Game 161: Rays at Tigers

PREGAME: It’s shirts off their backs day as the Tigers will disrobe at the completion of the game and give their uni’s to some lucky fans. They won’t really need them with this being the last home game and all (sad face).

It may be their last game period depending on the outcomes in Chicago and Minnesota. If the White Sox win, the Tigers will be playing in Chicago tomorrow. If the Twins win and the White Sox lose, they won’t be.

As for things in the D, it will be Zach Miner and James Shields. Shields has kind of owned Detroit. But he’s not the same pitcher at home as on the road. He allows more baserunners, more homers, and strikes out significantly less away from the Dome.

Zach Miner has been a little up and down since becoming a starter, but mostly up. In his last outing he allowed 10 baserunners and 4 runs in 6 innings.

Game Time 1:05

TBR @ DET, Sunday, September 28, 2008 Game Preview –

POSTGAME: It was strange at the park today. The weather was gorgeous. The fans were more into the game than at any I’ve attended since July. They chanted Gary. They roared for Granderson’s homer. They marveled at Zach Miner retiring 12 straight to start the game, with only 2 balls leaving the infield. Even after a typical bullpen meltdown, Magglio Ordonez added some drama by tying the game in the 9th.

Even the loss didn’t necessarily seem to dampen spirits. It was odd, I don’t quite get it.

Maybe it was the fan appreciation or the weather, but people seemed really happy. And the fan appreciation, with was appreciated. My kids each scored autographed balls, my daughter got Magglio and my son got Inge. They promptly traded and were thrilled.

The organization thanked the fans, all 3.2 million with an announcement on the scoreboard late in the game. And when they did that a number of players went up on to the top steps of the dugout to say thank you.

There’s something about that last day of the season, where you don’t know which guys are going to be back and which you’re cheering for the last time. One of those guys in limbo, but most likely gone is Vance Wilson. My kids were just finishing running the bases when Wilson came out of the dugout with his kids. As he walked past, I didn’t really know what to say given his situation. So I just said “Good luck with everything Vance.” He then circled the bases with his kids, and everyone else’s, surprisingly without creating too much of a commotion.


  1. Rick G

    September 28, 2008 at 9:42 am

    The notorious I.N.G.E. watch…

    He’s currently at .203, if he goes 0 for 5 today, he’ll wind up at exactly .200 (69 for 345). If he goes 5 for 5, his average will be .214.

    But, looks like there’s a good chance they’ll play the Sox tomorrow, since they’re within a half game of the Twins. (BTW, way to stumble to the finish line, guys. Twins have lost their last 2, Sox are on a 5 game losing streak.) Could be an interesting day or two before the playoffs start!

  2. Dave BW

    September 28, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    The Rays remind me of us at the end of the regular season of 06. They’re flat-out getting outplayed in these four games, and nothing is going right for them

  3. Brian P

    September 28, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Chuck Hernandez has been fired.

  4. Coleman

    September 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Rick G: “The notorious I.N.G.E. watch”

    Forget it, being told he doesn’t have to catch anymore just added at least 10 points to his average, even with the extra game I can’t see him dropping under .204.

  5. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    September 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I saw this juicy tidbit on Rotoworld today. The analysis was a pretty sweet stab in the heart.

    Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Saturday that he intends to use Brandon Inge at third base and Carlos Guillen in left field in 2009.

    Frankly, that’s outstanding news for the rest of the AL Central. Inge is an excellent defensive third baseman, but he’s had OPSs of 688 and 666 the last two years. If he keeps hitting like that, he’ll find himself back in a utility role come May. Guillen’s seen his OPS go from 920 in 2006 to 859 last year and 811 this season. He was a tremendous player as an average to somewhat below average shortstop. As a left fielder, he’s going to have to bounce back to become more than just an average regular. Considering that there’s very little catching available in free agency outside of Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek, the Tigers could be downgrading throughout their lineup.

  6. Mr. Jimmy

    September 28, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Anybody got a source on the Hernandez firing?

  7. Brian P

    September 28, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    The Detroit News has the rumor. Jim Leyland didn’t deny it, so that leads me to believe it’s true. They also said Jeff Jones is gone.

  8. Andrew

    September 28, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    I see the White Sox won and Minnesota is ahead 4-0 in the top of the 8th. What time will the game be tomorrow against the White Sox if Minnesota holds on?

    I know a lot of Tigers fans just want the season to be over, but it sure would be nice to close out 2008 by denying the White Sox a postseason bid.

  9. Andrew

    September 28, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    RE: the Hernandez firing via the Free Press –

    The Tigers have decided to fire pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, the Free Press has learned.

    Still no confirmation from team officials, but we all know it’s coming.

  10. Vince in MN

    September 28, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I assume that the upcoming announcement that Hernandez has been fired means Leyland stays as manager (at least for the beginning of the year), or they would have just canned the whole staff all at once.

  11. Vince in MN

    September 28, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Well, the NY Mess crashed and burned again; Brewers are the wildcard in NL.

  12. Mr. Jimmy

    September 28, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for the update guys I was distracted by the Mets game or I would have thanked you earlier.

  13. Dave BW

    September 28, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    No New York in the playoffs? Sweeeeeet.

  14. Peter

    September 28, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Tigers-White Sox 2pm tomorrow

  15. Dave BW

    September 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Tigers players with best impact on this game: Magglio, +33.5% WPA; Granderson, +23% WPA

    Tigers players with worst impact on this game: Dolsi, -30.7% WPA; Cabrera, -20.5% WPA

    Best play: Ordonez’s 9th inning HR, +45.2% WPA
    Worst play: Chris Lambert giving up an HR to Ben Zobrist in the 11th inning, -33.2% WPA

  16. Angie

    September 28, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Does anyone know if the game tomorrow will be televised?

  17. Peter

    September 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    ESPN2 for sure

  18. Andrew

    September 28, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I am looking forward to the Tigers being able to thwart the White Sox from getting into the postseason. I know it’s the last game of a dismal season, but I say we throw everything (including the kitchen sink) we can at the White Sox tomorrow.

    The last thing the Tigers need is to end such a horrific season watching the White Sox celebrating the division title.

    Go Tigers!

    Time to play for pride.

  19. Bobber

    September 28, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    No division title for the WSox tomorrow win or lose.

    Even if they win, they need a playoff Tuesday.

  20. Kyle J

    September 28, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Glad you and your kids had a nice experience to finish the season, Bilfer. You deserve something for your faithful blogging through such a clunker of a season.

    Wait till next year!

  21. Andrew

    September 29, 2008 at 8:32 am


    Well, it would still be nice for the Tigers to make sure that the White Sox don’t even get a shot via a playoff with the Twins.