Game 39: Yankees at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers will try and close out the season series against the Yankees with a win. It will be two left handers on the mound today which should favor Detroit.

The Tigers offense is built to beat up lefties, and they took care of Andy Pettite last time they hooked up in Detroit.

For Detroit, somehow Nate Robertson will give up 4 runs. He’s allowed 4 runs in 5 of his last 6 starts. It’s just a matter of how long he lasts.

Then again, it’s raining north of Detroit right now, so who knows if they get it in.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, my grandma (who we buy the sports package for as a Christmas gift each year so she can watch her Tigers), and my wife. Also Happy Mother’s Day to cib, and Kathy, and Anne, and all the other mom’s.

NYY @ DET, Sunday, May 11, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 1:05

29 thoughts on “Game 39: Yankees at Tigers”

  1. Unlike much of our struggling rotation Nate Robertson has done a pretty good job in one category: he has only walked 11 in 40+ innings while striking out 31. The big problem for Nate is he can’t seem to shut a team down for his entire outing and always somehow dishes out the big inning.

    Another of Dave Dombrowski’s dumbass moves was sighing this stiff to a long term deal. DD doesn’t realize that Nate Robertson with his 4.70 career ERA is easily replaceable with a dozen or more minor league scrubs. Or perhaps he could have kept both Jair Jurrjens and Andrew Miller with idea that, at worst, one of those guys would be as good (or as bad) as Nate Robertson. And then, of course, we could and would have been surprised that one of those guys is far better. And if by chance that both of these prospects suck, you can get rid of them and replace them with someone else.

    But nooooo…. We can’t do that now could we? We have to commit ourselves for years to throwing out there a sub-mediocre pitcher every five games to get hammered. Folks, get used to the big “L” coming every five games for years to come, because that’s what DD has commited us to.

    Dave Dombrowski is the 2nd worst GM EVER!!!!!

  2. Good news, game postponed. This way the Tigers won’t lose a game, at least on this Sunday.

    Thank you Rain Gods. Where have you been?

  3. Well thank you Billfer. Everyone just left after brunch, and I must say I am looking forward to a relaxing afternoon now that the game has been rained out. I can’t believe I am saying that! but yesterday was such a disappointing experience. I still don’t know why they pinch hit Polanco with Santiago coming up. Santiago has been a source of energy lately and let’s face it, how much worse could the at-bat have been? That really irritated me. My morale is rock-bottom right now.

    But again, thanks for the shout-out!

  4. Can you believe the Marlins are 21-14?! They have by farrrr the lowest payroll in the majors right now. And here we are with a redonkulous payroll, and can’t put together a string of wins to save our lives. And just to make it burn that much more, Andrew Miller threw 7 shutout innings last night.

  5. With this rainout, I wonder if Nate Robertson will start the next game, Tuseday night in KC. This could mean that he will go up against the tough Zach Grenke, which means we have no shot at winning that game. Perhaps the Tigers can scrap their plans of skipping Galarraga’s next start and have him go up against Grenke. KC’s lineup is pretty meek and Galarraga has had some success against unfamiliar opponents. And hell, he happens to be our best starter so far so why not match him against KC’s best starter.

    Also, maybe the Tigers should use this opportunity to give Verlander a break and let him try to work things out. Maybe he can throw a bullpen session in the hope he can turn his season around. But on second thought, he has been pitching better, in spite of the poor results, and having him go up against this lame Royal lineup could be just the thing to get his mojo back.

    ….any thoughts?

  6. Thanks for sharing, Vince. We were actually walking from Nemo’s to Casey’s for a bar burger on Friday mid-day and saw this guy taking the pictures.

  7. Argh I was watching Boston v Twinkies earlier and Craig Monroe hit a MONSTER 3-run HR. WHERE WERE YOU LAST YEAR???

    I can’t even get any peace watching OTHER TEAMS play!!!

  8. What is worse is watching Wakefield struggle to make his knuckler dance today after he mastered it against the Tigers. Why couldn’t we have had that performance? I hate it when pitchers have their stuff against the Tigers and then turn around the next week and serve batting practice to our divisional opponents.


    Using a simple 3 to -3 scoring system for 9 categories of results, then dividing the score by number of plate appearances, here’s how the Tigers stack(ed) up as far as getting it done with runners on:

    Santiago .947 in 19 PA
    Inge .739 in 46 PA
    Thames .455 in 22 PA
    Ordonez .232 in 82 PA
    Thomas .192 in 26 PA
    Polanco .153 in 53 PA
    Guillen -.014 in 70 PA
    Sheffield -.037 in 54 PA
    Granderson -.100 in 20 PA
    Cabrera -.123 in 73 PA
    Renteria -.151 in 73 PA
    Rodriguez -.197 in 66 PA
    J. Jones -.212 in 33 PA
    Raburn -.333 in 15 PA
    Joyce -.429 in 7 PA

    An idea of the scale here, comparing unbelievable to good to lousy: 63% of Inge’s PA have been positive. as compared to 50% for Ordonez, and then 26% for Rodriguez. And to think I questioned Inge’s bat.

    I’ll have more on this research later. I’ll just hit the highlights rather than deliver reams of numbers.

    One tidbit for now: Why is Thames looking so good? He delivers runs 18% of the time, and he still hasn’t struck out with runners on or grounded into a DP. No other Tiger has gone 22 PA without that.

    OK, a bit more: The longest streak of positive ABs is 6, shared by a number of players – including J. Jones! Maybe his problem wasn’t so much killing rallies as much as never starting them. The long cold streak is 7. Pudge. And it took Polanco 16 PA to drive in his first runner.

  10. Andrew Miller did throw 7 shutout innings. He’s also posted TERRIBLE numbers all year long. I don’t understand what the Marlins are doing. Why follow the same route the Tigers did? Miller needs to be in Triple-A refining his stuff to even pass as average No. 5 starter in the NL.

  11. Just wondering which of Dave Littlefield, Bill Bavasi, and Jim Bowden is better than DD. Jim Duquette? Ned Coletti? Brian Sabean? If he kept JJJ and Miller, the team has Santiago at shortstop and Inge at third. Granted, this team is not playing well right now, but DD has brought them plenty of talent to win. Brought in the best young hitter in the game and signed him to a slightly below-market contract? Sounds like good GMing. Of all the moves of the last couple years, the only one I see that didn’t look like a good idea at the time is the 3-year contract for Dontrelle. Jacque Jones was a questionable signing, but wasn’t horrible at the time. 3 mill for what was supposed to be a league average LF isn’t out of place. Guillen for Santiago? Polanco for Urbina? Cabrera for Maybin and Miller? Reasonable contracts for all three? This is one of the game’s best GMs. He doesn’t play in or coach the games. He acquires players, and has done a terrific job. Look at the 2003 roster. Through trades, signings, and drafts DD turned that into this. It didn’t happen magically, DD did it.

  12. Ryan,

    Of the moves Dombrowski made, the ones that have really went bad are the trades involving pitchers, especially the Jair Jurrjens trade. If there is one rule that should be written as a GM, it should be that you don’t trade your major league ready pitching prospects for a position player when you don’t have that many of those types of pitchers in your farm system. Injuries do happen and some members of you rotation can struggle, so you need to have someone in your farm system ready to go. DD traded that guy away for a shortstop we did not need.

    The other big mistake he made is “locking up” certain starters, such as Robertson & Willis, to long term contracts, as if these duds couldn’t be replaced. If anything, we should have had Robertson and Jurrjens compete in spring training for the same job. But since these one of guys are under long term contracts and the other is gone, there isn’t the flexibility in the roster to get the best pitcher for the job. We a re stuck with Nate Robertson for years regardless of how poorly he performs.

    This team is doomed to multiple losing seasons because of Dave Dombrowski’s incompetence.

  13. The owner may be having DD may be doing these moves for the “now”-the 78 year old doesn’t have time to wait for the young guys to develop and has lots of money anyway.

  14. 6 weeks ago no one was complaining. Step into the manager’s office if you want to solve the problem.

  15. Chris,

    A shortstop we did not need? Remember that at the time, the Tigers had the AL’s worst defensive shortstop (non-Jeter division) and were without a first baseman. Renteria is a proven player with a track record (recent and historic) of great offensive production and adequate defense. That trade made the team better both offensively and defensively. To get a good player, you must give a good player. A pitcher that projects into a solid number 3 with a slightly worrisome injury history seems about right. Plus with Porcello in the pipeline, and a high probability that JV, Bondo, and Nate are three of your starters for at least 3 years, where would JJJ fit? Having Jurrjens in Toledo as a spot starter is more important than a starting SS? Really?

    As for the “locking up” of starters, Nate is a solid number five making a reasonable amount of money for a number five starter. With the going rate for lefty free agent pitchers, Nate has a perfectly sensible contract. We are ‘stuck with him’, but that’s the nature of contracts. I’d love to have Brandon Webb here on a year-to-year deal too, but it ain’t happening. As for Dontrelle, no defense for that. A guy who seems to be in rapid decline getting a big 3-year contact. Don’t mind the trade, but I think locking him up before he threw a pitch here was a mistake. -1 for Dombrowski. I’ll also give you the Inge contract. Not a bad guy to sign, and not a bad length, but he could have gotten far less money.

    Honestly though, if JV and Bondo are performing this season, are you really so concerned about losing Jurrjens? I don’t think anyone saw this coming, least of all DD. Grade the decisions, not the results. Sure, at this instant, having Jurrjens back sounds mouth-wateringly good. But if the starters were performing how you would have predicted them to perform given all available information, Jurrjens is either the spot starter in place of Galarraga or in Toledo. Neither helps the team significantly.

    The Tigers are performing poorly right now, but don’t blame the guy that put the team together. The players are not performing to their predicted levels. Blame the players or the coaches. All the GM is doing is putting together the best team he is allowed to buy. I really feel that Dombrowski has done that. If you thought that this team would be 16-22; not that they would ‘have holes’ but that they would be playing genuinely bad, then you are a better evaluator than me. I thought this team looked unstoppable on paper. I saw seven runs scored per game and 5 runs against per game. I would like to have someone to blame, but I don’t think the GM is it.

  16. Ryan,

    I was just going to point out what you did in your first paragraph. I don’t think anyone didn’t have JV as a Cy Young contender at the start of the season and while Bonderman was more of an unknown quantity health-wise…for the most part we could have agreed that a healthy Bondo can pitch. DD can’t really be blamed for those two.

    Nate’s performances you can see coming…because he’s basically the same every year. He has good periph numbers and you always think this is going to be the year for him…and it never is. So I do agree with Chris here, Nate’s contract isn’t that big…but for much less we could have gone with somebody with more upside.

    Jurrjen’s for Renteria was the trade of the offseason before the Cabrera/Willis deal that had Bobby Cox calling a team meeting to explain Renteria’s departure. The Willis contract is hard to justify…really hard. I don’t know how they rationalized it to themselves even before spring training.

    There have been some questionable moves made by DD. I just think that most of the criticism has been hindsight in nature. Going into the season people thought that the bullpen was the weak link, not the rotation as it has turned out.

    We knew going into the season that the Tigers were going to get by on offense…and most people thought if there was an offense on paper that could do it that it was this one. We’re off to a rough start and there are more issues with the team than anticipated…but the fact is that these weren’t all obvious issues at the start.

    I think its good to question your team sometimes. Here in Chicago it seems like Cub-fans never do and Sox-fans do too much. It was easy to be a Tigers fan in Cinderella-06. Time to separate the die-hards from the fair-weather (Chris, please don’t think that just because I think you’re overly critical that I think your fair-weather).

  17. Ryan,

    Yes we did not need a shortstop. Why? Because we have an very good fielding shortstop in the name of Romone Santiago. Sure, he is not a high average hitter, but one can argue that his defensive capability makes up for his deficiencies there to the point that you can justify his place as an everyday player. Trading away two top prospects for a few percentage points of batting average from the shortstop position is hardly what I would call a justifiable move. I could understand it if Rentarea was a left handed hitter– which the Tigers needed– but he wasn’t. I can tell you that I found this move baffling when I first heard of it, and now I find it down right stupid.

    Where would Jair Jurrjens be if he weren’t traded away? Well probably not in Toledo. I would have him starting in place of the always mediocre Nate Robertson. In fact, today Jair Jurrjens pitched his worst game of the year and still it was better than any of the performances we’ve got out of Robertson all season. Is Nate Robertson a “solid” number five starter? Maybe from a career standpoint. But you can, and should, be in a position to replace a guy like that when he struggles with someone with more upside.

    But I do agree with you that there has been mutable disappointments from the starting rotation that have caught everyone by surprise, and that DD can’t be blamed for not foreseeing that. With the possible exception of Kenny Rogers and the fill-in Armondo Galarraga, the rotation way off from any reasonable expectation that nobody saw coming.

    But that’s why you need flexibility in your organization. It’s not only injury but poor-ass performances that should allow a team to make changes. When you lock-up guys with pricey contracts it is harder to yank a guy like Robertson out of your rotation and stick in someone else. Now the only thing for a Tiger fan to do is wish the guy can turn his career around or for him to get a career ending injury. I don’t think he can do the former, so I hoping the latter happens.

  18. Chris,

    Even if you substitute Robertson’s numbers (1-4) with JJ’s the (4-2) Tigers are still sub-500. That’s being generous to JJ who’s pitching in the NL to teams that haven’t seen him enough to figure out his stuff. His ERA will go up in time, just like Galaragga’s will.

    Renteria provides proven offense with average defense. I think almost any manager or gm would take him over Santiago.

    The Tigers are 16-22 as I write this, if just JV and Bondo had performed to most peoples expectations the Tigers, at the very least, are an over-500 team. If on top of that the offense had performed as expected we’re easily on top of the division.

    DD and the Tigers made some questionable moves, yes. They’ve also been victimized by a “perfect storm” of bad luck or whatever you want to call it. The blame for how this rough patch has been handled is more on the manager and coaches.

    Most teams have a few less than favorable contracts. The only two the Tiger’s have that I really have a problem with are Robertson’s and Willis’ (Inge at the time seemed like a bargain, even Robertson who many thought was turning the corner). In any case DD has probably done more good than harm, although time may yet make a liar of me.

  19. Despite what Leyland seems to have convinced himself, Ramon Santiago is not a particularly good defensive shortstop (I don’t know who this Romone Santiago is — perhaps they are related). Last year, he was thoroughly average as an AL shortstop whether by conventional states (FPct) or advanced ones (RZR, OOZ, Davenport). He definitely had an edge on Guillen, but let’s not pretend he’s Adam Everett. That said, I never liked the Renteria trade and would have much preferred a free-agent acquisition of a no-hit, good-field SS (like the aforementioned Everett, for example).

    And Chris, I don’t disagree about Robertson’s mediocrity, but did you just express a desire for Robertson to suffer a career ending injury for the sake of a few extra wins? I hope I read that wrong. Wow.

  20. Let me just say that I want Robertson off this team, ASAP.

    I’d prefer a trade, but surely nobody would want him, even if the Tigers had to eat some of his contract money. Otherwise, I would hope that they demote him to the bullpen or Toledo, but surely they won’t because Dombrowski stupidly gave him a big unjustified contact. The Tigers are stuck with the sunk-cost syndrom of having to get whatever they can get, even if it ruins the season for the team. Otherwise, I would like him to suddenly retire, but he’s not going to do that for obvious reasons. Otherwise, I would like him to go on the DL with Tired Arm and I would like him to stay there for the rest of the season.

    OK. Is that better?

  21. Chris, your wish for Robertson to suffer a “career ending injury” is utterly despicable. I doubt I’m alone in getting sick of some of your senseless rants on this site. Those I can stand, but comments like this are WAY out of line.

  22. Oh wow, I am with Ryan. I can get as exasperated as anyone with our Tigers but Chris that is just nasty and wrong. Not on our blog, please.

  23. God, 38 games in and the sky is falling. Yes, we need to start playing better. Hindsight is always 20/20. Datsyuk, Datsyuk, Datsyuk

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