Game 131: Indians at Tigers

PREGAME: I’m watching this one from the friendly confines of my couch, so the Tigers have a chance. On paper, this isn’t a good match-up for the Tigers. Then again on paper the Tigers looked like contenders.

The Indians send out uber pitcher and Cy Young (and maybe MVP) front runner Cliff Lee. Oddly, the Tigers have had some success off of Lee this year and have scored 8 runs in 10 innings, chasing him after 5 innings in both games.

Meanwhile, the Tigers send out Chris Lambert who is making his big league debut. I like watching debuts.

CLE @ DET, Tuesday, August 26, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 7:05

POSTGAME:
So this one played out like it looked on paper. Chris Lambert had a good start, recording 6 outs on 18 pitches. But a bad finish, not escaping the 3rd inning. He was undermined by errors from Ryan Raburn and Marcus Thames meaning 4 of the 6 runs he allowed were unearned. Still he had his own issues.

I can’t kill him for allowing a homer to Jamey Carroll. I’d rather see him throw one down the middle to a guy like Carroll and take his chances. Carroll just got him. But the bigger problem was that Lambert went to his breaking ball wayyy too much. He’d get a head, but then throw 3 straight breaking balls out of the zone before having to throw a fastball down the middle. And by the 3rd inning it almost looked like the Indians knew exactly what was coming. Whether it was a matter of being predictable, or if he was tipping his pitches, it wasn’t good.

Still, there was some stuff to like from Lambert. He looked to have quite a bit of movement on the slider. He just needed to throw it closer to the strike zone to entice the hitters a little more.

I could talk about the offense, but why. For the second consecutive night all the RBI came from the bottom of the lineup. So nice job Brandon, Edgar, and Marcus (3 consecutive 2 hit games for Thames).

As for that interference call on Brandon Inge, as strange as it was, the umpires appear to have gotten it right:

Rule 7.08(b) Comment: A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not.

Clearly Inge was trying to avoid the fielder, but even intent doesn’t play into the ruling.

102 Comments

  1. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    At the game! Go Tigs.

  2. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Lambert strikes out his first batter on three pitches. Some scrub named Sizemore.

  3. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    mcb “At the game! Go Tigs.”

    Ah, well may you have an enjoyable game, and may your seats be far, far from man-of-ceaseless-whistle!

  4. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Easy first inning for Lambert. We can only hope he continues to do Mike Maroth proud — he was, after all, the king of 1-2-3 innings.

  5. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    In RF – far away. That guy is so annoying!

  6. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    he’s got nothing on that guy in Oakland

  7. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Rod on Cabrera: “You can’t teach size — and he’s got plenty of it”

  8. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    You know what would really be awkward?

    It would be really awkward, if say, you met someone from the Tigers organization, maybe Al Kaline for example, and you are excitedly telling him what a big fan you are and how your favorite thing to do ever is go to Tiger games, except for that part with the whistling guy, you know what I’m talking about, the annoying guy who NEVER stops, and people are elbowing you and clearing their throats and you can’t figure out why, and then someone tells, you, um “that guy who whistles all the time is Mr. Kaline.”

    Now tell me THAT wouldn’t feel awkward!

  9. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Dave BW: “Rod on Cabrera: “You can’t teach size — and he’s got plenty of it”

    He’s got nothing on that guy in Oakland.

  10. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Another easy inning for Lambert.

    btw, Mercury ad, I don’t really want my car to read me my text messages

  11. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Dave BW: “btw, Mercury ad, I don’t really want my car to read me my text messages”

    There is a very good “only in Detroit” type of joke lurking here. Unfortunately I am not currently in Detroit and am therefore ineligible.

  12. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Indeed. I left Detroit over a month ago and thus lost my membership as well. The Kwame-ness must wait for another brave soul.

  13. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    The joke involves Kwame, Matt Millen, and with a little twist at the end, Al Gore. But I better stop there before I run afoul of The Committee.

  14. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Carroll hits his first home run of the year to lead off the third. The honeymoon is over. *sad face*

  15. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    So we are sitting here and my wife says “he has no homeruns how much damage can he cause, throw a strike” well…

  16. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Oh good lord, that guy is an ACTUAL scrub

  17. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Shoppach homers. Welcome to the Tigers, Chris.

  18. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    mcb: “So we are sitting here and my wife says “he has no homeruns how much damage can he cause, throw a strike” well…”

    hey, wait a second…she said YOU were the jinxer

  19. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Inge better go out to the mound and calm him down and explain where on the batter the ribcage is.

  20. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Not tonight! She is the JINXER

  21. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    OK that’s funny I click submit comment and whap! I wish everything worked that way…

  22. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Who was sent down to clear the roster spot?

  23. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    FranBelt was sent down

  24. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    I think the roster spot was from Robertson on the DL?

  25. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Dave’s Dog Update: She is pacing and clearly nervous. She just walked away when Raburn missed the hit that made it 3-0 Indians

  26. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Hmm, Raburn is starting to look like a Tiger 3rd baseman more all the time…

  27. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Dave, at least the dog did not take a dump like our pitching staff

  28. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    There’s still time, mcb. It isn’t entirely out of the question.

  29. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I think she is also trying to figure out how Beltran had 11 relief appearances but never actually seemed to be with the club…I think I remember one time he pitched…

  30. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Thames needs to be done

  31. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Don’t worry, guys — I think Cliff Lee has just been lucky in every single one of his starts and is hence due for a downfall. Three runs will be no problem.

    UPDATE: Five runs will be no problem.

  32. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    rod allen is dangling out of the booth he might jump.

  33. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Dave, you better put the dog outside

  34. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Maybe I should put the TV outside. This game sucks.

  35. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    OK now they are piling the errors on us, there is no call for that, if they start hitting grounders to Renteria next they are asking for retaliation…

  36. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Let’s face it, they have thrown in the towel. The scary thing is nobody is talking about changes for next year.

  37. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Every Indians AB I keep thinking, “I could have sworn they traded that guy”

  38. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Or we could try to be more positive…hey, the kid’s got a 4-hitter going! pretty decent for a first start!

  39. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Indians play for wedge (8 in a row). Tigs don’t play for jimmy

  40. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Go Tigers! ROAR!

  41. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I don’t understand how Garko got a walk, I thought he was the guy they always throw at. Why stop now?

  42. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    The Tiger has been neutered.

  43. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    We really need to take these end of year opportunities to end the careers of as many Indians as possible

  44. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    They’ll decide Mr Scrub is their starter, won’t pursue alternatives in the free-agent market, and will be screwed when he starts next season with an 0 – 18 slump. We’re working on angles for next season. Now everything makes sense.

  45. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Seven runs will be no problem.

  46. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    “Seven runs will be no problem.”

    It shouldn’t be, we’re averaging around 10.2 for the rest of the season (that gets us our allotment of 1,000).

    I’m just concerned whether our bullpen can hold a 10-6 lead.

    (Obviously I realize they won’t score 10 runs every game…it’s just an average, so they could just as easily score 2 runs one game, then 18 the next).

  47. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Inge called out on interference, despite not making contact with anyone. I love how not one of the umpires apparently could make the obvious correct call there, yet they are constantly claiming they don’t need help.

    Dog Update: Hiding behind couch.

  48. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    OK, here’s what would have worked better for the Tigers. A batting order that followed Cabrera with Renteria, Sheffield, Inge, Thames. That way instead of Sheffield walks, Renteria hits into double-play, you have Sheffield walks, Inge walks, Thames is up (and Thames hit a 3-run HR, or strikes out, then you get Granderson up). Or Sheffield walks, Inge strikes out, Thames hits 2-Run HR, or strikes out. In which case Granderson triples. Hmm, yeah that works.

  49. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    To be fair, Inge has been known to interfere by concentrating powerful mind rays directly at his opponents

  50. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Tell your dog to say hi to Cap’n Smokey while she’s back there behind the couch

  51. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    That’s clearly the assumption

  52. SJC Kris

    August 26, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    This just in…

    The Tigers have just reclaimed the distinction of most disappointing team from the Indians. Back broken by the last straw.

    Meanwhile, representatives from the Senate and House kicked off a blue ribbon panel aimed at replicating Tigers success in spending efficiency.

    More at 11:00

  53. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    “Meanwhile, representatives from the Senate and House kicked off a blue ribbon panel aimed at replicating Tigers success in spending efficiency.”

    You would not believe the amount they waste on the blue-ribbons alone…

  54. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    BenFran homerun makes it 8-0. I’m almost ready to call it a day on this one.

  55. jim-mt

    August 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    This is so sad.

  56. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Raburn made an excellent, almost Inge like play at 3rd to end the inning

  57. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I hope they don’t hit this guy because they might as well wait until Garko comes up again

  58. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Dave BW: “Raburn made an excellent, almost Inge like play at 3rd to end the inning”

    I didn’t see it, did he dive, or was it one of those mind-ray things?

    Who knows, maybe he can imitate Inge (Ingematate?)

    (Except the shouldn’t try that bit about taking the 1 minute naps standing up with his eyes open, look what it did to Renteria)

  59. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    He ran halfway across the infield (Ingefield?) to get to a ball and shot it to first to get the out. Raburn, of course, still lacks Inge’s consummate style and graceful athleticism.

  60. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Actually I thought they kept the Ingefield down in the 3rd basement? It used to be much less complicated at Tiger Stadium.

  61. Dave BW

    August 26, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    For the first time in seemingly forever, Rod and Mario are not wearing matching shirts that blind direct onlookers.

  62. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    The jinxer has a magarita now. She is happier

  63. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    At least our batters are getting in and out efficiently, so we can get our pitchers back out there while they’re still hot

  64. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    mcb: “The jinxer has a magarita now. She is happier”

    Well now there’s a cool character for you, jinxes us to destruction then just leans back and enjoys a cold margarita

  65. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    She is very tired. It took a lot of wiggling her nose to bring out the jinx

  66. Chris

    August 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Folks, we may have to get used to 4th place for years to come. Dave Dombrowski built a piece of garbige while loading down the team with long term contracts to aweful players. Meanwhile, the Sox look to be competitive for years, the Twins have good young pitching and a couple more seasons in the bouncy dome and the Indians have the makings of the best pitching in the league.

    It’s Tigers and KC for the battle of the bottom for years. better get used to it.

  67. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Well she’s only going to keep getting more tired if she keeps nose-wiggling her glass back to full like that…

  68. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    McbS wife here. Necisito margarita to deal with this crap!!!

  69. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    McbS wife here. Necisito margarita to deal with this crap!!!

    Well don’t get down on yourself, I’m sure you feel bad about the jinx but no need to go calling yourself Mc BS Wife

    (or is it Necesito margarita? or does that depend on whether you have a masculine or feminine margarita? this baseball fan stuff is more difficult than it seems…)

  70. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Our offense can’t cover for the bad pitching and defense unless we make some offseason moves to get more of these bottom of the order 8-9 hitter guys

  71. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Another great ab. Shef’s kitchen is closed

  72. mcb

    August 26, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    *wife wiggles nose to try to turn indian fan in our section into a plate of nachos*

  73. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    If they would have listened to me and waited a batter or two and drilled Garko instead, that probably would have only been a solo homer.

  74. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    mcb “*wife wiggles nose to try to turn indian fan in our section into a plate of nachos*”

    That’s not very nice to play witchcraft tricks on the poor native americans, haven’t we played enough tricks on them? Sometimes it almost seems like witches aren’t that nice…

    yeah I know, here comes another night on a toadstool….

  75. Mark in Chicago

    August 26, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Some intersesting stats to note on our Detroit Tigers:

    Runs: 658 (7th in MLB)
    Doubles: 244 (12th inMLB)
    HR: 155 (6th)
    Avg: .274 (6th)
    OBP: .343 (6th)
    SLG: .442 (5th)
    OPS: .785 (6th)
    BB: 460 (11th)
    GIDP: 115 (10th – you’re suprised we’re only 10th, aren’t you?)

    ERA: 4.52 (21st)
    Starter ERA: 4.66 (20th)
    Relief ERA: 4.25 (22nd)
    H allowed: 1219 (20th)
    BB: 515 (26th)
    K’s: 768 (27th)
    Avg against: .269 (19th)
    OBP against: .348 (26th)
    SLG against: .428 (22nd)
    OPS against: .777 (24th)
    HR allowed: 133 (14th most)
    Hit batters: 52 (7th most)
    Intentional BB: 50 (4th most)
    Quality starts: 60 (20th)
    WHIP: 1.48 (26th)
    K/BB ratio: 1.49 (27th)

    Breaking out a couple more of the above into starter/reliever splits:
    Starter OPS against: .779 (22nd)
    Relief OPS against: .772 (27th)
    Starter WHIP: 1.45 (22nd)
    Relief WHIP: 1.53 (30th – dead last in baseball)
    Starter K/BB: 1.58 (27th)
    Relief K/BB: 1.36 (30th – dead last again)

    Given this is a veteran team and most players would not be expected to get much better, it’s tough to find any compelling reason this same group can compete for the division next year. I didn’t even address the fielding woes of this team, such as the lead-foot infield they run out every night. Not exactly a recipe for sucess when you’ve got your pitching coach telling guys to pitch to contact when they walk too many hitters and have an infield that can’t cover much ground. (Digression: DD is in love with power arms, so why is Hernandez having guys pitch to contact in the first place? It’s a glaring inconsistency. More and more, I am thinking CH might be replaced this winter.)

    Offensively the team is in better shape, but my sense is they are too one-dimensional, which accounts for the lengthy disappearing acts in games. They don’t post crazy-high OBP numbers as a team, so they better find a way to add some other elements to generate runs.

    DD seems to have gotten away from his focus on pitching and defense. It’s going to be an interesting offseason, but I suspect Chris might be right, we could be looking at a 3rd/4th place finish next year as well.

  76. Coleman

    August 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    “GIDP: 115 (10th – you’re suprised we’re only 10th, aren’t you?)”

    Nope. Because in addition to the guys with lots, we have guys with few.

    American League batters, fewest DP (min 200 AB):

    Player Team AB BA OBP SLG DP
    Inge** DET 254 .209 .310 .398 1
    Mathis LAA 246 .203 .291 .346 1
    Iwamura TBR 512 .275 .346 .371 2
    Aybar LAA 299 .274 .314 .385 2
    Carroll CLE 265 .268 .353 .332 2
    Gathright KCR 252 .246 .299 .262 2
    Thames** DET 251 .239 .294 .530 2
    Span MIN 212 .316 .394 .462 2

    In addition, Joyce, with 183 AB, has hit into 0 (zero) DP so far.

  77. Mark in Chicago

    August 26, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Yeah, good point Coleman. Inge and Thames are both fly ball hitters, which would at least partly explain that. My point was really more than it FEELS like we’ve grounded into a ton, certainly more than to be 10th on that list.

  78. judpma

    August 26, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    last night first 5 Tiger batters went 3-27 with 0 runs 0 rbi
    tonight first five batters went 2-19 .. 0 runs –0 rbi

    hey Jim when you go to the plate to drop off the lineup card tomorrow TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN!!!!!

  79. Coleman

    August 27, 2008 at 3:02 am

    Mark in Chicago: “Yeah, good point Coleman. Inge and Thames are both fly ball hitters, which would at least partly explain that. My point was really more than it FEELS like we’ve grounded into a ton, certainly more than to be 10th on that list.:”

    The reason it feels like that is that when there are guys on base, and you’re thinking, anything but a double play…that’s when the guy most likely to hit into a double play tends to be up. For example when the line-up has Sheffield-Renteria-Thames, then you have a high probability of 1. Sheffield walks 2. Renteria GIDP. 3 Inge walks etc.

  80. Coleman

    August 27, 2008 at 3:31 am

    It was a nice surprise though to see no double-play balls from Joyce. Part of that could be how often he comes up to bat right AFTER a double-play, but I think there are also positive aspects.

    Wow here’s another stat (to be filed under why Joyce is getting more playing time at the expense of Thames and Raburn):

    Aside from DP balls, the other big frustration has been the number of times they get a guy to 3rd with less than 2 outs (often with less than 1) and don’t manage to score (usually due to the stikeout or double-play ball)

    So with a runner on 3rd < 2 out:

    Joyce 9 AB 12 RBI 2 K
    Thames 10 AB 7 RBI 5 K
    Raburn 12 AB 5 RBI 7 K

    Umm, did I say I “love” to play Raburn? I meant to say I “sorta like” to play Raburn, in certain situtations, yeah that’s it…

    And how did Raburn manage to be up 12 times in that situation anyway? He has 139 AB! That’s like 10% of his AB with a guy on 3rd, < 2 outs. (which means over 5% of his AB are STRIKEOUTS with a guy on 3rd < 2 outs…Inge has over 250 AB, with the same number as Raburn with runner on 3rd < 2 outs:

    Inge 12 AB 14 RBI 1 K

    (These numbers are quite remarkable actually, 2nd best RBI/AB on the team–Joyce is 1st–but especially the 1K, considering he normally averages about 1.2 strikeouts per at bat or whatever it is).

    Definitely a weird season, with a lot of random bad luck to add to the various sorts of sucking….

  81. Coleman

    August 27, 2008 at 4:00 am

    See this is what I mean by bad luck. So Ol’ Razorburn ends up at bat all the time with the guy on 3rd etc etc. So who has the 2nd highest rate? That Damn Yankee Pudge. But being no scrub, he managed:

    Pudge 22 AB 12 RBI 8 K

    So, only 2nd worst, so that’s worth something. That’s what I mean about the bad luck element to the season though–not that the numbers are bad luck, but how everything combines–re. the 2 players with the worst performance in the best situation (runner on 3rd < 2 outs) are the same two players that had the highest % of AB in those situations.

  82. Coleman

    August 27, 2008 at 4:13 am

    One last way to look at those stats:

    Tigers with more AB than Pudge with runner on 3rd, < 2 outs (ie more than Pudge had during his time on the Tigers, a few more guys are about to pass him)
    Cabrera, Polanco.

    Tigers with more RBI than Pudge, batting with runner on 3rd, < 2 outs:
    Cabrera, Polanco, Guillen, Ordonez, Renteria, Inge, Granderson, Joyce.

    Pudge strikeouts:
    8 K / 22 AB
    Strikeouts for: Polanco, Ordonez, Santiago, Inge, Guillen, Granderson, Sheffield:
    8 K / 115 AB

  83. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 27, 2008 at 9:39 am

    What a riot. Nice work Dave BW, Coleman, mcb (both of you). If we can’t have a good game, at least we can have a good game thread.

    Oh, cool stats, too, Mark in Chicago. They all point to “pitching is to blame.” But it’s not that simple. The hitting looks better than it is, and the starting pitching looks worse than it is, and the bullpen can’t possibly look as bad as it really has been. If I hadn’t been incapacitated (could someone please just entirely remove the right side of my head?) by pain-killing medication every evening lately, I would have published my bullpen expose by now. Soon.

  84. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 27, 2008 at 9:55 am

    So… can anyone seriously maintain any longer that big changes aren’t in order and probably in store for 2009? The Tigers are going to run the same team under the same manager out there and simply hope and pray that it all gets better, that 2008 was a bad dream? They’re going to field another mediocre and incohesive team just to avoid having to eat some bad contracts?

    Could be. I hope not.

  85. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 27, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Justin Verlander still has more decisions than Cliff Lee. 19-2. Tsss. What kind or record is that? It’s very unbalanced. Unseemly. No, give me good old 13-10 or even 10-13 any day.

  86. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 27, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Wish they would have stuck with the make Aquilino Lopez a starter plan.

  87. Sean C. in Illinois

    August 27, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Looking at splits by batting order position, the Tigers have had 2 holes:

    #3 – .250/.348/.376 = .724 OPS
    #8 – .238/.307/.362 = .669 OPS (lowest in all categories)

    The White Sox have only one such hole that is comparable. The Twins have 2 as bad or worse.

    The Tigers seem to not like having a runner on 2B unless the bases are loaded:

    Men on 1st and 2nd: .235/.328/.369 = .692 OPS
    Man on 2nd: .245/.321/.380 = .701 OPS
    Men on 2nd and 3rd: .258/.350/.340 = .690 OPS

    Meanwhile, the White Sox:

    Men on 1st and 2nd: .722 OPS
    Man on 2nd: .819 OPS
    Men on 2nd and 3rd: .998 OPS

    And the Twins:

    Men on 1st and 2nd: .861 OPS
    Man on 2nd: .850 OPS
    Men on 2nd and 3rd: .915 OPS

    RISP OPS

    Twins .845
    White Sox .840
    Tigers .755

    It ain’t all pitching. And the hitters aren’t undermined by the defense. At least not in the same way. Seems like a recent game resulted in a 6-run 3rd with 4 of the runs being unearned. Just kind of incidental like.

  88. Chief Monday

    August 27, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Sean- It makes perfect sense to run the same team out there next year. We don’t have any holes to fill if everyone stays healthy.

    Bullpen should be better with Zumaya and Rodney at 100% for a full season. Seay, Dolsi, and Lopez should be back.

    Verlander, Bonderman, Galarraga, Willis, Minor, and Nate should take care of business and be one of the best staffs in baseball. Not many teams have 6 SP’s.

    Inge, Cabrera, Polanco, Guillen, Renteria, Magglio, Granderson, Joyce, and Sheff could still be one of the highest scoring offenses. You just got to give them another chance.

    After next season, changes will be made regardless because big contracts will expire. You just have to let this play out before jumping to conclusions.

    This team doesn’t need to be restructured radically. The players just got to stay healthy and do their jobs. That’s not too much to ask for.

  89. Mark in Chicago

    August 27, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Verlander, Bonderman, Galarraga, Willis, Minor, and Nate should take care of business and be one of the best staffs in baseball. Not many teams have 6 SP’s.

    I think I’m starting to catch on to the satire on this site. This is satire, right?

  90. jim-mt

    August 27, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    It has been disappointing this year, but a lot of it seems to be the randomness of baseball. How many funky little things worked against the Tigers this year? Infield doubles? Granderson not scoring on a double play third because of a quirky little check swing liner that dropped in front of second base? Solo home runs when it doesn’t really matter and grounders with the bases are loaded and it could break a game open? Journeyman pitchers throwing two hitters and lightweight hitters whacking homers? It doesn’t make sense.

    Usually these things even out, but not this year. I do think any players who aren’t hustling should be dumped, but even then how many are playing injured, but don’t want to say to give the other team an edge?

  91. "Dr." Andre in Chi

    August 27, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Chief -

    Frankly, the “if” you mention (health) is pretty big and may well be too much to ask for. I’m assuming here that most players desire health and the ability to play on a daily basis. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sheff, Guillen, Bonderman, Willis, Zumaya, Rodney and every other Tiger that’s been hurt this year would have rather been healthy and productive.

    The problem with health is that the player has a limited say in its continuation. If you look at the Tigers in question, there are varying degrees to which we can expect health to be (or not to be!) a concern, age and history being the largest factors. If I had to venture a guess as to players mentioned above likely to have health concerns next year, Bonderman would be on the low end vs Guillen at the high end. Young players with histories, like Zumaya, are crap-shoots.

    Point is, we can’t just assume health with some of these guys and contingency plans are in order. You can’t reasonably count on Sheff and Guillen to be healthy for the entire season, and Zumaya and Rodney are only slightly more likely to be healthy…but mostly that’s a trick their age plays on us.

    More than anything, I wish the organization would drop hints to the fans that they’re addressing the situation. You know, something like Leyland or DD saying, “The health of our players has been somewhat of an issue this year and we’re going to look at this closely in the offseason.” I mean, I know Leyland isn’t the kind of guy to hang people to dry, or call them out but, to quote another Dr., “throw us a freakin’ bone here.”

  92. Mark in Chicago

    August 27, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Dr. Dre,

    I almost went with your approach as a response to Chief’s post, but I guessed that he was being sarcastic, and thus you see my response.

    However, I agree with you.

  93. Chief Monday

    August 27, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    You want contingency plans for players that are making $10+ million a year? Fat chance on that happening.

    You can’t assume that players won’t be healthy either. Every team is in the same boat with health concerns.

    I’m just being realistic. You guys think it’s so easy to move players or to eat contracts, but it really isn’t.

  94. "Dr." Andre in Chi

    August 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Mark -

    I can’t be sure, but I thought Chief was in the “optimist” camp, that along with the second to last paragraph led me to take his post at face value…although the section you note does seem to fit the extreme sarcasm mold taken out of context.

    Sorry if Chief was being serious with his assessment of the rotation going into next year. I’m now conditioned to err on the side of caution, and of the six pitchers he lists, I’d only consider Verlander and Galarraga as good bets (or above). It remains to be seen if Bonderman will recover fully (it seems “hopeful”…but i’ve been disappointed applying that word to the Tigers before), and I think a realistic look at Willis, Nate and even Miner leaves at least some uncertainty as far as future production.

    The lineup is no shorter on question marks either. Sheff stands a better chance of contributing next year seeing as it’ll be the first time in a long time he’s actually able to work out and not rehab during the summer. Guillen poses lots of injury questions: if he’s knees go completely does he DH?; is his production drop off permanent?; if so do we DH him or cut?. With all the talk of salary dumping I find it hard to believe Renteria is around next year, even if he hits the cover off the ball for the rest of the season. I really would like to see effort put into finding a catcher, SS and 3B that will at least excel defensively. I think Inge would fit in nicely at third-basement (that’s right, the top basement in the league) or SS, so that really leaves finding a natural catcher along with whatever infield spot Inge isn’t occupying.

    Above all, I’d like to see a move away from retreading players to different positions. I think the Tigers got lucky with Cabrera at 1B, and partly because he’s a great big target and even if he doesn’t have diving range, he has a good span when stretching to pick a ball. In general though, this stop-gap crap needs to go. Either find somebody you KNOW can play a position well, or gamble on a kid with upside. I’m so tired of watching them move pieces around where you know that, at best, the guy switching positions mid-season is going to be mediocre on defense.

  95. "Dr." Andre in Chi

    August 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    “Every team is in the same boat with health concerns.”

    Only where freak injuries are concerned. You couldn’t see Bondo’s blood clot coming. You could see Guillen’s knees giving out…its why they moved him to the corners. They knew Sheff was coming off surgery…you know, cause he had surgery. So if you know there’s a pre-existing issue, you need to contemplate the possibility of it worsening.

    I’m not pretending like you can move Sheff, Nate, Guillen or Willis. Their contracts and age make it extremely unlikely (I think there’s reason to be “hopeful” for Sheff being productive though). They can buy out Renteria…and they should. The rest, they might have to eat those contracts for the most part.

    Regardless of the size of the contract though, you have to have a plan B. Now, that doesn’t mean that you sign two $10mil guys for every position…but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to keep running a guy out there who isn’t producing, for the sole reason of justifying his contract. He’s going to cost you $10mil either way, let him ride pine and give somebody else a chance.

  96. Chief Monday

    August 27, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    The Tigers are in it, to win it, with what they got. They’ve invested too much into this group of players to goto a plan B now just to satisfy the wants of a few unhappy Tiger fans.

    If you don’t like the Tigers roster as is, then it’s just tough luck. The Tigers will just have to win the World Series next season without your blessing.

    BTW, Renteria is surely back next season.

  97. "Dr." Andre in Chi

    August 27, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Chief –

    My initial reply to you was meant to be more directed about the coaching staff’s role in handling player injuries, I realize now that it didn’t come off that way. Even so, my plan B argument doesn’t necessitate looking outside the organization when big contract players aren’t living up to expectations, even if only temporarily. Giving prospects a chance is essential when your starters don’t produce or aren’t healthy. I wasn’t suggesting that the organization go into a rebuilding mode, but I didn’t understand why guys like Sheff (who was injured) and Renteria (who sucked) kept starting ahead of the likes of the Rayburns, Joyces and Santiagos of the world.

    I we had the talent that KC had, I wouldn’t be one of the “few unhappy Tigers fans”. The problem is that we’re in 4th place with a team that you think will “realistically” win the World Series next year if it just stays healthy. I think the “if” in that last sentence is way bigger than you do. I don’t want the Tigers to clean house, I just want to see something from management that points to them being able to make the right adjustments…specifically that they realize next season hinges on the shaky track record concerning the health of certain players who figure to be big pieces of the puzzle.

    On the other hand, they had my blessing this year to win the World Series and score 1000 runs, so maybe withholding that is just what they need :)

    Edit: what makes you think they’ll bring back the one +$10mil guy who didn’t produce that they can get rid of?

  98. Chief Monday

    August 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    1) Renteria has a phenominal track record.
    2) We don’t have another everyday SS waiting in the wings. (Santiago is merely a utility player).
    3) We gave up a lot to get Renteria.
    4) Boston will pay part of his salary.
    5) He’s been hitting rather well since the All Star break. .298 avg, .360 OBP, .807 OPS.
    6) Do the opposite. -Costanza

  99. "Dr." Andre in Chi

    August 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    For the sake of brevity, I’ll only address #2

    I think they should move Inge to SS…and 3B…at the same time. He’s got the range. Now they just need to find a catcher that can keep the ball in front of him. Oh sure, you’ll ask, “but Dr Dre, what do we do with the left over position player?” Glad you asked. We play 2 LFs. That should halve Thames errors, right? Or, does that just create more opportunities for collisions?

    (#6 = classic, thanks Chief)

  100. jim-mt

    August 27, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    A 209 hitter at SS? Does Ray Oyler have any kids?

  101. "Dr." Andre in Chi

    August 27, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Jim, not sure who you mean by 209 hitter?

  102. greg

    August 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    1) Renteria has a phenominal track record.

    I’m sorry, but this made me laugh. Don’t know about in the past, but Renteria has been a significant liability in the field and his offensive skills appear to be in decline.

    I’d be slightly surprised to see him back next year. DD made one mistake, hopefully Dombrowski doesn’t make two simply because he’s too proud to admit it.