Game 9: Tigers at Red Sox

by billfer on April 10, 2008 · 166 comments

in 2008 Season,Game Post

PREGAME: Time for the Tigers to put a win streak together. To do it they’ll have to get by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Inge moves into the leadoff spot based on his 6 for 22 history with two homers off of Wakefield. The rest of the lineup is what we’ve become used to with Pudge in the 8 spot and Marcus Thames at the bottom.

Nate Robertson takes the mound for the Tigers. Nate battled through 5 innings in his start against the White Sox. He fanned 5 and only walked 2, but found himself in a full count on six different batters.

This one is on FSN+ with the Red Wings playoff run starting tonight.

DET @ BOS, Thursday, April 10, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 7:05

POSTGAME
: That was an absolutely inexcusable performance by the bullpen. It was poorly managed, it was poorly coached, and it was poorly executed. The bullpen recorded 8 outs and allowed 8 runs, powered by 7 walks. The pitchers have to throw strikes, and if they can’t throw strikes (which they couldn’t) they need to be lifted. This is a bullpen with 8 pitchers and yet they were left out there to throw over 35 pitches in 2 different innings. Zach Miner averaged 15 pitches per out, that’s about the league average per inning.

Moving beyond the bullpen…

  • Nate Robertson looked great with the exception of the 4th inning where it all went south. He basically matched his pitch count from the previous 3 innings combined in that dreadful 4th. But he did rebound and had an easy 5th.
  • The offense looked pretty good for a second day in a row with everyone reaching base. The Tigers had 7 walks of their own, and yest they stranded most of them early on. But Wakefield had the knuckler dancing (part of the reason there were so many walks) and they just couldn’t find it.
  • Pudge with walks in consecutive games?????
  • Finally, the defense didn’t have any miscues today.
 
 

{ 166 comments }

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Channel 900/901 on Comcast. I wish I had figured that out for yesterday’s game!

Mike in CT April 10, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Wow…what a nice play by Youkilis. Polanco can’t catch a break.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 7:23 pm

Was that really a 4-5-3 DP? With Cabrera covering second via the Ortiz shift?

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Look at Nate! Making a bid for the number one web gem.

Ken from Cincinnati April 10, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Good to see Thames in for the second day in a row. Leyland rarely rewarded him for good games last year. He hit a hard grounder that I thought for sure was going to hit the gap and score that run.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 7:45 pm

That’s 4 BBs for Tim Walkfield already.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 7:47 pm

And two HBP!

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Maybe he might Grilli in a run.

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Okay – someone needs to get a hold of one these floaters already.

Mark in Chicago April 10, 2008 at 7:49 pm

huge spot for cabrera

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 7:49 pm

man, i can’t find the game again. Wed. i found it on the shopping network, although a terrible broadcast. I can’t find it anywhere again, like tuesday’s game. im beyond pissed off at either my broadstripe cable or fsn.

anyone in south lyon that can help me out? WHERE IS THE GAME?????????????????????????

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Cabrera looked lost against the knuckler…

Mark in Chicago April 10, 2008 at 7:51 pm

ok, nevermind. cabrera looks lost against the knuckleball.

not a pretty AB.

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Loads of baserunners, zero hits.

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 7:56 pm

How many pitches does Wakefield typically throw in a game?

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 7:56 pm

6 LOB through 3. Hopefully Nate stays sharp. We will score next inning.

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Dead Rabbit – what cable company are you on?

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 8:00 pm

broadstripe…..the game popped on…in the thrid inning!!!! out of nowhere the shopping network switched over to the game. this is still crap, but at least its on now.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Hey Dead Rabbit, Since the game is on the shopping network, maybe you can buy us a couple of hits and runs. I’ll throw in a couple of bucks.

Mike in CT April 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Jeez, Crisp was playing Inge so deep….sort of like Babe Ruth or Ted Williams. That looked like a gaper off the bat.

Mark in Chicago April 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

It’s getting sadder that Inge continues to be the guy that drives in runs for this team.

Sooner or later Maggs, Sheff and Cabrera have to pick it up.

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 8:13 pm

At this point we just have to be thankful that someone, anyone is driving in some runs.

Ken from Cincinnati April 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Good to see Polanco make something happen. Hopefully it will knock him out of his funk. Good inning boys!

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Rabbit: How much do I owe you?

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 8:29 pm

lol….sorry guys, i wanted to buy us a couple hits, but i ended up not being able to refuse a blue jean jacket with a rhinestone design on the back to die for…

Adam April 10, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Screw this.

Mike in CT April 10, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Friggin’ walks…

David G. April 10, 2008 at 8:33 pm

These are some might long baseball games being played. Gonna be another 3 and a half hour affair.

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 8:33 pm

this is expected in boston…..this is why we employ a bunch of offensive mercs….we need to score 6,7 runs a game to compete.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 8:40 pm

84 pitches for Nate with the meat of the order coming up. What does Leyland do? Let Nate face Pedroia and then bring in Seay? Or does he leave him in for another whole inning and hope that Ortiz and Manny help him out by swinging at first pitches?

Kind of like Magglio…

Mark in Chicago April 10, 2008 at 8:40 pm

Terrific. Cabrera just hurt himself swinging like a goon at the knuckleball.

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Wakefield is mesmerizing our low powered offense with his 70 mph knuckler. No one looks comfortable up there.

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

That near home run surely wasn’t a goon swing.

Jim April 10, 2008 at 8:48 pm

ohhhh my god! what an arm that kid has…

Mark in Chicago April 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Nice inning for Nate, I would really hate to see one bad inning ruin his whole night.

Gotta get the guy some runs.

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 8:53 pm

he’s Fat Papi now….

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 8:54 pm

i didn’t know wakefield has a 90 plus fast ball

Dead Rabbit April 10, 2008 at 8:55 pm

never mind

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Wow, pudge had a walk tonight. Then later singles on the first pitch from Delcarmen.

billfer April 10, 2008 at 9:00 pm

I think Leyland is pushing it with Robertson here in the 6th.

Mike in CT April 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Hopefully he uses Miner for more than one inning this time.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm

DP would be a great way to enter the game.

Mark in Chicago April 10, 2008 at 9:09 pm

Throw strikes, Miner.

Walks are absolutely infuriating.

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Now how about some offense.

JOE Z April 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

lets put together a rally here tigers, GO

tiff April 10, 2008 at 9:22 pm

ooo eeee ooo MAGGLIO! he needed that.

JOE Z April 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

MAGGS, LETS GO BOYS

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

O E O

HR for Maggs!!!

Ryan in Brooklyn April 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Homer for Magglio. Double for Cabrera.

We’re still not winning, but at least there are signs of life.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Here’s the thing:

Nate pitched a spectacular game, save for the 4th inning. If he didn’t come unhinged with the walks, the game is still 2-0. We need to throw strikes. Repeat. DO NOT WALK BATTERS. If they’re gonna score, let him get the runs honestly.

Ohh. And Manny-friggin’-I’m above-coaching. How I wish we would have thrown him out at the plate.

Walks are KILLING us.

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Double? MLB.com is showing a ground out to third. I hope you are right.

Ryan in Brooklyn April 10, 2008 at 9:26 pm

I meant in his earlier at bat…sigh

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I’m sure Ryan was referring to Miggs double in a previous at bat.

Chris April 10, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Red Sox bullpen is so damn good….

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Oh.

Is anyone else watching this via mlb.com gameday? The pitch f/x live is cool. I am going to start watching this while watching on tv as well.

Steve in OH April 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I was messin around with the Gameday stuff yesterday… totally agree that the pitch f/x stuff is pretty freakin’ awesome.

Ryan in Brooklyn April 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm

I’ve been on Gameday most of the night. The pitch f/x just started working properly an inning ago. Before that it was just pitch location. No speed, break, etc. Did anyone else experience that or is my computer behaving strangely?

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Ryan, you’re right. It didn’t start working until Miner’s second or third pitch.

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Same here, but I only had to endure about an inning of that because I have been “watching” most of this one during class on my phone.

David G. April 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Miner is unconscionably sloooooooooooooooooooow.

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Did he just walk Ortiz to get to Manny? How do you walk a guy that is hitting .083? I know it is big papi and a small sample size with the avg, but come on. I hate walks!

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Why can’t we throw strikes? Hernandez? Someone needs to account for the Tiger’s utter inability to throw strikes.

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm

argh.

So, how about that bullpen.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 9:46 pm

It also looked like Manny struck out — they gave him the foul tip call — but there didn’t appear to be contact.

Walt at CMU April 10, 2008 at 9:49 pm

From the pitch f/x, it looked like his strike zone was a little smaller too. There were a couple of low balls that “looked” like strikes from here.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 9:49 pm

But the point is, one ball in the gap scores two runs when you can’t control the stike zone. Five walks = four runs. We’d still be winning if we didn’t give away bases for free.

On the flip side, Tigers can’t convert the zillion and one walks given up by Sox into runs.

Mark P April 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm

That was a strike on Manny. Oh well.

Maybe our conditioning at Spring Training was not up to par since none of our starters can last more than 6 innings. Then we have to suffer through pressure situations with Grilli and Miner. Ugh!

billfer April 10, 2008 at 9:53 pm

For the love of God throw strikes! And no more intentional walks. They’ll just be followed by unintentional ones.

Miner threw 15 pitchers per out. Most pitchers throw 15 pitches per inning.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm

Two words:

Shaky relief.

This is horrid.

Sean Casey is also killing us.

billfer April 10, 2008 at 9:56 pm

It wasn’t the conditioning, it’s not throwing strikes and bad defense that have submarined the starting pitchers. The pitch counts are fine (except for Bonderman wearing down). They’re just getting there too soon.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Good point bilfer. In contrast, Delcarmen threw 4 per out.

Steve in OH April 10, 2008 at 10:00 pm

I love our bullpen.

/sarcasm

stephen April 10, 2008 at 10:01 pm

Wow, that was unpleasant. I still can not fathom what Dombrowski and Illitch were think having that gigantic payroll and still going into the season with a bottom five bullpen. Apparently the lessons of 2007 were not learned. And that’s not even counting playing roulette with a 40 year old closer!

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Good lord! 2 on with no outs?

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm

What’s the word on Cruceta? We despirately need some relief. Without this crappy pitching we’d actually have a shot at winning this game.

stephen April 10, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Here’s the difference between the Sox and the Tigers. Julian Tavarez is an actual proven bonafide major league pitcher. That doesn’t mean we can’t light him up, but he’s an actual confirmed major leaguer. Our relievers? Not so much.

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:06 pm

That was weird. What did he think Pudge was going to do? Turn around and run back to first?

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:09 pm

We’re not Inge-heads over here, but if I were him I’d come out wearing #24 in the next game.

Steve in OH April 10, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Brandon Inge is my Tiger!

(until Grandy’s back, at least… must be that CF thing)

stephen April 10, 2008 at 10:11 pm

Like I said, Tavarez a bonafide major league pitcher!

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Ugh! That’s the second night in a row that Sheffield has hit into a double play with the bases loaded. He looks horrible at the plate.

Kevin in Austin April 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Has he hit a ball hard all year? This swings by Sheffield look eerily similar to the ones late last year. They need to move him to leadoff.

Kyle J April 10, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Sheffield need to go to the DL. It’s obvious from his swings and the conversation Rod relayed that the finger is bothering him. Having a #3 hitter who can’t hit the ball hard is doing no one any good.

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Nice first pitch.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Never thought I’d say it, but Sheffield is actually a rally killer these days. Wow. One basehit from Sheff and we’re in an entirely different game right now. If we’re going to dig ourselves out of our hole, Sheffield is going to have to get going.

I’m still too livid at the pitching preformance to even contemplate a comeback. There is just no way you win games walking all those batters. No way. WTF?

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:29 pm

The wheels have officially fell off. Can we clone Bobby Seay? Apparently he’s the only pitcher who knows how to throw strikes.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 10:29 pm

According to Gameday, Bazardo’s pitches were so bad, had Ellsbury been a RH batter, he would’ve been plunked four times.

Jim Price can’t stop saying “oh my goodness!”

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:30 pm

BOO!!!!

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:30 pm

I’m getting nauseous again like I was Sunday night.

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 10:31 pm

The horror.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:31 pm

This bullpen blows.

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Leyland looks more depressed than anything else, unless it’s my imagination.

stephen April 10, 2008 at 10:33 pm

These are 4-A pitchers. We may get hot, the starting pitching might stabilize, but that just means we go 83-79. You can not sniff contention with this bullpen.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Fogettabout the projected 1000 runs. We’re gonna have to score 1500 runs to win 80 games.

billfer April 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm

There are 8 GUYS IN THE BULLPEN! Why are they throwing 35 pitches an inning. Is Leyland sleeping in the dugout?

Tbone April 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Oof. It’s gonna be a long, miserable season I’m afraid.

Steve in OH April 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

We need pitching!

(clap, clap, clap clap clap)

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

That peformance actually makes me pine for Grilli.

McB. April 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm

I’m kind of wondering why I’m still watching. I guess because it’s always nice to see someone get a hit off Papelbon at least. He’s such a cocky so-and-so.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 10:40 pm

I sure hope we get rained out tomorrow in Chicago.

greg April 10, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Bullpen – 2.2 IP, 8 BB’s

Yes, they each get paid 6 or 7 figures to do that….again……and again.

I’m with T Smith, make ‘em earn it.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Seriously:

How can you possibly win ANY games with that kind of late-inning pitching? Good God. Any team in the majors is gonna put up a four spot per inning on this bullpen.

greg April 10, 2008 at 10:44 pm

I’m sorry, it was only 7 BB’s.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Yesterday’s bullpen line: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 R.

Today’s: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 7 BB, 8 R… so far.

stephen April 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

I’m so glad Joe Morgan was right about all this team needed was to go on the road. Oh yeah, and pencil in Guillen for a gold glove.

Keith in IA April 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Oh wait, forget about the “so far.”

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Well, at least we don’t have to throw in the ninth.

greg April 10, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I guess a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while(yesterday’s bullpen), with us its usually when the lead/deficit is 5 runs or more….or so it seems.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Cruceta? When can we see what he’s got?

Look: I still say if you throw strikes, the bullpen may have yielded 3, maybe four runs (maybe less). Not 8. Just throw strikes. Let’s start with that and see how it goes.

Dave BW April 10, 2008 at 10:48 pm

At this point, I’m just happy to see a game in which the hitters are battling. But, yeah, it’s ridiculous that a team with this payroll has an AAAA bullpen. It’s such a baffling miscalculation of priorities.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Stop dissing Joe Morgan. He makes me feel like I can quit my day job and become an anouncer for ESPN.

Dave BW April 10, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Awww, Sean Casey: Player of the Game :)

Chris April 10, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Note to big Dave D:

Yes, offence can win games but bad bullpens will lose games, ruin seasons, empty stadiums, get managers fired and could (or should) get general managers fired.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I just got an idea:

Can Inge pitch?

I’m not even kidding.

Steve in Kzoo April 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm

Bilfer had it right, this was an inexcusable performance by the Bullpen. Ive been trying to say that the pitching has been doing ok so far including some in the pen. And I’ve been critical on the poor batting by the offense. Since last night the offense has been great Inge, Renteria, Thames, among others have been getting it done. The bullpen can not give up 8 runs in only 2.2 IP.

That is the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. We have right now only two reliable relievers, SU man Denny Bautista (I love this guy), and Todd “Rollarcoaster” Jones. Everyone else has been bad to terrible. Danny from Mlive says don’t be surprised to see Crueta by the end of the week. I say no he’s our so called ace in the hole he needs to take it easy and be ready by next week into the final week of April. But if he comes up I just hope its not too early for him and he becomes like a Grilli or a Bazardo. Bazardo right now I think should be put on waivers and sent down, hes a starter not meant to be a RP. it’s looking really bad right now in the pen, and I don’t see it getting better in the future.

Nate looked good except for the 4th and his pitch count went sky high, he cant do that often otherwise we will see more of the bullpen and we will suffer for it. Again the bats are looking good but if the starters can go deep we will lose all of these games because of our horrid bullpen.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm

I bet he would at least throw strikes.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Steve in Kzoo:

Spot on. But let’s give Seay some credit. We have no reason whatsoever to be down on him.

Steve in Kzoo April 10, 2008 at 11:19 pm

T Smith, Oh I agree with you I forgot to mention Seay because Leyland has been mainly using him for lefty specialty only. But Seay and even Aquino Lopez are both reliable but both are journey men and could blow up any moment but again, Seay being used as your lefty specialty wont get to much praise but if he is used more often now then he will be getting a lot of praise. Lopez ill wait on judgment until he gets more appearances.

Kathy April 10, 2008 at 11:19 pm

Well, now it’s 1-8. I feel sick.

billfer April 10, 2008 at 11:20 pm

I’ve been high on Bazardo but tonight was awful. I won’t kill him for Sunday night, he should have been out of that inning unscathed but Cabrera ole’d the double play ball. But tonight was just awful.

billfer April 10, 2008 at 11:22 pm

T Smith, Oh I agree with you I forgot to mention Seay because Leyland has been mainly using him for lefty specialty only. But Seay and even Aquino Lopez are both reliable but both are journey men and could blow up any moment but again, Seay being used as your lefty specialty wont get to much praise but if he is used more often now then he will be getting a lot of praise. Lopez ill wait on judgment until he gets more appearances.

Jamie Walker was a journeyman pitcher also when the Tigers got him. I mentioned last year that I thought Bobby Seay could follow his path.

Mike R April 10, 2008 at 11:28 pm

The bullpen is frustrating (and they’re not as good as they showed last night, not as bad as they showed tonight … somewhere in the middle) but there are no easy, quick fixes. And we’re not the only team with bullpen issues. There’s only a few teams who have a lock down bullpen and the Mariners used to be one of them and now they can’t find a reliever that doesn’t make the Orioles look like gods. Hell, the Brewer’s have a $10 million dollar closer who may not make it out of April as the closer.

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm

@#$@#$!

T Smith April 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm

While all the pundits have been clamouring about this atrocious bullpen, I’ve silently held out, giving the bullpen the benefit if the doubt. The starters will pitch thru 7. Miner will come thru. The offense will pad the score. Etc. Wow. How foolish I take myself right now.

Tonight was an official implosion. I have absolutely no confidence this team will win any games unless the following occurs in tandem:

1. We get seven to eight innings out of our starter
2. We’re up by five runs in so doing

How many games are those two things likely to happen at the same time?

I feel ill right now.

Brian P April 10, 2008 at 11:47 pm

What kind of message does handling our bullpen like that send to our highly touted offense? This lineup, when it’s hitting, is completely capable of erasing a one (or even two) run deficit late in a game. To let pitchers, who are struggling to find the strike zone, continue and completely erase our chance of coming back has to be a slap in the face to our hitters.

Joey C. April 11, 2008 at 12:03 am

This is precisely why that 0-7 start was so damaging. This bullpen is going to be giving up runs and leads all year unless Cruceta turns out to be for real and Zumaya isn’t ruined from injury.

Those are some depressing serious ifs. We were looking at a tough row to hoe even without that start.

And 5 inning starts sure as crap aren’t going to cut it.

Steve in Kzoo April 11, 2008 at 12:38 am

First off Bilfer I totally agree Walker was just like that and Seay is turning into Walker which is a good thing. Leyland just needs to use him a bit more.

Joey I’m optimistic as you are but Cruceta needs to make sure hes ready before coming up, and Zumaya right now….. as much as he is MY Tiger, I trust Bautista to be the man SU man right now.

Unless the bullpen starts to be a little more solid or much more solid, and we are leading by 3-5 runs we will continue to lose games.

ron April 11, 2008 at 12:40 am

Someone call Sparky and see if he wants to come back.

stephen April 11, 2008 at 2:17 am

Mike R, You have been writing the same ‘nobody has the perfect bullpen’ post for a year now. Enough with the ‘hey no one has a lock-down bullpen ‘ line! How about a medium-ok bullpen? At what point are you going to say “You know, Dombrowski really should have made getting some bullpen help more of a priority?’ I mean, c’mon he’s trying to construct a bullpen, he’s not splitting the atom.

Chris April 11, 2008 at 3:59 am

This team is a complete mess. Starting pitching has not gone deep enough into games– about 5 inning per start. And that has exposed a bull pen that is almost indescribably bad. And then there is the poor situational hitting. Tigers now have more DPs with bases loaded (four in nine games) than the ’07 team had in the entire season. Coincidentally, they have had ZERO hits with bases loaded.

This is a disaster. They spent all this money and are likely going to lose 100 games. Dave Dombrowsky should be fired for making such miscalculation with this pitching staff & bullpen and Jim Leyland should be fired for not getting this team ready to play at a respectable level when the season started.

billfer April 11, 2008 at 7:48 am

They spent all this money and are likely going to lose 100 games. Dave Dombrowsky should be fired for making such miscalculation with this pitching staff & bullpen and Jim Leyland should be fired for not getting this team ready to play at a respectable level when the season started.

Really Chris? You still haven’t responded to my proposed wager. Do you really think they’ll lose 100 or are you venting, or are you looking to get a reaction? If it’s the latter please stop.

Kyle J April 11, 2008 at 8:26 am

Mike R, You have been writing the same ‘nobody has the perfect bullpen’ post for a year now. Enough with the ‘hey no one has a lock-down bullpen ‘ line! How about a medium-ok bullpen? At what point are you going to say “You know, Dombrowski really should have made getting some bullpen help more of a priority?’ I mean, c’mon he’s trying to construct a bullpen, he’s not splitting the atom.

Meanwhile, Stephen, you’ve been writing about how Dombrowski needs to got after relief help for a year now without ever saying exactly which relievers he should go after–continuing to imply there are top-notch relievers out there readily available to the Tigers. I have no idea who they are. Every time there are rumors of the relievers being available through trade, they’re always of the mediocre variety we already have. And do the Rodney/Zumaya injuries play any factor here in terms of cutting Dombrowski some slack?

don April 11, 2008 at 8:55 am

I’ve not given this a ton of thought, but listen: how crazy would it be to put bonderman in the bullpen this year? bring up virgil vazquez from AAA to be the #5 starter and use bondo either in the zumaya role or as a closer who can come in and get 4 or 5 outs if necessary. phillies did it last year with brett myers when their closer got hurt and it worked out well, now he’s moved back to the rotation.
I know he’s traditionally had problems with first innings, but it seems to me that bondo’s problem usually is focus-related and that coming into a close game late could mitigate some of that. Again, just a thought, but does anyone think I’m not completely batsh*t insane?

ron April 11, 2008 at 8:56 am

This is what happens when a kid’s game becomes a business. Players are batting worried about stock options. Pitchers on the mound are upset because of recent losses on investments. It’s understandable. These guys got bills to pay too. They can’t be overly concerned with wins and losses in the baseball standings. They have their future and the welfare of their family to think about. Their special. Do you know what it takes to be a pro ballplayer? Dedication, long hours and sometimes an injection. Just enjoy the game for what it is. It’s poetry in motion from these highly skilled athletes- all the way to the bank.

ron April 11, 2008 at 9:21 am

I see Chris can’t sleep either with that 4 am comment. I was predicting 110 wins and a World Series. How silly is that? If they go 86 and 76 then Chris and I will only be off by 24 games.

ron April 11, 2008 at 9:25 am

Oh yeh, fire Leyland.

Mark in Chicago April 11, 2008 at 9:34 am

Somehow I know this is all Grilli’s fault.

Grilli WTF?

Ryan April 11, 2008 at 9:35 am

Bullpen… Bullpen… No… More… Bullpen…
It it time to just start signing every waiver-wire/foreign/working-at-Home-Depot type guy they can and wait for someone to Betancourt on them?

And I certainly can’t understand the venomous criticism of Dombrowski. Do you remember Randy Smith? Seriously? The fungibility of bullpens means that outside of ten or fifteen top notch guys (Jenks, Rivera, Papelbon, et al (which Zumaya may be one of in a parallel universe)), it’s all luck. The best you can do is get new arms and see what happens, and he’s done that. You can’t blame him for shoulder explosions or visa problems. He made a trade that we all loved that took a lot of arms out of the farm system. You have to grade by decisions rather than results, and I can’t fault his decisions. When only three people out of the bullpen are performing as expected, that’s not a GM issue. That’s a coaching issue. A luck issue.

T Smith April 11, 2008 at 9:39 am

*I mean, c’mon he’s trying to construct a bullpen, he’s not splitting the atom*

I’d settle on recruiting some white-coat at Brookhaven Laboratory at trying their hand at some pitching relief before re-living the performance I saw last night. Anybody. 50-year old Jack Morris. Nelle Furtado. Simon Cowell. Mickey Mouse. Anybody. We’re desperate folks.

Eric Cioe April 11, 2008 at 9:40 am

You can’t possibly take Bonderman out of the rotation. A guy that can give you 200 quality innings is far, far more important to your team than a guy who gives maybe 70 relief innings.

Ben April 11, 2008 at 9:48 am

billfer- At least the prediction is down from the 120 losses we were supposedly in line for before we had a win.

don April 11, 2008 at 9:57 am

Eric, that’s not always exactly true. 70 highly leveraged innings, late innings where the game’s on the line, have a certain value. of those 200 quality innings that you mentioned, how many of those are innings where we’re up 5 in the 3rd or something. plenty. I’d say that an inning preserving a narrow lead in the 8th is at least as valuable as two or three innings preserving a a 3 or 4 run lead in the 2nd or 4th.
I know what you’re saying though and generally tend to agree (I’m not necessarily all-out advocating for bondo to the pen) but it seems like something to take a look at.

T Smith April 11, 2008 at 9:57 am

Ryan:

I agree with you… to a point. However, DD does tend to put his head in the sand. I want to hear him at least admit the bullpen is a mess. I’m not saying I know the answer, how to fix it, whether it’s an issue of luck, coaching, timing, or what, but if I hear one more time, “…ohh, by mid-season we’ll have Zumaya and Rodney back and everything will be fine, like we heard all last year when this offense was scoring 10 runs and the bullpen was still blowing games, I’m gonna hold him accountable. I’m officially off the happy pills DD is pushing. There is only so much crap you can stuff in ziplock bag and sell to the public.

By the way, I agree with someone who earlier said that they don’t ever expect to see Fernando Rodney pitch for the Tigers again. I don’t expect to see anything out of him this year – if he does come back he will struggle — and honestly, there is no reason to believe Zumaya will ever be the pitcher he used to be. Even before the surgery his velocity was down significantly. All this pain before we have yet to see Jonesy blow game. And we all know that reality is on the horizon as well. Oy.

billfer April 11, 2008 at 10:08 am

I don’t know that it’s a head in the sand mentality. Rodney didn’t go down until ST started and it was in March before there was indications of how serious it was. At that time all the names the Tigers were linked to were equally uninspiring. Regardless of if they were established big leaguers, they weren’t any good.

As for Zumaya I don’t think you can say there is no reason to believe he comes back. There are no comps available so we don’t really know either way. And he hadn’t a full cycle to build up his arm strength last year and he was still throwing 95-97.

And yes Jones will blow a game (or several) as do all other closers.

Like someone else said, the bullpen isn’t as bad as it was last night. It’s not good, but not every night is going to be like last night.

Chris April 11, 2008 at 10:09 am

OK billfer, I say we wager that the Tigers are going to lose 100 games. After seeing this horrible pitching staff, I am no longer unsure that they won’t lose 100 games and be the laughing stock of baseball. And believe me, I would like to be extremely wrong on this.

Billfer, let’s talk wager for my bet that the Tigers will lose just 92 more games or more.

Ljudivet Gaj April 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

Two words for Dombrowski: Jeff Weaver

Ryan April 11, 2008 at 10:53 am

If memory serves, Weaver was traded at the 2002 deadline. Dombrowski took over as GM before the 2003 season. Not sure what point that is supposed to make. With that trade netting Bonderman, it was actually one of Randy’s best moves.

T, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect DD to come out and say that the bullpen sucks. First, it certainly wouldn’t help the pen’s presumably already shaky confidence. Second, the last thing he needs while trying to make a trade is to expose his reliever-desperate hand any more. It’s obvious already, but if he comes out and says it, teams will be trying to get Polanco and Guillen for replacement-level relievers. He needs to at least project the image: “Things are gonna work out for us. But if you want to talk trade, I’ll listen.” I’m sure he knows the bullpen is horrible, but saying it, while I (and you, I’m sure) would find it oh-so-satisfying, would be counterproductive.

The pen should regress to an ERA of 4.50 or 5.00. When the offense gets to the point where it starts scoring six or seven a game, it will all work out.

stephen April 11, 2008 at 11:09 am

Kyle, that’s the thing. We don’t have mediocre relievers! We have absolute crap relievers. No Lee Smith and Mariano Rivera have not been available, but the Dotels and Linebrinks of the world have been around off and on for a year. The point is yes a bullpen is a crapshoot, but we’re not even rolling the dice. For example, I now think the Rentieria trade was a mistake, but that’s something passionate people can disagree over, but saying Dombrowski has done his due diligence on improving this bullpen just doesn’t wash with me. Please show me you’re trying is all i ask.

Mark in Chicago April 11, 2008 at 11:30 am

Chris,

I’ll take some of that action. No way the Tigers lose 100 games.

Stephen (and others who have made this point),

I agree with you on the surface that the Renteria trade was a mistake, but what other options at SS did they have? Guillen obviously wasn’t a choice. Jack Wilson? Ramon Santiago? Maybe Orlando Cabrera, but the Angels got a veteran starter for him, so it may have still cost them Jurrjens (and more). And I’m not sure trading Jurrjens effects the bullpen; what role would Jurrjens fill now? He’s a starter, do you move him to the bullpen and not maximize his value to the team? Who knows how he would pitch in relief (see: Ryan Dempster). Do you trade him for relievers? I’m not sure it’s a good strategy to turn young starting pitching into relievers unless you are getting guys that are as good as gold. For some reason, those guys aren’t traded in the offseason very often.

Linebrink is a guy who got a 4 year deal from the Sox. Maybe DD could have got him if we were quicker, but he’s a guy who doesn’t have overpowering stuff and benefitted from a great pitcher’s park. Dotel has a long injury history but could have been worth a flyer on a 1-year deal, if only to build bullpen depth. Let’s see how those guys look in June and July before we nail Dombrowski to a cross for not getting them.

The guy I was a little upset they moved was de la Cruz as part of the Cabrera trade. Hard throwing reliever who was at least CLOSE to being ML-ready and can miss some bats. I thought he could have had a role on this team if he stayed, especially now. I think trading him was a mistake.

I think we all need to accept that this team will be a work in progress all season, and the some of the guys we have now won’t be around in August/September. The hope is that the offense can bail us out of enough games to keep us in the race.

Kyle J April 11, 2008 at 11:33 am

OK, as long it’s understood that rolling the dice costs you something. Dotel, of course, got hurt shortly after getting traded last season. Linebrink gave up 38 base runners and 14 runs in 25 innings after getting traded. Odds are those are on the tail end of the distribution curve for what Atlanta and Milwaukee could have expected to get when they made the trades, but–as you concede–bullpens are a crapshoot.

Saying the Renteria trade was a bad idea because it may cost us in the long run is fine, but it’s still much more likely to win us games this year than trading prospects away for relief pitching would have.

T Smith April 11, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Ryan:

Good points and all founded. I guess I am hopeful that under the facade DD is truly trying to resolve the situation, which is really the point I was making under the heated “we-blew-one-in-an-embarrassing-fashion-yet-again” rhetoric. I know it stands to reason that DD is in the process of doing exactly that, but we all know last year he sat on his hands and waited for Zumaya and Rodney rather than move on anything — for lack of available choices, lopsided trade options, or whatever the reason. I’m not really arguing the reasons — and they may be very valid reasons — rather, I’m just pointing out a pattern.

If we were in building mode it would be one thing, which would further validate whatever underlies the reasons we didn’t shore up the pen, but I would assume given the age, contracts, and payroll on this team that the orchestrators are gunning to win in 2008 as much as any year in the foreseeable future; we have an obscene payroll bested only by an organization that reaps the financial benefit of the most colossal baseball market in the known universe. Yet we have perhaps the worst bullpen. That’s just a crappy business model. That’s like opening a five-star, high-rent restaurant on 5th Avenue, pouring tons of $ in the ambiance and advertising expenses, and then equipping its kitchen with line cooks from Denny’s. And yes, sometimes unavoidable circumstances dictate the reality, but you still need to protect your investment — unless you are conceding a season or two until the situation improves naturally via evolution.

Keith in IA April 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Where is all the “trade Inge” talk now when we need it? He hasn’t done anything short of showing his versatility and value to other ball clubs these first nine games. Can Raburn catch? If so, I think we need to start shopping Brandon for a quality bullpen arm. And we should probably do it now before he goes into an 0-30 with 26 Ks slump.

ron April 11, 2008 at 1:41 pm

And not one mention of Inge. You go, Brandon.

ron April 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Man Keith, you beat me to the punch.

David April 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Why would you trade one of the only guys on your team who is producing and has that much versatility.

Then again Inge is my Tiger…

Still his ABs are looking a lot better,

he is making contact way more often

oh and did I mention he has more power than he did?

Hopefully this new stance/approach is here to stay

Kevin in Austin April 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I’d love to trade Inge, Guillen or Sheffield. I don’t think anyone wants Inge or Sheffield. I know that Guillen is a great player, but Thames can play 1B and I think Guillen is our best shot of getting two quality arms for the pen. W/o some help in the pen, we’ve got no shot at the playoffs this year.

Keith in IA April 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm

David:

Because we’ve got at least one more player like him in Ryan Raburn who has shown he can play at this level. I’ve always liked Brandon too and don’t really want to see him go, but his value his high now, and the bullpen needs help. Have we talked about that yet?

Tony P April 11, 2008 at 2:58 pm

I’ll take responsibility for this one everybody. I’m ashamed to admit it but yesterday, I changed my underwear.

tiff April 11, 2008 at 2:59 pm

whoa whoa whoa… I know there is panic in Detroit, but trade Guillen? That’s nuts.

Dave BW April 11, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Super nuts.

cib April 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Hi Tiff and everyone, it’s hard to understand what’s going on here, it’s like the parallel universe. I mean, Guillen is tripping over first base, and Sean Casey is becoming a folk hero in Boston! I want my 2007 Tigers back.

tiff April 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Bizarro Tigers!

Kevin in Austin April 11, 2008 at 5:25 pm

I just think that he’s our most marketable commodity. This bullpen isn’t going to fix itself, nor will the saviors rise through the farm system. We are in serious jeopardy of losing the pennant in May. I think something has to be done. Even if we pull out of this and get to .500, that doesn’t change the elephant in the bullpen.

Kevin in Austin April 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

I’d love to get Laird, Benoit + a catching prospect from Texas, maybe for Nate, and then turn around and trade Pudge for another bullpen arm (and unload his salary), assuming someone will take him.

I also like the idea of moving Nate to the bullpen. He seems to have the right attitude, and you can’t tell me that VV or someone else in Toledo can’t get us through 5 innings.

Joey C. April 11, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Nothing like crappy play to juice up game threads. What an awesome thread!

Joey C. April 11, 2008 at 7:28 pm

As for Renteria, I think it wasn’t the best move in the world and I wasn’t too excited about it at the time. However, to give DD a break on this, he had no idea that he was going to have the opportunity to scoop up Cabrera at the point he made the Renteria trade.

I honestly wasn’t counting on Sheff to do much this season, and that’s largely why I wasn’t too enthused about Renteria. I was adamant in my belief that we needed another slugger at a corner, and that if we landed that, we wouldn’t need serious production out of short. But then we went ahead and landed Cabrera, and I was thrilled with the offseason. Like I said the other night, this team is gonna hit. I think that even if we assume that Sheff isn’t going to be a masher, this offense still has more than enough punch to consider a deal that unloads a bat for pitching.

But what bat is going to give us a return of a quality pitcher? Guillen is far less attractive as a first baseman than as a shortstop–especially if that glove doesn’t improve. Nobody is gonna want Sheff until maybe the trade deadline–and that’s only if he shows he is healthy enough to aid a contender. Inge and Thames have limited value.

And although I agree with Stephen that DD could have made a more concerted effort to address the bullpen–clearly the biggest weakness on this team coming out of last season–I also agree with Mike R. that there isn’t a whole lot of quality out there that teams were or will be willing to part with.

Unfortunately, we’re stuck with those pitchers currently in the organization. It’s still April. I’ll hold out hope that lightening strikes with one of them before the end of May and that Zumaya returns in shape enough to help by the middle of the season.

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