Game 88: Tigers at Mariners

PREGAME: The Tigers will try and shake off last night’s loss and rebound against Jarrod Washburn.

Washburn has been excellent in his last 3 starts going 22 innings and only allowing 3 runs. He walks about one batter every 3 innings, and only fans a batter every other inning. But he’s only allowed 7 homers in 106 1/3 innings this season. Against the Tigers it’s kind of a mixed bag. Gary Sheffield, Pudge Rodriguez and Craig Monroe have all had success while Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge, and Placido Polanco have struggled.

That’s not particularly good news for Ordonez who looked to really struggle last night with 3 K’s and 2 weak grounders. I went back and looked at a couple of his at-bats from the end of May, and compared them to his last few games. It appears that his stance is more closed now. At the end of may you couldn’t see his name/number on his back. Now you can. Plus it looks like he might be standing farther away from the plate – at least with his back foot. But I’m not a scout or a hitting instructor so I may be full of it as well.

The Tigers will send out Jeremy Bonderman who went 8 innings in each of his last 2 starts and allowed a combined 2 runs. In both of those efforts he was pitching without really any run support to speak of.

It’s an all right handed lineup tonight with Ryan Raburn leading off and playing centerfield. Polanco is still out so Thames will bat 2nd and Infante will play 2nd.

Game Time 10:05pm

DET @ SEA, Friday, July 13, 2007 Game Preview –

POSTGAME: Sure it might not have looked good with Jarrod Washburn racking up 4 strike outs his first time through the order, but he also went to full counts on 5 of the first 10 he faced. But then the Tigers loaded the bases ahead of a Gary Sheffield grand slam. The sixth for the team, each by a different player. They were fortunate though that the Sheffield was still in the batters box to hit it though because he took a very good looking pitch with 2 strikes. But after Thursday night I’m not going to look a gift umpire in the mouth.

As for Bonderman, he was quite good again. He fanned 5 and walked none, but did allow 2 homers. It looked like he had set himself up with a shot at a complete game by inducing a lot of early contact. However in the 7th inning he started falling behind batters and there was some solid contact. So Leyland ended his night despite being at only 87 pitches.

The pen did their job with 2 scoreless innings though Todd Jones did put runners on 2nd and 3rd and ran the count full to Ben Broussard before getting him to chase a high fastball.

Ryan Raburn looked pretty good at the plate. He was willing to work the count and drew 2 walks. Sean Casey came in as a defensive replacement and homered, his 2nd of the year. He also made a real nice pick at first to make both ends of a slow roller to third look sweet. Interesting, though not surprising, that when Casey entered the game he took Thames spot leaving Monroe in left field. Monroe is still lost, and Thames continues to be locked in. Ordonez is also slumping and he hasn’t had a ball leave the infield in the first 2 games of the series.

Tigers 6 Mariners 3

123 thoughts on “Game 88: Tigers at Mariners”

  1. Someone in Detroit please print out Billfer’s pregame report and give it to Lloyd McClendon.

  2. Eric, Good call on the story. Imagine…another former tiger caught up with the law in Venezuela. Watch out Maroth! It’s the curse of the tigers trade!

  3. Oh man, not off to such a good start at the moment. As much fun as it was to see Polanco at the All-Star game (and the rest of our All-Stars) I’d much rather see him in the line-up tonight. Maybe the rest would have done him better.

    However, my man Bonderman is on the mound tonight. He’s my go-to guy to stop (or prevent) a skid. I just hope we score some runs for him.

  4. I have one of those terrible fantasy, head-to-head matchups going tonight. I wasn’t paying enough attention when I set my lineup…of course my staff is so broke, I wouldn’t really have had much of a choice even if I had paid attention.

  5. Rod’s dead on tonight–we haven’t seen this team swing at high fastballs like this since 2005. Even before they started to take walks, they stopped swinging at balls at the armpits, that was the first sign of better plate discipline.

  6. Has anyone read Sheff’s comments in the ESPN interview. I believe he feeds off controversy. As long as it’s aimed at former teams, ok. I’m not convinced it will stay that way.

    I don’t like the swings I’ve seen so far. 4 K’s for Mags in 10 innings?…

  7. Four full counts the first time through the order. At least they’re seeing pitches. Hopefully it’s better results the 2nd time through.

  8. Mariner radio announcers ripping on Toledo’s old Ned Skeleton Stadium.

    “If you wanted to take your date somewhere dark where no one would bother you, Ned Skeleton Stadium was the place.”

  9. This is the first time in his last 3 starts Bonderman will pitch with a lead.

    We got lucky, Sheffield could have been rung up the pitch before. EG showed it as a strike.

    But seeing all those pitches seemed to pay off. Washburn gets hit hardest from 75-100 pitches and he’s at 59 right now.

  10. Favorite quote from the new Sheff interview: “In a million years, I don’t care what anybody says, steroids is something you shoot in your butt. I do know that . . . The bottom line is steroids is something you stick in your butt –- period.”

    Oh so much comedic possibilities here.

  11. Maggs does seem to be in a mini slump. At least I hope it’s just a mini. I’d love to see him knock one out just like Sheff did.

  12. Oh my god…that Sheffield story is the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks. I enjoy his assertion that Jeter, “Ain’t all the way black.” Just unbelievable stuff from this guy.

  13. Yeah, Sheff’s comments almost as ludicrous as a catcher with almost 2000 games caught trying to get a triple.

    Oh wait. That really just happened.

  14. This team is trying to break a record for triples I think. I don’t know what he was thinking.

  15. I’m not bothered by it too much. It was a close play, the Mariners executed it well. And Rodriguez is the best baserunner on the team.

  16. Maybe he’s trying to impress his new wife. And Joey C., what so crazy about what Sheff said regarding Jeter? Most “old school” black guys do not consider biracial people to be all black, because they aren’t.

  17. Gotta love Kathy. Everybody ripping Ivan for boneheaded baserunning and she notices he might be a newlywed. I also remember her saying we were too harsh on Neifi.
    Now Sheffield offers his 18th round of racially insensitive remarks, hell, insensitive to humanity in general and Kathy boldly goes where no blogger dares go: parsing along with Sheff who is truly African-American. Good times!

  18. Yeah, I think we should probably just drop that Sheffield conversation at this point.


    Billfer, how did I know that link was coming? I knew that declarative was a setup.

  19. Sheff is definitely a good baserunner. I think.

    Billfer you got numbers that tells us he sucks?

  20. Good call by the Mariners to walk the “hot” Sheffield and pitch to the slump ridden Ordonez. No need to fear the MVP candidate right now apparently.

  21. I’m pretty sure Casey is the best baserunner on the team. He has those extra five seconds going to first to leisurely contemplate whether he should take the extra base and the answer is always no.

  22. I noticed yesterday that he was wearing a ring and was too embarrassed to ask anyone. I’ll stand by my remarks about Neifi and could care less what Sheff says regarding his experience with his former team, the Yankees. When Bryant Gumbel does the interview on Real Sports, I might take a listen.

  23. I actually don’t have numbers on Sheff, but by observation I think he has to be in the conversation. I’ll weaken my statement to say that Pudge is the best returning baserunner. I’d also say that Granderson is right there as well.

  24. Billfer, do you know if that baserunning analysis has been applied to career numbers for MLB players? It would be interesting to see what it would tell us about guys who have long been considered great baserunners.

  25. Even with giving up 5 hits tonight, Bondo has only thrown 62 pitches – very efficient. 10-2 GO/AO tonight which is also a good sign. If Gameday is to be trusted his command looks good as well. It seems he has matured quite a bit this year.

  26. Man oh man. Tigs need to thank the ump for not ringing up Sheff in the grand slam AB.

    Washburn has been pretty nice tonight.

  27. I only get the game on Gameday, and I know it can’t be this bad, but I just can’t get the image out of my head of C-Mo doing the Atlanta Braves “tomahawk chop” when he bats.

  28. Quick note about Thames batting in the two hole. I understand we want a righty against the lefty, but I questioned why Pudge wouldn’t bat second.

    But a quick glance at the stats shows that Thames has (among other things) a higher OPS, and a higher RC/27 than pudge.

    Also interesting – Maroth had a higher OPS than Monroe, Infante, Rabelo and Perez.

  29. CASEY!

    Anyone else notice Rod has been repeating himself alot tonight?
    I guess: Marcus Thames is really strong and lefty batters like to hit the low pitch…or so he’s told me a few times. Still love the duo though.

    Are we witnessing Magglios trip back down to earth?

  30. Is it just me, or are the majority of Maggs’ BIP going to the right side the last couple of weeks?

  31. I saw a moderated Q&A on TV with Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Craig Nettles and Brooks Robinson a few weeks ago. At the end of the show, they were all asked to name current 3rd sackers they were impressed with. Nettles mentioned Inge. It was really the first time I heard him get some recognition for his fielding from a non-Detroit source.

  32. I think that Inge is underrated and is only beginning to get his due.
    I think Tiger fans underestimate him as much as anyone. He is a focused guy who comes to play every day.

  33. Jimmy’s confident that Monroe will come through in the clutch if the bullpen blows the lead.

  34. Lot of hard hit balls in the 7th, including the Beltre HR. Probably the reason for Bondo’s exit.

  35. Vince – Bondo was hit pretty hard that last inning, plus he seemed to have lost some of his control. The pitch count looked okay, but the 7th inning didn’t.

  36. Joey C:

    Studies have shown that heavy cigarette smoking cuts down on oxygen to the brain.

  37. Bilfer:

    Leyland leaves in Miller for 98 pitches on Thursday, but Bonderman for only 87 tonight.

  38. Pitch count isn’t everything. If a guy’s getting hit hard or showing signs of losing control, it’s time to pull him.

  39. Who else is on pins and needles right now? Tigers are up 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth, but you just get the feeling that this one isn’t over yet. Editor’s note: I always brace myself for the worst!

  40. He wanted to get Miller through 5 innings, and it looked like he was about to before Miller walked 2 in a row. They weren’t getting good swings off of Miller.

    They weren’t getting good swings off of Bondo either, until that 7th inning.

  41. Ryan S:

    That is my point. Last night Miller walked the bases loaded, which I think qualifies as losing control, and Leyland left him in.

  42. I’ve circled 2 plays in my scorebook tonight, both were Inge.

    Johjima’s line drive in the 7th, and that fantastic barehanded play in the 8th.

    Does anyone know if there are stats kept on speed from home to 1st?

  43. C’mon Jonesy. You’re on a nice little run right now, please continue to give me some stress-free ninth innings.

  44. Vince – I see what you mean. I guess I was thinking more about tonight’s game which I think was a sound decision. I think what Bilfer said is right on. It’s more about the quality of contact, which they weren’t getting off Miller.

  45. In all fairness to Rollercoaster (or is it gas?), he struck out betencourt on that 1-2 pitch

  46. Actually I think I first read it here a, probably during the late May/early June. It is pretty appropriate and I don’t see anything wrong with pouring a little gas on the fire every once in a while, just to keep things interesting – like tonight.

    Looking at his stats, I think Jones is getting picked on too much. He has pitched in 38 games and only given up runs in 9 of them. In the 9 games the opposition has scored on him, the Tigers have won 4 of them. I am guessing that this is at least average for AL closers.

  47. Well… wasn’t stress free as my heart is still pounding. I’m not kidding, my heart rate is still elevated. He got the job done, but falling behind Broussard 3-1 with two men on was not exactly the prescription I was looking for to ease my anxiety. Alls well that ends well and I will take it. Really wanted this one tonight with Clev. and Minny winning plus Seattle breathing down our neck. Just give me a split this weekend and I’ll be OK with that.

  48. Ryan S:

    Good enough. I hope I don’t seem to be abrasive. I’m really just looking for a reasonable explanation, since on the surface it seems to me that Leyland occasionaly makes some rather arbitrary decisions.

    Thanks you Todd, for another roller-coaster save.

    Actually, it all makes sense to me now. This was Leyland’s plan all along.

  49. I think the pitching matchups actually favor us for the next two games, and if we can get Polly back in the lineup at 2nd with Thames in left (and Monroe taking over Neifi’s spot on the bench), we have a good shot at taking the series

  50. Back on track. Jeter ain’t all black; no kidding. Just keep doing what your doing Gary,but leave the interviews to someone else. A chip on your shoulder helps when you have a bat in your hand, but you can sound pretty stupid at times.Your a Tiger now and I do not think many people care about how Joe Torre treated you.

  51. Hey, I thought we had the pitching matchup edge in the World Series last fall as well when we went up agaisnt Weaver and he shut us down. We did get him back in May at Comerica, but like I said I’ll be happy to get out of the Emerald City with a split. This team is tough as they may have the best closer in baseball right now (I know that’s debatable) plus a good mix of players with Ichiro, Guillen. and guys like Betancourt who just abuses Tiger pitching. We’ve held Ichiro to 1 hit in two games and neither game was easy. I can’t imagine we’ll keep him down all weekend as he’s just too good of a hitter.

  52. THe SHeffield comments deserve their own blog. Shef likes the Tigers and Leyland so thats a good thing, I just don’t think the likes the way the Yanks treated him.

    But I have lot more I want to say about it.

  53. Sheffield was 100% spot on with his comments on black ball players vs. Latino ones and Dan Le Batard (of Cuban heritage) had a great piece about it in ESPN The Magazine a couple issues ago.

    His comments on the Yankees… that’s more experienced based, so I have no idea if he’s right or wrong. I think he, being so candid and honest which tends to rock the boat, doesn’t fit in with the extreme professionalism.

  54. Pudge looked angry today.

    Sheffield says things, but carries a big stick.

    Magglio doesn’t seem the same lately.

    Infante…needs to give Polanco a back rub or something, so he can play again.

    Thames should be taking over Craig’s duties full time for a while.

    Granderson should never sit. Ever.

  55. Sheffology: Mr. Giambi, are you now or have you ever taken it in the butt? “No sir”! Are you 100% certain? “Yes sir”! You may leave now.

  56. Joey:

    On September 7, 1974, Nettles, then with the New York Yankees, was caught using a bat that had six superballs inside it. He said that he had received the bat from a Yankees fan in Chicago and did not know that the bat had been altered.

  57. Hey, Gary is on the front page of the N.Y. Post this morning. But he’s wearing a Yankee uniform. These New Yorkers are so behind the times.

  58. RE: Sheffield. Having spent some time with him for a story, I don’t think he approaches this as ‘show business.’ He comes from a very troubled background–the same mean streets that consumed his Uncle Dwight–where you had to always be tough or suffer the consequences. As a result, he has a monster-sized chip on his shoulder that motivates him as a ball player but also has left him prone to surliness that has run him out of four or five ballclubs during his career. Sometimes he says idiotic things–the steroid can only go in the butt is the latest–but his teammates love him ON the field. Off the field, a little less so. (Although players do appreciate guys like Sheff and Damon for sucking up all the media attention and letting them go about their business). When I interviewed him, it made a big splash in the tabloids and Sheffield, at first, denied he said any of the things. Fortunately, i had it all on tape. Then, after the story came out, he called me personally to say how much he enjoyed it. He told me he’d tell the beat writers I got it right, but he never got around to it. That’s Gary in a nutshell.

  59. I duno the “troubled background-the same mean streets that consumed his Uncle Dwight where you had to always be tough or suffer the consequences.”

    Actually according to his book “Inside Power” he said he grew up with his Uncle Dwight in a nice suburb with a bunch of white kids and only moved to the “mean streets” of Tampa right around 9th grade.

    From what I read, the chip if you can call it that is from his biggest male influence – his grandfather/Dwight’s father. He constantly refers back to him and him talking about Hank Aaron or other players fighting racism through aggression on the field. How his grandfather kept reiterating that life was never fair to black players which left a firm imprint on him at an early age.

    Its pretty cool that you got to interview him though, was it recent?

  60. I read Stephen’s article (a while ago); I have yet to read Sheff’s book. Even before delving into Stephen’s piece or before reading the book, I know from observation that Gary Sheffield, the person, is one set of circumstances removed from negotiating life per the rules inherent to an on-going street brawl. That’s just who he is. Diplomacy is hardly a skill honed or developed in this milieu. And why should it be? It never ceases to astound that media and fans continue to expect Sheff to be someone other than Sheff. It you squeeze an orange, you’re gonna get orange juice.

    I personally appreciate Gary Sheffield’s rough edge. I find it refreshing (albeit somewhat uncomfortable in a Larry David kinda way), yet brutally honest. What you see is what you get. And I absolutely LOVE his raw passion, as it obviously spills onto the ball field. He is rapidly becoming my favorite player.

    Gary Sheffield is certainly not the most eloquent of opiners, and he may say things that make his audience uncomfortable, but in my view, those moments reflect the audiences’ prudishness, not Gary Sheffield’s insensitivity. If we must rage, rage against our own modesty, rage against truth — rage against anything — not against the seeming a-hole who botches its delivery.

    I also find it mildly entertaining that the media and fans get so worked up over what Gary Sheffield says or doesn’t say. Like it or not, agree or disagree, I always take a small nugget of truth away from all the various Sheffisms, old and new, which is a whole lot more than I can say after consuming various other interviews from other players or from other prominent figures in the game.

    If baseball is a gentleman’s club (I loathe to draw the comparison — but through Gary Sheffield’s perspective, that’s exactly how it must appear), Gary Sheffield belongs by virtue of his ability, certainly not by virtue of his manners, or by virtue of his desire to be a “member” of the club. I find it interesting that baseball, via media representation, fans, and the organization itself, continues to strong arm Gary Sheffield to conform to the “tacit rules of engagement” underlying the club.

    The fact is, baseball is not a gentleman’s club. It’s a business. No business on earth operates without its own politics and invisible undercurrents driving the machine. As a fan, I can think of no better spokesman to learn about and ponder over those undercurrents than from the outspoken and raw perspective of Gary Sheffield himself. I’ll bring along my b.s. filter, for sure, and perhaps a shade of clothing to offset some inevitable blushing — but as far as I’m concerned, nothing Gary Sheffield says or does off the field will ever make this fan want to run him out of town.

    T Smith

  61. Stephen –

    When are you and T Smith just going to go ahead and get married already? I want to save the date.

  62. Dave: As soon as T Smith agrees with me that we must–wait for it– trade Maybin for a middle reliever. Until then, i will remain forever single.

  63. Just to stop everyone’s head from exploding and their dog getting kicked for no reason, I was joking.

    Now Maybin for a quality setup man and a closer in some wacky three team trade….

  64. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being Maybin straight up for Chan Ho Park, 5 being Maybin for Riske and Dotel, and 10 being Maybin for the entire Minnesota Twins relief staff), what would be the absolute minimum you would take for Maybin in a trade?

  65. Nice Chan Ho Park reference! I think Tigers or someone is gonna get Dotel on the cheap. I’ve been pushing for DEtroit to get him for months. He’s had arm trouble but he’d help. If you could pull off a magical trade where you shipped Maybin out for Dotel to set up AND a Gagne-quality closer, I’d do it . I don’t mean Gagne specifically, but someone who is a primo closer. Then come October a bullpen of, say, Gagne, Dotel, TJones (not bad for the 7th inning), Miner, Durbin, and Rodney looks good. (Absolutely can’t count on Zumaya. Look how Maroth returned last year). I realize Gagne and Dotel are on separate teams, but I would trade Maybin if you could absolutely re-make this bullpen. THe one thing the Baseball Prospectus had right, and I’ve said this before, the Tigers starting lineup isn’t exactly young so A. can’t count on it staying hot forever and B. Gotta go for it in 2007.
    I realize we’re building with young pitching, but there gonna be year when the pitching is still good, but the hitting is sub-par. Gotta go for it when you have it in tandem.

  66. Dave Wagner:

    I’ve been on the same page with Stephen all the way in his push for a middle reliever… and have agreed 100% with his dire assessment in previous threads on the state of the Tiger’s middle relief.

    However, I have held out (for the time being, anyway) on the Maybin issue — so I’ll inform my wife that our marriage is indeed safe (at least until the next Jonesy appearance with a one run lead)…

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