Game 45: Mariners at Tigers

PREGAME: Well, it’s already been an interesting night at the ballpark. As for the game itself it will pit Justin Verlander against Carlos Silva.

Silva has a 4.17 ERA. In typical Silva fashion he’s allowing his share of hits, and not striking out many, but walking even fewer.

The Tigers will have the following lineup:

  1. Granderson
  2. Polanco
  3. Sheffield
  4. Ordonez
  5. Cabrera
  6. Guillen
  7. Joyce
  8. Renteria
  9. Rodriguez

SEA @ DET, Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Game Preview –

: It’s never easy is it? Tonight a solid outing by the ace and an outburst by the offense was nearly undermined by the mostly trustworthy arms of Aquilino Lopez and Clay Rapada getting roughed up. And the outfield made 3 errors. And the errors came from the defensive outfielders Raburn-Granderson-Joyce.

But how ’bout that offense. The slumping Edgar Renteria was a double short of the cycle including a bases loaded triple. And the slumping Curtis Granderson singled, doubled, and homered. And the slumping Carlos Guillen hit a bomb to straight away centerfield.

So it’s a win amidst the turmoil. Now heaven help me if they get shut out tomorrow or Rogers biffs.


  1. Mike in CT

    May 20, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    missed the opening, did rod and mario say anything about all the turbulence from today?

  2. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Swami Mark calls for JV’s second win of the year tonight.

  3. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 20, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I think what the Tigers need to do tonight is outscore the Mariners.

  4. TMadison25

    May 20, 2008 at 7:25 pm


  5. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 20, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    The Tigers’ record is not good in games where they’ve been outscored, I can tell you that.

  6. Sky

    May 20, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I don’t see it Mark. Verlander remains a little shaky. Whatever the problems with this team they are far from over. I would love to be wrong. Justin can not throw a curve or a change-up for a strike, and his fastballs are erratic. Count the first pitch strikes.

  7. Sky

    May 20, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    There is one thing though that is so different right now. Granderson is not doing anything well. He can’t seem to make any solid contact.

    Maybe because Seattle has been underplaying also the Tigers have something of a chance.

  8. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Leadoff double. These runs need to score.

  9. TMadison25

    May 20, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    There we go! Give V some run support!

  10. greg

    May 20, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    LOL – Sean

  11. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Sky, I know where you’re coming from, but I’m tired of being frustrated at this team, tired of complaining about the mistakes, and just plain tired of losing. So I’m going at it from a different angle and showing some confidence in my team and Verlander in particular.

    As I cited in my comment on the previous thread, I think it’s almost time to buy low on this team.

  12. Brian P

    May 20, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    If Miggy keeps hitting to his potential, which we’ve started to see a little bit this last week, he needs to inhabit the number three spot. I don’t know why Sheffield is there today.

  13. JOE Z

    May 20, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    thank god they scored cabera off his double, i honestly might have broken something if they didnt.

  14. JOE Z

    May 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    freaking stunning knocking those 2 guys in

  15. TMadison25

    May 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    SheffieDL stint. Bring up Hessman and rotate 3rd/DH with Guillen.

  16. DavidBrennan

    May 20, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Look! A latin player grounded into a double play….they’re lazy!!! Put Brandon Inge in, he’s the best player on the team!


    (Note: Just to be clear, this was a joke based on the inane racist crap spewed on Detroit sports talk radio today.)

  17. Sky

    May 20, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Glad to see the 2 runs. Why was I thinking as Pudge hit that he would hit into a DP? Did I cause it? Or did he? Or is this just how they are? Is the Detroit scoring for this game finished?

    Silva looks like he is throwing in a way I could hit it and I’m 56. But we will see.

  18. Sky

    May 20, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    I like that expression Mark….”buy low”.clever turn of phrase.

  19. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 7:48 pm


    I wish I could take credit for it, but it’s an old investment phrase. To be honest, I’m thinking of putting my money where my mouth is and seeing what some of the odds in Vegas look like.

  20. Sky

    May 20, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I know it is an investment phrase………I thought the clever part was applying it to this team. And maybe I agree……..they have played so poorly up to this point all our expectations are gone. The anger and anguish no longer matters.

  21. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 20, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Hey, there’s a Eurasian Wigeon in my pond. Oops – wrong forum. (But it’s an unbelievable sighting here, just so you know.)

    Thanks, Greg. I felt that a couple choice Ron Santo-type comments were called for. That and my Eurasian Wigeon are going to bring a Tiger victory tonight.

    See you all after the win!

  22. Sky

    May 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Shef swings under it and hard………like always….pops it up..what a surprise! Why is he in this game at all? Does anyone noticed he has not been able to hit since last July?

  23. Dave BW

    May 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Everyone notices, Sky. But let’s put him third in the lineup again, just to shake things up! Argh. 🙂

  24. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Nice get, Sean. The only odd bird in my pond is the heron waiting to eat the baby ducks. I hate that heron.

  25. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Verlander good or Mariners bad?
    Also, is this what “mowing them down” is like? It’s been a while…

  26. greg

    May 20, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    The only thing that makes sense is that Sheff’s range of motion must still be somewhat restricted due to physical limitations. The strength and batspeed are there. But that w/o consistent solid contact doesn’t do the team much good.

  27. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Knock on wood (my head), Verlander is dealing.

  28. Kevin in Austin

    May 20, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Sean C…what other forum do you belong to? Is a Eurasian Wigeon like a Devil’s 3 way?

  29. Joel in Seattle

    May 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Audio of Leyland’s rant is available here:

    He’s not holding back…

  30. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Productive outs. I always talk about it, but they are important. Good job Guillen.

  31. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Very nice, good stuff by Edgar.

    Set up by the real good AB by the rookie.

  32. TMadison25

    May 20, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I don’t practice Renteria. I ain’t got no crystal ball.

  33. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Wow! Runs are being scored and Verlander is pitching. This doesn’t happen often.

  34. DavidBrennan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Yeah, when Verlander is pitching, we’re used to seeing the other team score 7 runs in 4 innings.

  35. Brian P

    May 20, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Four of those hits came on first pitch fastballs. Wee.

  36. DavidBrennan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    I’m just curious….

    In the past four or five years, MLB fans seem to have become fixated on “run support”, right? Wannabe-statheads love to heap pity on pitchers with bad records (usually white guys) and claim it’s because he has bad run support (as opposed to simply saying he’s been outpitched by the pitchers opposite him).

    So….on a night like tonight, when Verlander, for a change, isn’t getting humiliated, are the hitters allowed to whine about how they’re not getting good “run-prevention support”? Can they say that Verlander should save his (rare) good performances for when they’re not hitting well?

    After all, what the hell good is an 8 IP, 1 ER, 10K gem tonight when the Tigers score 10 runs anyway?

  37. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    It’s hard to win when you give up 2 runs and your offense scores 0.

  38. DavidBrennan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Brian in Tampa,

    Right. And it’s even harder to win when your pitcher has an ERA of 6+. ‘Specially when he’s your best pitcher.

  39. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    I know David, I’m just messin’ with ya. It is nice to see Verlander give up 2 runs last game and 1 this game. Let’s hope this is a trend.

  40. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Verlander? Renteria? Granderson? I missed you guys.

  41. JOE Z

    May 20, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    i lied somewhat about renteria, but lol at this offense.

  42. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 8:52 pm


    By your argument, it should be no problem for a pitcher to win games with an ERA of 6+ if he’s getting 7+ runs of support. This is why wins are a poor way to measure the value of a pitcher.

  43. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Baek vs. Sheffield = Resistable force vs. movable object.

  44. Tbone

    May 20, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks go out to Bob Nightengale for finally lighting a fire under this team. For the first time this season, they look like they care.

  45. DavidBrennan

    May 20, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Mark in Chicago,

    I think we can all agree that W-L record is not the most descripitive stat for a pitcher’s performance, and it’s certainly less relevant than it’s given in many media circles.

    So….then why the hell do people then fixate on “run support”? If W-L is insignificant, then “run support” is definitely insignificant. (I put “run support” in quotes because I hate the terminology: it suggests that runs are only scored for the sake of a pitcher’s stats rather than to win a game.)

  46. Neal

    May 20, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I guess the chemistry is okay tonight.
    Why is Sheff in the line-up? Is this Leyland giving Sheff a last opportunity to show that he’s healthy enough to play (at least hit)?
    Let’s hope that the quality starts contine for JV and that the rest of starters get on board.

  47. Dave BW

    May 20, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    JV’s ERA is now 5.61. The 6.00 ERA barrier has been breached!

  48. jason

    May 20, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Sheff: 0 for 4
    Everyone else: 15 for 27

  49. Neal

    May 20, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I guess it could be worse, we could Vidro as our DH. At least Sheff isn’t making a ton of outs, let him lead off, and drop Granderson to 3rd in the order.

  50. Neal

    May 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    I meant say usually isn’t making a ton of outs.

  51. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    David, I see your point. It’s a little inconsistent to say on one hand that a pitcher’s win-loss record doesn’t matter but “run support” (you like the quotes?) does matter.

    However, let’s examine the loss part. If a starter goes 7 innings but leaves trailing 2-1, he will lose unless his team scores more runs (obviously). I would say the pitcher is a victim of poor run support in which he pitched effectively but his offense did not do enough for him to avoid the loss.

    If his team scores 2 runs after he is out of the game, it will not show on his won-loss record, so I would submit he is a victim of being unlucky.

    In the case of Verlander who hasn’t pitched well, I agree with you that run support is a meaningless concept. But for a guy who is routinely pitching deep into games with a quality start, I think it has some relevance.

  52. DavidBrennan

    May 20, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Mark in Chicago,

    If we disqualify W-L as a key statistic, then it’s entirely irrelevant whether the offense scored 1 run or 100 runs: we look at the pitcher’s ERA, K/BB, HR allowed, etc., not how many runs the hitters (of whom he has zero influence upon) earned.

    One other thing about this “run support” fetish since 2003 or so: it’s given an excuse for losers: “I pitched great, it’s just that my team sucks!”

    In 2006, this exact situation happened, as Mike Mussina out-dueled Nate Robertson, 1-0, and Nate began making excuses. Here’s what Leyland said then: “I’m sorry. I don’t agree that he pitched better than Mussina, I don’t agree with that at all. You don’t have to mention the other pitcher. That has nothing to do with it…. It makes no sense to mention that I got no breaks and the other guy got all the breaks. The other guy pitched better than you.

  53. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    The “Everything is broken” blog is getting heated.

  54. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    David woke up in a fightin’ mood today.

  55. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    I don’t understand Sheffield’s lunge. I’m not a big fan of his, but he looks ok in the box. He looks comfortable until he swings. I don’t get it.

  56. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Ugh. Sheff to assistant hitting coach?
    Stupid reflexive negativity. Verlander looked really good today, and Renteria seems to be getting his stroke back. I see these as VERY good signs. If Granderson and Bonderman follow suit, it may finally be time.

  57. Tbone

    May 20, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Sheffield goes 0-5 in the 3 spot and is now at a buck eighty-something. How much longer before the cord gets cut?

  58. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 9:43 pm


    The worst is he goes 0-5 in the 3 hole and the tigers still score 12 runs. Think if he could get 1 or 2 hits. He is flat out killing this lineup. Please move Miggy to the 3 hole Leyland.

  59. Vince in MN

    May 20, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Things are getting back to normal late in the game. Maybe it’s just a bad night for Seattle rather than the Tigers getting it together.

  60. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 9:51 pm


    I think it’s a good night for the Tigers, it’s the bullpen and defense being lazy. This is a game that if I was Leyland I would have some issues with. They get a big lead and then put it into cruise control. That can’t happen when your 10 games under .500.

  61. McB.

    May 20, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    AHAHA here comes Jones

  62. Kathy

    May 20, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    I know everybody is watching the Pistons but wait til they check back here and see the score. Good Lord.

  63. Tbone

    May 20, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Well now, this has gotten interesting hasn’t it?

  64. Chris

    May 20, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    This has a chance to be a monumental disaster.

  65. Tbone

    May 20, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Never fear, TJ is here!

  66. Vince in MN

    May 20, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    If your pitching and defense are lazy, by definition that can’t be good.

  67. Tbone

    May 20, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Echoing Brian above, that was simply far too sloppy. Could we not have a good old-fashioned blow out? It was much needed.

  68. Ryan

    May 20, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    How you know a game is backward: Todd Jones just severely dropped my heartrate.

  69. Kathy

    May 20, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    The OF errors are extremely unusual, but still a great game and to see those bats on fire. Loved it!

  70. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I normally don’t care how you get a win, but that was borderline scary. Hey I’ll take it the way this season has been so far. Hopefully the bats stay hot.

  71. Brenden

    May 20, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    So…I would say tonight is a couple step forwards, and a step backward. What is with all the lazy defense? And what the crap was up with the bull pen? Don’t the Tigers lead the league in errors? That has got to be fixed.

  72. Brian in Tampa

    May 20, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Alright. I’m out. Good win no matter the final score. Verlander looked good, and the bats were hot. The 2 things that had to happen. Talk to you all tomorrow.

  73. Kyle J

    May 20, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    At least tonight’s result reflected what we thought we’d have with this team going into the season: great offense, solid starting pitching, highly combustible bullpen.

    Like I said in the other thread, maybe the intrateam blow-up today will get things aired out, take the pressure off, and let the team play to its abilities.

  74. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 20, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Hey folks, tell me the final score, please. I want to see it here first.

    Ryan – I hope your heron finds some fish to eat instead. I’ve got 3 species of heron here and 12 2 day-old Hooded Merganser ducklings, but I’m more worried about snapping turtles. I love ’em all, but could they please just get along? And speaking of the Detroit Tigers… (sorry, people)

    Apparently: Good start by Verlander, offense wakes up, good good good. I’m dreading finding out what went wrong at the end, though. A win’s a win, but Tbone is right about a good clean blowout.

  75. Dave BW

    May 20, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    12-8. Nothing like having to use your closer in an inning that started off 12-4.

  76. Mark in Chicago

    May 20, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    It’s never easy for this team, it seems. But at least they got the win.

    I missed the final couple innings, but it sounds like they took their foot off the pedal a bit. I hope Leyland lets them have it for that, too.

  77. Slashpyne

    May 20, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Sean C, you were on your game tonight-I laughed aloud a couple times!

    Loved TMadison’s Santoria (sp?) play on Renteria.

    This forum has some great posters-it fun to read even when the Tigers are hard to watch.

  78. Dylan

    May 20, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    WAs at the game and left after the bottom of the 8th, glad I saved my self that headache.

  79. cib

    May 20, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Hi kids, I’m home! OK so here’s the secret – Egg Rolls.

    Went to the game with my friend Kim and we ALWAYS have the chicken strips and fries, however today we got to the park early for the bobblehead (LOL looks NOTHING like Curtis) so we had time to kill and went to the food court and tried the egg rolls. Then to change things up further, we got cheeseburgers later.

    Considering the 7-8-9 meltdown, I have no other explanation for how the Tigers were able to win this evening.

    I’ll be there again tomorrow on the Pepsi Porch with a pre-ordered menu (group event) so not sure I can repeat –

    good night all!

  80. yak

    May 20, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    just got back from the game. The offense seemed to finally click. Getting hits with risp, I’m not sure the numbers. Pitchers(JV) throwing out pitches instead of throwing to contact. Maybe RJ Reynolds…errr Leyland had enough and made it clear that things needed to change.

  81. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 20, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for the score, Dave BW! Someone mentioned the 12 earlier – I was fearful that 11 was going to be the other number.

    Slashpyne – Thanks, but you’re too kind. I took a couple lame swings, that’s all. Moving me to left field would get me more into the game, I think. Wait – I’m already there.

    “”Loved TMadison’s Santoria (sp?) play on Renteria.”

    I thought I got that, but kept mum for fear I was wrong.

    cib – Claim EGG ROLLS all you want, but I called Eurasian Wigeon first. Your good luck charm is probably more repeatable, though. Roll on!

    Did Matt Joyce have a good game? That guy (along with Galaragga) is really giving me some hope that there’s a silver lining in these dark times for the Tigers.

  82. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 20, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    “Maybe RJ Reynolds…errr Leyland had enough’

    That guy needs to switch to American Spirit. He would manage better, I’m sure of it. Marlboros are laced with additives like you wouldn’t believe.

    Hey, TV watchers – how did Leyland look tonight? Anything different? Fire in his eyes, smoke coming out of his ears? No one complained about any in-game moves, but maybe a 12-4 lead makes it hard to make a bad one.

  83. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 21, 2008 at 12:20 am

    Not to be a wet blanket – I’m so happy the Tigers won – but:

    Complete bullpen meltdown. 9 hits and 3 walks in 2.1? What happened to Rapada? Yikes.

    Errors at all 3 outfield positions? Misplayed grounders and a dropped ball? Raburn’s stock is sinking fast on my exchange.

    I’m worried (anew). Way for Jones to end the drama, though. A while back, I remember some idiot poster from Illinois saying something about trading Todd Jones.

  84. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 21, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Kevin in Austin

    You’ll have to explain what a Devil’s 3 Way is. Assuming it’s fit to print.

    A Eurasian Wigeon is a duck. Rare as an unassisted triple play in these parts. Cool looking, too.

    So… is Kenny Rogers on the mound tomorrow? Home win would be a nice way for him to get back on track.

  85. ron

    May 21, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Finally some fire in the clubhouse. Throw everyone under the bus but keep the bus rolling. Go Tigers.

  86. jason

    May 21, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Well, Verlander has lowered his projected losses down to 25 now. He is on the right track.

  87. Jim

    May 21, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Inge has got to go! Send him to Toledo. He is the biggest problem in the clubhouse.

  88. T Smith

    May 21, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Interesting article that argues FOR the Tigers acquiring Barry Bonds:

    Not sure I want Barry Bonds on the team, but I have to say the argument has some weight.

  89. Dave BW

    May 21, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Sean — the bullpen meltdown put a giant blemish on the win, to be sure, but (as Kyle said) it’s somewhat easier to take considering that we started the year under the assumption that the bullpen was going to be THE problem.

    Joyce had a pretty uneventful game until his uncharacteristic error.

  90. Ryan

    May 21, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I’m not so worried about Rapada. It seemed to be a “lets see what ya can do against righties, kid” kind of outing.

  91. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 21, 2008 at 11:10 am

    T Smith

    I read the article. Matt Joyce is my first argument against acquiring Bonds. All of a sudden, the Tigers have a lefty bat with some pop in LF, and one with a future here, maybe. I say roll with it. It’s a breath of fresh air, a simple and straightforward here-you-go, as opposed to the Cabrera-Guillen-Sheffield circus of try this and that.

    My second argument is that the Tigers problem is not offensive potential, but offensive execution. Bonds isn’t going to get the first 45 games back for the Tigers. It’s done. I don’t see lack of power being a problem for 45 more games.

    My third argument is that it’s just such a desperate, wrong-headed move. The Tigers put their WIN NOW team together during the off-season, and the problem has been execution, not a big talent hole at any particular position. They don’t have a crying need for another single-purpose position player. It’s like pouring more coal on top of a fire that’s barely smoldering as it is. If there’s a crucial addition to be made, I think it’s something less dramatic than Bonds.

    My fourth argument is that I just don’t like it.

  92. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 21, 2008 at 11:14 am

    “It seemed to be a “lets see what ya can do against righties, kid” kind of outing.”

    That makes sense, Ryan, given the score. I guess he didn’t do so well, though.

  93. Andre

    May 21, 2008 at 11:18 am

    we should be happy right? this was the Tigers team we expected coming into the year: the ace gives up one earned, fans 7…offense puts up 10+ runs…and we “squeak” it out by a margin of 4.

    to be honest, i can live with this 🙂

    lol, anyone know what our magic number is yet?

  94. T Smith

    May 21, 2008 at 2:11 pm


    Yeah .. I think your four arguments are solid. I’m with you. The only interesting thing about the article was the distraction angle .. which I hadn’t heard before — especially given what’s going on in the clubhouse and in the press right now — that coupled with the angle of how Bonds might actually take some psi off the others … at the end of the day, though, that’s just theory that really has nothing to do with baseball — who knows how Bonds would really effect the others and the team — and there are certainly more than 4 reasons why he shouldn’t become a Tiger.

    But I like your argument number 4 the best.

  95. greg

    May 21, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Hey, different opinions make the world go round, right? But until someone proves that current MLB baseball players are all actually Vulcans, and that things like focus, concentration, batting stance, practice, conditioning, stretching, different bat types, different gloves, adjustments, knowledge, pitch grip, adding new pitches, arm slot, mechanics, etc, etc. are all irrelevant and don’t effect production, and that the hundreds of experiences I had as a player didn’t happen, but were actually part of a computer simulated dream world, until that’s proven, I’m not buying the non-chemistry argument.

  96. Mark in Chicago

    May 21, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig didn’t talk for years and they seemed to put up some good numbers and win a few games. I don’t think chemistry plays that crucial of a role. Either your talent performs and does what is needed to win or it doesn’t. Right now, the Tigers’ guns aren’t firing.

    If players don’t like each other, it is most definitely enhanced when the team is losing. But I don’t buy the argument that Miguel Cabrera is putting up subpar numbers (for him) and making errors because he’s somehow pissed at Brandon Inge.

  97. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 21, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Greg, you mean they’re not Vulcans?

    Mark, Ruth and Gehrig communicated with subtle hand gestures and eye movements, part of a secret friendship whose story has yet to be fully told.

  98. greg

    May 21, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig didn’t talk for years and put up great numbers….how this ‘disproves’ chemistry, well, that just completely escapes me.

    a) maybe if they did talk more their numbers would be even better.

    b) Didn’t Ruth have other teammates? Didn’t he talk to at least some of them? Are you really so certain that he never talked to any other teammate about a baseball related topic his entire career?

    c) Who said winning chemistry always has to express itself with guys liking each other? I’ve played on numerous teams where one player has physically threatened to injur another player if they did change some aspect of play. Sometimes, there was a noticeable change after that. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Some guys would practice more as a result out of fear, some, their play deteriorated because their focus had noticably changed. But not a player on those teams would suggest it was irrelevant.

    d) Someone else must have suggested that Miggy is putting up bad numbers because of Inge. I never said that. I must have missed that one.


    Either your talent performs and does what is needed to win or it doesn’t.


    ah, so practice, concentration, focus, knowledge, all that, its irrelevant?

    Interesting take.

  99. Mark in Chicago

    May 21, 2008 at 5:35 pm


    Ruth, Gehrig and the rest of the team won games while not getting along. The implication is that the negative connotation of their relationship did not effect the performance on the field. It doesn’t “disprove” anything, it is merely an example how you can have success with poor chemistry, i.e., good chemistry is not a prerequisite for success. To speculate that their numbers would be better if they talked is a cute statement but of course, impossible to prove or disprove.

    Ruth and Gehrig both had other teammates, and for all I know the other relationships were fine. But even some of the Tigers players get along fine inside and outside the clubhouse, and yet we are discussing their “bad chemistry”. Bad chemistry does not imply the absolute that all players hate each other or hate one particular individual. Groups can exist that get along fine, but are segregated from one another. I would point to Barry Bonds in this regard. He is a cancer and most of his teammates hated him. He fought with Jeff Kent in the dugout in 2002 and they won 95 games and went to the World Series. He’s no longer there, presumably “curing the cancer”, so the team should be better than last year, yes? It’s not like they lost a bunch of other players. But they are bad because they lost Barry’s talent as well, even though the chemistry improved.

    I agre with your point about good chemistry deosn’t always express itself as players liking each other, althought that’s the most likely way it manifests itself. I did not, however, suggest that chemistry was “irrelevant”, as you suggest. I said it did not play that crucial of a role. There are just too many examples of successful teams that had “bad chemistry” to indicate that it makes that much difference.

    Miggy’s bad numbers vis a vis Inge was simply an example, not a reference to anything in particular anyone said. I maintain that a batter won’t fail to hit a ground ball to the right side to advance a runner because he has bad chemistry in the lockeroom with certain players. And I agree with Leyland that to blame the lack of execution on bad chemistry is a cop-out.

    Your last comment is a non-sequitor, I said nothing about practice, concentration, focus, knowledge being irrelevant. These things are not chemistry, of course they are relevant. Are you suggesting that chemistry impacts the amount of talent a player has or how much he gets out of it? To me, it’s a really fuzzy line between a player not caring about putting effort into the above because of bad chemistry in the clubhouse and a player not caring because he’s generally a spoiled or lazy individual. I am not smart enough to make that distinction.

    I’m not saying chemistry makes no difference or has no impact. I am saying that good chemistry does not mean the difference between winning and losing on a daily basis. Players have the responsibility to do what is necessary to win games, and if they do not do so when given the opportunity, they have nobody to blame but themselves. If a team is not talented enough that’s one thing. But with the Tigers, there is clearly talent there that isn’t firing. Whether it’s “grinding out ABs”, or just executing fundamentals, or some combo, I don’t know. But we’re 18-27 because they aren’t playing up to their capabilities, not because they have bad chemistry.

  100. Mark in Chicago

    May 21, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    wow, didn’t realize that post got so long. sorry greg, if you get bored in the middle.

  101. greg

    May 21, 2008 at 6:56 pm


    Your last comment is a non-sequitor, I said nothing about practice, concentration, focus, knowledge being irrelevant. These things are not chemistry, of course they are relevant. Are you suggesting that chemistry impacts the amount of talent a player has or how much he gets out of it? To me, it’s a really fuzzy line between a player not caring about putting effort into the above because of bad chemistry in the clubhouse and a player not caring because he’s generally a spoiled or lazy individual.


    That, coupled with my previous post, I’m inferring a connection between the two, in that, chemistry in inextricably connected to all of those elements. In other words, the level of focus one maintains, how often and how well one practices, one’s level of concentration, the choice of bat one uses, the choice of which glove someone uses, the amount of knowledge one has about certain pitchers, etc. etc. etc., all of these things depend on a multitude of factors and influences. One of which, is chemistry. There are countless cases in which chemistry will have no effect, and there are countless cases in which chemistry will have a profound effect. Just as our parents mold, shape and influence the character of their children, friends inluence other friends, peers influence other peers, teammates influence other teammates.

    For the sake of relative brevity, I’ll use just one more illustration.

    Group A – these individuals will take extra batting practice and put extra time weight room no matter what. Chemistry will not effect them in this instance.

    Group B – these individuals will always do the bare minimum no matter what, no extra batting practice, no extra time in the weight room. Chemistry will not effect them in this instance.

    Group C – these individuals are on the fence, they could go either way, depending on chemistry.

    Hey Joe, I’m wanna stay late tonight and lift, I need a spotter, I’ll show you this ab exercise on the such and such machine, its really helped me with (fill in the blank). So Joe does because work doesn’t seem like work when they hang out. They click. They start to do this regularly, it becomes a habit, a few months later, from all the extra condictioning, Joe’s batspeed is noticeably improved and he displays more power. His Slugging % and HR’s go up.

    I can hear someone say, ‘They should be putting in extra work anyway’. Please, we’re talking about humans here. Not golems that obey your every command, wish, or desire.


    But we’re 18-27 because they aren’t playing up to their capabilities, not because they have bad chemistry.


    But their capabilities are a product of a number of things, and chemistry is one element among many that defines, shapes, and molds whatever capabilities are on display at any given point in time.

    …well written post Mark, even if we have different takes on this topic.

  102. Mark in Chicago

    May 21, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    greg, thanks for your thoughts. I don’t think we are that far apart on the issue now that I understand your position better. I readily admit that chemistry plays a role, and you provide a couple good examples of how in some cases it may have more impact than others. I agree with that assessment of it completely.

    More often, when chemistry is talked about, it’s when things are bad for a team and I believe the impact of chemistry is drastically overstated.

    anyway, enough nonsense. let’s start winning some games so this isn’t an issue.