Game 138: Angels at Tigers

PREGAME: The Angels come to town and will send Joe Saunders to the hill. Saunders posts a 3.67 ERA and doesn’t strike out many people. He’s been bludgeoned in a Nate Robertson-esque fashion his last 2 times out, allowing 12 runs in 6.2 innings. The Tigers got to him for 5 runs in 5 innings back in May.

The Tigers send out Chris Lambert who will be making his second start. Lambert had 2 great innings, and one awful one in his debut against Cleveland. It also meant he didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning. Considering Justin Verlander’s 2nd inning exit yesterday, something a little longer would be helpful.

I’m heading down for this one. My personal losing streak was snapped last Friday, so I don’t know what to expect tonight.

LAA @ DET, Tuesday, September 2, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 7:05

76 thoughts on “Game 138: Angels at Tigers”

  1. It is remarkably sad how small and dead the crowd is tonight. Understandable as it is, it is still sad. Shades of 2005 all over again.

  2. It’s nice to see Polanco hasn’t given up yet…he’s going after Inge for team lead in Hit-By-Pitch.

  3. It is a bit sad and melancholy though…hard to even get excited about seeing the classic “Thames/Sheffield gets on base–Renteria hits into double-play–Inge/Santiago singles” pattern performed so professionally tonight.

  4. Lambo: 4 innings, 90 pitches, 6 hits, 2 BB, 1 HB, 3 stolen bases, etc. Somehow I don’t think he is going to be the fifth starter next year. I could be wrong of course.

  5. Courtesy of gameday: “- G. Glover relieved G. Glover”

    That must suck to be pitching like Glover is and then have the relief pitcher come in and it’s also you….

  6. Did anyone else notice something about Rayburn following the error and subsequent run scoring play? Rayburn may not be the complete package…but looks like he sports quite the package if you know what i mean. I dunno if I’m gay for noticing…I’d like like to think it was just THAT obvious. I think the camera man zoomed in maybe.

  7. Renteria is tricky and entertaining. I thought, oh good, Renteria is leading off, no double play, and he gets a single to boot. Then gets doubled off first on a line drive to right. I gotta admit, I got ham-sandwiched on that one!

  8. Ok, but somebody back me up here. i’ve watched a lot of baseball and i’ve never seen somebody sport that big a “protective” device. i dunno, maybe he left the pants in the drier to long…but it was out there…so to speak.

    ugh. this wouldn’t be happening if october were relevant.

  9. Aha! Inge is smarter than the average ham sandwich…he thwarts the double-play by utilizing a little-known device known to advanced baseball scholars as the “bunt.”

  10. re: tonight’s crowd.

    did school start yet? that would explain at least a portion of the empty seats. I can’t imagine the fans’ attitude is back to ’05 levels already…

  11. Mark in Chicago: “re: tonight’s crowd. did school start yet?”

    That could be part of it, but obviously the majority of empty seats are due to everybody being home following the Republican convention.

  12. Not a good at-bat by Polanco there. The first two pitches were out of the zone and next to impossible to hit, and he’s usually much more selective than that.

  13. yeah, very un-polly there.

    at least they didn’t roll over against a really tough bullpen. they had some good at-bats against shields and miggy finally tagged him (unbelievable display of power there). k-rod is as tough as they come and they still nearly scratched out a run.

  14. Ha ha ha ha ha. This shall henceforth be known as the In Which We Discover Raburn Wears A Codpiece thread (maybe it’s the This Is Spinal Tap version). I do read the game threads to glean information I won’t find in the play-by-play, but come on.

    “Courtesy of gameday: “- G. Glover relieved G. Glover””

    Yow. Gameday is getting a little too extensive with the coverage. Or did they mean to say that Gary only metaphorically crapped his pants?

    Sure wish the Tigers would start winning a little more often. I feel guilty about enjoying DTW while the team is doing so poorly.

  15. By the way, have I mentioned that I think the Tigers need to get pitchers that can throw strikes. It would be especially helpful if the prospective closer and set-up guys had BB per 9 IP ratios below the 4-6 range.

  16. Smoking Loon:

    You not only read the game threads, you memorize them. You cannot deny this. You have said so yourself.

  17. Is it sad that I only visit the blog now to check on new and exciting references to ham sandwiches? Perhaps that is what Raburn was hiding in his pants? Eh? Eh?

  18. “Leyland to Verlander: Admit mistakes”

    Maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention, but has Leyland been admitting his own mistakes lately?

    I really think this team needs a new manager next season. He was the right guy to manage the 2006 team, a young team that became a contender overnight. A veteran team is going to start tuning him out, though, if it hasn’t already.

  19. Vince:

    If you can remember that, I must not be the only one.


    To think that this long-running ham sandwich thing only started with an offhand comment from a poster named either Anson or Angus. Ah, memory fails me.

  20. “…..+44GQaE%3D”

    Smoking Loon to Verlander: Please remove those caterpillars from your brow. They’re distracting. I know they’re color-coordinated and matching, symmetrical, even, but still.

    “but has Leyland been admitting his own mistakes lately?”

    No. He speaks in mealy-mouthed generalities. At least to the press. I hope he’s more candid with his players, but even if he is, if he’s as inconsistent, contradictory, and irrational as his statements to the press make him appear, then they’ve tuned him out long since. I’ve had bosses like that. Not exactly a big motivator.

    I think personnel changes are in order, but even more than that, as I’ve said before, this same crew under a different skipper would probably do a lot better. Something significant has got to change for 2009, because I don’t think 2008 was a fluke at all. With hindsight, of course.

  21. What’s with that Brandon Inge Fan Club thread from 2004? Do people consider it a direct line to Brandon or something? Maybe it is, what do I know.

  22. “Do people consider it a direct line to Brandon or something?”

    Apparently people believe it is, Sean. I love that thread.

  23. That first post in the Brandon Fan Club Thread, from Colonel Von Schlinker (or whoever), is too much. What does it say – “have Brandon contact me” or something?

    When I first unknowingly clicked into that thread, I’ll admit I was a bit spooked. Got a Twilight Zone feeling. Wasn’t sure if I was still at the DTW I knew and loved.

  24. “I think personnel changes are in order, but even more than that, as I’ve said before, this same crew under a different skipper would probably do a lot better.”

    Loon, to a certain extent this is my shot-in-the-dark vs. yours, but i disagree.

    there is a chance that if the entire coaching staff were replaced that the season would have gone differently, but i’m inclined to focus on the players. i’ll admit that even if the burden is on the players to produce (which it is), there is a corresponding burden on the staff to play the effective players, regardless of status. there was certainly room to improve in this department.

    i think when a season unravels to the degree this one did, with a team that is this good (allegedly), the factors involved are both many and varied. i honestly believe that there is more than enough blame to go around, and that singling out the coaching staff isn’t really getting to the bottom of the real issues (of course, its much easier to scrap the coaching staff as opposed to the players).

    i’ll give you that Leyland and co. waited too long on the likes of Sheff and Rent. Bonderman, can’t blame the staff there. Willis, ok that’s a DD thing…but who knows, it might maybe someday down the road work out. Robertson, yeah maybe too slow in reacting to his decline, but he was pretty clockworkish in his reliability (albeit it was giving 200 innings of 4era ball). but how do you explain Verlander? fire Chuck? what about the work he’s done with Galarraga? Cabrera struggled early, who’s to blame there? even if he’s not long for this league, he still ended up meeting his quota of 30hr/100rbi. the 3B saga? well as you can tell, this one is linked to the above Sheff problem.

    clearly these weren’t all the problems, but as you can see, its a long list already. i think to a certain extent, you see what you want to see, so for every sin people find in the coaching staff, i find a correlating one with the players. the season was a train wreck, for many reasons, but nothing would make the coaching staff look better than the players living up to expectations (whether through performance or health).

  25. A lot went wrong with this season (on another note, I have a PhD in Obviousology). Much in the same way that a lot of the hitters had career-type years for the good in 2007 (Granderson, Polanco, Ordonez etc.), most of the pitchers had career-type years for the bad in 2008 (Verlander, Robertson, Willis and so on). Who’s to blame for that? I don’t think you can pin it on any one guy. Chuck? Verlander sucked, but Galarraga certainly was pretty dang good so I don’t think you can blame him. Jimmuh? Yeah, he gave too many AB’s to an unproductive (and likely unhealthy) Sheffield and made his fair share of tactical blunders. On the other hand, he was far from complacent, trying anything and everything to get the team going. And the fact that there’s been little to no public dissent through the media on behalf of the players means he’s doing something right. Dombrowski? Extending Willis’ contract before he even threw a pitch and the Renteria deals are negatives. But Miguel Cabrera is, how do you say, the awesome. I’d have traded everyone in the Marlins deal for him straight up. All in all, this team has a lot of talent. The pitchers just need to pitch better. Upgrading the gloves at some spots in the offseason will go a long way to acheiving that.

  26. I’m not sure how the whole “direct link to Brandon” idea started, or how people keep finding the thread. Theories: a) the thread pops up in a google search for contacting Brandon Inge, b) there is a long-running post-modern joke afoot. Either way, it’s awesome.

  27. Actually, I think that all of those posts were written by Brandon Inge himself. It’s all very meta, you see.

  28. Andre

    I’m not letting the players themselves off the hook or pinning it all on Leyland and staff. I was just restating my position that among the following options for 2009…

    a) Just do 2008 over
    b) A few player changes under new management
    c) A lot of player changes under old management
    d) Total housecleaning

    … b) has a slight edge over c). c) offers more interesting speculation, though.


    “On the other hand, he [JL] was far from complacent, trying anything and everything to get the team going.”

    But that’s just it. He didn’t try everything, including some pretty obvious stuff. Evidently, Cabrera and Guillen left spring training unfit to play their positions. How many things make less sense than the solution Leyland chose? It was all about avoiding the admission of a mistake. In fact, I have yet to hear Leyland specifically admit to any mistake. His “I take the blame” line doesn’t wash with me without specifics. Standard manager boilerplate.

  29. a) the thread pops up in a google search for contacting Brandon Inge

    That’s what I was thinking. I’m going to Google “Brandon Inge Fan Club” and find out.

  30. “It’s all very meta, you see.”

    I especially like the one where Brandon tells himself to play third again and hit better. For an athlete, he’s a pretty complex and imaginative guy. As for creating his own groupies who think his chin stubble is cute, I’m not sure if that’s humor or a troubled mind. Either way, he fits right in.

    Come on out, Brandon. You belong here with us.

  31. “Evidently, Cabrera and Guillen left spring training unfit to play their positions.”

    I think this had more to do with the politics of asking Cabrera to move away from 3B prior to signing an extension. Once Miggy was locked up, they moved him to 1B.

    The irony of course is that the staff kept giving up infield defense for the sake of improved offense…and the Tigers still got blanked a ton this year. To me the willingness to sacrifice defense is the biggest problem I’ve had concerning management. On the other hand, all the shutouts showcase the players’ failure to perform.

    The sheer number of issues that cropped up, and i’m sorry but a number of them were just plain unforeseeable, would have taxed any staff. Look at Girardi. The guy does wonders with Florida, moves to a supposedly better team…and misses the playoffs. Is he all of the sudden not a quality manager? Or is it more reasonable to assume that sometimes bad things happen to good teams.

    As for the issues that should have been predictable, lets hope that the Tigers, staff and players alike, learn from this season and adjust.

  32. Andre

    One of our first converstions back in April was about about the Cabrera-Guillen switch. Everyone was baffled. You thought it was a mistake even then to sacrifice defense at 3B, while I was trying to understand the move, playing devil’s advocate, trying to rationalize it as the way to keep the weak bat out of the lineup.

    Maybe it was about politics. All in all it hurt the team, still hurts the team.

    Yes, maybe 2008 will turn out to be a learning experience for the Tigers. I hope the team will see things in the light of that recent Leyland quote about owning up. They lost because they didn’t do enough to win. All of them.

  33. Dr. Dre: Yeah, the shutouts were a bit vexing. That there were so many of them. On the other hand, several of those were by scores like 7-0, 11-0 and the like so it’s not like you can hang those on the offense. More worrying is the fact this team could never win a game scoring 4 or less runs. The performance of this pitching staff made the ‘Saw’ series look like a bunch of Disney movies.

  34. Yeah Sean, at the start of the season I was pretty fixated on getting Inge back to 3B at all costs (pretty much still am). I hadn’t really thought about the politics surrounding Cabrera, and my ideal solution definitely didn’t involve just swapping Guillen and Cabrera. If I had rated the ideal solution as 1.0, the swap to me was just going from .5 to .6 (although maybe it eventually grew to .75 with the two of them settling in).

    Going into ’09, I think I’ll judge the coaching staff on how they address the issues of the left-side infield defense. Unless they believe Inge will (re)blossom into a defensive catcher, or can’t sign/call up a suitable replacement, I will view his absence from 3B (or possibly SS) as a sign they refuse to adjust.

  35. For all the bad news this season, as I go through the schedule at baseball-reference while researching this and that, I see a lot of great games (just not enough). And for all the bad pitching this season, I find plenty of wasted gems, good starts that either went for naught or won’t show up in the starter’s W-L. Here and there, even some great rescues by the bullpen.

    Little things were costly. One thing that struck me recently was how often the opponent took the extra base, got the guy from 1B to 3B on a single and so forth, while the Tigers didn’t.

    There are some series that stand out as especially painful. I look around at them, trying to decide which was more of a “momentum killer.” I keep coming back to that Twins series where the Tigers dropped 3 of 4 at home. That might have been the worst.

  36. oooph…i don’t think i’m ready to comb through the season looking for the biggest punch in the gut. without making too many excuses, i look at this season as a lot of issues (internal and external) that forced both staff and players into situations where mistakes were magnified. a blanket mulligan might not be uncalled for.

    in a way the fact that we’re no longer in contention has its own, albeit less satisfying, rewarding moments for us as fans. hopefully games are less stressful to watch, we get watch as prospects try to make a name for themselves…and if we’re lucky, we get to see Rayburn’s bulge.

  37. TV-less, I may not get to witness the splendor of Raburn’s pay-kige this season. Still, as I’ve said, being out of contention doesn’t make that much difference for me. The dark times of no baseball at all aren’t far off. Let’s enjoy what’s left while it’s still here.

    It’s probably not a good idea to keep a ham sandwich in your pants for more than a day. Miguel probably posed the question “say, are you gonna eat that?” already, so I imagine Ryan is bulgeless again.

  38. Just for fun, I Googled “Cabrera is a bust.” It worked! Took me right to the original post. That whole thread (April 14, I think, When Managers Attack, Part 2) was interesting in its prescient pessimism.

    I also tried Googling “Raburn’s codpiece.” Unfortunately, that also worked.

  39. You know when you don’t notice something til someone points it out.. and then that’s all you see? I have a feeling now, whenever I see Raburn my eyes will never make it above the waistline. Thanks Dre 😛

  40. “I also tried Googling “Raburn’s codpiece.” Unfortunately, that also worked.”

    “whenever I see Raburn my eyes will never make it above the waistline.”

    i fully deserve to get perma-banned for making these statements possible…

  41. Just for fun, I Googled “Raburn’s waistline.” One of the things that came up, oddly enough, was something called “Carlos Guillen’s girlfriend.” Silly.

    Thanks, Amanda. : – )

  42. “i fully deserve to get perma-banned for making these statements possible…”

    Ha. Yeah, you should have thought twice. These things take on a life of their own.

  43. I’m not touching any of this with a 40 foot pole. (By using that choice of words, I fear I may have opened a Pandora’s Box).

  44. sean, i thought thrice about it…i was for then against it, then for it again. somewhere in all of that, there were several vodka-cranberries. lesson learned.

  45. Just for fun, I Googled “40 foot pole.”

    And now I’m ready to rebuild the Tigers again. I’m working on a deal that could allow the Tigers to keep Sheffield and Renteria for 2009, but they will have to meet certain conditions of mine.

  46. Fret not, Andre. We’re all wiser, if not better for it, and Amanda has a new hobby to help her cope with the stress of professional duck hunting (busy season is coming up in the fall, I think).

  47. Yeah, the hardest part is going to be how to break it to my parents that i might be gay.

    Also, how much regret fills Billfer’s heart when he sees the extent to which his threads can break down?

  48. Well, one thing you can say about most DTW threads, which Billfer should also appreciate, is that people actually converse with one other in a semi-coherent fashion, in a way that makes them come off as semi-actual people, and the topics even include baseball once in a while. Look at some other baseball blogs. No coherence. I get a headache looking at them. Maybe I’m biased.

  49. I’ve decided that the Tigers can keep Renteria if – and only if – they agree to put Inge back at 3B.

    I’ll assume, for the sake of argument, that there simply isn’t anything that can be done to move Sheffield. The question then becomes: What if he starts 2009 like he did 2008, injured again or no? Where do you go from there? Do you just wait, even ride it out for the whole season? If he can’t cut it as DH, what good is he on the bench? Talk about being on the spot. Maybe that’s part of what makes him so uncomfortable about being in the DH role.

  50. I hope that Sheffield hits 5 HR between now and 9/13, so I can see him go for #500 here in Arlington. That would be kinda cool. Though considering he hit 5 for the entire month of August I guess that’s kinda wishful thinking.

  51. The last time Sheffield went on a HR binge like that was early June of 2007.

    Maybe he’ll get to 500 against Texas alone. 3 of 5 HR in the stretch from 2007 I mentioned were against the Rangers, and he was 6 for 13 with a HR the one Texas series he was in this season.

  52. Yes I saw all 3 of those HR at the park last year and each one was an absolute missile. Which is why I suppose I wish he could still do that. It was only a little over a year ago. What happened?

  53. I don’t know what happened with Sheffield. By most accounts, he still has the tremendous bat speed. Maybe not the same approach, not the same judgement, not the same eyes.

  54. I think there’s a chance Sheffield turns into the sleeper surprise for next year, as he’ll finally have a full offseason that won’t be spent just recuperating from surgery. I mean expectations are already pretty low for the guy, and if there’s a chance for him to make good on some of the money they’re paying him, I think he’ll play. Sad to say, but I see Guillen as being a bigger disappointment than Sheff next year. I don’t think the organization foresaw his body degrading as fast as it has.

    On the bright side, if enough adjustments are made in the pitching and defense depts., it won’t matter if those two guys can’t contribute. It’ll be expensive for Illich and sad to watch two guys at the end of the road, but as long as they aren’t taking ABs away from guys that produce (which the team has) the Tigers should be in better shape.

  55. Well in Guillen’s defense, he’s still rocking a 114 OPS+ which is good enough for me. Of course the fact that he’s missed a lot of games is not so good. He’s reverting to ’04/’05 era Carlos in that department. I still think he’d be a good trading piece in the offseason, particularly if he’s able to return for a couple of weeks and produce in his usual fashion.

  56. Conversely Guillen’s defense is likely to be offensive from here on out. If he’s playing as anything but DH next year…expect more hits down the left-field line.

  57. Agreed Dr. Dre. Though of the 3B-2B-SS trio, I’d be apt to replace the 2B and SS first. Maybe Guillen can catch. Flip flop him and Inge. Now there’s an out of the box (and completely idiotic) solution.

  58. Just curious Chris, why 2B over 3B? Polly is average defensively, if not incredibly reliable when it comes to making plays on balls he reaches. I would guess that there are more prospects who could fill in at 3B than 2B. Thoughts?

  59. Smoking Loon: “Just for fun, I Googled “40 foot pole.”

    Some guys have all the fun.

    Did you by any chance get “Cabrera’s 4 Best Friends” as one of the results?

  60. “Did you by any chance get “Cabrera’s 4 Best Friends” as one of the results?”

    He shoots! He scores!

  61. Dre: Sorry it took me so long to respond to that one. I logged off and didn’t log in again until now. Anyhoo, I think that up the middle defense is more important, simply because more balls are hit in that area of the field. Not that Polanco is bad per se, but his range is fairly limited. He catches everything he gets to, but there’s a lot of 2B in the league that get to a lot more.

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