Game 98: Tigers at Orioles

by billfer on July 20, 2008 · 97 comments

in 2008 Season,Game Post

PREGAME: The Tigers look to salvage a split and stave off baseball irrelevance. The Orioles don’t win on Sundays. They have a 14 game losing streak on Sundays. And the Tigers have their ace on the mound. Maybe if the pitching staff can keep the O’s under 7 runs the Tigers have a chance.

Verlander is pitching on extended rest, which given his workload leading up to the break is probably a good thing. Of course he maybe rusty or overly amped up so that may back fire as well.

Brian Burres isn’t a particularly good pitcher. He doesn’t strikeout many and his walk rate isn’t great either. And he’s left handed. But offense hasn’t been the Tigers problem in this series.

Guillen is back with the team, arriving from the airport just before noon. But he isn’t playing. Instead the infield consists of Cabrera, Inge, Santiago, and Raburn.

DET @ BAL, Sunday, July 20, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 1:35

POSTGAME: Justin Verlander is my hero. He finally managed to shut down the vaunted Orioles offense, pitching a 3 hitter and recording 26 of the 27 requisite outs. And he did it efficiently too. Not a lot of strike outs, but a lot of weak grounders and pop-ups. He preserved the pen on a day when basically nobody was available and/or trusted.

The offense did enough, extending innings with 2 out hits, and getting some power from Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez.

The Tigers leave Baltimore achieving the bare minimum. On to KC.

  • On the decision to take Verlander out with one out to go. Yeah, it kinda sucks. And Verlander had pitched well. But how important is the complete game in the scheme of things? It was a 100 degrees and Verlander had lost a couple MPH off his fastball. Eight of the ten pitches he had thrown in the inning missed the strike zone, and pretty badly. Say he leaves him in and he walks another batter, or worse yet gives up a hit, or grooves one when falling behind in the count. Then you’re bringing in Jones to a very high leverage situation.
  • And Jones typically makes a situation high leverage without any help. A walk was followed by a phenomenal play by Inge. It probably would have been a web gem, but no Baseball Tonight because it is important to show the ESPYs.
  • The 3-4-5-6 hitters combined for 2 homers, 2 singles, a double, and 5 walks. That’s some nice production on a day when the top two hitters didn’t get on base.
  • Finally, let’s talk about Brian Runge. Runge is the ump who blew the 10th inning call on Saturday night. His handiwork at homeplate complete, he went over for a stress free day at third base. But given the opportunity to deny the Tigers a run, he jumped all over it. Marcus Thames hooked a deep fly ball down the left field foul pole. Thames kept rounding the base while Runge called it foul. Fortunately he was promptly overruled by home plate ump Greg Gibson. Runge is approaching Angel Hernandez in my book.
 
 

{ 97 comments }

Tbone July 20, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Luke Scott is absolutely killing us. Why we keep giving this guy anything over the plate is a mystery.

And what is it with Raburn and the relay?

Jeff July 20, 2008 at 2:13 pm

People were joking last night that Verlander was going to come inside on Scott a couple times. Given there was a man on, one out, they weren’t going to throw close, but perhaps a couple brushbacks would have been a better choice.

mcb July 20, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Mags!

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 2:47 pm

It seems that last night has left our community shell-shocked. I just pray everyone’s watching, because Rod just told a killer story about getting a new tire.

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm

These alternate Orioles jerseys are fantastic. It must feel like Spring Training everyday.

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 2:55 pm

The backup catcher uses the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” as his walk-up music. Good for you, backup catcher.

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Thames was just given an HR on a foul ball. Thank goodness instant replay hasn’t started yet. 2-1 Tigers in the 6th

billfer July 20, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Dave – I thought it was a homer. But then again FSN hasn’t bothered with a replay yet.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:10 pm

I think Iggy would make a great closer.

billfer July 20, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Just watched the replay on gameday. It was a homer.

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 3:15 pm

That was just my tricky way of making you slackers respond :)

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Verlander’s at 70 pitches at the beginning of the 7th. He’s been pitching to contact and has only 2 strikeouts and 1 walk

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 3:26 pm

I’d gladly let the O’s take this game if doing so caused Kevin Millar to never bleach his hair again

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Finally, an outcome befitting a guy named Luke

Jeff July 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Dave – I thought it was a homer. But then again FSN hasn’t bothered with a replay yet

Runge at 3B today made the original foul call, so that was a pretty clear indication that it actually was a homer.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:36 pm

One more hit and the fat lady will begin clearing her throat…

mcb July 20, 2008 at 3:39 pm

Whew! We are now out of Todd Jones territory.

Mike in CT July 20, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Please Jim…let Verlander finish this one out. Please, I’ll FedEx a carton of Marlboro’s to Kansas City.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:40 pm

ahem…Fa-la-la-la-la…fa-la-la-la-la

Tbone July 20, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Need to meake this lead TJ-proof. Better yet, maybe JV can go 9.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm

At 84 pitches, Verlander better be coming back out. Besides the Orioles announcer said he asked Leyland before the game who was available in the bullpen today, and he said, “nobody.”

mcb July 20, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Edgar who?

cib July 20, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Argh. Enjoying this but at the same time, every time Santiago gets a hit I think, why couldn’t we have just lived with him at SS – - – I know, no more JJ talk. Okay.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Most of the time when Leyland has used Santiago it has been to take advantage of his Lefty (switch) Bat…when he plays more regularly it becomes apparent he hits much better left than right…I wonder how he would do if he gave up the switch-hitting bit and tried batting lefty against left-handers…

mcb July 20, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Why is TJ warming up!?!

mcb July 20, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Oh, its Galarraga just throwing a session.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Is anyone better at turning the double-play from 3rd than Inge?
Maybe it’s just cause he’s from Virginia (Orioles announcer speculating that Verlander is doing well cause he’s from nearby Virginia and used to the humidity…just think if he were from Virginia AND latin, he’d probably have a no-hitter)

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Galarraga should put on a fake moustache, that would scare some people.

Tbone July 20, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Oh come on!

Leave him in there for the CG!!!

mcb July 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Lame, very lame.

Tbone July 20, 2008 at 4:07 pm

JV was incredulous…

JMM July 20, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Just crap. pulling Justin wtf?

cib July 20, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Okay. I officially do not understand this entire season. Completely in-freakin’-credible.

mcb July 20, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Oh, so this is a lot better.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Gee, Justin coulda done that….

Mike in CT July 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm

does anyone else sense an impending luke scott game-tying grand slam off jones?

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Oh boy Jones is gonna load them up for…LUKE SCOTT

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Leyland you fool, Jones is not from Virginia, he can’t pitch in this weather

Tbone July 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Eat that, Inge haters!

mcb July 20, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Inge gets the save, forget Jones.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Nice look there at Verlander’s face in the dugout

Joey C. July 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Leyland is a schmuck.

I also don’t get pulling Marcus for Joyce. Joyce has not impressed me in the field. Is Joyce really that much of an upgrade in the field? It’s like Jimmy just can’t treat Marcus as an everyday starting left-fielder. No matter what the guy does.

Inge bails out Jones. Good god. If that was Guillen this game would have been tough to continue watching.

Tbone July 20, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Oh, and TJ is simply awful.

Mike in CT July 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Verlander and … and pray for rain.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Did you see where Inge was playing him? After Millar pulled a couple foul Inge was about two feet off the line, no way he would have gotten to it even with the dive otherwise…

West Coast Tiger July 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Inge is the best fielding 3rd baseman in the league.

Jones is in the bottom 3 of closers.

Vince in MN July 20, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Leyland’s brain is fried; all those cigarettes, whatever. Besides some much needed personnel changes, this team will go nowhere with him as manager.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:23 pm

All jokes about weather aside, seeing Verlander waving into the stands after the game I realized–he’s got tons of friends and family there to watch him. Now I’m even more pissed off Leyland pulled him.

Forty July 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm

But guys – leyland managed in the _all star game_

He must be a good manager.

/sarcasm

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm

I think it’s mostly the weather–Leyland isn’t from the Baltimore area, so it’s difficult for him to manage in the humidity. He would manage much better, say, in the Toledo area.

Chris Y. July 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Leyland couldn’t manage his way out of a T-ball game.

Seriously, give this club’s talent to any other manager in the Central and we’d probably be 5-6 games higher in the standings and have seen a number of those close “blowouts” stay blowouts.

But, hey, who can argue with the Marlboro man? When you are convinced you are right, you are always right.

Kevin in Austin July 20, 2008 at 5:08 pm

KC up one on the Sox in the top of the 9th…

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 6:00 pm

“But, hey, who can argue with the Marlboro man? When you are convinced you are right, you are always right.”

Leyland for President 2012!

Joey C. July 20, 2008 at 6:55 pm

On the bright side, we actually picked up a half game on the Sox after this weekend set. If this team could only beat division rivals…

Sean C. in Illinois July 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Notes on this Orioles series:

1) Hats off to Billfer for “Whipping Boy powers activate” in the Game 95 article. Awesome.

2) After the inspiring Whipping Boys-led first win, it was a real downer to see the Tigers give the next 2 away. This series was a sweep for the taking. I’m not making any dire predictions, but when you’re one game over and then give Games 96 and 97 away, well… you do the math.

3) Way to salvage the split. Thank goodness for Verlander.

4) Coleman is the funniest man in baseball today who doesn’t live in Texas and is not a grad student.

5) Oh – nice job with “Cleatprints,” Stephen.

This is still an exciting team. It’s still great to be a fan. But it’s going to take a lot to turn this thing around for 2009. I think I’ve changed my mind about making any big moves now, other than getting rid of Edgar. Pudge, Sheffield, Rogers, Robertson – they can all stay the rest of the season, because it’s not going to make any difference. Plus, it’s a real pain to have to add new names to my spreadsheets.

tomd July 20, 2008 at 7:56 pm

I was at the game today (Detroiter transplanted to Northern Virginia) and there were tons of Tigers fans in attendance. Definitely a lot of support near the visitor’s dugout, where I was.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Apropos of nada:

Interesting stat: It seemed like one of Detroit’s problems this season has been the untimely double-play ball, so I checked to see if they are really hitting into more. They are. Team average ABs per DP ball:

2008 1 in 40.0
2007 1 in 45.0
2006 1 in 47.0
2005 1 in 40.6

So as far as double-plays go, we’re batting like it’s 2005. The stat is interesting to because of how the numbers correspond to the W-L outcome of the season.

Coleman July 20, 2008 at 8:00 pm

“4) Coleman is the funniest man in baseball today who doesn’t live in Texas and is not a grad student.”

But how do you not know that it’s not that I don’t live in Texas nor not am I other than a grad student?

Dave BW July 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm

“4) Coleman is the funniest man in baseball today who doesn’t live in Texas and is not a grad student.”

I tip my hat to you, good sir.

Kevin in Austin July 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

How many grad students are there on this list, and why do we have so much free time?

Chief Monday July 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Great game Today. We gained a .5 game on the White Sox this week. That’s all that matters.

If the White Sox pitching keeps on stinking it up like they currently are, then the Tigers have a real chance to catch them soon.

The tough 1 run games seem to be the Tigers only problem right now. They are playing great ball otherwise.

Andrew July 20, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Bilfer, FYI Inge’s play was a web gem, but baseball tonight was on really early today (before the 6pm start of the Red Sox – Angels game). I think it was #2 or #3, with the #1 play being made by the Orioles with that barehanded snag and put-out of Cabrera at first.

Mike R July 20, 2008 at 11:55 pm

I, a notorious Leyland-Hater, agree with Bill’s assessment. That’s a time where you take Verlander out.

And the No. 1 play on the early BBTN was the Roberts bare handed play? Congrats. You just threw out a guy who’s running on one leg. Not impressed. The Inge play was much better.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 9:59 am

Coleman, I’m really not sure that you’re not a grad student, but I’m pretty sure you’re still in California. (Remember the eye in the pyramid.) Bay Area, right? (Although there’s something pretty suspicious about so many funny and intelligent people being in one place, especially the seemingly unlikely place of a sports blog. I do have some conspiracy theories that I try not to think too much about. Maybe you’re all just creations of Billfer. Maybe I’m just a creation of Billfer’s. Is Billfer even real? DTW as Matrix. Where’s Uno? Free us.)

The correlation between GDP rate and Tigers W-L is pretty interesting. I doubt that it holds true for any team, but maybe it does to a certain extent for power-dependent, station to station offenses like Detroit has been since at least 2006.

Chris in Dallas July 21, 2008 at 10:36 am

Hi guys. I thought I’d chime in with a relevant comment. I hate Todd Jones. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

Kyle J July 21, 2008 at 11:07 am

Still better to err on the side of pulling Verlander too early. Believe it or not, he now leads all non-Halliday AL pitchers in innings pitched.

Another random stat: Thames’ slugging % of .607 would lead the AL right now if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 11:27 am

Ah yes, Todd Jones. Isn’t he due for one of his “good” outings soon? It used to be that he’d blow up just every so often. But who else is there? No one.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 11:34 am

“and stave off baseball irrelevance.”

The Tigers and I share a common goal, then.

By the way, I’m with Ron on the Gardenhire quote. When you play .333 ball against the Twins, when you’re going strong and then drop 3 of 4 at home, there’s no comeback. Put up or shut up, Detroit Tigers.

Joel in Seattle July 21, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Sean:

I’m confident that there are a few guys on the 40-man who can walk the bases loaded with the same panache as Mr. Jones.

Alex D. in Maryland July 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Runge

I was at the game Saturday night, terrible call.

Joel in Seattle July 21, 2008 at 12:16 pm

You need a citation on that passage, Alex… :)

Chris in Dallas July 21, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I’m now officially calling it. Season’s over. They’re not coming back. It’s now the time to start watching the kids develop – Sheffield, Rodriguez and such. See what kind of future they’ve got.

Ryan in Brooklyn July 21, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I think in retrospect, I’m kind of glad Runge blew that call. If Polanco scores there, we get Jones in the bottom of the 10th. I’m sure he would have proceeded to load the bases on walks and infield singles. I’m thinking they tie it with a Sac fly. Jones strikes someone out (you know, just to give us a little hope), then walks in the winning run. That loss was hard enough to take, but if it had gone this route I might have lost my ever-loving mind!

Joel in Seattle July 21, 2008 at 12:40 pm

I’m tempted to say the Tigs should pack it in and plan for next year. The way the team has played it seems doubtful that they’d do much in the playoffs in the miraculous event that they get there. But then I remember three things:

1. The Cards won the WS in 2006.
2. We wouldn’t be playing the Twins or the Royals in the playoffs.
3. Todd Jones deserves a WS ring.

C’mon Tigers. Do it for Jonesy.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Joel

I’m not sure I see Todd Jones walking the bases loaded with panache. I see it more as chutzpah, schadenfreude, and a brazen disregard for common decency. I view it with a combination of world-weary ennui and a sense of deja vu. To Todd Jones I say, “Trop tard sera la cri!” I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds dramatic and possibly insulting.

Joel in Seattle July 21, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Sean:

According to babelfish, that means “Too much late will be the cry!”

Kind of fits, I guess. Sounds like most of you guys on the west coast road trips.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 1:03 pm

The Tigers are only a 10-game winning streak away from contention, so I’m really not worried.

Brian B. July 21, 2008 at 1:24 pm

I blame interleague play for giving everyone such a false sense of hope.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Interesting that Todd Jones has not allowed a baserunner in 12 of 41 appearances. It would have been 15 had he not hit a batter in 3 of them. Compare with Jenks (11 in 33) and Nathan (11 in 41) (who haven’t hit any batters). Not so bad.

Jones has induced 6 double plays. Jenks 6, Nathan 5. Jones has allowed a HR every 12 IP, Nathan one every 13. Jenks, only 1 all season in 33 IP. Again, not so bad.

Then again, WHIP:

Nathan 0.96
Jenks 1.08
Jones 1.57

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I blame divisional play for giving everyone such a realistic sense of despair.

Dave from the ATL July 21, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Who is supposed to replace Bodine in the rotation?

Ryan P July 21, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Miner, for now. He’s pitching tonight.

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Sean C: “Interesting that Todd Jones has not allowed a baserunner in 12 of 41 appearances”

Also interesting: his full name is Todd Barton Givin Jones. Givin? As in Givin’ Up ‘Dem Dingers?

Hey, stop being so negative, why not “Givin His Best.”

Um, yeah, well, OK…still – Givin… What’s up with that?

Joel in Seattle July 21, 2008 at 4:35 pm

I’m more disturbed by the two middle names thing…

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

Sean C: there are several interesting things about the DP stats…
One is who the best 3 on the team are in this respect (only one is very obvious). OK, if you insist: fewest DP per AB:

1. Inge
2. Granderson
3. Thames

But very small sample size, and all that. So I looked at their career averages. And the best 3 Tigers were:

1. Granderson
2. Thames
3. Inge

Also, Sheffield is hitting into DP at roughly double his usual average, and Renteria is up too. So GIDP may be a good slump indicator…

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Two middle names, yeah, and I noticed the Givin thing, too (It’s a Givin thing / What a terrible thing to lose) – I think it was joked about on DTW at some point.

Is there no Tigers pitcher we can nickname “Jethro”? Can we mispronounce Bonine’s name to make it fit?

In other news, the Tigers are playing the Royals tonight. I’m calling it a must-could-probably-not win game. 3rd place is on the line, and I think there’s also some kind of Little Brown Jug involved if we make it to 50 wins before the Blue Jays. Maybe I’m confused.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Coleman, I noticed a while back that Thames’s career DP rate was incredibly low for a slugging guy. I don’t think he grounded into his first one this year until some time in June. Of course, he had about 7 AB (with 10 HR) at that point.

Inge strikes out too much to be bothered with DPs.

Granderson is a really good hitter in this respect and just keeps getting better overall. When I feel hopeless, I repeat the mantra “Granderson, Verlander” under my breath or just in my mind. Works for more than baseball, too. Try it.

Chris in Dallas July 21, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Gil has like 5 middle names, so he leads the team in that category as far as I know. No wait, he’s only tied. Jose Miguel Torres Cabrera. Can we start doing the ‘Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose’ chant now?

Joel in Seattle July 21, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Ah, so the Jonesy’s all-gringo persona is just a ruse… he’s a closet latino.

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Sean C: “Inge strikes out too much to be bothered with DPs.”

Possibly…although if I really wanted I could pull out a new version of the statistic here: Rate of hitting into DP per DP opportunity (vs AB); that would even things out for guys who come up all the time with nobody on base (remarkably, the Tigers all seem to do quite well at avoiding the bases-empty double-play). Doing that moves up Granderson over Inge, which seems reasonable.

But a side-effect of splitting that out is I noticed…actually Inge strikes out much less than Thames in DP Opportunity situations, although slightly more than Granderson.

I think it probably has more to do with where and how he hits; fly ball/line drive vs ground ball, ground balls that are chopped etc. In fact he beat out a potential double-play yesterday that way. Or he hypnotizes infielders or something.

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Chris in Dullass: “Gil has like 5 middle names, so he leads the team in that category as far as I know”

Actually only 3; 2 of them belong to his Skull-on-a-4-ft-pole-friend.

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 5:23 pm

The Latin/Hispanic guys get a break on multiple middle names, because it’s a tradition involving surnames somehow (I don’t know the details).

Sean C. in Illinois July 21, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Coleman, that was just another flippant comment by me on Inge’s K rate, but I’m glad you looked into it.

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm

“Coleman, that was just another flippant comment by me on Inge’s K rate, but I’m glad you looked into it.”

That’s fine, I was running out of things to do with those stats anyway.

Although one of those Scientisticationists of Batting Order Engineering could probably tell us the right place in the lineup to bat the guys who do and don’t double-play around.

Chris in Dallas July 21, 2008 at 5:47 pm

If I was constructing the lineup, I’d have Inge hit 10th.

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Besides I need to put in a bit of work on the dissertation before it gets too close to game time…that’s what I should be doing now, just that it’s so bloody hot here in Texas…

Coleman July 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm

CinD: “If I was constructing the lineup, I’d have Inge hit 10th.”

That’s like being the 2nd leadoff hitter, right!

Or..um, hey wait a minute…

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