Game 114: Rays at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers look to win a series, something they haven’t done since Minnesota. And really, a split against Tampa wouldn’t feel very satisfying anyways – especially given that the Tigers are now tied for the Wild Card with the Mariners.

It should be a great pitching match-up with Scott Kazmir taking on Jeremy Bonderman. However Bonderman hasn’t been good for awhile. Kazmir on the other hand has been lights out with 5 straight quality starts in which he’s posted a 1.38 ERA and 38 K’s against the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels. Over that span he’s allowed 4 doubles, the only 4 extra base hits he’s allowed.

Game Time 1:05

BR Game Preview

POSTGAME: Being at work I was listening to this game early on. I heard Bonderman searching for the plate for 31 pitches in the first inning, and I heard Kazmir retire the first 6 Tigers on all of 18 pitches. But 3 innings later the pitch counts had evened out. Bonderman went through the next 3 innings on 30 pitches while Kazmir started going to 3 ball counts and had trouble finishing hitters off. The Tigers had just squandered a great scoring opportunity when Guillen and Ordonez each fanned, on a combined 15 pitches. I was a little disappointed, but I left for my meeting thinking that this game could go either way…

And then I come back and find out it’s a blow out. Much like the night before, the starter struggled in the first, only to settle down. And when the offense failed to cash in on a scoring opportunity, said pitcher came out and got knocked around.

I don’t know what is wrong with Bonderman. I didn’t see him today so I don’t know what was the problem but it sounded like he had zero control of any of his pitches. I don’t know if it is his elbow that is hurting his control and making his slider not as sharp. Or if there is a mechanical issue at work. But this is as bad as I can remember him for an extended stretch.

I’m not frustrated with the offense this time. Kazmir is a tough pitcher and I’m perfectly willing to “tip my hat” to someone of his caliber. This wasn’t another Gavin Floyd performance. That said, the Tigers didn’t take advantage of the opportunity they mustered. But with the starting pitching once again struggling, it’s not as if scratching across 2-3 runs would have helped.

I really expected Bonderman to do something good today. But without Bonderman even being mildly effective, the Tigers just won’t have the starting pitching to get keep them in the post season hunt. His struggles, and his failure to correct have me as worried about this team as I have been at any point this season.


  1. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Pudge is in the lineup for a day game. He and Leyland must view this as a big game. Of course, they’re all going to be big games from here on out.

    And Marcus is back, starting at 1B. Maybe he’ll be the spark to get the offense going consistently again.

  2. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I really like Thames/Monroe/Inge v. Kazmir. I’m looking for some production from 3 righties at the bottom of the order vs. the fastball happy lefty (along with several Ks).

  3. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Is the game in rain delay? isn’t saying anything…

  4. cib

    August 9, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Game day is now showing rain delay. I am downtown not far from the ballpark and it looks like it’s clearing up from the west so hopefully not too much longer. I just brought in lunch and it was barely raining. (I’d be over there but have to leave at 2:30 for a meeting in the suburbs. . . .)

  5. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Scratch that, just saw Infante is in instead. So much for the bottom of the order power.

  6. Walewander

    August 9, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Game on!

  7. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    I’m “watching” the game on Gameday today. Need a solid outing from Jeremy. This is an important game for the Tigers.

  8. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    I live about 2 hours west of Detroit and it rained pretty hard this morning but mostly very cloudy and every once in a while a few sprinkles.

  9. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Two walks is too much to overcome.

  10. cib

    August 9, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    OMG not again.

  11. Bobby

    August 9, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    From now on, can we start someone else, then bring in Bonderman in the 2nd?

    BTW – I sung the anthem again today… did I see Billfer along the first base line?

  12. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Why he’s throwing off speed stuff against Greg Norton is beyond me. Just challenge this joker with fastballs. Pudge should know better.

  13. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Pitching around the .192 hitter to get to the .163 hitter, eh?

  14. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Bondo has to figure a way out of this 1st inning funk. It’s just ridiculous the number of runs he gives up. On the radio pre-game, they said JB figured out that it was something mechanical and we was going to make adjustments today.

    Leyland came on after and basically said that was bunk. If it were something mechanical, he would have figured it out a long time ago.

  15. Coach Jim

    August 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I work at the RenCen, so I took an elevator ride to the top and check out the weather. Wouldn’t you know it, by the time I got back to my desk its 1-0 with the bases loaded. Looks like Bondo needs to go on the DL with that tired arm too. Walking a .190 hitter can’t be a good strategy.

  16. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Please, please, please – just throw him fastballs. Get ahead in the count for once.

  17. Bobby

    August 9, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Thank GOD

  18. Walewander

    August 9, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    God, that was ugly.

  19. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    31 pitches, four base runners, but only one run. I’ll take it.

    My suggestion is that Bonderman throw a simulated inning to live hitters before the game starts. He’d wouldn’t be able to go as far into games, but we’d save quite a few runs in return.

  20. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    31 pitch 1st inning and he was lucky to get out of it only giving up 1 run. At this pace we’ll get to the bully in a hurry. And then the real fun begins!

  21. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Great – kaz goes 1-2-3 on 8 pitches. We’re doomed…

  22. Walewander

    August 9, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Bonderman, OPS against by inning:

    1st – 1.192
    2nd – .395
    3rd – .750
    4th – .550
    5th – .551
    6th – .753
    7th – .971
    8th – .381
    9th – .000

    31 RA in the first, 38 in all others. It’s unbelievable.

  23. cib

    August 9, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    The attention given to Bondo’s first innings of course messes with his head, and then it’s vicious cycle. It’s as if HE expects to have issues in the first inning, so he does. How do you put an end to that?

  24. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Maybe this is one of those games where the team that’s playing well early doesn’t take full advantage of it on the scoreboard and it comes back to haunt them.

    I’ll take whatever hope I can get at this point.

  25. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Welcome back, Marcus!

  26. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Bonderman seems to be settling in once again. Gameday shows only two balls thrown to the last five batters.

  27. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    This may be a sign that Kazmir is not in the best of form – it took him 8 pitches to strike out Monroe.

  28. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Atta boy, Monroe. Swinging at ball four seems to be your speciality.

  29. Nick

    August 9, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Could Monroe make is any easier for Leyland to bench him?

  30. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Monroe/Infante: striking fear in the opposition at the bottom of the lineup!

  31. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    At least C-Mo battled….. but man, the kid can’t catch a break.

  32. cib

    August 9, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Monroe, it’s like I said with Bondo – self-fulfilling prophecy. I have to go to a meeting, have fun guys. Pull us through!!

  33. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Kyle J may be on to something s far as having Bondo pitch a simulated inning. And the “live” hitter he should be pitching to should be Monroe.

  34. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    At least Bondo seems to be pulling it together. Nice inning.

  35. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Polanco is still showing some extra base pop!

  36. Thinking Man

    August 9, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    If Price or Dickerson say “that’s strong” one more time during today’s broadcast, I may lose my lunch.

  37. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Another missed opportunity. What has happened to the clutch hitting on this team?

  38. Walewander

    August 9, 2007 at 2:52 pm


  39. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    LOL. But not so “lol” is that weak grounder by I-Rod after tough at bats by Ordonez and Guillen. Ouch.

  40. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Does anyone keep track of the % of runners batted in from third with less than two outs? It seems like we should get the runner in more often than we do, but maybe the leaguewide success rate isn’t as high as I think it is.

  41. Keith G.

    August 9, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Way to go Carlos! Great at bat buddy. The D-Rays are playing the infield back and we need is a frickin’ ground ball to SS. But you’re not settling for that are you Carlos? Nope. You’re going to strike out. Thanks Carlos for contributing this stinking pile of crap I’ve been subjected to for three weeks running.

  42. Bobby

    August 9, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    “Here comes the deuce… and when you speak of me, speak well.”

  43. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Oh no…. a bomb. 3-0. Just feels like a hot spatula just got slapped on my throat.

  44. Mark in Chicago

    August 9, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Wow. We get a guy to third with one out and proceed to K twice in a row (with our 2 best hitters).

    TB gets a guy to third with one out and hits a 2-run bomb. In the very next half-inning.


  45. Keith G.

    August 9, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Is there a more overrated player on the Tigers than Jeremy Bonderman? Seriously. Think about it and I challenge anybody to come up with a player that gets talked up more by the media as though he’s a burgeoning superstar and delivers less. Let me take it a step further. Is there a more overrated player in the AL? Seriously.

  46. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 9, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    you guys didn’t read the pre-game notes

    this is gonna be another tough one

    Kazmir on the other hand has been lights out with 5 straight quality starts in which he’s posted a 1.38 ERA and 38 K’s against the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, and Angels. Over that span he’s allowed 4 doubles, the only 4 extra base hits he’s allowed.

  47. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Try to keep some perspective. Bonderman has been one of the most effective strikeout pitchers in the AL since 2003. Anyone with the strikeout totals that Bondo has is a burdgeoning superstar. Also try to remember that he is still very young. He’s 24 years old, for crying out loud.

    I’m dissapointed with Bondo lately but let’s not get crazy.

  48. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    I mentioned this the other day, but I’ll say it again: the Tigers have four dead spots in the batting order. Of the AL players with enough AB to qualify it looks like this:
    3B: out of 15 players, Inge is 12th in BA, 11th in OBP and 13th in SLG
    LF: Monroe is in a class all by himself – 9th of 9 in all 3 categories and by a lot
    C: I-Rod has an OBP of .291 – need I say more
    1B: Casey is 5th out of 13 in BA, but 9th in OBP and 12th in SLG.
    The fact is that the top 5 in the order have been doing most of the work. One could argue that they over-produced in the early going and are now at normal or regressing to the mean. The rest of them are actually playing as about expected – Inge, I-Rod and Casey are having typical seasons and Monroe is the flop that a lot of people expected him too be early on and has seen way way too much time in the lineup. There hasn’t been anyone there to pick up the slack. With the exception of Thames, who I think should have been the regular left fielder from the get-go, the bench just plain sucks too. The whole idea of the Tigers having a balanced attack is an illusion.

  49. Dave T.

    August 9, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Is Kazmir that good today?
    I am watching online, can’t see the movement.

  50. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Ugh. Looks like we are gonna lose this one.

  51. Eric Jackson

    August 9, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Kazmir is looking good but not this good.

    This is pretty embarrassing so far.

  52. Dave T.

    August 9, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I hate waking up after a bad loss and reading quotes from hitters about how awesome a pitcher was on a given day. I know you should be a good sport, but I just hate reading those ‘stupid’ stories about how nasty Kazmir was this afternoon.

  53. Keith G.

    August 9, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    How would you guys as Tiger fans react to an offseason trade that sends Bonderman to TB for Kazmir or Shields? I doubt TB would go for it, but let’s just hypothetically say the deal was made. How do you guys (and Kathy) react? I applaud it even though I suspect the media would not.

  54. Tbone

    August 9, 2007 at 3:33 pm


    Tampa Bay has by far the worst road record and highest team ERA in the bigs. I don’t care who they’ve thrown up there. This vaunted offense that Rod Allen repeatedly keeps calling “the best I’ve ever seen” has scored precisely 1 run in the last 14 innings against these chumps.

    It would be one thing if we would be popping off 5 or 6 runs and watching the pen throw it away. But this simply is not a big league performance from a contender. If we can’t at least count on our bats, we’ve got nothing left.

  55. Dave T.

    August 9, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Kazmir through 6 with 94 pitches thrown, keep him in for the 7th?

    Bonderman is not a complete pitcher, Kazmir looks like he has better stats, and would be a 13 game winner on a decent team. Still I don’t think the trade would be made, or should be made. Bonderman is under contract, I don’t know Kazmir’s situation, but he could be expensive.

  56. David

    August 9, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    walk upton, get to 2k pena

  57. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Hmm. I would take Shields in a straight up trade.
    Tampa won’t do anything like that though. They are much more likely to deal position players for pitchers.

  58. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    I would trade Verlander for Kazmir, he’s that good. I’m not sure about Shields, he just pitches well against us.

    Kazmir is dealing, not doubt about it. It would have been nice for Bondo to keep us in the game but he’s lost his head. Looks like he’s regressed to a 4+ ERA pitcher this year.

  59. Rob

    August 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Hmm. This is looking more and more like what happened to the 2006 White Sox. A deep postseason run depletes your pitching staff, causing a collapse the next year.


    At least we control our destiny, with plenty of games against NY and CLE.

  60. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Bonderman is a conundrum. Every Spring we hear about how this year is going to be his breakout year, but it never happens. For half his starts he’ll pitch like Cy Young, but for the other half like Jason Grilli. Sure he is only 23, but how long do you wait. It is my understanding that the Tigers are no longer in rebuilding mode. I could see packing him off somewhere, but not for pitching since the system is pretty deep there. I’d prefer C, 1B, or 3B or SS (if Guillen moves to 1B). I think the Tigers need to re-tool somewhat this winter and pitchers will make the best trade bait.

  61. Chris

    August 9, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    I’m sorry to say, but this losing funk is far from over. Starting pitching has been anything but solid. Maybe it’s time to start looking forward to next year.

  62. William

    August 9, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Chris, I agree. This looks like a pretty serious tailspin. We have 8 games against the NYY, who are as hot as they can possibly be…I don’t see us winning more than 2 of those –heck we can’t win a series against Oakland, CWS or Tampa.

    Our effective rotation is down to Verlander and …..? That spells trouble–especially when we can’t hit a lick either.

  63. Stephen

    August 9, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Screw Erie! Let’s bring up Maybin and put him left field. That’s one hole filled.

  64. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    five pitches to Ivan – none in the strike zone and he swung at four of them.

  65. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Leyland didn’t PH Granderson for Infante…he’s given up on the game.

  66. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    This is a very disappointing loss. We needed this game. 3 outta 4 after the dismal road trip would have been a good shot in the arm and a great way to prep for Oakland — and if we could win that series, a really good way to setup for the season-deciding stretch with the Tribe/Yankees. Splitting the series with a very mediocre team just isn’t getting it done. It’s time to get it done, or pack it in. Cleveland is not going to keep losing forever — and save for their series against us — they have a cake walk (but perhaps if the Tigers keep playing like they are playing, the Tribe will consider their stop at Comerica as the weakest link in their upcoming schedule). Very disappointing.

    A few notes:

    * Vince in MN — Good post.

    * Llyod McClendon has to work with Pudge and teach him HOW to take a ball. How about just close your eyes every now and then and take a pitch? Something. Anything. 5 walks on the season/.291 OBA is horrendous…almost unforgivable — and a REAL liability.

    * Monroe needs to sit. I don’t care who’s pitching, lefty, righty, or an automated pitching machine for that matter. These games are becoming increasingly more important (I love it out Monroe gets a hit when the team is down 8-0 — will about a 1 in 1000 chance to win. Well done. Well done. How about coming thru when the game is on the line???).

    * If the Tigers can’t hit Cy Young (funny how the worst teams have TWO Cy Youngs that bufuddle the Tigers), make a game plan outta wearing down the pitcher so we can get to the bullpen early (see first bullet point above).

  67. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    4 hits and only 1 run. That’s tough.

  68. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Screw Maybin.

    (There, I said it. I feel better now).

  69. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 9, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    time for beer, I think

  70. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Why is Madden arguing? For histrionics? Ah, Joe. You’re team is up seven runs with six outs to go. Just in case you didn’t know.

  71. charlie

    August 9, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    i am now getting worried big time…last year we had a big lead when we went in the slump…i’m hoping but i’m also being realistic…our pitching top to bottom is not good at the moment and the mojo seems to be disappearing for the hitters…i’m feeling the same way i did in april when i said there is something not right here…we still have a good ballclub but something is not right…we are not in the top four in the AL at the moment. i’m hoping this team is like the stock market…when all hope seems lost we get a rebound. time will tell…i will always be a fan though.

  72. Mark in Chicago

    August 9, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I personally can’t WAIT to play the Indians and Yankees 13 consecutive times. Nothing like getting your brains beat in for another two weeks….

    And Pudge is quickly becoming almost as useless as Monroe. You said it, T Smith: take a pitch. Five walks is absolutely inexcuseable for an everyday player.

  73. Dave T.

    August 9, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    how about a late rally, to just take something positive out of this game!

  74. Keith G.

    August 9, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Kevin in Austin, I’m sorry but Bonderman has not “regressed” to a 4+ ERA pitcher, he has always been a 4+ ERA pitcher. Bonderman has not gone through a full season yet in his big league career with an ERA less than 4. In 2006 Bonderman had an ERA of 4.08, which is his career best in that department. I’ll give him some credit in that he seemed to be improving heading into this year. In 2003 he had a 5.56 ERA in 162 IP, in 2004 he had a 4.89 in 184 IP, in 2005 he had a 4.57 ERA in 189 IP, and then last year he had a 4.08 ERA in 214 IP. This year his ERA is 4.75 thru today’s game. Unless he has a miraculous turnaround, he won’t improve on last year’s 4.08 ERA. My point is that he’s not that special of pitcher despite what Mario, Rod Allen, Dan Dickerson, Jim Price, and whatever other spin doctor will tell you.

    Kazmir on the other hand has already posted two seasons with sub 4 ERAs. 3.77 in 2005 and 3.24 in 2006. Granted he did not throw as many innings as Bonderman, but he is more effective in the innings that he does give to his team. Kaz has a 3.58 ERA this season (including today’s game). That’s more than a full run less than Bondo and he’s in the top 5 in Ks in the AL.

  75. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Keith G – you are absolutely right. Perhaps I’ve bought too much into the hype on Bonderman. He’s got great stuff, but he may not have the head to be a #1, at least not anytime soon.

  76. freetz

    August 9, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    You know who could really turn this team around? Jack Wilson. [Ducks projectile rotten fruit]

  77. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Keith G,

    I just couldn’t watch anymore and shut the TV off. Miserable game. Whatever is ailing Bondo is in his head. The 1st inning stuff has gone on too long. He established himself last year and was good starting ’07 but something is wrong and it’s Chuck Hernandez job to help him out. No, I wouldn’t trade him.

  78. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Apologies for all the typos in my previous posts. (And I haven’t even starting drinking yet).

    I think the key for Bondo is his control. He does have a killer slider, and when that’s on, and when his control is on, I think you can bill him with the hype he gets. The problem is, he rarely has all his pitches working in tandem, and he often is a bit erratic with his control, which completely ineffectuates his best pitch. But yes, without his slider working, he’s definately overrated.

  79. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    Tampa has 44 hits over the last three games? I’m inches away from heading over to Football.

  80. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    If they get clobbered by Cleveland, then I figure the season will end early. But, if they can compete with Cleveland, I’ll still cling to hope.

    Rod just said “you gotta tip you’re hat”. I’m so sick of hearing him say that about the opposing team.

  81. Dave from 'The ATL'

    August 9, 2007 at 4:49 pm

    What’s the sports talk radio saying in Detroit about Leyland?

    He’s gotta do something do get out of this never-ending slump

  82. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Ineffectuate. Doesn’t that say it all?

  83. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Cleveland, Yankees, Cleveland, Yankees.


  84. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    I can tip my hat to Kazmir, he was incredible. But we should be good enough to beat Kazmir. We are not even close. Objectively speaking, this team is toast.

    Subjectively, I’ll be tuned in for another round at 6:05pm.

  85. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    On the one hand, I’m dreading the CLE-NY-CLE-NY stretch coming up after this weekend. On the other hand, that may be just what this teams needs. If playing the teams they have to beat out for the playoffs doesn’t wake them up, then nothing will. Maybe they have another resurgence in them like the one in the playoffs following the KC sweep to the end regular season.

    They’ll either sink or swim. If they sink, at least they can shut Verlander (and maybe Bonderman) down for the year and go easy on Zumaya when he returns.

  86. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Some feel-good talk from Leyland won’t do it. The problem is he doesn’t have the horses to get the job done on a daily basis – too many holes in the lineup, rotation and bullpen. Maybe they can patch things up enough to wheez to the finish line. Right now the Tigers’ best hope is that both the Indians and the Twins continue to stagger as well, because it doesn’t look like the wild-card team is going to come out of the Central division.

  87. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Pudge just keeps swinging away, not even attempting to take a walk. Now, why is that tolerated? Is McClendon just ignoring this?

  88. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Someone (Leyland, McClendon, the batboy..anybody) just has to confront Pudge and say, “…ah…I know you’re going to the Hall of Fame and all, but….”

    I think some players are considered above coaching. Pudge is a legend. But let’s face it, he needs some coaching right now.

  89. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Vince in MN,

    You refer to the team as horses. If any of you watch the races or just the Kentucky Derby, you almost always see the jockey whipping the horse near the end of the race to win. However, there have been horses who won without the whip, depending on the jockey. Evidently, the Skipper can’t/won’t whip them or is content just riding in the middle of the pack. Sort of an analogy, I guess. Whatever.

  90. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 5:20 pm


    You may also ask why is he batting 6th? I can only guess that it is because they don’t want to hurt his feelings. As far as McClendon goes, he may not have any influence. After all there is nothing that says the players have to work with the hitting coach. I recall early in the season last year reading a commment by Inge that he didn’t work with the hittinng coach (Slaught), preferring to figure it out himself, and I assume the same is true this year. Pudge is probably the same.

  91. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    ***On the one hand, I’m dreading the CLE-NY-CLE-NY stretch…They’ll either sink or swim. If they sink, at least they can shut Verlander (and maybe Bonderman) down for the year and go easy on Zumaya when he returns***

    Note to Tigers:

    Remove lead boots prior to attempting aforementioned stretch

  92. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    T Smith:

    Hopefully your advice is not the same as offering water to a drowing man.

  93. Kathy

    August 9, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Vince in MN,

    Andy VanSlyke is a great coach. Our OF’s hate him (that’s what they say in interviews) because he works them so hard but we can see the influence he’s had on our outfielders.

  94. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Pudge has always been a swing away bad ball hitter. As a younger player his pure talent could overcome his over-aggressive nature. He has a career OBP that is only 37 points higher than his BA. For a .300 hitter I can’t imagine there are many with less disparity between the two numbers. His slugging pct has been on a steep decline over the past few years, and now that his arm and glove have left him, he’s a fragment of the player he once was.

    He no longer has the skills to overshadow his terrible plate discipline.

    Other than handling the pitching staff, especially Jones, Pudge no longer provides much value to this team. Barring a reincarnation of 2003 Pudge, I expect Rabelo to be the primary catcher this time next year.

    I can’t shake Vince’s post about the 4 dead spots. Of 117 AL players with at least 250 ABs those 4 guys are all have a VORP in the bottom 1/3, and Monroe’s is the 2nd to worst (only Nick Punto is a more worthless batter) in the league. We have 4 regulars who are among the bottom 1/3 of the league offensively. Rayburn needs to be the everyday LF, and Thames needs to be the every day 1B. Rabelo needs to spend more time working with the pitchers.

  95. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 5:44 pm


    I agree. Andy Van Slyke has done wonders for our outfield defense.

  96. colin

    August 9, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    On the bright side, three of the four players mentioned in Vince’s post are not under contract next year (monroe, casey) or have a eight-digit club option (Pudge). Maybe the tigers will trade for Arod too!!!!!!!!!

  97. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 5:51 pm


    I can’t help but wonder if someone found our kryptonite and sent out a league wide memo, b/c the “dead spots” in everyone else’s lineups have been gangbusters against us.

    I don’t mind giving up a jack to the likes of Thome, but when Norton, Uribe, Gomes and Fields are launching shots on us, I gotta wonder if something is askew. Hell, Zobrist ripped a double today which raised his pathetic average to not quite Monroe.

    I’d really like to see something done, a message from Leyland or Dombrowski. Sit Monroe. Send Grilli down. Something to let us know that this is killing them as well.

  98. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 5:54 pm


    I’m a little weak on the newer sabermetrics stuff. Is it possible you could run little clinic of a paragraph or two on the VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) notes that you just posted?

    If they are in the bottom third of that group I assume they are under 100 (break even point), or am i off base here?

  99. Kevin in Austin

    August 9, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    You are right, VORP is Value Over replacement player. From BP “The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances.”

    0 is the break even point, but that represents the value of a marginal AAA player. The average of an everyday player (I would estimate) is between 14-18.

    Maggs’ is about 60 right now, one of the best in the league.

    Monroe’s is -14.

  100. colin

    August 9, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    VORP is a counting stat, like HR or RBI. Its currency is runs, as measured compared the offensive performance a theoretical POSITION-ADJUSTED (this is important- the bar is set higher at 1B or DH than SS or CF) replacement level player. Like a guy who could be easily found in AAA or on the waiver wire. VORP does not consider the quality of a player’s defense.

    It’s not an adjusted rate stat like ERA+, where 100 is league-average. 0 VORP would be “replacement level”, and negative values are possible to accumulate with poor performance.
    Here’s the leaderboard: http://www.baseballprospectus......cid=204031

  101. colin

    August 9, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    haha, beaten like a dead horse

  102. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    colin & Kevin:

    Thanks to you both.

    Under the circumsances, I guess there is a good argument for having Raburn start in place of Monroe, at least for the present. Given Monroe’s season so far, and the fact that he has been on the decline for two years, I have a hard time imagining that he will turn it around enough to a viable starter the rest of the way.

  103. Stephen

    August 9, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    I’m so glad we stood pat at the trading deadline and I’m not even talking the frickin bullpen. We’re stuck with Inge at third because of his moronic contract, but the fact we weren’t able to pick up a serviceable outfielder/first baseman, we’re not talking Jim Rice here, just an upgrade to average offensively, is just a joke.

  104. Stephen

    August 9, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Including the playoffs: Tigers 90-88 since the beginning of last year’s collapse.

  105. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Don’t worry Stephen. Maybin’s gonna pull us outta of this slump and guide us thru the playoffs.

  106. Vince in MN

    August 9, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    The rankings from the above link at Baseball Prospectus are interesting. There are 885 players listed there (including pitchers!), which I am guessing covers everyone who has played in either league this year. This is how our everyday lineup stacks up:

    4. Ordonez 60.8
    17. Granderson 44.5
    26. Sheffield 39.9
    28. Guillen 37.4
    31. Polanco 36.6
    159. Casey 9.9
    164. Rodriguez 9.3
    234. Thames 5.1
    285. Inge 2.8
    884. Monroe -14

    As you can see there is a big drop-off after Polanco. Note that the top five are also our 1-5 guys in the order. If Kevin’s assessment of 14-18 being the average, it’s pretty obvious that the bottom part of the order is providing much less than average production. I’m not nuanced enough to squeeze the most out of these numbers, so I am making some “leaps” here.

    Based on what Kevin said earlier, I am assuming that 1B and 3B, being power positions, one would expect the average rating to be greater than 18 as well. By that measure Inge’s 2.8 and Casey’s 9.9 look even worse.

    Obviously, we can’t expect any team to have above average ratings at every position, and you should be able to do well enough with a weakness or two, but it looks like our 6-9 guys as well as the 5 bench players just aren’t contributing.

    I included Thames, because, although he hasn’t played as much as Monroe, he’s been the best extra player and compared to Monroe there is absolutely no comparison. He could completely tank it for the rest of the year as a regular and still not reach the depths of C-Mo. Just by comparison with a couple of other bottom feeders, Nick Punto is buried at 885 (even Monroe won’t catch him – congrats to Craig) while the infamous Ben Zobrist is at 868.

  107. Adam

    August 9, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Stephen: You really can’t include last year’s whatever in this, unless you use all of it.

    “The beginning of last year’s collapse” was what, when we went 20 and 30 in our last 50? Um. Ok. So. Didn’t we end up with a winning record? Don’t we have a winning record right now?

    Or can I just pick the games where we lost and say that’s our record? How about you do this record: Tigers in the Last Fourteen Seasons. Woohoo! We suck.

  108. Mike R

    August 9, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Well Stephen, maybe we’ll get lucky and land Jack Wilson and his terrible contract so he can take over everyday at SS next year and we can have two terrible deals on the left side of the infield. I mean, we do have to make a move of some sort, right? That would make this all better. Making a deal just for the sake of making a deal.

  109. T Smith

    August 9, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Frankly, I like best of all Stephen’s idea of landing Wilson, the ball, from the Tom Hank’s movie.

  110. Jim

    August 9, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    I was there. It rained, then got cooler, then rained, then I baked in the sun. I was just waiting for it to snow so I could get all four seasons. It was a long day.

  111. Kyle J

    August 9, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    “Including the playoffs: Tigers 90-88 since the beginning of last year’s collapse.”

    I’m curious as to what the point of this stat is. That this is fundamentally a .500 team? That only the mythical Bigfoot shutdown reliever lurking out there somewhere could have turned us into a .600 team? That the beginning of the 2006 season wasn’t real? That playoff spots should be based on the last 220 games played? That any team who played poorly down the stretch in 2006 is doomed to do so in 2007, too?

    We’re all frustrated. We’re all focused on our flaws. I still believe this team, when healthy and playing to its ability, is as good as any in baseball. Maybe they will; maybe they won’t. Such is the nature of the game.

    Go Tigers!

  112. ron

    August 10, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Unless this shipwreck can be brought back to the surface next week against the Yankees, this may turn into the worst meltdown in the history of Detroit sports. The Red Wings have lost some big games to upstart teams, but they have won enough big ones to soften those blows. Last October, the Tigers were supposed to win the World Series. Out of the gate this year they were expected to get to the World Series. As a fan, hope springs eternal. They are still in the middle of things; but going from the best record in baseball a few weeks ago to this recent debacle of splitting a series at home to the worst team in baseball, makes it very difficult to conjure up much hope. From here on out, the team is going to have to play, absolutely, their best baseball of the season. Their 2007 season legacy is on the line. With so much talent and experience, expectations were very high. Hope, anticipation and backing from the fans was astronomical. If they succeed to get to the World Series in the next 9 weeks, it will have been expected. If they fail, then they deserve everything that will be coming to them.

  113. Mike G

    August 10, 2007 at 1:15 am

    Two things:
    1) Monroe really is terrible. He gets hot once and a while, but hes terrible. We need someone to replace him. Can we just put Raburn there? Thames now that he’s healthy?

    2.) We really should sign Fernando Cabrera. The Indians cut him and we can make them pay. The guy has a great arm and is, at the very least, a huge upgrade from Grilli. Plus we can sign him to a minor league deal and have the ability to send him down if hes struggling. He is a free agent right now as he is past waivers. We NEED to sign him right now, before someone else sweeps in and gets a big steal!

  114. Stephen

    August 10, 2007 at 3:05 am

    Mike R: Confess, you are the illegitmate son of Dombrowski, right? Who’s suggesting a deal for deal’s sake? Call me crazy, but if you’re the GM and you can sense the team’s shortcomings, and you don’t acquire anyone–literally anyone, whether it be a set-up guy, a left fielder, a real first baseman, or a catcher with an .oba over 295– well, that suggests you’ve reached a point in your career where you want to be with a franchise for 10-15 years so you can raise your kids in one place after your vagabond career. That means you play it safe, don’t trade prospects, and you’re happy with the 88 win season versus rolling the dice and trying to get to 96 wins and win it all.
    And you know what? That’s a total Middle America ‘We’re just happy to be here’ mentality’ which is not gonna cut it when you’re competing against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels of the world. And if you don’t think in a few years Verlander isn’t gonna bolt for a team that will sell its mother to win a pennant, you are mistaken. And yes i realize the Yanks and Angels didn’t make deadline deals. Why? Because they didn’t have to, their lineups are set. Who were the Yankees gonna grab; Cy Young? Bruce Sutter?
    Kyle J: The point of mentioning they are 90-88 is twofold. One, the idea that this was a team built for the 08-11 window is sort of foolhardy, as in this isn’t the NCAA’s and you don’t redshirt a team, especially one with seven starters over 30. You go out and get a quality reliever on 6/15, when this team needed one, whatever the price. Pudge looks to be done, Sheff is almost 39, we have no left fielder, so the idea that we’re gathering resources for an ’08-’10 stretch run is a business plan that would get you flunked out of most MBA programs.
    Second, as I’ve said many times, the point of getting relief help is that it should have been done earlier so that the cushion at this point would be 4-5 games rather than zero. I’m not an idiot, the whole team has melted down over the past 15 games, but the idea of getting bullpen help–which the red sox and braves magically did but we have a thousand excuses why we couldn’t–is a). win a few more of those games earlier in the year that count just as much as the games now and b). have the bullpen ‘man up’ and in this latest period of time when the lineup and starters have sucked, they go lights out and pick up the team. Neither has happened and the self-fulfilling prophecy of this team going 87-75 is quite likely, where Dombrowski can bleat ‘the whole team let us down, so getting any bullpen help in July wouldn’t have mattered.’
    I’m not a GM so i don’t know what’s going on in the inner circle, but if you make literally no deals in-season to make the team better, well, that seems to border on management neglect.

  115. Dave Wagner

    August 10, 2007 at 6:56 am

    I was in Europe for seventeen days and you guys apparently allowed the team to collapse in my absence. I’m not worried though – Rod Allen says we’re in “great shape”!

  116. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 7:59 am

    well, I read Leyland’s comments after the game. And I guess all I can say is him and his coaches had best get to work.

    We have got good players. We’re as good as anybody. But that ain’t all there is to it and we all know that.

    Goin’ out an’ gittn this guy or gittn that guy cuz this guy ain’t so hot or & etc don’t cut it

    Leyland knows that and said so in his remarks after the game.

    And so I recon he knows what he needs to do.

    I’m just a fan — lookin’ for aq better tavern to watch the Tigers at. I got one picked out for a trial tonite

  117. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Stephen I gotta say a coupkle things about this remarks of yours: “You go out and get a quality reliever on 6/15, when this team needed one, whatever the price. Pudge looks to be done, Sheff is almost 39, we have no left fielder,”

    First off Pudge is tougher than leather and a long way from done. Second if C/Moe ain’t on his game we got Thames and Rayburn so I think that is 3 left fielders.

    And last of all we got Rodney and Zumaya on the DL and just cuz yer guys are on the DL don’t mean ya kick ’em to the curb. Tigers did the right thing, giving some of the guys from the farm a chance to play downtown and that’s a VERY good thing. Looks to me like Rayburn has a regular spot on the squad and I’m waiting for Valasquez to get another start. And Tata looks like he’s got a regular spot on the squad. Miller needs more work to get into the swich of MLB play, I think and Leyland and Hernandez are working on that I’ve no doubt

    I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: who ya got ain’t bu the start of the game it’s how you go after the play that matters most. leyland commented on this and he knows what to do.

    Can’t wait to watch the next game cuz it won’t take him long.

  118. Kyle J

    August 10, 2007 at 8:52 am

    “. . . so the idea that we’re gathering resources for an ‘08-’10 stretch run is a business plan that would get you flunked out of most MBA programs.”

    I’ve asked this question before: Which team has a better core to win for the next 4-5 years than the Tigers? Granderson, Verlander, Bonderman, Miller, Zumaya. Who do you like out there?

    It’s not that we’re gathering resources with no regard for winning right now. It’s that we’re not going to sell off resources for the likes of Octavio Dotel.

    Furthermore, you keep pointing out this is a .500 team. Well, .500 teams don’t sell prospects for immediate help. It takes more than 1-2 players to turn a .500 team into a .600 team. If we really needed a new C, 1B, LF, and bullpen to compete this year, then the jig was up from the get-go.

    So I’m somewhat perplexed at what exactly your argument is at this point.

  119. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 9:57 am

    It started with Pudge

    and then like a gathering of Eagles the New Tigers assembled. A team I think can stand shoulder to shoulder with the 84 Tigers or the 68

    We may have a man in or a man out here and there but we have a heck of a Tiger Team now! All that’s in fronto of us now is to get out there and Play Ball!

  120. Bob S.

    August 10, 2007 at 10:34 am

    I think that the point of mentioning this is a .500 team is simply that this is a .500 team.It’s easy to have our collective judgement clouded by our love of the Tigers but the numbers don’t lie.Maybe it’s time to face the sobering fact that the Tigers simply aren’t as good as we want to believe.Much of their success last season(especially before the break) was due to them being remarkably injury free and to career years from several players who have become handicaps this year.Not to mention a bullpen that doesn’t exist this year.Some of that’s certainly balanced by the arrival of Sheffield,Ordonez MVP caliber season,and Granderson blossoming into a much better player than I personally expected,but Rod Allen’s comparisons of this team to the ’27 Yankees notwithstanding(sometimes his homerism is nausea inducing)there are too many holes in this line-up(as Vince in MN demonstrated so eloquently).
    As far as our young nucleus,yeah,we have some good young players,but slow down.So does Cleveland and Minnesota,just to name 2 teams we compete with in the division.Hell, Tampa Bay has some impressive young talent who any of us here would consider straight up for our own.Delmon Young or Carl Crawford for Curtis Granderson?Scott Kazmir for Justin Verlander?Bonderman is an enigma,Miller is unproven,and we don’t know what we’re going to get from Zumaya when he returns.

  121. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 10:48 am

    only Boston is in the 600 bracket and that is at .605

    we are a game and a half back, that’s it

    I don’t like all this trade trade trade thinking ain’t gonna get us noplace. we need to play. Leyland knows that, said so. So let’s go do it

  122. Dave Wagner

    August 10, 2007 at 11:02 am

    I’m enjoying the hyperbolized reactions today. Claiming this Tigers team to be an inherently .500 team (as if asserting that sort of thing isn’t fairly ridiculous in itself) is like declaring this year’s Yankees team to be a .600 one.

  123. Tbone

    August 10, 2007 at 11:03 am

    It’s a schizophrenic team. When they’re on, they are just about unbeatable. When they’re off, its almost embarrasing to watch.

    This current slump to me is more about the starters than anything else. 1 win out of the starting staff in the last 18 games and that was from emergency replacement Mud Hen Jordan Tata.

    I don’t know where the switch is that turns this team on and off, but somebody needs to find it quick to slavage this season.

  124. Ryan

    August 10, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Are you kidding? No chance I trade Granderson for Young or Crawford. If he cuts down on Ks ever so slightly and learns to hit lefties at a .200 clip, he is a perennial All-Star. Given the quantum leap this year, no reason to think he won’t. Plus he doesn’t throw his bat at umps so often. Who had a career year last year that is a liability this year? Monroe, sure, but everyone else is about the same or better. And they have alternatives to Monroe. Are you saying the Tigers are a .500 team when they can’t stay healthy? I’m sure they are, but so are a lot of teams. If the Indians lost Sabathia for half of the season, Betancourt for most of the season and Shoppach for the whole season, where are they? This team has gone through injuries, sucked about as much as can be sucked for three weeks, and is still in the race. I know after three bad weeks, the team is suddenly old, the manager sucks, the front office can’t trade its way out of a paper bag, and the stadium food isn’t as good as it used to be. But don’t go nuts, people. It gets better. Wait for it.

  125. Kyle J

    August 10, 2007 at 11:14 am

    One bit of good news: the Indians and Yankees play each other this week. So if the Tigers can right the ship and win 3 out of 4 games vs. Oakland, we’ll make up ground on at least on one of our competitors going into the two-week stretch against them.

    And I’d wager to say that every team look schizophrenic to its fan base. Boston has had stretches of 1-6, 2-6, and 3-8 this year.

  126. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 11:24 am

    as hot has what the Yankees have been, and the tribe not really running a lot better than we are — the Tribe gonna get trounced, playin th’ Ynakees. And if we can take 3 of the 4 vs the A’s that’ll be Way Good

    course then we gotta play the Yankees too, don’t we

    I don’t know where the switch is that turns this team on and off, but somebody needs to find it quick

    uh oh

  127. Tbone

    August 10, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Kyle – those are short term slumps. I’m worried our current 6-15 turns into something similar or worse than the 19-31 over the last 50 in ’06.

    Gotta have more quality starts. As bad as the offense looked the last two games, I still think the bats will be ok. I’m not even going to talk about the bullpen issues for now.

  128. Dave Wagner

    August 10, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    I’m going to tonight’s game. I have a track record of about 75% wins, so it’s in the bag.

  129. T Smith

    August 10, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Here are the cliff notes to Stephen’s very eloquent post:

    Regardless of the market, the Tigers should have/could have been more aggressive prior to the trade deadline.

    I agree 100%. All the rest are details and semantics.

  130. Kathy

    August 10, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Dave, I wish I could go with you. So, far the Tigers are 100% when I’m in attendance. How’s that for a stat. Of course it’s a small sampling. The last game I attended was the July 7 13 inning marathon against Red Sox. They could easily have packed it it. But they were not gonna lose that game. Just out of curiosity, I ‘m going to compare Tigers wins and losses vs the Dow’s up and downs. See what this blog has done to me. Baseball is a business afterall.

  131. Kathy

    August 10, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    Oh, and about trading Grandy. Grandy is probably going to be the Al Kaline of this baseball generation. No way you trade Grandy IMO.

  132. T Smith

    August 10, 2007 at 12:40 pm


    I agree 100%! Grandy could be the next Willie Mays — and I’ll go on record saying I think he will be.

    I think the point of the discussion above, however (if I read the post right) wasn’t so much a suggestion to trade Grandy, just pointing out that a lot of mediocre teams have good young talent -e.g Tampa, KC, etc., – and it takes more than just good young talent to win pennants and championships.

  133. Nate

    August 10, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Say it with me, folks, Granderson is 26. He’s not going to be Al Kaline or Willie Mays.

    In his second full season in the majors, Kaline was 20.

    In his second full season in the majors, Mays was 23. The Korean War wiped out half his age-21 and all of of his age-22 season.

    My point is Granderson is a late-bloomer. He is old for someone playing in his second full season. He’ll reach his physical peak and statistical peak faster than those who are projecting an awesome career for him realize.

    I like Curtis. I like watching him play centerfield. I think he’ll be a great player for the next five years or so. But he doesn’t have the time to become a Kaline or a Mays. He got too late a start.

  134. Bob S.

    August 10, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Ryan,you need an ‘if’ key on your keyboard-it would save you alot of time.
    I’m not advocating trading Granderson-like I wrote,he’s a much better player than I expected and a character guy to boot.I expect him to be an All Star from time to time,like Carl Crawford,who has 2 appearances under his belt,at a younger age.You picked up on my point that there is young talent throughout baseball and an inherent tendency to overvalue your own.It’s a little premature to compare Granderson to Kaline at this point in his career(not even bringing up the little league arm Granderson has relative to Kaline’s)and comparing him to Willie Mays…it’s tempting to unload here,but let’s just say I’ve seen Willie Mays play,and Granderson is no Willie Mays.
    No,I don’t really think this is a .500 team,but I do think it’s an 88 win team,and that the beginning of last season was an aberration made possible by career years by Monroe,Inge,and Robertson,as well as Rogers and the bullpen exceeding all expectations.

  135. Bob S.

    August 10, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Good point,Nate.I hadn’t even thought about May’s and Kaline’s precociousness.
    By the way,the tempestuous Delmon Young is 21.

  136. Dave Wagner

    August 10, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    HR aside, I’d cite 2004 as Inge’s and Monroe’s career years. Monroe had an uncharacteristic .337 OBP and Inge .340 (while splitting his time between 3B and catcher!)

  137. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    why does Grandy have to be a ? why can’t he be Grandy?

    Grandy is one of my favorite Tigers because he is so quick! I love it! ( but I bet the other guy’s pitcher don’t tee hee )

  138. Stephen

    August 10, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Yes Grandy’s 26 and not hitting .200 against lefties this year. Not quite Mays.

  139. Nate

    August 10, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Just to follow up my post (and, yes, I realize that I’m now beating a dead horse):

    When Kaline finished his Age-26 season, he had played in 1204 major league games, accumulated 1390 hits, hit 159 HR, walked 475 times, and struck out only 378 times. He’d won four gold gloves and played in 7 All-Star games.

    When Mays finished his Age-26 season, he had played in 762 games, accumulated 903 H, hit 187 HR (!), walked 362 times and struck out only 321. He’d won an MVP, a batting title, the first of eleven straight gold gloves, and played in four all star games. Keep in mind that during this period he missed a season-and-a-half due to military service.

    Again, it’s not a knock against Curtis. But Al Kaline had more hits at age 26 than Bobby Higginson got in his entire career.

  140. Comparison Time

    August 10, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Comparison time! Comparison time! I loooooove comparison time!

    Willie Mays, CF-R. NY/SF Giants, NY Mets 1951-1973.

    Curtis Granderson, CF-L. Detroit Tigers 2004-2007.

  141. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    uh oh Laura just called sez we’re goin’ to the usual place to watch the game tonite

    The Art of Pitching: Entice the batter to swing, and preferably hit into a double play. Failing that, ground out, it’s a lot easier than trying to strike a guy out. Or pop up, foul. Of if he hits a fly in the outfield hope nobody’s on. Get ahead in the count. Don’t walk anybody, especially the lead off guy. If someone gets on first pick him off before he steals second and gets into scoring position. Entice the batter to swing. Get ahead in the count. move the ball around change speeds. Get some late movement on the ball so the batter can’t get good wood on the ball. Remember ya got 8 guys helpin’ ya get the batter out. Conserve pitchs don’t throw balls the batter ain’t gonna swing at and don’t throw the ball away.

  142. Kathy

    August 10, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Good point, Nate. Of course, you’re right. However, if Grandy stays a career Tiger, I believe he will be as beloved as Kaline. It’s not only his physical skills that will continue to improve, but his attitude that makes him so special.

  143. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    one final note: a good curve in for a strike beats a splitter in the dirt any day

  144. Bill A \ Kal MI

    August 10, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    uh on, one more thing if ya have the based loaded and nobody out then that would be a good time to strike out the next batter.

    maybe Leyland should post this note in the Bullpen ? ( tee hee )

  145. Kyle J

    August 10, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    “All the rest are details and semantics.”

    Yes. All those details. Like Gagne having a no-trade clause he had to waive. And the most plausible reliever available being a guy with a 4.61 ERA.

    (Anyone remember how, during the 19-31 spell last year, a certain segment of the blog population was convinced we could have had Abreu if DD had just gotten of his duff?)

    I give up on this argument; it can’t be won. One side argues that the team just needed a trade or two and we’d now be cruising to the playoffs, making any cost in terms of prospects well worth it. Outside of conjuring up an alternate universe where DD traded away a some quality prospects and offered Eric Gagne partial team ownership to lure him, I guess there’s no way to disprove the argument.

  146. Ken in Cincinnati

    August 10, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    A depressing realization. Granderson is really the only player in the starting lineup that should improve next year. Although even that is no given. Polanco is having a career year and won’t duplicate that next year. Same for Magglio. Sheff isn’t getting any younger. Pudge is wasting away into a below average offensive player. Casey will probably never hit above .300 for a season again. Inge and Monroe may duplicate their current performance, but that certainly isn’t a compliment. Thames is thames. Carlos will probably fall off just a shade. It may seem like I’m being a bit of a pessimist, but it’s really more of a compliment to the offense for having a great year mixed with untimely age. The point is that this really is the year to win the World Series, but we’re in no position to do so. Whatever made our pitching staff so magical last season has eroded for unexplainable reasons. I think we’ll look back at this season as a missed opportunity to strike while the iron is hot. In that sense, I’m with Stephen in saying I wish we would have made a move. I also understand that there probably wasn’t a move to make that would have actually added enough to the pitching staff to make a difference. Just an unfortunate circumstantial reality. I’m quite depressed now actually. But who knows….I’ll continue to hang on every game, on every pitch, and root them on till the last inning.

  147. T Smith

    August 10, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    I officially retract my Willie Mays comparison. Hasitily drawn, and not thought out. All points taken and correct.

    I do think that Grandy is far from his peak, though, and that his stats against lefties will impove.

    How about, say, a Chet Lemon comparison? or similiar caliber?

  148. T Smith

    August 10, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Kyle J:

    Also good points. I think you’re right; the argument can’t be won, one way or another. Responding to the Gagne explanation (and I’ve said it before), I’m just not convinced he would “no way, no how” come to Detroit. I know that’s what popular media would lead you to believe, but at the end of the day, I just think is was an issue of paying him, or maybe some creative deal-making, which is exactly what I mean by being “more agressive” (Remember, he had the same no-trade clause to Bean Town). Which brings up an entirely new argument, e.g. “do you pay him all those millions in closing bonues? etc.”

    As I’m not on the inside in the GM’s office, there is just no way to know how many other countless deals could or could not have been made, e.g. Lidge, Dotel, etc., with just a little more wheeling and dealing.

    Number One Tenet: Don’t believe what you read. Number Two Tenet: There was probably a lot more going on behind the scenes that you never once heard about.

    My point is, the Tigers had wholes — obvious ones — that weren’t filled — In my view, DD should have and probably could have been more agressive in trying to fill them.

    But, that’s all I got. It’s really an old issue now that you can go round and round and round over.

  149. Kathy

    August 10, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    2006 was the year of opportunity, Ken. To get swept at home by the Royals and lose the division on the last day. Then shell-shock the Yankees and Oakland. We were supposed to win the WS. And didn’t last year’s team give us the same rollercoaster ride as this years team.