Game 27: Tigers at Yankees

PREGAME: It will be two pitchers going tonight with a combined ERA of 15.51. That combined is added of course and not the average of Kenny Rogers’s and Phillip Hughes’s lines.

Hughes has nearly as man walks as strike outs (10 versus 11) but that bests Kenny’s 15:9 ratio.

The Tigers trot out their full lineup, fresh from an off day.

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Guillen, 3B
  7. Renteria, SS
  8. Rodriguez, C
  9. Jones, LF

The Yankees however are a little short and coming from a late night in Cleveland. Jorge Posada is out with shoulder issues and Alex Rodriguez is out with a quadricep injury.

  1. Johnny Damon, CF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Bobby Abreu, RF
  4. Hideki Matsui, LF
  5. Jason Giambi, DH
  6. Shelley Duncan, 1B
  7. Morgan Ensberg, 3B
  8. Robinson Cano, 2B
  9. Chris Stewart, C

Programming Note: This will be simulcast on FSN and FSN+ until 10pm. At that time the Red Wings will be on FSN and the Tigers on FSN+.

DET @ NYY, Tuesday, April 29, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 7:05
POSTGAME: That’s not a bad way to start a road trip…other than twice walking the bases loaded.

The Tigers knocked around Phil Hughes early and got Rogers a lead to work with. Rogers had a rough 3rd inning where he walked the bases loaded, but settled in and managed to pick up a quality start lasting through 6 innings. And similar to his last start, it wasn’t that Rogers couldn’t throw strikes. He was getting ahead 0-2 or 1-2 before nibbling enough to work the count full.

The bullpen was shakier today. The southpaws did the job with Seay pitching an uneventful 7th and Rapada bailing out a very wild Denny Bautista (3 walks and a HBP) leaving the bases loaded. Todd Jones let in a run as it took a couple batters for him to find the strike zone before fanning Robinson Cano to end the game.

Placido Polanco had 4 hits and Curtis Granderson reached base 4 times with 2 walks, a double, and a homer. That’s setting the table. And for a change Gary Sheffield came through with a 3 2 run jack.

The left side struggled though with Guillen, Renteria, and Jones combining for an 0 for 11 night with 6 K’s.

Nice win.

Tigers 6 Yankees 4

118 thoughts on “Game 27: Tigers at Yankees”

  1. this is the first time of our tigers full strength correct?


    solid 5-6 hour block of detroit sports tonight, lets roll!

  2. Sheffield is a black hole right now. He acted like he’s never seen a breaking ball in that AB (to be fair, Hughes has a good one, but still…)

  3. Ever since Kenny got caught tar handed, he hasn’t had the same bite on his pitches. Do you think that was the secret to Kenny’s success?

  4. Good to see the top of the order knocking the ball around again.

    I vote Sheff should sac bunt here.

  5. I open up the box score and we’re up 2-0.

    Then I look back a minute later and it’s 2-2.

    Now I look back again and it’s 5-2.

    The point in all that? Go Tigers!

  6. I’m pretty sure that Granderson would have 8 homers if he had started the season on time. He just looks so sharp so far. He’s going to be a superstar before this is all over.

  7. This has to be one of the worst theories in baseball: Getting ahead 0-2 and trying to get the hitter to chace with the next three pitches.

  8. Jeez, it took a million pitches, but Kenny somehow didn’t allow a run. Too bad he’s giving us 5 innings tonight max.

  9. Why does Chuck Hernandez still have a job? I’ve been watching this inning all season. Verlander, Bonderman, and Rogers are not worse than Barry Zito. Coach your starters to THROW STRIKES! If this isn’t the job description of a pitching coach, I’m not really sure what is.

  10. It seems too soon to give up on Sheff. He was terrible last April too and warmed up later. Kenny, on the other hand…*sigh*. I’m really rooting for him but it’s hard to stay optimistic.

  11. Wow…YES announcer Michael Kay gave Miguel Cabrera a hard time for jogging down to first after his ground out to third. I mean, guy, the dude’s had sore hamstrings all season. Classy, as usual.

  12. Jones’ groundball from the leftfield corner was sweet. Get used to it, Tiger fans – that’s his arm strength in action.

  13. Ken —

    Rogers’ first three starts last season were nearly as good as his playoff performances. I’d guess that second DL stint last year (and yet another year of aging) really took its toll. Contrary to popular perception, an inability to cheat is not the only explanation for decline.

  14. Wait, Kenny just put together a quality start. What are we all complaining about.

  15. Weird – when the Yankees were being patient and taking a lot of pitches they were getting Kenny on the ropes. Now they are swinging early in the count and he is breezing. I’m certainly not complaining, just surprised since the Yankees are generally pretty patient. The way it was going I wasn’t sure Rogers was going to make it through the fourth (75 pitches after 3IP – 101 after 6). It’s good to see somebody besides Gallaraga get a quality start.

  16. Oh goodness, was Cabrera gonna steal 2nd? I kind of wish I could have seen that play out…

  17. In games like these, the Tigers need to keep in mind that I have FOUR of them on one of my fantasy teams, so they need to keep pressing the issue on offense until the final out is recorded.

  18. Even the mediocre Yankee bullpen is effective when they throw strikes.

    I hope Bonderman and Zoolander are watching.

  19. I’m still struggling with why he left him in to face Damon with Rapada ready to go in the pen. Seems like such an elementary decision.

  20. I really hope Rapada can handle the pressure here. He’s got to throw strikes.

    7 walks and 1 HBP by Tigers pitchers in this game. Terrible.

  21. I’m usually don’t complain much about JL’s managerial deisions but he pretty much gave the Yankees a run there.

    Nice job by Rapada to get Abreu!

  22. If memory serves, that is the second time in recent days Clay Rapada has come in and done a very nice job cleaning up somebody else’s mess.

    Well done, Clay.

  23. That could have been a lot worse. Bautista is an accident waiting to happen – always has been, always will be.

  24. I don’t think handling pitching staffs is Leyland’s forte.

    Come to think of it, I am not sure what is, but pitching staffs, definitely not.

  25. Anyone being subjected to the YES network on Xtra Innings where the D-bag Michael Kay is stating that this is Polanco’s first game ever in Yankee Stadium? I guess he is selctively forgetting the 2006 ALDS. I have no idea where he got his info but that is what he said, I can’t believe he didn’t play there last year. He said something about missing a 4 game set there, I am wondering if he is looking at info through the 2006 regular season or something.

  26. Good to see Polanco getting his stroke back. The top of the order (although I am still not sure about Shelfield), is looking pretty good right now.

  27. C’mon Jonesy. It’s late and we’ve had way too much excitement tonight. Finish these guys quick.

  28. Todd Jones, back at it, letting the Yankees get the tying run to the plate.

    Come on, Jonesy.

  29. Man, we sure didn’t make it easy. But at least we got the win.

    The walks have to STOP, though.

    Wings just took a 2-1 lead.

    Cleveland lost.

    Sox losing 3-1 in the 8th.

    Not a bad night…. 😀

  30. Angus, I pause the Tivo and get a drink!

    Mark in Chi, I am heading your way tomorrow morning! Just a girls getaway, some food, drink, shopping, etc. Hope I can find somewhere with the game on tomorrow evening –

  31. cib–

    Where are you staying? The best places on the north side are Tin Lizzie’s on Clark or the Gin Mill on Lincoln (an MSU bar, if you’re not a huge UM fan).

    Duffy’s probably has the best food , it’s much bigger ,but I honestly don’t know if the game will be on there.

    If you’re staying in the burbs or on the south side, I’m not sure I can help you much. Try metromix, maybe.

  32. Inn of Chicago off Michigan Avenue – chances are I’ll end up somewhere with music etc., will have to watch the wed/thurs games on my tivo when I come home! BUt I’ll keep those places in mind and see what happens –

  33. Tigers now lead the AL in runs scored, and are averaging 6.8 (I think) since starting 2-10.

  34. It’s almost 6.9 runs per game (6.866666666666)

    Also very good.

    When they said we were going to score 1000 runs this season, I figured that (duh), we’d have to score 100 runs every 16.2 games. In 15 games, we’ve scored 103. But I don’t see that trend continuing (or maybe I see it getting better, now that Polanco and Granderson are back, and POSSIBLY!?!?! Sheffield.) We might be that offensive juggernaut everyone was talking about for so long.

  35. Nice win, though too much self-inflicted drama for my tastes.

    I don’t get to watch the games, but I was able to follow this one (textually) online. Does it seem like Bautista self-destructs like he did tonight because he starts trying too hard to “make up” for the last mistake? I sure hope they have a “Plan B” for their regular 8th inning guy.

    I think the Tigers are going to have to go at least 80-55 from here on out to make the playoffs (92-70 could win the division this year). I think they’re going to have to average 6 runs a game to do this. I’d even go so far as to say that if they average (say) only 5 runs a game, they’ll finish 78-84. (I’ll leave it to you to figure out the highly sophisticated mathematics behind this prediction.)

    On paper, the projected batting lineup coming into the season was the kind that should make other teams afraid, like that of the ’06 Yankees (Murderer’s Row plus Cano) no one gave the Tigers a chance against. I think they’ve more or less committed themselves to live and die by the bat, and if so, they can’t afford to carry a single weak one, which would explain why Inge didn’t win his starting job back despite a strong start and Cabrera to 1B.

    The weakest bats so far have been Polanco (hot now, and not a guy you’d give up on anyway), Sheffield, and Jones. I have hope for Sheffield, and obviously Leyland has some confidence there. That leaves Jones.

    Jacque Jones seems to have been intended to fill the type of role Sean Casey played (minus the glove and plus some power). But unless Marcus Thames has an .050 career average against right-handers or something, I think I’d rather see Thames in left full time than Jones at all. Jones has good career numbers, I think, and will eventually live up to them, but I don’t think the Tigers have time to wait on it. Or reason, considering his well-known outfield arm. Don’t the Tigers have some left-handed batting outfielders in Toledo? Isn’t Timo Perez a switch hitter? Would Brandon Inge be willing to bat left in exchange for more playing time in LF? Anything but Jones.

    I wonder which unpopular Chicago Cub the Tigers have their eye on for 2009…

  36. I’ll be interested to see the lineup vs. the Lefty Pettite tonight. I’m sure they will bench Jones, but will they start Thames (or Raburn or Inge) in LF.

    Also, will they sit Granderson who has not hit lefties yet in his career? If Grandy sits, you gotta figure Inge is in CF.


  37. Also, will they sit Granderson who has not hit lefties yet in his career? If Grandy sits, you gotta figure Inge is in CF.

    I sure hope they won’t sit Granderson. Please tell me they “can’t” do that any more.

    Don’t look now, but the Tigers are now the highest scoring team in the AL.

    Very inconsistent scoring, though, with 37 of those runs against the Rangers. Let’s see them club the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, or (especially) the White Sox like that over the course of a series.

  38. I haven’t checked, but is it reallly true that Granderson has never hit lefties in his career? Even in the Minors or College?

    His major league career is still in its infancy, as he only has 2 years under his belt as a regular, and I did some checking and there’s quite a list of HOF’s that struggled mightily, yes, just as bad, the first couple years against lefties. If he has only a modest improvement vs. lefties he’d have numbers that would enter the MVP discussion. He’s not going to improve against lefties on the bench, and since he’s hitting not much better than a pitcher against them, it would be hard NOT to improve.

    I know there are some on here who see Granderson as nothing more than a career platoon player. Last year there was a vocal contingent that….seems like they just didn’t like the guy. But a number outside of Detroit have argued that he’s already the best all around CF in the game, and on top of that, he STILL has upside.

  39. yesterday was the best sports birthday ever: a complete detroit sweep (including putting the avs’ deep into the hole 3-0). the only thing that might have made it better would have been a grandslam, or an overtime win on a goal giving datsyuk a hat trick!

  40. So, thinking ahead…..what do the Tigers do about Galarraga?? Keep him in the rotation, bullpen or back to Toledo?? And if he stays in the rotation, who goes?? My vote is for Nate. I love the fight in him, but the statistics don’t lie. He has been (and his future is) an average to below average starting pitcher. The time is now for the Tigers to try and move him for a young prospect. We need results now and a current 0-3 record with a 6.91 ERA doesn’t cut it. And remember, its not like he is a career winning pitcher (42-58). The only thing going for him is that he’s a lefty. Kenny will be gone next year with Porcello taking his place in the rotation. And they have invested too much time and pride in Dontrelle to demote him or trade him. The bullpen option is not likely with Cruceta probably coming on board this week. So I say get something, anything for Nate, and bring Galarraga into the rotation permanently.

  41. people are talking about sitting granderson agionst leftys until his swing improves but if he can see more pitches it is my belief he will improve sooo let him strike out twice tonight and then hit a double.

  42. scott-

    “they have invested too much time and pride in Dontrelle to demote him or trade him”

    the only thing worse that a bad investment is to stick with that bad investment in the hope of a miracle turnaround. not to bust your b@lls, but that’s my biggest pet peeve is when teams hold on to guys that just never really pan out. i’m not saying the Tigers shouldn’t give Willis the chance to prove himself (early injuries) but I think he needs to do that in the minors (complete lack of control). if he can’t pitch effectively, it doesn’t really matter if they’re paying him 20mil a year or $20 a year…he just doesn’t belong.

    as for Robertson, every year that i’ve watched him i’ve thought would be his breakout year and every year he hasn’t broken through. its a weird thing considering how many strikeouts and ground-ball double plays he induces. but he always seems to randomly get tagged for big innings. so i think that its time for him to go too, or for the Tigers to find him a different role (LF perhaps, he couldn’t be worse right?).

    sean –

    i hope you aren’t right, but i have a feeling we will end up needing the offense to average 6+ runs a game to really lock up the playoffs.

  43. So I say get something, anything for Nate, and bring Galarraga into the rotation permanently.

    I almost agree, but what could the Tigers get for Robertson that they need? You can’t just give him away, and they might end up only an injury away (Rogers or Willis) from living to regret the move. And Galarraga could pitch a no-hitter next time out and still be out when Willis is deemed healthy. That’s not what I would do, but it is what Leyland would do – I’m sure of it.

    I agree with the sentiment “how can Granderson improve against lefties if he never sees them?” I don’t get it. Are the Tigers not a better team with Granderson in the lineup and in center field – period?

  44. Andre-
    I agree with your statement regarding not keeping bad investments. But the season is VERY early, and Dontrelle’s two bad starts do not make a bad investment. True, there has been a noticeable downward trend in his control in the last year, which has definitely affected his performance. But his track record is solid, if not very good, having reached 22 wins in a season only 3 years ago. And let’s not forget he is only 26 years old. He is an inning eater which is great for saving the bullpen. Besides, there have been positive reports regarding his control from the bullpen sessions he has pitched recently.

    Sean –
    There are always teams looking for a starting left-hander. We don’t need to get a major-leaguer in return, just a top ten prospect from someone’s farm system. The Tiger position players are getting a little long in the tooth, and the way the farm system has been decimated in the last half year, it would be good to begin to restock it.

  45. I think Galarraga has done a fantastic job, but I also think it’s too early to annoint the guy who has 4 career starts as the #5 starter in the rotation. None of these lineups have seen him before, so the scouting report is limited. Let’s see what his output is in June and July when he’s facing teams for the second or third time.

    I definitely agree that Willis needs to work out his problems down in Toledo, but he belongs in the big league rotation if he’s healthy and effective.

    At a minimum, sending Galarraga down give you some starting pitching depth, and by midseason, even Porcello could be able to contribute a start or two in an emergency. As Sean C. rightly points out, we are one injury away from having a major hole in the rotation to fill, so it makes sense to have guys with some experience around (even if it’s only 6-7 starts).

  46. No! Four runs in 6.1 innings every start? That’s what this team needs. What does this team need to trade for anyway? A starter? What on earth makes anyone think Nate would bring a better starter in trade? This guy is a fifth starter performing exactly like a good fifth starter should. His K/BB is nearing 4, and his BABIP against is almost .350, which will almost definitely regress to near .300. Even with that bad luck, he has a league average WHIP. Why the rush to trade a guy with such positive peripherals, who would statistically be expected to lower his ERA to around 4 by the end of the season? He has been the second best starter on the team this year, and the best of the five in the original rotation. I fully agree that Galarraga deserves to stay in the rotation, but trying to trade your best starter, who has the least trade value, is not a good idea. Personally, I’d like to see some “tired arm” DL stints for JV and Bondo while they figure out if Kenny and Dontrelle have what it takes to contribute this year. If JV and Bondo are going to struggle all year, they may as well do it in 140 innings instead of 190.

  47. Andre – My prediction isn’t so much a comment on the Tigers pitching as it is one on what a disappointment it will be if this lineup can’t score consistently. 4 shutouts in 27 games, double digits in 5 or 6 (?) others – that’s not getting it done.

    I’m revising my Tiger win prediction formula. (RUN AVERAGE, LAST 135 GAMES / 6) x 80 + 12 = 2008 TIGER WINS. Plugging some numbers in… A 5.2 average yields an 81-81 record. A 7.0 average – 105-57. Yes! I rest my case (ha ha).

    This is the kind of offhand prediction that can’t be taken seriously. Unless I turn out to be right, in which case I will claim to have done searching analysis only a trained statistician would understand.

  48. Scott-

    You’re right that its early in the season to assess Willis’ future definitively, but its not too early to note some important warning signs. Since his 22 win season he has progressively deteriorated each passing year in almost every important category including era, whip, k’s and bb. his youth is a double edged sword because it leaves open the possibility of future improvement while doing nothing to improve the present situation. I haven’t seen the reports from his bullpen sessions and honestly i think that it would be irresponsible to put him back on the active roster without a very positive rehab stint in the minors. I’m not a professional scout, but I was shocked at how bad he was in his early outings. It was literally the worst I’ve seen an MLB pitcher perform. When I saw him go down with the hyper-extension I thought he had faked an injury to get out of the game (until i saw the replays). until they can be reasonably sure that he’s got it together, we can’t afford to put him out there. robertson can do a decent job of eating up innings as a lefty and he doesn’t walk 7. the whole thing blows cause i had high hopes for Willis (i love lefties!!!).

  49. But the season is VERY early

    I agree, Scott. No one is a bad investment by April 30 already. Not even Jacque Jones (though I still wish they’d move on to some other experiment there).

    I admire taking the long view on stocking the farm system, but an underachieving 12-15 team with a high stake in winning NOW isn’t likely to pursue this with such a high-profile move as trading Robertson in mid-season.

  50. This guy is a fifth starter performing exactly like a good fifth starter should.

    Ryan, I think you nailed it right there. But where does his 6.91 ERA come from? Did he get blown out once
    (can’t remember)?

  51. Hey, anybody who watched the game (again, I can’t) – how did Guillen look at third last night?

  52. And… from my vantage point, Rapada was huge in last night’s win. I hope Bautista bought him a drink, and that Rogers bought him a car.

  53. Sean,

    No he hasn’t gotten blown out this year. He’s been very consistent in pitching 5 to 7 innings and giving up 4 to 5 runs. He has clustered his hits. Which could be a mental thing, a problem with pitching out of the stretch, or pure bad luck. If he maintains his BB/K ratio, however, his ERA almost certainly comes down.

  54. Nate’s problem (from my recollections this year and in years past) has been the big inning. He generally throws 5-6 innings and gives up a crooked in number in only 1 of them. He has had control problems before, and even though his splits are better early this season, he still runs up the pitch count with 3-ball counts. Not coincidentally, these 3-ball counts seem to occur more frequently in Nate’s big innings.

    At any rate, I agree with Ryan that the peripherals are pretty good and he most certainly won’t finish the season with an ERA north of 6. If they get approximately league average ERA out of Nate, he will be a steal given his salary of $4.25 million (remember, this is a league where Jason Marquis makes $7 million and Gil Meche makes $10 million).

  55. It seems to me that we are trying to get rid of a starter to make room for a guy without enough work to show us what he really has. the teams he has beat have never seen him before and you have to see what kind of adjustments Major League Hitters will make to him. If he looks good through them a second time then maybe it is time to lose kenny or nate.

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