Game 80: Rockies at Tigers

PREGAME: Once upon a time the Tigers were within one game of .500. With the team playing good baseball I figured that by the end of a 3 game series with the Twins (who weren’t the streaking Twins we see now) that they’d be well on their way to a winning record. Yeah, no so much. So it is with some trepidation that I view the next several games.

Marcus Thames, who Jim Leyland said wasn’t quite right, should return to the lineup tonight. As should Edgar Renteria. But in their absence the kids (Clete and Hollimon) did okay the last few games.

Jeff Francis takes the ball for the Rockies. The Royals blew him up in his last start and Francis is susceptible to the long ball with 16 homers allowed this season with 9 coming on the road where he has a 6.07 ERA. Slightly interesting, statistically insignificant factoid: In 16 starts this year the hitter leading off the game has reached base 9 times with 4 extra base hits. Good boding for Curtis Granderson to continue his hit streak?

Justin Verlander turned in a frustrating yet dominant performance in his last start against the Padres. The 10 strikeouts were good. That they came in only 5.1 innings was kind of amazing, yet problematic. It took Verlander 115 pitches to record those 16 outs, due in large part to a lot of full counts and 5 walks.

COL @ DET, Saturday, June 28, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 7:05

POSTGAME: With ratings starting to sag it could be the end of Clete and The Shef. However the network may have another show in the pipeline tentatively titled Miggy and the Scrub.

Ryan Raburn acted the role of clean-up hitter tonight, even though it wasn’t by design. Raburn subbed in for an injured Ordonez and had the first big hit of the night in the form of a grand slam. He later walked and scored the winning run when Miguel Cabrera doubled him home in walk-off fashion (that darned first pitch swinging after a 4 pitch walk). The third walk-off win in the 5 games of the homestand so far.

  • Todd Jones blew the save. The first time he’s done so this year and here we are at the end of June. Part of me was upset, but that part kind of went away. Jones hasn’t pitched that good this year, even by his standards. But he’d always found a way to not give a lead away until tonight.
  • I particularly liked the moment in the post game celebration where Jonesy was hanging back, outside of the mob. But when Cabrera broke free Jones was standing there with open arms.
  • When I started to think about the postgame write-up as Jones melted down, I was going to de-emphasize the Jones part and point out how many extra runs the Tigers left on the bases. A growing trend as of late. But it’s the 3rd such time I’ve had those thoughts of late and yet the team has scored at least 7 runs in each of those games. Maybe I’m just getting spoiled with all the opportunities that the offense is generating and should be focusing on the positive.
  • Jim Leyland thought Marcus Thames would get 2 hits tonight, and indeed he did.
  • Unfortunately Curtis Granderson had his 15 game hitting streak snapped.
  • Verlander’s outing was reminiscent of his last time out. A decent number of K’s, a walk or two too many, and a pitch count that kept him from getting through 6 innings.
  • Fernando Rodney seems to have found his old form. He did allow a walk, but that was it in a 12 pitch inning.
  • Oh yeah, and the team isn’t under .500 for the first time since the morning of March 31st.

133 thoughts on “Game 80: Rockies at Tigers”

  1. My wife and daughters are going shopping in the city. So I will have the tv and two mac’s in front of me for the ultimate baseball media experience. A nice break for me.

    I like it when Sat. games aren’t on FOX due to the fact that we never get that game.

    Watching a baseball game today with Game Day , Gamecast, all the stats available to the fans plus MLB extra innings( 8 games on the screen at once) is amazing not to mention DTW.

    I wish my Mom and Dad could have experienced baseball like this. I’m sure they thought listening to a transistor radio on the patio on hot summer nights was the best.

  2. Mud Hen Fans

    I have been researching old ball parks and found this. The old Swayne Field in Toledo (The home to the Hens from 1909-1955
    which was a shopping center when I was a kid) had some ridiculous dimensions 360 Left field 327 to Right Field and a whopping 485 to Dead Center.

  3. West Coast Tiger,

    Especially sitting on the porch because it was so hot and we didn’t have air conditioning and listening to every word. Felt like you were right there.

  4. Watching the Cubs/White Sox game… Jermaine Dye hit a 2-run HR to tie it, then went in to the dugout and chugged some Pedialyte.

    I know it’s fundamentally not very different than Gatorade or Powerade, but is it common for big-leaguers to drink that stuff?

  5. Hey West Coast Tiger, I wish you the most enjoyment possible in your high-tech baseball experience, 🙂 but sitting on the patio on a hot summer night with baseball on the radio is still the best. Especially now that I can have a cold beer too.

  6. And oh yeah, I forgot to mention, the Twins are about to win their 11th straight, and in fact will not lose again this season.

  7. Pedialyte is good stuff. My mom makes me drink it when I have the flu/can’t keep water down. Tastes like medicine.

    Anyway, Cubs back up 5-4.

  8. Anne

    I hear that. I usually do that on Satudays if I’m home and the Tigers are on Fox I have a portable xm radio.

    The Cold Beers are a must, which is a reminder I have to run to the store, If I can peel myself away from the Cubs/Sox

  9. To add to my Tiger experience, I have been streaming Detroit Sports Talk radio. Any opinions on which is the best?

  10. Joel–

    Versus network mentioned that the Dallas Stars were drinking Pedialyte during the intermission of one of their OT games against San Jose. I guess it is pretty common.

  11. My guess is it was very hot in Chicago today. Pedialyte contains a precise combination of sugars and electrolytes to instantly hydrade. Gatorade has more carbohydrates (sugar).

  12. Good morning laides and gentlemen.

    I am not so old, but I still have great memories of lying in bed listening to Earnie Harwell as I was falling asleep at nights. This is how I learned about baseball. No cable TV, no Tiger Stadium, definately no internet . . .

  13. We always talk about Ernie and he is the best, does anyone ever hear about what George Kell and LArry Osterman are up to.

    I can still hear”Thanks Larry and Good afternoon everyone, a beautiful day for Tiger baseball”

  14. Props to pudge there – he is a big part of why no runs scored. Throws a guy out, which brings the infield in (and gets an out). Then we hold runner on a grounder. Then he puts a glove on the would be wp. Nice!

  15. Yahoo for Rayburn and the Tigers. Not a bad location, He had to muscle that one.

  16. It’s an oblique/lat thing with Maggs. That’s 4 guys on the team. Javair Gillete needs to get that worked out.

  17. I think that’s what the leyland gesture was in the dugout – he had to go get it.

    Also, notice how grandy is always cheering his teammates on? Last night he gave a little extra love to bonine. Tonight the extra double low five to raburn. He’s the guy you play rec league basketball with and after you give him a nice pass for a layup all he wants to do is point at you and say nice look. All class.

  18. West Coast Tiger, my opinion of Detroit sports radio Tiger talk that I listen to…

    Jamie Samuelsen – Usually pretty decent, except when Matt Dery is with him. His pro-Cleveland, anti-Detroit bias does Jamie no favors.
    Sean Baligian – Once in a while is pretty decent, especially when he used to have Ken Rosenthal (and Billfer of course), but once in a while just leaves you shaking your head. (Such as the other day when he spent about an hour wondering why you can’t argue balls and strikes.) He really needs to get Billfer or some other knowledgeable source to help him fill his four hour slot.
    Stoney and Wojo – I can’t even listen to them anymore – just an old married couple who argue for the sake of arguing. It seems like they hardly even talk actual sports.

    97.1 The Ticket:
    Valenti and Foster – They can be decent sometimes, but Valenti loves himself a bit too much and Foster doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about anything. Plus their open mic format means maybe every 5th call will be Tiger related at any one time, with the other 4 calls telling Valenti where he should go on vacation or what cigar to smoke.
    Caputo and Fithian – Probably the best of the bunch for real Tiger fans. I don’t always agree with them, but at least they talk in depth about actual baseball related topics.

    Last I checked, was pretty quick in posting podcasts, so you should be able to cherry pick any interesting baseball segments to judge for yourself. The other station was usually weeks behind, last I saw.

    Anyone else care to throw in their two cents?

    Plus, anyone else remember the old Tigers broadcasts where the animated tiger teeth used to cover the screen with the roaring tiger sound effect whenever a tiger would hit a home run? And either the tiger biting through the bat, or with an ice pack on his head at the end of the broadcast depending on if they won or lost? That was the best when I was a kid!

  19. I like to play Raburn.

    Forty: props to Pudge here also, yet good call by Colorado–they called the steal sensing the DP, and in fact after the runner was thrown out, Verlander got what would have been a DP ground ball, so nothing was lost in the SB attempt. Smart call by CO but good execution by DET.

    My Univax crapper out on this one, but has any team ever been under .500 up until Jun 28, and never below .500 after?

    Also: why is sean c. from IL never seen in the daytime? (hint:starts with “vamp” and ends with “ire”) And what is his relationship to Sean “good clubhouse atmosphere, only hits in night games” Casey? Have they ever been seen at the same tome?

  20. Verlander has been effective these last two games, he has just not been efficient. lots of 3-2 counts and walks makes for an early pitch count run up.

  21. Dumb play by Renteria, hold onto the ball, no need to throw.

    Miner gets too careful with men on base, doesn’t trust his stuff. I feel a lot more comfortable seeing him out there at the start of an inning with nobody on.

  22. Stress level increasing…..Zach.

    Thanks Rod who said after the Slam. “That should be all the runs Verlander needs today”.

  23. There’s about a 130-point gap between the OPS against Miner with men on base and without men on base.

  24. Anybody know what percentage of inherited runners have scored on the bullpen? It must be very, very high.

  25. Darn, wish we’d have plated some of those early runs. We got some good hitters coming up in the ninth, let’s win this.

  26. Mario: “Now the Tigers have to get the bullpen working because Jones is nearing 30 pitches.”

    No dude, the Tigers need to get the bullpen going because Jones is totally ineffective and is blowing the game.

    I’m actually surprised that Leyland pulled the trigger and made the change as quick as he did. Remember last year when he just left Jones out there to twist?

    Too bad. This would have been a nice win.

  27. Forty is right. How many games have we seen where there was a flurry of offense and then it just died out. I’m not enjoying this either but I think Jones has been 100% before this evening. It had to happen eventually. It sucks, but it has happened to Papelbon, every closer. Maybe they can pull it out. Let’s see.

  28. I can’t even get that upset about it. Jones is Jones. Just something we have to live with. Obviously the dude is far FAR from an ideal closer, but somehow he manages to get the job done most of the time. Hopefully Zumaya can get into form and stay healthy and move into the role next year.

  29. I know that Raburn is why we’re even in this game at the moment, but I’d really feel more comfortable if Maggs were in the lineup. Maybe Ryan can be two times the hero.

  30. Nice walk. I’m really liking what I’m seeing from some of the young bench guys recently. Very calm. Very patient. They look like big-leaguers.

    Come on Miguel!

  31. Holy schlamoley, what a game. I think I’ll have to wait to celebrate .500 until my heart slows down and I can breathe again. Which will probably be sometime tomorrow.

  32. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!

    Ok that was freakin awesome!

    Way to pick up Jonesy Miggy! He said ‘that was for you’ when he gave Jones a big hug.

  33. Unbelievable game!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!!

    Miggy is now my favorite Tiger….. I love you Gil!

    this homestand ROCKS!

    More Interleague play please…. I want MORE!!!!!

    500 baby!


  34. Gained on the Twinks pulled further ahead of the Tribe. Nice to actually move in the standings following a win.

  35. Dolsi gets the win.

    cib-you called it. Twice in fact. Jones does get the job done, most of the time. Every closer will eventually blow a save. And yes indeed, they did pull it out.

  36. Unbelievable, I was talking to a friend who is at a wedding in Ct. giving him the play by play. I thought if they don’t come back and win it will be disaster. Go MIggs Go Tigers.

    I think the fans were a bit harsh on Jones.

    Cabrera in the clutch.

  37. I’ve been to games where the crowd heckled Jones for a 1-2-3 ninth.

    And remember when a 2-run lead for the other team felt “insurmountable”? Man, nothing feels impossible for these Tigers right now. Very 2006.

  38. 11:28 PM — I trust the sun is down in Illinois at this hour?

    (See Coleman’s post, 8:44 PM).

  39. I called it (not here of course) because of Miguel’s love of NL pitching. The more walk-off hits he hits, the more fans will love him. Just a matter of time. His post game bear-hug with Jonesy was priceless.

    Stressful game, but kind of symbolic of the first half of the season- a battle. We can lose a few battles along the way, as long as we win the war.

    And now the season can begin!

  40. Regarding sports radio: I agree with Karsch and Anderson being the most tolerable and baseball oriented. Valenti and Foster drive me nuts, rarely talk about baseball, and don’t know anything about the sport when they do.

    I prefer the DTW and the other tiger-based blogs.

  41. Anyway… what a great game. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe I have followed a single Verlander start all year. Strange, because these are arguably the games the Tigers should have the best chance of winning.

    Such a great win, and way to win some more love, Gil, keep it up. For Raburn to come on in substitution and do what he did – outstanding. The Tigers have been blessed with a good bench this season. Verlander wiggles out of jams, Marcus with 2 hits, Curtis with a DP, big D by Pudge in the 3rd, all good. But I see negatives in the play by play. No time like a win for complaining.

    Bad Tigers 3rd for Cabrera-Thames-Sheffield. Shame on all of them. Men on 2nd and 3rd, none out, these 3 guys up, and no more runs? Come on. Win or lose, that’s pathetic. Raburn was the offense until the 9th.

    I noticed the comment on Miner coming in with men on, and wanted to chime in on how bad he is in this situation, with this game being another example. Then I noticed the throwing error by Renteria. Aha. Don’t look now (then), but there’s Miner’s out, and there’s the Rockies’ go-ahead run, essentially. Take note, T Smith. Average he may be, but Renteria does seem to have a knack for costly errors, even when the potential cost ends up buried by later drama.

    Dolsi got it done after the Jones meltdown (I guess the real meltdown was the Atkins AB), but going 3-0 on the first batter en route to walking him isn’t the ice-water-in-veins approach I like to see here, and it’s hardly the first time Dolsi has done something like this.

    This is total second-guessing here, but maybe the next time Rodney throws a nice 8th and the Tigers are up by 2-3+… maybe Rodney could stay in there, huh, Jim? Jones with a 3-run lead makes me more nervous than Jones with a 1-run lead. It was nice to hear about Todd waiting to hug Gil, though. Such a human moment. I think we’ve all been in Todd’s shoes in our working lives.

    Enough complaining. .500! START OVER! RESET! Woo-hoo.

  42. Here’s my one negative – the boos. The booing in general at Comerica Park, and tonight of Todd Jones in particular. I think we all agree it wasn’t the start that we wanted, but now they are putting a competitive product on the field on a day by day basis… can we just cut out the booing of our own team? How very New York.

  43. “My ticket picking skills are unmatched. 6-0 baby”

    You need to give a certain Ken from Cincinnati (here) advance notice when you’ve got tickets. He puts money on the Tigers, and I’m guessing he’s done no better than break even this season.

  44. Jonesy will be alright, he knows he was awful and understands the booing. Not the kind of guy that will be bothered by it.

    In other news, Angels going for a combined no-hitter (although losing, 1-0). Actually, if they don’t score here in the top of the 9th it’ll be an 8 inning combined no-hitter. Weird.

  45. T

    Yeah, I saw Coleman’s post. I’m not a vampire. In fact, the record will show that on weekdays I’m often the first guy in on the day shift. It gets embarrassing. It’s a lonely feeling when you look at “Recent Posts” and all 5 are your own. I think, “they must think I really like to hear myself talk.” Not at all! Instead, it’s just the thrill I get from seeing my name in lights, so to speak. I’m somebody, by God! I’m a regular contributor to DTW. At last, an identity.

    Just kidding. But I’m really not a vampire. I’m ashamed to have missed this game, but when it’s a conflict of interest between house and home and Tigers game, Tigers game always loses. Tigers games give me a thrill. But Tigers games don;t pay my bills. Or mow the lawn.

    And, no, the sun is still up here in illinois. That’s why they call it “Land of the Midnight Sun.”

  46. “fyi I loudly cheered for Grilli when he came in. That’s just how I roll”

    That’s awesome. You’re a class act, man.

    Drag about the booing, though, really. Even if Jones understands, I think silence in a situation like that says more than booing, says enough. Actually, why not yell “Come on, Todd” – it’s not as though booing him is helping anybody. You’ve gotta figure the Tigers know the fans would prefer a win.

    Survey says: “Boo.” Producer runs out to the mound. “Todd, I guess they don’t like the RBI singles. Could you try something else?”

  47. The booing has been rampant since August of last year or so. It’s silly. Yeah, THAT will get a guy’s confidence back.

  48. you guys see the Angels? They threw a combined no-hitter against the Dodgers yet still lost on an unearned run. That must rot their socks eh? lol

  49. ““Miggy is now my favorite Tiger….. I love you Gil!””

    Just in: The long-running standing joke “Cabrera is a bust” died peacefully in its sleep at 10:33 EST, Saturday, June 28, 2008.

    We will now observe a moment of silence.

  50. Coleman

    Word to the wise: Sometimes things happen to people who know too much. You might not want to spend too much time alone in the computer lab or walk home without company for a while. Just saying.

  51. Booing your own players sucks. I could see it if a guy doesn’t run out a ground ball or doesn’t to what Holliman did yesterday, but Todd Jones is the ultimate Tiger after what he did for the fans during the rain delay last week and the fact that he is the biggest cheerleader on the team. He deserves better. No one was more upset than he was.

    I agree it was what I would expect from NY.

    I was happy for Grilli as well.

    Anyhow lets start the season now. We’ve just spotted the other team 5 games.

  52. just got back from the Angels -Dodger game,,strange game…I always ask my self when the Angels play like that why don’t they EVER play like that against the Tigers…but I did get to watch the Tigers on my phone…people around me thought I was slightly weird when I leaped up cheered on Gil’s blast…..oh well not he first time..this is California and anything goes …after all I just watched a no-no and the no no team won
    …..ok Tigs .500 now lets roll…

  53. Sean C. you are a vampire. At 1:04 you’re in Illinois and 9 minutes later you report in from Boston. Must have gotten caught in the jetstream while out looking for victims.

  54. Sean C. yeh, you’re the first one in, into the casket before the sun comes up. Mowing lawns? The only thing you’re cutting is Z’s between 5 in the morning til midnight. Paying bills? You’re so cheap, you don’t even have a T.V. set. But reading your witty and very entertaining blogs in the middle of the night makes my day.

  55. To boo, boo, boooo you is to love, love, lo-ve you, and I do, yes I do, and I do, yes I do…..

  56. These men are well-paid professionals. If one of them fails as abjectly as Jones did last night, he should be booed.

    The way Rodney has pitched of late, I’d make him the closer – not that Leyland would switch horses now.

  57. One thing’s for sure:

    The Tigers certainly can’t afford too many blown saves at this juncture. It is what it is. Yes, it happens. But if it starts to become a habit, we’ll have a serious issue on our hands and a whole lot of disscussion to wade through

  58. “To fail as abjectly as Jones did”? Give me a break. How about when a batter strikes out with the bases loaded? Do you boo him? Or when your starter gives up a 3-run jack? Do you ever cheer for Jones when he converts a save? Why do people insist on forgetting the 14 times he succeeds and dump all over him for 1 bad night? One blown save half-way through the season is way too early to start worrying about a habit.

  59. And can I just point out, K-rod has 2 blown saves and Papelbon has 4. There’s a couple of abject failures, eh?

  60. The BS should go to Leyland for leaving Jones out there too long. When Jones is bad, he is really bad and needs to get pulled quickly. That is the first time this has happened this season, but how many times in the past have we seen this kind of scenario played out? This is poor bullpen management again. After today the Silly Season will be over, the Tigers will be playing bonafide MLB teams again, and won’t be getting away with kind of nonsense.

  61. First of all, I will NOT boo my own players(but I might swear under my breath). Second, I absolutely LOVE Todd Jones. Todd Jones has the biggest balls on the team. He’s obviously not the greatest pitcher in the world, but he goes out there, almost always with the game on the line, and almost always gets the job done. And as Anne pointed out, some of the best closers in the game already have blown multiple saves. This was bound to happen. Nobody is perfect. I doubt if its the start of a trend.

  62. K-Rod has blown 2 saves because he has something like 33 chances. His ERA is around 2, less than half of Jones’. I love Todd, but lets face it, given his ERA this season, he’s VERY fortunate this is his first blown save.

    Jones has a way of somehow just barely getting it done with his now-mediocre arsenal. Hopefully he can keep it up for the rest of the year.

  63. The fact that Todd jones only has one blown save is more of a statistical anomaly than anything. A few times this year he has come in non save situations and has been scored upon easily, such as the Dodger game two weeks ago. And a many times he was hit pretty well but managed to barely hang on for the save. I have confidence in his luck and his mental toughness but not so much in his ability.

    I do look forward to next year when we get to see how Zumaya does as the closer. I get the sense that he is very eager to take on that role, which I think is a good thing. Dolsi looks like he could someday be a good closer, but he probably is too inexperienced to get that job next year.

  64. ERA doesn’t matter for a closer. The only thing that matters is you either save the win for the team, or you don’t. Barely saving a game is, believe it or not, good enough. The win is what matters. Yes Jones would probably have more blown saves if he’d had more opportunities early in the season, but would also have more saves. He’s been among the league leaders in saves for the previous 4 years (that’s as far back as I looked). He’s rarely going to give you a 1-2-3 ninth. He’s going to give up walks, hits and even homers, but he’s a known quantity. He will get the job done, even if it’s not pretty. The animosity some fans have toward him (not pointing fingers at anyone here) is completely out of proportion to even his worst performances. It’s illogical, irrational and disturbingly personal.
    Now, with that said, I’m throwing out my beating-a-dead-horse stick and am going to enjoy today’s game, instead of continuing to re-hash yesterday’s.

  65. Ron

    “But reading your witty and very entertaining blogs in the middle of the night makes my day.”

    Right back at ya, Slick.

  66. Vince i don’t get your comment of now the silly season is over, and they will no play bonofide baseball teams again. The NL is weaker but still the Cards have the NL wild card wrapped up and I believe that LAD or the Arz Diamonbacks are going to be the West champs and we swept the Dodgers and before we were going good we won 1 of 3 to ARZ. So all of these teams we are beating are all MLB teams just some are struggling.

    Still MIN will be tough very tough. But I think we can get out of there with 2 of 3 won. GO Tigers!!!!!

  67. Steve:

    The point I was trying to make was that for about the last three weeks the Tigers have been playing all their games against weak teams in a weak league. The fact that they handled these weaker teams does not necessarily translate into similar results when they start playing AL clubs, who, for the most part are superior to their NL brethren, and, for the most part (CLE and TOR the exceptions) all had winning records vs the other league. Yes, the Tigers results are better over the last couple of weeks, but this is also the case with most other AL teams. And not just some of the NL teams have been struggling over this interleague period – most of them have, just like last year and the year before that. The Cubs might be for real, but I just can’t take the rest of them too seriously.

    Take a look at the AL standings before and after interleague play:

    EAST Before After
    Bos —- / .5
    TB 1.5 / —-
    NY 4.5 / 5.5
    BAL 7 / 7.5
    TOR 6.5 / 10

    CENT Before After
    CHI —- / —-
    MN 3.5 / 1
    DET 6 / 5
    CLE 3.5 / 9
    KC 10.5 / 9

    The WS haven’t played yet as I write, so the standings will go up or down .5 depending on the result.

    WEST Before After
    LA —- / —–
    OAK 4.5 / 3.5
    TX 6.5 / 7.5
    SEA 16.5 / 17.5

    Three weeks further into the season and what major changes in the AL races do we see? Toronto is a little worse in the East, The Twins are a little better in the Central, and Cleveland has tanked. Otherwise, the differences are only a game or two at best.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy the Tigers have pulled themselves up over .500 and “appear” to be playing much better ball, but one could say that about 10 or 11 of the AL teams over the last few weeks as well. Basically the last three weeks have been like a vacation and now the AL teams will have to fight it out amongst themselves. Now meaningful games come into play again, but the interleague results are not a barometer of how this is going to pan out. That is what I mean when I say the real test for the Tigers starts on Monday.

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