Game 91: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: The Tigers return to almost normal start times as they escape the West Coast, at least for a little while. They’ll take on a Twins team that has won all 4 games since the break and Matt Garza who hasn’t allowed a run in his first 8 innings of the year. This will be his second start of the season, and second career start against the Tigers.

In his start last year against the Tigers, he allowed 4 runs on 5 hits, 4 walks, and 6 K’s in 4 1/3 innings. The Tigers lost though and Wil Ledezma literally ate his hat.

The Tigers will send out lefty Nate Robertson. Not sure what we’ll get as Nate has been very good at times, very bad at times, and everywhere in between.

Game Time 8:10pm

POSTGAME:Tonight was as good as Nate Robertson has been all season. He had great command, and made a number of very good strike two pitches that were called balls. I’m not saying he was squeezed, but the zone seemed to be pretty tight for both teams.

This game reminded me quite a bit of the games against the Twins in the second half of last season. Games that came down to the very end, games that were a matter of attrition. Games where afterwards I’d receive emails, or send emails to Twins bloggers that were simply a tip of the cap to the other team after a great game. This time the Tigers took advantage of a Twins misplay on a night where the margin of error was zero.

  • Curtis Granderson started to build another case for AL Player of the Week by reaching base all 4 times up on a night when offense was stymied.
  • Magglio Ordonez pulled a pitch for a hit. For awhile it seemed like he was trying so hard to not do too much with the bat, that he ended up doing too little. With the homer on Sunday, and the ground ball through the hole today, here’s hoping the stroke is back.
  • I was only half paying attention to Leyland’s post game presser on FSN, but I could have sworn I heard him say that Granderson “eats right.” I don’t know what this has to do with anything but I found it hilarious.
  • Also on the FSN postgame they interviewed Sparky Anderson. I know he frustrated many as a manager, but the guy is captivating. I had the opportunity to meet him at a press event last year and he was one of the most engaging people I’ve ever met. I can’t really explain it, he’s just a neat dude. By the way, he picked the Tigers to win the World Series and gave Mike Illitch credit for spending to get the guys they needed. Here’s hoping that the Tigers right a wrong and get his name on the wall.
  • Todd Jones made it look easy tonight. He gets hammered when stuff goes bad, he deserves credit when they go well.

Tigers 1 Twins 0

56 Comments

  1. Jason from Somewhere

    July 17, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Looking forward to the series starting tonight. Saw an interesting stat on mlbtv. Verlander’s start on Sunday was his 50th career. His record is now 28-14. Only four other pitchers in baseball history have atleast that many wins over their first 50 career starts: Clemens (30), Mel Stottelmyre (29), Doc Gooden (29), and Cal Eldred (28)

    The fact that JV is on that list is good right? I mean, theres no Cal Eldred curse or anything like that?

  2. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    This is off-topic but I’m wondering about our friend PHT in HK. Japan has had several earthquakes in the past few days, so it concerns me a little. Hope he is able to post and let us know how he’s doing.

  3. Nate

    July 17, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Kathy, isn’t he in Hong Kong? I think Rene from Oki is our contributor from Japan.

  4. JML

    July 17, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Nice pre-game spotlight on Nate.

  5. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Got my countries mixed up. Sorry!!! Boy, do I feel stupid.

  6. West Coast Tiger

    July 17, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I was listening to KNBR Sports Talk here in the Bay area and had to listen to them bash Detroit calling it a “Has been city, Then host the made the following comment, Why would Pudge Ordonez or Sheffield ever want to play in Detroit?

    Meanwhile the A’s are getting ready to wave the white flag.

  7. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    WCT….Their is so much trash talking on the boards, blogs and radio nowadays. The Tigers are like a star right in the heart of Detroit.

  8. billfer

    July 17, 2007 at 8:35 pm

    The first 6 balls the Tigers have put in play have been to the opposite field. Is it by design, or are they tardy?

  9. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    tardy, IMO.

  10. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    I think they’re tardy, billfer. This is the best I’ve seen Garza look early in a game (granted, limited times seeing him, but I have seen him on television a few times against non-Tigers opponents).

    Also, anyone else notice Nate Rob’s velocity down? Hovering in the 87-89 range instead of the 91-93 range. Is it due to the excess rest and his arm hasn’t fully loosened up yet?

  11. PHT in HK

    July 17, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Kathy

    Thanks for the concern, but HK is about 1,500 miles from where the earthquakes in Japan hit. On the bright side, I did manage to get some tickets for the game on Saturday.

  12. West Coast Tiger

    July 17, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Wouldn’t have projected a pitchers duel. Tiger batters are not taking Garza deep in the count.

  13. billfer

    July 17, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Good thing Gardenhire stayed out of the double play…oh wait, never mind.

  14. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Now Nate Rob’s velocity is back up to near normal. Good.

  15. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    hahaha, I was hoping they’d run with their catcher and Cuddyer, who leads the team in strikeouts. That’s a gimmie double play if Nate can miss Cuddyer’s bat.

  16. JML

    July 17, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    OK boys, time for some Big O!!!

  17. JML

    July 17, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Doh!

  18. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    I don’t want to be the first team tonight to go to the bullpen. I have a feeling the bullpen is due for a bad night.

    Also, I feel bad for Johan Santana. He’s going to get rocked tomorrow. I feel it.

  19. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Magglio pulling the baseball now is a good, good sign. I felt like he was getting jammed lately and spending too much time trying to go to RF with balls inside.

  20. JML

    July 17, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Rocking Johan. Yeah, I like that idea. Can we put it to a vote? Johan doesn’t get to vote. ;-)

  21. billfer

    July 17, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Re: Ordonez, I agree Mike. It seemed like instead of turning on the inside pitch, he was backing farther away from the plate to try and shoot it to right. In the process he couldn’t reach the outside pitch anymore. But that’s just my uneducated observation.

  22. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    No need to put it to a vote JML, we’re going to rough up Johan. He’ll put up something like 6 IP, 5 runs, 9 hits, 6 K’s, 4 BB’s. I feel it.

    Billfer: Definitely. I didn’t notice the backing away until you posted about it the other day but he definitely does look further from the plate as of late. I did notice though that he had a big time inside-out swing a la Jeter-ish. In May and June he was just going with everything and driving the ball to everywhere. It’s a good sign I think, but I’m waiting for the inevitable 3-week long slump he’s bound to hit. Hopefully Guillen and Sheff are still hot when that occurs.

  23. billfer

    July 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    That 3rd strike to Mauer was a great pitch, but I was surprised Nate got the call. He hasn’t gotten that corner all night. Good time to get it for the first time though.

  24. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Tremendous game, so far.

  25. JML

    July 17, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Mike, I sure hope you are right. I’m not much for “feeling” the future, but I sure as heck do NOT want you to be wrong on this one! :-)

  26. Jeff

    July 17, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Does Pudge understand that a leadoff walk is identical to a leadoff single?

  27. Nate

    July 17, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    @Jeff: No.

  28. West Coast Tiger

    July 17, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Prayer Time

  29. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    I wonder what the Skipper said to McBride.

  30. Stephen

    July 17, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    I don’t care how this turns out or the # of injuries you have, you CANNOT have McBride as your set-up guy. Make a trade already. This waiting until 7/31 is such b.s., The games matter just as much now. You can’t tell me the Royals won’t deal Dotel because it’s only 7/17. Maybe it works out tonight, maybe it doesn’t, but you gotta get somebody.

  31. Stephen

    July 17, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Like I said, McBride’s my guy.

  32. cib

    July 17, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    What’s up with Pudge. He should have stayed single. :-)

  33. Dead Rabbit

    July 17, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    go get um jones!

  34. Cameron in Singapore

    July 17, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Way to go Jonesy!!!

  35. Stephen

    July 17, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    YEAH!!! that’s a big one.

    i don’t know about anyone else, but i really no enjoyment out of a nail biter, just anxiety and tension. i need a cocktail.

  36. JML

    July 17, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    OK, I will start breathing again now. Blue is NOT my color :-P Nice win for the boys…

  37. PHT in HK

    July 17, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    That was quite uninteresting! I thought Jones is there to make things interesting and provide some drama.

  38. Chris in Nashville

    July 17, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    Great start by Nate tonight, that’s the best he has been in quite a while. Who could believe that the bullpen ERA would be sub 2.00 in July? Not I.

    Crap…about to hit submit comment and Ryan Garko tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the 9th with a 2 run HR off Jenks. Damnit.

  39. Stephen

    July 17, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    And the indians tie it up

  40. Kathy

    July 17, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    That’s probably one of Nate’s best pitched games.

  41. Stephen

    July 17, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Not sure who weighs more, Froemming or Bobby Jenks.

  42. Mike R

    July 17, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Great outing for Nate. And Sam, Dotel will get dealt but Dayton Moore wanted either Matt Kemp or James Loney in talks with the Dodgers, who are the front runners for Dotel as of right now.

    Yeah, that’s a steep price for any reliever that’s not a top 5 closer in the game.

  43. Tbone

    July 17, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Great win for the Tigers tonight. These are those low-scoring, close games Leyland was talking about that the Tigers needed to start winning.

    And all before the return of Zumaya and Rodney. Go bullpen!!

  44. Kyle J

    July 17, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Particularly sweet to beat the Twins on a fluky run (error, wild pitch, ground ball through the hole), since they always seems to score so many of them against us at the dome.

    Odd to see Polanco fail at advancing the runners with the bunt two straight times. I actually tend to like the bunt with runners on 1st and 2nd and no one out–since a double play can effectively end the threat–but the big problem with the bunt option in any situation is that the success rate is well below 100%, even with a pro like Polanco up there.

  45. Bryan

    July 17, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Nate Robertson came out of nowhere and completely shut down the Twins, kudos to him. Kind sucks to see the offense only scoring one run though, suppose I got too used to seeing them putting up 4, 5 or more on the board this season

  46. Kyle J

    July 17, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Nuts. Indians score in the bottom of the 11th. One game lead will have to do for now.

    Yankees came back in the bottom of the 9th and won in extra innings, too. I still think they’ve got a comeback run in them. Their rotation is solid and their hitters (Damon, Abreu, etc.) have to revert toward their career #s at some point.

    I don’t think the second half of the season is going to be too relaxing. Baseball was a much healthier interest for me before the Tigers were contenders; now it’s 162 games of stress.

    But I’ll take it.

  47. Adam

    July 17, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    And, if only for one night, and if only BY FRACTIONS, the Tigers have pulled into FIRST PLACE IN THE MAJOR LEAGUE.

    Boston and LA both lost, putting Detroit’s .604 winning percentage on top.

    Sucks that the freaking Indians can’t seem to stop being leeches.

  48. Ryan S

    July 17, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Just finished watching the game (was about an hour behind on tivo – i’m going to miss this MLB Extra Innings preview when it’s gone). Nate looked really good tonight. Let’s hope he’s headed back to his form from the beginning of the year. He really pounded the strike zone early, then battled out of a tough jam later.

    Man, those two failed sac bunt attempts with Polanco were hard to watch. I guess Leyland was thinking, “It can’t happen twice? Right?” Ouch!

  49. Keith G.

    July 17, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    This was a big win because Gardenhire was coming out with guns blazing for this series. He lined up Garza for the first game knowing that the Tigers hadn’t seen him yet this year, Santana for Game 2 (by pitching him on Friday despite him pitching in the All-Star game), and Baker for Game 3 (who lost that 1-0 decision on Thames’ 8th inning HR in Detroit a few weeks ago). Most other managers didn’t pitch their aces that participated in the All-Star until Saturday at the earliest but not Gardenhire. He wanted to set his rotation in the hopes of sweeping this series, that is why this is such a big win IMO. This win takes the pressure off of the Tigers for the remainder of the series, knowing that the Twins can AT MOST only knock one game off that six game deficit that they were facing when the Tigers arrived for this series. I think Gardenhire set his rotation in hopes that the Twins would win the first two and then hope that the Tigers might start pressing on Thursday, resulting in a Twins sweep of the Tigers. Now that Gardenhire’s best laid plans have been ruined, I think the Tigers will play more relaxed the next two games and win one of those games.

    Great to see Jones mow down the Twins 2-3-4 hitters in order in the ninth on SEVEN pitches. Has Jones ever worked a more efficient ninth in a one-run game before? I kinda doubt it. I can’t say enough about Nate tonight either. He comes up with his best performance of 2007 (by far) on a night where the team really needed it due to Garza also pitching his ass off. Just a big, big win and I’m going to sleep very well on this Tuesday evening.

  50. T Smith

    July 17, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Kyle J:

    It’s still a preferable play. Especially with a pro like Polanco. No play can ever be 100%, but Leyland made the right call both times (especially given the evident pitcher’s duel afoot); I let him sacrifice every time in that situation. It just so happened tonight’s attempts fell in the failed % category, which is still a smaller % margin than any other attempted play.

    Now if you have a guy like Ordonez or Sheff up, or even Guillen, it’s a whole different story. Save for McBride’s four pitch walk, which launched my mind racing to visions of another bullpen blowup, I really wasn’t aggrevated at all tonight. Great win.

    Any 1-0 victory is a thrilling one. And a statement, too.

  51. Jim

    July 17, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Awesome game! Great pitching tonight. Fantastic.

    I hate the Metrodome.

  52. ron

    July 18, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Lets sweep. After all, we are the best team in baseball.

  53. cib

    July 18, 2007 at 8:14 am

    I wonder if that back/ribcage strain is affecting Placido.

  54. bob

    March 24, 2008 at 1:13 pm

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  55. Celebrity

    June 12, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    cib, yes we are.

  56. SBA Program

    February 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Pretty good read, i will social bookmark this.