Game 154: Tigers at Indians

PREGAME: The Tigers have 71 wins. The Royals have 70. Chew on that for a minute. Dontrelle Willis takes the mound for the Tigers. It was a start against the Indians that sent Willis down to Lakeland back in June.

Scott Lewis, a lefty with 14 innings of experience, takes the mound for the Indians.

DET @ CLE, Sunday, September 21, 2008 Game Preview –

Game Time 1:05


  1. Brian P

    September 21, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Go Royals! Go Indians! We could use better draft picks.

  2. Dave BW

    September 21, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    The Royals have a legitimate shot at getting out of fifth place this year. Good for them.

  3. Dr Dre in Chicago

    September 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    This hurts, not because the season is done (it was already), but in watching Willis today we might be seeing a lot of money go out the window and a decent guy at the end of a career all too soon.

  4. Jeff

    September 21, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Well, Dontrelle is getting left-handers out. Though he’s pretty high-priced for a LOOGY.

  5. mark_in_gr

    September 21, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Dontrelle doesn’t need a pitching coach, he needs a shrink. I feel sorry for the man actually. He seems like he is actually “willing” the ball to be a strike, like he has no clue how to find the strike zone.

    You can blame this dismal, embarrassing display on Dombrowski AND Illitch. The owner apparently puts getting his money’s worth out of his contracts ahead of doing whatever it costs to win. I personally thought that when Illitch bought this team, he would run it w/the same quest for victory that he does w/the Redwings. It appears I was wrong. I guess being one for two in winning franchises is acceptable to him.

    I have been a baseball fan for over 40 years, and I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen anything like what I have seen w/Willis this year. He has NO business in that uniform.

  6. Dave BW

    September 21, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Willis isn’t at the end of his career — his stuff is still great, he just can’t find the damn strike zone. When he threw strikes in this game and actually got ahead, the Indians were clueless. His control is horrendous, but that’s something you can fix, given time.

  7. jim-mt

    September 21, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Dombroski & Illitch put out a lot of money this to try to win this year sacrificing the prospects–it didn’t work out, but you can’t blame the effort.

  8. stephen

    September 21, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Man, when the AP wrapup suggests twice that the team has given up, heaven help us

    CLEVELAND -… the Cleveland Indians moved over .500 for the first time in more than four months with their sixth straight victory, 10-5 over the sloppy and seemingly disinterested Detroit Tigers on Sunday…

    … But now a season-high 12 games under .500 and fighting to stay out of last place in the division, the Tigers have grossly underachieved and went through the motions in their final road game…

  9. Dave BW

    September 21, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    “sloppy and seemingly disinterested”… that’s awesome.

  10. Kris in SJC

    September 21, 2008 at 7:32 pm


    About to passed by the Royals…with a strong correlation between salary and capabilities, you might determine that talent is not this team’s problem. With this leap, you have to conclude that Leyland and company will not be around next year. The only question is if Dombroski gets a pass…

    Sorry gang, but this collection of individuals demonstrates that talent alone does not guarantee winning – either in baseball or any other organized competition. Setting a stage to enable success is the role of management – getting talented individuals pointing in the same direction for a common goal. I recognize many of you do not believe that this applies to baseball – and I’ll ask you to consider why baseball should be any different than any other team-based competition, athletic or otherwise? CEOs get paid substantial sums of money for a reason…

  11. greg

    September 21, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Billfer, or anyone else have any idea on possible suspensions for Sheffield or anyone else? Will they appeal?

  12. ron

    September 21, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    We’ve ended up 15 or more games behind at the end of the season about 60 times in 107 years so what the heck, you get used to it.

  13. Smoking Loon

    September 21, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    June 9: Willis starts, Tigers lose to Cleveland, 5th loss in 6 games, fall 12 games under .500.

    September 21: Willis starts, Tigers lose to Cleveland, 5th loss in 6 games, fall 12 games under .500.

    The road to nowhere.

    On the other hand, after June 9 the Tigers went on a 31-16 run. But since the June game was at home and the September game at Cleveland, this can only mean that the Tigers will now go 16-31 over their next 47, spilling over into 2009. Until and unless Willis breaks the spell with a win against the Indians.


    “Justin struggled with his command,” said Tigers acting manager Lloyd McClendon. “We had no choice but to go to the bullpen earlier than we wanted to.”

    Other than struggling with his curveball, Verlander didn’t have a problem with his performance.

    “This by far is the best stuff I’ve had at this point in the season,” he said.


    “I didn’t get the job done,” Willis said. “I was battling my control. That’s pretty much the game. I’m going to keep fighting and try to get guys out.”

    One of these pitchers might not be with the Tigers in 2009. One of them is owed a whole lot more money. I’m not suggesting anything.

  14. Smoking Loon

    September 21, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    “Setting a stage to enable success is the role of management – getting talented individuals pointing in the same direction for a common goal. I recognize many of you do not believe that this applies to baseball”

    I believe it, Kris.

  15. Smoking Loon

    September 22, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Waiting to happen (something to do in the offseason, I suppose):

    My Sardinha = (My Sharona)
    Brandon In The Shadows Of Love = (Standin’ In The Shadows Of Love)
    When Sheffield Swings = (When Smokey Sings)
    Kyle (What Is He Good For?) = (War, by Edwin Starr III)
    I’m New Sexy = (I’m Too Sexy) [Dolsi, of course]
    Leyland = (Layla), or alternatively, The Leyland Years = (The Living Years)
    Easy Glover = (Easy Lover)
    The Clete Is On = (The Heat Is On)
    Joyce In Left Field (Marcus Thames Was A Bullfrog) = Joy To The World (Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog)
    Burning Down the House = (Burning Down The House) the bullpen song
    Pudge = (Peg) Pudge, it will come back to you
    Maggli-O = (Maggie Mae) wake up Tigers I think I’ve got something to say to you, it’s late September and Jim Leyland doesn’t have a clue, I’ve watched ’bout all of the games, it’s come down to assigning blame, but Magglio couldn’t have tried any more
    Armando = (Athena) he’s just a guy (he’s an ARM)
    Jeremy = (Jeremy) Jeremy’s broken
    Clevlen Sucks = (Cleveland Rocks)
    Can’t You Seay? = (Can’t You See?) oh Jim Leyland, forget Rodney and Z
    Big Fat Slugger Playing First Base = (Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress)
    Good Thames, Bad Thames = (Good Times, Bad Times)
    Jacque Has Now Been DFA = (Rockin’ In The U.S.A.) Jacque J…O-N-E-S DFA
    Raburn = (Brandy) Raburn, you’re a fine bat, but there’s no room, on this team (such a fine team)
    Larish = (Cherish) you don’t know how many times I’ve wished that I had sold you
    Fernando = (Fernando) though we never thought that you could close, there’s some regret
    Don’t Start = (Don’t Stop) [Bonine] don’t..start – think you belong in Toledo, don’t..start – you will soon be there
    ERA 25.25 = (In the Year 2525) [Fossum]
    Cruceta = (The Letter) my GM, sent me Cruceta
    Guillen Who We All Knew Would Get Injured (Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard)
    Very Hittable = (Unforgettable) Kenny Rogers, it’s incredible, that someone, so very hittable…
    Mr. Robertson = (Mrs. Robinson) and here’s to you, Mr. Robertson, bullpen holds a place for those who blow, whoa whoa whoa
    Aquilino = (Rosalita) Aquilino, was to be a starter, Senor Lopez, now a bullpen martyr
    Short Shift = (Night Shift) substitute “Yorman,” “Beltran,” “Jason,” and “Michael” (Hollimon) for Marvin, Jackie, et al
    Bat Edgar #9 = (Love Potion #9)
    I’m Not A Glove = (I’m Not In Love) [Santiago] I’m not a glove, so don’t forget it, the more I play the less, you’ll want me to / and just because, the starter’s flat, don’t get me wrong, don’t think I’ve got a bat
    Justin = (Don’t Speak) Justin, I know just what you’re saying, so please stop explaining, don’t tell me cause you sucked / Justin, I see what you’re throwing, and I see that you’re blowing, don’t tell me cause you sucked
    Hessman (Stuck In Triple-A) = (Sunshine (Go Away Today)) Hessman stuck in Triple-A, there ain’t no room at third base, Brandon’s catching Guillen’s always hurt, but now it’s Larish in your place
    Radar Love = (Radar Love) [Zumaya] I’ve got a thing, that’s called radar love, can’t fool the batters, I’m a joke / Arm’s made of glass, DL’s where I live, arm’s made of glass, and now – shoulder’s broke
    Roller Coaster Closing = (Loving, Touching, Squeezing) [Todd Jones] You made me weep, and wanna die, just when, back in July, roller, coaster, closin’, was over
    If He Can’t Bat Third = (If I Can’t Have You) [Granderson] if he can’t bat third, I don’t want him batting leadoff, if he can’t bat third, oh oh oh – no!
    I Want A New Head = (I Want A New Drug) [Polanco] I want a new head, normal in size, one that won’t make me clench my teeth, no burrito with eyes

    Does that ease the pain or cause more of it? A little of both?

  16. RudeMood19

    September 22, 2008 at 2:04 am

    burning down the house the bullpen song made me laugh out loud haha

  17. Smoking Loon

    September 22, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Wreck Of The Dontrelle Wayne Willis = (Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald) The legend lives on from the Indians game down, of the southpaw they call Dontrelle Willis / despite the few hits, Dontrelle’s pitching’s the sh**ts, and the walks and the home runs will kill us
    Lam-bert = (FM) no starters at all (no starters at all) -Lam-bert (no starters at all)
    Call Me Up Jimmycup = (Build Me Up Buttercup) [Miner] why do you call me up (call me up), Jimmycup, skipper just to send me down, and mess me around, and then worst of all (worst of all), you change me from starter to a bullpen guy, and then change your mind

  18. Smoking Loon

    September 22, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Tank Of A Catcher Man = (Son Of A Preacher Man) [Ryan] the only boy who can ever save us, is a tank of a catcher man, the only boy who can make us Inge-less, is a tank of a catcher man, yes he is, he is, oh, he is

  19. Coleman

    September 22, 2008 at 3:36 am

    If I may… Perhaps “Brandon in the Shadows of Pudge?”

  20. Dr Dre in Chicago

    September 22, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Kris –

    You may be right in saying that talent alone doesn’t guarantee winning, but it helps…a lot. Coming into the season I don’t think I heard many pundits that didn’t think the Tigers were bound for the playoffs. Now most of them qualified this with pointing out a bullpen weakness, but they countered this observation with listing the Tigers’ starting rotation and lineup as two of the best in the league, which coupled with what appeared to be (Indians excepted) a very weak AL Central, meant playoffs.

    You say that the goal of management is “getting talented individuals pointing in the same direction for a common goal”. Coming into the season you couldn’t fault management on a lack of effort towards winning the WS, in fact the one criticism the Tigers front office seemed to take in the months leading up to ’08 was that they had invested TOO heavily in an attempt to win now.

    The acquisitions made were gambles (as player transactions always are), some were of the high risk, high reward variety (hmm…Magglio anyone?). The execution of the season obviously left something to be desired, but circumstances outside of managements control left them with limited options, and they didn’t always make the best decisions with what they had left.

    Unless he’s really “lost the players”, which I have no way of knowing, I don’t have a problem with Leyland coming back next year. I know some people view his statements this year as mostly platitudes, but I honestly think that when it comes down to it, he’s a no-excuses kind of guy…and I like that about him. In any case, I’m looking forward to ’09.

  21. Smoking Loon

    September 22, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Stuck In Toledo By Jim = (Stuck In The Middle With You) [Rapada] Fossum to the left of me, Glover to the right, here I am, stuck in Toledo by Jim, yes I’m, stuck in Toledo by Jim
    Got To Get You Onto My Staff = (Got To Get You Into My Life) [Garcia] you didn’t run, you didn’t hide, you know we wanted just to try you, and if you tank, we’ll let you go, but if you don’t, you know we’ll buy you / ooh, then we suddenly see you, ooh, did I tell you we need you? every fifth day till the season’s done
    Chucky Don’t Lose That Number = (Rikki Don’t Lose That Number) we hear you’re leaving, that’s OK, could it be that 2006 was just a fluke? This year the pitching wet the bed, it made us puke, and now we need someone to blame / Chucky don’t lose that number, you might wanna call somebody else

  22. Smoking Loon

    September 22, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    ‘Perhaps “Brandon in the Shadows of Pudge?””

    Yes. Much better.

  23. Smoking Loon

    September 22, 2008 at 4:55 pm


    The 2008 Detroit Tigers have come of age and come together at last, demonstrating over the weekend that they can be swept in a three-game series with or without skipper Jim Leyland.

    Zach Miner, Royals specialist, will take the mound against Kansas City tonight. Kenny Rogers, Royals anti-specialist, will be on stand-by to take over should any evidence of “bizarro world” phenomena present themselves.

    Whipping Boy Powers have not activated in over a month, and the autumnal equinox could be the catalyst that brings this simmering pot to a rolling boil.

    The Tigers still have a chance to finish with 78 wins, which would only be 10 less than in 2007.

    Jim Leyland: “One thing I can assure you as much as possible, when we go into Spring Training next year, other than maybe a health issue, there’ll be no hanky-panky going on about positions and who’s going to play here or there. That’ll all be settled. That’s one thing I can guarantee you.”

    The key word here is into.

  24. Dr Dre in Chicago

    September 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Loon –

    Is that a real quote? “Hanky-panky”? If for no other reason, they must retain Leyland, there’s no way somebody else can pull that phrase off with a straight face and still come across pissed.

  25. Vince in MN

    September 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    The only thing JL can assure me of is that he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. The stridency of his langueage has gone up a notch lately it seems. My guess is that under that tough guy, no-nonsense fascade he is sweating a bit, and the bloviating is just an attempt to sound authoritative so he can keep his job. He sure has talked a lot about next spring training lately – he’s gonna fix this, he’s gonna fix that, he’s not gonna put up with blah, blah, blah.

    The fact is, he has been manager for three years and it is unclear (to me at least) that in that entire time he has ever developed any kind of a PLAN, long-term or short-term, whether in ST or in-season during the so-called “situations beyond management’s control” when he has had to fly by the seat of his pants. Strategy (i.e. planning) is obviously beyond his ability, and isn’t that what managers are supposed to do, so what good is he?

    If finishing 5th guarantees his expulsion, never to be seen, heard, or spoken of ever again, I am all for it. Admitting the folly of the “Leyland years” would perhaps be painful, but a necessary exorcism.

    And by the way, Leyland DID manage the Cleveland series. That was him dressed up in a Lloyd McClendon suit. The giveaway was the cigarette smoking.

  26. Dr Dre in Chicago

    September 22, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Wow Vince, classic overreacting coupled with how quickly you forget.

    Sounds like you think ’06 was an accident, I mean everyone knew the Tigers were bound for the WS that year, Leyland was just along for the ride…they basically got there IN SPITE of him.

    “Folly of the ‘Leyland years'”

    Really? Gimme (and him) a break you troll. The Tigers were ridiculous pitcher throwing-errors away from a WS win (IMHO). How would that “Leyland year” strike you in that case? Did bad planning somehow contribute to that?

    2008 a bust = correct
    Leyland to blame for EVERYTHING = ridiculous

    There are still reasons why a different manager in ’09 might be good. If the players really have quit on him, I don’t think there’s a remedy for that. Also who knows, maybe ANY change would work. But this nonsense of Leyland being the lone culprit in a collapse this big and this widespread is foolish and frankly something that I don’t usually expect to see here at DTW, where the discourse is usually more substantive.

  27. Dave BW

    September 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Well said, Dre

  28. Vince in MN

    September 22, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Dr. Dre,

    It’s not over-reacting. Leyland has been mucking it up since 2006. When they hired him I had hopes, given that Trammel wasn’t quite up to the challenge, but I was never on the “Leyland is god” bandwagon, even early on in that season. The team basically collapsed in the second half if you recall, and JL played a role there as well as the players. They very well may have been lucky to play in the Series that season.

    Apparently you have missed quite a bit of the “substantive” discussions here concerning JL. There has actually been quite a bit of it over this season, but last year as well. I am perhaps guilty of being more vociferous than most. Billfer, for one, is sick to death of my bitching about the old man’s management failures (with pertinent examples thereof), and I have tended to stuff my opinions in this regard lately, but even he would agree that there is some question about Leyland’s skill in that area.

    As I have posted MANY times before, there are a lot of things wrong with this team, from management (i.e., DD) manner of putting together a star-studded cast of characters (but not a team), to poor individual performances, questionable medical oversight, as well as poor on-field management of the avaialble personnel and strategic in-game situations by you-know-who.

    Some posters here don’t think the manager has much impact on the performance of the players and the results of games. I don’t happen to be one of them. Stengel, McGraw, Mack, etc. aren’t in the HOF because they were simply placeholders.

  29. Drew

    September 22, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Willis neeeds to erase this and come back next season a new man he is still hitting 94 and good off speed neeeds to get out of the lime light for a good 3 months

  30. billfer

    September 22, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Vince isn’t a troll. He’s been here for a long time and has made many valuable contributions here in the comments.

    His Leyland hatred this season has hindered that a little bit in my opinion though.

    Leyland isn’t all evil. I don’t know how you can blame him for the collapse in 2006 without giving him credit for getting 40 games over .500 in the first place. I think that has to work both ways, and advocate the same for people who think Leyland is great. It works both ways.

    I don’t think he’s a good in game strategist, but I also don’t think many are.

    I don’t think he’s stubborn and curmudgeonly for the most part. He changes positions, roles, lineups with regularity. Perhaps even too much.

    He’s part of the problem this year, but I don’t think there are too many that escape blame. I won’t be heart broken if he isn’t back, but I don’t think a new manager will fix everything either.

  31. Dr Dre in Chicago

    September 22, 2008 at 11:40 pm


    I suppose that I owe you an apology, I was doing some overreacting of my own to your post, which taken on its own smacked of a lot of the same knee-jerk reaction to lay the blame solely on Leyland and management for this season’s collapse that I see on other sites.

    At the end of the day I see this season as a result of Illich telling DD that he wanted the WS sooner than later and to make it happen. Although respective performances have proved otherwise, DD had initially seemed to not only address most of the off-season needs, but also pull off a mega-deal for Cabrera.

    Management perhaps assumed too much regarding the health or ongoing effectiveness of players like Sheffield, Rogers, Rodney, Willis and Zumaya. However there were enough unforeseeable setbacks for me to give a partial pass to management. If we’re willing as fans to let most of the players off the hook (is anyone seriously still angry with Cabrera’s slow start?) then I think management gets some benefit of the doubt.

    As fans we made just as many expectations about this team as management did, and sometimes for the same reasons. There’s a middle ground to be had when thinking about the managers ability or even his duty to motivate the players to perform. I know its “just a game” but it is after all still the players job to, you know, play.

    Again, excuse my snap judgment of a perceived snap judgment.

  32. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2008 at 9:24 pm


    That’s OK. Holding strong opinions and occasionally over-reacting is what beng a fan is all about, especially after the long disaster that this season has proved to be.