Game 35: Red Sox at Tigers

by billfer on May 7, 2008 · 161 comments

in 2008 Season,Game Post

PREGAME: The Tigers are in a 3-way battle for AL suckitude with the Rangers and Mariners. It would be nice to not be in that position.

It’s Armando Galarraga and Clay Bucholz if the rain holds off.

Bucholz has been money with only 3 runs allowed total over his last 3 starts since a shellacking at the hands of the Yankees. He has a reverse platoon split with righties hitting an 846 OPS against him whereas lefties are struggling to the tune of .564.

Here’s your lineup.

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

BOS @ DET, Wednesday, May 7, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 7:05

POSTGAME: You know, when a game last 4 hours it gives you quite a bit to comment on. I’ll start with the finish. The Tigers got the win. Good. Very good. Much needed.

The 9th inning rally wasn’t one of shock and awe. It consisted of a check swing dribbler, an error, a bunt, a ground ball to second, and a broken bat single. But it’s still two runs, and it’s still a win. And to each guy’s credit that inning, they found a way to put the ball in play.

Now a ton of bullet points:

  • The Tigers offense showed some life. They picked up 18 hits, 16 of which were singles though so the Tigers left themselves some runners on base.
  • Placido Polanco=good. He had five hits, pulling some, pushing some, blooping one.
  • The 3-4-5-6 hitters combined to reach base 12 times.
  • Curtis Granderson is not a friend of Clay Bucholz fanning all 3 times. In fact, 5 of Bucholz’s 6 K’s came against lefties.
  • Armando Galarraga looked great at times. He fanned Papi and Manny back to back. But then he left some pitches up that got crushed.
  • I actually really liked Leyland’s move to bring in Francisco Cruceta with 2 outs in the 7th. It appears that Cruceta is the 8th inning guy, but going to him for 4 outs in a crucial situation was fine by me. That didn’t work out though as Cruceta allowed the homer. Decent decision, bad execution.
  • I had no problem with Cruceta starting the 8th inning. But after the lead off walk somebody needed to be up in the pen. Varitek then hit a bullet that was caught, and I’m really hoping someone is up. A walk to the 9 hitter and it should have been time to go get Cruceta at that point. He didn’t know where the fastball was going. Instead he was allowed in long enough to give up the lead. Bad decision, bad execution.
  • The the Tigers get two runners on with one out and a full count. Which inevitably brought the “send the runners to stay out of the double play” which is also known as the “strike em out throw em out inning ending double play.” It was a horrible decision with a hitter who has been struggling, and a slow runner standing on second, and the best closer in the game set to take on the bottom of the lineup if the play fails. It failed. Bad decision, typical execution.

This was hardly a flawless game, but for those looking for life from the team there was definitely life. There were smiles and excitment, and some nice defense. Whether it leads to anything remains to be seen. But the losing streak is over.

Red Sox 9 Tigers 10

 
 

{ 161 comments }

Tim D May 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Hoping for a rainout.

This is a pretty lousy team right now, wit no significant prospect of improvement lest the staring pitchers turn it around big time.

Not that there is any point to it but I would tweak the lineup thus:

Renteria
Guillen
Cabrera
Ordonez
Granderson
Sheffield
Joyce
Polanco
Pudge

I’d also start scouting the starters on lousy teams like Texas, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Diego, etc. Kevin Millwood?

Chris May 7, 2008 at 6:59 pm

God, I hope Bucholz struggles. Please don’t pitch good against this crappy team

Brian P May 7, 2008 at 7:04 pm

College exams are more frustrating than the Tigers, so I hope (and assume) there’s going to be baseball.

I won’t be the first to bring up the unspeakable: Bonds. Now that Sheffield has been approved for the outfield, perhaps a Bonds-Sheffield DH/left-field platoon could be in order. I’m by no means fond of Bonds, but seeing a rookie just called up from AAA as our DH is terrifying.

Brian in Tampa May 7, 2008 at 7:05 pm

Time to be positive. The game hasn’t started yet.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 7:07 pm

I missed Galarraga’s last start, but he got shelled pretty bad. We could use the guy that pitched in his debut in Cleveland tonight. Could use that offense, too. We need a laugher to go our way.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Ok. I’ve got it. This team needs a “swear jar” except you put money in it (say a spare grand, they’ve got the loot) when you hack away at the first pitch. (Maggs, I’m looking at you.)

Kathy May 7, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Did anyone else notice how Terry Francona went out there and yelled at the umpire about the balk call? We’re luck if we see the skipper get stirred up once a year.

Brian P May 7, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I can’t remember the previous two seasons, but Jim’s only rambled out to the mound this year to talk to pitchers.

Galarraga wasn’t really “shelled” last outing. Two earned runs through six is respectable, and certainly well enough to win.

John in South Bend May 7, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Who’s the injury delay for? I am following on gamecast…

Ken from Cincinnati May 7, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Yeah, Armando’s ERA is 1.5 in 3 starts, so he certainly hasn’t been shelled. The only way Gary can get on base is by hitting the ball so awful that it’s a perfect bunt. That man can’t the the ball solid and FAIR to save his life.

Brian P May 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Dive, Carlos! Dive!

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Yeah, my mistake. I had attributed too many of Minny’s 11 runs to Armando. He did pitch pretty well.

We could still use the offense from his Cleveland debut, though.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 7:54 pm

If Carlos dives, he may never get up.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 8:00 pm

What is this a l-e-a-d? Lead you say?

Brian in Tampa May 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm

It’s about time we scored first.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:07 pm

my goodness, this looks like a legitimate rally…

Jeff May 7, 2008 at 8:07 pm

It’s about time we scored first.

I’ve tried to erase Sunday from my mind too.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Four runs…take it…but probably should have been more. Sorry it should have.

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 8:12 pm

well i feel a little better now

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:13 pm

beggars cannot be choosers. i will take 4 runs any day. they ran up the pitch count on bucholz, too, which is a plus

armando needs a good quick inning here to keep the mo’ going.

Brian in Tampa May 7, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Sorry Jeff I forgot about that 6 spot we put up.

Brian in Tampa May 7, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Galarraga can not get sent back down!!!

Brian P May 7, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Woah! That definitely wasn’t in Boston’s scouting report.

Pat in Carolina May 7, 2008 at 8:16 pm

That was one of the best pitches I’ve seen all year.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:17 pm

haha, what was that, Armando?? nice time to bust that out, though!

Ken from Cincinnati May 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Let’s trade Willis back to Florida for Andrew Miller and just throw him in the minors to develop. We just have to keep Armando pitching. He’s the only one I have confidence in with a lead.

Dave BW May 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Gameday is calling it a cutter, which it certainly wasn’t. Looked like an eephus to me.

boombotti May 7, 2008 at 8:19 pm

it was a Gyroball. jk

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Well…Gallarraga hasn’t been in the bigs for 14+ years, so in Leyland’s mind he’s probably bound for Toledo no matter how well he pitches.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:22 pm

if anyone cares (not trying to hijack the thread, here), the Pistons have taken on the role of the Tigers tongiht, they are down 20-6 to Orlando.

Pat in Carolina May 7, 2008 at 8:23 pm

and that was one of the worst

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:24 pm

God, I hate Youkilis. Not as much as Crede, but he’s up there.

Brian in Tampa May 7, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Walks will kill you unless your pitching against the tigers

Brian in Tampa May 7, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Mark in Chicago I got that game on too. It’s early. I might go to the game Sat.

Mike R May 7, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I don’t care if he’s 2-for-2 with an RBI, Gary Sheffield to the 60-day DL, Guillen to DH, Inge to 3rd, Leyland to the unemployment line, please. Thank you.

This will be a daily thing now until it happens, which it never will until all players involved retire.

Jeff May 7, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Pretty predictable for the Pistons. When people (nationally) start saying nice things about ‘em, look out . . .

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Granderson is completely lost against Bucholz.

Pat in Carolina May 7, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Thanks for the Stones update Mark. I do care, but not to deeply until the conference finals.

They are bound to lose one of these games by 20-30 points!

John in South Bend May 7, 2008 at 8:37 pm

What kind of pitch count do you think Buchholz will be on tonight? If we can run it up to 100 I would think they would take him out.

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 8:37 pm

i love 2 out hits and rbis :)

Brian P May 7, 2008 at 8:37 pm

That’s why we don’t care if Magglio swings on the first pitch. He did that quite often last season too, and no one can argue with those results.

ivantopumpyouup May 7, 2008 at 8:38 pm

I think I hate the Red Sox.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Two-out ribbie!!! Nice to see, Maggs.

Keep it going Taco Bell Miguel. (I saw somebody write that today and nearly wet myself)

Pat in Carolina May 7, 2008 at 8:38 pm

okay Mike R, let’s not go for total upheaval yet.

Just kidding, I’m sure something will happen in the next couple innings that will have me screaming firesale.

Pat in Carolina May 7, 2008 at 8:40 pm

wow, horrible call

Jeff May 7, 2008 at 8:43 pm

That’s why we don’t care if Magglio swings on the first pitch.

If he’s swinging at his pitch, a pitch that he can center and drive, he should be swinging. That’s what he was doing when he was on a roll most of last year. When he’s swinging at anything that might be called a strike, esp. low outside breaking balls, that’s not good.

Pat in Carolina May 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm

great play by edgar. At least we are seeing some solid defense up the middle.

Chris May 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Come on, GIDP….

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 8:52 pm

now i know neither of those were good spots, but is sheffield going to be able to throw someone out at home? i just cant see it

Kathy May 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Zach Miner is warming up!

Eric Jackson May 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm

A shot at winning a game and they have Zach Miner warming up? Is this a cruel joke?

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm

eesh. not the best inning, but still in front. keep plugging away and adding runs, don’t let up now…

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 9:06 pm

2-out RBI are my favorite!!

Anne May 7, 2008 at 9:07 pm

OK, I’m late to the party, but go Polanco! 4-for-4 tonight!

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I still hate Youkilis. Horrible pitch by Galarraga.

Anne May 7, 2008 at 9:12 pm

OMG, do I hate Youkilis right now. My swear jar is overflowing.

Anne May 7, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Still, not a bad job from Galarraga. I know 5 runs is not so great, but 6 K’s and only 1 BB is pretty good.

Chris May 7, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Youkilis has gone on a homerun rampage against the Tigers. I say, no more pitches for him.

Steve May 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm

I think way back in Feb / March we all kinda of thought most games would be like this, the 7-5 type. Not the low hitting games we have seen in the past.
Galarraga may be a keeper. Boston has a good team so this to shall pass

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Seay in the sixth…yikes.

Anne May 7, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Chris–you mean we should just save ourselves some time and concede the HR whenever he comes up? It might save some wear and tear on the pitcher. :)

Chris May 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Please bullpen…. Please don’t fail us

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Miner better keep the damages minor. Ha!

Chris May 7, 2008 at 9:27 pm

“Miner better keep the damages minor. Ha!”

Or we are going to send your butt to the Miner Leagues… HeHeHe..

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm

How long have you been waiting to use that one, Mike? ;)

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 9:35 pm

AL East: home of the 4-hour game.

Jeez, it’s only the 6th inning?

Chris May 7, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Oh boy….. we cannot afford one of those Zach Miner bullpen blow-ups

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Pressure spot for Cruceta, should be interesting.

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Yep, that worked out well.

Jeff May 7, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Well that sucked.

David G. May 7, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Score is all but 9-8.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm

God…Lowell murdered that ball.

Chris May 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm

The middle of the Red Sox order has absolutely killed us. We have run into the wrong team at the wrong time.

Joey the K in Portland OR May 7, 2008 at 10:01 pm

wouch.

Joey the K in Portland OR May 7, 2008 at 10:03 pm

That wasn’t a good shot, a lot of long faces in the dugout, we ain’t losing yet boys!

Chris May 7, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Does Leyland pinch hit for Granderson?

Chris May 7, 2008 at 10:09 pm

I think Tigers will lose tonight…. Six game losing streak… Man is this team a disapointment.

billfer May 7, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Cruceta seems reluctant to throw the fastball.

Chris May 7, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Was that the pitch that Lowel blasted?

Steve May 7, 2008 at 10:25 pm

ugh

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Man. What a waste.

Sam May 7, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Why did Leyland leave him in there?

I blame this squarely on the manager!

-Sam

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:26 pm

“Carlos Guillen is our third baseman.” — Jim Leyland.

Sky May 7, 2008 at 10:28 pm

I bet my wife $50.00 before this inning began that the lead runner would get on and score.

Previously, I had told her that Lowell would hit the 3-run homer. Have you noticed that their pitchers know better than to give good pitches to good hitters? Funny how the Tigers haven’t learned that about pro ball.

greg May 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Tiny screen here on MLB.com, but I wonder if Inge would have had that one.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:31 pm

at best, Inge may have been able to knock it down.

greg May 7, 2008 at 10:35 pm

come on, hit and run

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:35 pm

GIDP coming….?

Mike R May 7, 2008 at 10:36 pm

Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to see Carlos Guillen or Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, Brandon Inge, George Bush, Charlie Brown, Al Kaline at his current age or anyone with two working shoulders at the dish right about now?

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 10:38 pm

HORRIBLE

Sam May 7, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Another Brillant move by our manager! Why send them on the 3-2 count?? Magglio will score on a single anyway!

-Sam

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:38 pm

beyond belief.

they ought to just call up the Mud Hens and throw them out there tomorrow.

greg May 7, 2008 at 10:39 pm

oops….guess that didn’t work out too well

Vince in MN May 7, 2008 at 10:40 pm

?

Sky May 7, 2008 at 10:40 pm

Sheffield must get out!………Count the times he comes through!……..Virtually never……(of course, he is not the only one.)

Mike R May 7, 2008 at 10:41 pm

THANK GOD WE DON’T HAVE GARY SHEFFIELD ON THE DISABLED LIST, I WOULDN’T WANT SOMEONE WHO CAN PUT THE BALL IN PLAY AT THE PLATE 4 TIMES.

Does a dude have to lose an entire arm before we can DL him? There is absolutely no plausible reason for Gary Sheffield to be in a uniform right now. I don’t care if it pisses him off, if Leyland throws a temper-tantrum, or the price of gas would soar to $15 a gallon if he didn’t play every day, he needs to be DL’d. God. This is so frustrating and I’m absolutely bitter and hating the front office more and more. Mishandling multiple prospects, mishandling the personnel, giving Leyland 15 feet of rope to hang himself with.

ESPECIALLY when I see my favorite front office in baseball winning this game. If the Red Sox weren’t in the AL i’d be one of those annoying people with the pink, diamond encrusted Sox hats that broke their legs jumping on the bandwagon.

This is the other reason I haven’t posted in the comments because it’s taking me 4 minutes of yelling at the television to find any semblance of “family appropriate words” to type in this comment box.

Ken from Cincinnati May 7, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Leyland is a complete tard for doing that. A complete tard.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Well…it’s finally going to happen — losing a game with 16 base hits because of the bullpen. Guess some of the preseason pundits were actually correct.

greg May 7, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Well, at least they’re playing well, no errors and they put up a fight once they were down.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I am definitely a big fan of Sheff loping after balls in the outfield. Good stuff.

Sam May 7, 2008 at 10:48 pm

So let’s review Jim Leyland’s logic

Aquino Lopez has a 2.11 era and given up 23 runners in 21.1 innings, but we’ll use him in the 9th inning of a game we are losing 0-5.

The next night, we’ll bring in Cruceta in a very high leverage situation when he has a 8.64 career era??

He then leave him in there to rot, having him give up the winning run after 25+ pitches??

Cruceta has a great arm, but shouldn’t he try to build his confidence by letting him get some success in low leverage situations??

charlie May 7, 2008 at 10:49 pm

well jones with his usual sloppy inning but it was effective. i don’t like our chances of scoring against papelbon though. despite all the usual rants this has been a fun game to watch.

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm

papelbon + bottom 3 hitters = 6 straight losses

Sky May 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm

DH’s do not get paid to hit .200 and get walks. Since last July Sheffield can no longer do it. It is time to retire. Age does things………I was at his point 20 years ago and I know. It is the hardest thing in the world for an ego like his or any athlete to admit he can not do it any longer. It almost always ends with getting let go with “thank you, but don’t let the door hit you in the a–”

Mike R May 7, 2008 at 10:52 pm

I hope we don’t win this game because I don’t want anything to overshadow and/or validate any of their decisions.

Slashpyne May 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Ahh, the old mid-inning uniform switch-Tigers in Bosox unis in the field, Bosox at bat…

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm

lets hit and run here, I KID I KID

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Well…it’s going to be tough to hit into a double-play here.

greg May 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm

I like the bunt, now a fly ball ties it.

Slashpyne May 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Lil’Pappies’ getting wild

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 10:58 pm

stunning

greg May 7, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Excellent! GB to the right hand side!

jason May 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

0-6 for grandy. ouch!

Slashpyne May 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Soooo Sweeeet!!!

Kathy May 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Survivor: Eye of the Tiger!!

Brian P May 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

That was such an ugly win! But I love it!

JOE Z May 7, 2008 at 11:02 pm

haha YES<

TIGERS!

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 11:03 pm

broken bat…it couldn’t be any other way.

David G. May 7, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Wow.

Sky May 7, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Miracles do happen! What a relief……………wish it didn’t cause this much suffering to reach the glory!…Fleeting as it is!

Mark in Chicago May 7, 2008 at 11:04 pm

ho-ly crap.

oh.

my.

god.

i went to go play GTA after the sox took the lead. i came back just in time to see polly win it. wow, just incredible, 2 in the 9th. unreal.

i’m reading the comments above. leyland left cruceta in too long, but what happened after that? the board was pretty miffed at sometihng.

charlie May 7, 2008 at 11:05 pm

glad to be wrong about scoring on papelbon…what a sweet win

Sean C. in Illinois May 7, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Oh my God yes!! They did it! Wow wow wow wow wow! Great googly-moggly!

greg May 7, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Ugly? nah, I like what I see, good hitting, no meltdowns defensively. Fight, intensity, fundamentals in the 9th, a bunt, an rbi ground ball by Grandy, and taking advantage when the opponent has a miscue. Beautiful…

..ok, some of the relief pitching wasn’t pretty, but hey, what do you expect when you put a rookie in that situation.

Sean C. in Illinois May 7, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Googly-MOOGLY, that is. Way to take this one back. This is HUGE.

Mike in CT May 7, 2008 at 11:07 pm

one thing…not to curb the enthusiasm, but let’s not all get carried away into thinking, ‘they’ve turned a corner’ kind of thing.

Vince in MN May 7, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Polly is hot! hot! hot! Exactly the guy you want hitting in that situation. I am surprised Francona pitched to him. I would have walked him and taken my chances on getting Guillen.

Now the question is, which Tiger team shows up tomottow.

Ken from Cincinnati May 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Yes sir reee bob. Whatever the hell that means! Boomshakalaka. Bing Bang bong. Boy am I excited!

Mike R May 7, 2008 at 11:10 pm

I wasn’t being facetious. I am pissed off. Jim Leyland is off the hook for this game that he clearly lost with late inning management and the front office’s refusal to DL someone who OBVIOUSLY needs to go on the disabled list gets off the hook for a night and the media won’t say a damn thing about it. God forbid they question someone in the sports world in the city of Detroit.

Sky May 7, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Polly showed what bat control and major league hitting is about. That was a replay of Al Kaline in the 5th game of the 68 Series. A stroke of master hitting in a clutch situation. Like Maur does for the Twins. That is the kind of baseball that not many seem to learn any more.

greg May 7, 2008 at 11:13 pm

Let’s give it up for the team, and for Jim leyland, pushing all the right buttons.

Sky May 7, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Mike, are you suggesting that it is politically incorrect to bench Gary?

Sean C. in Illinois May 7, 2008 at 11:16 pm

They’ve turned a corner. (ha ha)

greg May 7, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Now a serious question – did Sheffield have a miscue in the field earlier? I only started watching in the 7th, didn’t see any errors listed, but did something happen with Sheff earlly on? 3 for 4 is usually a pretty good night offensively, were they all cheap hits?

Sky May 7, 2008 at 11:21 pm

He hit well, Greg. No fielding problems. But his inability to hit with consistency is a problem since last July. Anyone counting would see that those rockets down the left side are now rare. He grounds out and pops up an awful lot. His swing is so hard he can not make reliable contact unless he is in good physical shape. I do not mean never….but he hardly ever does any longer.

scott pb May 7, 2008 at 11:28 pm

i’m not saying they turned a corner BUT…

If they lost They Might not have ever recovered

billfer May 7, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Mike R -

I’m not nearly as convinced that Sheffield has to go on the DL, or at least I don’t think the 60 day DL is such an automatic. Since the start of the NY road trip he’s hitting .320 with a .640 OBP. Yeah, I want more power too, but I still think it’s too early to call him done. Yeah, he probably should have started the eyar onthe DL, but the recent improvement is encouraging.

And what I find most encouraging is he made a strong throw from left field to first base last night.

scott pb May 7, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Soo what’s the problem with Cruceta. Nerves???

greg May 7, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Thanks Sky,

Yes, actually it was July 21st or 22nd last year, since the collision with Polanco, he’s never been the same. He looked really bad after that the rest of the year.

This year, he started off about the same. But he seemed to improve after a couple of weeks, not near 100%, but noticably better, in that over a 2 week stretch I saw above average batspeed(less than Sheff’s normal/healthy speed that he displayed last year, which some scouts rated as still the best bat speed in all of baseball), and about 4 no doubter HR’s that went foul, and numerous line shots foul down the left field line. His numbers still stunk, but it certainly wasn’t because of a slow bat. Obviously his shoulder was still bothering him some, but the point was I saw encouraging signs….occassional, brief flashes of the old Sheff.

So, yes he’s struggled overall this year. But the last 8 games:

.307 BA/.454 OBP

So I was just trying to understand why tonight seemed to prompt such strong emotion about getting Sheff out of the lineup, and I assumed he must have had a snafu in the OF or something.

I actually wanted to see Sheff moved to LF, primarily because it would open up the DH for Guillen, get Jones out of the lineup, and get Inge’s glove in at 3rd.

Jim May 8, 2008 at 12:49 am

Just got back from the game not too long ago…

All I can say is we Twinkied them.

Mike R May 8, 2008 at 1:15 am

Mike R -

I’m not nearly as convinced that Sheffield has to go on the DL, or at least I don’t think the 60 day DL is such an automatic. Since the start of the NY road trip he’s hitting .320 with a .640 OBP. Yeah, I want more power too, but I still think it’s too early to call him done. Yeah, he probably should have started the eyar onthe DL, but the recent improvement is encouraging.

And what I find most encouraging is he made a strong throw from left field to first base last night.

Billfer, the ends do not justify the means. .320/.640 is great. He’s also been brutal since the beginning of last August. And this latest what, 9 game sample, is not enough for me to not advocate he stay in the lineup when I first mentioned at least 2-3 weeks ago that he get shelved. His shoulders are not healthy at all. The OBP is great and I liked your idea of leading him off and dropping Granderson to 3rd (when are managers going to move guys like Grandy/Sizemore/Hanley into the 3rd hole rather then the leadoff spot but I digress…) because of his ability to get on base, but that OBP aside, he’s a black hole in the lineup for anything else.

And maybe I’ve tabulated the numbers wrong, but I did the game logs on BR from the NY trip through yesterday’s game and added in tonight’s numbers and I’ve gotten .307/.471 since the beginning of the NY trip. Not including tonight’s game, he was at .227/.414. Maybe I tabulated them because I’m a bit tired, so I don’t know.

Either way, yes he’s getting on base, but he’s that much more valuable when he’s getting on base and driving the baseball like from May through July last year. My line of thinking (which I’m sure you understand but just disagree with) is 60 days on the DL (which I admit is drastic, 15 days at this point would be a win in my eyes) save those shoulders of his and allows him to rest them which can help him drive the baseball come, say, mid July. From then on, a .300/.415/.520 line from him would be much, much better then his .307/.471/.462 line with tonight’s numbers included (unless I’ve made a dumb math error).

Kevin in Austin May 8, 2008 at 2:11 am

I’m wondering if Billfer was accidentally looking at Sheff’s OPS, at which point .640 would be dreadful.

ESPN breaks out the splits pretty conveniently, with last 7 days as one of the lines. (I’m sure this isn’t news for most of you).

ron May 8, 2008 at 2:32 am

A hit and run that did not work was a big play because it showed me they were going to try everything to win this game. It sure beats meekly standing on the base hoping for a clutch hit. Little ball is what the game is about. It’s a beautiful thing.

billfer May 8, 2008 at 5:07 am

Mike R – You’re right on the numbers. I was tired and screwed up. My point is that I’m not as convinced as you are that the shoulder is still the big problem. He’s swung better for the last week and I’ve seen him make a couple of strong throws. Throws that I wouldn’t figure to be even possible if the shoulder were that damaged.

I know his shoulder has hurt his production in the past. My point is that the production the last week he either a)seems to be getting better or b)it’s small sample size anomaly.

I know you’ve been consistent on this, and in retrospect it looks like he should have been on the dl to start the year. But he hasn’t been and now with what I’ve seen in the next week I have a hard time getting on the DL bandwagon.

Kathy May 8, 2008 at 7:10 am

Now that they have him in LF, this is actually a good test to see how his shoulders are responding to the shots. If he’s hurting, he won’t be able to throw like he has the last couple days. He must be feeling pretty good and his swings look good. Gary Sheffield was spectacular last year when healthy. Let’s give him a few weeks and see if the ‘ol swing is still there. When healthy, he’s one of a kind.

tiff May 8, 2008 at 9:51 am

ha! I went to bed disgusted when we went down 9-8 and sheff’s strikeout/double play, figuring I would wake up and read about how they blew the lead and we should fire everyone and put everyone else on the DL.

I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe they don’t turn a corner, if they can’t convert the momentum. But the team I witnessed on Tuesday didn’t play like they could ever mount a late inning comeback, so seeing these results against a closer like Papelbon makes me think maybe they are waking up.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 10:00 am

ron

It sure beats meekly standing on the base hoping for a clutch hit.

I agree. Too bad that Sheffield didn’t make contact, but it was absolutely the right call, the right risk to take. Either Sheffield is your man in that situation or he shouldn’t be on the team at all, and Ordonez might not be Freddie (sp?) Guzman, but he doesn’t have broken legs, either. If the Tigers had gone on to lose 9-8 after that double play,
I wouldn’t have blamed it on that call.

Sweet 9th inning by Jones, too. Just following the pitch by pitch online, it seemed like he had them in his pocket. The double was just part of the script.

Mark in Chicago May 8, 2008 at 10:50 am

I am really relieved we got the win, but we got exceedingly lucky in the 9th inning. Check swing infield single, error by a generally sure-handed SS, and a broken bat single to win it. Granted, I give the team credit for taking advantage of the opportunities, and Boston’s decision to play the infield back with the tying run on 3rd was questionable, but they didn’t exactly crush the ball all night.

I hope things are starting to fall our way and we can turn this into something positive, but it’s hard to get too excited for what amounts to a very fortunate win.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 11:15 am

Billfer

going to him for 4 outs in a crucial situation was fine by me.

Maybe – just maybe – if you expect Cruceta to be your 8th inning guy, you leave him in there to get those 4 outs until just this side of a meltdown. You need to see if he can get it done, because you’ll need him to later in bigger games than this one. Cruceta hasn’t been with the team that long.

He didn’t know where the fastball was going. Instead he was allowed in long enough to give up the lead

I only know what CBS.sportsline.com was telling me, but it seemed like he was throwing a lot of off-speed stuff that wasn’t working. He gave up the lead in the 7th, didn’t he? I think the stranger decison was to bring him back for the 8th, but maybe Leyland had extra innings and pitcher availability on his mind.

In short, I think Leyland’s approach includes a lot of psychology and looking beyond the game at hand. When it doesn’t work, it looks stupid strategically. Overall, it’s worked well enough for a .554 winning percentage with the Tigers. I didn’t set out to be a Leyland apologist, but the combination of trying to understand his moves and wanting them to succeed regardless of whether I agree or not is turning me into one.

Not that I don’t enjoy the criticism of Leyland here, especially when it’s colorful, well-informed, or both. As it usually is.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Mark in Chicago

But if the Tigers had lost, would you consider that to have been an “unfortunate” loss? Or one they deserved?

I find a lot of encouragement in the win:

They gave up a big lead against a very dangerous team, and they didn’t lay down and die.

Boston lived by the long ball. The Tigers, meanwhile, got 10 runs without a home run.

If that lucky 9th had been Boston’s, we wouldn’t be saying the Red Sox got lucky. We’d be saying we suck. Well, Boston sucked. And we made them pay. Good teams do that with regularity. This is a start.

The Tigers beat Papelbon with the bottom of the order due up. Jones was Jones, and I wasn’t even nervous. Well, maybe a little. I only get really scared when he walks the first batter.

Did it seem like the team was alive and playing to win all game? Sure “looked” that way to me.

Hey, no errors.

Maybe Pudge’s bunt was a given. I didn’t think so. We are the Tigers, we need not stoop to a sacrifice bunt in the 8th inning. That’s what I was afraid of. I really thought they were going to let Rodriguez swing away.

I liked the hit and run, despite the results. A team that wants to end a 5-game losing streak does that. A team that is more intent on winning than afraid to lose does that. And I like the fact Leyland isn’t waffling in his confidence in Sheffield. Right or wrong, don’t hedge your bets. No point to this trial period otherwise.

I don’t think the Red Sox consider themselves unlucky today. They should feel sick about how they lost. And we need to stomp on their throats while they’re feeling this way.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Sacrifice bunt in the 9th inning, that is.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I see I slipped into saying “we” when I meant “The Tigers.” I’m not one of those guys. Really I’m not. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. No, of course not. One’s sense of identification with a sports team is nobody else’s business but one’s own…

Mark in Chicago May 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Sean, you’ve been busy. Let me expand on my comments from before, and attempt to address the questions you raised.

I too saw some positive things in this game, such as continuing to battle despite giving up some big leads, a handful of 2-out RBIs, and some good execution when presented with scoring opportunities. And I agree with you about trying to hit-and-run to make some things happen, even if the execution wasn’t always great. Hopefully these are signs that the team is starting to get it’s act together. I definitely agree that it’s a start and they made Papelbon and Sox pay for the opportunity to win the game. I just contend that it was luck, not the Sox, that presented them that opportunity.

They pushed across 2 runs in the 9th against one of the better closers in the game hitting exactly one ball out of the infield (and just barely, at that). Most often, the breaks don’t fall that way, but credit the Tigers for taking advantage by executing properly once the opportunity presented itself. Lugo’s error was really the only things Boston did “wrong” (i.e., had control over the outcome and didn’t execute). The perfectly placed check swing single and the broken bat single were good pitches where Papelbon was unlucky. Throw in some good execution when good fortune gave them the opportunity and you steal a win. Most nights Papelbon closes the door and you and I are lamenting a 6-game losing streak.

To your specific points, if the Red Sox had pulled off a 9th inning like that, I would have felt it was an “unfortunate” loss, just as it’s a fortunate win for the Tigers. Again, I can only think of one spot where Boston had a chance to control the outcome and didn’t execute (Lugo’s error). Everything else was weakly hit balls, none of which travelled more than 150 feet. Up by a run in the 9th, I’ll take my chances with weakly hit ground balls and soft liners.

The Tigers definitely looked alive for this game and the starting pitching and defense were passable, at least (although it looks to me like Guillen may have some range issues at third, also. Need to get Inge back in there every day). I agree it’s good that Leyland is showing some confidence in a struggling Sheffield (you and I are in the minority on that around this board, though…), and he’s doing some things to try and get the guys going. It’s still a long season.

You raise an interesting point regarding what the Red Sox players think, and I won’t pretend to know what’s inside their collective heads. But you may be absolutely right. My guess is they took some positive things out of this game as well and weren’t able to close it off at the end. I checked a couple of Red Sox game threads, and the feeling there seems to be A LOT of rage towards Lugo (think Grilli x50) and a feeling that the Sox should have won the game. Papelbon said, “We didn’t get many breaks,” and “When they get little breaks like that, they’re going to make you pay for it.” Not sure what this illustrates, but interesting nonetheless for purposes of our discussion.

Bottom line, if they had tagged Papelbon for some bullets all over Comerica that took incredible plays from the Sox to turn into outs, I would have felt it was a llittle unlucky to lose that game. Again, I base this on the 9th inning alone. But that didn’t happen, we got excuse-me check singles and a well-timed error, coupled with good execution when it mattered. These things tend to even out over time, and I will take any win I can get right now, but it’s hard to get too excited over blowing a couple big leads and then stealing one in the 9th.

Mark in Chicago May 8, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Sorry my above comment rambled….

RationalSoxFan May 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm

I am an avid Red Sox fan, and run a Red Sox blog with a flair for fun along with good baseball stuff.

I thought Tigers fans might enjoy the write up I did about last nights win over the Red Sox. Hope you check it out and if you like it – let me know! Fun to hear from fans of other teams too.

Chris in Dallas May 8, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Sean: I’m glad you’re not a We Guy. It’s good to know I’m not the only member of that club.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Mark, don’t apologize for rambling. It’s not that I’ve been so busy here today, only that everyone else must be really busy at work today or something. Not a lot of traffic after a win that was at the very least exciting. Odd.

Good answer on all counts. I thought you might be a little down on the Tigers, applying a bit of a double standard, but it seems I may be the slightly giddy one. This is the 3rd game I’ve followed online (they’ve won all 3 – and now I’ve jinxed myself for sure), and I was on the edge of my seat like it was Game 4 of the 2006 ALCS. Just so glad they came through. And didn’t waste my time.

Yes, that’s the kind of fan I am. If the Tigers don’t win when I’m following the game, they’ve wasted my time. Much later, I may concede that it was a “good game.” Not right away.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Chris in Dallas: Yeah, you’re not the only one. I slip up once in a while. But I looked around here first to check who I might be (inadvertently) insulting, and I realized that most folks here stick with “they” most of the time. Call me on it if I ever do the WE thing.

Chris in Dallas May 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Sean: I had a weird feeling that they were going to win last night, even after the Pedroia hit. I know it’s obviously early for a Defining Moment of ’08, but I felt like if they lost that they were cooked for the season and if they won it would lead to better things from this point forward. Let’s hope my gut is right.

Sean C. in Illinois May 8, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Chris

I hope you have that weird feeling tonight, too. Yes, I think last night’s game was pretty big. It made me feel a lot better about the Tigers, and I really hope it does the same for the team.

Mark in Chicago May 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Sean,

I am exactly the same as you, I get way into the games (ask my gf, she’s sick of it already) and refuse to admit “good game” right away when we lose.

I’m definitely not down on the Tigers, I saw the same encouraging things you did. I’m just trying to be careful not to get too giddy or ahead of myself.

You’re going to have to continue to follow games online, I’m sorry that’s just the way it is. We need some wins.

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