Game 3: Royals at Tigers

PREGAME: Talking sweep coming into the 3rd game of the series doesn’t really surprise. Talking Tigers avoiding a sweep does.

It’s a pretty good pitching match-up with Jeremy Bonderman taking on Zach Grienke. The Tigers face Grienke 3 times last year, lighting him up twice(.2 innings, 4 runs and 4 innings 6 runs) and being stymied the third and most recent time (4 innings, no runs, no walks, 5 K’s). In 15 at-bats Grienke has limited Magglio Ordonez to 2 singles.

Jeremy Bonderman is trying to capture his early season form from a year ago. He did well against the Royals in 2007 allowing 4 runs and fanning 17 in 20 innings of work.

Did you know that KC leads the all time series 257-243?

Game Time 1:05

KCR @ DET, Thursday, April 3, 2008 Game Preview –

POSTGAME: Where I try and make the best out of a crappy situation:

  • At least it was Sheffield who tore a ligament in his finger today. If it had been Zumaya the finger would have become detached, kicked into the outfield, and have been carried away by a seagull.
  • Jeremy Bonderman conquered his first inning issues.
  • Brandon Inge is bolstering his trade value by hitting well.
  • Jacque Jones had a strike out free day.
  • The Royals are a first place team. It’s not like the Tigers got swept by a bunch of scrubs.

93 thoughts on “Game 3: Royals at Tigers”

  1. Clete gets first MLB start in CF today. Carberra out with sore quad and Inge will start at 3B.

  2. How long do we have to endure these “April in the D” commercials? I hope they’re pulled long, long before the end of the month.

    Anyway. Here’s to hoping the quad soreness is a one day setback.

  3. Two games in 3 days, and Cabrera is out already?!?

    Ugh. The lineup suddenly looks much worse. Renteria was bounced from the leadoff spot after being the only player who could manage a hit yesterday…

    We need some guys to step up today.

  4. Nice work on the 7-pitch inning for Grienke, guys.

    Sheesh. Can’t start pressing now.

  5. Bondo looking solid, so far. Nice to see him get through the order the 1st time smoothly on only 28 pitches.

    Now if only someone would hit something. Please.

  6. Oh brother, get out the brooms . . . pitching is fine but the hitting has been horrible, rushing through at-bats instead of waiting for a pitch. You’d think this was the 2005 lineup back up there again.

  7. bonderman should try getting somebody out this inning. makes the game go quicker.

  8. I’m totally certain that swinging at the first pitch is the best way to get the offense going. No sense in taking pitches and making a starter work.

    Very frustrating right now. We are better than this. Going on 15+ innings with no runs and a whopping 7 hits. Whee.

  9. I’ve already seen the one where Sheffield can’t get a hit with runners in scoring position for the first month of the year. I’d prefer not to have to watch a sequel . . .

  10. Panic in Detroit!!

    How is it that Clete Thomas appears to be the most comfortable player out there?

  11. I don’t have a problem with Bonderman giving up 3 runs. I have a problem trying to score 3 runs on top of knowing that our bullpen is gonna give up another run or two.

    But let’s not panic. It’s a long season and even the prospect of getting swept, at home, to KC, to open the season is more miserable than watching Oprah, the starting pitching has been incredibly strong thus far, and good hitters don’t just forget how to hit.

  12. Wow. Leadoff guy to second doesn’t even move for the next three batters. Grienke deserves some of that credit, I imagine, but holy CRAP we are terrible right now.

    Bondo wasn’t awful today, but 3 runs is too many to give up with the way we’re hitting. I guess it’s a good sign that it’s the lineup that’s struggling as opposed to the pitching (since we’ll hit eventually), but it sure would be fun to win one game.

  13. Technically Lopez has not allowed an earned run in his two appearances, but I can’t say he’s been good or that I have confidence he can get anybody out.

  14. Yeah, Thames snagged a homer and crashed into the fence pretty good while doing it. Fell on his butt and everything. Meanwhile, Lopez is throwing grape fruits again.

  15. The Aquilino Lopez Era doesn’t really impress thus far, does it? He was kinda sucky in his callup last year too. Oh well at least he got Teahen to end the inning.

  16. A point I’d like to raise here to come up down the road is inherited runners allowed. Grilli allowed both to do so on Monday, and now this one. The backers of the pen like to point to ERAs, when a shut down middle guy would have held onto a win on Monday. We’ll see if this run today matters.

  17. At this rate, it will take us until the middle of next season to score 1,000 runs. Just saying, is all….

    At least we’re avoiding back-to-back shutouts.

  18. they are pressing waaay too hard. Magglio swinging at a pitch in the dirt? Sheff trying to push a single into a double? Maybe someone should tell the players there are 159 games left.

  19. BLAH. Well this puts a damper on all the excitement before the year… I still think people are overreacting a bit though. It’s only three games.

  20. I admit I’m overreacting, I know it’s a long season. But getting swept at home by KC (even though they’ve definitely improved) is not the start I had in mind. The White Sox visit this weekend, and they always play us tough, no matter how terrible they are. We follow that up with Boston and the Sox again, both on the road next week. Those are some tough games, so we need to beat the teams like KC. 0-3 can spiral into 3-9 and then 12-20 really quick. You can’t win the pennant in April and May, but you sure can lose it.

  21. This team has no offensive chemestry at all…. And the Royals continue to fustrate us. This is about as bad of a opening season as there can be. Is it possible that this so-called all-star lineup never get it on track for the season? Are there any examples of star loaded teams under achieving for an entire season?

  22. Well, it’s really tough. But if you believe the Tigers are really an 0-3 team, you also have to believe (a) Brandon Inge is the best hitter on the team, and (b) the strongest part of our team is the pen.

    Hopefully, rather than succumbing to the pressure, the guys will take a deep breath, ignore it, and go out and play ball like we all KNOW they can.

  23. I must agree with Mark on this one. Yesterday I told you guys if we didn’t hit Grienke early we would more then likely lose this one. And thus we did. Leaving 8 ROB is unreal with the kind of lineup we have. A lot of the lineup is hitting for the fence and striking out or flying out waaay out of the strike zone. Pudge after having a good spring and first game is back to being the old Pudge from last year and our awesome 3-6 guys punch only had 1 hit today(excluding Cabreara of course).

    I’m not panicking here but its hard to take an 0-3 start optimistically. Getting swept by a “far superior” small ball hitting club in the Royals, The ROYALS, is just insane. True they are improved but not so much to SWEEP us. Someone needs to talk to the guys otherwise this season like mark said will be close to ending by mid May. We cannot win the wild card let alone the division with a mid May record of 14-26 record. And only scoring 4 or less runs a game.

    Still I believe in my Tigers and I think they are just really cold right now (offensively). But we can not over look the fact that the Royals just swept us and a tough 3 series are ahead of us with the W. Sox and a series with the Red Sox. Hopefully I’m wrong but its looking to be a long month with a possible 3-9 or worse start.

  24. Here’s the way I look at this series. I’d rather be 0-3 having lost 5-4, 4-0 and 4-1 than 3-0 having won three games 11-10, 12-10 and 8-7.

    The offense didn’t come through. It happens, but I’m a lot more confident the offense will turn things around than I would have been that the pitching staff would.

  25. The wind was pretty cold. On the bright side, for lunch I had a delicious salad which I picked up from a good lunch place near my office, on the way over to the park. I do not wish to speak of anything else.

  26. Guys, Pudge has had it. Offensively he’s average, and defensively he’s become a liability. He’s a bad ball hitter and now his swing is too slow to catch up to anything. Of course he’s going to mash in Spring Training, pitchers are throwing junk up there working on new pitches and different locations. He’s a serviceable #8 or #9 hitter, and his rapport with the pitching staff pays his salary, but you can’t count on him just like you can’t count on Inge.

    Anyway, I’ve been scouring the internet for Inherited Runners Allowed stats and can’t find it anywhere, other than on an individual player’s stat page on I know that I’ve seen them before, any ideas?

    As to the sweep, it freaking blows. I spent 6 months waiting for this? But alas, the next game is only 20.5 hours away. That’s what I love about this game. The torture can only last so long. (Or at least in our case the 72 hours of it was broken up by 9 hours of audacious hope.)

  27. The worst player batting leadoff in the major leagues today was on the Tigers’ completely stacked lineup. Explain that one to me.

  28. P.U.! The Tigers made another stinker.

    Other than the season opener – yesterdays game and todays were enough to put me to sleep. Having only the ability to hear the games on the radio I wonder – were the Tigers as listless and lifeless as the broadcast?

  29. You can’t win the pennant in April and May, but you sure can lose it.

    No, not really. If you have legitimate, top-tier talent, you can’t lost the pennant in April and May.

    The Tigers play 162 games against two dozen teams and they are more talented than all but a few. It makes very little difference if their April record is weak because they happen to be playing a lot of tough teams in April. The rest of the months will be correspondingly weak.

    A lopsided April looks bad, but as long as a team splits their games against the elite and wins a clear majority against the also-rans, they’ll have a good shot at the playoffs. It makes very, very little difference what order that happens in.

  30. Matt,

    I agree completely with your point (and said as much in an earlier post) that the sliver lining here might be that the pitching was actually pretty good, and I have more confidence turning this lineup around over righting this staff. The bullpen didn’t exactly shut the door on rallys, but I suspect guys like Lopez could be serviceable if they can come into the game with nobody on base and pitch to contact.

    However, I must respectfully disagree with your assesment that you’d rather lose 5-4 than win 11-9. I’d much rather be 3-0 and look awful than be 0-3 and look good doing it. Style points don’t count at this level.

  31. Here’s the way I look at this series. I’d rather be 0-3 having lost 5-4, 4-0 and 4-1 than 3-0 having won three games 11-10, 12-10 and 8-7.

    The offense didn’t come through. It happens, but I’m a lot more confident the offense will turn things around than I would have been that the pitching staff would.

    Good call, Matt.

  32. I’d much rather be 3-0 and look awful than be 0-3 and look good doing it. Style points don’t count at this level.

    It’s not about style; it’s about predictors. 3 games are no big deal. Like Matt said, the pitching has been pretty decent and that was the big question mark coming into the season.

    The bats will slump, especially in cold weather. That’s a given. We’ll be fine as long as the pitching holds up.

  33. Is now a good time to worry?

    0-3 and being swept by the Royals, what the %&^*! Why are they not hitting? This whole batting lineup is like a giant Brandon Inge at bat. When we just need a hit or to move runners up or just need to manufacture runs, we just can’t do it!

    The bullpen has given up I believe 4 runs in three games, it might be more. I know it is at least 4.

    Why do I feel worried?

  34. I predict at 3-0, we’d be in first place.


    Cute, of course, but meaningless. I can’t imagine you’d be foolish enough to wager that the Royals will finish ahead of the Tigers.

    If you are, though, let me know. I could use some help paying for my playoff tickets.

  35. Why are they not hitting?

    Because, statistically speaking, sometimes 9 guys all slump at the same time.

    Even the 2001 Mariners lost 3 consecutive games several times, people.

  36. Jeff M – did they? Did we lose 3 in a row all 2006? I seem to remember never doing that, or perhaps once.

  37. The 2001 Mariners had only one 3-game losing streak and that was not until late September.

    The Tigers went scoreless for 18 consecutive innings during this series until Inge’s homer today….against the Royals.

    This is our worst start since 2003–that season of 43 wins.

    Only 995 runs away from 1000!

  38. Kevin – That 2006 team lost the last 3 games of the season to the Royals.

    Maybe there is some kind of weird symmetry here where they’ll go on to have a very successful season.

  39. That’s right, to give Min the division. It’s a disgusting start to the season, we can all agree. But I’ve come to look at these things in lots of 18 games (thanks to one of our loyal DTW posters), and I was just hoping for 10-8 in the first inning, so we just need to go 10-5 over the next 15. It’s doable.

  40. Bad injury news.

    I can’t see how having a torn tendon in your finger is any better than having a broken bone in your knuckle like Grandy. Sheff really hurt the team by playing through his injury down the stretch last year. I’d much rather he take 3 weeks now to let the thing heal up and get right for the next 5 months. We actually do have a little depth at DH with Marcus on the roster.

  41. What a disaster. I am so dissapointed right now, especially because the White Sox are next and Tigs can’t seem to EVER beat them. Things will only get worse unless they start hitting!

  42. I wonder how we’d all feel if we went on to sweep the Sox outta town?

    I’d much rather neither had our # but if I had to choose I like KC a lot better than teams from Chicago especially those manned by a guy named Guillen

    Oh and btw, all this talk about our pitching looking good – Verlander and Rogers dumped out right around the 6th and Bondo wasn’t great today, wasn’t poor either – but then again KC is playing in the cold weather too – why aren’t their bats cold like ours?

  43. Jeff M:

    **If you have legitimate, top-tier talent, you can’t lost the pennant in April and May**

    I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one. In fact, that is EXACTLY how the Yankees (I’m sure you won’t argue that the 2007 Yankees, too, had top-tier talent) lost the pennant last year — they played sub .500 baseball well into May — and then had to play at a ridiculous .650 clip for 2/3 of the season just to barely make the wild-card. It’s an unrealistic winning pace. These games in April and May are important. If you fall too far behind, it’s just too much to ask a team to play .650/.660 just to make the wild card — especially in a division with the Indians/White Sox/and … ahh.. yes, even the Royals. Let’s hope the Twinkees just lay down, but the reality is, I don’t see this team matching the Yankees Herculean feat last year if they have a horrible April/May — 1000 runs be damned.

  44. I agree with T Smith. It can happen, i think the ’87 Tigers started 11-19, but most of the times if you’re well under .500 thirty games in, your chances ain’t too hot.

  45. “We looked like a dead club,” Jim Leyland said after the game. “We looked like an old club.”

    Not something you want your manager saying, uh, ever much less after three April home dates. Let us hope those words don’t prove prophetic.

  46. Ugh… the Tigers are the only team in baseball without a win yet.

    Meaningless, but not cool.

  47. Leyland might need to take the team out behind the woodshed and “wake ’em up” a bit.

    My hope is that this early season adversity will help the team players gel and become a team (and a formidable one at that).

  48. Bonderman looked decent today, even though he didn’t have many K’s. I watched the first four innings, and he threw some solid changeups. He gave up that big homer on a changeup, but I don’t think that’s indicative of the quality of the pitch. He seemed pretty fearless about it today. He didn’t have his best stuff today, that’s for sure, but he did pretty well keeping them in the game. The offense blew this series for us, plain and simple. The pitching wasn’t bad at all.

    I’ll tip one tonight for Nate Robertson, stopper.

  49. The Tigers lost the first three home games to the White Sox in 2006. Just sayin’.
    Shef’s injury is a lot more worrisome to me than losing the first three games of the season.

  50. “We stunk” and “we weren’t ready to play” weren’t something you generally want your manager saying either, but it seemed to work out OK. I think it’s better Leyland say they looked dead than sugarcoat it. Long season. Good offense. I’d expect it’ll balance out sooner than later.

  51. Well the season so far is pretty bad but the thing is its only 3 games. But now with Sheffield out now and the W. Sox coming to town and going to Chicago next week we could be looking at an 0-6 start plus at best a 3-9 start, the way we are hitting. We need the tigers bats to wake up. Its the pitching(and bullpen) thats supposed to be worrisome not the lineup. If they don’t wake up soon we are going to be in big time trouble.

    Also if we do start 0-6 and Leyland still says the same load of crap, we are a tired, old team, he needs to light a fire under their butts. Because if they don’t turn it on soon even w/o cabrera and Sheff we will be done. The offense is just looking to hit homers and not play small ball.(exceptions include Renteria and Guillen). Inge is playing hard and thats awesome and a surprise.

    Thats the positives. Heres hoping for a good scoring game tomorrow. Good luck, Nate Robertson bring us Win #1 if you can, or should I say if the lineup can.

  52. Jim that is excellent except.

    CF Thomas
    2B Polanco
    DH Cabrera
    RF Maggs
    1B Guillen
    SS Renteria
    LF Thames
    C Pudge
    3B Inge

  53. Has anyone heard an official diagnosis on Sheffield’s finger, or is the only available information in the form of Sheffield’s self-diagnosis?

  54. Why would you want Barry Bonds?

    We already have a sweet lefty-swinging leftfielder in Jacque Jones.

  55. I don’t see 0-6 at all. A little bit of bad ChiSox pitching might just be the remedy for our offensive flu.

  56. We get Contreras, Danks and Burrly, while we run Robertson, Willis and Verlander out there. The first two guys are completely hittable, so hopefully Nate and Dontrelle can give us some innings and we can turn over a 6-7 run lead to our “bullpen”. Winning anything less than 2 of 3 is a disappointment. That might be unrealistic, but the earlier we get back to .500, the better.

  57. Is it too early and too cold for it to be August (a.k.a. the month when the Tigers go into their annual big slump)?

  58. I watched the game in a tiny little bar in Marshall, MI today. Everyone was watching and talking Tigers. I have no idea what’s going on. Thames made some great catches! Also, I agree with Steve that a little small ball was in order and they weren’t even thinking about it.

  59. Stephen – yes,

    even though I’m no fan of Bonds, I figure if we have Shef, and Pudge (and others?) why not pick up Bobo Bonds

    Considering the fact that the last time his OBP was under .440 when he had more than 300 AB in a season was 1999 and he hit 28hrs last year

    I mean think about it,

    How ridiculous would that be to stick him right after Poly – and he is a lefty and he has history (be it good or bad) with Leyland

    I figure this lineup can’t get any more artificial unless they dump Inge and Granderson

  60. I’m still not worried. We’re exactly 0.185% through the season. And the offense, or lack there of, does not bother me either.

    In April last year, the Tigers offense posted a .251/.321/.405 hitting vital as a team (5.08 runs/game). The rest of the way, they hit: .293/.349/.467 as a team and scored 760 runs in 137 games (5.55 runs/game).

    So, to me, it’s more that the Royals pitched solidly, hit when they needed to hit, and some balls aren’t falling/the Tigers aren’t making a ton of solid contact. It happens.

    The Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) for the 3 game set so far is .261 (‘normal’ is around .300 and this is such a small sample that even taking the 30 seconds to figure it out was kind of stupid of me).

    Comparatively, April of 2007, the Tigers team BABIP was .315.

    Like I said, terrible sample size, but some good KC pitching, a bit of luck for them (bad luck for us) and some mediocre middle/late innings pitching and the Royals get the sweep. Not a big deal, to me, at least.

    Edit: And my only question about acquiring Bonds would be: (1) The cost and (2) What happens when Sheffield comes back? Obviously that’s counting all the chickens before the eggs have even arrived, let alone have they been hatched. Then again, big bats (like pitching) can never be too much of a surplus, I suppose. And I’ve done a 180 on my stance on steroids (not to turn this into a roids discussion) so i think i wouldn’t have a problem rooting for him as I just consider this another ‘era’ of baseball, much in the way the dead ball era, the era of 550 ft. CF’s, the mound being higher, baseball’s being used all game until they were brown, hard to see, soft and just a mess, etc etc.

  61. Sorry Mike R, but you missed moving the decimal point. We are 1.8% thru the season… And yes, I’m worried. If this horrible start continues then they can lose ground on games that they will need in September, if they are to make a run. And also, it seams that the slump of last August has not been left behind. The Tigers have got to stop getting their butts handed to them by their divisional opponents. Suddenly, this series against the Sox is a must-win. But I’ll back away from the edge if they only win one game this weekend….. This team is really struggling.

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