Game 127: Indians at Tigers

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 –

: 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.

221 thoughts on “Game 127: Indians at Tigers”

  1. As a certified Inge hater I will go on record to say that his game off may have done him some good. From what I saw last night it looked like Brandon was trying to use the whole field. He went with a few pitches and drove the ball to center and to right. Further, he was swinging at strikes early in the count, rather than taking them only to swing at balls later in the count as has been his custom this whole season. If Brandon continues to swing at strikes, closes his stance (thus stops trying to pull everything), and looks to drive the ball to right, then we may see a nice improvement from him. I would be happy if he did not hit another home run all year if it meant he cut down on his strikeouts by 50% and drove his average up 25 points… Let’s hope Leyland’s message sticks.

  2. Why is Casey the DH and not Carlos? If they want to rest his “sore knees” it would be better for him not to play 1st.

    Santiago at SS, Inge with his slump, Rabelo (ok, he is at the moment an improvement for Pudge “I don’t take walks” Rodriguez 😉 ), that’s not the most powerful lineup.

    But maybe they prove me wrong and they take the example of the German Soccer Team that won yesterday against his old archrival England at the holy Wembley ground before 90.000 with a better reserve team 😉

  3. Tigers pitching is indeed like a box of chocolates. And Maybin in left field is stupid is as stupid does. Hopefully Pudge and Nate will be like peas and carrots today, while Bubba Thames knocks another one over the fence. We’re also going to need Granderson’s magic legs in center and on the base paths.

  4. Because Inge strikes out so much, I have to assume that if he could somehow put the ball in play more often, his BA would go up. On the other hand, if he is swinging early in the count just to swing early in the count, that won’t work either. He needs a plan up there. I can’t imagine a major change in approach in two days time, but anything is possible I suppose. Keep your fingers crossed and let’s see what happens.

  5. it’s Rabelo today…you know what that means.

    Yup, that we have a catcher that has walked as much as Pudge behind the plate, hit better, and been even defensively in a fourth of the AB’s.

    Nate’s velocity sitting around 88 again. Could be a long, slugging day until both starters are out of the game.

  6. Good job by Nate there. He pitched Gomez like he was Babe Ruth – only one pitch over the middle.

  7. I’d much prefer Guillen hitting 3rd when Sheffield’s not in the lineup. Then you can hit Thames 5th.

  8. Just a quick thing, but does anyone notice that the team’s streaks and swoons almost exactly correspond to Granderson’s streaks and swoons at the plate?

    He is a great player and I feel like, for whatever reason, he has the most impact on the team’s offense.

    He was hot last year early and then slumped badly in august before getting it going again in the playoffs. The Tigers followed. This year he was one of the best hitters in the AL early and the Tigers scored a ton of runs and were one of the best teams. He’s been slumping in August, so has the team.

    I know Sheffields effect on the teams plate discipline and Polanco/Maggs situation hitting probably has more direct impact, but for whatever reason, our offensive output seems to correspond almost directly with Granderson’s.

    Just a thought

  9. Mike R, good point about the batting order. Why not hit Guillen third and Thames fifth around Ordonez? Put Casey sixth behind Thames. I think Carlos probably would’ve done better than a pop-up to second on the first pitch.

  10. Casey’s OPS as a Tiger now under .700. That has to be worst among AL first basemen since he was acquired last August. He is absolutely terrible. And yes i remember his October. Still, he’s not gonna be in the major leagues next year except maybe as an NL 25th man/pinch hinnter.

  11. I have to agree with Casey batting in the 6 spot. And I suppose you all heard CMO is now a cubbie for a PTNL.

  12. I think we should bat PTNL sixth. I think he could definitely get the runner in from third with less than two outs. And PTNL is so much faster than Casey.

  13. I just think with Polanco and Granderson struggling immensely, getting someone like Guillen who gets on base regularly ahead of Magglio is a necessity. Then since Magglio and Guillen are hitting 3-4, it’d probably ensure Thames would be hitting with men on. I’d go with:


    Using today’s lineup, of course.

  14. This could be one of those games where the first team to hit a HR wins. On pace for another 2-hour contest.

  15. Grandy hit one to the wall and franklyn made a good catch on it. inge got doubled off.

    good bunt by santiago tho.

  16. Just joined, lots of comments, plenty of Babe Ruth jokes. Good times.

    Hope the Mudhens feel like scoring some runs today.

  17. Wow, I have had two people call and give me updates on Inge’s play. Can’t wait to see it tonight on replay. 1 out and Inge is on second? There is no way, NO WAY, he should be around 3rd before the ball lands. If the ball drops he scores easily anyway. Add this to his tagging 3rd when there is no force and getting picked off of 3rd on a throw from catcher to pitcher. These are plays little leaguers know not to do… These aren’t just “bonehead” plays. These are plays you see once in a lifetime. Inge will be the next one to duplicate Merkle’s Boner. Wonder what his excuse for this will be… “They expect me to run like Lou Brock!”

  18. Don’t worry guys, if the TV crew doesn’t get on Inge, surely all of the beat writers in Detroit will criticize the team.

    Oh wait.

  19. Inge will be the next one to duplicate Merkle’s Boner

    Or Snodgrass’ muff.

    Isn’t old-timey baseball grand?

  20. I really would like Matt Murton to be the PTBNL in the Monroe trade. Although, with Maybin’s early promotion, I have no idea what their intentions are for him moving forward.

  21. Nate,

    Very well done on Fred Snodgrass!… But Brandon already knows how to drop a ball… Merkle’s Boner will be the real challange, because it will require him to hit a ball that, were it not for the Merkle Boner Play, would normally be a hit. Right now hits are in short supply for the kid from Virginia Commonwealth.


  22. I wouldn’t expect to get much for Monroe. Some AA prospect no doubt, and since DD is prone to deal for pitching….

  23. EZ, I’m pretty sure that Inge just has already to be on base for Merkle’s boner to happen. I’m pretty sure that Merkle was the runner on first, and that he didn’t touch second. Could be wrong, though.

  24. Leyland has really pissed me off with this lineup today. Casey hitting third? That’s twice that “the Mayor” has failed to produce with a man in scoring position and less than two out.

  25. This crucial, crucial ab for this season. Not only is it about the win, but you really don’t want to burn out your bullpen in an extra inning game with yankees in town.

  26. Nate,

    Good memory. Reading your comment I realized that you were probably right. So I looked it up.. Indeed, he did not touch second. I thought he was the batter. I stand corrected. Good memory, sir!

  27. Stephen, did we just agree on wanting Granderson to steal? I don’t know what to do. I feel the need to argue something.

    I do hate the reigns Leyland puts on Granderson. What more does he have to do to get a green light? You save an out (crucial when you don’t have the proper 3 hitter up) and I’m just not a proponent of the bunt, save for rare cases.

  28. If Nate gets a quick 9th here, we may save the bullpen in the 10th by letting him at least start it. Got to get out with at most, 95 pitches through 9 to get a shot to go back out (though, he won’t get a shot to go out again from Leyland anyways).

  29. You’re right Bill, that’s why I am a fan and not getting paid 6 million dollars a year. My little league .BA was 220, but i did walk a lot. I think my ops was very similiar to casey’s.

  30. On that Texas-Baltimore double-header last night. The Rangers won 30-3 and 9-7:

    Texas set an AL record for runs in a doubleheader, surpassing the 36 scored by Detroit in 1937.

    It was the ninth time a major league team scored 30 runs, the first since the Chicago Colts set the major league mark in a 36-7 rout of Louisville in a National League game on June 28, 1897, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

  31. …..Why is Nate getting pulled? Did he not just get out of the 8th after a double? I don’t get this.

  32. Been watching the game on MLB Gameday, I can’t stand the suspense. I’m in Chicago, so in some ways I’m happy to see Monroe on the Cubs… he’s hard to dislike, but I’m glad he’s not getting playing time on the Tigs anymore. It’s like a happy medium. Not really sure why the Cubs would take him, they’ve got about a hundred outfielders right now.

  33. Stephen, you were wrong (thankfully). Zumaya gets Blake on a weak grounder to Inge. C’mon boys, let’s get one here in the ninth.

  34. Stephen the guy altready pitched 9 innings ya gotta yank him at the first sign of trouble

  35. Man. If we don’t win it here, Joel would’ve been good for the 10th. I still disagree with taking him out.

    Man, I thought Thames just ended the game. If he doesn’t, I really would love to see Rabelo yank one out.

  36. Bill, he gave up a 2 out double in the 8th and got a foul pop out from the next batter. He was at 91 pitches, let him finish the inning and save your bullpen as much as possible when you’ve got the best offensive team in the world coming in for 4 games.

  37. I’d have pinch hit Rayburn there, but Inge does draw a walk. C’mon Santiago and/or Grandy. Let’s win this.

  38. you can’t pinch hit for santiago there? rayburn? hello? i know it’s righty-righty, but i still like those odds better than santiago.

  39. I agree w/ Stephen. He still could have moved Thames to first, Guillen to short, and Rayburn/Maybin to the outfield in the event that they didn’t score.

  40. Man, did a batter ever look like he had less of a chance? i’m sorry man, I love Grandy but you are not an All-Star if you hit .150 against lefties. And Leyland’s slavish loyalty to his regulars, no matter the situation, is just lame. The idea is to win the game and give your team the best chance to win the game. That didn’t happen in that inning.

  41. ok we need Zoom to snuff 3 more guys for us so we can get our big hitters on the job here

  42. So much not to like…

    Casey hitting 3rd, not Carlos.
    Robertson getting pulled after 91 pitches in the 9th.
    Prematurely going to the bullpen meaning we’ve got one less arm for the first game against the Yanks.
    A multitude of PH options with Raburn, Maybin, Pudge and none of them used.

    I’m glad we’re put in the best position to win a baseball game. Now Joel gives up a double to lead things off. FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE, MAKE A PITCHING CHANGE!!!!!!

  43. The inning also shows Leyland has little confidence in Maybin on the basepaths. A fear of him getting picked off is the only reason you don’t use Maybin there.

  44. The other reason you pinch run Pudge instead of Maybin, is that Pudge is still good on the basepaths and now Maybin is still availible to run for Casey, which then would move Thames to first and keep Maybin in the game.

    Just a thought.

  45. I think we need to amend Bilfer’s comment about the pitching staff being like a box of chocolates to include, not only the hitters, but Jim Leyland’s managing, as well.

  46. Bobble by Santiago? He’s on the team for DEFENSE. Infante could have bobbled it too, but at least he had a better shot of getting a hit today.

  47. B-tha, b-tha, b-tha, b-that’s all folks!

    Barring our bats turning on (with runners in scoring position) in the bottom of the inning of course.

  48. Note to Jim Leyland:

    See how the opposing manager actually tried to win the game in the yop of the tenth inning.

  49. Screw Leyland. That was bush league managing in the ninth. We’ll never know if we would have pushed a run across, but i’m sorry you can’t pinch run 35 year old pudge when you have a 20 yr old gazelle just sitting there, then you can’t let santiago bat, and you certainly can’t let a guy batting .157 against lefties bat in that situation. That’s just amatuer hour. He botched this one.

  50. Oh weird, Jim Leyland making a move 2 hitters too late. Joel shouldn’t have faced Gutierrez even if he did strike him out. Certainly shouldn’t have faced Lofton. He threw 29 pitches. His 30 pitch outing in Toledo be damned, he doesn’t have things back to normal enough for an extended outing. Had he not come in in the 9th inning, that’s 7 pitches less he would’ve thrown, thus, may have been able to get him out of the inning.

  51. I don’t think Leyland made any bad decisions in this game. We hae just failed to get runs in. We’ve had plenty of chances and didn’t capitalize.

  52. eric wedge just gave his team the best chance to win by making the necessary changes in the 10th. leyland sticks with his rally killers…glad they won’t have self esteem problems and we continue to fade. is leyland the problem this year?

  53. What a waste. Wasted a win in the opening game of the series, wasted having your ace going yesterday, wasted scoring 8 runs yesterday, wasted a great outing by Robertson, wasted numerous opportunities to push across ONE run, and wasted Zumaya for the first game of the Yankee series.

    Sad, really.

  54. Stephen, add to Nate Robertson getting yanked after 91 pitches and not having a LHP ready at the thought of Kenny Lofton possibly coming off the bench to face Joel.

  55. Exactly. I can’t wait to hear all the questions about his strategy in his press conference. oh that’s right, no one will dare ask them.

  56. Wow,

    The Tigers really needed this one, I have some issues:

    Sean Casey is HORRIBLE!!! Why is he batting 3rd???

    Why not pinch hit for Santiago in the 9th?? I mean come on, he can play defense, but he is not here for his bat.

    We have dug a deep, deep, hole.


  57. Pudge pinch ran, Santiago batted for himself, and Granderson faced a lefty. Did that really happen? That was just a bad dream, right?

  58. No way Leyland should have left Zumaya in after the double.
    You’re supposed to ease him back in, not leave him out to dry when his velocity is low, and you have Seay, Rodney, and Jones available.


    And Maybin should have hit for Curtis. Or Raburn.

  59. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Now I get it. We were waiting to get down 3-0 and get 2 out and then use Cam to pinch run. NOW I got it.

    I’d put money on this being over in 4 pitches at most.

  60. I understand giving regulars a day off, but running Santiago, Rabelo, and Inge (with the way he’s hitting) out there is giving up a third of your at-bats, which are all the more meaningful with Sheffield out.

    Not pinch hitting for Santiago in the 9th just doesn’t make sense. The reason he can’t stick in the bigs is because he can’t hit. I just don’t get it, you’ve got Rayburn, Pudge (awful choice, but better than Santiago) and Maybin on the bench. Santiago is your best option? No way.

  61. And on the 4th pitch of the AB, Pudge flies out. Didn’t see that coming. How fun was this game!?!?

  62. Turn out the lights. The party’s over. Congratulations to the Cleveland Indians on their 2007 AL Central title. The Tiger’s collapse is now complete. The sooner Pudge becomes a Met the better. This team needs to be overhauled this offseason. New catcher, new SS, and hopefully Guileen at 1b. A veteran starter similiar to Byrd wouldn’t be a bad move either. A trade with Seattle (Y. Betancourt for Bondo) would be OK with me.

  63. I agree Leyland stunk up the joint but lets not get carried away blaming the season on this game. The season was done in long ago whether we wanted to believe it or not. Last night was the perfect example of the season that wasn’t. Coming off a big win we have Verlander going against Paul Byrd to move into first place. You will never get a better match-up than that. Verlander has no stuff, the Tigers lose and that has been the story of the season. There was no chance that they could win this year with Rogers out and Verlander(2nd half)/Bonderman pitching like they have. The only reason they hung around at all is because Cleveland is average and Wedge stinks. This game did not ruin the season.

  64. Game ball: Nate Robertson
    Anti-game ball: Leyland/Casey (tie)

    10 straight series without a win. Unbelievable.

  65. I didn’t blame the season on this game. The losses just keep getting tougher.

    The one last night, two against the Yankees, the one in Chicago where Miner threw the ball into RF….. I’m sure you guys can name tons more. So many tough losses.

  66. It could ugly real fast, too. The Indians play at Kansas City Over the weekend, while we get the Yankees. Then Cleveland is at home for 3 against Minny (fading), a makeup game against Seattle and 3 against the White Sox.

    Meanwhile, we go on the road to KC (who we can’t beat) and then off to the west coast for the FOURTH TIME, to play Oakland (who we also can’t beat).

    Best of all, the rosters expand on 9/1, so Leyland will have plenty more players he can neglect using to pinch hit for the bottom third of our lineup.

  67. we should look at some of the good things.

    Nate threw a fine game; we needed that.

    and on the season we’ve picked up Rayburn and he has his stripes as far as I’m concerned.

    And Jar. I’d like to see another start but I’m think’n he’s got his stripes too

    Maybin — we’ll see yet

    but we got stuff to build with

    the ’06 season was fun but it is over. ya can’t live in the past. time to move on

  68. Well that was pretty much the worst experience of my baseball life. (I walked back to the office, I am depressed, angry and hot). Where the hell was Raburn? I sat there looking at men on second and third for 2.5 hours. If I were Nate I would kill them all. No jury would convict me.
    And I am sick to DEATH of all the fans sitting there applauding the radar gun. Without location and control I don’t care how fast Zumaya pitches. Where the hell was Rodney? I would have trusted him more in this situation.

    As a devout Tiger fan I have withstood my share of razzing. During the lean years my standard answer was that at least if you’re a Tigers fan they can’t break your heart, like the Mets fans, Cubs fans, Red Sox fans, etc. You expect nothing, you go to the game, it’s a beautiful day, there is beer, and if they win, cool, that’s a bonus!

    But today my heart is broken.

  69. No it wasn’t all about today. But it certainly was a rotten cherry on top of a piece of what we thought was chocolate cake but turned out to be dog mess.

  70. Keith, you want Betancourt from the Mariners. Isn’t the goal of moving Guillen to 1st to save his knees and upgrade at SS defensively? Betancourt wouldn’t do that. He’s got 22 errors. 10 fielding, 12 throwing. Last year, 10 throwing, 10 fielding. Not exactly a defensive upgrade.

  71. A little late to the party today. A few comments about this game, most of which have been touched upon already:

    1. What a bone-head running error by Brandon “Ted Williams” Inge. It’s makes absolutley no sense. What in the world was he thinking? Way to go Brandon. Squander our best chance at getting on the board. Chances are if the ball lands (which you clearly thought it would, and you’re half way between third and second waiting to see how it plays) you still score. That blunder perhaps cost us our best scoring chance, and the game. I’m back to not being able to look at you. Please bench Inge.

    2. What’s up with the multitude of scoring opportunities, only to come up with an 0-fer all day long? Very strange odds.

    3. Why on earth didn’t Leyland pinch hit Raburn for Grandy, to bring to the plate our BEST shot at the wining run in the ninth? Raburn can play center, if I’m not mistaken. I’m still scratching my head. Way to go, Jimmy.

    4. Casey is officially the choke king of the day. Horrible. Is his power that bad that he can’t even get a pop up out of the infield?

    5. Why do the Tigers fail to do anything all day long, strand runners in scoring position for nearly nine full innings, only to tease us with a 10th inning rally that we all know is going to come up short? Right now I feel the equivalent of some pimple-riddled geek who was asked by the Prom Queen to the Big Dance as a joke.

    6. How do you possibly pitch as well as Nate pitched and not win a ballgame? That’s crazy. The Tigers are about as out-of-sinc as any baseball team I have ever seen. They have a starter deliver perhaps one of the best outings of the year, and they can’t muster anything off the opposition. That’s a whole lotta bad baseball. The Tigers have to capitalize on opportunites. It’s beyond streaky at this point. They have continually failed, and failed, and failed, and failed, to do so. It’s very frustrating. Part of me almost wishes they would get this slide over with and bow out early so I can begin to enjoy watching the games again.

    Finally, it’s hard for me to take a team seriously that has not won a series since July 19… In fact, I question if any other team in MLB has managed that notorioty… (Anybody? I’m sorry, that’s not a championship team).

    I’ll keep hoping for some kind of miracle run, that we will “sweep the Yankees” this weekend (how delusional do those three words sound?) and that the Indians will continue to play .500 ball from here on out. Anything’s possible. Sure the Tigers could make a run. Sure they could. (Hey, ya never know).

    As you can see, I play the lotto occassionally, too.

  72. I’m scared of NYY. I wish we could play against ourselves, then I’d like our chances of taking a series.

  73. This whole season has been one missed opportunity after another. The last six weeks have been particularly horrendous, but think back to earlier in the season and ask yourself how many games slipped away. Pitching, hitting, fielding, and coaching – they just can’t seem to put it all together at the ame time. And I am tired of hearing about injury this and injury that. No, I’m afraid these Tigers are the real Tigers – a dysfunctional family from Papa Leyland right on down to baby Maybin.

  74. Let’s run down the things that Jim Leyland did today that were just plain terrible:

    – Gary Sheffield hurt, so the logical choice is to hit Guillen 3rd, especially with Polanco and Granderson not hitting well. Guillen would get on base in front of Magglio and Thames could hit 5th with potentially 2 guys on in front of him. Nope, Casey hitting 3rd.

    You want to save Guillen’s knees as they’re hurting him a lot. So naturally you take him from SS and DH him, right? Nope. You put him at 1st base and DH Sean Casey.

    – Casey couldn’t get a run home from 3rd with less then 2 out.

    – Nate Robertson gave up a 2 out double in the top of the 8th. He got the next guy to pop out in foul territory. Top of the 9th, he gives up a 2-out double, yanks Robertson after just 91 pitches for Joel Zumaya. No need to make a pitching change there. Robertson threw 64 strikes.

    – Here’s where the fun starts: Mike Rabelo with a 1-out single to CF. Pudge pinch-runs, despite a gazelle named Cameron Maybin on the bench.

    He lets Inge hit, and he walks (I was as stunned as you are reading this).

    He then lets Ramon Santiago hit, despite Maybin or Raburn being on the bench, and Santiago flies out.

    The Indians bring in a LHP to face Granderson and he lets Granderson hit despite hitting .157 off LHP this season. Yes, that’s a correct stat. One-fifty-seven off left-handed pitchers. Cameron Maybin could pinch hit and then take over in CF afterwards. Curtis struck out swinging. He never got a strike thrown to him in the AB.

    – 10th inning, he lets Joel come back out. Mind you, this is his 5th outing (between Toledo and Detroit), I believe, since coming off the DL. He gives up a lead off double to Victor Martinez. Okay, you go get him, right? No sir.

    He intentionally walks Hafner, so now you go get him, right? No sir.

    Ryan Garko hits into a fielders choice, runner at 2nd base is out. Joel still in.

    Jhonny Peralta walks, so now you go get him, right? No sir.

    Joel K’s Franklin Gutierrez.

    Rodney was warming in the pen, but no LHP, despite the platooning LF position due up in the form of Jason Michaels. Surely Kenny Lofton pinch hitting is a possibility.

    Kenny Lofton pinch hits. Joel still in.

    Lofton hits a grounder up the middle that Santiago keeps on the infield, but can’t get anyone out, so it’s now 1-0 Cleveland.

    You go get Joel, now, right? No sir.

    Chris Gomez up, singles to CF and 2 more score. 3-0 Cleveland.

    Grady Sizemore is coming up, so you go get Joel, right? Ahh, yes NOW you get him after 29 pitches, just 15 strikes.

    Bobby Seay strikes out Grady Sizemore on 4 pitches.

    I think that about sums it up for today.

    Will any reporters ask Leyland about it in the clubhouse? Of course not. We wouldn’t want to hold the manager of a sports team that is getting paid $2 million to put his team in the best position to win baseball games responsible when he does just the opposite.

    Well done, Jim. Well done.

  75. I’ve canned my WS hopes. I’ll still follow every game as closely as I can, but I’m shifting my championship dreams to Texas Football.

  76. I just had a feeling all along listening to this game at work that they were going to lose…..I think Leyland should have brought in Raburn to face the lefty in the 9th…..I’ve been in the worst mood since this game got over and I’m starting to think this team is going to let us all down…..I feel like some hot girl just broke up with me.

  77. I agree with the comments basically burying this season. I honestly hope that we can finish above .500. These were the games we won last year. Let’s hope that with the talent we have, we don’t continue the championship hangover next year like the CWS have been doing (though at least they got a WS title out of it). I look forward to many successful years with this team, but let’s face it, not this year. On the bright side, the Lions might actually be exciting to watch!

  78. Horrible waste of a fine – and much needed – effort by Nate, but we’re due for some 0-fers with RISP after tearing it up at an unrealistic pace early in the year.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but Inge suffers ANOTHER horrific baserunning/mental blunder, this time to potentially cost us the game. No way of knowing if Polanco comes through with two outs, but, of course, we’ll never know. I’m beginning to wonder if the boy is daft.

    I agree with much of Mike R’s sentiments. Leyland has gotten a free pass for much of his tenure, but at some point, you have to be accountable for not giving your team the best chance to win. This includes the occasional pinch-hit to improve your matchups, etc.
    Why not bring in one of the RH kids to hit for a cold Casey against the LHP? Why let Santiago hit in the 10th? Why leave Zoom out so long, when his arm-strength is obviously not where it has been in his career?
    The loss is not his fault – because the players play – but he’s still responsible to put them in the best position to do so.

    This is our 59th loss, which basically means we’re going to have to win the AL Central to get to the next round as the Wild Card is very unlikely with only 85-90 wins.
    This one didn’t help the cause.

  79. Guh. My wife tells me I take these games and this team way too seriously, and after today, I’m starting to think she might be right. The Tigers will be the death of me with games like these. My primary worry before the season started was that we would end up like the White Sox last year – better hitting, but a much-weakend pitching staff would prove to be the source of our slow and painful demise. 90 wins would be welcomed right now.

    Nevertheless, I try to find comfort, however small, that I at least saw them play in one WS in my lifetime.

    (Anyone else still wince when Gameday ran the WS ad that showed the Cards last year? #@#%!&)

  80. I’m going on record right now, though, against the burying of the season. I don’t think we’re done. If we lose 3 of 4 to the Yanks and the Indians win a few in a row, I’ll admit that we’re done/it looks bleak, but right now we’re still in it.

  81. Mike, believe me, I want to agree with you. But this team just looks defeated right now. There has been a lot of talk on this blog about the bullpen troubles ruining the morale of the entire team, and I am thinking there may be something to that. Last year, other teams feared us. This year, we are the ones scared. No one (besides Mags) is stepping up and being a hero. You needed two hands to count all the heros last year. Maybe I am being a little hasty in calling the season off, but these guys are not giving me any reason to believe right now.

  82. Mike R – I appreciate your optimism, I really do. It’s refreshing to read. But take a look at the upcoming pitching matchups. Check out what Damon and Abreu are batting since the break, realize that they are probably the 4th and 5th best hitters on that team and then compare that to every player in our lineup not named Ordonez. You can look at season long stats if you’d like, but the terrifying #’s are over the last month.

    Also note that Jaba Chamberlain has struck out more batters than he’s faced, and Zumaya is still in rehab (he’s just doing it at the ML level). Finally, if you still care – try and match-up the following Tigers starters with their post All Star break ERA:

    Robertson, Verlander, Bonderman, Rogers, Durbin, Miller


    4.61!! Who is that ringer?

    I’m really not upset, just pointing out the facts. I’d be shocked if we take 2 from NYY, and I’m really scared about how many runs the Yankees are going to put up.

  83. I will say this though, in years past I had written the Tigers off by the end of April, so this is definitely better.

  84. Arrrrrrgh. It’s not Leyland’s fault that the team went 0-for-8 (I think) with RISP, but it’s certainly his fault that they didn’t have a real chance to win it in the bottom of the 9th. Curtis, as much as I love him, is simply not a competent hitter against lefties. I was stunned when Leyland left him out there to strike out helplessly.

  85. Leyland would argue that he would be replacing his best defensive centerfielder.

    I would argue that he could have pinch hit for Santiago, using Rayburn, moved Thames to first, Guillen to short and put Rayburn in left.

  86. Harry: “So Cerrano doubles off a pigeon, and then is tagged out administering CPR, before the tying run could score…funny game, ain’t it Monte?”

    Monte: “Well at least the bird survived.”

    H: “Who cares, it’s a rat with wings!” *opens a beer bottle*

  87. I have to say that I was pretty surprised to see Leyland trot Zumaya back out for the 10th at all. Coming back off the injury, I didn’t like the whole scenario of him sitting for the whole bottom of the ninth then having to rev it back up. I was back and forth on whether to take Nate out in the first place, but I thought sure we’d see Rodney in the 10th. I guess you can just chalk it up to another on the list of JL’s short comings today.

    And I love Granderson, but it he can’t learn to hit lefties to some reasonable extent, his career is going to be far less stellar than we had all hoped.

  88. As an Indians fan, I can even say that today the Tigers really had several golden opportunities to take the series from us. In the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th innings the Tigers put two runners on, but each of those times they failed to come up with any runs to support Nate Robertson’s stellar performance. In that 5th inning Granderson was inches away from having an RBI double, but instead Franklin Gutierrez was fortunate enough to have played Granderson deep enough in right that he could make it back to the wall and catch the scorcher. In that situation it might have been better if Inge had waited between second and third, because not only would that have given Inge time to return to second base, but also had Gutierrez not caught the ball, Inge would have probably been able to score anyway.

    Not to take anything away from Westbrook, who pitched very well, but Robertson clearly pitched the better game and was more deserving of a victory. Unlike Westbrook, who ran into a few jams only to work out of them, Nate was only in trouble twice today, only allowed two guys to get to second base, AND on top of all that he only made 91 pitches over 8 2/3 innings! He pitches what is possibly the game of his life, yet he has nothing to show for it because the clutch hitting failed to show up until the bottom of the 10th inning only after you have two out and you’re trailing by three runs.

    With the Yanks coming into town for four, the Tigers now have an inconsistent starting rotation that, as Billfer pointed out, has been about as random as a box of chocolates, a sputtering offense with Granderson and Inge and Casey and Pudge struggling, Sheffield out with the shoulder problem indefinitely, and Magglio and Guillen have had to carry the weight of the team on their shoulders. Also, Zumaya would likely not be available for the first game. Today’s really could be the wake up call this team needs.

    Anyhow, a tough series for the Tigers coming up. The team needs to find a way to pick up the pieces and put them together.

  89. I’m far from optimistic, i think this 4 game set with the Yanks is the season maker/breaker. If we can split, there’s still hope, but if we lose 3 of 4 we are essentially done.

    As for Granderson not hitting Lefties, Sizemore was terrible against LHP in 05 and 06 and this year it’s clicked. I really think that Granderson is on the same path. I think they’re very much the same player.

  90. I’m really not sorry I missed this one. I feel bad for all of you who suffered through it.

    Lots of good writing on the site today. It’s interesting to miss the game and then read every post of a 182 post thread to get a feel for what happened.

    Technically not out of it. By any means.

    After every one of these losses, however, I feel like we’re out of it. Somebody wrote today that this is the team. Forget about injuries, forget about getting guys back. This is the 2007 Tigers.

    So I’ll keep hoping for a miracle, but all available evidence is telling me this season is cooked.

  91. nice try this year guys. maybe better luck next year.

    leyland, thanks for blowing this, and several other games.

  92. Stephen, Billfer addressed it. It’s a combo of bad luck + his struggles vs. lefties. I honestly think next year his struggles against LHP will be one step short of “hey, remember when he used to suck against south paws?”

  93. That wasn’t the right situation for Zumaya to be pitching himself into shape.Major league hitters aren’t likely to be intimidated by mid-90’s fastballs and breaking stuff in the dirt.
    Glad to see more people are opening their eyes regarding Granderson and left handed pitching.Platoon and pinch hit until he’s able to hit at least .250 against LHP.
    On the bright side,how about the way Pudge worked the count?He actually looked at 2 balls before making the final out.

  94. My gloomy predictions about this team have a way of becoming ture. last year I predicted that the tigers will lose the WS to the medeocre Cardnals, and then there wasn’t a question.

    So what is my prognosis now? I’m sorry to say it folks, but this team is headed for last place in the Central. We would get there if only there were enough games left in the season to do it. I predict that the Tigers will not win another series this year and they will be at 500 by September 10th. They will finish end the season in 3rd place, behind the Twins.

  95. I’m inclined to agree with Mike R and Billfer on Granderson. Statistical splits are bound to change from year to year, so even though he’s not good against lefties this year, Granderson is bound to improve next year. Keep in mind that he is still maturing as a player, refining his approach at the plate, and sometimes hitters have those years where, inexplicably, they just really struggling in certain facets of the game where you’d expect them not to do so badly. In 2005 in limited playing time he actually did better against lefties than against righties.

    I mean, look at Travis Hafner; after hitting 42 HR and 117 RBI last year even though he missed the final MONTH of the season, people expected him to have an MVP year. Well, it hasn’t happened that way for us. Hafner hasn’t been delivering that many big hits and he’s simply been unable to get into a groove. It’s just one of those years.

    This can be a funny game at times.

  96. Hey punisher2006,
    Congradulations to you the Indians on winning the Central.

    I think your team has a lot going for it in the playoffs. Their starting rotation is solid with CC, Fausto, Bird and now even Westbrook seams to be coming around as an excellent #4 starter. Yes the hitting has been spotty as of late, but you got some big time offensive threats that can turn it on. Your middle relievers are excellent too. The only thing I would worry about is your closer. He is scary.

  97. Chris,

    I would hardly consider your season to be over. Sure, there are some problems to be fixed, but a 2 1/2 game deficit is far from insurmountable. Keep in mind the fact that the Tribe hasn’t exactly played dynamite baseball of late either, and there’s a three game series at Jacobs Field in mid-September.

    From the Indians fan’s perspective, we know about how dangerous the Tigers team can be…we’ve seen it all year long. The Indians have a three game series coming up against Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium, where we have really struggled this year. For whatever reason, the Royals play us the toughest of any of the sub-.500 teams. Despite the fact that you guys have the Yankees series coming up, we know that we can’t take that for granted because we don’t know which team will play the better baseball in that series. Also, remember that after the Yankees series, your schedule is somewhat better than ours.

    There was a segment on the 12 am edition of Baseball Tonight called “Problem, Solution.” They did the Tigers tonight, and they said the two problems were the absence of Gary Sheffield and the struggling starters (with special emphasis on Verlander and Bondo). The solution that Eric Young proposed was to get Pudge going, both offensively and defensively. Offensively, he said that Pudge needs to step up his clutch hitting and driving in runs to take some of the load off Maggs and Guillen. Defensively, he said that Pudge needs to figure out how to guide his young starters through their struggles and to continue to hold down the running game. The question is, is this THE answer, or is it AN answer, or is it NOT the answer?

  98. I’m already starting to think about next year, although if we are still able to pull this one off this year, it would make up for a lot of heartache.
    Clearly we need to make a few player changes. That will depend on who is available and for what price.
    But how about some coaching changes? Our pitching has been so undependable all season. We are all well acquainted with the bullpen woes. One of our best starters (Bondo) spots the other team a run or three every first inning. To me, it’s the job of the pitching coach to take care of that, and I have seen no improvement throughout the season. It’s only gotten worse.
    This game was a good example of hitting problems, and along with Inge’s struggles, Grandy’s ineffectiveness against lefties, and our horrible number of Ks as a team (and inability to put the ball in play) makes me think we will need a new hitting coach.
    Finally Leyland. It sounds like his strength is handling players and their personalities. That’s great, but he sure seems to make some strange decisions during the games. Does he even have a bench coach? Well, he needs one to advise him during games. All these changes could also wake him up too and let him know that we expect better from this team.
    You can’t blame the disappointing season on injuries. Every time deals with injuries, and we should have had the depth to overcome them. We have the team to win, but for some reason they aren’t winning consistently. They play .500 ball and hope that the competition does the same or worse.

  99. punisher2006,

    Seriously, you have nothing to worry about in terms of the Tigers threatening your Indian’s Central title. The Tigers are the worst team in MLB– worse than the D-Rays or the Reds. Bonderman is a struggleing #5 starter on most teams and Verlander arm is done for the season, again in ’07. Pudge is the worst clutch hitter on the team other than Inge, as he refuses to take a walk from time to time.

    Other than that, there is a lot of tallent on the Tiger’s team, but no chemestry. And, unlike the Indians who have two aces in the form of CC and Fausto, there is no ace starter on this team.

    You really should pay more attention to the twins than the Tigers because they have a much, much better chance at overcoming the Indians.

    Tigers are done….. And they are going to get swept by the Yankees this weekend. By then maybe you might want to reserve your playoff tickets.

  100. Yes MSL, the injury thing is a pathetic excuse for the fact that this Tiger team is just plain lousy.

    I’m beginning to hate this team.

  101. One thing I’ve noticed from playing the Tigers this year is that your players swing at a lot of pitches early in the count and even first pitches. Obviously, in many cases hitters justify swinging at the first pitch when a pitcher is on his game because it may be the best pitch he sees in the at bat. But this can either really help you or really kill you. If you can string together three straight hits off the first pitch, that can really overwhelm a young pitcher and get him wondering “What just happened to me?” The Tigers have done that a lot this year, it seems.

    But on the flip side of the equation, it can kill you. Look at today. You have runners on the corners and one out in the third inning, and the frame is perfectly set up after a beautifully executed hit and run by Placido Polanco. Casey knows that Westbrook likes to pound the strike zone, but what he might have not considered is that Westbrook occasionally likes to run the cutter in on the lefties’ hands to keep them from crowding the plate and sitting on the sinker away. Casey might have been well off sitting on the sinker and taking the cutter (which Westbrook seldom throws in the strike zone), and then whenever he gets that sinker, he can drop the head of the bat on the ball and hit it in the air to the opposite field (a popular approach for lefties to take against sinkerballers). Instead, Casey swings at a first pitch cutter in on his hands and gets jammed, popping out, and a big opportunity goes by the books.

    The Tigers came into Thursday’s game 12th in the AL in walks with 372. They make up for the lack of walks with their hits, but by swinging at pitches early in the count you don’t really drive up the opposing pitcher’s pitch count that quickly. Taking pitches and working counts obviously increases a pitcher’s pitch count pretty quickly; and if you can get to a team’s bullpen early in the game and early in the series, that can put pressure on the team’s pitching rotation for later in the series and it also brings in the volatile relief corps and wears them down. It makes one wonder if a little increase in plate discipline, taking a couple more pitches here and there to work the count and then looking for a cookie to hit, might help out the clutch hitting…it’s just a thought, and I’m interested to hear others’ thoughts.

  102. This team has no heart. Sometimes you have to will yourself to a win. The team ain’t got it in them. We got the Indians at home with a chance to take over first place and we roll over like we did with the Cardinals last year. We finally get a terrific pitching performance and we cannot come up with one run in nine innings. Maybin can go from home to first in 3.9 seconds and he’s not in the game in the ninth. How fast can he go from 1st to 2nd? On this day we do not find out because Leyland doesn’t have the guts. And what’s with Zumaya after the game? Almost sounded like an excuse to me. And can Mags run out those two comebackers early in the game. He’s our best player and the younger players are watching him. He should be setting an example that you hustle all the time. Not to mention Inge. No more defending him. What the heck was the third base coach doing on that play? Was this game a awake up call? Better be, because right now Leyland and the boys are asleep at the wheel driving down Woodward on the wrong side of the road.

  103. I think that this four-game series with the Yankees is going to give fans an idea of how much heart this team actually has left…the Yankees have a chance to lay a knockout punch to the Tigers’ wild card chances because the Tigers are now five games back of the Mariners, although the Tigers and Mariners do meet for three in September at Comerica.

    Ron, earlier on I hinted at the possibility that this could be that wake-up call you refer to. If you think about it, it’s now or never for this team.

  104. This team has no heart. Sometimes you have to will yourself to a win. The team ain’t got it in them.

    when the manager sez as much right on national TV sports show what can we expect?

    I like Jim a lot but I didn’t like that remark at all.

    the grass ain’t greener on the other side of the fence either. we got a good bunch of ball players. Jim’s the manager and the coaches all work for him. So, c’mon Jim, now’s the time show us what ya can do. there’s a lot of good games left to play

  105. While these aren’t my thoughts, a friend passed them along and they deserved some consideration:

    I was pondering these questions yesterday as the ’07 pennant drifted
    away out into the humidity…
    1. Has anyone ever thought of moving Guillen to 3rd base? He played
    there at Seattle, and his batting numbers would be stellar for a 3rd
    sacker – but middling for a 1st baseman.
    2. Pudge and Casey are absolutely killing us…Two players swapped for
    each other at the deadline, Texiera and Saltalamachia, either would
    have been worth moving a couple of good young arms for. The lack of
    production at the corner spots and catcher is too much to overcome.
    3. Granderson has made amazing strides, but he is almost an automatic
    out against lefthanders. As coachable as he has been, I would expect
    him to improve on that- but it might be too late this year.
    4. I would have sent Inge packing after getting doubled off 2nd base –
    immediately. His head is so far up his ass right now – lack of ability
    nonwithstanding – that he is detrimental to even put out for a
    “defensive” replacement.
    5. Will Shelton get a September callup? The Mudhens have pretty much
    sewn up the pennant … I’d like to see him get another shot at big
    league pitching.

  106. i watched the 7:00 replay last nite

    anybody could tell from his 9th inning performance that Zoom was in no shape to throw in the 10th frame

  107. after the game

    “It all comes down to the mental aspect of the game,” Robertson said. “There’s talent on both sides, no matter who you’re playing, so I think it all comes down to mentality. If you believe you can win, that’s what you’re going to do. We have a team here that can win.”

  108. Billfer – I did a quick check on the getaway day record. The Tigers are 2-10 since the ASB on series ending games. Those 10 losses are all consecutive, dating back to the Minnesota sweep in July and coincides with their current 10 series no-win streak.

    We were very respectable prior to the ASB, going 19-9 (not counting ppd games).

  109. I would have sent Inge packing

    would ya dump someone who was getting two hits per game day in and day out? hardly.

    some guys get their hits using a bat and we know who the big hitters are.

    the other way is to take a hit away from the other team and when an above average defensive player is able to stop a couple balls that a regular defensive player would not get to he is doing exactly that. and those of us supporting Inge see that in Inge’ play

    hitting ain’t all there is to baseball

  110. I thought Santiago looked real good at SS last night on the replay

    can’t wait to watch him again. I’d love to assemble a death-trap infield defense . we all know what happens to guys who hit files into center tee hee Go Grandy!

  111. Looking ahead to next year, if the Tigers are somehow in contention and have another strong 1st half of the season, the discussion is definitely going to have to turn on how this team is going to avoid the Big 2nd half slump, which is now officially a trend. I wonder if management & coaches should almost expect it to creep in, and should they try to find ways to minimize the decline. Here are some questions I have:

    Is there anything they can do?

    What are the similarities between last years 2nd half struggles and this years?

    Is there an avoidable physiological aspect that can make a team slump?

  112. we are looking at physical conditioning, injuries and team management, coaching, and mental toughness

    it’s a long season

    ya gotta be tougher and meaner than the bad guy on Willie Nelson’s record ya wanna come up a winner

  113. Terrific insight,Bill A.My guess to your secret-a fat one before the game and during the seventh inning stretch,a beer (24oz) an inning,and a shot every time Inge or Granderson strikes out.Just enough to make Doris Roberts look like Angelina Jolie,or the 2007 Tigers look like a contender.

  114. too much concept for ya Bob? there might be more to this game than just who’s on the team?

  115. Looks as though this team could use an off day…but no relief in the immediate future.

  116. Wow…

    Bill A, we’ve been going over this, but you can have Inge and Santiago to start your AAAA team.
    I’d prefer guys who learn from mistakes, improve, or actually have the ability to hit major league pitching.

    The future of the Tigers is bright, no doubt, with much of the young talent they have in their system and his quote to “send him packing” was an exaggeration – much like calling his defense worth “2 hits a game,” BUT after waiting 7 years for Inge to “develop” – it ain’t happening. The fact is, 3B is not as important defensively as SS, CF, 2B and C. Its time for them to start addressing the situation via position change, younger talent or acquisition. And Ramon, likeable as he is, is not a major league starter.

    We didn’t lose this game because the defense was shoddy, we lost this game because we didn’t score any runs (against Jake Friggin’ Westbrook) – and we blew one of our good chances to do so when our “clubhouse leader” Brandon made ANOTHER Little Leaguer baserunning error to end an inning, therefore leaving the guy who’s leading MLB in hitting with RISP on deck.

    No matter how many times you hit yourself in the head with a brick, its still going to hurt. Eventually, most people learn to quit hitting themselves with a brick.

  117. I’d prefer guys who [] have the ability to hit major league pitching.

    hit hit hit hit hit is that all you guys can talks about is hitting. Baseball is much more than that. I love defense and a + grade defense play definitely takes a hit away from the enemy and I love it when our Tigers do that

    I thought Santiago looked real promising at SS vs the Tribe Thursday. Yeah, send us your hitters we’ll get them all out

  118. Well, Bill, you assemble a team of no-hit position players who sure can field, and I’ll assemble the worst defensive team with the best bats, and we’ll see who wins.

  119. Mike I love to watch a well played game and to me that means seeing an un-catchable ball snatched up and the runner out by a step at 1b. And the great fielding Grandy is doing for us! Go Grandy!! Now maybe some of these guys don’t hit as well as the guys in the Yankee’s line up but I still like to see ’em make the great plays

    “12 runs on 15 hits” kinda stuff belongs in a National Guard Softball game. except we usually score more than that.

  120. Bill A, can you pass on the name of your pharmacolgist? Or the location of your crystal meth lab? About a mile or two from the silverdome, right? Take a left at the applebee’s? I’m looking for the yellow ’78 K car out front?

  121. And i wish i was as hopeful about the future as some of you. I’m not pessimistic, but not that optimistic. We’ve got great young pitching, but our position players are sort of a disaster. And i just don’t see Maggs have 70% of this kind of production next year. His knees are just too beat up. We’ve got no first baseman, a crappy third baseman, a kid playing left field, and a catcher who can’t walk. Add in Sheff approaching 40 and there’s a lot to worry about. And who do we have waiting to step in besides Maybin who doesn’t appear ready? Again, we have five solid young pitchers–Verlander, Miller, Bondo, Zumaya, and Rodney–which is more than most, but our everyday nine is average at best.

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