Game 80: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: It’s pretty simple if the Tigers don’t want to get swept, they need to play better. They need to hit better, pitch better, and field better. Brandon Inge has missed 2 games at third and there have been two errors. Carlos Guillen is fumbling routine ground balls. Pitchers are walking batters and giving up homers. And hitters, well they haven’t been too bad, just not as hot as they were.

The pitching match-up is Scott Baker and Jeremy Bonderman – which would look to favor the Tigers – but I’m not taking anything for granted on this homestand.

Game Time 8:09pm

: I went to the game tonight, and it was just another example of how things have changed. Tonight was on field photo day. We went to this in 2002 and it was great. You get to go on the field before the game, and the players are in the outfield and you simply take pictures with them. You could go right up to Bobby Higginson and Matt Anderson and perhaps wait 3-4 minutes per player. Tonight was just a mass of humanity. The entire perimeter had to be 10 people deep. We showed up when the gates opened, and the lines at each gate stretched for blocks. There had to be at least 25,000 people at the stadium before 6:00pm, 2 hours before game time.

On to the game:

  • Of course just a terrific outing by Jeremy Bonderman. Seven K’s, one walk, and 6 hits, 5 of which were singles.
  • I think the key inning for Bondo was the 7th. He started the inning at 92 pitches (I believe, unofficial total from my scorecard) and I figured it would be his last. However, he retired the side on just 7 pitches (again unofficial) which allowed him to keep his pitch count in check for the 8th. If the Twins run it up to 105 or so in the 7th, they get to the pen an inning earlier.
  • Of course the pen didn’t falter today. Todd Jones made it look easy. I know the easy innings from Jones seem rare, but he did have 26 outings last year where he picked up 3 outs on 3 batters (not all 1-2-3, some of those were baserunners getting on and then a double play).
  • Scott Baker on the other side deserved better. I think he retired the first 7 hitters on 17 pitches. Even when guys would take the first pitch, it was usually for a strike. I only counted 5 really hard hit balls all night.
  • As the game progressed, I was just hoping that Jeremy Bonderman could hold them down long enough, because the Tigers do have a number of guys who can get a quick run by knocking one out. Stringing hits together just wasn’t going to work today. Luckily Marcus Thames came through.
  • I know Jim Leyland wants to keep trotting Craig Monroe out there hoping he’ll break out of his funk. But Monroe’s struggles and Thames homers make it hard to justify, at least for the time being.
  • Placido Polanco striking out on a night when only 2 Tigers fanned, and with a runner on third? I still can’t believe that happened.
  • I’ve now seen 3 Grandy triples in person this year. Sweet grab also on the Cuddyer play.
  • And a final note, the National Anthem singer tonight was Amber Strand Grand (at least I think that was her name). She was really quite good, and really quite attractive. Has anybody noticed if she’s done other games? I’m thinking she should be the Tigers version of Karen Newman.


  1. T Smith

    July 1, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    I perdict Maggs go yard tonight…

  2. Kathy

    July 1, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    So far, I’m not impressed. Bondo seems to be getting stronger as the game progresses. However, our bats are dead.

  3. Kathy

    July 1, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Until Grandy hit that triple.

  4. Kevin in Austin

    July 1, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Good snapshot of our slump. Get the leadoff hitter to 3rd with nobody out, PP strikes out…strand the runner. This won’t last forever, but it certainly is frustrating to watch.

  5. Kathy

    July 1, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Not very good at bats. They did this last night too. I had hoped Monroe would have a better at bat, but there he goes swinging at the first pitch. I’m going to start keeping track of what kind of pitches this guy throwing to each batter, although it will be hard because he only has to pitch 1 or 2 pitches and we go after it. Why don’t they make him work it a little more?

  6. Ken from Cincinnati

    July 1, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Sensational catch by Grandy. He’s easily our most exciting player to watch both offensively and defensively.

  7. T Smith

    July 1, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    If we want any shot at winning this game, Bondo is gonna have to give us 120 pitches tonight

  8. Mark in Chicago

    July 1, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    This team is incredibly frustrating right now. I worry that they will lose this game becaues they are not executing well (the AB’s after Granderson’s triple are a PERFECT example of that) and I know the Twins will when they get their chance.

    What an awful homestand so far….

  9. Kevin in Austin

    July 1, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Awwwwwwwwwww hell.

  10. Kathy

    July 1, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    All these All-Stars who can’t win a game. Pathetic.

  11. Chris in Nashville

    July 1, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    THATABABE Marcus!!! That was huge…the team needed that.

  12. Ken from Cincinnati

    July 1, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Hmmm…..who should we play in left field in the second half of the season….hmmmm

  13. PHT in HK

    July 1, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Complete game for Bonderman or time for some gas?

  14. Kathy

    July 1, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    I bet his mom is goin nuts!

  15. Ken from Cincinnati

    July 1, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    There’s no way in hell I would take Bonderman out. We know what happens when we go to the bullpen, and I don’t think Bondo’s pitch count is too bad.

  16. T Smith

    July 1, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    I know is was 110 pitches, but I think it would have been nice to see Bondo close this one out — first sign of trouble, pull ’em.

    I’m afraid to watch right now.

  17. Jason

    July 1, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    hang another one and hunter is gonna put it in left field. please jone-sy dont make me eat my words.

  18. Kevin in Austin

    July 1, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    I’m in complete shock. 3 hits. Heart of the lineup strands runners in scoring position with less than 2 outs twice. Jones protects a run one lead. I’ll take it.

  19. T Smith

    July 1, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    I feel very fortunate to win this one. And I think it’s time to stop platooning Thames. He’s wasting on the bench while Monroe continues to bounce into rally-killing double plays.

  20. Ken from Cincinnati

    July 1, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    I love my boy Marcus. He seems like a very likable guy and a class act. I don’t live in Detroit, but I haven’t heard any talk of Marcus complaining over playing time or asking for a trade even when he probably deserves more at bats.

  21. Kevin in Austin

    July 1, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    “one run”

  22. Bobby

    July 1, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Ladies and Gentlemen…

    Todd Jones: 1-2-3.

  23. Jason

    July 1, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    With that win, the Tigers get up off of the mat. Let’s hurt Cleveland this week, and we’ll be back in the lead.

    Scott Baker pitched about as well as you can pitch and still lose. The bats are coming back to earth, so the pitchers will have to step up. Bonderman and Jones answered the bell tonight.

  24. BigMax

    July 1, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Forget platooning Marcus. Is there any reason to play Craig Monroe?

    He isn’t running out his ground outs. He needs to be introduced to the bench or another city.

    Trade Monroe for a basket of balls, play Marcus at first against lefties and in left against righties and bring up Ryan Rayburn for left field against lefties.

  25. PHT in HK

    July 1, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Based on recent trends, we should get at most 1 or 2 more good appearances from the good Todd Jones before the bad Todd Jones shows up again.

  26. ron

    July 1, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    47 wins. I’m happy. I see them winning 50 more. GO TIGERS!

  27. Kathy

    July 1, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you, Marcus and Jonsey. Grandy, too, for that great catch in CF.

  28. cib

    July 1, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    I want to see Marcus in the lineup when I get to the park on Tuesday evening!

  29. Sam

    July 1, 2007 at 11:48 pm


    I really noticed from my seats tonight in section 324 that you can really see what kind of jump the OFers get on balls (especially in LF and CF). Grandy’s dive was great in the fact that he got a great jump on the ball. There was only one ball I noticed he did not get a great jump on (he still caught the pop-up in right center). He is a damn good CFer.

    On the flip side it was pretty scary the trouble Monroe seemed to have tracking the ball in LF. Maybe he had a bad night, maybe the lights were bothering him, but he seemed to get late jumps on all the balls hit his way.

    PS>> The catch by Cuddyer in RF was pretty damn impressive.


  30. T Smith

    July 1, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Marcus Thames hits a home run once every 16 at bats. If he had as many at-bats as Monroe, he’d have 16 home runs under his belt already, one behind Sheffield.

    It’s a no-brainer. I’m not sure what the situation is with Monroe, whether he has options or what, but if he does, let him work out this horrendous slump batting for the Mud Hens — not the Tigers. Our offensive has apparently fallen back down to earth. It was bound to happen. We need Thames, Raburn — even Timo Perez for all I care — over Monroe right now.

    If he can get his swing back in time for the expanded roster, by all means, bring him back. Until then, we need some production in LF and not such a huge hole in the lineup.

  31. Anthony

    July 1, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    I like Thames too, but really, he’s almost the exact same player as Monroe. He is a little bit better offensively, but he is abysmal in the field. He makes Monroe look like Andruw Jones.

    I don’t really blame Leyland for not playing him, because he is so bad in the field. I think the answer in LF is either Sheff (and get a DH), or Rayburn, or a trade. Thames isn’t any kind of upgrade.

    I would love for DY to be back and DH with Sheff in the field. I know that would never happen but I loved DY.

  32. T Smith

    July 2, 2007 at 12:05 am

    Thames hits a home run once every 16 at bats. If he had as many at bats as Monroe, he’d have 16 home runs right now, one behind Sheffield.

    It’s a no brainer. I’m not sure what the situation is with Monroe, whether he has options or not, but if he does, let him work out this horrendous slump batting for the Mud Hens, not the Tigers. If he gets his swing back by the time of the extended roster, by all means bring him back. But for now, we’re in a dog fight with Clevelend (and Minny breathing down our necks) we can afford any more coddling to get Monroe to snap out of this. The offense has apparently fallen back down to earth, as was bound to happen. Play Thames, Raburn — even Timo Perez for all I care –out in LF. Anybody but Monroe.

  33. Anthony

    July 2, 2007 at 12:33 am


    I actually met Amber by chance last week, through a friend, and this was her third or fourth game this year. She also did a Wings playoff game against the Flames. I’m not sure if she’s done more.

  34. billfer

    July 2, 2007 at 12:40 am

    Thanks for the info Anthony. I was impressed. I’m prepared to start campaigning for her:-)

  35. Keith G.

    July 2, 2007 at 2:43 am

    I would prefer Sheff in LF, with Thames at the DH spot. Or Thames in LF against righties with Casey at 1B and Sheff at DH, and against lefties Thames at 1B, SHeff in LF, and Casey at DH (at least he hits near .300).

  36. Bobby

    July 2, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Well, you Amber fans aren’t gonna like this: I’m singing the Anthem tomorrow night (seriously).

    I’m nowhere near as cute as Amber (being a late-30’s guy and all) so I wouldn’t worry too much that I’d be cutting in to her spots. 😉

  37. Mike R

    July 2, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Well, in a move that really doesn’t have an impact on anything, the Tigers aquire RHP pitcher Jose Capellan from the Brewers for LHP Chris Cody.;c_id=det

    Capellan still has a good arm but only had around a 7 K/9, and for his arm that’s pretty meager. Cody was kind of old for his level and I doubt he’s going to make an impact for the Brewers system. This is just aquiring another bullpen arm because we need to kick all tires possible and there isn’t much out there that would provide a substantial upgrade after Gagne and Otsuka (I like our chances of landing Otsuka).

  38. Chris Y.

    July 2, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Otsuka is old, overpaid, and not worth the price in a trade.

    His K/9 this year (~6.5/9), aren’t any better than Capellan. Not saying Otsuka isn’t a good reliever, but he’s no panacea for our woes. Better health and the right pieces are our best bet, unless a steal presents itself.

  39. Chris Y.

    July 2, 2007 at 10:07 am

    This series confirmed it for me.

    Playing the Twins is like facing a lineup of freaking leprechauns. Seriously. That team fields only FOUR positions players (Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Hunter) that’d start on another MLB club. Maybe Castillo, but he’s in serious decline. Punto, Ford, Bartlett, Kubel .. uh? Tyner? Puke.

    And the luck of this club in this series. Like in the 4th/5th(?) last night, when Cuddyer ends the bottom half by just putting his glove up — did he even see the ball?? Then Castillo leads off with a charmed chopper that somehow clears Bondo, but dies before getting halfway to second.

    It seemed every opportunity the Twins had, they cashed in full. Every opportunity the Tigers had, the wind or some ethereal force conspired against them.

    Not to knock their pitching, it’s definitely legit. But, talk about outperforming, their lineup is due for some regression to the mean.

  40. Bob S.

    July 2, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Santana’s the best pitcher in baseball,and their bullpen is superior to ours,but(notwithstanding a brilliant performance by Baker)the rest of their starters are suspect.In fact, it’s arguable none of them would crack the Tigers rotation.
    The Cincinnati Reds (a major league worst 31-51)fired their manager yesterday.When is it ok to start a Ken Griffey Jr. watch?

  41. Sam

    July 2, 2007 at 11:02 am


    I agree about the singer, she was awesome. Does anyone have any more information on her?


  42. Eric Jackson

    July 2, 2007 at 11:15 am

    I don’t see Cinci moving Griffey Jr. as he’s pretty much the reason anyone goes to the games anymore. At least, I hope they don’t move him before I go to a game later this month 😉

    As for last night’s game, on-field photo day had an enormous amount of people which made it very hard to get to see much. I think the line to get off the field was much longer than to get into the stadium.

    It was also nice to see Carlos Guillen handle some hard hit balls without issue. Castillo for the Twins is also a heck of a shortstop, unfortunately the tigers kept hitting to him.

  43. Mike R

    July 2, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Otsuka makes $3 million as opposed to Gagne’s $6 million. I’ll take Otsuka holding opponents to a .277 slugging % for $3 million dollars. Oh, and he gets more ground balls then Capellan which is why Otsuka is wanted by a number of teams and Capellan was booted from the Brewers bullpen. If you’re not going to K a ton of guys, you better get a good amount of GB’s, which Otsuka does. Just because he’s not K’ing the side consistently doesn’t mean he’s not dominant. We only need to look to Andrew Miller’s numbers in Lakeland to start the year; low K totals relative to his talent, but he was getting 64% GB rate.

  44. David

    July 2, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Hey guys, I have 5(five) tickets for the INDIANS/TIGERS series finale (Thursday) 1:05 pm start at Comerica. The match up is of 2 All-Stars Carsten Charles Sabathia against Justin Verlander.

    The seats are in Section 105 (right behind MAGGS!); they also would come with Comerica Park Parking. Anyone interested?

  45. Chris in Nashville

    July 2, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    As much as I’ve tried to stick up for C-Mo on here, I think it’s time to let Marcus be the every day LF for a few weeks. We’d lose a little defensively…but its time, C-Mo had his shot.

  46. T Smith

    July 2, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Thames has a home run every 16 at bats. If he had as many plate appearances as Monroe, he’d have 16 home runs right now, just a few behind Sheffield.

    The LF move is a no-brainer. I understand what Leyland is doing; but enough is enough. I’m not sure what Monroe’s deal is, whether the Tigers have options, or what — but if they do, they should option him to Toledo. Let him work his way out of this horrendous slump batting for the Mud Hens, not the Tigers. We’re in a dog fight with Cleveland, and it is apparent the offense is coming down to earth. We can’t afford to experiment with Monroe too much more. We need someone who is A) perceived as a continual threat in the spot regardless of what streak or slump he’s in, B) provides more production, bottom line. What we do not need is someone who the pitcher can’t wait to pitch to after pitching around the setup guy before you. That’s Neifi Perez territory. We already got one of those on the team, we don’t need another.

    Put Thames in LF, platoon him with Raburn if you like — put Timo Perez in for all I care — anybody but Monroe should in the lineup right now. If Monroe can get his swing back and pull out of this funk by the time of the extended roster, by all means bring him back for the post season. But right now, he belongs in Toledo.

  47. Chris Y.

    July 2, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Twins = Charmed Leprechauns.

  48. Chris Y.

    July 2, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    If we could get Otsuka for Cody, or any similar deal, the deal would have been done weeks ago.

    Getting a 35 yr old for a high-quality prospect, or two, or three, would be stupid. What do you get when the groundballs stop happening? Todd Jones. I seriously don’t want to mirror the trade Texas made to get Otsuka in the first place — which has to rank as one of the worst in the last 5 years and is what they want to get in return.

    K/9 is surely not a tell all stat, but it definitely has elevated value in a reliever vs. a starter. But, BB are also magnified, and will be the primary hurdle that Capellan will need to clear if he is to stick in Detroit.

  49. Mike R

    July 3, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    There is a reason we got Capellan for Chris Cody. Capellan is not a quality major league pitcher. He was once a top 100 prospect and has since fallen off in Atlanta and Milwaukee. You know who else went this route? Roman Colon. So Capellan isn’t the answer in Detroit and this is just taking a chance on really nothing. Worst comes to worst, he’s a fill in on the Toledo roster. Hence why he’s still going to be in Triple-A in the Tigers system.

    And the trade to get Otsuka wasn’t that bad. It was Adrian Gonzalez, who the Marlins completely gave up on, so the Rangers weren’t the first, and Chris Young in which he had a 4.26 ERA; a bit below league average. And him moving to the JV league of baseball certainly helps. Oh, and the fact that he’s in one of the best pitching parks in baseball. When he’s on the road, Young’s oppenents BA goes up 63 points, his ERA jumps nearly 3 full runs and in 9 road starts he’s given up 18 earned runs compared to just 5 in his home starts.

    Chris Young is not as good as he’s being percieved to be. He’s an above average pitcher, but tops out as a No. 2 at the absolute best. So, again, that was not a terrible deal for a guy who has saved 36 games in less then 2 years despite not being the full time closer there for more then half a season.

    Oh, and since he’s got such a “low” K/9, he’s also got WHIP’s of 1.073 and 1.082 while pitching in the band box that is Arlington, Texas. And he’s only allowed 3 HR’s in 97 appearances with the Rangers. I don’t get your notion that Otsuka is not good. He’ll require much less then what Eric Gagne will bring them. Oh, and the fact that we’re not on Gagne’s list of teams he can be traded two without consulting him and he probably wouldn’t waive his no trade clause to come here, especially since there are rumors of Boston, a place he almost signed last year, are in the hunt to grab him for their bullpen.

  50. Mike R

    July 3, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    And in his 2 seasons in Texas, 74.4% of the time the batter either strikes out or hits a ground ball when facing Otsuka.

    Over that same time period, compared to Jose Capellan and Todd Jones:

    Capellan: 59.03% And this is including his Triple-A numbers.

    Jones: 60.9%.

  51. Mike R

    July 3, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    And to complete my posting on this subject, Adrian Gonzalez was being blocked by Mark Teixeira, who was much better at the time. Gonzalez had trouble sticking with any team (either florida or Texas) and finally came into his own last year with the Padres, at the age of 25, 6 years after he had been drafted. It’s not like they gave up, at the time, a Maybin-like prospect. Something we wouldn’t have to do, either.