Game 94: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: The Tigers limp into the All Star break physically and spiritually. The Twins have taken 5 straight from the Tigers and a 4 game sweep would certainly suck hard.

The match-up is Justin Verlander and Nick Blackburn. If you want a little something different, the Future’s Game starts at 12:30 and it features Wilkin Ramirez starting in left field. You can also see Gorkys Hernandez starting next to him in centerfield.

MIN @ DET, Sunday, July 13, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

POSTGAME: The Tigers found a way to win against the Twins. They made it a 2 run game instead of a one run game. I’m not sure if the fact that the Tigers were only outscored by 2 runs in this series makes me feel better or worse.

Justin Verlander was awesome today and probably even better than his final line indicated. Which was an impressive 7 inning, 2 run, 8 K, 2 walk day. The fastball was live. The curve ball was nasty. And he held Mauer, Morneau, and the whoever was hitting 8th today in relative check.

Once again the kids supplpied the power with Clete Thomas and Matt Joyce accouting for 3 of the 4 runs. Thomas with his first career homer and Joyce with his 9th. This sets up quite the dilemma as to who gets sent down when Magglio Ordonez returns on Thursday.

And on another note, in terms of the Twins doing “things the right way” and the genius of Ron Gardenhire. I’m sorry. I don’t see it. Yes, there is probably some bitterness at work. But I saw them fail continually with their heralded bunting. Once bunting into a force out at second, due in part to the fact that Carlos Gomez let up. I saw Alexi Casilla bunt into himself while in fair territory. I saw them flounder just as much as the Tigers with RISP. I saw a guy with a sub .300 OBP start all the games as the leadoff hitter. They did enough stuff better than the Tigers to win 3 of 4. But I saw nothing offensively or strategically that screams “the right way.” The pitching is great and will only get better when Francisco Liriano returns (assuming that Livan Hernandez gets dumped). But I still don’t think they are for real.

59 Comments

  1. ron

    July 13, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Who woulda thunk we’d be in this position at the break with one player named to the All Star team and all our other “stars” sitting home?

  2. Rick G

    July 13, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    And having that one All Star being more valuable defensively than offensively lately? By the way, I wonder if the folks at Mizuno (Carlos has an endorsement deal with them) have noticed that he’s now using a Wilson glove?

  3. Chris in Nashville

    July 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I would love to be at .500 after today, but I remember last year the Tigers swept the Red Sox the series before the All-Star break . The Tigers didn’t make the playoffs and the Red Sox won the world series. So, I guess it doesn’t matter all that much, but they need to get some momentum going against this ultra-annoying group of Twins.

  4. Dave BW

    July 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Verlander is really kicking ass so far. 23 pitches and 3 Ks through two.

    Whenever we play the Twins, I always think of a line from Baseball Prospectus from, like, 2005. “Is it possible that the Twins simply clone pitchers instead of develop them like other teams?”. One strike-throwing contact pitcher after another after another.

  5. Dave BW

    July 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Blackburn made a big location mistake with his underwhelming fastball, and Clete knocked it out for his first home run. 2-0 Tigers

  6. Amanda

    July 13, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Gotta Love Matt Joyce!

  7. JFunk

    July 13, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    So is the first batter Jones faces going to get a single or a double?

  8. Tbone

    July 13, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Matt Joyce now has a higher HR/AB average than Country Strong.

  9. Tbone

    July 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Todd Jones unhittable!

    A much better way to go into the All Star Break.

  10. Dave BW

    July 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Jones is ON today. And a phenomenal diving catch by Joyce ends the game. Tigers win!

  11. K-man

    July 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Nice win! Evidently, everybody is at the game or at a barbeque or something.

  12. judpma

    July 13, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    …just got on couldn’t watch any more…my protest i guess….too bad Santiago and Joyce playing days are over..they have been very solid but don’t think for a minute that the brilliant manager will start Renteria and Sheffield at Baltimore ….so much for doing a great job…how can you possibly sit either one of them Jimbo

  13. Rick G

    July 13, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    The radio guys are speculating whether Joyce or Thomas gets sent down when Magglio comes back. Anyone think there’s a chance Sheffield gets bought out and released?

    Also, I heard the obligatory “Nice area” comment from Jim Price again…

    Dan: Today’s fifth inning prize contestant is Henry Jones who lives under an overpass right next to the Fermi Nuclear plant.

    Jim (channeling Pavlov’s dogs): Nice area.

    The guy never lets me down, and it always makes me chuckle.

  14. Chris Y.

    July 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Rick, you said the magic words re: Sheff. But unlikely, so unlikely.

    If Joyce goes down over Thomas, I quit.

    Not sure what exactly there is to speculate about; Raburn or Thomas, not Joyce.

  15. Chris in Nashville

    July 13, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I think Larish goes down when Maggs comes back personally.

  16. Chris Y.

    July 13, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Bonine will be back too, though.

  17. Chris in Nashville

    July 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Oh yeah. Well, I guess one does have to go down then. Clete offers more versatilty, but Joyce is on fire. I say Joyce stays until he eventually cools then Clete gets called back up.

  18. Kyle J

    July 13, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    The only other option is to send Raburn down. You have Inge to cover C/3B and Santiago to cover 2B/SS. Hard to see that Joyce will get much PT once Magglio’s back, though.

    White Sox lost to Texas 12-11. So we go into the break 7 games back. Taking 3 out of 4 against the Twins sure would have set things up nicely. We’d be 5 back of the Sox and just 1 1/2 games back of the Twins.

    Onward and forward.

  19. stephen

    July 13, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    One out of four makes this weekend Dunkirk. We can only hope the Sox and Twins lose focus and invade Russia.

  20. ron

    July 13, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    On Apr 13, we were 5 and a half out. Three months later we’re 7 out and treading water and hoping 2 teams ahead of us falter. I now predict the Tigers will come back and win the division in spite of their manager. I think they have hit rock bottom as of last night. They will rise from the ashes and ascend into the glory of the playoffs and beyond. God bless us all and God bless The Detroit Tigers.

  21. Chris Y.

    July 13, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Right on ron.

  22. Jason

    July 13, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    So, assuming Sheff is left in the lineup to falter some more, we have to “Pick Two” out of Joyce, Raburn, and Thomas once Magglio returns.

    Zach Miner is going to be our fifth starter down the stretch, not Bonine. Miner did start 16 games for our heroes in 2006 after Mike Maroth’s arm injury.

  23. Johnny Lava

    July 13, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Nickname for Matt Joyce:

    “Joystick”

    Nuff said.

  24. Kevin in Austin

    July 13, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    I think they send down Raburn. With Santiago back (and reminding everyone why JL loves him so much), Raburn’s infield versatility becomes expendable. Too bad b/c Raburn has been so consistent all year, but I think that Thomas and Joyce have much bigger upsides. Raburn is gonna be a great career utility player, Joyce and Thomas could turn out to be full time players.

    That said, if they dropped Sheffield and gave Joyce his 250+ ABs for the 2nd half, I would be ecstatic.

    So hard to believe that Sheffield has fallen so far in a year, but it happens. On that note, does Sexson do anything for you assuming he clears waivers?

  25. Brian in Tampa

    July 13, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I don’t see how Joyce gets sent down. He is hitting the ball too good. I could care less about Sheff. I like the way Clete is playing, too. It is a tough call because who knows what Sheffield is going to do the rest of the year. He has been looking pretty bad lately. I like Miner as the 5th starter, too. Sexson reminds me of a left handed Sheffield. So no, he does nothing for me.

  26. billfer

    July 13, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    God no on Sexson.

    Sheffield isn’t getting released. It means he plays for someone else and someone else will give him a shot. It also means that the Tigers pay him to play for someone else.

  27. billfer

    July 13, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    And Sexson is right handed so that’s really saying something :)

  28. Brian in Tampa

    July 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Oh yeah. He reminds me of a right handed Sheffield. :)

  29. stephen

    July 13, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Man, if the Twins aren’t for real, that really begs the question: what the heck does that make the Tigers?

  30. Amanda

    July 13, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Joystick? sounds alittle gay IMO esp from a guy …”not that there’s anything wrong with it” ha

  31. Amanda

    July 13, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    ^^^Seinfeld quote

  32. Anson

    July 13, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Anyone else see how well Chad Durbin’s been doing?

  33. billfer

    July 13, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    I don’t think it makes the Tigers anything. The Twins pitching scares me, the offense doesn’t.

  34. Kathy

    July 13, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    I hate to see the “scrub” sent down, but who else could it be? Sheff looked real happy today talking with the kids on the bench. Cletus and Matt subbing for Sheff and Maggs. Who would have caught that ball for the final out if Matt was riding the pine and Maggs was in the OF….Maggs? Grandy? or maybe it goes for a hit.

  35. NoNon

    July 13, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Looking ahead to after the All-Star break, yeah we’re on the road right away but it’s against the Orioles, Royals (I know they’ve had our number but seriously), and the Indians (who’s number we’ve had) with the White Sox squeezed in at home.

    The Twins are gonna take on Texas at home and the Yanks and Indians away while the Sox stay at home with the Royals and the Rangers until they visit us with a four game trip to the Metrodome after.

    So lets assume for the sake of argument that we win every series (no sweeps) while the Twins and Sox go .500 until they face each other and hopefully beat each other up…someone do the math.

    Where does that put everyone by the end of the month?

  36. Dave BW

    July 13, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Of the three years I’ve been coming here, I can remember exactly one time in which stephen said anything that wasn’t negative (the endlessly delayed Yankees game last year, I think). In the manic-depression atmosphere of internet discussion, that kind of consistency is admirable.

  37. Vince in MN

    July 13, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    If letting Sheffield go gets him out of our lineup and into sombody else’s, I’m not sure that is necessarily such a bad thing for theTigers to pay for. It was a big mistake to give hm a long term contract in the first place. Now is as good a time as any to admit it and just suck up the loss. The sooner the better, and in fact some will say it is overdo and have a good point. He isn’t the only one the Tigers are overpaying to underperform. You can’t stick with a dud simply because you are paying him a lot of dough, especially if it is preventing younger players who are producing, from getting the playing time.

  38. MCM

    July 13, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Sheff has got to go, period.

    Maggs comes back as the DH, period.

    Joyce’s catch to end today’s game shows why we need a younger, diving capable glove in right field. With Maggs out there it’s a hit and possibly extra bases. Need the young stuff in the outfield, period.

  39. Chris

    July 14, 2008 at 12:27 am

    “Man, if the Twins aren’t for real, that really begs the question: what the heck does that make the Tigers?”

    Twins are playing way, way, way over their heads. If they were a stock, it would definitely be time to sell. This team winning on a knife’s edge with a ridiculous amount of timely hitting from very little hitting talent other than the M&M brothers. I predict their luck/magic is going to disappear in a flash and they will go through one of those stretches like we saw last season after the break with this team. Twins lineup sucks and we are about to see that on the scoreboards. The only positive (or negative, from my standpoint as a Twins hater) is their pitching. It’s been very good and their is no reason why it cannot help win a few of those 2 run offensive games.

    Don’t look at the record folks. The Twins blow!

  40. Bill

    July 14, 2008 at 12:37 am

    Totally agree on the Twins looking soft. Once the republicans come into town the Twinkies will be on the road for nearly a month. The main issue for the Tigs is getting a solid fifth starter (Burnett?) I know we have alot of money committed to Bonderman and Willis but I’m not impressed at all with the Sox or the Twins and the division title is the only realistic shot we’ve got at making the playoffs this year with Boston or New York grabbing the wild card.

  41. Mike R

    July 14, 2008 at 2:35 am

    The Twins not being real is exactly why it’s no reason to give up on the season. They’ll crash back to earth which’ll make it easier to pass them in the standings if we get to do what the Tigers are capable of doing. Kind of a reverse-rolls 2006 scenario.

  42. Ryan P

    July 14, 2008 at 10:30 am

    “Joyce’s catch to end today’s game shows why we need a younger, diving capable glove in right field. With Maggs out there it’s a hit and possibly extra bases. Need the young stuff in the outfield, period.”

    And what exactly did the 9th inning on Thursday show?

  43. Lee Panas

    July 14, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I agree with others that the Twins offense and offensive approach is not at all impressive. Their young pitching looks good. They will probably stay in the race for the same reason the Tigers might – lack of strong competition.

  44. Sean C. in Illinois

    July 14, 2008 at 10:36 am

    White Sox 12-9
    Twins 14-12
    Tigers 9-15

    Standings in a 3-team league.

    I mean this only in a friendly way. I think it’s time for Tigers fans to stop dreaming about a White Sox and Twins collapse, and to stop harping on how “unsustainable” this or that is. Overacheiving and underacheiving are both possible for an entire season, for teams and for individual players. Do I need to cite examples? I don’t think so.

    As Todd Jones has said with different words, the destiny of the Detroit Tigers is in their own hands.

    The White Sox win where the Tigers don’t. The Twins win where the Tigers don’t. Ergo, both teams are better than the Tigers, as their W-L records coincidentally point out. There is absolutely no reason to think this cannot continue to be the case for the remainder of 2008.

    Hating the Twins and White Sox is nice. Beating them would be better.

  45. Brian P

    July 14, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Putting on my managerial cap, this is how I would handle the Tigers after the break.

    Sheffield finally hits the 60 day disabled list and we hope he can make a 2009 return. Thames takes his place as the designated hitter.

    Lineup for the remainder of the season:

    Granderson, CF
    Polanco, 2B
    Guillen, 3B
    Ordonez, RF
    Cabrera, 3B
    Thames, DH
    Joyce, LF
    Pudge/Inge, C
    Santiago/Renteria, SS

    Zach Miner, provided he’s throwing strikes in Toledo, becomes the 5th starter. Nascar (Bonine) simply can’t get AL hitters out.

  46. Ryan P

    July 14, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I like Clete in left over Joyce. He fields better than him, and has been a bit more consistent this year I think. We have enough hitters in the lineup that can hit home runs, I’d rather have Clete’s consistent singles and doubles than Joyce’s less-consistent but more powerful hitting.

  47. Sean C. in Illinois

    July 14, 2008 at 11:53 am

    I’d rather keep Joyce and Thomas if I could. That’a nice complementary pair of reserve outfielders with some promise as potential starters. There’s room for Marcus between LF, DH, and 1B. There’s room for Gary Sheffield on another team – sending him to the Twins could be a cruel yet funny joke, sorta like Craig Monroe (no, I loved Craig as a Tiger and yes, I know he went to the Cubs first).

    So who else do I have to get rid of to keep Clete and Matt? There’s no room for Larish, so that was easy. So the bench is Inge, Raburn, Santiago, Joyce, and Thomas. While heads are rolling, let’s ditch Renteria while we’re at it. Bring Hollimon back up. Or keep Larish. Either way. My bench has 5 guys because I’m not counting in the DH as a position.

  48. T Smith

    July 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Sheff on the 60 day DL is a good option.

    The minute we send him to the Twins (or any other team for that matter) he’s gonna mash — and I mean mash like only Sheffield can. I just got a feeling.

    Together, Sean Casey and Craig Monroe have single-handedly cost the Tigers multiple games this year. I really wouldn’t enjoy putting Sheffield on that list.

    But the 60 day DL that was mentioned earlier in the thread is intriguing. Solves a lot of issues….

  49. Coleman

    July 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Sean C:
    White Sox 12-9
    Twins 14-12
    Tigers 9-15

    Standings in a 3-team league.

    I have advocated something much more just than the extreme 3-team league solution, which is declaring (retroactively) the Kansas City Royals as not an actual real baseball team. Some of the reasons for this are obvious, some less so, but look at the results: Now vs then:

    CWS 54 40 — CWS 49 39 –
    MIN 53 42 1.5 DET 47 41 2.0
    DET 47 47 7.0 MIN 46 40 2.0

    I have been enjoying the complicated discussions, but in a simple sense, the only difference between Detroit and the Twins is that the Twins can beat KC, and we can’t…

  50. Vince in MN

    July 14, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Coleman, another difference between the Tigers and Twins is that the Twins can beat the Tigers, but the Tiger’s can’t beat the Twins.

  51. Sean C. in Illinois

    July 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    T, I know what you mean about Sheffield. I wonder if the Tigers could hold on to him and lease him out until he hits with consistency. There ought to be some kind of exchange program for struggling sluggers.

    Really, though. If it were between a roster spot for Gary or for Clete or Matt, I’d go with one of the young guys. 94 games in, I guess I’m just tired of waiting on him. Call me impatient.

  52. Sean C. in Illinois

    July 14, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I endorse Coleman’s solution. One more vote and the motion carries. This is a binding resolution. We’re going to the playoffs, baby.

  53. Brian in Tampa

    July 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Hey, down here in Tampa everybody is screaming for a right handed bat. Too bad we can’t dump Sheff. off in his hometown for something of value. I know the Rays probably don’t want that contract for next year, nor his so called attitude.

  54. Chris in Dallas

    July 14, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Sheffield for Shields, Price, Kazmir and Longoria sounds fair. He’s a future HALL OF FAMER.

  55. Coleman

    July 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    “Coleman, another difference between the Tigers and Twins is that the Twins can beat the Tigers, but the Tiger’s can’t beat the Twins.”

    True Vince in Royalbeaterland, and yet reversing the Tigers/Twins results helps the Tigers less then the elimination of the KC Wannabe-Monarchists. Somehow they are 6-0 vs Detroit, and a combined 3-12 against Chicago/Minnesota. I would never suggest any collusion or other nefarious doings at work here–well, actually, I would. Since KC is playing for minimum wage mostly, it wouldn’t cost very much to make a difference to them…I’m just saying.

    (And yes, I realize explaining why they tank doesn’t explain why they are good against Det. But how many Royals would you recognize even if they sat next to you on the bus? See what I’m saying? It’s an off day, Morneau slaps on some ugly and a KC jersey, who’s gonna know he’s not whoever’s name is on his jersey? Maybe some KC diehards, but are they gonna blow the whistle and ruin their only fun games to watch? It’s all entirely plausible).

    Actually I just thought of a more likely explanation. They see Jim Leyland and half a dozen Marlins, and they think they are playing a National League team, and proceed to give Detroit an AL Central vs NL drubbing…

  56. Vince in MN

    July 14, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Coleman, you may be on to something there.

    I mean the Royals thinking they are playing a NL team, not the conspiracy theory.

  57. Vince in MN

    July 14, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Just for fun, let’s knock out those results between the Tigers and Twins and the Tigers and Sox and Indians too as well. What are we left with? In a one team division:

    DET…..33-23…..—-

    Much better. Of course if you eliminate those meaningless IL games the record falls to

    DET…..20-18…..—-

    Still good enough for first place though! Playoffs here we come!

    ;-)

  58. Coleman

    July 14, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    OK, very funny Vince. But I bet nobody here can find another team, the elimination of whom (retroactively) would effect the top 3 teams of their division so drastically.

    (I predict this challenge will result in Sean C. not being heard from for hours…)

  59. Dave BW

    July 14, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Coleman —

    I’ll have you know that I would recognize any Royal that for whatever reason set next to me on a hypothetical Ann Arbor bus, and that ALL Royals games are fun to watch!

    Okay, the second part of that sentence was a lie.