Game 107: Tigers at A’s

PREGAME: The ridiculously long, and very disappointing, road trip finally comes to an end. The Tigers will also get their first day off tomorrow since July 16th. Unfortunately it won’t be their last trip to the West Coast because they have 3 more against Oakland at the end of August.

Today it will be Nate Robertson, who gutted out 6 innings his last time out, but submarined the Tigers chances of victory with 8 runs allowed in just 2 innings.

He’ll take on Dallas Braden who was shelled in his last start to the tune of 7 runs (3 were unearned) in 4 innings.

Game Time 3:35

POSTGAME: Another day another loss. This time Nate Robertson did his job and turned in a quality start. He lasted through 6 innings because the A’s got jumpy with 14 batters swinging at the first pitch. But save for a rough 3rd inning and a huge Mark Ellis blast he had an easy go of it.

Of course he left things in a precarious state for Chad Durbin. Durbin did a fine job coming in with a 2nd and 3rd nobody out situation and keeping the ball in the infield as no one crossed the plate. Of course Bobby Seay nearly undid his good work by walking 2 and plunking a batter before Jason Grilli picked up the last out.

The offense had their chances with 12 baserunners but only managed to plate 2 runs. Some of it was poor execution and some was just unfortunate. Kind of like the whole roadtrip in a nutshell.

128 thoughts on “Game 107: Tigers at A’s”

  1. Braden is a high strikeout fastball pitcher. Hopefully that will play into our hands, with our fastball hitting team??


  2. Hello, we are still in first place. The wagon seems to be gaining speed lately. Don’t hurt yourself jumping off.

  3. I like that term “gut it out.” That’s exactly what they need to do today.

    I respect this team and I still believe in them, but this road trip has been killer. They are dead tired (no day rest between Chicago and California), banged up, and beaten. I’m happy if they come out of it in once piece, and bonus if they are still in sole possession of first place.

  4. When does Marcus come back? Any shot of a pre-september call up for Shelton to get him eligible for the post season?

  5. Still in first place. I can’t believe it, but I take solace in it. If this is indeed just a rough patch, and the Tigs can return to playing some winning ball, we’re in fine shape.

    Looking forward to the return of Marcus. Hopefully our mojo returns with him.

  6. I just recalled this and thought I would put it out there. Watching the game last night, I had the A’s broadcast team and they were griping that Polanco will win the gold glove at 2nd this year so Mark Ellis won’t have a shot. I was pretty surprised, I’ve never heard anyone say anything remotely negative about Polly. They were talking about how the system works and how he’ll win it because of the system and because he makes ‘flashy’ plays. How about because of his awesome fielding and not making an error in over a year and closing in a record?! I have no clue how Mark Ellis is playing this year, but give me a break, if anyone is UNDERrated and deserves it, its our man Polly!

    (ok I feel a lil better now, thank you)

  7. I’m gonna set the bullpen runs allowed O/U at 3.5. Place your bets, place your bets.

  8. Actually, I’ll move that to 2.5. Go ahead and give me a number and I’ll record it. We’ll tally it up at the end, see where we come out.

  9. Yea….. We’ve got Nate “Tired Arm” Robertson here to offer up batting practice to an otherwise pathetic Oakland batting team. Hopefully Detroit can have one of those 12 run games they used to have, so they might have a chance to end this miserable road trip with a win.

  10. Come on, Nate. Bring your best stuff. We desperately need it, that a regular Starting Pitcher will reach at least 6 Innings and a quality Start

    Please, don’t lose the fourth series in a row. Those pesky Twins are lurking around

    greetings from Germany. I really hope we see the good ones win. Fingers crossed

  11. Dirk, I wouldn’t worry about the Twins. It’s the Yankees who are gonna run either the Tigers or the Indians down. They had an absolutely miserable first two months and they are now just 3 games back in the wild card. Fairly remarkable. They add Hughes as a fifth starter this week. Good times.

  12. Here’s my wish list for ’08

    Jason Grilli, Gone!
    Macay McBride, Gone!
    José Capellán, Gone!
    Todd Jones, Gone!
    …and last but not least…
    Nate “Tired Arm” Robertson, Gone!

    If DD can replace these with mediocre tallent, it will be a big improvement.

  13. The Minnesota Twins didn’t add any players but did subtract their starting second baseman at the trade deadline. And after watching his front office’s inactivity, ace Johan Santana reportedly didn’t hide his disappointment.

    Olney: Santana Upset

    Johan Santana’s discontent might have executives with other teams dreaming big this offseason, Buster Olney writes. Blog
    • Baseball Today Podcast

    “It’s not just about hope,” Santana told The Star Tribune. “In a realistic world, you have to really make it happen and go for it.

    “You always talk about future, future. … But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won’t be part of it,” Santana told the newspaper.

    Santana can be a free agent after the 2008 season. The only move Minnesota made before the non-waiver trade deadline was to send second baseman Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for two minor league prospects.

    “Why waste time when you’re talking about something that’s always going to be like that? It’s never going to be beyond this point,” Santana told the newspaper. “It doesn’t make any sense for me to be here, you know?”

    The native of Venezuela won his second AL Cy Young award in three years in 2006, taking the pitching triple crown in the American League with 19 victories, a 2.77 ERA and 245 strikeouts. In addition, Santana led the league in starts (34) and innings pitched (232).

    This season, Santana is 11-8 with a 2.92 ERA for the third-place Twins, who are six games back in the AL Central. He currently is second in the AL with 156 strikeouts.

  14. The pen will only give up 2.

    Nate Robertson will give up so many runs that the Oakland hitters will take it easy at the plate as they cruise to an easy 12 run scoring victory.

  15. Yes ben, but with the way this pitching staff looks, the Tigers will have many days off, starting this October.

  16. Okay Nate, let’s pick this up. No more allowing runs in the half after we score one.

  17. I say the pen doesn’t give up a single run. With the day off tomorrow Leyland will use every last arm if he has to, in order to end the road trip on a high note.

  18. An American league GM:
    “A bad bullpen has a bigger trickle-down effect than people give it credit for. Whether it’s hitters pressing to try to score 10 runs every night or it’s starters pressing to last one more inning and not send the game to the bullpen, it’s had a big effect. Right now, we have a lot of players in that selfish mode of ‘Don’t blame us. Blame the bullpen.’ And we needed to change that.”

    Unfortunately, the quote is from Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay’s GM.

  19. I think Nate should replace his Charles Manson glasses and goatee with a clown nose and fu-manchu. Maybe even some of those glasses with the fake eyeballs on springs.

  20. Rod and Mario showed a stat before the game today, Tiger starters have a 7+ ERA on this road trip, while the bullpen has actually been better at something like 5.5. Neither is acceptable, but it illustrates how bad everyone on the staff has been. Jordan Tata, you are excused.

    Also Nate is getting slapped around right now. Glad we bothered to get an early lead. How come WE never seem to come back against anybody’s pen?

  21. I can’t really pay attention as much as I’d like to, but listening to the game at work is about the best thing one can do at work…other than leaving at night.

    Sounds like Robertson is settling down a bit after getting smoked for 4 straight batters…..our offense is due to break out pretty soon.

  22. I hope they break out soon, because they’re making this guy look like Tom Glavine right now.

  23. Need to pull out a win today to salvage the trip at 4-7. Honestly, while the Angels series was a debacle, the Tigs have been one or two late-game collapses away from a 6- or 7-win trip, so they have that going for them, which is nice.

    Road record is still one of the best in MLB, which is always an indicator of a good team. Let’s go Tigers!

  24. Nate looks sharp right now, he’s set down 8 straight (knock on wood). PLEASE get the bats going now….

  25. Quick update on the bullpen O/U (2.5), I’m still taking bets.

    TBone (parlayed it with a “3”)

    Dave T

  26. Nate’s thrown 69 through 5, I hope he’s got some life in him for at least 2 more. If so, the unders are looking better and better.

  27. Doesn’t it seem that the pen has performed better as of late when they enter in close games, vs. games with decent-large leads? It’s almost as if they are crumbling under their own pressure.

    Another run after we score run. (sigh)

  28. HR by Ellis…inability to keep a game tied after we come back has been a recurring theme on this road trip. Ugh.

  29. Why is Pudge hitting 5th? Any lineup I write out he hits no higher than 8th, so I see him at 6th as pushing it, but 5th – come on! Well anyway he is taking his cuts like a no. 5-hitter.

  30. I have the over/under on runs we score off of THEIR pen at 2.5 also.

    I’m taking the over.

    It’s so difficult to be optimistic, but I am really trying.

  31. Need an old-fashioned Gum Time rally now…I didn’t think Nate pitched that badly (62 strikes in 91 pitches), but that 4-hit stretch in the 3rd was the one big bump in the road.

  32. Imagine what we could’ve gotten in December for a Nate Robertson + Craig Monroe package. Man, oh man.

  33. I hear ya, Mike. But hindsight is 20/20, and there’s no point in dwelling on what might have been.

    I’m feeling a Sean Casey base hit right here.

  34. I know, I was in favor of dealing Monroe then, but that thought popped into my head when Monroe jumped on another 1st pitch and hit a really worm-burner to SS.

    And so much for that Casey base hit.

    Also, some of today’s game falls on Magglio’s horrendous baserunning. Not that he didn’t get into scoring position on that ball in the dirt, but that he just gave away an out for no reason what-so-ever. Then again, Pudge was up, so it was a guaranteed K anyways.

    Also, with all of the talk about how terrible our bullpen has been (and lord knows, it’s worse then we could ever put into words) this team is horrible late in games offensively.

    In close and late situations: .666 OPS which is good for 23rd in the majors (.237/.309/.357 as a team).

    Innings 1-6 we lead the majors with a .866 OPS (.308/.362/.504).

    7th inning or later: 20th with a .699 OPS (.246/.316/.383).

  35. Kyle J: His ERA last year hasn’t been forgotten; however, his FIP numbers (ERA without defense/luck involved) in 2006 was 4.77, nearly a run higher then his ERA, meaning he was pitching worse then his numbers indicated. Couple that with suddenly working in the high 80’s instead of the low 90’s and you have a completely different pitcher.

    Solid start today, though.

  36. You’re right about Robertson’s ERA, Mike, but that’s also evidence we probably wouldn’t have gotten a great return on trading him. The other major league GMs have the same stats (although they obviously put different levels of credibility on them).

    I think our expectations of what a major league roster looks like have gotten a bit out of hand. Go look at the year-to-date stats of the Red Sox, Yankees, Braves, etc. My guess is that they’re not quite as load as you think they are. They all have players underperforming comparable to Monroe and Robertson.

  37. Just to demonstrate that I’m an equal opportunity poster, nice job by Durbin.

    1. Stranded inherited runners
    2. Killed the rally
    3. Didn’t surrender any hits
    4. Got some outs.

    Wow. A real bullpen preformance. What more can you ask for?

  38. Even a single would’ve been remarkable.

    Talk about things that seem a long time ago, remember when Craig’s nickname was “Clutch”?

  39. That’s why I don’t like Monroe up at the plate in that situation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get it done when we really need it.

  40. T Smith – he’s been terrible this year, but last year he was fantastic in the late innings. I think over half of his HRs were hit after the 7th. (Though I’m in the bench him NOW camp). I remember a 9th inning HR to beat NYY last Sept.

  41. Question: How many Ks does it take to spell ‘waivers’?
    Answer: God I hope we’re about to find out.

  42. On the radio, Jim Price mentioned Monroe’s “bloop” single earlier in the game and says “we could use one of those right now.” So I guess that’s what it’s come to: the most we dare hope for from Monroe is a little bloop single.

    Of course he couldn’t even manage that.

  43. Props to Stephen. I didn’t think I had a Tiger-related laugh in me during the late innings of an impending loss at the ass-end of an ugly road trip, but there it is. Heh, sashimi.

  44. And I’m sorry but as wonderful a year as Granderson is having, you are not a great player if you’re hitting .185 against lefties.

  45. Stephen: I thought you were going to suggest actually turning Monroe into sashami. You know, just dice him up and feed him to the bullpen.

  46. Yeah,

    I almost prefaced my Monroe comment by saying “this year” but I was so diheartened that we couldn’t at least tie the game with bases-loaded-one-out, I didn’t have the energy to bother.

  47. And there we have it: Durbin’s brilliant preformance negated by Seay’s dismal preformance.

  48. O/U update:

    Grilli coming in…Chris, Dave T, Mark in Chicago and Chris in Nashville are sweating bullets.

    TBone and Ben – I like your chances.

  49. What a fantastic way to end this death march of a road trip. bring grilli into a base loaded jam.

    i’m almost rooting for the over.

  50. Price just said “This is one of Jason’s specialties, stranding runners.” Huh???

  51. Speaking of cheese, if that Mr. Mayor McCheese we have playing first base doesn’t get a key hit in this inning, i think he should have his jaw wired shut. Casey: less talking, more hitting. If I hear one more guy–Dusty Baker was the latest–saying how he’s a perfect fit for this lineup since he takes a ton of pitches i’m gonna throw up in my mouth.

  52. Go home, get some rest, enjoy the break, clear your heads, whatever it takes.

    Congrats to the unders.

  53. And this warrants repeating before everyone says ‘hey, this one wasn’t the bullpen’s fault.’
    Devil Rays GM: “A bad bullpen has a bigger trickle-down effect than people give it credit for. Whether it’s hitters pressing to try to score 10 runs every night or it’s starters pressing to last one more inning and not send the game to the bullpen, it’s had a big effect. Right now, we have a lot of players in that selfish mode of ‘Don’t blame us. Blame the bullpen.’ And we needed to change that.”

  54. Without looking at the stats, one huge diference between the ’06 and ’07 teams seems to be the ability to get a clutch, late-inning hit in a game they trail.

    The miracle of this miserable slump is that we still have at least a share of the AL Central lead. The table is quickly being set for another back door Minnesota title run.

    Ugh. Yuck. Blech…

  55. True, but the table is also being set for a lively race and the chance to pull out ahead. Our bullpen makes me sick, but we’re in the thick of the race and its going to be a fun Aug/Sept.

  56. We stink right now. Everybody stinks. The bullpen is awful. The starting pitching is awful. The hitting struggles when we need it. The biggest difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is last year’s team found a way to win. Whether it was the bullpen holding a one run lead or getting a late clutch hit. This year’s team plays with no confidence, no swagger. It’s like looking at a Corvette with all deflated tires.

    It’s frustrating. We need a Leyland tirade or something. Because for the last now 3 weeks, this is one of the worst teams in baseball and there is absolutely no excuse for it. THey are playing with no heart and like they don’t care.

    As a Tigers fan, I am used to losing, but I am not used to the Tigers losing when there is high expectations. This is crap. Crappy effort all the way around.

  57. Optimism: If the Tigers were going to have a horrible two weeks, better now than September.

    Pessimism: Cleveland swooned the past two weeks, too.

  58. Jeff: Re: Devil Rays GM:
    The closest thing in baseball to Matt Millen.

    Exactly! Which is why it’s so pathetic our boy genius doesn’t subscribe to it. When Devil Rays GM and Rob Parker figure this out before you do, that’s a sign you are drifting away from reality faster than G.W. Bush.

  59. This loss had nothing to do with the bullpen and the undo strain that is placed on the team because of it. Unless of course that added pressure caused Granderson to hit the ball 6 fit to the right of the foul pole. Or the added strain made Magglio Ordonez hit the ball all the way out to Swisher on a line instead of having it drop in front.

    Or maybe Nate Robertson started the game with a 1-2-3 inning because he wasn’t thinking about the pen, but then when he got back to the dugout Jeremy Bonderman sat down next to him and said – “nice job, how did you block out the pressure of having to carry the bullpen?” At this point Robertson freaked out and started allowing hits. And then all hell broke loose in the third.

    I’m not saying the pen is good, but blaming this loss on the pen is nonsensical.

  60. I took today off from watching the game – sounds like I made the right choice. Here’s something to cheer everyone up. There’s a brushes-with-greatness thread over at Primer, and someone wrote this about the most exciting closer in baseball:

    “I once emailed Todd Jones and asked him to email my best buddy from my fantasy league and demand a trade to my team. I woke up the next morning to find a message in my inbox from Jones that simply said “Game on.” My friend replied to it, thinking I’d set up a dummy account. It took me about 30 minutes on the phone with my buddy to finally convince him it really was Todd Jones that had sent him the email that stated “He knows the game, and he loves me too. You don’t want me. You just got stuck with me. Do the right thing and trade me to Rick’s team.” Afterwards, I emailed Todd and thanked him and he responded that it was no problem and he enjoyed it. I’ve loved the guy ever since for that.”

  61. Kurt, you could reverse those, too!

    Optimism: Better to have a horrible two weeks now, than in September when teams are trying to eke out playoff spots.

    Optimism: At least, Cleveland swooned the past two weeks, too.

    162-game season. The first 93 were pretty good. The last 13 have been unbearable. 56 remain–and I predict they’ll be more like the 93 than the 13.

  62. Mr. Sunshine may need to start working overtime.

    Sheffield to have shoulder examined
    August 1, 2007



    OAKLAND, Calif. — Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield said after today’s game that his right shoulder continues to bother him and hinder his production.

    Sheffield will have a medical exam on the shoulder in the next few days in Detroit. Neither Sheffield nor Tigers manager Jim Leyland speculated if Sheffield might have to miss some games to rest the shoulder.

    There was concern on Sheffield’s face and in his voice as he talked about the shoulder, which he said is causing numbness in his right hand when he bats.

    “I am concerned, because I know if it’s the worst-case scenario, I’m thinking about long-term and what I’m going to do about it,” he said. “I don’t even want to think about the worst-case scenario right now.”

    In his six games since he got a cortisone shot in the shoulder, Sheffield is 4-for-23 with no extra-base hits and no RBIs.

    “I just don’t feel comfortable when I’m up there (at bat),” Sheffield said. “When I want to fire, it’s not firing … I just don’t feel strong.”

    The shoulder has troubled Sheffield periodically for about 15 years. This is the first time, he said, that the shoulder has reacted this way after a cortisone shot. The other times, he said, the shot worked.

    He said that if the shoulder were healthy, then the ball he hit in the first inning Wednesday would have been a homer. Instead it was a fly ball to the warning track.

    “When I wiggle the bat, I get numbness in my hand,” Sheffield said. “It’s been there every game I’ve played since the shot. It’s the first time I’ve had it … The numbness is what I don’t understand. That’s probably what is frustrating me more than anything else. I can deal with pain, but when it’s a nerve … ”

    And his voice tailed off, typifying the uncertainty over the shoulder’s condition.

  63. Rodney pitched his 15 pitches this evening. Was not spectacular 🙁

    Got 1 out, gave up a hit and a walk. Sounded like the hit was close to being caught though.

  64. Well Billfer, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree. Of course they didn’t lose the game today because of the bullpen, but I will argue to my dying day that if one component of a company is constantly letting down other components of the company, it’s gonna leave a long-term psychological scar on the company.
    Any sport or business is like that: a team loses faith in its bullpen/manager/quarterback/director of sales etc.. they at first try too hard and then they pack it in.
    If my editor chronically sleepwalks through one of my stories or the photographer repeatedly turns in crummy photos, eventually it’s gonna have an impact on whether i go the extra mile or decide to figuratively and metaphorically phone it in. Few of us can consistently do a good job while the building is collapsing around us.

  65. I hear what you’re saying, I really do but the sequence and timing of things just doesn’t support your argument. The pen was fine for several weeks and was great in Minnesota. The starting pitching has faltered just as much as the bullpen during this time period, and it’s not like the pen started blowing games before the starters started having troubles. The chronology just doesn’t fit.

  66. Blame it on the bullpen, starting pitching, offensive, whatever. What I want to know is this:

    What do the Tigers have to do relinquish 1st place? What is this, the national league?

  67. Hey, maybe we’ll start winning at home now!

    Whether it’s trickle down from the struggling pen or not, we’re all in agreement that this team looks like garbage at the moment. And the distracted, defeated attitude of the players is really disconcerting. Bad fielding, too many walks given up, too many bad at bats, no late-inning magic. Basically the exact opposite of last year’s squad (other than the bad ABs).

    My feeling is we absolutely need an shut-em down performance from this heralded, “best rotation” in baseball. Blame the pen all you want, but top line starters step up when their team is down, and we’ve seen none of that during this slide. Earlier in the season it seemed either Bonderman or Justin would put an end to a streak of losses, but now nobody seems capable of going 7 strong. Bonderman has been particularly troubling.

    That being said, I still feel we’ll pull out of this.

  68. *** Exactly! Which is why it’s so pathetic our boy genius doesn’t subscribe to it. When Devil Rays GM and Rob Parker figure this out before you do, that’s a sign you are drifting away from reality faster than G.W. Bush. ***

    The alternative interpretation is that if Rob Parker and the Devil Rays’ GM agree on something, it’s probably wrong.

    There’s a tendency among fans to project their own nervousness while watching a baseball game onto the players. Guys don’t become big leaguers if they’re nervous nellies, and there’s too little time between the release of a pitch and its arrival at home plate to get nervous anyway.

  69. “What do the Tigers have to do relinquish 1st place? What is this, the national league?”

    Apparently, they have to do more than lose 4 out of 14.

    Texas beats Cleveland 9-6 in 10 innings. Tigs still up by a game.

  70. The bottom line is, I’m not gonna blame the bullpen for this one. The team stunk. Monroe choked. Grandy didn’t get it done. Sheff’s asleep. Robertson’s still pretty tired. Maggs didn’t come through. Pudge wouldn’t know how to take a ball if his new wife’s life depended on it. This team has about as much mojo going for it as Janet Reno in a bikini.

    But don’t crucify the messenger; Stephen is still 100% correct.

  71. “There’s a tendency among fans to project their own nervousness while watching a baseball game onto the players. Guys don’t become big leaguers if they’re nervous nellies, and there’s too little time between the release of a pitch and its arrival at home plate to get nervous anyway…”

    I beg to differ. You have your axiom reversed. When I see Craig Monroe bat in a 1-2 count, HE projects his nervousness onto ME. I get the vibe, eyes closed, in the other room, over 1000 miles away…

  72. Robertson is still pretty tired, sure, but he did only give up 3 runs. He kept them firmly in the game even though the last homer was pretty disappointing.

    The Tigers scored 2 against not great pitching.

  73. Quote: “Hello, we are still in first place. The wagon seems to be gaining speed lately. Don’t hurt yourself jumping off.”

    this is one of the most frustrating type of comments to hear people say. did you keep telling yourself that up until the very last game of the regular season last year???

    don’t look now, but the yankees are 2 games out of the wild card, and they aren’t slowing down. you better hope we stay in first place…. otherwise its an early offseason for the tigers.

    just think, if the tigers won half of their losses in the last few weeks we would not only have a huge lead on cleveland, but that wild card race would mean little at this point.

    the fact is, the tigers are finding new ways to lose almost every day. the bullpen blows games, the fielding blows games, the hitters fall asleep, etc… they are really in trouble. we won’t be in first place for long at this rate.

  74. Duh, we got to the world series last year, even with the collapse at the end of the season. The Yankees make a move and everyone is looking over their shoulder. Yeh ,I want to be in a foxhole with you people. If we do fall out of first place, it only matters for one day, the day we are eliminated; and that day is yet to come. The most frustrating comment I hear is “the sky is falling”. Still got a lot of ball to play. Keep the faith.

  75. You guys! We got a strong team and guess what: we gonna wind some more games.

    key is to use the right players and in pitching challenge the hitters don’t get behind the count

    i think Nate was doing that yesterday and that’d be why A’s come out swinging early in the count

    looks to me like the Tigs are making the right correction

  76. Maybe next year!!!

    The tigers are in big trouble with the injuries to Shef & others, and the team now not the scoring machine they were earlier. The starting pitching has been very erratic and the bullpen is as bad as the worst in the league, Tampa bay. I’m affraid that the recent struggles are far from over and the tigers are going to take the big tumble this August.

  77. Chris the season takes its toll on every team as it goes along game after game. we got the best manager around and that’s what ya need to get guys who can win on the field day after day

  78. 34 home, 21 road. 30 games vs. under .500 teams, 25 over .500. 8 games against Cleveland, 6 against Minnesota. As bad as the last 2 weeks/2 months have been, the Tigers ARE in first. The toughest part of the schedule IS over. There are still LOTS of games against both of the other AL Central contenders. The bullpen almost certainly gets at least nominally better over the next month. Are they definitely going to take the Central? No. But I like the chances.

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