Game 72: Tigers at Giants

PREGAME: Armando Galarraga and Barry Zito in the series finale today.

DET @ SFG, Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 3:45

POSTGAME: I saw about one inning of this game today. The Tigers scored their 7th run while I was watching so I can’t take too much credit for the victory. Not having seen the game I can just go by the box score. It was very pretty for Placido Polanco who had 4 hits and a walk.

Also enjoying a lovely day was Galarraga who had 2 walks and a sac bunt, and allowed no earned runs in 6 innings dropping is ERA to 3.03.

But what the hell was Leyland doing lifting Thames for a pinch hitter with the homer streak on the line? Come on, how often does a guy get in a position like that? And in a laugher of a game. This wasn’t a nail biter.

A nice series win with a couple hard fought games. The boys get a day off in San Diego which is a nice treat for a team that has won 10 of their last 12.

314 thoughts on “Game 72: Tigers at Giants”

  1. Of all games in this series, based on pitching matchups anyway, you would probably think this is the game most favored by the Tigers.

  2. That is why it probably won’t go the way we think. At least Jimmy can’t put in Zumaya yet.

  3. Full lineup, similar to yesterday:

    Renteria, SS
    Polanco, 2B
    Guillen, 3B
    Ordonez, RF
    Cabrera, 1B
    Thames, LF
    Rodriguez, C
    Granderson, CF
    Galarraga, P

  4. Also, Jason Beck reports that JL considered putting Rayburn in at catcher today. Apparently Inge’s oblique is still a problem.

  5. Can’t wait to see Galarraga hit! And by see, I mean listen.

    Best thing about this afternoon game – no Valenti and Foster on the drive home!

  6. Why doesn’t give you the option of picking the home or away broadcast. I’m tired of missing Rod Allen reactions to Country Funk bombs.

  7. Good lord Zito is terrible now. He doesn’t have the stuff to challenge hitters and he knows it. His control is so erratic that he can’t nibble at corners either

  8. I decided not to be negative today, so I will not say that Pudge has become totally hopeless with runners on 3rd and less than two outs. I will not say that………I am just going to expect a good outing from the team and be positive all day.

  9. Walk to Winn by Galarraga, who really needs a nickname considering how difficult it is to remember how to spell his name correctly

  10. one thing that is just an extra about the streak Thames is havings he is one of the really nice guys in baseball…hopefully this streak never ends

  11. I don’t know, Sky. Your pessimism worked out well last night. Maybe you should keep it up.

  12. You’re right, Tiff. Scoring in the first inning is like getting laid on the first date. You never expected it to come that early and it takes a lot of the pressure off.

  13. Of course, Ken, it also makes you wonder how many OTHER teams the Giants have allowed to score in the first inning.

  14. Wow, Ken. That was gold. And 100% on the money.

    So I guess we got it twice on the first date in this case?

  15. I don’t know, Mark, but Sportsline seems to think Zito is pitching for the Tigers, and ESPN Gamecast thinks Lewis is still up with an 0-2 count.

  16. The way the crowd reacted I thought that was a 3 run dinger for Rowand. End of the 1st, still 2-0 Tigs.

  17. funny about Pudge hitting is last night runner on 3rd one out he grounds to one of the only two people you can’t ground out to 3rd or P…the next at bat he goes to right for a hit with no one on.????????

  18. “Of course, Ken, it also makes you wonder how many OTHER teams the Giants have allowed to score in the first inning.”

    Haha. You’re right, Dave. Now you’ve got me all paranoid. It did seem a litte TOO easy, didn’t it? I feel a groin injury coming on.

  19. Armando draws the BB!

    I steaming a bit that we didn’t get more out of the 1st. I fear Zito won’t stay long enough for us to inflict severe damage.

  20. On the next True Hollywood Stories: How Zito went from being a Cy Young superstar to pitching prostitute.

  21. Mario is not pleased with the characterization of Raburn as a “scrub” by the SF media

  22. Alright, Yahoo looks like it’s up to date. Wow. Tigs are beating Barry to a pulp.

  23. Dave BW: I read that story in the SF Chronicle today. Really bad.

    They also said that it was Renteria who broke up the no-hitter (not) and that the Tigers win assured that the Giants would lose their third consecutive home series. I guess they already knew how bad Zito would be!

  24. That’s what I like to hear, Joel. Marcus is set on either walking, striking out, or hitting a bomb. Although he had two nice rips foul down the 3rd base line. Hit hard.

  25. Don’t count out the Giants yet. I want the Tigers to pour it on as much as possible as if it was the play-offs and score was one-run lead late in game. It is so easy to see this kind of lead slip away!

  26. did anyone send Cleveland their best wishes now that we have cought them in the standings……next

  27. Marcus “Three True Outcomes” Thames. K-BB-HR is known as the Rob Deer Hat Trick, in case you were curious.

  28. How about Spanish Armando? It’s kind of like Spanish Armada, right? Anyone? Is this thing on?

  29. See what loss of focus does? Cabrera flubs an easy out!! 5 run leads mean nothing if you end up back on your heels like that!

  30. jud – OK we can call it the Dave Kingman Hat Trick if you like. I’m not picky. Jack Cust has turned that into an art form in recent times…

  31. I’m throwing the “Steve Balboni hat trick” out there for good measure… though you’ll have to exclude that whole BB part of the trifecta.

  32. There is that loss of focus again..Bad wild pitch scores run for SF from 3rd! Dumb baseball I say.

  33. I love the Three True Outcomes players. I don’t think Marcus is there, yet — he needs more walks.

    I haven’t been watching the game all that closely to be honest, but the Mario/Rod commentary is making it sound like there’s some pretty sloppy Tigers defense today. 5-1 Tigers

  34. Chris in Dallas,

    That joke was awful but I still found your post to be hilarious. That takes talent.

  35. Adam, I just get too into it… a 15 year-old I expect them to never fail when I want them to come through. The adult in me knows better……the kid in me gets pissed!LOL

  36. How about “Mondo?” It’s lame, but it’s pretty easy to spell.

    I dig the Spanish Armando nickname, though. I’m just worried he’d be especially vulnerable to batters with the last name “Nelson.”

  37. Oh so the cranky pessimism is due to Sky’s inner child coming out. Huh. I had it all backwards.

  38. Rob Deer’s Baseball Reference sponsor informs me that his TTO rate for his career was 49.69%. Impressive.

  39. Joel has garnered my eternal respect and admiration for managing to bring Steve Balboni’s name into the conversation. Kudos to you my good man.

  40. OMG…I just peed my pants. The SF announcers just talked about Rod Allen for about 15 minutes and showed the clip of him chasing a pitcher around the ballpark like a tiger chasing a gazelle for at least 30 straight seconds. That’s the funniest baseball clip I have ever seen. LOLOLOL. Why hadn’t I seen that yet.

  41. OK Battlestar Galarraga is the leader in the clubhouse for this kid’s new name. It’s going to take a Herculean effort to beat that.

  42. Here’s a BP article that pays homage to the TTO Club in 2003:

    baseballprospectus DOT com/article.php?articleid=2518

    (linked edited to get through the filter)

    I was kind of surprised to see Jim Edmonds on the list.

  43. We’ll have to shorten it to Battlestar. The whole point was to avoid spelling his last name, ya know?

  44. Ken…that was a classic clip hidden somewhere in the archives…funniest baseball moment I think I have ever seen

  45. I’ve kinda got a bad feeling about this game. Maybe it’s the Mexican food I had for lunch, though.

  46. Chris in Dallas, I’m ashamed I haven’t seen that actually. I can’t stop laughing about it. That pitcher wanted NOTHING to do with Rod. Literally running for his life. Rod was weaving in and out of people, dudes were blocking for him. I’m Youtubing it so I can watch it over and over between innings.

  47. I see Mickey Tettleton at #5 on a TTO list I’m looking at…

    Pete Incaviglia is on the same list at #18

  48. Bo Jackson is on that list too (I’m assuming we linked to the same article). He’s the only one on the list who is a Tecmo Bowl God, however. So he’s got that going for him.

  49. Ken, I just looked it up on YouTube and saw it for the first time. I don’t get to watch FSN Detroit games out here in Seattle. Funny stuff.

  50. Now is the time where I begin to wonder – who in the hell is Billy Sadler? Did the Giants sign him from a semi-pro beer league?

  51. Joel, It was actually a story set up by the SF broadcast. They made a whole drama of it. Showed the previous inning play at the plate and a much better clip than Youtube has. They said that Rod Allen gave them permission to show it this morning.

  52. I have never seen a a DP around the horn where the batter is not even in the TV screen when the ball gets to 1st!! LOL Is this guy slow or what??? But he did smoke the ball to 3rd and force the issue!

  53. I’m beginning to warm up to this Miguel Cabrera that everyone’s talking about.

  54. in that previous at bat Rod bowled over that catcher on a play at he plate,….the Utube clip is the following at bat

  55. Either way… I’m struggling to follow the game through various Gamecasts that don’t require the latest version of Flash player (which I can’t install on my work computer).

  56. Yeah, Sky. LOL. That’s the first thing I thought. What the hell happened to the batter?? I figured he had either ran through the bag already or broken an ankle out of the box. Never seen that.

  57. What on earth happened? Sportsline recap of the last play:

    Guillen out at second on 3rd baseman Denker´s throwing error.

    I’ve heard of some strange scoring decsions, but an error that causes an out?

    That’s a first.

  58. I’m assuming you are all referring to Bengie Molina, who tears down the line like it’s made out of quicksand…

  59. greg…on that strange scoring play ..Guillen on first Gil smoked a GB to third they got the force out at second o Guillen and when they threw to first the 1b dropped it and it rolled away from him

  60. Little known fact about Omar Vizquel: He hit a ground rule double in his first career AB. The pitcher? Satchel Paige.

  61. Beautiful barehanded grab by Gallaraga!…..We’ve seen some excellent defense this game in spite of Cabrera’s error.

  62. Or a tractor beam grab…

    Sorry, my sci-fi nerdiness begins and ends with Star Wars. I have no idea if Battlestar employs tractor beams.

  63. I must say that BG (Battlestar Galarraga) continues to impress. He just seems to be money. Even when he’s being hit hard like today, he’s keeping it in the park, battling out of jams and playing solid defense. His stuff has a lot of movement on it too. I know we keep talking about him regressing to the norm and finishing with an 4+ ERA, but is it possible he just peaked late? Have we discovered a hidden gem who will be our #2 for the next 3 or 4 years?

  64. You do not mess with Curtis Granderson, or else you may be mentioned in his booooooooring blog. (Sorry, Curtis, but it’s true)

  65. Ken: I’ll be a Battlestar Believer when he improves his K/BB and K/9. Until then, he’s walking on thin ice. Remember, this is a pitchers park against an anemic offensive club. And the pitcher has to bat. At least theoretically anyway.

  66. Maybe we should always let Galarraga bat. 1.00 OBP today with a perfect bunt to boot.

  67. Although if Battlestar keeps this up, he may need to apply for TTO membership. He’s got the one outcome down pat anyway.

  68. I like that, Joel. What if BG just kept evolving week after week to the point he was actually just hovering around the diamond by the All Star break.

  69. I don’t understand this National league stuff…where you walk the pitcher to set up the DP

  70. Most impressively, BG has already drawn more walks this season than Pudge did all last year… almost.

  71. Joel: Thanks for saying that so I didn’t have to. And I’m shocked and awed that Renteria would fail to produce with RISP. This is an outrage. The Giants are cheating. They’re playing with confederate money, I tells ya.

  72. Hit parade continues. Every Tigers starter has been on base. 7-1 Tigers. Gal is at 50-some pitches in the 5th

  73. If Armando is going to be Battlestar Galarraga, then we need to start calling Polly–Darth Polanco because he has been strong in the force lately.

  74. For those unaware…..Granderson doubled…….Gallaraga walked…..( he is 0 for 0 in 3 times AB today….2BB and one Sacrifice) and Polly knocked a solid single to left, scoring Granderson……..7-1, bottom of 5th. Polly is 4 for 4 already.

  75. Runners on first and second, one out. AG is now up against the Winn/Molina/Rowand trifecta

  76. Maybe we could get Farny back and then convert him to an outfielder a la Ankiel. I bet he’d hit a billion home runs.

  77. Although the score doesn’t reflect, Galarraga is getting hit pretty hard today. He’s also getting behind in counts more than usual.

    Not to rain on the parade. Just sayin’.

  78. wonder if spending 10 minutes running the bases last inning for BG..he isn’t used to it …makes a difference..just sayin

  79. Battlestar has been more like Criss Angel or something, what with the magical escapes and all. I wonder if he can put a cell phone in a Heineken bottle too?…

  80. T Smith: Exactly, Ken, that just shows how he can play when he doesn’t have his best stuff.

  81. Joel — it was probably the grittiest strikeout I’ve seen all year. You could just sense the multitude of intangibles he was bringing to those swinging strikes.

  82. Rowand’s grit in that strikeout makes White Sox fans long for Aaron to return home…

  83. *sigh* Leyland could have rewarded Marcus by leaving him in the game for one more at bat. Rude. It’s a six run spread.

  84. But you know, in a 7-1 game, a marginal improvement in LF defense can make the difference between winning and losing.

  85. Not to mention Thames was on the front page of as a “Can He Do It?” type spread.

    I guess he can’t, Jimmy. Why don’t we just take him out!

  86. OK I’ve never been on this bandwagon before, but after seeing what just happened to Mr. Country Funk, I’ve got to change sides – Fire Leyland!

  87. Hey, did you know that people residing in the Baltimore/Washingon DC area call said area Bal/Wash. And they also refer to themselves as Bal/Washers. I feel like you need to know these things.

  88. It is apparent that the key to Pudge’s success is a threat to his job security. We need to throw Raburn into the catching rotation to lower Pudge’s comfort level again.

  89. Jud – you bet it is. Leyland draws the ire of many a Tiger fan today.

    Including me. I don’t care if he even has a good reason. Kind of hard to hit a home run with the manager taking the bat out of your hands.

  90. I hadn’t noticed how slow this game was going until Mario mentioned it. We are nearing the third hour and it’s the seventh damn inning.

  91. Now is the point where I have to bring up that if they lose, I am in fact going to go home and drink a strychnine martini.

  92. I think JL should pinch hit for Polly. He doesn’t need a 5-for-5 day – he might demand a new contract or something.

  93. After just looking at the current all star game voting results, I’ve determined that fan voting must come to an end with all due speed.

  94. Finish this game.

    I’m tired of it and I’m pissed Country Funk didn’t even get all of his chances.


  95. Weird moment: FSN camera showed Cabrera in the dugout with his arm around Pudge, who was resting on Cabrera’s shoulder. When they noticed the camera, Miggs quickly pulled his arm away.

  96. Note to Jimmuh:

    NOW would be a good time to bring Rodney into the game following his return from the DL. Just wanted to point that out.

  97. Oh, you guys will see Leyland’s wisdom when the side is retired in the 8th on 3 consecutive diving grabs by Clevelen in LF. And then you’ll understand why he’s the manager, and you’re not.

  98. By the way, if you think I’m not going to dust off that joke for the next series at Camden Yards, you are severely mistaken.

  99. Mark:

    He’s waiting until the bases are loaded with nobody out. That will be the correct time.

  100. Joel, I assume you mean it’s a one run game at that point too, right?

    and Chris, I would expect nothing less than to hear (well, read) that joke during our next series at Camden. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t.

  101. I think you all should know that the Braves are installing a 40-foot tall tomahawk-chopping cow in center field.

  102. Just so everyone knows, Marcus’ streak (the one that matters more) is still intact. His next four hits just need to be home runs.

    I can’t believe we traded Country for a groundout.

  103. Yabu is apparently throwing his infamous mystery ball, which cannot be identified by MLB Gameday and does not travel to the plate, it merely appears in the catcher’s mitt.

    He is one tough hombre to hit when that pitch is working.

    UPDATE: Phew, he has gone the more conventional route, throwing fastballs and sliders. Apparently, the mystery ball puts too much strain on his aura.

  104. Why is Dolsi pitching and not Fernando? Um. Wow, for a win, this wasn’t really managed all that well unless Rodney pitches in the ninth.

  105. I hope in the post game press conference JL says I asked Marcus about coming out and class guy that Marcus is he said fine. let the young guys get some playing time….I hope it went down like that …….

  106. Or maybe Leyland just wants to get out of here and didn’t want to have one of his batters’ avg go down when he could use a pitcher.

  107. Miner’s in. Might as well get Jones up early, we’re gonna need him shortly…

  108. Adam ..I think they are grooming Dolsi for longer relief sessions with Crooked Hat and Zoom both coming back…..

  109. Too bad the game Monday got away. This could have been 3 series sweeps in a row. I’ll take the 2 wins though.

  110. I really don’t get why JL isn’t getting Rodney a low leverage inning here. No – Just let him have 3-4 days to mull over his bad outing the other day. Really let it soak in. Let it get deep in his head until the next time we really need him. Brilliant!

  111. OK, 2 out of 3 here (which could have been a sweep except for Rodney pooping the bed), so the good play continues. Now it’s off to take 2 of 3 from the Padres for a very good 4-2 trip.

  112. Much of the time Leyland’s personnel moves make little sense to me. I am inclined to believe that when something works out right, it is due more to luck than sound judgement.

  113. Totally agree with everyone. Rodney needed to come into a low pressure situation to get the game experience back. I know they needed a strikeout the other night but they didn’t put him into a good situation straight coming back. He should have been in the ninth today.

  114. We get to face Baek, whom we absolutely beat up on (“Like he stole something!”) when he pitched middle relief for the Mariners. I love our chances for another sweep or 2/3.

  115. “NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Yeah, that’s pretty much the attitude I’ve got right now, too 🙂

  116. No Peavy or Young = YAY!
    No Ledezma = BOO!

    My lasting memory of Wilfredo will always be watching him systematically dismantle his hat in the dugout for about half an hour after a bad appearance. Such a hilariously passive/aggressive and human moment.

  117. If anyone cares, on June 8 the Tigers were 24-36, 11 games back of the White Sox, and the guys over at BP gave them a 6.8% chance to make the playoffs. Prior to today’s win, they have made up 5.5 games to pull within 6.5 games back and they now sport a 20.96% chance of getting to the postseason. Again, before today’s win and the Sox’ upcoming loss tonight (hehe) to the Pirates.

    Amazing what a 9-2 stretch (now 10-2) will do for your season.

    Type “playoff odds” into Google and follow the link to BP to see the entire league. Use PECOTA-adjusted with projections for the best info.

  118. I sent an email to Henry Schulman an hour ago regarding his column calling Ryan Raburn a scrub.

    Well, he sent me back a response already:


    I have gotten lots of insulting e-mails from Tiger fans today, including one who said he hopes I die. Since your letter was actually well-reasoned, I will respond to you.

    I did not mean it is an insult, and I sent the following note to Ryan today:


    I did not mean the word disparagingly. Whenever I played a sport, I was definitely a scrub, and I was always proud when one of us scrubs did something good. In Giants land, it even became a sort of badge of honor for a group of backups who were called the “Scrubeenies.”

    I have covered major-league baseball for 20 years. That’s thousands of players. I respected every one for having the talent to get where 99.9 percent of baseball wannabes can never get. That includes you.


    Henry Schulman
    Giants beat writer
    San Francisco Chronicle

    Him getting death threats over calling Raburn a scrub is absolutely ridiculous. No reason anyone should get death threats for that. And I wasn’t even upset that he called someone who’s not an everyday player in the majors a scrub, it was just the principle of it and how it came across in the print. Seems like a nice guy, though.

  119. What did Leyland do to piss everyone off? Seriously, I’ve been away and didn’t see the end of the game.

  120. Wow Mike. Very interesting, and any kind of “hope you die” e-mail to the writer – even as a joke – is disgusting. Some people’s children….

    While he says he respects Ryan and did not mean the word disparingingly, he never says what he did mean by the comment. I’m not sure that’s significant, but it caught my attention right away.

  121. Totally off-topic, but I’m watching the Cubs battle back against the Rays.

    What the hell happened to Troy Percival?!?! I thought his career was over, done, finito. His bicep exploded, his arm fell off, he tried a comeback and couldn’t throw anything above 85 mph. Now he’s closing for the Rays and he’s got 25 K’s in 24 innings, a 5:1 K:BB ratio, a 2.59 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP.


  122. Chief is quite right. The two concepts are in a completely different universe from one another.

  123. Yes, that is true, but it’s still pretty vicious and uncalled for to “want someone to die” over something as trivial as this.

  124. Of course, Mark. But the fact that someone would write that shouldn’t be all that surprising considering that the internet is a magical land of hyperbole and stunted emotional growth 🙂

  125. okay, I’m dying over here. Awesome thread today ya’ll.

    Battlestar? Awesome, consider it used, although I also like him as “Little Cat.”

    Miggy and Pudge sharing a special moment in the dugout? Why doesn’t anyone put that on YouTube. I’m swooning just thinking about it.

    Winning 2 out of 3 (even though it probably should’ve been a sweep)? I’ll take it.

  126. hey Chief,,,,,,, Leyland pulled Thames before he got his 4th at bat to try and continue towards the consecutive game HR record…most of us if not all of us were P@issed

  127. 2 things…….If anyone had read the complete article in the SF Chronicle and not just certain quotes, it was quite entertaining especially if you put yourself in the mindset of being a Giant Fan. He made some great compliments about our Tigers but those didn’t get quoted.

    As for Clevlen, I hate to see him go. Lloyd said at the beginning of the season one of his goals was getting Brent to believe in himself that he can hit. He probably presses a little too much, but I sure hope he makes it.

  128. Games like today where JL pulls Thames with a streak on the line and his handling of the bullpen make you wonder if a manager has much to do with anything regarding his team’s success. For a ‘player’s manager’ to shortchange Marcus is pretty dumb. And this would’ve seemed a perfect chance to get Rodney back in the groove.

  129. Quite the rocking thread, people. I’m going to stay out of game threads more often. I can’t even begin to list my favorite funny stuff this time. Just really, really good interplay.

    Mike R, I can’t explain it, but you are my new hero for emailing the SF guy and posting the response (how about posting your email to him?). Emailing a sportswriter is just so far removed from the realm of things I would ever do, I can’t help but admire that someone would do it. It almost sounds like I’m insulting you here, but I’m not. It was really cool.

    Mark, it appears to me that Schulman implies he uses the words “scrub” and “backup” interchangeably. To me, calling Raburn a scrub seems a bit harsh until you realize it might just mean seeing Raburn as a backup who will never be a starter. Unless they can make a 3B out of him, it is in fact hard to see him ever starting for the Tigers.

    Oh, the Tigers won. Cool.

  130. The funny thing is that in calling Raburn a “scrub”, he also marveled at how far he hit the HR *in the same sentence*. Seems like he didn’t mean anything by it, so I will not wish his untimely demise. Anyway, good series for Los Tigres. I too will miss seeing Wil Ledezma (SD DFA’d him, right?). That weird head jerk thing he did with runners on base was high comedy. He looked like he might stroke out at any moment.

  131. tiff: ‘Little Cat’ works for Galarraga. I fear we may lose our younger audience who has no idea who Andres Galarraga was, though…

  132. And I really wish I could come up with a good joke for ‘Balldude’, but I really can’t. No. Words.

  133. tiff

    “I see what you just did there Sean. Good stuff.”

    Ha! Well, you’ll need to tell me what it was, then. You might be the clever one, not I.

    I’m in such a slump right now, I could be headed to Lakeland on a rehab assignment. I’m not sure if finding out what the good joke I should have intended was will boost or shatter my confidence.

  134. I can’t wait for Sam’s 4th Inning report. I think our jaws are going to drop at the starting pitching numbers.

    Caps off to The Gambler, Battlestar, Verlander, and Robertson. Two more nicknames are needed. Off the top of my head, my weak suggestions are The Thin White Duke and Beautiful Loser. OK, let me try again. Highlander and… Beautiful Loser.

  135. Chris, it’s a homonym with/for “bald dude.” That’s not a joke, but it’s a start.

  136. I watched video of Guillen’s error, and I can’t fault him terribly. That’s a tough play even for Inge, I think.

    As I thought about it more, I wondered about the following:

    a) Has it ever happened, on a play like this, that a 3B has bluffed the throw and fooled the 3B coach and/or runner? That would have been sweet. (And has a pitcher ever joined in on the fun, calling for the ball from 3B or actually cutting it off?)

    b) Not knocking Gil, but does a brilliant 1B (or IB) with astounding presence of mind get off the bag, move toward the throw, and nail the guy at the plate?

    c) Should Carlos have perhaps just eaten the ball? I only got one angle which didn’t make anything about that clear. It did look like a perfect throw gets the guy, though.

  137. Verlanderlay Industries is a good one the boys over at The Dugout came up with…

  138. Sean C., FSN Detroit showed Guillen’s “error” a couple of times in slow motion and it appeared pretty clear that the error should have been given to Cabrera. The ball was not too far down the line down by his ankles, possibly a short hop. Not a great throw, but certainly catchable.

    The runner is easily out of the throw is caught, so I don’t think you fault him for throwing it.

    MLB Gameday has video, but not the best angle, for anyone else interested on the video under “Holm heads home” I’m probably the only one that interested in the attribution of errors to #9, though…

  139. Thank you, Rick. I do believe the video you mention is the one I saw. I just couldn’t tell the situation at first base, aside from the fact that the throw certainly wasn’t “wild.”

    It may well be another “hidden error” for Cabrera. I don’t think the extreme comments about him should discourage a realistic critique of his game. The same might be said for Renteria and Sheffield.

  140. “Verlanderlay Industries”

    Ah, yes, Joel. That is good. I wish his name was Art. It’s hard to do anything with Justin. Although a reliever/spot starter named Justin Case would be a welcome addition.

  141. “…I watched video of Guillen’s error, and I can’t fault him terribly. That’s a tough play even for Inge, I think….”

    Exactly right. I think Inge maybe makes the play… but a 1st baseman who can pick certainly helps both players convert the out. But no way Renteria makes that play — regardless of whose on first. He just doesn’t get any leather on the ball at all … which was the point I made in the other thread.

    I also assumed incorrectly that errors factored, along with vector, how hard the ball was hit, handedness of pitcher, etc., in the sabermetrics (PRM and URZ) that show Guillen as a horrible or below average defender and Renteria as an average defender. Not knowing precisely how the sabermetrics were calculated, it was an obvious assumption since Guillen makes so many more errors.

    I will say, though, to critique the PRM method, that the vectors are divided into degrees of 5. That’s just too wide of a margin, in my mind. Baseball is a game of inches, right? Not a game of five full degrees. If the ball is 5 degrees to the right, it’s virtually right in an outstretched glove (yet, potentially the same vector, so far as the calculation is concerned) ..and then there is only three quantities of ball speed: soft, medium, and hard. First off, who determines this coefficient? Wouldn’t that be a subjective element thrown into the mix? And even if it is determined by some other method, three variables are not enough. The exact speed would make the metric more accurate, to me. While your at it, you might as well introduce the speed of the batter into the metric. Why should a defensive player be punished if he makes a gem of a play, yet fails to record an out because he’s trying to pick Ricky Henderson in his heyday? Same player throws out Sean Casey, even after bobbling the ball. Yet the metric rewards the latter play. I’m sure an argument can be made that all the plays even out in the wash, but there are just so many variables — why not try to quantify them, if you’re gonna live and die by this kind of objective analysis.

  142. It’s late…tired, and for some reason can’t edit last post now, but obviously meant PMR — not PRM

  143. Kathy, I read the article and it was complimentary. But his disparaging remarks about Raburn just weren’t needed. It wasn’t overly inflammatory but it was poorly worded. A “struggling, part-time player Ryan Raburn, hitting just .219” would’ve sufficed.

    But bland things like that don’t sell newspapers. Especially in this era of instant information. “Scrubs” and disparaging remarks hit home more with readers.

  144. T Smith

    I was thinking about defensive metrics recently. I plan to do some reading that will probably render the following obsolete, but here goes:

    At the beginning of the 2007 season, I devised a kind of scoring system for hitting performance with men on base, and did something similar for pitching with men on base. It was simple and yet very illuminating, though I’m sure real statheads would have just said: “Yeah? So what. A few existing stats will tell you the exact same thing.” But I wanted one stat, and it was just for me, anyway. Ran out of time to keep up with it after 40 games or so. I revised and expanded the system for hitting again this year, but ran out of time to keep the spreadsheets at about the same point.

    This beginning has led to thoughts of simple measures for measuring what you might call basic job performance. Broken down to essentials (in an abstract sense, ignoring the very real “inside game” that doesn’t lend itself to measure very easily), the batter’s job is to either get on base, drive in a run, advance runner(s), or some combination thereof. For a pitcher, it’s even simpler. Get outs. One might look aside from quantifying the relative impact of the results and simply ask, “did he get the job done?”.

    There’s no way to avoid subjectivity with measures of fielding. My idea (soon to be seen by me as naive and obsolete, probably) is to again simplify. Leave out the leaping, diving, running, sliding, fell down because of wet grass plays. Define the ordinary play for each position and the expected optimum outcome, look at these plays, and score them as success or failure. 1 or 0.

    My imaginary fielding stat is PBPP (Playable Balls Perfectly Played). The unchanging and absolute standard of greatness in this system would be 1.000 or something close to it. One nice thing would be that positions would be treated exactly the same. A good score for a RF would be a good score for a SS. It would mean the same thing – he’s good. Not good for his position or league or in terms of runs prevented – just good. The relative impact of defense at various positions is already well understood, and PBPP would say nothing about that in and of itself.

    An example: Man on first, one out. Playable ground ball to SS. Optimum outcome: 6-4-3 double play (normal lead for runner, wasn’t going, no jet at the plate). SS’s job: Field the ball, throw to 2B. 2B’s job: Catch the ball, force the runner, throw to 1B. 1B’s job: Catch the ball with foot on bag. So the SS bobbles the ball after gloving it, throws to 2B for the forceout and that’s it, no play at first. SS gets “0,” 2B gets “1.” Simple. Although you’d have to pay me at least $20 an hour to slog through thousands of hours of video to compile this stuff.

    The crux of my reasoning is that, while spectacular plays are spectacular and terrible plays terrible, making the playable play routinely is what wins ballgames.

    Again, better minds have surely thought this stuff through more expertly than I ever could. But this is a glimpse into a non-expert perspective that might provoke the thoughts of other non-experts.

    Speaking of standards, it’s funny how things change and don’t change. A .300 BA has been the gold standard since forever. But ERA standards have certainly changed. I “came up” in the early 70s, when a good starting pitcher was in the 2s, and even 1s were possible. 3s were merely OK, and 4s? Scrub, journeyman. 5+ and you stink, fella, I mean really stink. It’s not mysterious, but it is funny. If you’re a young fella or a young gal, try to imagine a future where a .250 hitter wins the batting tile by a wide margin, stirring excitement for much of the season as he flirts with the “impossible” .300 mark. That’s what it’s like.

  145. T Smith –

    I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying from the standpoint of trying to capture more data. And there is talk of a similar system to pitch f/x that would capture trajectory and velocity of batted balls which would provide a wealth of information.

    But..and there’s always a but, there does become a problem then mathematically (at least using these types of methods) at a certain point. With 16 vectors, 2 speeds of ball hit, 4 types of balls hit, 2 handedness for both batter and pitcher, and we’re at 512 different types of hit balls and that isn’t even including ballpark (not a big deal for IF but significant for OF). As you add more variables and/or more degrees of granularity you soon have more “possible” types of balls hit than you do actual balls hit (~4500 per year). The question of “how often does that play gets made” becomes tough to answer when it happens only 4-5 times a year so there would ultimately be some bunching on the calculation side.

    But wouldn’t you agree that these methods even as they exist now are a tremendous step up from a hometown guy sitting in a press box saying “i don’t think that’s an error.”

  146. Bilfer, gotta disagree with the step up. What’s with all the data. They’re not robots. The guy might have gastro intestinal reflux on certain days preventing him from fully extending his body to pick up a ball. Is that a vector or a degree of granularity? I think the home town guy’s assessment is ok.

  147. Sean C. Inter(league)play as in Detroit VS San Diego. See what thinking about defensive metrics and blow can do to a young man’s mind.

  148. Funny how two guys in uniform can play cutsie cutsie in the dugout and everyone thinks that’s team chemistry; but if the same two guys were seen in a bar in the Castro District of SF wearing leather and basically doing the same cutsie cutsie after the game, people would make a big deal out of it.

  149. “…But wouldn’t you agree that these methods even as they exist now are a tremendous step up from a hometown guy sitting in a press box saying “i don’t think that’s an error.”

    Absolutely agree. What exists now is certainly much more illuminating than a completely subjective, one-dimensional determination. While not being a stat-head myself (what is the respectful — even flattering — way to address you guys? Stat-geek? Statie? Stat-Head?) I am intriqued by advanced metrics and find them invaluable — I am also very grateful that some unshaven, sleep-deprived guy, in some desolate and sleeply Western Michigan town, is hybernating in a shack under a train tressle somewhere cruching all these numbers (hope ron doesn’t sue me for plagerism). It’s when the results are counter-intuitive that I’m compelled to question the metric, as well as my own judgement. And I’m certainly not above questioning my own biases and judgement.


    I like the binary approach! Did he get the job done? 1. Did he fail? 0. Another variable I’d maybe throw in there — what degree of importance is it for player to produce, at any given interval of measurement? Not sure how to objectively quantify this — maybe weigh the importance more in games with 3 run margins, with RISP with less than one out, etc. I’m sure there is a whole slew of valuable measurments you could come up with to quantify this.

    Anway, that’s pretty much how I “subjectively” come to my judgements. Last year, there were just so many times Inge came to the plate — when we needed him to notch a 1 for the team, when he produced a 0. Yet his overall stats weren’t as bad as the whiffing-guy I remember who continually killed rallies in crucial ABs. I suspect that’s because he also notched some 1s when the score was 11-2. This is an old gripe of mine, and a competely subjective analysis. But it would be fun to quantify objectively to see if I’m out of my mind or not.

  150. “See what thinking about defensive metrics and blow can do to a young man’s mind.”

    Very nice, Ron. I think it was mostly the defensive metrics.

  151. T Smith

    What you mention in the last part of your post is something I look for, too, truth that gets buried in aggregate stats. The closest thing I’ve found so far as a metric for “clutch” (for lack of a better term) relies on someone else’s work entirely, the wWPA thing in the baseball-reference game logs. It’s winner’s Win Probability Added, and I even think I understand how they come up with those numbers. I would need a database with the entire statistical history of organized baseball in it to calculate such things myself. So I think I’ll leave it to them and borrow from it until I come up with something of my own that satisfies me. Subjectively.

  152. Dave, I may be old, but I’m fit enough to play for the Detroit Tigers if I wanted to. I simply choose not to. Even though it would be so cool to have a manager that smokes.

  153. TSmith – I like it. A huge pet peeve of mine is seeing a routine double play botched, but they still get the the force. The inning continues, with a DP, the inning would be over, but there are only two outs, and then the floodgates open up. If I only had a nickel for every time this happened. So statisticallly, the pitcher is at fault, when in reality, if the SS just made the routine play, 5 fewer runs would have scored. The SS lost the game, but no ‘fault’ is given, statistically, he just gets credit for making the force out.

    So to taking your idea a step further, I’d like to see the REAL WORLD impact of the ‘non-plays’ or ‘0’. Not the projections based on ‘average situations’, but what actually occurred. For example: Guillen botches routine ground ball preventing a double play that sould have ended inning, subsequently 5 Runs scored. So Guillen gets credit for 5 actual RCFO(Runs created for Opponent)

    There could be other stats spunoff from this. How about the IERA ‘Inge Earned Run Average’. How many times have we said, ‘Inge could have made that play?’ Well, lets figure it out! Just rescore each game and theoretically place Inge at every position. If Inge would have made the play, give the player an ILE(Inge Level Error) and recalculate the the IERA. We’ll also modify the WHIP and call it IWHIP(Inge Whip) and eliminate all BB/hits that were cause by innings extended by ILE’s.

  154. Chris, I tried to counteract the rising level of dicourse here with a poopy joke in some recent thread. Look around. Yeah, it’s not the same as a fart joke, but I did what I could with what I had.

  155. Deal Brandon to the Cubs (who needs Ramirez?) so they can have Inge Whip on Felix Pie.

  156. Chris. Don’t fret. The fart jokes will come. In time, in time. I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

  157. Doesn’t some team (maybe the Cubs) have a prospect named Donald Veal? Veal, Pie and Inge Whip. Sounds tasty.

  158. If I were the Cubs (and who’s to say I’m not), I would drop that Donald fella like a… a hot potato. I’ve seen the reports. His production is egregiously cruel and inhumane. He’s not the “milk-fed” prospect the Cubs wers sold. In fact, he’s laced with all sorts of drugs. His violent background and inability to walk make me question both his stability and hitting potential.

  159. Lol Sean.

    Thought for the Day: If the Tigers can win this evening’s contest by 3 or more runs, they will have a positive run differential for the season.

  160. You’re not going to believe this, Chris, but I scooped you on your Thought for the Day by about an hour. Honest.

    Score one for Sean! Woo-hoo!

  161. T Smith, your’e not out of your mind. You score a perfect 1.0 on the DO NOT DRINK YOUR FIRST CUP OF COFFEE BEFORE 11:AM SANITY SCALE put out by the AMA.

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