PREGAME: Tigers pitching is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. Today it is Nate Robertson and Jake Westbrook.
Game time 1:05pm
CLE @ DET, Thursday, August 23, 2007 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com
POSTGAME: Get away day hasn’t been friendly to the Tigers this year. I don’t have the inclination to go back and look up the record, but it seems that I listen to a heartbreaking loss on the radio at work, and have to think of something to say later that night. Again, I didn’t see this one, just going by the radio broadcast and your commentary, here are my thoughts:
- Nate Robertson was one of those really yummy caramel flavored chocolates today (uh, that doesn’t sound quite right). He out pitched Westbrook, but didn’t get the win, and that just seems to be Nate’s luck as of late. When he’s awesome, he still can’t get a win. Still he did everything in his power to get the team a W, and he at least provides a little hope going forward.
- And Westbrook was also very good, but Nate out pitched him. One could make the case that on Tuesday Carmona out pitched Jurrjens so this might be justice, but that ain’t a lot of consolation. And Carmona still allowed 2 homers (or at least one and a half).
- Sean Casey batting third is a mystery. I like Guillen behind Maggs, so I’m not necessarily on the Guillen to the 3rd spot camp. But do something different. Drop Grandy to 3rd, or put Marcus third. Or even keep Granderson and Polanco where they are, and slide everybody up a spot. Give me some kind of threat before the best hitter.
- As for the managerial decisions, I can’t say one way or the other on pulling Nate when he did. It sounded like there were several harder hit balls in the last couple innings. Not seeing the game I’m just going off of Dan and Jim’s account. While I’m a proponent of using pitch counts as a tool (a tool, not an absolute) in deciding when to stop an outing, I don’t think a favorable pitch count should be a justification for keeping a pitcher in the game.
- On Zumaya, I wasn’t surprised he came back out. I was surprised he stayed out as long as he did. Thirty pitches is a ton for a guy just getting back, and with him maxing out at 95mph it doesn’t sound like this was free and easy throwing – not to mention all the guys on base.
- As for the pinch running and pinch hitting, I wasn’t bothered by Pudge pinch running for Rabelo. Yes, Maybin is faster but in the even they didn’t score you’d need Pudge at that point anyways. And Pudge is fast. Characterizing him as a 35 year old catcher is factually correct, but not accurate reflection of his running ability.
- The pinch hitting move that had to be made though was someone, preferably Raburn, for Ramon Santiago. You then move Guillen to short, Thames to first, and Raburn in left. Santiago just can’t hit in that situation. He’s not on the team for his bat, if that was the case Infante would be in Detroit and not Toledo. He’s here for his glove and expecting offense isn’t fair.
- Granderson or Maybin facing the left hander? Again I could go either way. It sounded like Granderson had some of the better swings on the day, but his numbers against lefties are abysmal this year. But I’d also wager that is a little bit of bad luck. His K rate against lefties is pretty much the same as last year, but his batting average on balls in play is 206 this year versus 298 last year. Regardless, he still stood a 30% chance of fanning.
- Regardless, Leyland appeared to fall asleep at the wheel in the 9th inning and the top of the 10th. last year he was credited for magically “pushing all the right buttons” when in fact he made bad decisions routinely and got away with it.
- At least the team still had that 9, or in this case 10 inning mantra going. Each of the last 2 nights they haven’t gone down quietly even after falling behind. Though that’s little consolation.
- The fact of the matter is that it never should have gotten to these dire points in the first place. The Tigers had ample opportunity to score just that one run, and much like the Clemens and Wang games over the weekend they just couldn’t do it. But unlike those games they were putting the ball in play with only 4 K’s.
- It appears that Inge made some adjustments at the plate as he went 2 games without a strike out, and for a guy who was whiffing every other at-bat that may be progress. He also drew a walk in a key situation off a pitcher who just doesn’t walk guys. Of course that gets lost when he makes as big of a baserunning mistake as he made in getting doubled off 2nd base.
I’ll have more stuff tomorrow, but I’m pretty bummed tonight. That’s just too good of a pitching performance in too important of a game to waste.