. Is it just me, or did Inge look absolutely terrible last night? Yeah, he got his first hit, but 1-for-23 isn’t exactly something to be excited about. And the error, and he allowed an infield hit on a roller to 3rd.

    I used to agree with the experts when they said there wasn’t a weak link anywhere on the Tiger’s lineup. Not anymore.

    What about putting Sheffield at 3rd base for a while and sending Inge to Toledo?

  2. Ordonez/Sheffield switch seems like a good idea, maybe we’ll see more of that to help spread out the aches and pains. They seem like pretty similar defenders.

  3. Erik – I agree he looked horrible in his later at-bats. He did well in his first two, but the overall picture is bleak. The error was all his fault, but the slow roller was on Polanco. He should have been on the base, and given the runners involved the easier play was at 2nd.

    I’m not sure Inge can even be sent to Toledo because I believe he is out of options.

  4. Did you see Dombrowski sitting on the bench? I don’t know if he still is now the game has started but he was there during the pregame show. If I was Brandon I would avoid his gaze like the plague.

  5. I already voted twice for my favorite Tigers blog, billfer — keep up the fantastic work.

    I’m not going to overreact just yet and start talking about dumping or trading Inge — especially since he’s apparently a “heart-and-soul of the Tigers” kinda guy. But I’ll be honest — I’ve never been an Inge fan, and the arrogance in the past week (“there’s nothing wrong with my swing”) does not bode well for the season.

    Let’s hope I’m wrong and he turns into this year’s Magglio.

  6. I’ll be honest with you, I had never even heard of Tigers weekly before it was in SI. (I’m sure the same could be said for my blog!) I’d have voted for ya Bilfer if I didn’t have to vote for me!

  7. The difference being that he took an aggressive swing at a hittable pitch. Glad to not see the check swing plague of last night!

  8. I hear ya Kurt. The reason I didn’t post the link for voting before was out of respect to you and Lee. I think we all do a pretty good job.

  9. Really nice job on Inge’s part. Ohka made a bad pitch and Brandon stayed back and hammered it. A really nice at bat…

  10. C-Mo went with the high socks last night, and again tonight. I don’t think he’ll be dropping them any time soon.

    Long live the power of high socks!

  11. I just paid the extra five for premium. It’s lookin pretty nice if any of you are considering it. Considering this is the only way I can watch the Tigs, I think it’s worth it.

    Look at Craig get those hands in!

  12. Have any of you caught the little love-fest that Curtis and Bill Simmons have going on right now?

  13. And the rookie Rabelo looks pretty good tonight much to my relief. Seems to have a pretty strong arm, too.

  14. Come on Mike. Four runs is an offensive outburst lately. Let’s not give em all back at once.

  15. Royce Clayton…going on 10 years of being terrible.

    Who the hell is this guy? The goatee and nerd goggles are killing me.

  16. Good to see Mike settle down a little bit after a visit from the Chuckster.

    Joey C – I’m a regular guy, is it a significant difference? I’m happy with the 400k stream, but $5 more isn’t bad if it really looks nice, since this is the only way I get Tiger games in Idaho…

  17. Didn’t realize the Wings’ game was on here…it’s on a network I’ve never heard of. Nice! It looks a little like one of our men’s league games against the teams that have younger, faster guys…poor Calgary.

  18. Bix,

    It’s actually 5 extra a month, or 30 if you’ve purchased the full season.

    I don’t know what to tell you. I’m happy spending the extra 5 a month for a clearer, larger image, but this isn’t a mindboggling improvement. If you go full screen it still looks pretty choppy–although now you can actually make out faces pretty clearly in full screen.

    If you’re watching a lot of games and have a little extra dough to spare, I say pull the trigger. Otherwise just stick with what you have.

  19. Bix, please don’t say poor Calgary. You know how the playoffs roll. I was actually upset we ended up with the #1 seed. Those 8th seed teams terrify me.

  20. don’t know if it’s the dome weather, or whether I’m way underqualified to analyse…but Maroth looks pretty smooth/comfortable out there compared to last year, not jerky at all. I wonder if I’m imagining, or whether he was just pitching through elbow pain last year affecting his mechanics

  21. I just noticed I have the Wings on three stations: CBC, FSN and Versus or whatever that is. That’s weird. And why would anyone who gets CBC ever watch hockey on FSN?

  22. Joey – re: the Wings – true, tho at least it’s not San Jose…too many horrible memories. re:, ya $5/mo is what I meant…only reason I didn’t ante up when I signed up initially was that I didn’t have interest in the mosaic. But it’s probably worth a try for a month at least. Thanks for the input.

    Casey kills me. He runs like he has a piano on his back, but runs hard nonetheless. I see why he’s hard to dislike.

    c’mon Brandon…

  23. Uh, show of hands — this game is WAAAAAAY too close to have Mesa up in the pen…

    /raises hand.

  24. Bix wasn’t it the Calgary series in which Stevie to that puck to the eye?

    That’s a series that I’d like to forget. I was happy Edmonton didn’t make the cut.

  25. I can’t help but feel kinda bad for The Hurt. I’d like to see him taste at least a smidgen of post-season success. He came up in a number of crucial situations last year and just didn’t get it done.

  26. Okay…I’ve officially seen enough of Mesa for the evening. Lead-off walk on 4 straight to Smith…terrible.

  27. It was the right call. First of all it looked like hit toe was getting the bag initially. And you could definitely see him dragging it over the bag as he stepped over. And it was all ahead of the runner.

    On another note, Jason Smith should never be walked on 4 pitches.

  28. Hi all. I’m late to the party again, but YAY Brandon again. 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs. What a relief. And speaking of relief, our bullpen has been anything but, tonight.

    Oh yeah, go Wings. I’m not really a hockey fan, but I’m not too proud to jump on the bandwagon. 🙂 I always like to see Detroit teams do well.

    Now I have to go vote for Billfer. Thanks for the link!

  29. Is anyone here still not used to rooting FOR Gary Sheffield?

    All right, let’s shut them down now boys.

  30. Haha…Ben, it is still a very strange feeling seeing him in a Tiger uniform. And I’m not sure my reaction to someone wearing 3 would be as strong if it were someone who isn’t a gun for hire.

  31. Honestly the first time I saw that bat waggle and the olde English D, I felt relieved knowing he wouldn’t be on a team opposing us.

  32. Nice!

    Zumaya looked great in the 9th.

    That was a really good win tonight. We built a lead and our bullpen held off a late push from a very good offense. That’s the kind of play you expect from a top flight team.

  33. Still like someone else said, nice to see him work the count for a walk his last AB.

    Tonight was a good win and a nice preview of things to come in the closer role…As my dad said, “God couldn’t hid that breaking ball”

  34. I think having the number retired is a bigger honor than having it handed to a steroid-scandal connected, 7-team playing, prima donna in his first year with the organization.

    And really, despite my sense that Sheffield wearing it brings it into clearer relief, Sheff doesn’t have anything to do with it:

    Trammel’s number should be retired because of all he meant to the team, the fans and the city.

    Look around the pro-sport landscape and tell me he isn’t at least as derserving as most other athletes who’ve had their numbers retired.

  35. Sorry, on first read it seemed your comments were directed at another poster. I think your ire was actually aimed at Sheffield, so I take back what I said.

  36. Great win Tigers!
    And of course, I’m 100% with Joey on the “Sheffield wearing #3 is a sham” train. Can’t believe the Tigers allowed it, or even asked Trammell if it was ok with him. I’m glad we got Sheffield, and I think he’ll be a big factor for him, but come on…Trammell wore the Olde English D at a high level with high class for 20 years!

  37. Our first complete game. I mean that in the sense we had all phases working: starting pitching, situational hitting, power hitting, defense, and bullpen. That was a great totally legitimate win on the road against the FIRST PLACE BJ’s. Hmm, sorry about that “first place BJ” sounds like this should be posted on a different sight…

    As for Inge. My opinion: his third at-bat was his best. He went up with an actuall approach, took a really tough outside pitch and pushed it. If he had tried to pull that pitch it would have ended up a DP. Great, great approach and at bat. If he continues to go the other way then he will finally start earning that contract extension. Really well done on his part. Good for Brandon.

    If I were a fan for another team I would petition major league baseball to outlaw Joel Zumaya as making the game “rigged and unfair”. All I could do was giggle in the 9th.

    Bondo vs Halladay tomorrow. This is like the Earp’s meeting the Clanton’s. Can’t wait, fill up the beer fridge, this is going to be good…

  38. I do disagree–rather strongly–with Kathy on this one, but I really didn’t mean to attack her–and I apologize if that’s the way it reads.

  39. I second Joey C’s ire.

    I’ve got nothing against Sheff and hope he helps bring the Tigers back to the Series this year, but the issue is that there’s no chance he’ll ever be in Trammell’s league.

    The way the organization used Tram for the publicity and then spit him out is shameless. He and Whitaker should have had their numbers retired in one ceremony a decade ago. It’s not Sheff’s fault that the number was still available, but the contrast between a player who spent 2 decades in one uniform and one who is the ultimate mercenary if pretty extreme.

  40. The number isn’t retired. That’s not Gary’s fault. He has a perfect right to wear it. If Detroit wanted it retired it would have been. I have just as much respect for Gary as I do for Tram. They are both absolutely outstanding players. I totally respect Gary Sheffield on and off the field just as I do Tram. As far as steroids, I don’t believe he used them. Period.

  41. Kathy,

    You are correct. #3 isn’t retired and Gary has the right to use it.

    My rebuttel would be that while the team has respected Gary by letting him use Trammell’s number, I would hope Gary would respect the team and the tradition by not even asking for it in the first place. Gary is the classic “entitlement player” (my term) in that he thinks he is owed a particular number, or other special treatments. As an all star vagabond he has terrific numbers, will help us win, and by many (even most) accounts he is a good teammate. But if he really cared about the team and city, and to a lesser extent baseball itself, he wouldn’t tread on a 100+ year old tradition of the English D by putting himself above the Tigers and Tiger History.

    If the situation were reversed, and it was Trammell coming to town he would not even consider taking such a number. Being a consumate “team” first pro he would put the team first and find another number. Sheffield is a “me” first pro and puts himself higher. This is his right, but it doens’t make him right.

    Sheffield wants to win, no question about it. So did Tram. But Sheffield wants it for himself first. Himself second. And the team 3rd.

  42. In your opinion, of course. Couldn’t disagree with you more. Al Kaline’s number is retired. Now, if he still asked to wear that number then I’d agree with you on the part “entitlement player”.

    You’re backstabbing him because you don’t like him.

    Go Tigers! I love all you guys.

  43. I’m actually with EZ on this one, thought I wouldn’t go so far as to label him.

    It doesn’t matter that my buddy decided not to marry the girl. If I’m any sort of friend, I gotta wait at least a little while before I sleep with her.

  44. I’m with EZ on this one too.
    I could care less about #3, but I do think it’s indicative of the type of person Sheffield is: he doesn’t know or care at all about Tiger tradition or history. To compare Gary Sheffield with Alan Trammell, the person, is a cruel joke. Trammell never shook anybody down for more money, never publically embarrassed his team or teammates, and never left a city or team on poor terms.
    Just because he’s always been a good offensive player, doesn’t give him the right to be a jerk whenever he feels like it.
    And Kathy, as far as the other point you attempt…you can believe what you want, but he’s already admitted – under oath – that he took steriods…he just did so “unknowingly.”

  45. Is there a reason that Zoom was closing over Jones? (besides the obvious) I still cannot find the FSN + channel here in Mt. Pleasant.


  46. Kathy, I am not sure how I back stabbed him…. I said that he was an all star, a good teammate, puts up good numbers, and wants to win. You have a strange concept of backstabbing.

    I did call Sheffield a vagabond. Sheffield has played for almost a quarter of MLB teams. I fail to see how that is overly derogatory. Don Imus I am not.

    I actually don’t dislike Sheffield. But by many accounts, at least in the media, Sheffield has long been considered a “me” first type of player. That doesn’t mean I dislike him.

    I do dislike that he wears number 3. Whether that number is retired or not is of lessor importance to me. Clearly you put a higher emphisis on the retirement question.

    In my opinion Sheffield should have not asked to wear Trammell’s number. After 19 years in the bigs he knows what that number means to Tiger fans. He certainly has the right to wear it, but out of respect to Tiger fans it would not have killed him to take another number. In my book that is a “me” first kind of guy.

    But I see your point. We agree to disagree.

  47. Walt, Leyland said before the game that Jones was unavailable yesterday. No reason given, but the assumption was that he had pitched too many days in the previous series. He should be good to go tonight, as well as a hopefully rejuvinated Rodney.

    From my CMU days when we couldn’t get a Tigers/Lions game we would go to Boomers at the Holiday Inn. They had satallite and could get the games that local cable couldn’t. Don’t know if it is still called “Boomers”, but it is an idea for you… Fire Up Chips.

  48. I thought about going to O’Kelly’s to watch it, but I may have looked funny doing lab reports there. I still had the wings game anyway.


  49. As I’m sure we all know Sheffield stated he asked for No. 3 to honor Trammell, a guy Sheffield said looked up to as a young shortstop, people believe he was just using that as an excuse to get the number?

  50. Didn’t Sheff also wear #3 as a Yankee? (I may be wrong about that, I admit) I think Sheff asked for the number he wanted, it had nothing to do with honoring Tram. Just MHO, as always. Personally, I’m neutral on Sheffield as a person. He’s no Trammel, but really, who is? I wish he hadn’t asked for #3, but he did, so let’s move on.

  51. No one wears 3 for the Yankees, as it’s Babe Ruth’s retired number. That’s why Alex Rodriguez wears 13, instead of 3 which he wore for both Seattle and Texas.

    I understand Tram’s significance to the organization, but my first real vivid memories of the Tigers and baseball were probably around 95-ish when I was 9-10 years old. So, Trammel isn’t as big of a part of my memories and isn’t as synonymous with the Tigers as he is for older players.

    Thus, I don’t think Sheff wearing 3 is a big deal and Tram gave the okay on it anyways.

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