Game 51: Tigers at Angels

PREGAME: First of all Memorial Day wishes go out to everyone. And for those of you who are veterans or are currently serving…Thank You for all you do.

The Tigers head west for 9 games starting off with the Angels. Maybe the schedule makers did the Tigers a small favor. The Angels were in Chicago for Sunday Night Baseball last night so they probably got in about 5 hours after the Tigers did last night.

As for the game itself, it will be Kenny Rogers against Jon Garland.

Garland has been pitching to contact as evidenced by the 14 strikeouts he’s amassed in 64.1 innings. But he’s been on a roll his last 4 starts with a 2.25 ERA in 28 innings of work with opponents only mustering a .543 OPS against.

Rogers has been the weak link the last 2 times through the rotation only making it through 9.1 innings in his last 2 starts combined while allowing 19 hits, 3 for home runs. He hasn’t faced the Angels since September 2006 when he pitched 7 innings of 4-hit, shut out ball.

DET @ LAA, Monday, May 26, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 9:05

: Why does this team hate us fans so?

  • Garland who doesn’t strike out anyone fanned 5.
  • Kenny Rogers was awesome going 7 strong innings. Now all the Tigers starters have ERAs under 6!
  • Freddy Dolsi showed me something tonight. He fanned Vlad Guerrero which is impressive in its own right. But when everyone failed to call time and Torri Hunter alertly took 2nd base, and during the subsequent intentional walk Dolsi threw a ball away, he didn’t get rattled. His next 2 pitches were strikes, the 2nd resulting in a bouncer to first base.
  • Carlos Guillen with 2 more errors, and some excellent at-bats.
  • Gary Sheffield is out with an oblique/back thingy.
  • Ryan Raburn fanned twice and popped out in his place.
  • A 4 pitch walk is no way to end this game. Especially to someone who doesn’t really walk. Only one of the pitches was close, and to be fair the Tigers took a ton of close pitches that went as balls. I have no problem with the calls in that at-bat. You have to put it near the plate.
  • The Tigers have 11 bases loaded walks now this year. They had 9 all of last year.

191 thoughts on “Game 51: Tigers at Angels”

  1. If Kenny struggles tonight, then I would definitely think it is time for him to go on the DL with tired arm. The old man needs a break, perhaps.

  2. God, Cabrera is such an easy out. Here he meekly swings at the very first pitch, which was way inside.

    If I were Leyland, I would drop this bag of marshmallows down in the order. Pitchers have no reason to challenge Magglio.

  3. Hey Mark. I’m taking a break from the repetitive histrionics tonight — I think other people may be doing the same.

  4. So the Tigers score 19 runs in 5 innings on Saturday night and then go on to score 1 over the next 18. This team has just been incredibly frustrating to watch.

    Nice work by Kenny tonight, though.

  5. Sheffield left the game with what might have been a strained oblique. If he is DL’d, we can only pray that Guillen finally takes his place as DH.

  6. Tonight’s game epitomizes why this team has been so inconsistent at scoring. They squander early opportunities to get runs in and that allows the opposing starting pitcher to settle in with confidence. That’s when the door gets slammed shut(out).

  7. You’re probably right, Mike. Personally I’ve been watching the Wings, and a little Pistons ,that undoubtedly plays a part, too.

    Looks like Kenny has been sharp, but where’s the offense? M.I.A. again….

  8. Tigers have scored 246 runs this year, which puts them in 7th in MLB for runs scored. When you subtract the two games where they scored 19 runs (-38), their run total is 208 (26th in the majors).

  9. Chris shut up. Seriously, can we get a gag order on Chris discussing Miguel Cabrera. There’s never been anyone so blatantly wrong in their opinion about a ballplayer in the history of time and space then right now. Dude is in the top 20 in OPS. If that’s sucking, then give me a team full of guys like him at the plate and I’ll churn out a nice 900 run offense, perennially. When he really heats up to Miguel Cabrera form, Chris, you should not be allowed to comment, congratulate, or even acknowledge his talents ever. Ever.

  10. Just another day at the office for Carlos, phenomenal job by Rogers getting 4 outs in an inning at least thrice tonight due to Guillen’s D.

  11. Guillen, the inning extender. Offensively he works a 7 pitch AB that helped push Garland’s pitch count over 100 and flipped the lineup over to start the 8th. Defensively he makes Rogers throw 8 more pitches, perhaps brining his night to an earlier end.

  12. Is Leyland really pinching hitting Rayburn for Sheffield or is my gamecast thing on the fritz?

  13. Is bringing up Hessman an option? If Sheffield were to be DL’d, and Carlos was DH on a conistent basis, can Mike Hessman help this team?

    Or is that a desperation move?

    Or does it matter?

    Wings look solid, by the way.

    Go Tigs. Can’t wait to see them at the Safe this weekend…

  14. I hate to stir the pot too much, but 17th in the AL is NOT 20th in the majors…. which is probably exactly why he said what he said. (I can only assume he would verify stats before spewing them)

  15. Horrible execution. Horrible.

    If I’m Kenny Rogers, I run something like 20 miles before my next start. Just in protest.

  16. “No, but he was 17th in the AL coming in to today. Look it up.”

    Big deal! That actually is not too impressive. And the guy hits absolutely nothing in clutch situations. That’s why he only has 26 RBIs while hitting 5th all year…. That’s pretty weak.

  17. You called him an average hitter earlier today. An average hitter wouldn’t make the top 20. You also said he sucks. You’re wrong. Get over it.

  18. I’m ‘suffering’ here listening to the Angels broadcasters, and their incessant whining that close, but obvious balls, are not called strikes. They even admit that none of them are over the plate, but they think the umpire should call a ball a strike because their pitcher is ‘executing his pitches'(throwing exactly where the catcher is setting up).

  19. The reason Miner is pitching Brenden is like the reason we don’t try suicide squeeze plays. It takes brains to put someone on the mound to get it done. On the other hand, as soon as we get into our relief, if we really need it, there is no experience or reason to believe this year that we will get it.

    Can anyone tell me the last time our relief pitchers have not failed us in a close case like this one?

  20. The truth is that tonight both starters did excellent jobs and the hitters have just failed in times of need…….on both teams. So far………

  21. I told my wife Miner will walk in the deciding run. Gee I hope I am wrong……but so far………..

  22. It’s not the fact that Miner is in the game. It’s the fact that there is nobody warming up after the first 4 pitch walk. That is the mind boggling stupid part.

  23. Kevin – Kotchman is leading the league in batting average against lefties. Pretty dramatic reverse split.

  24. Angels fans have a serious beef with that 2nd ball. That should have been a strike. But I won’t complain.

  25. i mean the steal attempt……….of course, it would have been brilliant if he had made it………….

  26. Oh, Leyland is just tempting fate now. Leaving Miner in another inning? You don’t dodge two bullets.

  27. Worse than the Tigers 0-9 with RISP tonight is the 0-4 with a runner at third and less than two outs. One simple sacrifice is all that was needed. TJ should be in there right now getting Kenny a win.

  28. Although, Miner (Grilli II) is not my favorite pitcher in these situations. Let’s hope for the best!

  29. For some reason the suicide sacrifice has never been part of Tiger baseball…at least not since Ty Cobb played. I am not sure why, but it is fun to watch.

  30. And the guy hits absolutely nothing in clutch situations.

    “He never hits in the clutch” is the last refuge of someone who won’t look up the numbers.

  31. Don’t feel too bad Tbone…….Angels fans are just as frustrated right now. I’m right down the road from the game and I know.

  32. Sky – looking at the respective records, I’m not feeling a whole lot of pity for the Angel fans!

  33. Thanks for the shout out billfer! As a proud USN rescue swimmer, I can say that the reason we sacrifice is for things like baseball. I never served in Iraq, but I was deployed to Yemen when the U.S.S.Cole was attacked. And I loved nothing more than to hear updates on our local teams. My father would send me the box scores, and updated standings; from the Ann Arbor News of every game the Tigers, Lions, Pistons, and Wolverines played. So to any brothers and sisters still serving that may read this…..STAY STRONG!!!!

  34. Oh my gosh……..and that is a loss…unfreaking believable…not the end of the world Rod? let’s be serious….

  35. Kid and Little League stuff!…Way to go Dolsi………maybe you shuold learn the game before getting a contract.

    People who make mistakes like this do not deserve a win………..

  36. You know what? As ridiculous as that was, I have to give credit to Dolsi for composing himself. He could have easily forgotten how to throw a baseball altogether at that point.

  37. Wasn’t there a game out here last year that went 0-0 into the 12th and then Craig Monroe hit a grand slam and we won the game 4-1?

    Yeah, Craig Monroe was on our team last year. Anyway, let’s see if history repeats itself.

  38. With that ice in his veins and a little experience, Dolsi could be good, assuming he survives long enough.

  39. Most entertaining game for all the wrong reasons it seems. I didnt really start watching til after the Pistons/Wings though.

  40. About a dozen comments got caught in the spam filter. Just let them out. Sorry about that.

  41. Aaaaand here we go again. I wonder if when a Tigers fan dies and goes to hell, he has to watch a scoreless extra-inning game like this for the rest of eternity.

  42. My wife is making me switch to the Bachelorette in between innings…… Man, that show is like nails to the chalkboard.

  43. Does it annoy anyone else that the most advanced statistic we see in a Tigers Telecast is the number of runners Left on Base when they show the scoreboard going to commercial? Can they throw us an OBP bone with the avg/hr/rbi’s when the hitter comes to the plate or something?

  44. Who would you warm up? Dolsi’s pitching reasonably well. No one in the bullpen is lights out. If Dolsi falls apart, the game will be over before you can do anything about it.

  45. Mike…it’s already over. It was over in the eighth inning when we had a guy on third with one out and couldn’t get him home.

  46. This is what I wrote at 11:42 pm:

    On the other hand, as soon as we get into our relief, if we really need it, there is no experience or reason to believe this year that we will get it.

    Can anyone tell me the last time our relief pitchers have not failed us in a close case like this one?

  47. Can someone explain to me about Tori Hunter’s steal of 2nd. Was that a legitimate steal. Were the Tigers just not paying attention?

  48. Sky

    Relievers gave us 4 scoreless innings of relief tonight. Kind of hard to win when you have ZERO run support.

    Cite the bullpen “choking” in a close situation all you want, but I really don’t think the pitching is responsible for a game that goes into the 12th without a run scored by either team. Weak logic.

  49. Billfer, you are a lot younger than me and I am sorry to see you expend so much energy producing a nice site like this only to see this kind of thing over and over. You and all Tiger fans deserve better than a 4 pitch walk to lose a game we should have won long before the 12th.
    The whole team owes an apology to Detroit beginning with Illitch on down. I really mean that. Failure in good competition is one thing. Outright athletic incompetence is another. As someone said, I grand slam would have been less painful, and less embarassing.
    The team looks like a laughingstock over and over because of these events and others like them.

  50. It was legit, Kathy. No one called timeout and Hunter is free to run any point he wants when there was no time called.

  51. All the talent in the world does not equal team.

    Team creates new heroes every night…and does not tolerate playing not to lose.

    Team does not regard expectations, they simply do their jobs.

    Team is easy to see, but difficult to create.

    Clearly this group of individuals is not a team. I’m not sure that the architects, in their haste to pull the deal of the century, gave much thought to the chemistry (or lack thereof) they were creating…

    Their embarrassment is now on a personal level and will only ensure we continue to consume this dismal showing. The game, the season, and this team is lost.

  52. Chemistry didn’t fail to drive in a run. Chemistry did not walk in the winning run. Chemistry did not make multiple errors in this game. Chemistry did not pull someone’s oblique.

    Chemistry, to me, is the furthest thing from the root of the problem.

  53. I thought the Tigers played their hearts out for this game and were really trying to win it. The pitching was awesome on both teams and Angels fans were probably having fits over RISP just like we do. Kenny was terrific, that great catch by Maggs, but just couldn’t get the run in when they needed it. Still, a great pitcher’s duel against an excellent team. Hope tomorrow goes our way (Our Father, Whom Art in Heaven……).

  54. Mike R, you’re right. Chemistry does not actually have anything to do with the team’s problems. The team is just poorly constructed. So for the sake of those who continue to freak out every time somebody says something that isn’t attached to a number, or relies on a metaphorical description that arises from our common cultural heritage, let’s call it something other than chemistry. Good lord.

    I have to say though, your latest freak out on Chris was hilarious.

  55. This offense is just plain inconsistent and disappointing. They either seam to destroy sub-mediocre pitching or they shut-down against anybody pitching anything remotely effective. They don’t seam to find ways to break down and break through better pitching.

    Perhaps this has to do with a tendency for 1st, 2nd, 3rd pitch swinging and too much aggressiveness. This works great when pitchers are struggling, but is fails consistently whenever pitching is doing well.

    BTW, I know some Angel fans here in La-La land who are extremely grateful they did not get the trade for Cabrera. Too bad for us, they lost out on the deal.

  56. Joey C., I, personally, just don’t believe that in the most individualistic ‘team’ sport in this country, that chemistry is an overwhelming part of the ball club. Yes, I’m a stats geek at heart, but I don’t discount chemistry simply because a number is not attached to it, I just don’t see how a team that ‘gets along’ well is apt to drive in more runs, pitch better, and/or just perform at a higher level. Some of the most productive teams were known for their clubhouse volatility (the A’s and the Yankees in the past few decades come to mind) more than their on field play.

    And Chris really is one of the main reasons i don’t even post in the game threads often at all. I lived in the DTW game threads when the Tigs were on last summer and the 2nd half of 06. Now, he just spouts out irrational things and then completely ignores any and all rebuttals and the ferocity and quantity of his posts just really drag it down for me.

    I still read the site pretty much daily and correspond with Billfer every so often on different stat-geeky-things. Gets me by.

  57. Mike R,

    nothing I say about Cabrera is irrational. You’ve got to admit, he has been greatly disappointing, even if he is above average in some statistical factors.

    He’s not driving in a lot of runs, he’s not getting key hits, he’s not getting game winning hits, he’s not hitting for a high average, and he is not become any kind of offensive presence in the line-up at all.

    Admit it Mike, he’s not anywhere close to what you imagined before the season started. He’s a massive disappointment.

  58. Chris, he’s a disappointment, but he’s far from a massive disappointment. This Cabrera we’re seeing is still an above average (by a fair margin) hitter who is young, and his 4 year track record being nearly identical to Hank Aaron’s first 4 years in the majors, doesn’t leave me with a sour taste in my mouth or even upset that he isn’t at Miguel Cabrera numbers quite yet. I don’t find him a disappointment as (1) I think his quad bothered him a lot longer than anyone talked about it and (2) he is learning a new position. Neither of those affecting his play make him a ‘massive disappointment’ to me in the least. Facts are if I can get a top 20 league OPS from a kid who isn’t even 25 years old yet whose track record indicates he’s actually under-performing from his normal water marks, I’m actually quite optimistic.

    Never mind the fact that you don’t acknowledge how locked in he’s been recently. Coming into tonight, his last 12 games (49 PA’s) have yielded a .357/.429/.548 line for a .977 OPS while hitting 5 doubles, 1 HR, 6 BB’s, 10 K’s in that span.

  59. Giving up one run in 12 innings of course is fine, but the way it ended points to a larger issue: The pitchers’ walk rate has been huge, they’ve basically been allowing 1+ more baserunner per game–and in falling behind on counts they’ve had to come in. They don’t seem to trust their stuff.

  60. Obviously the pitching was good enough last night, but the ending gets back to one of the underlying issues: the walk rate has soared this year.

  61. “There’s never been anyone so blatantly wrong in their opinion about a ballplayer in the history of time and space then right now.”

    Awesome. Thank you for this, Mike 🙂

  62. Without addressing whether chemistry is at the root of the Tigers problems.


    Chemistry didn’t fail to drive in a run. Chemistry did not walk in the winning run. Chemistry did not make multiple errors in this game. Chemistry did not pull someone’s oblique.


    In my humble opinion, these are monumental assumptions. Assumptions that would be extremely difficult to prove, if not impossible.

    As far as the USS Mariner article, I’ll have to agree to disagree with my fellow Tiger fan, and I’ll offer a caveat that, if you’re like me, you’ll end up shaking your head and rolling your eyes quite a bit while reading it. I couldn’t read the whole thing because I found numerous faulty presuppositions, and numerous faulty conclusions.

    The only conclusion that was clear to me, was the guy who wrote it never really played organized baseball over an extended period of time. He’s seems very intelligent and has written a lot of interesting things on his site, but this wasn’t one of them.

  63. Why all the venom for Cabrera? He has been a disappointment but the whole team has been a disappointment. The only one that’s doing better than him is Ordonez.

  64. I wonder in our baseball lifetimes if most of us will ever see a better hitter than Magglio, especially in a Detroit uniform. To be sure there are many other good hitters but he really is someone special. As for Cabrera, he’s a keeper and is turning into a good 1st baseman. Hopefully, the clutchness at the plate will come too.

  65. Actually, he is clutch. Just when the game is on the line and we need just one more run in the bottom of the ninth. That’s the clutchiness I’m referring to. He needs to work on that a little bit.

  66. Mike R, I’m guessing you’d argue that chemistry didn’t play a part in the break-up of the Beatles. It was all about techinical disagreements on how to mix ‘Let It Be.’ Right?

  67. stephen,

    comparing the Beatles to a baseball team is a non-starter, they are completely different situations. the most obvious difference is that the Beatles are together out of their own free will and can walk away virtually at any time, while a baseball team is constructed by another individual, there are contracts, and players can demand a trade that may or may not happen.

    furthermore, while the Beatles chemistry at times was poor, it still didn’t effect the output in the studio, which continued to be outstanding. bad chemistry didn’t make ringo miss a snare drum or a fill, it didn’t make george miss an intro or play the wrong chord, and it didn’t make john and/or paul write crappy music with nonsensical lyrics (it was mostly the drugs that did that).

  68. by the way, stephen, if you’re joking that’s actually pretty funny. and sorry i didn’t get it (none too bright at this end, ask sean)

  69. Of all the winning teams I’ve personally played on or witnessed (my family is full of All State and full college ride athletes) the first and foremost goal was winning. All the rest…not liking someone, resentment, popularity all fell away when the team placed winning first.

  70. I’m sort of joking, sort of not. If you listen to George Harrison get frustrated with McCartney and say ‘I can play on this song or I don’t have to play on this song,’ you get a sense that chemistry was affecting their records. The problem with the Tigers is that they’re a team full of Ringos.

  71. Mark

    Actually, I’d have to vouch for you as very bright and articulate. Don’t feel so bad just because of one very straight-faced joke on my part. It’s not a bad policy to take comments at face value, at least until you recognize the commentator as an incorrigible smarta##.

    (Written in non-smarta## mode.)

  72. Tough loss. But it was one of the few dramatic games this season. So maybe not a total loss.

    Not that it’s the most vital statistic, perhaps, but I would guess that the Tigers have one of the the highest average win-loss margin figures in the majors.

  73. Stephen,

    I guess then that I’m sort of discussing the matter with you. 😉
    Good comment about the “team full of Ringos”, I think it’s a pretty perfect metaphor for this team right now. It’s too bad Ringo wasn’t half the genius he thought he was.


    Thanks for the kind words, your check is on it’s way.

  74. Oh, forget about the money, Mark. I’ve decided not to buy a TV and get a satellite dish installed after all, so I won’t be needing it. I had this crazy idea I wanted to watch Tigers games. Can’t remember why.

    Hey, Ringo has a pretty good band going these days. Maybe one day Edgar Renteria (Ringo #1) will round up a senior all-star team and go barnstorming.

  75. The devastating loss of Gary Sheffield for at least the rest of this series has Jim Leyland scrambling for a way to fill the groundout to third vacuum on short notice. Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn strike out too much to be trusted. Pudge Rodriguez may be called upon to step up and put down some bad bunts to the left side. Matt Joyce is working with Lloyd McClendon on slowing down his swing, which would allow Leyland to plug a lefty in as DH in the 3 spot without sacrificing out-to-the-left-side reliability.

    For his part, Sheffield reports finding that “being injured but still not on the DL really gets me into the game.” Leyland concurs. “Is this the injured Gary Sheffield of old? No. Can he return to his previous injury-plagued level of performance? That’s what we intend to find out, over the course of the next 111 games.” Inge, meanwhile, was allegedly miffed – initially – at being passed over for DH/black hole duty, but later was more sanguine, saying “I’m cool with the number 9 spot whenever called upon. I just want to hurt the team with ineffective hitting as often as possible. I’m not gonna lie, I’d rather be grounding into double plays, but I also like striking out. It’s something I’m proud of.”

    Angels third baseman Brandon Wood, filling in for injured regular Chone Figgins, expressed “relief” that the Tigers were moving to address a possible short-term drop in assists at his position.

  76. Chemistry in baseball? What the hell is chemistry in baseball. As far as hitting goes, the game is so individualistic, it’s hard to see how, say, Retarea can work with Pudge to get a hit. No, we need chemestry as an end and not a means to an end. We need the kind of chemestry where players are getting hits when there are runners in scoring position (wow, what a novel idea). We need guys such as Ordonez, Cabrera & Guillen getting hits in the same goddamn inning. We need the chemestry of Miguel Cabrera driving in Polanco from 2nd when Sheffield or Ordonez doesn’t get the job done. We need the kind of chemistry that finds a way to score a few runs, despite an effective opposing pitching performince. That’s the kind of chemistry the team needs. Who cares how well they all get along in the clubhouse.

    Perhaps in order to get the kind of chemistry we need (a.k.a. performince in clutch situations), we need an extreame makeover of this team. We need to get rid of a few players who aren’t getting it done.

  77. I like the idea of Ramon Santiago filling in at DH tonight, but the minute he drives in another run, I’d pull him. There’s no call for that.

  78. good stuff, chris. very well done.

    personally i am for seeing granderson at DH, since he’s our best defender. no sense in risking an injury with him in the field.

    also, barry bonds is available (cue rob parker)…

  79. quote:

    the game is so individualistic, it’s hard to see how, say, Retarea can work with Pudge to get a hit.


    Hard to see? Really? Not hard for me to see at all. Happens all the time, someone will notice something in someone’s swing and suggest an adjustment.


    Who cares how well they all get along in the clubhouse.


    If it prevents them from communicating and sharing baseball knowledge, then anybody who wants to see them win should be concerned. If it doesn’t prevent this, then you shouldn’t.

    If you’ve ever played baseball, then you know it matters immensely.

  80. Bottom line for me: When a team wins, they have ‘good chemistry.’ When they lose, a USA Today writer pens an article that paints Miguel Cabrera as a lazy slob who doesn’t prepare for who he is facing that night and then leaves out the fact that he took the pitcher he “didn’t prepare for” yard because it’s just not an important fact.

    Kathy said it all: Winning comes first, liking people second. And if you’re winning, you can like anyone. If you’re losing, you can hate anyone. Especially when you’re a pro athlete where your competitiveness is what drives you to the highest level of your craft to begin with.

    Stephen: I thought your Beatles comment was a joke but then you said it’s half a joke, half not. Sorry, we’re going to just agree to disagree. (1) A band is not a baseball team. At all. I don’t get how you make that comparison. If you’re going to compare something involving chemistry to baseball teams, then the logical comparison is to draw upon another sport, like, say, the Pistons or something of that ilk. And even at that, I still disagree because all the other team sports in this country are actually TEAM sports, where as baseball is a succession of individual acts that produce a result. 1 player hits. 1 player fields. 1 player pitches. 1 player catches. 1 person manages. If there were something at all like running a fast break, protecting someone’s blind-side, or knowing when and where your right winger is going to be driving the net, then I would say chemistry is important. But when the most two players interact in a play during a game is to turn a double play (not including pitchers/catchers), then I just don’t find chemistry relevant. and (2) I don’t remember what 2 was going to be but I think it was going to be half of what I wrote for (1).

    If this team were 33-18, this team would have GREAT CHEMISTRY and be beloved for how much Miguel Cabrera “has fun” playing the game of baseball and how Kenny Rogers may have lost it but he’s such a great ‘mentor’ and how Jonsey can ‘keep the bullpen loose’ and how Leyland is a ‘hell of a motivator.’

    Facts are, they aren’t 33-18, they’re last place. So, this team OBVIOUSLY has terrible chemistry, Miguel Cabrera is CLEARLY lazy and doesn’t care about the game and spends too much time chatting it up at 1st and not enough time preparing, Kenny’s just old instead of experienced, Jones is a terrible closer and Leyland cannot motivate anyone.

    When something is noticed in one light to explain a team’s success and then is noted as being the downfall of a team but cannot be explained, I don’t see how it can be of any importance and/or that big of a reason for a teams success/failure.

  81. Maybe its not chemistry….

    …maybe its quantum physics.

    I think Bell’s theorem that reality is non-local proves that their losing streak is not caused by anything in the dugout, or even motown for that matter, but rather, some butterfly in china is the culprit.


  82. The chemistry debate smolders on! Sounds like there are (at least) 2 different definitions being used. “Guys getting along in the clubhouse” and “Subtle intangibles that make a difference in baseball as seenfrom the inside.”

    I think we can agree there are things we can’t know about that make a difference. So we can’t know what the difference is. You will either find speculating about these unknowns interesting or not. I do. Sometimes.

  83. We now have the same record as the Yankees a year ago. I by no means believe that to be indicative of future performance, of course, but it does provide a little perspective — something which seems to in short supply for many a fan right now.

  84. Greg,

    I think you mean to site Lorenz with your chaos theory, but I like it anyway. I say we go after the pesky insect and tear its wings off.

    Back to chemistry:

    To posit that team chemistry is irrelevant to outcome seems a dimensionless argument. I’m not going to claim to know how to measure whatever “it” is that makes a team click, or even advance that it’s a tangible quantity, but to say it’s not important and doesn’t effect outcome just seems silly. I would say it’s an aspect of the art of the game that transcends sabermetrics.

    Anyone who watches this game unfold can surely sense that the game is more than a sum of its parts, or in this case, a collection of individual preformances.

    If you still disagree, try advancing the argument that chemistry doesn’t matter to the 2004 Boston Redsox down 3-0 in the WS. That team came together and defied any stats you can analyze or compile. Try telling the 1986 Mets the 2008 Florida Marlins for that matter. Or any Cinderella team that sustains a level of defying overachievment. When there exists a comraderie among the players, there comes into play an element that brings out the very best in each player. And yes, that sometimes drives in the run, or executes the play that may have otherwise been an blunder or error. I am the first to admit there is no sabermetric in the world that will ever be able to measure this, but I’ve simply watched too much baseball to be foolish enough to believe it doesn’t exist.

  85. Good point, Dave. I would add that the White Sox will not continue to play as well as they have. They flat out aren’t hitting either, and they are not going to continue to get the kind of pitching they’ve gotten (Gavin Floyd has a .172 BABIP – an obscenely lucky figure. Contreras is at .250, the other starters are within reason). The bullpen has underwhelming guys like Dotel and Linebrink. Track records suggest they’ll get lit up and/or hurt at some point.

    Carlos Quentin is their offense (nice move by trader Kenny, frankly) and the rest of the lineup doesn’t walk enough and doesn’t hit for a high average. I can see why this projects to a .500 team.

    I expect the Indians will play better and start to hit, their pitching is solid. The Twins and Royals just don’t have guns (we may actually have to beat the Royals at some point, however).

    Thinking about things this way is the only chance I have to keep my sanity with this team, so thanks for pointing out the Yankees parallel. I think at the end of the year the cream will rise and we’ll be looking at an Indians-Tigers race.

  86. Agreed, Mark. Do you think Quentin is really this good? I keep thinking that he can’t keep this up, but he does. With the bad numbers from everyone except Quentin, Pierzynski, and Dye, and the lucky pitching from Floyd and Contreras, I can’t imagine the Sox as more than an 88 win team. With the way the Indians are hitting, and the fact that their bullpen has swung from terrific to terrible, I can’t see them winning 90. I never in a million years would have thought this before the season, but I think the Twins might be the team to beat.

  87. R you just about to let 10 mill a year goto waste in the pen they need to send willis down or pitch him he is getting no better sitting next to mr. walk in the winning run miner

  88. T Smith: You offer those teams, I offer you the “Bronx is Burning” Yankees of the 70’s, and the Oakland A’s of that era with Reggie Jackson — both clubhouses were volatile and managers and players and owners didn’t get along in the slightest.

    Result: World Series Champs.

    I do not believe that chemistry will aid or hinder results until proven otherwise. And anything in support of it seems to be hearsay to me (no offense, I’m not trying to sound like a sabermetric loving, stats snob here, I mean this in the most cordial way possible). If there are teams with terrible clubhouses and many players who don’t get along with each other, their managers or their owners that are winning championships and succeeding in baseball (2002 Giants getting to the world series with perhaps the most hated teammate of this era — easily of this decade — Barry Bonds) then I am not convinced that clubhouse chemistry is important enough to even consider an integral part of the squads.

    You know, so long as people are going all Zambrano-Michael Barrett on each other in the dugout during the game.

  89. Ryan, I don’t think Quentin is quite this good (he’s put up a 1012 OPS so far this year) but I don’t think he’s playing way over his head. He was a first round pick and put up 900+ OPS numbers in the minors, but he’s always had injuries. It really was a shrewd move by trader Kenny to get him for an A-ball propsect.

    Floyd, Contreras, and the bullpen will all come back to earth, and John Danks will have his struggles too. Beuhrle has been very inconsistent and gets absolutely shelled if he’s not hitting his spots. With that offense, it’s just a .500 team, I agree with you.

    The Twinkies always seem to be there, but their offense is just terrible, outside of the big two. The starting pitching is decent but very young and the bullpen is solid. They just can’t score any runs, so I don’t see them being there either.

    All of this is moot, of course, unless we win some games, especially in our division. That’s the frustrating part, the Central absolutely OWNS us.

  90. I was actually fairly shocked at Quentin’s poor performance last year in Arizona — his seasons in the minors projected him as a star. I don’t think he will finish the year with numbers as good as the ones he’s putting up now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were close.

  91. Mike R,

    I looked it up, Barry Bonds had a ridiculous 268 OPS+ in 2002, which is statistically the best season ever. He beat his own mark of 259 set the year before, and he came back with a 263 OPS+ in 2004. He owns the top 3 spots.

    ‘Roids or not, the man could rake.

    And yes, I have too much free time.

  92. I was surprised by the comment from Seay about coming in with the bases loaded being tough. Well, I’m sure it is tough, but this situation is his job. Also surprised by his comment about the call on the check swing. Seems to me like the time to either say “I blew it” or not say anything at all.

    Must have been nice to see Kenny Rogers have a game like this. Were the Angels helping him out, or was he really that good?

  93. Kenny really did just seem to be on last night, though the Angels were giving the Tigers a run for their money in the situational hitting department

  94. Sean, I missed Seay’s comments, but it sounds like some more excuse-making from your recap. Did he say anything else of consequence?

    So far, it’s a little concerning.

  95. Mike R:

    Those are good examples… but maybe you’re proving the point a little bit by siting those teams? Maybe a volitale clubhouse is just as effective in terms of each player having a chip-on-his-shoulder sort of thing and driven by another kind of intangible to preform… The general sense I get from the 08 Tigers is more of a sense of apathy. Sure, they care about doing a good job individually in terms of the sabermetrics their preformances will produce, and sure they all want to win, and I certainly don’t think they hate each other like the Bronx-is-Burning team of the 70s, or the As team you mentioned, but nor do I think they have a sense of comraderie like, say the USA Hockey team vs. USSR of the 80s Olympics. I simply think they don’t care that much one way or another.

    Anway, I do agree with you that these are all ethereal points that one will never prove or disprove.

  96. Copied and pasted from the CBS Sports account:

    “The 1-0 pitch changed the whole at-bat,” the Tigers’ reliever said. “When you go back and look at the replay, he definitely swung at the ball on the second pitch.

    “So the difference between 2-0 and 1-1 is a big difference. In a game like that, it’s kind of unfair because we played that long. Coming in the bases loaded is a tough situation.”

    Seems odd, considering the “no excuses” culture that I have to believe Jim Leyland fosters. Maybe just frustration talking. The Detroit press may well have more extensive comments from Seay that would provide more context and balance. But yeah, this part sounded pretty weak.

  97. Dave, glad to hear Kenny was dealing. Just thinking about it brings back memories of the ’06 ALCS. I saw it on TV (imagine that, me watching TV). He looked to me like he was about 10 feet from home plate, throwing stuff that looked like I could hit it. I just loved the idea of the Tigers beating someone with Kenny, a kind of counterpoint to all the Tigers’ young flame-throwers.

  98. OK Bobby, let’s play the hypothetical that he swung at the pitch, making it 1-1. You still missed with the next 2 pitches, so now the count is 3-1.

    Then what happens? You’re still grooving a fastball. Face it, man. You didn’t make the pitches you needed to make, end of story. Suck it up and move on.

    It’s disappointing to hear Bobby make excuses like that, I hope you’re right, Sean that it’s out of frustration.

  99. Yeah, Mark, as I recall, Seay has been struggling of late. Not a good time to start with the “unfair’ stuff.

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