Game 74: Tigers at Braves

PREGAME: The Tigers and Braves take center stage on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. This hasn’t worked too well this year, and with tonight’s tilt coming at the end of a 9 game road trip it wouldn’t surprise me to see the team struggle.

For the Tigers it will be Andrew Miller who looks to hold down an offense that has mustered 1 run in the last 4 games. Hopefully that number stays meager for at least one more night.

The Tigers will be opposed by Chuck James. James has decent peripherals, but a propensit for allowing the long ball with 14 in 81 innings.

Omar Infante will start in center and leadoff against the lefthander. Interesting to note that despite plans to get Craig Monroe into the lineup in NL parks by having him man centerfield on occasion, that never came to fruition.

For more see: DET @ ATL, Sunday, June 24, 2007 Game Preview –

Game Time 8:05


  1. Anne

    June 24, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I’m lately getting a really good feeling about our team, more confident and less worried. The bullpen, even Rodney and Jones, have put together 4 good games in a row and Rogers’s return was everything I hoped for and more. Plus Verlander’s more dominant with every start and Bonderman seems to get lucky when good fails, what’s not to like?

    That said, we’ll probably have our hats handed to us tonight, but even so, a 7-2 road trip is mighty sweet.

  2. Kevin in Austin

    June 24, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Nice catch by the Tigers fan!

  3. Slashpyne

    June 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Anybody notice the graphic with the Tigers team average with RISP: .338 Amazing!

  4. Ken from Cincinnati

    June 24, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    So far tonight you can really see what a long road trip will do to your bats. We just look sluggish up there. I’m going to look for a long ball from Thames or Infante, knowing they should be a bit more fresh. Like what I see from Miller so far on the mound, but imagine when this kid gets command of another pitch or two.

  5. billfer

    June 24, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Guillen brought the leather today. Two sweet plays so far.

  6. Kathy

    June 24, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    What a catch by Guillen.

  7. Slashpyne

    June 24, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    6th inning bases-loaded, no outs. Patient, skiiled hitting on display.

  8. billfer

    June 24, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Is it me, or did Magglio look he had some extra giddy-up coming home there?

  9. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Anybody else wondering about Casey batting for Thames only to have Leyland leave Miller in there to bat with one out and two men on? I ask this with Leyland yanking Bonderman early for a pinch hitter the other night fresh on my mind.

  10. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Granderson has been piling up some Ks the past couple of games.

  11. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Maggs did appear to be tearing around third on that play.

  12. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    How great is it to hear Gammons using the Tigers recent draft success as an example of how the current draft system allows the rich to get richer? We’ve come a long, long way in a very short period of time.

  13. Alan

    June 24, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    I wonder to why Leyland let Miller hit with bases loaded. Another hit and 6-0 looks a lot better than 4-0. However, tonight he might be thinking that Miller pitching late into the game or even a complete game is more important to the team. Then the bullpen will be fresh when they face Texas tomorrow night back in Detroit.

  14. Alan

    June 24, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Is it just me or does the Atlanta bullpen look scary? I’m looking at their pictures on Gameday and they look like mug shuts.

  15. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    I feel like this is the time to post the obligatory, “Joe Morgan sucks” comment.

  16. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Joe Morgan vs. Tim McCarver:


  17. Michael

    June 24, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    All I remember about McCarver is when he said during the Red Sox AL Championship, he said something to the effect of a walk being as good as a HR.

    Although nothing could be as bad as the comments made by the Fox announcer [the name escapes me at the moment] about Pinella’s Hispanic heritage. I was so surprised by that.

  18. Michael

    June 24, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    They just said that Texas wanted Cameron Maybin for Gagne?


  19. Anne

    June 24, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    Durbin has the stuff so far tonight.

    One more reason why I’ll be glad when interleague play is done is that criticism of Leyland seems to go up exponentially in NL rules. Who knew the simple act of pinch-hitting for your pitcher (or not) could generate so much controversy. Often the criticism seems to be justified, and yet Leyland managed successfully in the NL for years, and we are 7-1 so far in NL parks, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  20. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Didn’t realize that reading criticism of a manager was so terrible Anne. Kinda tough thing to avoid on a baseball blog I’m afraid.

    I’m actually looking forward for the baseball season to end so I can stop hearing people discuss game strategy.

  21. Kyle J

    June 24, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    With regards to pinch hitting for Bonderman and Miller, I think there were two distinct differences:

    1) We were already up 4-0 when Miller came up. Wasn’t the game tied when Bonderman came up?

    2) Miller hadn’t given up a run yet. I believe Bonderman had given up four runs at the time?

    I think both decisions were reasonable; there’s really no good answer in those sorts of situations the NL rules create.

  22. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Bonderman definitely looked shaky the inning before he was pulled.

  23. Michael

    June 24, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Durbin with a sac fly! He should teach Andrew Miller some stuff, haha.

  24. Kyle J

    June 24, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    When Gammons listed the Tigers with the Yankees and Red Sox as the three teams that could afford to overspend for talented players in the draft, I felt warm all over . . . in a perverse sort of way.

    More seriously, I’ve been thinking for a while that the Tigers may be the third team that could start to approach the $200 million spending ways of NY and Boston. A team with a long and fairly successful history, large metro area, a fan base that gets very excited over contenders, and arguably a baseball-first town (think of how the Tigers have already surpassed the Pistons and Red Wings as the talk of the town, despite the recent sustained success of those two teams). Nothing solid economically to back this up, just my intuition.

  25. Anne

    June 24, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    No Joey, I didn’t mean it like that at all, and I was afraid someone would take my comment that way. There is always plenty to debate about, but it seems to me a relatively minor thing (pinch-hitting for a pitcher) generates controversy completely out of proportion to its importance. My own personal opinion is I’ll be glad when that’s done.

  26. Alan

    June 24, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    I’m sure Atlanta is happy they scored that one run yesterday because coupled with today their consecutive scoreless innings would have been really noteworthy.

  27. Michael

    June 24, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    And we get a 5-0 shutout. Pitching looks like it may be coming together. I like… I like.

  28. Joey C.

    June 24, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    I think I like having a solid starter in the pen.

  29. Kathy

    June 24, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    ESPN likes us now!

  30. Stephen

    June 24, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Kyle J; i think that is your intuition talking. The Yankees are the Yankees and have a Yankee sized following and audience. The Red Sox are the lifeblood of an entire region, they sell out every game with the league’s most exspensive ticket. THe Tigers have Rod Allen and a dubious attendance record when the team isn’t good. I think the better analogy is the Orioles: revenue rolls in when they’re winning, plenty of good seats still available come game time if they’re sucking. I think this franchise is always going to ebb and flow with, hopefully, more flowing.

  31. Stephen

    June 24, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    And I know it’s just one start, but Miller looked sporadically dominant and more than capable of being a #5 starter on a team that scores a tone of runs.

  32. Kyle J

    June 24, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    I don’t think Baltimore is a good analogy: more limited history (in Baltimore, at least), smaller population base (especially with the Nationals in DC now), and not a big sports town.

    Not sure what the most comparable franchise would be in terms of economics/fan base. Atlanta? Philadelphia?

    My hope is that this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy: team wins, generates money, spends money to keep winning (and turns potential large fan base into long-term rabid fan base). This is all predicated on Illitch continuing to trust DD to make smart decisions with the money.

  33. Tater

    June 24, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    I have no data to back this up — always a good start to a post — but my sense is that ticket sales aren’t the key driver of being a have or a have not; rather, individual tv rights are. I think the data is out there, perhaps someone can verify? (Always a good end to a post.) Regardless, it was definitely nice to be lumped in with the rich getting richer.

    Tonight’s game reminded me a lot of the recent discussion of the pros and cons of Miller staying in the #5 slot vs. going back down to develop reliable offspeed pitches. His performance tonight supported both sides of the debate!

  34. ron

    June 25, 2007 at 12:27 am

    Let’s ring up four more.These guys are hummin’ along like a 57′ Vette.

  35. Kevin in Austin

    June 25, 2007 at 1:00 am

    Peter Gammons on SC just said “…Anaheim has an opportunity to join Boston and Detroit as one of the superpowers of the AL…”

  36. Kevin in Austin

    June 25, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Michael – you are referring to Steve Lyons. In my opinion, Fox’s reaction to his comments were entirely overblown. He made a joke about Piniella taking his wallet. Nothing more.

  37. Adam

    June 25, 2007 at 3:17 am

    I’m wondering if this series was necessarily us winning more than it was the Braves losing.

    I mean, how hard is it to beat a team that’s only scored a run in its last five games?

  38. Anne

    June 25, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Detroit an AL superpower? How times have changed! It was less than a year ago the media was laughing at the idea of the Tigs vs Yankees in the ALDS.

  39. Coach Jim

    June 25, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I like Chad Durbin. He’s an effective pitcher that doesn’t get credit for having star-quality STUFF. Does he get handed the 8th inning? Or will he get a 3-inning save every 3 days? It’s such a wacky idea I’d love to see it happen. Remember back in 1986 (?) the Padres tried an experiment where every pitcher just took turns throwing 3 innings?

    I noticed Andrew Miller threw mostly fastballs yesterday, but seemed to paint the black with every one. That velocity with that movement with that control reminds me of Mariano Rivera.

    Sad to see Mike Maroth go…and get so little in return. Surely he could have brought more than a 2nd-tier prospect.

  40. Dave from 'The ATL'

    June 25, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I was at the game last night. I think my 5 year-old son is turning into a closet Braves fan. I caught him doing the Tomahawk Chop a few times. I keep reminding him that he was born in Ann Arbor and we’re Tiger fans! We were surrounded by lots of Tiger fans. It was great.

    Going to a game at Turner Field makes you realize how great Detroit fans are and how nice Comerica Park is.

    Turner Field’s not bad, but the Copa’s rockin’!

  41. Dave V

    June 25, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    I think Chad Durbin might find that being put in the pen is the best thing that could happen to him. When you are an alleged “fill in” starter many of your accomplishments go unnoticed while fans await the “real” pitchers return. I agree with coach Jim Durbin has been outstanding and underrated as far as I am concerned. I think from the bullpen his talent will be much more appreciated. Especially with the struggles we’ve encountered there. The guy is better than a lot of people realize. It’s also great to have him there to return to the rotation if Miller or Nate struggle. Go Chad! Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage were once starters!!! If you think I’m crazy give it time!!!

  42. Kevin in Austin

    June 25, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Tom Grieve on the Rangers TV broadcast just made a great point. The difference b/w Casey and Monroe is that at 3-1, Casey takes a pitch. Monroe selfishly swings at 3-1, even though we are down by 6 runs.