Game 32: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: Coming into this series I was hoping to be talking about a sweep today. Of course I didn’t anticipate it being about sweep-avoidance for the Tigers.

It will be Kenny Rogers taking on Boof Bonser. Bonser is coming off his best start of the year. A 1 run, 7 inning, 8 K game. Rogers is also coming off a solid start where he held the Yankees to 2 runs in 6 innings.

Jim Leyland hinted at a lineup shake up last night, and it sounds like it is still coming. For today anyways it will only be Miguel Cabrera moving to the 3 hole as Gary Sheffield gets the day off.

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

DET @ MIN, Sunday, May 4, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 2:10

POSTGAME: Things looked so good to start. Curtis Granderson, frustrated over being stranded at third on Saturday night started the game with a homer (he finished Saturday night’s game with a homer also). And then things went really right for the Tigers and really wrong for the Twins. Five runs later Boof Bonser was at 45 pitches and the Twins were just coming to bat.

But then the offense went to hell. I defended the approach in many of the games saying that the Tigers were working the pitcher (their pitch/pa has been near average all season). Today was indefensible. They swung at the first pitch of the inning in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th innings. And that just set the tone. Bonser managed to pitch through 6 innings despite throwing half a games worth of pitches in the first.

The decision to go to Miner is certainly debatable – but not awful. Miner had been pitching well of late. They needed one out. Miner got Gomez to pound the ball into the ground, unfortunately it hit the plate and went for an infield single. That’s bad luck more than bad strategy. But the subsequent line drive to the wall resulting in a double was bad pitching.

Kenny Rogers was fine. The bullpen wasn’t. But the biggest problem was the offense. And that’s a mighty strange thing to say when they plate 6 in the first inning.

76 Comments

  1. Andrew

    May 4, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    How many leadoff homers has Granderson hit this year?

    Hope we get more offense from the rest of the club today. Nice start, though.

  2. Teymour

    May 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Curtis is on an absoloute tear. I like the new lineup.

  3. Andrew

    May 4, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    So, is this lineup change coming tomorrow? I know Leyland said “no matter what”, but I don’t think he imagined that Thames would be the first out of the game.

  4. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    The boys owe us 18 runs today to get us to our average for the series…nice start.

  5. JOE Z

    May 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    HOTDOG!

  6. Andrew

    May 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Have the Tigers ever been up this season like this in the 1st inning? Seems like we’re usually behind.

    I am looking forward to seeing how Kenny Rogers pitches with a first inning lead. :D

  7. charlie

    May 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    would someone care to give us a top ten list of the advantages of jones over c-mo in left field.

    i’m thinking JJ are really flashy initials

  8. billfer

    May 4, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ump come that physically close to calling a strike, and then not do it.

  9. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Charlie – since JJ covers less ground than C-Mo, we get to see more Curtis.

  10. Teymour

    May 4, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    JJ kills rallies from the left side of the plate

  11. Andrew

    May 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    *sarcasm alert*
    C’mon don’t be so tough on JJ. We need that left-handed bat in the lineup.

    *sarcasm over*

  12. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I say we take bets on when the Tigers cut the cord on the failed Jacque Jones experiment. I say by June 1st.

  13. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    “C’mon don’t be so tough on JJ. We need that left-handed bat in the lineup.”

    I’ll bat left handed for the Tigers. They can pay me 25% of the salary Jones gets. And I can produce NOTHING at a fraction of what it costs for Jones to produce NOTHING.

  14. billfer

    May 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Well, to be fair the equation needs to be is C-Mo – Clay Rapada>Jacque Jones

  15. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Joke Jones:

    I hope they wise up soon and dump this guy – he is a bum. When he became a free-agent here in Minne after the ’05 season, he wasn’t even offered a contract. Twenty homers or no, the Twins were happy to see him go. He is basically a left-handed Craig Monroe – lousy OBP, too many Ks, DPs and pop-ups. Oh, and did I mention base-running blunders?

  16. Kurt

    May 4, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson here:

    NO MORE TRADES WITH THE CUBS!!!!!

    No good can come of it, I’m pretty sure.

  17. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Bonser has really recovered his game and is now getting the Tigers out with few pitches. I think the Tigers are being too aggressive at this point and need to make Bonser work harder for those outs. It’s time to go into grind-out mode.

  18. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Chris:

    I know this is something we’re not used to, but it’s pretty hard to grind it out against somebody who is constantly throwing strikes. Like most Twins pitchers, Bonser has excellent control and I think he is going to mature into a dependable top of the rotation starter.

  19. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Time for Kenny to go back to the sandpaper/vaseline/whatever.

  20. charlie

    May 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    bring in the pen…quick.

  21. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Punto’s first extra base hit of the year.

  22. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Twins pitching is really doing well. Bosner was probably another hit away from getting pulled from the game in the 1st but instead has since dominated the Tiger lineup.

  23. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Great inning Kenny. Way to shut them down after the 5th. Nice QS.

  24. charlie

    May 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    good inning by kenny…

  25. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Polanco is 14 for his last 31 and you have him bunt????

  26. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Check that, inluding his 2 for 3 today, Polanco is 16 for 34 in last 9 games.

  27. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Boy, I don’t like this pitching change at all. I really think you let Kenny go against Gomez.

  28. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    It’s nice to have the monster bats, but pitching and defense win games too.

  29. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Ouch. Mauer and Morneau seem to kill us. Just one out here Seay.

  30. charlie

    May 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    just when i think keeny is starting to look like his old self…blows up

  31. Adam

    May 4, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Charlie. Don’t you mean “Carlos Guillen”?

    Kenny’s fault?

    No.

  32. billfer

    May 4, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t know that Kenny blew up. The inning was over if Guillen doesn’t make the error.

  33. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    This is why Carlos Guillen CANNOT play 3rd. We love his bat but his glove is killing us

  34. Sky

    May 4, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    By now you should all realize that there are some serious character flaws in this team despite their great hitting ability. Repeatedly they have big innings and stop playing. I predicted to the person I was watching with exactly what happened. Get used to this. Big hitting does not translate into a good baseball team.

  35. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    This team is ridiculous…6 run lead after the first and they blow it….

  36. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    That one is on Carlos and Miner, not Kenny. He pitched as well as we can expect him to. I’ll take that outing every five days.

    Bringing in Miner in a pressure situation makes no sense to me. I didn’t get to watch last night, but cant you get Cruceta for two batters? (Not to mention that Rogers had Gomez looking like a fool all day). Leyland may have managed himself out of a W here.

  37. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Yep…count this one as a loss…the offense is done. How in the world do they sweep the Yankees, and are on the brink of getting swept by the Twins?

  38. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    32 games into the season and I am not seeing anything that makes them stand out from the other 31 MLB teams. I was at the game here on Friday night and they pretty much stunk. I fail to see how a team can go from dominating the Yankees three straight in all aspects, to this complete falling on their faces.

  39. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Serious character flaws on this team…Carlos has not worked perfectly at third, the offense is patchy at times, starting rotation is still shaky, and now the bullpen is back at it again…

  40. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    This has been such a frustrating trip to the Crapdome… And we can blame Leyland for putting his most unreliable reliever in a critical situation and for NOT making a defensive substitution at 3rd, Inge for Guillen.

    Goats of the game: Leyland, Miner, Guillen.

  41. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I’d love for Jones to somehow bat this inning so we don’t start off the 9th with an out.

  42. charlie

    May 4, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    adam

    you’re right. i stepped out for a minute and didn’t realize the error. i wonder how many games the “experiment” has cost us this year. we should just put inge and his crappy batting average back at third and be done with it.

  43. Shane Temporarily in Toledo

    May 4, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Uggh. I really hope Leyland pinch hits for Jones at the top of the ninth.

  44. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I think it’s time to make big time drastic changes to this team. Sheffield to be traded, Jones to be released, Guillen to DH and Inge at 3rd base.

  45. Sky

    May 4, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    No, Chris. The problem is greater than that. Team sports always involve errors and mistakes of every kind. The problem is losing that edge that makes you come out, score six runs, then decide not to play the rest of the game. This is an unconscious attitude change. Only real champion teams never do it. I remember the 68 Tigers very well. They came from behind over and over again all season long. But that was back when players were hungry to win. Now, with 7 million dollars a year, you get your hit or two a day and you’ve earned the money. You want a championship? Keep moving around enough in the league till you stumble onto a team that gets one. Minnesota really deserves this win. They at least didn’t stop trying.

  46. Kyle J

    May 4, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Three words: stomach punch loss.

  47. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    If this crap keeps up, this season will be lost before the All-Star break. So inconsistent……

  48. Shane Temporarily in Toledo

    May 4, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Alright, let’s put the rally caps on and hope for the best.

  49. charlie

    May 4, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    my first look at cruceta…this guy looks good early in his tigers career…why didn’t he pitch after kenny???

  50. Kathy

    May 4, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Carlos is not going to last at 3rd. Something will have to change. Dombrowski can’t stand errors and unearned runs. It’s why he never liked Omar and wanted Carlos at 1st and why Miggy got switched to 1st. They gotta do something!

  51. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Because Miner has a place in Leyland’s heart….

  52. ron

    May 4, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Ya gotta wanna win. Let’s see how much heart this team has in the ninth.

  53. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Just like clockwork, Jones is out…

  54. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Chris – you can’t trade Sheffield, he has little value and his contract is too great.

    Guillen is so much more valuable at the plate that I think you’ll see very little defensive manuevering, unless it’s to get Guillen to 1st and Miggy on the bench (assuming he’s not due up for a few innings).

    You’d think we were the Rangers or something with the last few posts. We’ll be alright. We are night yet playoff ready, but we can get there. I was pretty sour on the pen to start the season, but once we send Miner down, we’ll be in a much better place.

    I’d still like to consider trading Guillen for a bullpen stud + prospects, or else a 3rd or 4th starter. I’m not sure who is out there, but I’d like to at least explore it. I love Guillen as much as anyone else, but with the new offense this year (Miggy, Renteria, CMo gone), we have a much greater tolerance for Inge’s dead weight in the lineup.

  55. Kathy

    May 4, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Heartbreak hotel!

  56. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Sparky Anderson once said that a manager only effects the outcome of about 10-15 games a year. Most of the time the results are strictly due to player performance. But in the minority of situations where a small detail can be critical (pitching change/bullpen use, defensive substitution, pinch hitter, H&R, SB attempt, etc.), the manager becomes a most important 26th man. Nobody is going to have a positive result 100% of the time, of course, but a good manager will win more than he loses in those situations. I’m probably more pessimistic than most, but I think over the last 2+ years Leyland has consistently been on the minus side of this aspect of the team’s overall performance.

  57. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Man, Nathan is sick. Hats off to the Twins, they just played better ball.

    We’ll figure it out.

  58. Brenden

    May 4, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Wow….and that finishes an awful weekend of baseball…

  59. Shane Temporarily in Toledo

    May 4, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    A perfect chance to gain a game in the division blown. I really hate having to rationalize a loss with, “well at least Cleveland and Chicago lost too.”

  60. Kathy

    May 4, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Sure is Brenden. Just like Rod always says ‘baseball can be a humbling game’. Do you think these guys will ever get tired of being humbled or maybe they are just too arogant. I don’t know but this is just unacceptable.

  61. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Vince in MN – good question. At first thought, I’d side with you, but I feel that more often than not I give credence to players when we win, and blame to the manager when we lose. I’ll make a more conscious effort evaluate this moving forward.

    But in this game, bringing in Miner in a crucial situation seems so incredibly dumb to me…

    I’ll ask again – does Leyland do a weekly call in show? I’d love to tune in.

    Down here in Texas we are blessed to have the Ticket radio station out of Dallas – they get every head coach to do a weekly and ask the right questions. I’d love to hear someone ask Leyland why he put in Miner in that situation. Seems to me that most of the Detroit press is afraid of him. I rarely see anyone call him out in the paper, though I regularly see players taking the blame.

  62. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Kevin:

    Here’s another Leyland example from Friday night:

    Lopez comes in to pitch in relief of Galarraga in the 7th with us down only 4-1. The first batter up lines out. The next FOUR hitters get line drive hits. Who is warming up in the bullpen after the 4th consecutive hit? – nobody – not even somebody soft tossing. And it wasn’t like the pen had been overworked in NY. This is a SNAFU for him. I just don’t think Leyland’s mind is ever on all aspects the game simultaneously. And the players don’t seem to be consistently prepared – the unevenness between the NY and MN series couldn’t be more stark – that is his responsibility as well.

  63. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Another good example.

    I don’t think that Leyland’s mind is out of it, but I do think that he has the god complex where he’s convinced that he can set the tone, regardless of situation or circumstance.

    For example, I think he made up his mind prior to the game to use Miner in the 7th and Cruceta in the 8th, without any regard to the situation. Similarly, he hates to shuffle the middle of the order so much that when the lead-off spot is open or Polanco is injured, he’ll gladly put guys with career OBPs of .340 or less (Pudge and Thames) in the one and two hole rather than slide Guillen or Sheffield up.

    Continuing, he treats all of his pitchers the exact same (again, with no regard to the circumstances of the game). Kenny is a veteran pitcher, Guillen just made an error, and Kenny has had Gomez’s number all game. But rather than let the veteran pitch out of it, he brings in the reliever with the least confidence on the team. Because he wants R/R combination. Just a little flexibility, please.

  64. cib

    May 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Horrifying. I am almost completely back in pre-2006 mode. As in, the only thing I am hoping for when I go to the game on Tuesday night is that the weather is nice. This is sick.

  65. Vince in MN

    May 4, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Kevin:

    I agree wholeheartedly about the need for flexibility, but I’m pretty sure we are not going to see it. After 2+ years of watching Leyland’s managerial style I have seen nothing to indicate that there is much creativity there. He’s a push-button type (with a very narrow comfort zone) and he doesn’t even do that particularly well (the R/R combo from today is the theoretical best, but I agree that the selection of Miner was dubious.) And that sort of decision making sets a tone as well.

  66. Kevin in Austin

    May 4, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I concur. He hit all the right buttons in ’06, maybe his magic has run out. Doesn’t mean that DD can’t set him up with the right tools though. I believe. I’m looking forward to a 4-3 homestand. (Baby steps, we’ll beat up on teams in the middle and end of May).

  67. ron

    May 4, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Let’s get drastic and hire a new manager. Anyone could have managed this 145 million dollar team to a 14 and 18 record calling in the shots from home.

  68. Shane Temporarily in Toledo

    May 4, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    I guess I do not understand all this “get rid of Leyland” talk. Who are you going to get that is better? Phil Garner?

  69. Chris

    May 4, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Bilfer,

    I don’t understand how you can defend the pitching change to Miner. This move was horrible!!! Leyland had Cruceda, had Seay. Situations like this call for your BEST reliever, not your mop-up guy. I realize how Miner has pitched better as of late, but he has been absolutely terrible at stranding inherited runners all season and his recent good appearances should not have given anybody any confidence.

    Seriously, what would you have expected of other teams? Wouldn’t the Yankees have put Joba Chamberlin in that situation…. WHY IS OUR MANAGER SUCH A RETARD? ERRRR!!!!!

  70. Jeff M

    May 5, 2008 at 12:49 am

    To all the Leyland haters here: were any of you actually watching the game?

    - Prior to Tolbert’s double, Kenny had been cruising with two outs and a 3 run lead. I’m impressed Leyland even had someone getting loose.
    - After the double, you had four choices: stick w/ Kenny, a lukewarm Miner, an even less warm Seay, or someone completely cold.
    - Miner got a groundball, it just happened to bounce 80 feet in the air.
    - Leyland pulled Miner as soon as he had another reasonable option.
    - The Twins only had two freakin well-hit balls that inning.

    Aside for the Guillen error, it was just a monumental string of bad luck. If you still havent come to terms with the fact that luck can play a huge factor if it happens all at once, I suggest you watch more basketball instead.

  71. Chris

    May 5, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Well then explain the other strategical miscue by Leyland. Namely, he should have made this critical defensive substitution for the 7th inning, Inge for Guillen. I know that both Guillen was due to bat in the 8th, but we surely needed scoreless outs much, much more than we needed a good leadoff hitter in the bottom of the 8th.

    I think one thing is becoming clear about this team. Guillen can’t field the ball… He just CAN’T…. And we desperately need to do everything we can to fix our greatest weakness, defense & pitching. This situation is screaming the corse of action this team needs to take: trade Sheffield for whatever we can get, DH Guillen and put Inge at 3rd. Then perhaps we need to move Granderson to bat 3rd and to figure-out who you are going to get to bat leadoff.

  72. Ron

    May 5, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Leyland has to go. His record speaks for itself. Players run through walls for some and for others they just say, the heck with it. In any other business, he’d be outta there. Bad luck? What will it be tomorrow? I don’t hate Leyland, I just think he’s not smart enough to manage this club. Read what Sky has to say about the players too. The blame can go around here. As a manager, Leyland can’t allow the players to come on the field with that attitude. As for pushing all the right buttons in 2006, he was unable to find the final button. I guess that was bad luck too.

  73. Andre

    May 5, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Chris –

    Trading Sheff would be difficult and likely wouldn’t yield a good value in return. The market for DH’s isn’t exactly a seller’s market (teams weren’t exactly falling over themselves to sign F Thomas). I heard somebody point out that Sheffs injury affects his ability to throw more than it does hit, although I don’t think you can argue it has had no effect on that. What might work is to stick him on the DL until his shoulder can handle the strain of throwing and then stick him in LF. JJones has been a train wreck at the plate and is below average defensively…combine that with Sheff mentioning that he feels like fielding gets him more involved in the game and you’re looking at a nice addition down the stretch if he heals. With the DH open, we make the obvious move of saving the team from Guillen’s glove/arm…four effing runs because of that error!!!

    I would much rather suffer through .250 Inge than 2nd in errors Guillen. Seriously, if the rest of the line up was playing close to potential wouldn’t you plug in anyone that wouldn’t specifically cost you games no matter what their average?

    FYI – i have an unfair advantage using this argument…i live in chicago and watch the bears (see Rex Grossman).

  74. Andre

    May 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

    To Leyland haters -

    I’m lumping you all in the same category as people calling Verlander “the worst pitcher ever” (really? remember hearing about a no-hitter? really?).

    What else is he supposed to do with this line up (besides put Inge at 3rd like I always pray)? He has shuffled it somewhat, you want him to draw names from a hat? Yeah thats sound managing. He’s confronted with a situation that nobody could have predicted and while he might seem slow to adjust to it, since we don’t know the root cause there’s no way of knowing what needs fixing.

    If you change everything at once it doesn’t help you isolate the real problem. I’d rather tinker slightly until we find the real issue than think we fixed it and have it bite us in the @ss come october (assuming we make it).

  75. MCM

    May 5, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Leyland’s “drastic” change to this lineup better include Guillen going to DH and getting Inge over to third base. We need a fielder who is confident in that position over at 3rd. Sheffield can DH when Inge subs for Pudge. That’ll give Sheffy the time he needs for his “injuries” (old age) in between starts.

  76. Ron

    May 5, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Boston is in town and we’re at home. 20% of the season is gone. This is a true test of what we have here.