Game 39: Tigers at Royals

PREGAME: Two days without baseball seems like an eternity. It’s why the All Star break is so painful. Fortunately the Tigers return to action tonight. Unfortunately it will be against Zach Grienke.

Grienke went 7 innings on 99 pitches the last time he faced the Tigers, limiting them to 1 run on 6 hits. He’s thrown a quality start in every outing, save for one when he only made it through 5 innings. In his last two starts he’s fanned 17 and walked 2.

The Tigers will send out Nate Robertson. Robertson has kept the team in most games, lasting 5 to 7 innings and allowing 4 runs with remarkable consistency. But while he’s kept them in games, with those stats, it doesn’t make for a good ERA (6.64) despite a 3:1 K:BB ratio.

Matt Joyce DH’s again.

  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

DET @ KCR, Tuesday, May 13, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 8:10

POSTGAME: Another punch in the gut.

I didn’t like Nate Robertson being removed from the game. Robertson had been in a ton of trouble throughout the course of the game, but aside from the Jose Guillen double he wasn’t being hit hard. He had gone through 7 innings on 82 pitches and he was attacking the strike zone and was helped out by an aggressive Royals offense.

But Leyland taking him out isn’t the reason the Tigers lost. It was a bad move especially considering it was done to avoid Robertson pitching to Mark Grudze… who is 8 for 9 in his career against Robertson but who had yet to hit the ball hard in any of his 3 hits that night. It was also the polar opposite of what Leyland has done on several occasions this year where he would leave a floundering and out of gas Justin Verlander in to try and “get him a win.”

The inability of the offense to generate extra base hits, or cash in on scoring chances are reasons the team lost. Edgar Renteria trying to make an inning ending play and failing is a reason they lost. Bringing in Cruceta who got two quick outs and got to two strikes on Jose Guillen before allowing a double wasn’t the problem.

I’m not defending the decision, but it’s not why they lost. Robertson allowed multiple baserunners in 4 innings and didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning all night. The same thing that happened to Cruceta could have happened to Robertson.

But reasons and blame aside, enough is enough already.

155 thoughts on “Game 39: Tigers at Royals”

  1. Mario: We’ve talked over and over again about Greinke’s off field problems, including depression…
    Rod: Well, he’s been DEPRESSING a lot of hitters in the American League this year!

    It’s going to be tough to top that exchange tonight.

  2. Just to piggy-back on Bill’s intro, Robertson’s got a terrible ERA, but he’s got a solid xFIP numbers due, in large, to his 3:1 K:BB ratio. He’s got an xFIP of 4.17 despite the fact that his left on base % is just 61.8% — some near 11% below league average.

  3. Out standing baserunning by Guillen and then just great fundamentals by throwing behind the runner instead of keeping him at 1st. Well done. Those are the fundamentals you want your kids watching! Maybe Ivan Rodriguez can put on one of his clinics on how to “not stop a ball in the dirt” again tonight and we can just knock out all the things you can do wrong on a baseball diamond in the first 2 innings.

  4. maybe a little late to the party, but i definitely enjoyed the two-day break from the Tigers. (now make me eat my words.)

  5. How many GIDPs for Sheff this year? Too bad that Joyce just hit one out of the park for only one run now too. Time to shuffle the lineup, sorry.

  6. Pena, a SS only valuable for his defense, drops an easy grounder. Renteria goes to first. Pudge promptly singles, sending him to third.

    McB: 6 GIDP for Sheffield this year, including the last one

  7. Bonds indicted on 14 counts. Hopefully this will put to bed rumors of his impending arrival in Detroit.

  8. Nate won’t have a bad inning tonight. 7.2 IP, 5 H, 6 K, 2 BB. That’s my line for Nate tonight.

  9. I like the confidence, Mike R. I thought I was going to go out on a limb and say Nate won’t have a bad inning, but you beat me to it.

    However, I won’t be totally relaxed/confident until Nate is through the 4th.

  10. Jeez…does Grunzielalakdksdlsadsadzzljnek get every hit for his season off the Tigers?

  11. So…Robertson gives up two this inning. Does it mean two more are coming in the fourth?

  12. No joke, Mike. Grudz absolutely crushes us. I would love to see the splits because we can’t get him out.

    At least Nate stopped the bleeding after the 2 runs. I have a feeling Grienke is going to settle in, so I hope we can at least push his pitch count up.

  13. Rentarea Sucks… Really. I’d much rather have Santiago in as shortstop and at the plate….. God I hate this trade.

  14. What is our +/- on DPs for the year? How many have we hit into vs. how many we’ve turned?

  15. Yeah, I got screwed on that one. I hit ‘submit’ just as Gathright tapped it back to the mound. I was trying to be clever, which I clearly am not.

  16. Ivan Rodriguez K’d on a high fastball and 3 pitches. Color me just stunned. I’m so bitter on him. Probably one of my most hated Tigers — and i can find things to like about all of them except him. Even Craig Monroe when he was here this time last year.

  17. Well that was anti-climactic, but at least we ran Grienke’s pitch count up. We should be able to see the bullpen fairly soon.

  18. Way to not be aggressive on the first fastball right down the middle Pudge. Even if it’s an out I wouldn’t be as mad.

  19. This is the Nate we know and love. Battles through some baserunners to give us a chance but gets to support.

  20. Anybody else notice the FSN graphic a few minutes ago? Your commentators are Mario Impemba and Rod Jones.

  21. Lots of strike zone attackage tonight. Lot of early-count outs.

    I like what NateRob is doing.

  22. Yeah, Bondo and Verlander need to take some notes on Nate’s performance (knock on wood)…pitching to contact and trusting his stuff. Where has this been?

  23. COME ON TIGERS, PULL THIS ONE OUT!! we are what? atleast 0-17 (and 0 for the season) when we dont score 5 runs. ONE TIME!

  24. A 1-2-3 inning. When was the last time Nate had one of those. Amazingly he has only thrown 81 pitches despite the ten hits.

  25. Tony:

    You’re not cynical, that’s optimistic. I’m cynical. It’s just that I can’t quite get my mind around ten hits in six inning being a quality start, but there you go.

  26. So you’re telling me that Cabrera is so slow that he can’t make it home from second on a hit out of the infield? I don’t get that. It’s not like Inge is Brian L. Hunter or something.

  27. Man, don’t take Nate out. That’s his reward for efficiency? I’m not knocking Cruceta here, but let Roberston start the inning.

  28. Why pull Nate? I know JL is a successful major-league manager, but sometimes I just don’t understand why he does what he does.

  29. Actually, as a “drastic” move, pinch-running for Cabrera was not such a bad idea. JL was definitely playing for the win there.
    Otherwise with this station to station offense we would have definitely needed two more hits there.

  30. In JL’s book starters only go seven innings. Period.

    On the positive side, now that Robertson is out of there, maybe they can score.

  31. My argument about Inge is that he’s not fast. You take out one of your best hitters (who is 2-2 with 2BBs), a guy you want to show confidence in to break out of a slump, for Rob Deer with a glove.

  32. Not pertinent to the game, but the Mets designated Jorge Sosa today, even odds he washes ashore in Motown.

  33. i just now see the posts, i agree thats a horrible decision. this is his longest outting of the year, and the least amount of runs hes allowed for the year. I HATE THAT SO MUCH YOU TAKE HIM OUT AT 82 PITCHES. damn

  34. Haha. Jim Leyland is an absolute joke. Absolute joke. How hard is it to make moves that put us in the best positions to win a baseball game? What a joke. This entire coaching staff is garbage.

  35. Sorry, I just couldn’t compose myself there. Renteria! Tuck in your darn shirt and start playing like you’re in the Bigs, not little league!

  36. What’s sad is, scoring AT LEAST one run SHOULDN’T be a big deal for this team. And yet….

  37. Why not give Nate a chance to get the win? He pitched great? If a guy goes 7 on 82 pitches, you let him go in the 8th. Period. Nate’s not a rookie.

  38. I’m really beginning to wonder why I watch this crap on a nightly basis….absolutely awful…

  39. Well…gaurantee Leyland doesn’t say anything to Renteria. He’s a veteran player after all.

    Dombrowski should have just given Ramon Santiago 50 games this season to prove himself and then make a move.

    Boston is quickly moving to second place behind Detroit on cities which dislike Edgar Renteria.

  40. Tony:

    Inge has to be faster than Cabrera, but if you wanted to go with the fastest man off the bench, Santiago would have been the one to use. Unfortunately he can’t play 3rd base, so….

  41. 16-23…and losing all hope….this team has some serious problems….Cruceta shouldn’t get the loss, Renteria should…

  42. As the days go by, I’m less and less impressed with ‘Leyland’s book’. I’m starting to grow weary of defending him. He deserves some heat for this move. Bad bad move.

  43. Renteria is also on the dubious list. He looks horrible on the field, horrible at the plate.

  44. Yeah, i’m about to fire back up the ol’ blog from last August. God this is ridiculous. i don’t even think managers affect many games in the AL but he puts his finger prints all over every game with terrible decisions.

    But the public loves him because he’s just so loveable. He’s a sub-.500 manager in his career for a reason. Get this bum out of motown. I’ll drive him to the airport and punt him from this state. Sickening. Absolutely sickening. I’ve been apathetic towards this team all year and not taking losses hard, the only thing that fires me up anymore is Jim Leyland.

  45. Well, anyway you look at this one, we probably weren’t going to score.

    18 LOB. You can blame it on Leyland for not keeping Nate in, or for Renteria for booting an easy play, or on Pudge for swinging at a high third strike…

    But this was a team effort. We weren’t ever really in a position to win. Neither were the Royals, but it was only going to be a matter of time before someone scored, and in a game like this, the edge goes SPEED over POWER.

    Well-pitched game by Nate. Let’s hope the other starters take note and start throwing strikes and pitching to contact. Because IT WORKS.

  46. greg:

    Leyland has been doing this stuff for 3 seasons. Its just more obvious now because the players are all sucking at the same time too, and the bad managing can’t be covered up.

  47. Well, that was fun. Yes, that’s some fearsome lineup the Tigers have put together.

  48. Does anyone else think we seem to be following the same pattern as the White Sox? World Series (2005), good season but no play-offs (2006), then suck (2007)?

  49. It’s starting to feel like the old days again, except I can’t just go sit anywhere I like in the ballpark, which was the ONLY redeeming thing in those days, and I don’t even have that. Of couse, if our boys keep it up like this… good times! 😛

  50. Not even close to the worst game I’ve seen from this team, but uninspiring all the same. Good pitching performance from Nate, though.

  51. If the Starting Pitching, Offense, and Manager all show up on the same day, the Tigers might actually win a game.

  52. JML: late April, 2006 was the last time I’ve had any room at Comerica. But soon I will be able to stretch out to my heart’s content!!!

  53. As frustrating as this loss is and as easily it is to get down on the offense, let’s take a look at this KC pitcher lineup we saw today:

    Z. Greinke ERA 1.93
    R. Ramirez ERA 1.06
    L. Nunez ERA 1.72
    J. Soria ERA 0.00

    Simply put, these guys are un-freaking-believable.

  54. Nate better have hurt himself on that last pitch in the seventh, cuz short of that, there is absolutely NO reason to pull him in a tie game. If the Tigers are up by a run or two, yes. I see the move. But he’s at 83 pitches, the score is tied, and we’re looking at the first game in a series that could go into extra innings. For God Sake’s man, use your head. Stretch Nate — who’s doing a more than adequate job dealing against the Royals — and go to the bullpen when needed.

    Who’s in charge here?

  55. Chris:

    And please note that they are all righthanders.

    Looking ahead, I see a lot of righthanders starting (and probably relieving) against the Tigers – 2 more this series and the first two games vs. Arizona for sure. If I was an opposiong manager, I would set my rotation so they never saw a lefty, (unless it was an ace like Sabathia or Santana.)

  56. In Leyland’s book, starters go no more than 7 innings. Period. Pitch counts don’t matter. That’s why you have a bullpen. No change for seen. That’s the way it is. Period.

  57. With this defensive team, the Brewers would have scored 2 runs last year in Verlander’s no hitter.

  58. Someone needs to pilfer Leyland’s book then and do some editing. That’s just a bowl full of wrong.

  59. Absolutely HORRIBLE!!

    82 pitches!!!

    All Leyland said during the spring is that he wants more innings out of his starters, yet he pulls a guy after 82 pitches!

    I hate Cruceta in the 8th inning role. Lopez seems alot more comfortable to me in tight situations. All that Leyland has done at this point is ruined Cruceta’s confidence.

    Now, why do you play an excellent defensive OFer (Joyce) at DH so that you can start 2 trucks in the corner OF positions. What, would Maggs get his feelings hurt by DHing?? Who is the Manager of this team??

    I am so disgusted!! There is a reason Leyland’s career win% is below .500 and we saw it tonight!


  60. Then we need to find the portal to it, and fast.

    In the spirit of ‘Being John Malkovic’ I hereby commission Mike R to write the screenplay for:

    ‘Being Jim Leyland’

  61. Vince – Starters don’t go past 7 innings no matter what unless their name is Justin Verlander and they’ve already thrown a hundred pitches and they’re getting hit harder because fatigue has obviously begun to set in.

    Then, though, feel free to send him in to the 8th. And when he gives up the home run, leave him in.

  62. I didn’t actually SEE the game, so please tell me exactly what happened on that infield single (so reported) that scored a run in the 8th. Take a break from firing Leyland.

  63. Renteria fielded a grounder and prepared to flip it to second, but instead threw it about three feet in the opposite direction. That mistake plus some heads-up baserunning got a run in.

  64. Dave BW

    Thanks! Any other noticeably bad (and good) fielding tonight? Every time I see “singled to left field,’ I’m left wondering if it was a ground ball that got through that really shouldn’t have.

  65. Then we need to find the portal to it, and fast.

    In the spirit of ‘Being John Malkovic’ I hereby commission Mike R to write the screenplay for:

    Being Jim Leyland’

    Well, Greg, it’d be something like this:

    “Man. I need a smoke. These tv breaks are too short. Maybe I should make the ultimate break cigarette in which it’s like, half the size and double the nicotine of a typical smoke. Then I could puff down four at a time and … wait, the 7th inning is over. Hey, Gene, how many pitches is Nate at?”

    “82, skip.”

    “182?! What the hell we doin here? Get Frank Crouton up in the pen.”

    “No, he’s at 82 pitches. Eight, two.”

    “282, got it. Thanks Nate, hit the showers and relax. You dun good.”

    “Maybe I should make a move here. Hm. Miguel Cabrera seems to be breaking out with a couple of solid hits to left field and a couple of walks. What the hell, let’s yank him. Splendid Splinter, go run for Cabby.”

    “You did well cabby, just have a seat. Rest that quad. Don’t want it to strain in the 69 degree weather tonight.”

    “Damn. Well, Crouton will get us out of this one. Man. I should really invent those quit break smokes. So handy. I could call ’em Uncle Jim’s Slims. Mmmm, Slim Jim’s. Where’s Dmitri Young when you need him? I could go for some Slim Jim’s. Or some of those ho ho snack cakes. He should buy some stock in Hostess snake cakes. He’s paid for a few of those guys retirements. …What’s that? 2 out? So inning’s over we’ll win it in the 9th. Pudge will hit a 800 foot homer. Or maybe he’ll double and Pauly can bring him in … Maybe I could make a cigarette the size of Pauly. I’d need a longer break to smoke that one in the tunnel though. It’d be good for rain delays, I bet. What? we’re down 3-2? Huh. Stupid guys clogging the bases with their on base non-sense. Rob Deer couldn’t get on base but he could hit a ball hard. We need more of those guys. Man, i’d like to smoke a cig the size of Rob Deer. That’d take up like 2 rain delays plus a cross country flight. I’d show Wade Boggs what a cross country flight is for and it ain’t drinking no 36 beers or something. Oh, wait, the media’s here. When did they show up? Ryan Fields kind of looks like a cigarette with his hair standing straight up. What’d he say?

    Oh. Yeah, he pitched okay. . .”

  66. Good morning, Tiger fans! What a beautiful morning. May 14 and the Tigers are only 7 games under .500. Meanwhile, the rebuilding is coming along nicely.

    I had a weird dream last night. It was 2008, and the Tigers had Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Dontrelle Willis, and Carlos Guillen all on the same team, plus some young pitching phenom whose name I can’t quite remember (Jason Vernmeister or something?), and if all that wasn’t strange enough, I also think I was divorced. Silly. Here in 2003, the Tigers are coming along after a slow start, and things are looking up.

    Can’t figure out where my wife was this morning, though.

  67. I am just sick. I don’t know what to say. Switched to the Pistons after the early hideous baserunning screwup.

    But Sean, that was pretty darn funny. Thanks.

  68. cib

    No problem. I tried to write something serious but found myself unable to.

    What early hideous baserunning screwup? I can only follow the games online (text), and the account leaves a lot to be desired.

    Which brings me to my only quibble with this here place. In a game thread such as this one, I often find little discussion of the game itself. So please, in between ritual firings of Leyland and Hernandez, find it in your heart to note some impressions of particular plays and other details of the game, for those of us who can only imagine what you lucky (well…) folks get to watch. Just a humble request. Disregard me if I’m out of line – it’s not like I’m on-topic a lot of the time myself.

  69. Sean C:

    Forget about the Tigers this year. They’re toast. Gotta wait till football season for anything exciting to happen in Motown…Looks like Lions are the Motown team to follow now. Can’t wait to see what Steve Mariucci does for the team. Super Bowl or bust!

    Funny dream about the future, though.

  70. Sean C,

    If you go to the Royals’ MLB home page, it has a link to video of the Renteria play (aka “Teahan’s single”). I just saw it myself, looks like he just rushed the flip and forgot to compensate for the direction his body was moving. Not too hard of a play, just a lack of focus IMO.

  71. T Smith:

    So what are you saying? That the Tigers are gonna lose 100+ games? That’s ridiculous. This is a good young team on the rise. I can see Bonderman going 19-6, and I think that Inge fella is ready to hit big league pitching. Kinda reminds me of a young Johnny Bench. Just you wait.

    Yeah, the Lions are on the brink for sure. Go Mariucci!

  72. Rick G

    Thank you so much! Why didn’t I think of that? (Because I have dial-up at home, that’s why. I tend to forget to avail myself of the broadband at work.)

    Tough play. As Renteria said, a reaction. Not the best reaction – looks like he could have had the guy at home. With presence of mind. Still… I’m more down on Renteria for his hitting in this game. Trivial pursuit question: Would an excellent fielder like Kenny Rogers have nabbed that before it got to Renteria? Didn’t look that hard hit, but it’s hard to tell from the slightly wobbly video.

  73. I think that there is still a decent chance that our offense heats up and goes on a roll as the summer gets closer…so I should be able to “hold-on” until then.

    However, after D Willis’ last rehab stint (5.2 in, 7 hits, 5 er, 3 bb, 3 k), if there isn’t a major improvement in his next start and we call him back up to plug into the rotation…I think it will be safe to question this team’s front office.

    Leyland is the anti-Money Ball. There are definitely times where I’ve seen him make a mound visit and correct a pitchers waywardness…but in Willis’ case, its beyond any one small thing. We don’t have the luxury of roster space or time to fix Willis’ issues at the major league level, either he improves in the minors or heaven help us if they bring him back before that.

  74. Hilarious screenplay Mike R. This team makes me want to drink 36 beers or smoke a cig the size of Rob Deer too. What makes this worse is that the Tigers on MLB the Show for PS3 are the top rated team and it’s nearly impossible to lose with them. Jacque Jones and Gary Sheffield lead the AL in BA and HR’s respectively. I guess the game lacks some realism.

  75. Ken: I had to stop my Tigers dynasty in that game, as the disparity between their greatness and the real-life Tigers was just pissing me off.

  76. Andre

    Yeah, I don’t know why they’d be in a hurry to bring Willis back. Obviously he’s part of their contending plans over the next few seasons, not just a win now component. I don’t think they’ve missed him, exactly. I kind of forgot he was on the team, myself. Sorta like that one guy – Joel Rodney, right? Whatever happened to him? Kinda sad to see a guy flame out like that after only a season.

  77. Dave —

    I’ve had a similar feeling of wanting to reset the season like you would your reset playstation during the eff-you game madden throws at you when you’re winning too much…not that the Tigers are having the same problem.

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