Game 83: Indians at Tigers

PREGAME: For the first time in 3 series the Tigers enter the last game of a set without the risk of being swept. It sure would be nice to pick up a win today, and a series win before Boston comes to town.

There is quite the pitching match-up this afternoon as 2 All Stars, C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander face off.

Game Time 1:05pm

CLE @ DET, Thursday, July 5, 2007 Game Preview –

POSTGAME: And what do you know, the Tigers have won 3 of their last 4. It’s amazing how 2 little wins can change the mood. Then again, 2 little losses to the Rangers pretty much wiped out all the good will of an 8-1 road trip.

The Tigers put a thumping on the Tribe and have now won 4 of the last 5 after dropping the first 5 to the Indians.

Sabathia clearly didn’t have it today. He was wild in the first inning and was leaving the ball up in the zone. Fortunately he never settled in, and the Tigers kept the pressure on until Sabathia had hurled 87 pitches in 4 innings.

Justin Verlander was mostly dominant, including a streak of 4 straight strike outs in the 4th and 5th innings. He also didn’t walk anyone, marking his first game with out a free pass since May 15th

  • Magglio Ordonez had his first big game in awhile. His 3 hits pushed him back ahead of Ichiro for the batting title. His RBI was the first since June 22nd and the double was the first since June 19th.
  • Bonus Maggs info: he’s one walk short of matching his total from last season.
  • Placido Polanco was using a new bat today, and was good enough for 3 hits including a homer.
  • Craig Monroe got a hit. It was a bloop hit, but there was considerable relief on his part – and a little bit of justice after he hit the ball very well his first time up. Of course Marcus Thames reached base twice and was subbed out for defensive purposes in the 5th inning. No word yet on if Thames or Monroe will start tomorrow.

Tigers 12, Indians 3


  1. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Big game, from a psychological standpoint if not from a mathematical one.

    Pudge is the lineup despite the day-game-after-night-game thing.

    Thames is in the lineup, but at 1B–with Monroe in LF. This would be a good time for Monroe to start his traditional second-half tear with a HR against an all-star left-hander.

  2. Dave T.

    July 5, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Does Pudge usually catch Verlander?

  3. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Crickey. Victor Martinez now has 7 HRs in 40 ABs vs. the Tigers this season.

  4. Jason

    July 5, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Oh Polly! You’re my Tiger!

  5. billfer

    July 5, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Polanco was using a different bat for that homer. It works.

    Sabathia doesn’t have his command yet. Get him now.

  6. Nate

    July 5, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    I love it when Placido homers; it’s like getting a present you weren’t expecting.

  7. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Did Magglio just hit another ball to the warning track in left? (I’m following the game using MLB Gameday.)

    Imagine what his stats would look like right now if he played in a hitter-neutral ball park.

  8. Eric Jackson

    July 5, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Yet another Wild Pitch, that makes number 44 this year for the Tigers. The closest behind that is the Phillies with 35.

    Either the pitchers have some particularly nasty breaking balls this year or the defense is declining behind the plate šŸ™

  9. Walewander

    July 5, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Ugh, what a horrible sequence on that Garko play. If you don’t have a play, EAT IT!!!

    We know this on my beer-league softball team, for crying out loud.

  10. billfer

    July 5, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Man, Monroe really hit that – and yet it’s another out.

  11. billfer

    July 5, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Eric – I think it’s the latter. And it seems like a lot of those WPs are pretty generous scoring decisions too.

  12. Ian C.

    July 5, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Monroe’s been awful lately, but that was a tough break. Sizemore ran a long way to catch that ball in right-center (which was crushed). That might have been a triple if the catch isn’t made.

  13. Walewander

    July 5, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    IIRC, Comerica played hitter-neutral last year. Weird, I know.

  14. Nate

    July 5, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Billfer & Eric: My eyes tell me to agree with you that Pudge is a lot worse this year than his previous years in Detroit. But he still rates as above average in at least one sabermetric fielding system — Clay Davenport’s, which has him at 4 FRAA, for a rate of 106. I don’t know what goes into Davenport’s system, but I do know that his results generally confirm my intuition, not confound it as they do with Pudge this year.

  15. Dave T.

    July 5, 2007 at 2:01 pm


  16. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:02 pm


    That totally makes up for the thowing error

  17. Kathy

    July 5, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Nothin like what a little guilt will do. Carlos makin up for his error.

  18. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    You’re right, Walewander. It was the 3rd toughest park to hit a HR in, though.

    Odd that it was harder than average to hit a double at Comerica but much easier to hit a triple.

  19. Dave T.

    July 5, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Probably a lot of doubles turned into triples

  20. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Monroe: 0-2

  21. tiff

    July 5, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Struck out the side, nice JV!

  22. Anne

    July 5, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    OK, what are you all doing here? Why aren’t you over at voting for Bonderman? Don’t you reaize we have to out-vote the entire country of Japan?

    I’m kidding, of course. What a great game so far, I’d love to be at the ballpark right now. A fabulous pitching match-up AND it’s going our way.

  23. Nate

    July 5, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Why exactly are the Tigers playing for one run, when they’re playing a team that can score, like, a gazillion runs?

  24. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:21 pm


    Who is managing right now? Did someone abduct JL and replace him with an evil double? Grandy bunting?

    In any case, I like it.

  25. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:22 pm


    Who is managing right now? Did aliens abduct JL and replace him with an evil double? Grandy bunting?

    In any case, I like it.

  26. tiff

    July 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    every time I recheck ESPN Gamecast (which is WAAAAY better than MLB Gameday) someone else Homers. And I love it!

    And Anne, I’m texting my vote (A1 to 36197) to use up my unlimited text messages. Go Bondo! Tiger Nation unite!

  27. Kurt

    July 5, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    This one’s a fun one so far.

  28. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    I hope we don’t relent here. Let’s beat the tar out of them this game, to get into their heads, and also, more importantly, to tax their bullpen. I would like to see them limp into

  29. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    I hope we don’t relent here. Let’s beat the tar out of them this game, to get into their heads, and also, more importantly, to tax their bullpen.

  30. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Sorry about the duplicate…

  31. Anne

    July 5, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Hey Tiff, I’m with you. And I’m loving that all except one of those homers are for our side. Who would think Sabathia could give up 3 in 5 innings?

    And not to pile on Craig Monroe, but my son pointed out that his BA is in danger of falling below his weight. I’m no sabremetrician, šŸ™‚ but it seems WT>BA is probably bad.

  32. Nate

    July 5, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    I don’t know about that Anne. I’m pretty sure that Cecil Fielder would have been a hall of famer, if he could have hit just a few points under his weight.

  33. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Wow: Are the stars aligned today? Pudge takes a walk???

  34. Anne

    July 5, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Ah, you’re right, Nate. I forgot about Cecil “Triple Cheeseburger” Fielder. šŸ™‚ Maybe it’s OK if your BA + HR > WT.

  35. Joey C.

    July 5, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I’m so glad he pinch-hit for Thames instead of Monroe. Brilliant stuff. Really. Brilliant.

  36. tiff

    July 5, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Chasing CC in the 5th? Why am I not at this game?!

  37. Anthony

    July 5, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Actually, Monroe has the 3rd lowest OBP in the majors amongst players that would qualify for a batting title, according to ESPN.

  38. Walewander

    July 5, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Who’s below Craig? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a decent player in a slump like this before.

  39. Vince in MN

    July 5, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I guess Leyland wants to let Monroe hit his way out of the slump in game situations. Personally, I would rather see him hit his way out in batting cage situations.

  40. Anthony

    July 5, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Lugo and Kendall I think

  41. Anthony

    July 5, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    He also ranks 162 out of 176 in OPS

  42. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    I think he pulled Thames rather than Monroe purely for defensive purposes. Too early, in my book, to be thinking only about defense in the 5th inning–but I have to believe that’s the reasoning.

    At least Marcus is doing everything in his power to prove he belongs in the lineup–diving catch yesterday; on base twice today.

  43. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Rondell White’s slump last year was even worse, I believe. Wasn’t he hitting under .200 at the All-Star break?

  44. Kyle J

    July 5, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    He hit .182 before the ASG; .321 after it. Smaller sample size, though: 181 ABs before, 156 after.

  45. Joey C.

    July 5, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Kyle J, I think you’re right about defense being the factor leading to Leyland sticking with Monroe. I also agree that given the performance of our pen, making moves that are not offensively motivated at this point in the game is unwise.

  46. Dave T.

    July 5, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Verlander comes out for the 7th right? He has thrown 95 pitches.

  47. Joey C.

    July 5, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Okay, I guess we can start making decisions that aren’t offensive minded.

    Good lord!

  48. Joey C.

    July 5, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    And Craig finally gets one to drop.

  49. Walewander

    July 5, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    That was a wonderful moment, and evidence of why I really want C-Mo to get it together. He had a lot of big hits last year and I love his passion. Maybe that could be the start of something.

  50. Vince in MN

    July 5, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Monroe is offially out of his slump now. Does this mean he starts all three games againnst the Bosox?

  51. Eric Jackson

    July 5, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    It is really raining here in Canton. Hope it doesn’t slow down the game.

  52. Anthony

    July 5, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Does a 1 for 4 mean he’s out of his slump? It does raise his BA…….

  53. tiff

    July 5, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Maybe the weight is off his shoulders now. Go C-Mo! Glad to see the offense back to it’s ridiculously productive ways.

  54. Joey C.

    July 5, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Of course he starts Vince!

    Man does it feel good to put the hurt on these jerks. I hate the tribe.

  55. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Vince in MN:

    I’m assuming you’re being sarcastic… one bloop hit hardly qualifies for exiting a slump.

    Thames had a great game, and is also on a four or five game hitting streak. If Monroe starts in the Boston series over Thames because one bloop hit, the bloop hit will serve an extreme injustice

  56. Dave T.

    July 5, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Tribe bullpen has to be in fairly rough shape for their series in Toronto this weekend

  57. Vince in MN

    July 5, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    T Smith:

    Guilty as charged.

    Now that Verlander has gotten through 7 innings and 100 pitches, and with a big lead, this may be a good time for Grilli to audition for a spot in the bullpen. Just a thought šŸ˜‰

  58. Chris in Nashville

    July 5, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Speaking from personal experience…don’t try to stick up for C-Mo on this site! That being said…I’d like to see Marcus get a chance to see what he can do this weekend. I hope C-Mo breaks out of it and that bloop was the start of it…but Marcus has played better than him and deserves the nod at this point. The offense was due to break out…glad it happened today!

  59. Eric Jackson

    July 5, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I think Grilli’s audition’s ended yesterday. Leyland pulled him rather quick. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the move but in previous weeks he let Grilli do more damage.

    I took it that Grilli’s days might be coming close to an end.

  60. billfer

    July 5, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Keep in mind that Grilli came into a tough situation with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out last night and got out of it. So he does deserve some props for last night.

  61. Eric Jackson

    July 5, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Yes, the first few batters he faced he looked good. He got out of the jam he was brought into. But in the end he threw 7 strikes in 16 pitches, walking 2 in 0.2 innings.

    He didn’t look good overall.

  62. Nate

    July 5, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    I like how strange line-ups can end up looking at the end of blowouts. I’m pretty sure that this will be the only time that Infante and Perez bat 4-5 in a game.

  63. Vince in MN

    July 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    C-Mo starts a new slump.

  64. Vince in MN

    July 5, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    For those who have seen Capellan pitch, what do you think?

  65. colin

    July 5, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Nate: Clay Davenport’s system “depends on the basic defensive statistics kept by organized baseball”. So I think it would be susceptible to scoring errors, such as consistently calling a passed ball a WP.

  66. Walewander

    July 5, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    I think we all needed that.

    And I think Capellan looks very good.

  67. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    That’s exactly the problem with Grilli… He’s inconsistant. He’s spotty at best. One outing he’s very good (or great), the next outing, he’s horrendous. One inning he’s dominating, the next inning he can’t find the stike zone. One outing he’s lights out, the next he’s hosting batting practice.

    He’s a very frustrating pitcher to watch.

    On Capellan:

    I like what I see so far. Even taking the loss on Friday (and giving up the HR) — he looked good/great. Certainly better than what I’ve seen thus far from the bullpen. I think he’s got potential to be a great setup guy or middle relief. From what I hear, he’s kinda a mental case; if Hernandez can work with him and cultivate his confidence, we may have got a steel from the Brewers

  68. Mike R

    July 5, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    I’m still siding on Capellan’s career trends to pop up. Like Tim Byrdak, he’s been very good to start. If he’s still this good entering August, I’d be surprised.

    And it’s always the key word with him; “potential”. He was the 25th best prospect in baseball in 2005 (from Baseball America) and then fell off the map. He’s a great arm and a boatload of potential, but I think he’s just that.

  69. Nate

    July 5, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    I guess that depends on what you see as his track record. On the one hand, his ERA last year was pretty much league average (ERA+ of 102), and his peripherals are neither terrible nor awesome (7.3 K/9; 3.9 BB/9).

    But last year, if you look at him in terms of Win Expectancy, he was an above average pitcher, being good enough for 24th in the NL in Win Expectancy above Replacement, and 45th in MLB as a whole. If he were on the Tigers last year, he would have been the fourth best reliever — at least as defined by these terms — on the team, behind Zumaya, Jones, and Rodney. If he can regress to that performance — good enough to be the fourth best reliever on the 2006 Tigers — I’ll be pretty happy with him.

  70. Mark in Chicago

    July 5, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    The fact that Capellan was rated so highly means that a lot of people think he had potential. It’s fair to debate whether or not those people were right, obviously, but for the most part DD and his scouts have an eye for the type of power pitching around which they want to build. So far Capellan has been good in very limited duty, and career splits notwithstanding, he has a good arm. It’s entirely possible that he may finally begin to realize the potential many thought he had, and his earlier stints in the big leagues are not good indicators of his talent.

    At least, I hope that’s the case.

  71. Mark in Chicago

    July 5, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Also, nice win today.

  72. Mike R

    July 5, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    While late bloomers are possible (see: possibly Gil Meche), I’m still highly skeptical/a cynic about his abilities to fulfill his promise he showed in the Braves minor league ranks.

    Also, Matt Anderson had a good arm, too. A good arm’s nothing if Capellan can’t lower his walks, increase his K’s with his above average stuff (which he definitely does have) and get tougher mentally. He demanded a trade when he didn’t make the Brewers bullpen out of Spring Training. If he can put it together in Detroit, I’ll be ecstatic, but I see the chances of him fulfilling his potential at about 70/30 on him being an average pitcher that has the “potential” to be more. So much more.

    Also, his rise in prospect rankings probably have something to do with not making any extended stays in High-A, Double-A, or Triple-A in 2004 (his best year, by far, in pro ball). Similiar to what Matt Garza did last year.

    Delving more into it, maybe his troubles are because he was a starter throughout his minor league career and then Milwaukee moved him to the bullpen regularly when he was in Triple-A Nashville in 2005. He’s still young, obviously, with a great arsenal, he might be better suited to be in the rotation to be successful.

  73. Bob S.

    July 5, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    It’s possible that the Tigers sizable contingent of Latin American players,particularly star quality players with considerable major league experience,might provide mentoring to a young guy like Capellan who may be having trouble getting his head to catch up to his obvious physical talent.

  74. T Smith

    July 5, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    I have no empircal evidence to support this, just a hunch… I think the Tiger’s clubhouse is gonna do wonders for this kid. I’m the first to tend to agree with Mike R. on a lot of his points… but I just sense that Capellan is going to thrive in the conditions inherent to the Tiger’s organization, including all the points Bob S made. Call it wishful thinking, maybe. I just have a good feeling about him stepping up to the next level at a Tiger.

  75. Jeff

    July 5, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    *** While late bloomers are possible (see: possibly Gil Meche), Iā€™m still highly skeptical/a cynic about his abilities to fulfill his promise he showed in the Braves minor league ranks ***

    The Tigers don’t need him to be another Gil Meche. They just need a competent arm in the bullpen. If he does that, then this was a great trade.

  76. Adam

    July 5, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    Each pitcher is his own set of circumstances. It’s ridiculous to say one pitcher is going to perform according to how other pitchers have performed.

    “Verlander = Mark Fidrych and that means he’s going to burn out.”

    Come on. Just watch and see.

  77. Nate

    July 6, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Adam: No one has advocated a position based on a single comparandum. Mike R. is saying that pitchers, like Capellan, who have high walk rates throughout their career, have difficulty reaching their arm’s full potential. He is talking about trends, not single examples.

    Of course, saying that Verlander will end up injured because Fidrych got hurt is absurd; however, it’s not ridiculous to express concern about his arm because many pitchers who have had such high workloads when they’re young have suffered from arm troubles. Similarly, Capellan could end up mastering the strike zone and have a good career; or like countless pitchers he could continue having high walk rates and never reach the full potential of his stuff. The many names that populate the latter list rightly concern Mike R.

    Yes, it would be ridiculous to assume that any single pitcher will turn out exactly like any other single pitcher. But it’s equally ridiculous to throw your hands up in the air and say that each pitcher has an equal chance to turn into a success or a failure. With enough data, trends are useful tools for analysis, and just because a pitcher bucks a trend — as both Verlander and Capellan hopefully will do — doesn’t mean that the trend as a whole is invalid.

  78. Mike R

    July 6, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    I hope Bob S becomes 100% right and I’m dead wrong. If the large contingent of Latino players that are solidified stars can help Capellan get him to drop his walk rate then it’s an OUTSTANDING trade for the Tigers. Chris Cody, chances are, isn’t going on to stud status. Even if he does just become a competent arm he’ll be useful.

    And Nate hit the nail on the head on what I was saying. His trend is walking people, which as a reliever, is something you cannot do. The pitchers I brought up I only highlighted to show two routes he can go. Gil Meche had been a league average or worse pitcher, got $11 mil/year and is now putting up fine numbers in KC and all signs point to it not being luck (when you break it down all stat-geek-style). Or, he can go Matt Anderson, who, similiarly to Capellan, had an above average arm and a penchant for walks. And he’s now out of baseball altogether.