Game 62: Mets at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers will try and take the series today on the strength of Andrew Miller’s left arm. Last year’s first round draft choice will be making his second Major League start. Since his debut he’s been working on incorporating a change-up into the mix. He had it in his arsenal against St. Louis, but only threw it one time.

The Tigers will be opposed by a guy with a little more experience in Tom Glavine. Glavine is the kind of guy that can give an aggressive team like the Tigers fits. He only strikes out 4.5 per 9 innings, but doesn’t walk many and induces lots of weak contact.

Game Time 1:05pm

POSTGAME: I was at a birthday party this afternoon, and just got done watching the game. Fifteen runs will cure a lot of ills, and for the second weekend in a row the Tigers closed out a series strong against a division leader.

  • Andrew Miller was solid. Not spectacular, not dominating, but definitely solid. I didn’t chart every pitch, but I only noticed one change-up, and that was to Wright in the first inning. Still, with his slider and some command of the fastball it will take him a long ways. He also showed quite a bit when pitching with adversity, and didn’t seem to rattle. That’s what I found most encouraging.
  • Tim McCllelland just called a pitch a strike. Seriously, why is he allowed to do this? Is it so he gets extra attention?
  • I had serious short term concerns when today’s 4-5 punch in the order became Marcus Thames and Omar Infante. Not to take anything away from either player, but they pale in comparison to Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen. Turned out to be not so much of an issue.
  • I still have longer term concerns with the health of those 2. Fortunately Maggs doesn’t sound too serious and was more precautionary. Guillen on the other hand? Hamstring spasm? I just don’t know. With the groin and now the hamstring these lingering type injuries are sure to take their toll.
  • Even though Thames final line wasn’t impressive, anyone notice him drive that ball to right center? And against Texas he shot the hole between first and second. Thames is going the other way, which should only help him.
  • Speaking of going the other way, Gary Sheffield made his first journey to Triplesville. He’s still swinging just as hard, but it seems much less pull intensive than earlier in the season. Just check out his 2 opposite field shots in Texas as further proof.
  • And with Sheff on 3rd after the triple, Rod Allen finally got his wish with the squeeze. And Rod even called it to. I know Rod calling the squeeze isn’t rare, but I’m glad he got it right this time.
  • And while it was an excellent bunt by Infante, how did he not get to 2nd? The Tigers have been racking up baserunning miscues at an alarming rate lately. Pudge didn’t know the number of outs and failed to score from second today. And in Texas there were a couple instances where guys didn’t score from 2nd on balls hit deep to right. I feel bad complaining about this offense, but I just want to see them get all the runs they deserve.
  • Oh Jason Grilli. You had been looking so good. And then some hits, and then over throwing, and then the wildness, and then the grooving of pitches. Shake it off Jason.
  • And Fernando. This is 4 straight appearances in which you’ve given up a run. Consistent yes. Good, no. Rodney is the key to the bullpen right now, and really until Joel Zumaya can come back. And a run a game isn’t going to cut it.
  • And those birds, I don’t know. I heard some theory on the radio about moths recently hatching and the seagulls eating moths. I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve had a number of moths in my yard this weekend.

88 thoughts on “Game 62: Mets at Tigers”

  1. I can’t believe all those gulls on the field. They need to do something about that before a player or a bird gets hurt.

  2. Man, was that strike three on Wright, the pitch before?
    And those gulls are rats with wings. It’s time for the poison pellets.

  3. Those birds are a horrible distraction. Having to wait to make a pitch because the birds are crossing the pitching mound. They’re all over. It’s ridiculous.

  4. And Inge overtakes Monroe in batting average. Also, Magglio’s injury is supposedly quite minor and he may pinch hit.

  5. I remember when Randy Johnson absolutely destroyed a bird with his fastball.

    Check it out at YouTube here. All you see is a burst of feathers and a bird carcass tumbling rear-end over teakettle.

  6. Man I thought that Thames ball was in the gap. Would be nice for Infante to come through here.

  7. I really like Miller’s concentration during tough situations. Reminds me of Robertson last year.

  8. Goodness these boys can hit. Makes the shutout by Sosa on Fri even more impressive.

  9. I’ve heard alot of people poke fun at Rod Allen since he mostly was a minor leaguer and only played a few MLB games, but he really is a good strategist. He called that play.

  10. Ouch, a guy batting .212 goes yard. It would have been nice to let Miller get through the inning, regardless of pitch count.

  11. Yikes! I didn’t think my prediction of the need to score more runs would come to fruition so quickly!

    Man our middle relief stinks.

  12. Throw Grilli on the grill.

    Really, how bad can our bullpen be? Atrocious doesn’t even begin to describe the stench.

  13. Man, this is like the Red Sox last year. Great offense keeps you in playoff hunt, but bullpen blows up repeatedly. Team stays afloat for a while, but one too many soul-crushing blown leads and the team gets demoralized and packs it in come August. I hope that’s not the case here but the combination of injuries and incompetence not boding well.

  14. If it were a life or death situation, and you needed a hit to live – would you rather face Grilli or Mesa?

  15. The radio crew is questioning the fans booing Grilli. Um, weren’t they at the game yesterday when the Tigers’ bullpen nearly gave the game away?

    The fans are frustrated with the bullpen’s inability to put the game away. We got used to our starting pitchers handing the ball (and a lead) over to the bullpen and keeping that lead for the win.

    That hasn’t happened as frequently this season.

  16. Man, if you can’t boo a guy whose ERA just went over 6.00 and seemed more preoccupied with chasing a gull away, who can you boo?

  17. Grilli’s done so well in recent games and not it’s right back to square one. Awful outing. Can he ever be trusted to have some consistency?

  18. PLEASE… stop the homerism by the Grilli supporters (that are so silent around this time). Name a solid reason he should be on this staff.

    I’m sure the guy is great in the Pen, and a good guy, but this is a championship club, and he is **not** championship material. Period.

  19. Incredible how Leyland has pulled all the right strings in the field this year, especially as of late (though Thames batting 4th today hasn’t panned out…yet), but Leyland has not been able to wrap his hands around the pen.

    I will admit that Dombrowski has to take some of the blame for the pen’s failures. Let’s just hope that moving Durbin/Miller/Maroth there in a few weeks coupled with a healthy Rodney and then Zumaya will bet us back into championship form.

  20. Byrdak for president!

    Arm to consider: Octavio Dotel, the Royals. Not brilliant, but getting healthy and probably could be grabbed fairly cheaply.

  21. After an 11-inning game last night, the Indians and Reds are now scoreless after 10 today. C’mon Cleveland, just lose this one. Please. Assuming our pen will hold up today.

  22. I mentioned the other day, Ron Darling suggested Inge was hitting better because his broken toe prevented him from taking his trademark, over-striding, looping swing. As long as his toe is broken, i remain staunchly in his corner.

  23. Adam and your anti Inge co-horts; down on your knees and beg for forgiveness- don’t forget those all important stat sheets.

  24. Believe it or not, I have lost the signal on my TV. Anyone else watching with comcast having this trouble.

  25. Looks like a good one in Cincinatti. Michaels just got thrown out at home after a fly ball to end the top of the 12th.

  26. I take this Tigers offense for granted. I know we’re good at the dish. We can debate the merit of having Inge and Casey at the corner infield positions and if we can carry that to the WS again, but this offense just spoils me. I read and look and hear that we’re No. 1 in baseball in all of the offensive categories but I always look at a team like Boston and think “I wonder what it’s like to have that offense.” It just hit me today that, regardless of our short comings with certain players, this offense is just so damned good.

    Our pitching will come around. I know scoring 23 runs in a series off the best pitching staff in the NL has left me overly optimistic, so someone remind me of this when we hit another skid in the road.

  27. ron: I don’t think I’ve ever bashed Inge. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve defended him way too many times…

  28. Jim Price said on the radio that the Tigers haven’t won a game since May 2 where they didn’t score at least 6 runs. That’s troubling. The offense will cool down at some point; I just hope the pitching (best in the ML last year) picks it up at the same time.

  29. And imagine if the pitching and hitting are clicking at the same time. Talk about unstoppable.

  30. Oh, Guillen’s injuries are why he’ll look good at 1st base next year with A Rod at SS. Who’s with me?

  31. So I was drinking a glass of water when I ran across this. The spit-take almost cost me a monitor.

    “They didn’t give me an opportunity to pitch,” Mesa said. “[When they did], I didn’t do my job. Every five days [is] not going to do it. They didn’t let me pitch. Sometimes you feel strong [when you don’t pitch a lot] and you try to throw hard, and the ball stays up. They decided to go [with someone] else. No question about it, I’m real happy to get out of there.”

    Mutual joy, to be sure. Yep, he got a job in Philly. One week ’till the Tigers get to take some cuts against him. Unable to find any info about how much money this savesthe team. Really puts our pen troubles into perspective.

    In a month do we get to see Neifi talking about how we never gave him a chance to bat?

  32. The Tigers have now outscored every other ML team by at least 32 runs for the season.

    Has a team ever gone from dominating in runs allowed to dominating in runs scored from the one season to the next (as least over the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the season)?

  33. Kathy, you wouldn’t want the best player of this current generation and head and shoulders the best play in the world right now at SS for the Tigers? I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you must be crazy!

  34. While I agree that was both strange and troubling, Greg, I don’t believe the bullpen will be allowed to continue being a 5+ ERA pen. I just see it as the hitters picking up the pitchers in the meantime.

    And yes, I would love to see a batting order with Guillen AND A-rod. Never going to happen, but it would be pretty cool to see.

  35. You’ve got to have faith Kurt! Note: I fully believe that ARod is opting out at the end of this season, and I suspect he’ll probably land with the Cubs.

    Also, I was thinking, Griffey and Adam Dunn’s on the trading block, reportedly, and I know offense isn’t our problem (bullpen right now), but what about moving Monroe and/or Thames for bullpen help and taking a flier on Griffey (who’s got more HR’s, I believe then Sheffield in the month of May..if not more, it’s right behind him) for a corner OF position?

  36. Mike R: Crazy? Maybe. Or perhaps many of us find A-Rod to be a distracting and unpleasant presence, and would prefer him to be as far away from us as possible. He is obviously amazing, but the combination of his bratty attention whoring and whiny insecurity would make the Tigers a less enjoyable team for us to follow.

    I don’t even know why we’re talking about this silly subject.

  37. I only brought it up because it’s an off day today and there’s not much else to talk about besides Mesa’s ludicrous comments.

    Also, we’ve already got one “bad attitude” character in Gary Sheffield. ARod’s not going to a contract similiar to what he’s got now, so where ever he signs next will get him for a lower cost then what the Rangers gave him. And his “bratty attention whoring” is more due to the NY Media reporting every little thing he does. Spotlight is less intense in Detroit (or non-existent, actually) and thus, less attention and non-baseball related things would get out/be written about/get nation-wide attention.

  38. First of all, Mike R., the Tigers can’t afford A-Rod plus I just don’t think he’s a Tiger kind of guy. But that’s just my opinion. So, no, I’m not crazy. However, I think you might be a little crazy calling Sheff a “bad attitude” character.

  39. Not the point, Joey. There were concerns about his bad attitude and Me-first nature, as well as health issues, before the season. That’s what I’m saying.

  40. How is ARod not a Tiger player? And Sheff had problems in Atlanta and LA and was having verbal wars with the Yankees organization. He’s left most organizations on bad notes.

  41. I know the Tigers getting ARod is less then 3%, however, it’s not like we don’t have money to throw around.

    Mike Maroth’s deal is up at the end of this year, which is $5.25 million off the books.

    Neifi Perez’ contract is up which is $5 Million.

    Sean Casey’s $4 million is off the books after this year.

    Craig Monroe’s $4.775 million deal is off the books after this year as well.

    Kenny Rogers’ contract is done as well, which was worth $16 million over 2 years.

    I assume we’ll resign Monroe, for say, 3 years/12-15 million. Maybe more. I think Maroth is either traded or we let him walk at the end of the season. We’re going to pick up Pudge’s option barring a major injury to him.

    So Maroth, Neifi, and Casey’s contracts coming off totals $14.25 million. Plus the $8 of Kenny’s deal coming off, if we don’t resign him gives us $22.25 million worth of salaries at the end of the year that are coming off the books. And that’s even assuming we’re going to resign Monroe, which might not be a safe assumption as he could be dealt next off season or even at the deadline with his expiring contract for bullpen help.

    Take the $22.25 million + an entire season’s worth of sellouts + Mike Illitch already being a rich man and showing he’s willing to spend for free agents = the Tigers with money to spend.

    *Note, this assumes we’re letting Maroth walk and not trading him. If we trade him, we’ll be taking on a salary back, so who knows how much.

    I know we’re not getting A-Rod, but we’re not exactly the Marlins with no money to spend.

  42. Sorry, I was wrong. Cut Maroth’s deal in half, as it’s the last year of a 2 year deal. So he’s getting $2.95 this year and Neifi’s making $2.5 this year.

    So, $2.95 + 2.5 + monroe’s 4.775 + kenny’s 8 = 18.225.

    I completely screwed all that math up. Still, $18.225, if we let Monroe walk you can put Sheff/Thames in LF and add a full season of sell-outs and we still have a good amount to throw around.

    Just wanted to clear up my crappy math of adding their total contract values together for some unknown reason.

    and I’m done with insane ARod to detroit talks.

  43. Mike, did you really just suggest we should let Kenny and Maroth walk??

    Maroth’s days here are probably numbered, but he still has value. We can at least trade him for some bona fide bullpen help.

    And Kenny…. if he bounces back from the injury, why wouldn’t you re-sign him?

  44. It probably won’t happen, but it is fun to think about. I think A-Rod/Detroit would be a great combo, both for A-Rod and the Tigers. A-Rod might not know it yet, and apparently some Tiger followers don’t know it yet — but in my opinion, he would be better served coming to Detroit than the Cubs — (some have suggested the Angels) Again, I agree, it probably will never happen, but to say A-Rod isn’t a Tiger-kind of guy? I disagree. I think he would absolutely excel with the Tigers, al a Ty Cobb variety. He’s not a bad guy. He wants to WIN, and believe it or not, I think the guy is a team player. Big media pressure off is what A-Rod needs (in my opinion)… I’ve seen A-Rod get booed in Yankee stadium — and I’ve seen what it does to his ensuing preformances. Forget his 2005 MVP performance, a small slump renders a whole mess of fair-weather Yankee fans — on top of that you got Steinbrenner’s insane tirades, etc., etc. The bottom line, the NY Yankee expectations get into his head. He tries TOO hard, and he can’t get into a groove there.

    Tiger fans would NEVER boo A-Rod (no, he’s not Jason Grilli). If he came to Detroit he would be loved, regardless. And…mark my words, he would hit 50 homers (even at Comerica), have 160 RBIs, and would probably vie for a Triple Crown… the guy is simply amazing. Put him in the right environment, let him excel, and future generations will utter his name with Ruth and Cobb… guaranteed.

    The one variable that would help make it happen (in Detroit) is if the Tigers could make a WS run AGAIN and win… I think Scott Boras could sell him the idea of a smaller market/less publicity if the Tigers could demonstrate that they were in the making of a serious baseball dynasty juggernaut, like the Yankees in the late nineties (we do have good young pitching – and the current offensive pieces don’t hurt the argument). From what I know about A-Rod, he REALLY wants to get a ring (or two) and he knows that WS titles are the MAIN objective in NY. Coupled with bottomless pockets, the NY Yankees are the logical choice for a player who can more or less pick or choose where to play.

    A-Rod to Detroit insane? Naa. Probable, or even possible? That’s an entirely different matter.

  45. Jeff: I agree that Maroth should be traded. With his struggles and questions surrounding his arm his value has decreased, so how much “bona-fide bullpen help” can we get for him? He’s pitching at a 6.48 FIP clip, much worse then his 5.29 ERA indicates. And I wasn’t suggesting we let Maroth walk, I was suggesting that his contract comes off the books. And if Chad Durbin keeps this up (long shot), he’s a decent No. 5 guy. I would like to deal Nate Robertson in the offseason, personally.

    And I’d like to have Kenny back, but I need to see he’s healthy enough to carry a full season workload. Kind of sit and wait a la the Red Sox with Curt Schilling.

    T Smith: I’m a huge A-Rod fan and supporter, but 50 HR’s and 160 RBI’s is pretty absurd. His HR totals would dip but his double’s numbers would rise. He’s well on his way to being talked about as best player ever. If he stays healthy, he’ll break whatever the HR record will be and make a run at the RBI record. Not to mention, I still think he’s the best defensive SS in the AL. I disagree that Boras will sell him on winning. Boras will sell him on “x team will offer you x amount of dollars.” Boras doesn’t care if ARod wins, he cares about getting his client the best deal. ARod loves Lou Piniella and it’ll take a great great deal to pry him from the Cubs, assuming they open the pocket books again next year, and in this inflated market, that’s not a guarantee.

  46. Hey Billfer, you wrote last week about Miller’s innings limit. I haven’t found a link where they actually say he has one. Can you pull one up?

  47. T Smith, I’m not a huge A-Rod fan but I agree with your logic and could see A-Rod excelling on a team like the Tigs.

  48. Mike R: Why do you think 50/160 is absurd? He’s on pace to reach 50 home runs/160 RBI this year … ??? Grant it, those numbers would drop at Comerica, but counter that with actually finding a REAL groove… I’m not saying those numbers would come easy, and it might be a push to achieve, but I would hardly say absurd. He’s that good.

    I guess I’m also not so much a cynic to believe $ is the only variable in A-Rod’s future. I mean, how much money do you need to make? When you’re already making millions and millions of $, don’t concepts like “history” and “legacy” play any role at all?

    If Scott Boras is that short-sighted to be driven only by the greenback, A-Rod would be well-advised to kick Scott Boras to the curb right now. If you want to acheive the status of “best baseball player ever” you need to take more into consideration than just how much x team or y team is willing to pay.

    Then again, I’m a romantic about these things… you may well be right.

  49. Chief – I didn’t intend that 190 to come off as an inning limit. I just estimated that if he were to join the rotation the rest of the season, he’d rack up at least that many innings.

    I haven’t heard an innings limit, but I would guess that it would be in the 150-160 range. I could see them letting him creep higher than that by throwing 10 or 15 innings in the bullpen in September.

  50. I think it’s absurd because the last player I remember driving in 160+ runs was Manny Ramirez in 1999. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. I’m not saying he doesn’t have the talent to do it, but I doubt he does. I think he’ll drive in 140-ish this year. I don’t care what his pace is. Magglio’s on pace for 80+ doubles and we know that’s not going to happen.

    Money isn’t the only variable in his future; he’s publicly stated his love for Lou Piniella, who is now back into managing. Couple that with the fact that the Cubs can throw around a good chunk of change, and you’ve got a pretty ideal match. Of course every player wants to win, but money is tough to turn down, no matter the amount you’ve made in your career. We only need to harken back to Sergei Fedorov and the Red Wings. he stated it wasn’t about money and then he bolted for Anaheim. This happens in sports often, perhaps, more then it should.

    And players get Boras as an agent because he gets them the high priced deals. He’s the Drew Rosenhaus of MLB. Hence why his players he represents plummet in the drafts (see: Rick Porcello). His job is to represent his clients wants and needs and those that get him have, normally, one want/need: money.

  51. Just looked up the RBI thing and Sammy Sosa had 160 in 2001 and Ramirez had 165 in 1999. It’s only been done 21 times in the history of baseball and before Manny Ramirez, hadn’t been done since 1938 when Jimmie Foxx had 175.

  52. Well, I think T. Smith is correct when he said A-Rod would be loved in Detroit. Yes, I’d love him but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. But Mike R. I’ll agree that Sheff has “attitude” but not necessarily bad attitude. His me-first attitude comes from his dysfunctional background and is really more of an attitude of survival. He’s always surrounded by drama but brings much of it on himself. The Yankees wanted Abreau and wanted Sheff at first. But you can bank this: the Yankees miss Sheffield.
    I like him because he is different and outspoken plus he’s a hell of baseball player.

    Sorry to post late, I had to babysit my son’s very ill German Shepard (the budster):(.

  53. I seriously doubt the Tigers would/could compete with the Cubs for A-Rod… which is why these discussions are mostly mute and just academic at this point (I guess we have to talk about something on off days). I’m well aware of the Pinella variable; but I also think the word is getting out just how cool it is to play for the Tigers (from Boras clients to boot).

    Look at Kenny Rogers…. he’s the perfect example. Kenny has publically said he loves the Tiger’s organization — he’s certainly been through his share of bumps in NY (both with the Mets and Yankees) and he’s actually a perfect example of the kind of player who flourishes on the smaller stage. I think smart players take notice how certain organizations are more willing to nurture a player’s career in exchange for playing in the smaller market. In addition, the smaller market might just give the player just enough breathing room to re-vitalize his career.

    Pudge has said he wants to retire in a Tiger uniform, Casey was very eager to stay on with the Tigers after last year — other players are watching to see how Sheff fares in the organization (after all, if Sheff — who is always at odds with his employers — can flourish in MoTown, there has to be something “special” about the organization) — virtually all the potential “has-beens” (Maggs included) — are thrilled to be playing in a Tiger uniform. Suddenly, these players are no longer discussed as potential has-beens but rather discussed as potential MVP caliber players playing for a championship-caliber team. The organization plays a huge role in bringing out the best of each player. I think smart players understand that.

    That said, here’s a radical perdiction: Casey becomes one of those type of players for the Tigers. He continues to produce in the second half, proves to be clutch, and finishes the year with a .315+ average, obp in the .400+ range … RISP in the .300+ range; and despite his lack of home runs (he’ll be lucky to hit 10 this year) the Tigers re-sign for another year. All the talk about acquiring a power first basemen mute. Casey WANTS to play for this team. Among other reasons, that’s what he’s playing for right now; to keep his job here in Detroit.

    If the Tigers can make the playoffs again — and if they can go deep in the playoffs and win, more and more players will catch on to what’s going on in MoTown. This is a good team to play for.

  54. ESPN had a telephone interview with Mike Maroth tonight. You could hear his kids in the background. Mostly talked about the great hitting this year and the problems with the bullpenn and what could be done to improve it. Of course, he was very diplomatic and said the starters need to go deeper into the games.

  55. Kathy: I agree, I love having sheffield. However, the Yanks problems stem more from injured pitching then a lack of offense; they’re 3rd in the majors in runs scored. That said, he could be missed in the clubhouse, but with all the veterans on that squad, I’d find that hard to believe. Sorry to hear about your son’s ill german shepard. I hope he’s okay.

    T Smith: Kenny and ARod are at different points of their careers. Kenny’s in his 40’s at the tail end and ARod’s still in the midst of what could be the best hitter’s career in t he history of the game. While I would love to be as optimistic that he’d look at the team he’d be surrounded with, I highly doubt that’d be the case or deciding factor. I think playing for Lou Piniella would be enough to put the Cubs over the top if the offers are similiar. Even though we probably can’t afford/won’t chase ARod (though, i remember a report being that we inquired about his availability last june.)

    ARod doesn’t need a small stage to flourish; he’s won an MVP in NY and game 1 against Detroit aside, Derek Jeter, Robby Cano and the rest of that lineup played as bad as ARod did. No one in the media is willing to mention that (Which is a whole ‘nother subject…). And look at his numbers this year, his career’s never needed to be re-vitalized. The sports world is littered with way more examples of people chasing the money instead of the championship. I think you’re kind of overly optimistic.

    Sheffield, Magglio, and Pudge all came here with health questions. Pudge was overpaid for being a mid-30’s catcher at the time (he’s proven to be paid accordingly to his value now, but at the time it was a larg amount of money for a catcher with question marks) Magglio had knee surgery and jury was out on if he’d ever be the same Maggs again and Sheffield was asked to switch positions and had injury woes last year.

    And, personally, I don’t care if Casey wants to play here or not, if there’s a better bat on the market at his position that we can afford to grab, then I feel we should take it. I like the guy and all, but it’s not picking sides for dodgeball with your friends; this is a business as much as it is a game.

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