Game 2009.010: Tigers at Mariners

PREGAME: When one looked at the Tigers early schedule, it was full of teams that finished in the bottom half of their divisions in 2008. The Blue Jays, the Rangers, and the Mariners. So far some of those teams have been pretty good, including the Mariners that are 7-3 and the run-preventingest team in the American League.

The Mariners are only allowing 3.2 runs per game. Their pitching staff is headlined by Felix Hernandez (more on him in a minute) but he’s backed up this season with Jarrod Washburn and Erik Bedard. They were there last year, but not so much effective. Between the staff and an outfield defense featuring Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez gaps are hard to find and opposing teams are only slugging .316. Now those teams have been the A’s, Angels, and Twins. Make of it what you will, but basically we don’t know a lot yet.

Tonight’s match-up is ace on ace with Justin Verlander taking on Hernandez. Verlander is looking for some efficiency after getting knocked about before the 6th inning in his first 2 starts. The Mariners see only 3.61 pitches per plate appearance, the lowest in the AL, so he may find some. In 7 starts against Seattle Verlander has a 1.252 WHIP and 2.91 ERA.

Hernandez has fanned 14 in 13 inning this year. In terms of Tigers with Success, Granderson and Polanco have both hit well against Hernandez in limited at-bats. It would be nice to get off to a quick start on the road trip with those two at the top of the order.

Kenji Johjima has hit the DL, but Ichiro is back from his ulcer issues.

Game Time 10:10

Detroit vs. Seattle – April 17, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: Ugh. If you went to bed and didn’t watch this one, you wouldn’t believe how good Justin Verlander looked by looking in the box score. If you watched the whole thing, you wouldn’t believe how things unraveled in the 5th.

Verlander retired 12 straight and fanned the side in the 4th. But then the Mariners started swinging at first pitches. They had runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out and one run in. Yuniesky Betancourt hit a ground ball to third and Russel Branyan broke for home. He was out by a mile, or would have been if Brandon Inge hadn’t bounced the throw. Instead of a 3-1 game with runners at the corners and 2 outs and the number 9 hitter up, it was 3-2 with runners at the corners and 1 out. A suicide squeeze went for a hit and tied the game. Then there were more hits and 5 runs scored. Four of the runs ended up being earned, but the error completely changed the complexion of the inning and subsequently the game.

  • The Tigers got their 3 runs in the 2nd, and really only hit one ball hard.
  • Cabrera continues to mash with 3 more bullets and he missed a homer by about 2 feet.
  • The Tigers managed 9 hits, but all were singles and two were eliminated via GIDPs.

119 thoughts on “Game 2009.010: Tigers at Mariners”

  1. Ichiro is a fantastic player. Awesome fielder with great range and a great gun and he can hit an run a little bit ;).

    Their d all around looks to be fantastic, lets hope King Felix is off his game, or we continue to swing hot bats.

  2. Tonight’s lineup, from Yahoo

    AB R H RBI BB K LOB Season Avg
    C. Granderson cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .205
    P. Polanco 2b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .314
    M. Ordonez rf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .273
    M. Cabrera 1b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .486
    C. Guillen lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167
    M. Thames dh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .273
    G. Laird c 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .308
    B. Inge 3b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .267
    A. Everett ss 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .238

  3. Speaking of Yahoo by the way, what’s up with their “power rankings.” The Tigers are currently 20 (up from 23)…to put that in context, Cleveland is 17…

  4. Nice AB by Mr. Runner-On-3rd-Less-Than-2-Outs! He had to have ice in his veins to take that 2-2 pitch…

  5. Well you gotta like the way this is going…Seattle has averaged giving up only a tad over 3 runs per game this season

  6. Santiago is one of the Three Guys Who Can Bunt on the Tigers (Inge and Everett are the other two)…it’s nice to be a Guy Who Can Bunt and a lefty, in a beating-out-the-throw kinda way…

  7. That was a lot of damage for one ball being hit hard. And 37 more pitches for Hernandez. I’ll take it and hope that Verlander can make it hold up for a few innings.

  8. @Ryan P. – I was just thinking the same thing. The funny thing is, he seems to have really good control. 49 is a lot of pitches for 2 innings when 33 of them are strikes…

    And actually I’ve never looked up Anderson’s bunting stats, so he very well could make it 4 Guys. Along with obvious throw-beating potential…

  9. @Ryan P – Checking it on Gameday though, it looks accurate. But happy to not see the squeezing.

  10. while we have a break here, Billfer, we aren’t giving any credence to this Miggy to the BoSox very bad no good rumor right? RIGHT?

  11. So, they have Santiago’s squeeze scored as a sacrifice, not a hit? Is there some reason for that? Looked like a clean bunt hit to me.

  12. @tiff It’s not even a rumor. That is Bill Simmons speculation. There is absolutely nothing behind it. The Yankees and the Red Sox don’t automatically get whoever they want.

  13. Verlander’s command tonight is something I haven’t seen from him in quite some time. And the velocity, too!

  14. Justin dealin’…I love it. Did I just step back in time to 2006? (Not the most constructive comment, but I’m fired up!)

  15. Re: Simmons…he’s been floating this a long time. I think it’s a by product of missing out on Tex and Manny leaving factored with the Red Sox’s toothless lineup.

    If anything Magglio, Polanco or Guillen go before Cabrera, unless the Red Sox are putting Lester or Pedroia on the table…as a starting point.

  16. Wow, the Mariners thought it was coming too, and Laird still steals 2nd. And even though Inge struck out, I like 2 batters = 12 pitches (+ pickoff attempts)

  17. @Ryan P – thank you very much my thoughts exactly.

    Thought I would last this game out… but glad to go to sleep with a lead…

  18. Great to have a late Friday night game on with the kids in bed, wife doing something else and me soaking in the game.

    I am getting the Seattle feed. The announcers are rather impressed by JV, tonight …………. so are we. So much for watching a few and going to bed.

  19. Bit behind, Mike. 53-39. Too many pitches for the number of batters he’s faced, but I’m not complaining tonight.

  20. guess the gameday hadn’t accounted for the last inning. you’re right though, the strikeouts are nice but a couple grounders wouldn’t hurt either with our pen.

  21. Hey, I don’t want to see no ‘pen tonight.

    Ah man, gameday is ahead of my video feed and just ruined that for me. Boo.

  22. This reminds me over Jeremy Bonderman a few years ago at the Metrodome in the 8th innings, completely falls apart.

    Leyland needs to yank him now!

  23. Billfer,

    Sorry for the trick question this morning regarding which Verlander we’d see tonight. The answer is apparently “both”.

  24. How is Inge not given an error on that play? anyways JV has only walked one and at least one of those runs, if not more, should be unearned.

  25. This game has gotten decidedly less fun ever since Verlander blew away the top of the M’s order in the fourth

  26. That fifth inning was crazy but when all was said and done that is the second start in which Verlander struck out eight and had really good velocity. Not to mention he only walked one. I feel like he just relied on the fastball too much and Seattle is a free-swinging bunch that took advantage plus the error and the good bunt by Gutierrez which you can’t really pitch around. Tough loss to swallow but a lefty tomorrow (although a good one) and Silva on Sunday so hopefully a series win is still possible.

  27. Well, that sucked. I just hope this team doesn’t make it a trend of playing .200 on the road. Things really got out of control in the 5th. Verlander needed to slowdown and what is it with our defense crapping out behind him in his time of need? Good crap, that is annoying. Once again the error changed the inning… Hopefully Edwin can pull us through tomorrow… Not a good way to start a road trip…

  28. Oh that was just fab…I left from my undiscolosed location to go watch the rest of the game–“rest” being from the point where it was DET 3 SEA 0 (right after Verflounder gave up the leadoff double), and when I arrived at Game Showing Locale I was greeting by scoreboard graphic that somehow seemed to show DET 3 SEA 5. WTF! (Incidentally it showed the Tigers line as 3 6 7, and it took me 5 min to figure out the Tigers hadn’t somehow made 7 errors in the time it took me to get there. Maybe 7 was correct somehow metaphorically). And checking on gameday: did Verlander really throw a change-up that was apparently about 4 feet outside?? And I missed the “bad Inge” play, but it hardly seems like the turning point, and maybe a bit overly harsh to blame him for the loss (since they likely would have had, approximately, between 0 and 1 runs without him in the line-up).

    For me Verlander going from No-hit Justin to being all ’06 world series-like was the most distressing, that along with, to second billfer, the ugly head-rearing of the GIDP beast (not to mention knowing when I apply my “secret formula” I will no doubt find the Tigers finishing around .500 this season instead of 89-73).

  29. All hair-pulling criticisms of Verlander aside, I have to give credit to Seattle–Verlander was, as they say, just pounding the strike zone, and Seattle came out in the 5th, every one of them, with a Swing First Ask Questions Later approach, which is really what you have to do when you’ve had guys starting out behind in the count all game. Small ball rules and the easy schedule and all that…but the Mariners, I suspect, are also benefitting from some good coaching this season…

    On the other hand…what’s up with their uniforms?? I suppose it could be some sort of flat screen in a bar distortion, but it really does seem that they have navy jerseys and purple caps. Whose idea was that? A little yellowish-greenish trim and they would look like bruises…

  30. Man, I was at this game tonight and Justin was DEALING. First pitch strikes, making guys look silly. I didn’t want to mention no-hitter or perfect game after the 4th, but someone must have cuz man the wheels came off! That was brutal, sure the M’s were helped by an E and some bad plays but yikes. The Tigs really needed to add on when they had the chance and had Felix on the ropes.

    I hope we take the next 2, I”ll be at both. I guess I should temporarily change my name to Joey in Seattle WA.

  31. @JIP: Hey, nice to see you here again…I’m all for the “Joey in Seattle”…the “Joey in Portland OR” bit triggers some repressed memories of some guy who used to be a QB from Oregon or something…

  32. so much for the Tigers’ “ace.” Now Jackson and Galarraga are left to pick up the pieces yet again.

  33. The Tigers runs also came courtesy of some shakey defense (very generously scored as hits) on Guillen’s infield hit in front of Beltre and Inge’s bouncer into the 5-hole that Betancourt misplayed. That said, the Tigers wasted a golden opportunity to score more runs that inning and chase King Felix, leaving them loaded. These blown opportunities do not go unpunished against a hot team that’s feeling good about themselves.

    As for the nightmare inning, Inge’s poor throw was a big play (he has waaay to many poor throws for a guy with his arm & reputation), but the larger factor was Verlander letting his emotions get in the way. He lost his command, stopped attacking hitters, often going to three ball counts, and basically huffed & puffed his way around the mound until he got the 2nd out. His lack of composure was the problem in turning a leadoff double on a pitch that was nearly past Beltre into a 5-run inning (especially considering he admits to thinking about no-no’s every game).

  34. OK, watched the whole thing last night. The Tigers had 7 innings of solid pitching, and 1 bad one. They had 8 innings of lousy hitting, and 1 good one.

    The whole story of that game is Justin’s 5th inning. Let’s stipulate that he could have gotten a bit more help from Inge on that throw, BUT — Laird STILL should have scooped that ball and made the tag. Bouncing the throw to the plate isn’t exactly unheard of. The other issue with Laird is — where were his trips to the mound???? Come on Gerald — that’s your job. Settle him down. Justin was obviously worked up and needed a breather or two.

    That inning was 100% mental. His stuff wasn’t even that bad. The Mariners made a nice adjustment, and Justin didn’t adjust his approach quick enough.


  35. Diabolical. If Verlander has that kinda stuff all year, he’s still going to win 20 games. One. Bad. Inning.

  36. A good game for both teams, but I saw some things that disgusted me.
    For one, that error by Inge cost us the game. Two.. why didn’t Leyland or even Laird come out to the mound and calm down JV after that error? Three, when Granderson got on against Kelley, why did Polanco promptly swing at the first pitch? He looked pretty shaky, I thought Polanco could have at least taken a pitch or two. You never know. He walks Polanco, you have two on, nobody out, Maggs up (who promptly laced one to left), Cabrera looming, and who knows what would have happened? Ugh.

  37. The way I look at it the Inge error allowed a run when instead there should have been an out. Which to me doesn’t constitute “costing the Tigers the game.” The idea that the Inge error CAUSED the Verlander meltdown is just silly. For one thing, he was already getting shelled–the error was preceded by a double, single, single, sac bunt. He was already not the Verlander of innings 1-4 at that point. Besides that I just don’t like the whole idea of causation here. I don’t think it would be any less logical to argue that Inge’s bad throw was caused by the stress of watching Verlander lose it on the mound.

  38. Whether or not the Inge error “cost the game” I think you’re downplaying the event. If he makes the play it’s runners on first and third with 2 outs and the #9 hitter up – and a two run lead. It takes the squeeze play out of the equation and Gutierrez has to try and hit the ball. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t but I’ll take those odds. The tying run is on first base with 2 outs instead of third base with one out.

  39. I don’t think Inge’s play cost us the game – that is alittle much. But it sure didn’t help Justin Verlander’s 5th inning or his confidence in his D. Also it could be argued that Laird (since he is a MLB catcher) should have been able to pick that ball. If anyONE person cost us the game it was Verlander, he totally fell apart…

    Plus you have to give some credit to the other team. Their is a reason the Mariners have the best record. Wakamatsu didn’t look like a dummy either.

    How ’bout the Tribe? 22 runs WOW

    Heres to Jackson keeping his dominance against the Ms intact!

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