Game 14: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: Last night’s win was great and dramatic and uplifting. It reminded me in some respects of a dramatic come from behind victory against the Blue Jays last September. The win was supposed to propel the team back into the playoff hunt. Instead Chad Durbin came out and gave up 5 runs without making it out of the 3rd inning. So there’s some pressure on Nate Robertson tonight to let last night’s effort emotion carry over.

Robertson hasn’t been sharp in his first 2 outings, but not awful either. Working in his favor are 11 K’s in 10.1 innings. Not working in his favor are 19 baserunners and 198 pitches in those 10.1 innings.

Scott Baker is taking the mound for the Twins. He turned in a gem of a game in Comerica Park where he lost a 1-0 duel on an 8th inning Marcus Thames homer. That might be part of the reason Thames is in the lineup over Jacque Jones tonight despite Baker having 846 OPS allowed against lefties as opposed to .735 for righties.

MIN @ DET, Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: Now that is the powerful middle of the order in action. Sheffield-Ordonez-Cabrera-Guillen, or 3-4-5-6 all went deep tonight. Maggs doubled in the tying run and the foursome accounted for all 6 RBI.

Nate Robertson had a solid night, save for one ill advised pitch to Justin Morneau. But he had to leave with a gallon left in the tank when he strained a lat. While he had some 3 ball counts, he was efficient enough and only gave up one walk while fanning 5.

There were two things to note with the bullpen tonight. The first was that they were pretty good. Aquilino Lopez made his first appearance since his starter-ish night in Chicago and retired all 3 hitters he faced. Clay Rapada took over to take care of Morneau/Mauer. And Jones was Jones. The tying run got on base but didn’t get past first.

The bigger bullpen item for me was that for the first time this season that I can recall, Jim Leyland was aggressive in his use of the pen. He had the next guy ready instead of waiting for the current guy to fail. Brining in Rapada to face Mauer/Morneau was a no brainer, but the kind of move that hadn’t been made. And more importantly, even before the game was tied he has his top arms, Bautista and Jones, ready for the ninth. Leyland had been managing the pen like any deficit wasn’t worthy of those guys – and it seemed that things would go from 1 run down to 4 runs down without nary a visit to the mound.

Well folks, we have ourselves a first win streak, a first series win, and a first series sweep.

Game Time 7:05

125 thoughts on “Game 14: Twins at Tigers”

  1. A comeback is nice, but from now on score runs early and everyone will prosper.

    I went to bed last night feeling great after the Tigers 11-9 come from behind win. I slept fine until a nagging thought interrupted my post-win tranquility. The nagging sensation was the result of a growing dissatisfaction with the fact that it was “a comeback win”. Like many people, the pessimistic side of my brain is the only portion of my brain that is awake at 3:15 am. Why can’t we have an all around kick their ass win, from the first inning through the 9th? In the first 12 games the Tigers held a lead in 22 innings of the 110 played.

    Hitting can win games. The converse is bad pitching loses games. But last night highlights, that when a team is on, it’s on. The Twins pitchers weren’t throwing horrible pitches; the Tigers were flat out hitting the cover off the ball. When a team is feeling it, the ball gets bigger and the gloves get smaller, that is what happened last night. Furthermore base runners beget base runners. As we have seen in the Tiger’s 9 losses, it is harder to pitch when you have runners on base and you are behind.

    The Take away is that baseball is a combination of offense and defense. The Tiger’s starters have not had any support from the offense until last night. Give your pitcher a lead, and he is loose, the strike zone seems bigger, the bats get smaller, and the bullpen gets more opportunities to come in with leads. Remember, pitchers can’t score runs. Even if the pitching staff gave up an average of 3.2 runs per game, this team would still be 5-7.

    Last thought………Errors and walks will kill you. Until we cut down on both the pain will continue.

  2. mike/ken mlb.tv should be back up and working, i had a loading problem for the first couple minutes as well. but online now

  3. I agree 2 or 3 pitches call low looked like strikes. I wonder how many leadoff batters have gotten on for opponents vs Tigers so far this season.

  4. Thanks, guys. I got MLB up again. Just in time to see Sheffs ding dong. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Nothing is more satisfying to my than a Sheff homer.

  5. I don’t know about anybody else, but the team has a different FEEL to it today. I can’t really quantify it, but I feel like we’re going to catch the ball, play the game right, and flat out win the game.

  6. Anybody ever had MLB.tv say that “your account is logged in to multiple computers . . .” although it clearly isn’t?

    Damn — would have loved to have seen Sheff’s homer.

  7. Pat, I had that problem last night, but I logged in fine today. Just keep trying, eventually it will work for you.

  8. The Tigers can definitely get better in most areas of the game, yet they’re not going to get much faster, even with Grandy coming back.

  9. Thanks, Mark . . .

    Good to see C-Mo in the lineup. I think he has about 10 MLB hits since his homer in game 2 against the Cards. But still good to see him.

  10. Mike I think on the base path the Tigers are fine with speed. Thomas is a replica of Granderson basically. Guillen and Pudge have speed(when not injured) And Sheff when he gets on base is just awesome! So while we may not be the top SB team we will be quite ok and in the middle of the pack as long as we get on base.

  11. How come that feels familiar? Has Morneau done that to us before – hit a 3-0 pitch into the seats? Maybe last year? Anybody remember or am I thinking of someone else?

  12. Are people to interested in the game, once again we are down by 3 runs and cant seem to get anyone on base or push the RISP around to home plate? I don’t know bout this team.

  13. Jim and Dan are calling shenanigans on Robertson there…

    Jim “That is not smart, people.”

    He should have walked him. I agree.

  14. Mauer doubled on a pop-up that just landed fair, then Robertson went 3-0 on Morneau (with first open, what do you think he’s gonna do?) Then Jim was like, “All right, you can throw any pitch right now except for a fastball right down the middle because Morneau’s the cleanup hitter and he’ll be looking for the 3-0 fastball.”

    So Robertson gave him the 3-0 fastball and Morneau hit it out.

    And Jim was pissed.

  15. I know Maggs just hit one out, but it’s really infuriating how he constantly swings at the first pitch.

    Nate needs to shut it down right here. We can still get to Baker.

  16. I agree that the first pitch swings have to stop. Ridiculous. The Tigers have to stop playing from behind. This is really frustrating.

  17. Thanks for the details. I checked it out and Morneau hasn’t homered on a 3-0 pitch in the last two years, so I guess I was thinking of something/someone else.

    What happened to Nate?

  18. Steve in Kzoo, Maggs probably has about the best eyes for seeing the ball as anyone in MLB. He’s not gonna swing unless he thinks he can hit it. It’s just a doggone shame we didn’t have any baserunners on.

  19. He was apparently pointing to an area just behind his left shoulder, so he might have tweaked something…but it’s his throwing shoulder.

  20. Can we believe that the bats are awake now? I hope so. The replay of that swing by Guillen was gorgeous.

  21. I can’t really believe that people are complaining about a home run?!?!? Magglio has hit a lot of first pitch home runs for this team. It’s frustrating when he grounds out on the first pitch, but you have to take the good with the bad.

  22. Nice Homerun there Maggs but come on guys swinging on the first pitch is not going to help our cause…

    Uh, when they hit it over the fence it does. There’s nothing wrong with some first pitch swinging.

  23. Ryan, I am not complaining about the home run, obviously. And for a batter to occassionally swing on the first pitch is fine. But Maggs has shown a strong tendency to swing at the first pitch so far this year. His pitches per plate appearance is 2.92, which ranks him dead last in the AL. Last year he saw 3.68 per PA, which put him middle of the pack.

    I know Maggs is an aggressive hitter, but tone it down a bit, man. It’s especially bad when he rolls that pitch over to short.

  24. We really need a run in the 8th, because gettiing to Nathan in the 9th is gonna be tough.

  25. THATABABE MAGGS!!!!!!!

    Starting to feel like a baseball team again boys and girls.

  26. MIGGY!!!!!! Now please everyone shut up about him and let him mash, because that is what he is about to do.

  27. Chris, where is your namesake? I want him to tell me how Cabrera will be out of baseball in two years again.

  28. these are the tigers i expected to see this year…the big guys doing what they do best…very, very nice.

  29. Well get your smokes out…. We have a two run lead lets not use’m

    Same D as last night

    Lets Go Tigers

    Steve

  30. I’m so happy for Miggy! The swing was a beautiful thing. All the swings have been wonderful. The monkey off his back now??

    Like the Pistons – the 4th quarter is their time. The 8th inning is Tiger Time.

  31. On replays that looks like the right call. Amazing, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen that before.

  32. Raburn robbed Young of an HR, then dropped it after holding the ball for about ten minutes, which meant Young had a ground-rule double. Then he made a bad throw, which made it a triple.

  33. I live Jones so much that I drafted him for my fantasy team! Never beautiful, but he gets the job done!

  34. WHAHOOOOO Two game winning streak and a sweep of the Twinsies lol. Awesome game again guys. If it wasn’t for some bad luck probably could have been a 1-2-3 for Jonesy in the 9th. Great Job Tigers glad you came back to town.

  35. Man what a slew of emotions I had to deal with there. I wouldn’t be surprised if my neighbors called the cops on me after the rucus I made when Miggy hit that beautiful and oh so clutch homer. Then I had to deal with the rollercoaster that is the ninth hosted by Mr. Jones. Man i was nervous but wooohooooooo!!!! That’s what we can do after a good but ripping from Grandpa Leyland.

  36. How are people still spelling Raburn’s name wrong? But yeah, the rules do seem pretty clear on the play, as per Mike P’s post.

  37. God does Jones make it interesting… Like tonight, I just have to turn away from the ninth inning in these situations because this is a rollercoster ride that I can’t handle. It’s nice to come back and find that the ride did not crash and Jonesey comes thru.

  38. I’m ready for a couple of 10-1, 13-4 wins now. My nerves can’t handle all of this!

    Congrats to Clay Rapada on his first career win!

  39. The bigger bullpen item for me was that for the first time this season that I can recall, Jim Leyland was aggressive in his use of the pen. He had the next guy ready instead of waiting for the current guy to fail. Brining in Rapada to face Mauer/Morneau was a no brainer, but the kind of move that hadn’t been made. And more importantly, even before the game was tied he has his top arms, Bautista and Jones, ready for the ninth. Leyland had been managing the pen like any deficit wasn’t worthy of those guys – and it seemed that things would go from 1 run down to 4 runs down without nary a visit to the mound.

    And all I can say is it is about time. This is a Leyland Trend that I could actually get behind and would save me some mental grief.

  40. a non-come from behind victory would be a different change of pace, but if this is how they like to get it done, I’ll just hold on and try not to complain too much!

  41. I think this losing streak was affecting my mood….I was in the worst mood the last few weeks, now I feel great! Is that sad or what? Watch baseball too much do I? Indeed.

    Yeah, sorry to say shut up earlier, but man, people bash Miggy and it’s so obvious that he is MUCH MUCH better than he has played so far. The guy is the real deal and he has about to show everyone why he just got that much money. We got a glimpse of that tonight, now he can just go rake that he can stop feeling like he has to prove that he’s good to Tigers fans.

  42. Two come-from behind victories — both dramatic. This is how the Indians won all last year.

    It’s a start. Baby steps. We now need to graduate to the next level by recording a downright shillacking from inning 1 or 2, holding and keeping the lead, and allowing one of the starters to notch up some W’s. If we can manage that in the next game or two, I’ll be feel pretty good that the Tigers are officially rising from the ashes. Hey, why not get the poor play out of the way in April instead of August and September?

    As many others have commented, the middle of the order really came thru tonight. If 3 – 6 can manage to get streaky at once, perhaps with a soupcon of clutch hits from Polanco and Pudge, this lineup is gonna crush teams. But I get ahead of myself…. let’s just take those baby steps and move on to the next level before we start talking about October.

  43. I think it’s pretty clear – we need someone from this forum to go to a game every night. That seems to be the trick.

    I got all the White Sox games covered!

  44. Hi kids, I’m home!!!
    Mark in Chicago, you are correct, there is a mood, a feeling that I didn’t see/feel during opening week. This team has bonded. What a night. Except I am getting too damn old to sit through Jonesy 9th innings. And I’m down to my last 3 Xanax.

  45. Oh Mark In Chicago, FYI I’ve got an alumni meeting at Northwestern on September 11/12 and am planning to stay the weekend to go to that Tigers/Sox series. Let’s meet up at one of those games?

  46. cib, that sounds like a great idea, I typically drag a bunch of my Cub-fan friends to 1-2 games every year anyway. Let’s touch base when we closer to the date.

  47. I can now fully see us going at least 1-1 in Cleveland but would rather have a 2-0 series win. Come on guys lets put our support behind the young guy tomorrow, Galarraga i think it is? Hopefully he can produce Jurrjen type numbers when he faced the Indians.

  48. Hey Hey! Even Mike R. getting behind Leyland!

    😉

    Hahah, Greg. This cracked me up. You know it’s a good day in Tigers-land when I’m behind Leyland!

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