Fish Fries and Flyovers – Opening Day: Rangers at Tigers

PREGAME: The Home Opener is finally upon us. All of the regular traditions will be in place. People will find their regular watering holes or tailgate spots. Therer will be a ceremonial first pitch. Four F-15s will buzz the park once the DSO completes the National Anthem. The traditional Opening Day fish fry will take place at various Big League Grills in the stadium. You know, the regular stuff.

The weather looks like it will cooperate and stay dry and not too cold.

As for the game, it will be Armando Galarraga for the Tigers earning the Home Opener nod after his impressive debut year in 2008. He’ll take on Kris Benson and the undefeated Texas Rangers. Benson hasn’t pitched since 2006, so who knows what will happen.

Have a great day everyone. I’ll be down at Casey’s early so stop by and say hi.

Game Time 1:05

POSTGAME: Well that was some kind of fun. It was a glorious day weather-wise, and the boys represented the English D well with a thorough thumping of the Rangers.

It’s been a full day, and a long week with 3 games in two cities for me, so we’ll keep this short.

  • Armando Galarraga stepped up big today. I’m expecting regression from him due to his BABIP being at unsustainable levels. But, he could always pitch his peripherals “into” his ERA. That’s something we saw as the year wore on last year, and with 8 K’s and 1 walk today that certainly is getting off on the right foot.
  • Miguel Cabrera hits the ball hard. Sometimes it has sufficient lift to carry the fence. Sometimes it lacks the lift and instead dents the fence. But for 5 straight games now he is hitting bullets.
  • Ryan Perry struggled with control today. It was about the only downside on the field.
  • Brandon Inge made an awesome play going back on a pop-fly. The funny thing is my buddy Russ had mentioned the pitch before that Carlos Guillen looked to be playing too deep. Inge took care of that though.
  • I haven’t experienced Opening Days other places, but I truly believe that it just has to mean more in Detroit than most places. It may not be the best, and other cities like St. Louis and Cincinnati truly appreciate it also. But it completely changes the city for one wonderful day every April.


  1. Rick G

    April 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Go get ’em Tigers!

  2. Skip

    April 10, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Wow. Kid Rock is throwing out the first pitch! The Tigers will show support to The Big 3. And DSO is playing. And there’s going to be a George Kell rememberance.
    A packed, fun filled day!

    Go Tigers!!!!

  3. Tiff

    April 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Headed down as always without tickets but a hope and a dream. The city is coming alive!

  4. ron

    April 10, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Three good starts is very encouraging. Armando will be #4. Go Tigers.

  5. scotsw

    April 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Oof… I knew times were tough, but I had no idea they had cut the DSO back to just six guys.

  6. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Just wrapping up at work to go home and watch.

    Lets hope someone hits 3 dingers like Dimitri did a few yeas back.

  7. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Inge with a web gem there!!!

  8. ron

    April 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Will DSO be playing Symphony of a Tiger? Good video on Youtube by that title.

  9. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Good baserunning by Larish. Tigers 1-0.

  10. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    hmm, so that’s good fielding, good baserunning, and good pitching witnessed so far. Now (since this is the AL) a few more hits would be just the thing…

  11. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Well how bout that, ask and ye shall receive, I shoulda tried that before. I think I like Larish in the 6 spot also…

  12. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Good hit and run

  13. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Wow thats a good break and a good smack by Grandy. That would be out of a lot of the smaller parks.

  14. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    A granny by Maggs would be sweet

  15. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    would have been nice having Thames hitting in the 2 spot (heh heh).

  16. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm


  17. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Well I was off by one batter.

  18. Skip

    April 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm


  19. greg

    April 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    rough day at the office for Benson

  20. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Bullpen?? We don’t need no stinkin’ BULLPEN!!

  21. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Coleman, I thought I had a flexible job…… you have been here pretty much every game, Good to see.

  22. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Coleman your right even our bullpen could hold down a 7 run lead at home

  23. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Benson is getting shelled…………….. and he is still out there WOW

  24. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I’m an 83-yd old retired seamstress and grandmother of 16 and great-grandmother of 5. Well I guess technically semi-retired, since I do draw a monthly check as a rep for the Ham Sandwich Council. But that only takes a few hours a month so plenty of time to watch the D-Team…

  25. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Benson just stinks. What is he still doing out there? All his pitches look either flat or slow. Like Wakefield without the knuckle. How is he getting anyone out? We should have about 2 touchdowns off this guy.

  26. scotsw

    April 10, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    After he gave up the jack to Cabrera, I think they just decided to leave him in and do his own mop-up work.

  27. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Its weird that he is still in there. Maybe they just dont want to burn another arm down so many

  28. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Carlos looks OK in left. Im glad he didn’t dive to try for the previous chance

  29. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Maybe his wife pissed-off somebody and he’s paying for it. But even the outs are being drilled, they need to sit him before the fielders start getting Riosed.

  30. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Well maybe Leyland can open up the bullpen and make it a game for them.

    With our guys we should win 9-8 in 11 innings

  31. billfer

    April 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Beautiful day here today. I’m in section 330 row 4 if anyone wants to say hi.

  32. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Billfer……….Thanks for the invite, I’m in Fairport NY, so you’ll have to wait until the ninth til I,m there. Ill be the winded guy with the tigers wind shirt and sweaty.

  33. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    8Ks ……….. boy is that a nice opener

  34. scotsw

    April 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I think Madrigal is showing us why Benson was left in so long.

  35. scotsw

    April 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Lots fewer comments here when we’re winning. as group therapy, perhaps?

  36. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    @Steve: thanks for the description. It would have been embarrassing to be telling people, oh look, I think that’s our new closer…

  37. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    12 -1. Yawn.

  38. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Is it Possible that the Rangers have a worse bullpen than ours?

    Kris Benson for a starter and then the who cares gang

  39. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    The Tigers pen looks terrific compared to these guys.

  40. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    OMG. Cabrera is hitting like a machine.

  41. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Good thinking taking out Carlos. Dont need him tearing up a knee or a hammy

  42. Coleman

    April 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    @scotsw: it seems that way, but I’ll withhold judgment until Billfer posts the Leading Poster Splits, Posts/W – Posts/ could very well be that a high P/L or two accounts for most of the difference, and the majority of posters are more evenly distributed.

    Oh, and also, lots of frequent posters are, like, AT the game, and posting constantly from there would be sort of dorky. And as we know, they aren’t dorks. Well, I mean, now we do…

  43. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    @Coleman………. I’m really sure that the crowd would not mistake me for a RP. Thanks for the vote of confidence. They would thing I’m there to water the lawn or pick up the hotdog wrappers.

  44. Joey in Portland Or

    April 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Come on bullpen, don’t blow this one!!

  45. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Joey that would be a stretch even for our guys.

  46. Nick S

    April 10, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Cabrera is a beast, i hope he gets 40 homers and 130rbis.

    Go Galarraga and your 8Ks.

  47. greg

    April 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    and so the Ranger comeback begins….

  48. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Galarraga does it again. Great game vs one of the best offensive teams. His pitches weren’t overpowering, but they had good late movement and were located well enough so that they weren’t hit well. He didn’t leave any pitches up in the zone and when he misses, it’s low or off the plate. Today he had a few more K’s than usual, but otherwise it was the same nasty stuff as last year. I hope he finally gets some recognition here.

  49. Steve

    April 10, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    40 Would be cool

  50. Don in Denver

    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    What a great home opener. Just wish the audio here didn’t keep cutting out. I had to rely on Gameday to “watch” it.

    Galarraga was awesome – Carbrera’s locked in – this is great.

  51. Mr. X

    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Locked in is right. Cabrera looks like he’s hitting slow pitch softballs.

  52. Tbone

    April 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I missed all of it! Thankfully there is a repeat on FSN at Midnight.

    Gallaraga is setting himself up as the ace of the staff.

  53. Skip

    April 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Casey Crosby was amazing for A ball West Michigan Whitecaps!!

  54. Russ

    April 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Galarraga IS the Tigers’ ace. Only consistent returning pitcher the team has (though Zach does show promise again). Though early in the season, and one can’t really judge based on the one sucked up outing, Verlander looks to be about the same as last season. As my dad always said: He started reading his own press. That does any one in. Thankfully, it looks like Galarraga has forgotten or doesn’t know how to read.

  55. cib

    April 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    One of the best opening days ever!! Galarraga = Ace. And this is the Cabrera they traded for; plus he is solid at first. We have a TEAM again. Everyone looked comfortable where they were, and in relation to one another. Not like last year. Should be a fun season.

  56. Scott

    April 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I have to say I am pleasantly pleased with Galarraga. The way he pitched today was a carbon copy of how he pitched last year, which is just fine by me. There’s nothing fancy about him, he just gets people out.

    Great game, Tigers. Keep it up boys!

  57. Matt

    April 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Thankfully, it looks like Galarraga has forgotten or doesn’t know how to read.

    There simply is no press to read. Galarraga goes out and quietly gets the job done and nobody seems to notice. Which is fine by me…

  58. David

    April 10, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Just got back from the game….WOW.

    I was right behind Inge’s catch in teh first. Wow.

    Cabrera what a day. If you saw it you know.

    Laird hit a triple! WTF?

    Ordonez, Polanco, Larish, Granderson and Everett all chipped in

    Guillen was the only one hitless (although he had a few LOUD fouls) and with a sac fly.

    Perrys Detroit first app. and Bonine!

    It seemed like after the first few innings we had bases loaded or 2 guys on like every other inning.

    Armando was fantastic and should be along with Cabby (IMO) the player of the game

    I’ve got tickets for tomorrow as well… Anyone going to see Justin hopefully lower his ERA and get us to .500?

    Bill sorry I didn’t say hi, didn’t know you were going… And don’t have a cell phone atm so couldn’t check.

    Coleman are you really what you said here?

    Coleman 04.10.09 at 2:40 pm

    I’m an 83-yd old retired seamstress and grandmother of 16 and great-grandmother of 5. Well I guess technically semi-retired, since I do draw a monthly check as a rep for the Ham Sandwich Council. But that only takes a few hours a month so plenty of time to watch the D-Team…

    If so that’s wild! Ever see Cobb? You were born right before he left Detroit to go to the Philly Athletics.

  59. ron

    April 10, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    This week we had four aces and a joker. He’d better step it up tomorrow.

  60. David

    April 10, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    One other thing, it was nice to NOT see Jennifer and Kwame. Kid Rock got quite an ovation, never realized he was that popular. Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

  61. rings

    April 10, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Bilfer – sorry to miss you at Casey’s…its quietly one of my favorites and an amazing bar burger!
    Inge’s catch was right in front of us…and was sensational. Carlos should’ve caught that single in the 4-5th inning, but then made a fine running catch into foul territory to follow it up, so all’s forgiven.
    Miggy…oh, my. His grand slam was crushed, but the next ball was probably hit even harder, as it rattled off the top of the fence.
    Good fun and a great day at the ol’ ballyard!!!!

  62. jud

    April 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    da da da…….da da da! did Inge start in left today…no he made that from third.
    Web Gem #1 for sure!!!!1

  63. David

    April 11, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Hah Rings musta been sitting near you, considering Inge’s catch was in front of me too… You must have hated it.

    Yea that second one Cabby hit sounded like it made a dent. Boy was it punished.

    I was checking out Inge’s range factor (and league range factor) vs. Scott Rolen’s and Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson and Joe Crede

    He beats the pants off them all. Just looking at the league average I’m trying to find someone who is superior

    His range factor/9innings is 3.17 (at third in his career) whereas the league average is 2.72…
    David Wright – 2.66 and league average 2.68! he is under and yet has won the GOLD GLOVE the last two years in the NL

    Scott Rolen – 2.92 and league average 2.69

    Joe Crede – 2.76, league average 2.70

    Eric Chavez 2.88, league average 2.69

    Adrian Beltre 2.82, league average 2.71

    Robin Ventura 2.84, league average 2.67

    Mike Schmidt was 3.15, league average 2.87

    Whereas Brooks is 3.20 and the league average during his time was 3.09

    Pie Traynor is commonly noted as the best fielding third baseman in various books I have, by players before 1950. Sadly they don’t have innings on baseball reference. So this will skew results. But Pie was 3.12 and league average/GAME! was 2.82

    INGE is + .45/9innings higher than everyone else (besides possibly Pie)

    And his 3.17 raw is higher than anyone except Brooks and possibly Pie’s

    I was also comparing Speaker, Ruth and Cobb… Speaker is frequently reported as the best (or one of the best OF of all time). He ranks very HIGH. Cobb is off a bit, but not too far – he is still well above league average – not shocking given his speed. Ruth is a tad below league average.

    I also checked out Carlos Guillen and just comparing him to the league average he was great in 2004… Recently he actually was rated as right near/slightly below league average.

    BTW RANGE FACTOR/9 = 9*[(Putouts+Assists)/(Innings)]

  64. Adrian from Toronto

    April 11, 2009 at 1:33 am

    yah Billfer I was at the Tigers opener in Toronto (since I live in nearby Mississauga) and compared to a Tigers game I attended at Comerica last year against the Yankees (6-5 win for us if u call), Comerica park and the fans make it a more enjoyable atmosphere.

    I can’t even imagine the excitement of a home opener for the Tigers though this year, it must have been great with our 15-2 win.

    Hopefully it continues


  65. rings

    April 11, 2009 at 9:26 am

    David: (I was in 138 – our season seats) I dont’ “hate” it…I hope Inge does well! …He just never has over a full season and some of us find the constant worshipping of him nauseating for a player who’s never performed to expectations – particularly offensively. You guys are going nuts over him right now – its been five games.
    While I hope it continues, history says its unlikely.

    His catch was spectacular – as he’s apt to do sometimes. But he also booted a routine grounder in the 6th (that he recovered to turn into a force). These things count the same as the “great” plays and he doesn’t always recover.

    As far as his fielding prowess, we’re just asking for reality from his supporters. He’s very good…but he’s not GREAT. Out-of-town scouting reports don’t regard him as anything more than a good-field-no-hit guy. Statistically he ranks 5th overall in the past 5 years combined, broken down by range factor and plus/minus, as compiled by Bill James and John Dewan in the “Fielding Bible II”. (Pg 188). Interestingly, he is an astounding +39 on balls to his right – while he’s slightly below average to his left. Hopefully Adam Everett can cover for him a bit (although he hasn’t exactly been “stellar” as of yet at short).

    Additional data reveals his runs saved is also 5th, behind Pedro Feliz, Beltre, Joe Crede, and Scott Rolen. (Fielding Bible, pg. 39) His grade on bunts is a C+ (pg 188) and he rates in the middle of the pack on bunt defense overall (pg 368). I thought perhaps his zone rating would somehow bear out your contentions, and here we do see him shine some- 1st overall in 2006, 4th overall in the past 3 years (behind Crede, Mike Lowell, and Rolen). He was 7th in Zone Rating in 2007, however, behind the ham-handed Aramis Ramirez. While his range is shown by the fact he made 125 plays out of his zone, Rolen had 153, Feliz 145, Zimmerman 169, David Wright 196, and Beltre 203. Point is – he really hasn’t been great in the field since 2006, but maybe this is the year he finally puts it together…

    Regardless, we truly have more important issues than this guy: getting our pitching in order (rotation mixed so far/bullpen disappointing), getting Maggs warmed up, getting Everett’s glove in shape, etc.

  66. Coleman

    April 11, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    @rings: I think I’m pretty sure of at least one factor explaining Inge’s great range to his right: there has been more “too his right” than other 3rd B have had. In other words he has routinely positioned himself farther toward SS than other 3B, which has been sensible given the range of Renteria/Guillen. Consequently, if this is correct, we should see a drop in his +/- right numbers this season, and an improvement on the left. (Barring the unlikely occurrence of Everett going all Renteria this season).

  67. rings

    April 12, 2009 at 9:25 am

    @ Coleman – I don’t think any explanation is necessary. Inge makes some spectacular plays to his right (and in shallow LF, as of late), no question.
    But his numbers “to his right,” according to the FBII, are over several seasons – with multiple SS next to him – on plays within his zone. Renteria was only a very small part of the sample as Inge played minimally there last year and Carlos, while sub-par, was actually better going to the hole than to his left, from my anecdotal recollection.
    The point in my earlier post, however, is that many of his supporters put too much value in his contribution and overestimate his abilities with the glove. He’s good, but not great – and its a little rich to start calling him the “best in the game” and making comparisons to Brooks Robinson, Pie Traynor and Mike Schmidt, etc. His critics do not have a problem with his range, rather his failure to make routine plays, healthy error totals, and his penchant for bonehead plays.
    Further, its nonsense to imply that third base defense is somehow the solution to the Tigers’s problems, which has been much of the offseason sentiment regarding his move back to third. While its a nice bonus, its FAR more important to be strong defensively up the middle than at third. My defensive concerns are getting the Everett “as advertised,” rather than the leadfoot we seem to have over the first week, that Laird & Polanco are solid, and that Grandy continues to show improvement over last year, which was a bit sub-par in terms of his zone rating.

  68. billfer

    April 12, 2009 at 11:13 am

    @rings –

    Good shortstop defense is more important. But I don’t care where you play, if you are 20 plays better than average at your position that carries a significant value. So whether he’s 20 plays better a shortstop, third, or rover, it doesn’t matter. It’s still 20 plays.

    Oh, and on the right/left argument, isn’t it his right/left? So he guards the line better than going in the hole.