Tigers getting pieces back

It appears that Brandon Inge is close to returning and he’ll join Toledo on Monday for a rehab assignment.

Also, Rod and Mario mentioned during today’s broadcast that Ramon Santiago could be back for the Cleveland series. Going into tonight’s game (and he’s 0 for 2 as I write this), Santiago is 2 for 21 with 2 walks and 6 K’s with the Mud Hens. So he hasn’t found that stroke he had going with the Tigers earlier this season.

Of course Santiago’s return likely means that Michael Hollimon gets sent down. Hollimon has played well since some jitters in his first start in San Francisco.

144 thoughts on “Tigers getting pieces back”

  1. Inge is almost back?! Thank god! (08, .215, Career, .239) It’s true we’re getting a piece back. It’s that piece of dog crap that you can never seem to get off your shoe.

  2. Having Inge back will almost guarantee a sole 3rd place finish (77-85). I have been really concerned about KC catching us up.

  3. Be realistic, Inge is much more favorable than Sardinha.

    I, for one, will be glad to see Inge back in the D.

  4. Yes, the Tigers have been doing so well without Inge, now their season is clearly ruined. (??!!)

    Yeah, he’s batting .215. But who would you like to see up with RISP? Cabrera? no (.314 OBP). Granderson? hardly (.295 OBP yikes). Probably Thames. …Or not (.295 OBP).

    I’ll take Polanco (.417 OBP)…or maybe that lame-ass Inge (.421 OBP).

    Yeah it’s weird, he’s one of the worst on the team overall, yet one of the best with runners in scoring position. Considering what I’ve seen the last few games, I’ll take the guy who strikes out with bases empty and hits with guys on, thank you very much.

  5. The piece I’d like to see back is Dontrelle Willis.

    It would also be nice if Edgar Renteria recovered from whatever it is that is bugging him. Some sort of tropical fever, maybe? He’s pretty lifeless out there.

  6. Inge apologists never cease to amaze. They can always find one stat that manages to make it look like Inge has finally turned down the suck, while ignoring the vast catalogue that is his body of statistical evidence.

    Like fishing of for a quarter at the bottom of the Port-O-John and saying “Hey look! A quarter!” they say things akin to: “Well he sucks slightly less then who we have there now, so his brand of suck is just fine by me”, as in the case of replacing Dane, or taking a small stat out of context such as his current OBP. Yeah, he managed to take a couple of walks with runners in scoring position. Big deal. He is still striking out at over a .300 clip, not hitting for power, and batting .215 for the year.

    Think about the question you just asked and answered… Do you really want Inge at the plate with RISP ahead of Granderson and Cabrera? Really? You must have a quart of lard smeared on those rose colored Inge glasses to believe that. His OBP for the year may be higher, but doesn’t mean it matches the career numbers of Grandy or Miggy. Nor does OBP mean Inge is hitting. Many of his walks come in this situation. And while walks definately don’t hurt the cause, it’s not like he is pounding the ball all over the park…. If we are asking questions let me ask you this: If you asked every pitcher in the American League who’d they rather face with RISP position AND you showed them the OBP comparatives, who do you think they would want to pitch to given a choice of Granderson, Cabrera, or Inge? I will grant you many lefties would opt of Grandy, but otherwise my bet is the vast majority would prefer to pitch to Inge, and that is despite his smoke-and-mirrors OBP with RISP.

    Look, I respect that you like the guy. He is good for quotes, does excellant charity work, by and large been good about moving back to catcher (not that he or the Tigers had much of a choice, you can’t hit that badly and start at 3rd everyday), and has great value as a super sub… But this guy is no better than Shane Halter and has played himself into the Shane Halter sub role.

  7. LOL! ez…you said it better than I could. Well done.

    Inge is a backup, nothing more, and is lucky to still be in the league with the body of work that he’s turned in over his career, much less playing under a multi-year, multi-million $$ contract.

    And Coleman, are you seriously bashing Thames – the guy who’s been carrying us for the past three weeks? I’ll take a guy who hits it out of the park every 10 ABs, thank you. And I don’t give a flying fart how many walks he gets. Some of you are way too concerned about walks. Yes, they’re a positive thing, but sheesh.

  8. People complain about players with good overall numbers but poor “clutch” stats, but they also complain about players with poor overall numbers and good “clutch” stats. I think the theme here is clear.

  9. I would argue that, for the most part, “clutch” stats are due to small sample size and not a reflection of a players ability to somehow be a different guy in different situations.
    Bonds was a “choker” in the playoffs early…(but late in his career, was red-hot).
    A-Rod had a couple bad playoff series, and found himself labled a playoff bum.
    Sean Casey led the 2006 W.S. in home runs.
    None of it is real. Guys are who they are and thin slicing a “clutch” stat doesn’t change it.
    Inge has well over 4000 professional plate appearance to tell us who he is…and it isn’t a “.421 OBP guy.”

  10. I agree with you. But the game threads are commonly strewn with “NO CLUTCH HITTING” posts. I don’t remember you complaining about that, though.

  11. I don’t usually hang out on game threads…I’d prefer to watch the game.
    Regardless, a game thread would not be the place to get into a discussion on “clutch stats” because the game is actually happening and the discussion would not stay on topic. A topic thread, such as this, is better. Also, there’s no sense in replying to silly posts, like “no clutch hitting.”
    That said, I’ve long argued that “clutch” is simply a small sample size and is pretty much meaningless to measure. Do some guys numbers vary a little in different situations? Sure, but players do not “try” any less with no one on base and their abilities are better measured over their full body of work, rather than taking a situation as the measure of the man. Even Big Papi has come back to earth the last year in “clutch” situations…it doesn’t mean he’s not a great hitter, it just means that the law of averages is catching up to him.

  12. When I look at various splits or “clutch” stats (including some I invent myself) for an incomplete season, I’m not overly concerned about sample size, because I’m not trying to project exactly what will happen, but only evaluate what has happened. What has happened may continue to happen or not, but the fact that it has is enough to indicate that it can.

    Brandon Inge in 2008 with a man on 3B and less than 2 outs: 1 HR, 4 singles, 11 RBI, 1 walk, 1 intentional walk, 2 sac flies, only 2 unproductive outs in 11 PA, good for an OPS of 1.545. That is damn good. Doesn’t mean he’s a better player intrinsically or overall than Player X, no. But small sample size be damned, it’s from real results. A game is a small sample size, but games count in the W-L columns. In the arena of getting the guy home from 3B with less than 2 outs in 2008, Inge has performed better than many players better than him overall. I doubt that any Tiger matches his split here for any 11 consecutive PA. He deserves credit for that, which is not to say that he ought to be the starter at 3B based on his bat or that is he is likely to be any more than a wash overall replacing Pudge at C. Just credit, based on real results.

  13. Incidentally, I was watching the end of the Astros-Braves 17 inning marathon yesterday and the Astros employed the defense I’ve long advocated for the Tigers – they used 5 infielders. Carlos Lee was playing 3.5B. Needless to say, with the bases loaded, the infield was pretty crowded. Of course, Teixiera promptly lined a pitch off of the fence to win the game but still…

  14. More fantastic news regarding the Willis situation:

    “Willis will return to Detroit this week for an examination of his right knee, the team said today. That is the same knee he hyperextended earlier this season, forcing him to the disabled list for the first time in his big-league career.

    Team orthopedist Dr. Stephen Lemos is scheduled to re-examine the knee within the next couple days.”

  15. Chris, I wasn’t sure how to take being called Dr. Stat (isn’t that Billfer?), but that was a very nice article. I think you meant to say you’re going to start calling me Joe Posnanski. I can see that. After all, who’s to say I’m not?

  16. I love the term “Inge apologist.” It’s one of those little reasons I keep coming back to this site 🙂

  17. Dave Dombrowski should be an “Inge apologist.” He should apologize to all of us for signing him to that ludicrous extension and making him virtually untradeable as a result. Hey-oh.

  18. “More fantastic news regarding the Willis situation”

    Uh-oh. See ya in 2009, Dontrelle. Willis is Won’tis.

  19. Dombrowski should apologize for trading for Cabrera. That deal, like, totally devalued Inge, and now Gil isn’t even at 3B. And Renteria – damn him anyway – prevented them from moving Inge to SS. Inge had Carlos’s stamp of approval, too, but nobody listens to Carlos.

  20. Nobody listens to Guillen because he’s Latin. Though he doesn’t actually speak Latin. Which is odd.

  21. “I would argue that, for the most part, “clutch” stats are due to small sample size and not a reflection of a players ability to somehow be a different guy in different situations.”

    This makes sense as an argument in the abstract; yet some of the same people willing to brush off Inge’s stats with RISP will fume on the basis of one strikeout, calling him “rally-killer” Inge and other such nonsense…thus basing their opinion on an even smaller sample size.

    If you look at Inge the last few seasons the one consistent trend that stands out is that he is just horrible hitting with bases empty, and better than average with runners on base, and the difference keeps increasing.

    2006-Bases empty .246 runners on .262
    2007-Bases empty .205 runners on .277
    2008-Bases empty .161 runners on .298

    (This is BA not OBP, so doesn’t include “unproductive” walks)

    To me this looks more like a trend, than a statistical fluke based on small sample size.

    What it means? Beats me. I’m not trying to argue they should start Inge over anyone else or anything like that. But I would say that if you think the specific problem ailing the Tigers right now is hitting with RISP, then to bemoan the return of Inge doesn’t make any sense…

  22. ez: “His OBP for the year may be higher, but doesn’t mean it matches the career numbers of Grandy or Miggy. Nor does OBP mean Inge is hitting. Many of his walks come in this situation”

    2007: RISP OBP: Granderson .345 Inge .370

    or is a season and a half still too small a sample size? And maybe many of Inge’s walks did come with RISP…and yet he managed an OPS of .921 and 16 RBI in 28 AB

  23. C in D: “Nobody listens to Guillen because he’s Latin. Though he doesn’t actually speak Latin. Which is odd.” Actually he does, but vir sapit qui pauca loquitur, as Carlos always says. Also: semper ubi sub ubi.

  24. Sean C., I hear you on the real numbers whatever the sample size, but let’s then go to Inge’s largest sample size; his career numbers. Seriously, I’m not a sabermetrician, or a sabermagician for that matter, but I’ve got to think he has one of the ten lowest batting averages for anyone with more than 2500 ab’s in the past decade.

  25. Sean C: Inge shouldn’t be playing over either Cabrera or Renteria, despite their underperformance. Inge is still a downgrade over either of them. He’s a backup utility guyand nothing more and he’d probably be a better NL player, quite honestly.

    Chris in Dallas: you’re absolutely correct. Inge’s critics (myself included) were, at best, willing to live with him, but certainly felt he was getting more than he’d earned or deserved relative to the market. But the Tigers have developed a reputation for “taking care of” their players that will still serve them well overall. That said, it does give us an option at C next year, as decent FA’s will be tough to find.

    Coleman: true, he’s shown a trend over the past three years of being better with guys on (when he’s more likely to be thrown a strike, rather than chasing), but that still doesn’t mean he’s “clutch” any more than Sean Casey is Mr. October. How many AB’s does this cover? For his career, he’s .250 with men on base with 1250 AB’s (11 pts higher than career) with 311 K’s vs. 312 hits (“rally-killer nonsense”? more like “reality”…he’s still just as likely to K as get a hit)… so to use ez’s terminology from earlier, “he turns down the suck” a bit, but he still ain’t close to a better option than any of the guys you were dogging in your original post: Grandy (.281 career w/MOB), Cabrera (.323) or Thames (.261 w/HR every 12 AB).
    All I’m saying on the overall point, is that “clutch” stats are not really a better indication of anyone’s value. Guys are best measured by their entire body of work…and Inge’s body of work is that of a marginal player.

  26. The Weak Sister Theory

    I think the Cabrera/Willis and Renteria deals should seen as a cautionary tale for any AL team tempted to bulk up their team with NL “superstars”. Granted, there are a handful of real-deal types there (Pujols, e.g.), but I think that because the talent in the NL is so much inferior (with around a .400 winnning percentage in IL play over the last few years, this should be obvious) compared with the talent in the AL, it is easier for an above average player in the NL to pile up incredible stats, which do not translate when faced with AL competition. Think: big fish in little pond analogy here.

    Maybe Renteria was a disappointment in Boston in 2005, not because he had an off year, but because he was over-matched in the superior AL. Now, three years later, he is not only three years older, but three years stinkier as well. His decline simply didn’t show up vs AAAA competition the last two years. If he rebounds somewhat and returns to the ’05 level we may end up jumping for joy, but I don’t put much hope in it myself. Anyway, seeing the right side of .300 ain’t gonna happen this year.

    I hope I am wrong, but if this theory holds true for Cabrera, we may have to get used to .285/.350/.500/.850 production from our 1B/3B/LF/DH-in-waiting “superstar”. Kind of a Dean Palmer II, although hopefully, healthier. Anyway, he’s ours for 7-8 years, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that he “adapts” to the league.

    And this Willis guy; man. I’m not even going there. I thought of him as a throw-in, so the poor performance/injury issues barely register on my radar. All the pre-season talk after the trade was just part of the hype to sell tickets (“1000-run Tigers take ’08 World Series in 4 games from ______”, yada, yada, yada).

    The plan of loading up the roster with 40ish-year old injury prone (duh!), ex-stars doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either, but that is another story.

  27. I’d have to say that you’re probably incorrect in that assumption, stephen. Anyway, his career OPS+ is 85, or roughly 15% worse than league average. Over the last 5 years, though, he’s posted an OPS+ of 109, 100, 98, 80 and 94. So other than 2007, you could say he’s been a roughly average major league hitter. Dude will never be an All Star or anything, but he’s good enough to be a role player on a championship club.

  28. I’m not going to argue against the Weak Sister Theory. It’s pretty obvious the AL is light years ahead of the NL at this point. Everyone seems to think it’s because of the DH, but I’d have to say that the AL has much better pitching. The 4/5 starters on NL clubs would likely be long relievers in the AL. Just look at some of the batting stats in the NL compared to the AL. No way guys like Berkman, Utley, Uggla or whomever are going to approach those #’s in the AL. Witness one Gil Cabrera thus far. He’s been an above average player so far in Detroit (118 OPS+), but nowhere near the superduperstar he was in Florida. Sabathia is going to dominate the NL.

  29. Coleman: Ha! Now its “2007 OBP w/RISP” vs. Granderson that’s his virtue?? That’s 125 PA’s, out of a 3500 PA career. C’mon…you’re grasping at any shiney piece of wrapping paper to make your lost cause look pretty.
    “Inge Apologists” were better off sticking with their “range factor” arguments for Brandon than trying to defend his offensive production. There’s no defending that. As I’ve said before, he’d be home selling insurance by his third year in the league if he’d played for ANY other franchise than the ’01-’03 Detroit Tigers.

  30. My main point was that the Tigers are better with Inge back than with Inge out. If that makes me an “Inge apologist” than so be it; to me it seems that the burden of argument should be on those who say that the team is better off with him on the DL, which, regardless of the various names thrown around, seems like the more extreme viewpoint.

    And yes I am comparing Inge and Granderson’s RISP since you seemed to be saying Granderson’s was better. I’m not sure how that rates a “Ha!” but whatever.

    If you insist that career BA is the only worthwhile measure, than yeah there’s no point in going much farther, you’re not going to find many lower than Inge. But looking only at career BA I think misses certain situational trends in batters, not to mention blinding you to players improving, as well as those dropping off the downsides of their careers.

    By your argument Sheffield should no question hit #3 in the lineup. He’s a career .295 hitter after all…

    Actually now that I think of it, that’s kind of how Leyland manages…

  31. Coleman: I think the OPS+ argument defends Inge well enough. I think we can all agree he was craptacular in 2007, but in ’04-’06 and ’08, his OPS+ averages out to 100. That is exactly average, which is what Brandon Inge is – average.

  32. Rings: BTW I’ve often felt the same as you about sample size and meaningfulness of statistics, and I don’t know that RISP really is as useful a stat as it seems. The problem is that either way, fans WILL have their opinions on who is good in these situations, and I find myself more willing to trust the iffy small sample size RISP stats, than the “because everybody just knows” line of argument. That’s the conundrum.

  33. RISP stats are bullcrap anyway. There’s no such thing as a “clutch hittER”. There’s a such thing as “clutch hittING” obviously, but if you give any guy the same # of plate appearances with runners on vs. bases empty, they will come up with roughly the same stats. It’s true.

  34. “That is exactly average, which is what Brandon Inge is – average.”

    Actually I disagree with that. I think the bottom line comes out average, but I think he’s a weird mixture of the above average and the “is this guy really in the major leagues?” which is why there is such a variety of opinion on him.

    A small sample: he strikes out way way too much. He sees a lot of pitches, (he was leading the team in pitches per PA last I checked), and is walking more. Can’t hit with bases empty. Hits with runners on. Among leaders in bunts and sac flies. Fast runner but can’t steal a base. “Team leader” and “malcontent.” etc.

  35. “if you give any guy the same # of plate appearances with runners on vs. bases empty, they will come up with roughly the same stats. It’s true”

    All batters should do a bit better as someone pointed out, since you get better pitches to hit.

    But how do you explain this: (over 1200 ABs which is hardly a small sample size):

    2006-Bases empty .246 runners on .262

    2007-Bases empty .205 runners on .277

    2008-Bases empty .161 runners on .298
    Bases empty .218 (688 AB) runners on .271 (506 AB)

  36. Man, I don’t know how Inge hitting .231 in 07 and 08 combined makes him average. Maybe average if he was making the league minimum instead of 6m a year.

  37. And since everyone is focusing on the idea that Inge is good in the clutch, what do you make of how BAD he is with bases empty? (Kind of the anti-Pudge?). .218 career and 3rd season trending down.

    I mean, .161?? and with 32 K in 87 AB, that’s a .368 strikout average! I would say fluke based on small sample size, were it not for his trend the last 2 seasons also.

    I haven’t been able to find anybody else with near comparable stats.

  38. “Man, I don’t know how Inge hitting .231 in 07 and 08 combined makes him average. Maybe average if he was making the league minimum instead of 6m a year.”

    Or for a catcher, which is why people were willing to cut him some slack once he started catching again.

  39. Coleman, the “ha” was in reaction to you picking out a small situation to say Inge is better, that’s all. Sorry for any negative meaning to you personally as it was not intentional. On your main point, we agree. Inge is a welcome utility guy.

    I’m not saying that career BA is the only measure, by a long shot. I’m just saying that Inge’s .470 OPS in 2007 w/RISP doesn’t mean he’s a good offensive player because nearly every other measure says he isn’t. I’ve also never said ‘because everybody knows’…I’ve used stats in my rebuttals as well. And I’ve used career stats for the players we’ve discussed, because they’re all in their “primes,” unlike Sheffield, who clearly is not in his prime or consistently healthy.

    As a utility guy, I like having an Inge on our team. He can play many position well, he can run, and he has very occasional pop (@35 AB/HR career). But many folks are constantly harping about him to be the answer or clamoring for him to start every day, including a number of fans who will never like Cabrera b/c he caused Inge to lose his job, even if he does start to hit closer to his career numbers.

    As for Granderson, IMO he IS a better player, better hitter, and – from what I’ve seen – a better guy than Inge. He’s never whined about playing time, made excuses when he was in a slump (“Babe Ruth”), or taken his problems to the media. All he does is play hard, say nice things about people, and work to get better every day – which he’s done. He’s shown improvement in every facet of his game, while Inge is not much more than the guy he was when he arrived in Detroit (and I’ve been watching him since his Whitecap days): a good glove & poor stick. I’d pick Curtis on my team any day a long time before Brandon, despite their collective 2007 OPS w/RISP.

  40. “Batting average is like Elizabeth Taylor – outdated.”
    “RISP stats are bullcrap anyway.”

    OK Chris, what is your secret stat? OBP?

  41. OK here’s the entire AL for 2008, slash stats style:

    Bases empty: .258/.320/.403
    RISP: .269/.354/.408

    So yeah, there’s a marginal difference but nothing to go bananas over. If guys were getting much better pitches to hit, you’d think there would be more than a .05 difference in slugging percentages…

  42. Coleman: There’s no one magic stat to evaluate performance. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. BA is imperfect because, you know, it doesn’t take into account walks. And just becuase a guy has fared well in 45 AB’s with runners on doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good hitter. OBP, SLG, LD%, XBH and whatnot should all be considered.

  43. rings: “I’d pick Curtis on my team any day a long time before Brandon, despite their collective 2007 OPS w/RISP”

    Hopefully you don’t think I would disagree with that! The only reason I started my discussion though is in reaction to a lot of comments about clutch hitting, combined with snide remarks about Inge from the same people (nobody in this current thread even), so I thought it was worth pointing out that Inge has been the least of the problems in this area.

    Will his stats drop back down over time? Likely. But it seems a bit unfair to complain about him in anticipation of that…
    Personally I do think there is improvement, just because of the jump in walks and pitches per PA, and the reduced strikeouts with guys on base (shortening up his swing probably, like we were all yelling at him to do for about a year).

    Beats the hell out of me though why the trend toward improvement with guys on base is couples with a trend down with bases empty.

  44. It is fairly jaw droping to call Inge’s batting performance “average” over the last two years… He hit .231 and his wiff rate was what? 40 points higher than that? His OPS for those two seasons is also putrid… How can anyone but an Inge apologist call him “average”? As for the pitches he sees per at bat… I once saw one Ingehead say that his strikeouts were a good thing because “they tire the pitcher out”… Now Coleman, you haven’t gone that far, but to imply that he is average or above offensively is just too much to swallow….

    Rings is right on Inge being lucky to still be in the majors… If he played on any other team but those awful Tiger squads in ’01-’03 then he would have already joined Shane Halter selling steaks in Kansas City three years ago… “Come on down to B&S’s Term Insurance and Moo Emporium! Get a rare ribeye and some term insurance for the whole family!”

    Hey, by all accounts Inge is a nice guy and now he is set for life financially. Great! I just don’t want him at the plate unless it can’t be helped. I’d even call him above average, if it meant some other team was duped into taking him… But MLB isn’t duped, we couldn’t trade him for a public address announcer at this point.

  45. Chris

    “Bases empty: .258/.320/.403
    RISP: .269/.354/.408”

    So yeah, there’s a marginal difference but nothing to go bananas over. If guys were getting much better pitches to hit, you’d think there would be more than a .05 difference in slugging percentages…

    Which is why this jumped out at me for Inge in the first place

    Bases empty .161/.255/.345
    RISP: .286/.421/.500

  46. Coleman: Overall, the upward trend w/runners on is likely because pitchers are more reluctant to take a chance on walking people, which means more pitches in the strike zone.

    Chris: you stated my point better than I. All stats have meaning, but they’re also all only part of the larger picture in the attempt to evaluate players’ value.

    And Mike R: you are 100% correct. But Inge is a lightening rod and people feel pretty strongly about him, as you can see from the beginning of the comments.

    Good discussion.

  47. I’m not an Inge “apologist” by any means. Call a spade a spade, though. He sucked in 2007. With a capital S. 4 of the last 5 seasons, he’s been right around average for the league though. Some years a little higher, some a little lower. I think the Inge “haters” might be expecting a bit too much from the guy. He’s the 9th hitter in the order, after all. It’s not like you should expect him to hit like A-Rod or anything. Compare him to some other 3B in the AL. I’d say he’s equal to (or better than) the following: Casey Blake, Jack Hannahan/Eric Chavez, Melvin Mora’s Corpse, The Cupless Adrian Beltre, or Ramon Vasquez/German Duran. And of course he also catches and can play OF, thus adding to his value.

  48. ez: If you like I said maybe his batting is average FOR A CATCHER, who I think generally average in the .240-.250 range.

    And no, actually I think that a hit or walk is preferable to a strikeout. Also, a strikeout on 8 pitches is preferable to a strikeout on 3 pitches, but not by as much as a hit is preferable over a strikeout.

    In the broad category of “offensively” I would say that Inge is well below average. In the more narrow category of batting with runners on base, I would say that he is average or better and improving. How much you can trust that trend to last is a matter of opinion, and the good numbers are based on a small sample size so they have to be taken with caution.

    That’s my Inge “apology.”

    In general I would say that the “ingeheads” tend to be responding to anti-Inge tirades more than whatever the other people are are responding to Inge praise, but I may be biased in that having been deemed an Ingehead (hopefully nobody is implying that, you know, my actual HEAD is Inge-head shaped)

  49. I think BI generates more chatter than any other non-everyday #9 hitter in the league, though. On this point, there can be no debate.

  50. When do we get to the Renteria trade discussion again? That’s the other one that never seems to die….

  51. Inge’s career OPS+ is 85, which means he’s 15% worse than the average major leaguer during his career for OPS (SLG + OBP). Without looking, I’d suspect third basemen in general are a bit above 100, while catchers are below.
    He’s only had ONE season (2004, hitting 9th and being challenged regularly after coming off his first three horrible seasons) where his OPS+ was above 100 – meaning he was better than the average major leaguer only once over a full season. Even his acknowledged “craptacular” 2007 was 80, or only 5% below his career number…so it really wasn’t that far out of line with what one might expect from him. I think a big part of his problem – and large portion of the reason he has regressed since – was falling in love with his (abberration) 27 knocks in ’06.

  52. Coleman,

    If you want to talk about catching hitting stats then look up Inge’s stats at bat as a catcher…. No wait, you really don’t want to go there… I’m not even going to bother to look it up… we are talking several seasons of .200 hitting as a catcher…. So, no, he is 40-50 points behind the “average” catcher… Even this year, with only SOME of his at bats coming at catcher he is hitting below my cholesteral. He isn’t a .250 hitter playing 3rd let alone catching… Please note his lifetime .239 line with more k’s than hits…

    And I realize that I am an Inge Conversation Catalyst (there is yet a new term in the tread)… My… commentary (I know that many would use less flattering terms when describing my posts, probably stariting with “That $*&^^#(*& EZ…”) tends to inflame the discussion. I am as anti-Inge as they come. From my perspective I have seen too many people just swoon over this guy… I am convinced Jim Price would bear his child for him if he could….

    I respect you like him, and you are well articulated. I just think you grasp tightly at a very few straws… Just my opinion…

    On the good side, this has helped the day move along…

    Oh yeah, and the Twins still suck….

  53. Is it possible that Inge is our David Eckstein? Bad at baseball, but so wonderfully ‘gritty’ and ‘grinder-y’ that many fans in his home city swoon over him? After all, he is white (and not Asian, according to some rumors on this board). Meanwhile the rest of the baseball-viewing public says, “WTF? Seriously, Inge?”

    At least Leyland hits him 9th instead Larussa insisting on hitting Eckstein leadoff.

  54. “ez: If you like I said maybe his batting is average FOR A CATCHER, who I think generally average in the .240-.250 range.”

    Career as catcher: .200/.256/.330. OPS+ of 68 with 23 HR in 1113 PAs.

    (Much of that was early in his career, of course – when anyone else would’ve released him – but for the record, I’d say that’s also a little more meaningful than 2007 OBP w/RISP)

    And, yes…the Twins still suck!!

  55. 2004: 109
    2005: 100
    2006: 98
    2007: 80 (farting sound)
    2008: 94

    That’s how the OPS+ goes for Inge. That’s a trend of average-ness (aside from the flatullent year). I tend to discount 2001-03 a bit since he was a catching, getting his first exposure to big league pitching and he only maxed out at 330 AB’s. And that’s way in the past. That’s like ripping Carlos Guillen for his 87 OPS+ in 2001. He’s gotten better.

  56. Interesting note, since someone brought it up. Here’s the overall average for AL catchers in ’08: .265/.328/.398. Even more interesting, here’s the slash stats for 3B: .266/.337/.428. I kinda thought there’d be a more pronounced difference between the two.

  57. Chris, I agree with the trend on averageness. I just think that it’s statistically interesting that the straight line average is the result of increasingly diverging lines depending on whether or not bases are empty. (I can’t wait for 4 seasons from now when his OBP with bases empty approaches 0, and with runners on approaches 1.000…OK, I see the danger now of extrapolating…)

    Also I am disappointed you haven’t taken back your comment about Carlos’ Latin…

  58. That is odd Chris–especially with AllStar Varitek bringing the number down…I wonder if they are really doing by position (AB at C position) or by player (eg. Pudge’s numbers whether at C or DH or whatever)

  59. Coleman: I snagged that from baseball-reference, which has the splits by actual position being played when the AB happened. Of course for every Varitek there is a Joe Mauer to even things out. And yes, I am surprised by Carlos’ mastery of a centuries old dead language. I’ll tell you, that guy never ceases to impress me.

  60. I guess Catchering has gotten easier…although I suppose given catchering’s “grueling nature” as they say, it could be a deal where Catchers start out well and are flagging by September…

  61. Chris: that’s one thing I miss not being able to attend many games–it’s the sort of thing we can’t hear on TV, how Carlos will change languages each inning to keep the guys on their toes. Even in English he will effortlessly switch dialects and time periods. It cracked me up the first time I heard him shout out to Renteria on a popup, “encamp thee under yon skybound orb, scalawag!”

  62. Here’s what I get out of Inge’s splits:

    He’s got 144 total At-Bats this year. 28 with RISP for a line of .286/.421/.500.

    That leaves 116 AB’s without RISP in which Inge is hitting: .198/.277/.397.

    I’ll take the sample with 4 times the amount of AB’s this year as more of an example of his offensive value to the ball club.

  63. “I’ll take the sample with 4 times the amount of AB’s this year as more of an example of his offensive value to the ball club.”

    I’m not sure I get where you’re going with this one…I get the small sample size bit, but if you’re looking at overall offensive value I’d go with .215/.311/.417, which are his overall stats. (rather than REMOVING his RISP stats)

  64. lol Coleman. ‘Scalawag’. When I first read that, my mind’s eye made it say ‘Screwbag’, which is not quite the same thing.

  65. “lol Coleman. ‘Scalawag’. When I first read that, my mind’s eye made it say ‘Screwbag’, which is not quite the same thing.”

    Although both work for Renteria perhaps.

  66. I will also note that his OBP and SLG are better than Renteria, who is the real disappointment this year so far. And that’s also a higher SLG than Sheffield or Rodriguez, so he’s got that going for him. If the Tigs pick up Renteria’s contract option for ’09, I am going go running for the ipecac.

  67. Coleman: I’d equate removing his small sample as being on par with anointing his small sample as some sort of evidence that he’s helping the ball club at all at the plate.

  68. Addendum to my last post. Please substitute where it says ‘Renteria’ – insert ‘Screwbag’ instead. Thank you.

  69. ” I’d equate removing his small sample as being on par with anointing his small sample as some sort of evidence that he’s helping the ball club at all at the plate.”

    Um, OK.

    BTW: If you don’t count his HR, Thames’ slugging % is a paltry .223

  70. Chris: hopefully there is no truth to the rumor that Guillen’s all star selection was influenced by heavy pressure from the pro-Latin contingent at the Vatican.

  71. Coleman: Oh yeah? Well, if you don’t count Polanco’s hits, his batting average is .000. What do you think about that, buddy? Seriously, though, I’m going to make my last remarks about guys on the DL for today. Inge’s OPS = .728. Average OPS for a C = .726, for a 3B = .766, for the 9th spot in the batting order = .643. No matter how I look at it, I just can’t remove the stink of “average”. And why are we debating average guys? We should be railing on the guys who are supposed to be good but have contracted the suck virus. Since I don’t want to offend any of the infected parties, I’ll just use the initials GS, ER, MC, and FR. Miraculously, IR has actually had a somewhat serviceable campaign so I’ll get off his back a little.

  72. “And why are we debating average guys?” Because there are many who won’t concede anything above “suck,” I would guess.

    I agree on IR, if we could just somehow maneuver to not have him bat in double-play situations….

  73. Maybe that came our wrong, Coleman. What I mean is that people point to his numbers with RISP, when they represent roughly 20% of his AB’s (or thereabout) while his other 75% of his AB’s are resulting in a line that I posted earlier. If one points to such a small sample as to evidence of their offensive worth, can’t one point to that same sample being removed (considering it’s 1/5th of his AB’s) to show that using such small samples are dangerous and, in my opinion (no offense), entirely useless? I find RISP numbers to be on par with what a player is hitting at 2 o’clock on friday afternoon games when they’ve had a bowl of spaghetti 136 minutes before game time.

  74. Inge with bowl of spaghetti: .295
    Inge without spaghetti: .161
    Inge without any food at all: .320

    I think this is signifcant, if I could only figure out what it means…

    Seriously though, I actually don’t find the numbers with RISP removed insignificant (just not a picture of overall performance); I think they show a real problem.

    The fact that the guy has been batting with bases empty at .246 then .205 then .161 tells me something is wrong somewhere, whether it’s just concentration or what I don’t know.

  75. Coco Crisp is in the Dick Pole Memorial Name Hall of Fame. OK, OK I know Dick Pole isn’t dead, but it’s a memorial nonetheless…

  76. Well, thanks to Mike R, I’m starving all of a sudden.

    Although this thread has had its contentious moments, this is an OFF day, which I think lends itself to this sort of thing, at least for me. Until I’m too hungry.

  77. Even worse than an off day is the day after an off day when there’s not game to talk about. At least today we can talk with pride about how the Tigers dismantled a backup catcher making his MLB pitching debut. No, wait, that didnt’ happen. A win’s a win, though…

  78. I know it’s not a real name, but hopefully the DPMN HoF has room for He Hate Me (who is actually no longer alive…and his real name, Rod Smart, isn’t too bad a name either).

  79. i just saw on espn that willis is going to have his knee re-examined.

    doesnt look like he will be around anytime soon.

  80. Wow. The discussion generated on kind of a throwaway post is something else. Getting Inge back is a good thing because he is a better player than Dane Sardhina. Joke as much as you want but Sardhina’s minor league numbers are worse than Inge’s major league numbers. Plus Sardhina has the ability to play exactly one position limiting flexibility that Inge provides.

    On the RISP stats, basically it shows me that Inge has made the most of his limited offensive production this year. And before ez and rings jump all over me as an Inge apologist, I’m not saying that Inge did this by design. I’m much more inclined to believe that it just happened to work out this way and wouldn’t expect the chasm in situational stats to continue.

    As for the usefulness of RISP stats they aren’t completely worthless and help to explain what has happened. Look at the Twins normal batting line compared to their runs scored. RISP batting average is why they are overperforming.

    On batting average, it isn’t a useless stat because it does measure a skill. However it is overvalued and it isn’t representative of a players total offensive value.

  81. Chris In Dallas and Coleman rooted to their computers from noon to 6:30PM discussing BInge. Amazing!

  82. With Santiago coming back, I hope he gets more playing time at SS. I think Leyland should rest Rentaria when they are away from home (where he struggles the most) and sub Santiago more often in those games. Perhaps a platoon situation is in order similar to the Pudge-Inge platoon thing.

  83. I want Inge to succeed because he doesn’t look like a baseball player. Maybe a UPS delivery guy or a carpenter or a good ole boy who takes people charter boat fishing.

  84. Regarding the Dick Pole Memorial Name Hall of Fame, I nominate one other living entry:

    Rusty Kuntz. He must be in there with Dick Pole.

    Billfer: Maybe useless is the wrong way to put it. Yes, they explain the twins seemingly inexplicable success this year scoring runs that even has ESPN analysts saying that their offense can’t sustain itself (that’s how you know you’re an anomaly…), but useless in that RISP isn’t a skill, rather just a small sect of a larger sample. Random variations and, to me, there’s not much to be gained from it other than “that’s how the numbers are shaking out this year.”

  85. Very nice thread, people. It’s not that the Brandon Inge thing is so fascinating. Good debate with a generous helping of humor is fascinating. At least to me.

    Real events at the macroscopic, available-to-our senses level are not, never have been, never will be “random.” Reduce them to numbers and look for statistical trends in the numbers and what you get is a useful illusion of randomness. Numbers might be said to just “shake out,” but don’t confuse that with particular at bats and plays or games “just shaking out.”

    Not to make this about Inge again, but it’s one example. It could be Cabrera’s line for all that it matters to my point. His 2008 line with man on 3B and less than 2 outs that I cited earlier: 11 PA, no Ks, 1 HR, 4 singles, 2 walks (1 IBB), 2 sac flies, 11 RBI, only 2 unproductive outs. That’s excellent performance in a situation where the opportunity for run production is higher than usual. It mattered. Rather than see this is as an anomaly that could not possibly hold over 500 PA or whatever, I can look at the games in which it actually happened and say, wow, that really made a difference (as it often did). W-L is, ultimately, the only stat that matters.

    Anything that measures something real is useful.

    I think career numbers are overrated, because players do get better, worse, change, and all that gets buried under a heap of numbers. Unless I’m trying to gauge “is this guy worth keeping around?”, I’m most interested in “what have you done for me lately, as in this season?”. No contribution that made a significant positive/negative difference in a game, including some that don’t make it into the box score, deserves to be overlooked.

    Baseball’s incredible plethora of numbers makes it too easy to believe that numbers drive events. Being well-versed in how statistics work CAN make you better at predicting outcomes in a general sense. I stress general. Were it not so, I would have expected that someone, somewhere could have told us beforehand that the most recent Tigers game would happen as it did. Also – no later than March 30, 2008 – that the Tigers would be 44-44 after 88.

    As I’ve said, I’m not so interested in prediction. More in measurement and evaluation.

    My post decrying the Cabrera trade, etc., was facetious, by the way. My position remains that Cabrera at 3B and Guillen at 1B would have been fine, while Inge at 3B (defense), Cabrera at 1B, Guillen at DH, and Sheffield on the DL or off the team would have been even better.

    Aside from the fact that I justifiably blame Inge for the 2006 WS loss (he struck out in the last AB), I am entirely lacking in strong feelings about him. I would not hesitate to criticize him just because he’s black. Which is not to say that I would criticize him simply because he’s black. My, this is getting confusing. Let me just say that I join all Americans in celebrating Mr. Inge’s fine blackness. There.

  86. The fact that the Twins are performing so well with RISP is exactly the reason why I don’t think they’ll be in the race in September. That BA number will most likely correct itself. Case in point the 2007 Tigers who hit something like .639 with runners in scoring position in the first half, only to not be able to buy a hit in those situations after the ASB. Hitting with RISP isn’t really a skill. Hitting is a skill of course, but coming to bat with a runner on second or third base is just happenstance. If you’re a good hitter you’ll be likely to drive in a run. If you suck, you’ll be less likely. Of course the same is true if the bases are empty.

  87. Mike R. : Yeah, Rusty Kuntz is definitely a first ballot member of the DPMNHoF. Along with Dick Button. I suppose we’ll have to wait until 5 years after Angel Pagan retires to add him.

  88. “If you’re a good hitter you’ll be likely to drive in a run. If you suck, you’ll be less likely.”

    The most interesting part of the several-season RISP/bases empty stats on Inge that Coleman brought up is the possibility that a guy who sucks may actually make himself better in certain situations. In a way he can’t otherwise seem to harness, unfortunately. This is more of a general philosophical point than anything about Inge in particular. Brings to mind the way that Bonderman just helplessly sucked in the 1st inning.

    If splits only existed to confirm the obvious, I don’t think they’d exist.

  89. “The most interesting part of the several-season RISP/bases empty stats on Inge that Coleman brought up is the possibility that a guy who sucks may actually make himself better in certain situations. In a way he can’t otherwise seem to harness, unfortunately. This is more of a general philosophical point than anything about Inge in particular. Brings to mind the way that Bonderman just helplessly sucked in the 1st inning.”

    This is, essentially, the point of this whole RISP thing. No matter how many different numbers we pin on a player, they aren’t just mindless batting machines. They’re people, with emotions and thoughts.

    Did Bonderman’s emotions and thoughts cause his 1st inning woes last year? I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that thinks it wasn’t somewhat psychological. Hitting with RISP also must be somehow psychological, although to a lesser degree. The pressure of the situation may effect some players different than others. Some fold under pressure…some thrive in it.

    It is, of course, hard to tell where the line is between random events in a small sample size and a true trend. But at some point, if continued throughout several seasons or a career, there are undoubtedly trends that will form within statistics.

  90. I suppose maybe this will illustrate the point I’m trying to make a little better. David Ortiz is generally regarded as one of the greatest “clutch” hitters of this era. I think we can all agree on that, right? But is it true? Let’s see:

    Overall, Papi is a .287/.382/.555 (.938 OPS) guy. With RISP, he’s at .303/.408/.521 (.928 OPS). With 2 outs and RISP, he’s .282/.409/.524 (.933 OPS) and in “late & close” situations he’s .286/.384/.578 (.962 OPS). There’s not a great chasm between his “clutch” hitting and his “regular” hitting. Point being, if you give a guy enough AB’s in a specific situation his production will eventually be pretty close to what he does in every other situation. Or something.

  91. Yes, Chris, but often in “Late and Close” situations a batter like Papi is likely getting very select treatment from the opposing manager, to the tune of facing a lefty specialist or the opposing closer. To have an OPS higher than his normal given the circumstances actually DOES suggest some degree of “clutch”, and it’s added to by the fact that he has done it in some high-profile situations.

  92. “Point being, if you give a guy enough AB’s in a specific situation his production will eventually be pretty close to what he does in every other situation.”

    “Eventually” and “pretty close” are important. Pretty close: .024 +/- over a career the length of Ortiz’s is a lot different that saying the same for Renteria vs. Rodriguez (made up example) over half a season. It’s significant. The bigger the sample size, the more a meaningful difference is smaller than you’re used to looking for. Yes, I would say that Ortiz is clutch.

    Eventually: Over the next 500 PA, Gary Sheffield may very well outperform Brandon Inge with RISP. During April and May, he (understating the case) didn’t, and it hurt the Tigers. The prediction would have been to the contrary, and would have been wrong. The prediction for the remainder of 2008 may still be to the contrary, and may yet again be wrong.

  93. Facetiousness directed at no one in particular – just a joke, in other words:

    The sun, over the past 5 billion seasons, has a totally unsustainable RAS (Rising at Sunrise) of 1.000. I expect a regression to the mean soon, with occasional periods of near-eternal blackness. Especially since the sun’s career VORS is a pretty measly 0.73.

  94. Of course Ortiz is ‘clutch’, but not because of some sort of magical power that he has in tight situations. He’s just a good hitter. He’ll produce with no one on in the first inning and he’ll produce in the twelfth inning of a playoff elimination game because he’s good. Nick Punto will suck in the first inning and he’ll suck in the last one.

  95. The sun totally outperforms the moon in RAS. I’d definitely be looking to package some comet prospects to get that guy on the roster.

  96. Interesting postings.
    I thought the theme that Vince bought up of the NL being the slightly inferior league and therefore the #’s of Cabrerra and Renteria were slightly better than what we can expect from them in the AL was spot on, I thought. The question is, how did NL batters fare overall vs. AL pitchers, as compared to their individual norms, was there a consistent common lessening of individual performance? I know the sample sizes were small, and that each set of players only saw limited AL pitching from specific teams, but what was the trend?
    I agree with Vince in that Cabrerra probably won’t reproduce his NL #’s in the AL, but that the dropoff won’t be as severe as has been shown so far. He’s been hurting all year, and I think he would probably be a .290/.380/.520 if healthy.
    It does look like Renteria is done, or is in a year long slump. Either way, it doesn’t look good.

    Crazy Question of the Day: Our defense has been less than stellar. Our SS has produced less than nothing at the plate, the worst for runs created among the tigers (from Tiger Tales) and had a -1 in the field, ranking 19th among MLB SS’s (again from Tiger Tales).
    I am not a huge fan of Inge, but he had been hitting better in June, OPS of .845, even though his BA was near the Mendoza line. I think a reasonable expectation of contined OPS of around .750 for the rest of the season.

    How about shifting Carlos back to SS, and move Inge into 3rd? Carlos has been moving better lately at 3rd and so could probably play at the same horrible level he played at last year. Inge would be better at 3rd than Carlos currently is, and his bat would actually be an upgrade, scary. We lose defense (significant) at SS, gain defense at 3rd (significant?), and pick up some offense. Is it a gain or loss?

    Santiago’s hot streak is probably over, as evidenced by his stats in his rehab assignment, so I don’t think that playing him is really an option.

  97. Hmmm… My post didn’t show up.

    It was a brilliant analysis which boiled down to: Inge is better with runners on because he’s focused on moving runners rather than trying to break the windows at the Elwood. It’s not that he’s “clutch,” it’s that he has proper focus. His lack of focus with an empty pond is a serious fault.

    He should take a page from Polanco’s book and simply focus on making contact and not making outs. His ridiculous Babe Ruth swings are his biggest liability as a hitter, and the Tigs don’t need his homers… They need his ass on base.

    And he’s a spectacular defender, and that’s why people love him. He puts highlights in the can.

  98. “The sun totally outperforms the moon in RAS.”

    Hey, don’t put down the moon. In limited sunrise HA (Horizon Appearances). the moon is right there with the sun. You can go with the bloated, complacent, overrated sun all you want, but I want the young speed-guy moon on my team. He has a darker side I find utterly fascinating, and yet he’s so much more approachable than prima donna “Mr. Big Stuff” Sol.

  99. Hmmm…Inge at 3B, Guillen at SS. That sounds familiar for some reason. The Tigers defense has actually been better than I thought it would be, ranking 13th in MLB in defensive efficiency (i.e. converting batted balls into outs). Renteria just needs to get the bat going. As much as I think bringing him in was a mistake, I have to imagine that he’s better than a 70 OPS+ guy. If he and Sheffield can pick up the pace, the Tigs should be able to score more consistently going forward. Jeff Weaver should help in that regard.

  100. Hmmm… My post didn’t show up.

    It was a brilliant analysis which proved that I have been and will inevitably continue to be right about everything. Just before I could hit “save,” the computer blew up. I can’t possibly reconstruct the argument anytime soon. Man, I just loathe Windows.

    Just kidding, scotsw. Good post.

  101. “Santiago’s hot streak is probably over”

    It’s only a rehab assignment, Neal. I don’t read much into that, and all I read into his early season numbers is “good job” and “has earned the opportunity for more playing time.”

  102. Bilfer: I don’t believe I’ve ever called you an “Inge Apologist.” You’ve always been reasonable and balanced on your views regarding him. We’ve just disagreed on whether his positive fielding “range” was worth all his other negatives. While certainly not an Inge fan, I’ve always supported him in the utility role.

    This has been an enjoyable discussion by all on him and the stats/sample issue in regards to defining “clutch.”

    On that latter topic, I think someone earlier posted that the ML average hitter performs a little better with runners on base, so I think its more a product of pitchers throwing more strikes than anything else, meaning the hitter is more likely to get a better pitch to hit rather than potentially chasing a “pitcher’s pitch.” Inge, as stated by many, is simply average in this regard.

  103. Santiago fared nicely. But he is, you know, Ramon Santiago which means ‘regression to the mean’ in Spanish. Don’t be fooled. Timo Perez had a .960 OPS last September…

  104. Non-Tigers related tangent alert….

    Simply because he fascinates me, do you guys think that Vladimir Guererro is underrated, overrated or rated?

  105. When comparing SWPO and SWOE (Shining With Planets in Orbit, and Shining With Orbits Empty), it does indeed seem as though the sun shines in both situations, at least if you can trust some very old and mostly theoretical data. So the sun is definitely clutch. Even though some would say that stars obviously get better SWPO opportunities in a post-dust cloud condensation environment.

    My bigger concerns are that Mars seems way overmatched at cleanup, and while Neptune doesn’t seem to fit comfortably in either the #8 or #9 holes, you can hardly bench a gas giant.

  106. I think Vlad should line up an endorsement deal hooked to the show “Axe-men” (I think thats what it is).
    As a lumberjack, he’s definitely underrated.

  107. After watching him hit a 859 foot HR against Texas last evening, I had Vlad on the brain. I’d say he’s underrated. Go compare his stats to A-Rod someday. You might be somewhat surprised.

    Sean: My problem really is with Jupiter in the five hole. He’s supposed to be a run producer, but it looks to me like he’s out of shape. Talk about a gas giant. I think carrying around all of those moons has taken it’s toll. I also think we might need a replacement for Uranus in a couple years when his contract is up.

  108. Chris: the real problem we have is we’re only playing with 8 guys, ever since Pluto was DFA’d.

  109. Normally I’d say Vlad is quite underrated, but based on how he’s doing this year (.119 below his career OPS), probably rated.

  110. I think you know my feelings on Uranus, Chris. No need to case aspersions on mine, now.

    New nickname for Gil: Jove (Jupiter).

    I think Vlad may be underrated by fans, maybe because he dosn’t play for the Yankees or the Red Sox (yet). I think he commands unbelievable respect within the game, though.

  111. Neal: You’ve got it wrong. Pluto was done in by the DP (Designated Planet) rule back in ’95 or so. I’m more of a National Solar System guy, myself. I liked the idea of Pluto, sometimes batting #8 a la LaRussa, bering available to bunt Neptune or Uranus over. The pinch comets, the double asteroid switches – just makes for a more interesting game.

  112. Sean: don’t we have two other DP’s on the roster? I think we could call up Xena (or whatever it is). The comets are a good idea, but they are very streaky, good thing we have quite a few in the organization we can call up.

  113. Neal: Well, Chris was talking about Uranus being used as a DP option, but I refused to listen any further. The whole idea was absurd.

    Unfortunately, some of the best comets have left the system altogether. They come back sometimes, though.

  114. The good thing about Pluto was that it was scrappy, and really helped with the chemistry in the clubhouse. Uranus, as we all know, was a complete A**hole in the clubhouse.
    He always wanted to be like Saturn, show off his rings, but no one ever noticed.

  115. Yeah, Neal, it was sad about those rings. No one ever knew, and even now there’s no public recognition. Just a bunch of mockery. I’d have a pretty bad attitude myself under those circumstances.

    Now… hey, what are the Tigers doing playing the Indians tonight? I’m ready for some revenge against the Twins. Let’s get this meaningless 2-game set out of the way fast.

  116. I think we could definitely screw the Indians, however, they traded the Horse to the Brewers.

  117. Dave: I’m not quite sure. Though Neal’s comments about Uranus being an a-hole in the clubhouse nearly made me urinate involuntarily with laughter. That’s UIWL, for you text messagers.

  118. “oh dear lord, what has happened to this thread”

    They go downhill fast without your calming influence, Dave. Say, any ugly guys on that Indians team?

    At least it’s not a game thread, eh?

  119. Oh, so many ugly guys on the Indians! And rest assured, I will make sure you know who they are!

  120. I hope Dellucci plays tonight. He starts the game clean shaven, and by the 4th inning he looks like John Lennon circa 1969. It’s really quite amazing to watch. Speaking of beards, how about A-Rod’s wife ditching him.

  121. “Speaking of beards, how about A-Rod’s wife ditching him.”

    You must be good, Chris. Even the jokes I don’t get are funny. Either that or I’m drunk. At work, no less. Hennigan’s, don’t you know.

  122. beard
    3. a person who diverts suspicion from someone (especially a woman who accompanies a male homosexual in order to conceal his homosexuality)

  123. Don’t feel bad, Dave. Apparently even Chris fell for it.

    I guess I will have to speak in earnest for a moment, just to ease confusion. I got everything about Chris’s joke on the face of it. I thought I was probably missing some fact about A-Rod and his wife that would make the joke really funny. But it looked funny to me anyway. Sorta like a kid watching cartoons, laughing at all the wrong parts.

    Tha’s all.

  124. Sean: I double-crossed you, though. I kinda figured you knew what was up from the Hennigans reference since that came from Seinfeld and Elaine was a beard in another Seinfeld episode. I posted the dictionary definition becuase, as everyone knows, dictionary definitions are excellent for comedy purposes in their own right. And A-Rod is queer. Just thought I’d add that. Seriously, who wears a suit to the HR Derby?

  125. Chris: Ah, good deal. I was hoping someone would catch the Hennigan’s-beard connection.

    A-Rod gay? I wore a suit to the Kentucky Derby, and I’m not gay. Oh, you said HR Derby. Yeah, he’s queer.

  126. OK, here’s the lineup Jeremy Sowers will be shutting out tonight:
    TIGERS (44-44)

    Granderson, CF
    Polanco, 2B
    Thames, LF
    Cabrera, 1B
    Sheffield, DH
    Rodriguez, C
    Renteria, SS
    Thomas, RF
    Raburn, 3B

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