Game 2009.028: Tigers at Indians

PREGAME: Did you know the Tigers are 0-3 in Friday night games this year? Hopefully that doesn’t have a bearing in tonight’s game. Regardless, it has to go better than last night’s game against Mark Buehrle doesn’t it? Then again the Indians are probably thinking the same thing after the Red Sox hung 12 on them – in the 6th inning – last night.

Tonight will be a re-match of the Justin Verlander and Cliff Lee game from last Sunday afternoon.

Detroit vs. Cleveland – May 8, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: This is one of those postgame’s I struggle to write. There are so many different ways to write the story with lots of irony and symmetry and in general awesomeness. Fortunately it is a happy story which makes it a little easier.

Justin Verlander was amazing again. He’s been money in his last 3 starts, and the one thing that may have been holding him back a little (and I mean a little) was efficiency. No problem with that tonight as he notched a complete game shutout. He fanned 11 Indians tonight, the second time he’s turned that trick in a week. And this is a team that had beat him like that annoying drum in the bleachers over Verlander’s career.

It was only a couple weeks ago that people were questioning who the ace of the Tigers staff was. There is no question in my mind as we sit here tonight. Verlander has actually been pitching good the whole year, save for that Toronto stuff. But he was being undone by ridiculously poor defense. Tonight, things evened out a little. Here’s where that irony comes in.

Polanco made a leaping grab of a liner, Raburn laid out for a ball and came up big, Everett started a nifty double play on a liner, and Curtis Granderson made a nice play in centerfield.

Yeah, that was kind of an understatement. Amazing, unbelievable, athletic, super hero-ish, game saving, those are probably more apt descriptions. And this is where some of that symmetry comes in. Grandy and Grady are two of the best centerfielders in baseball. And here was one robbing the other, not only of a home run, but a walk off home run. Granderson’s career signature play has probably been the time he robbed Wily Mo Pena in left-centerfield. Does this catch top that one?

As for the Tigers run, it scored with out a real hit. Heck, it scored without a ball leaving the infield. The run was the result of a walk, Curtis Granderson stealing 2nd on a hit-and-run where Placido Polanco whiffed (Polanco is 10th in baseball in contact %) and Grandy was dead at second except Kelly Shoppach threw the ball high. A bounce out advanced Curtis to third. And the run scored when a second baseman failed to throw a ball quickly enough on a routine grounder. And that was the difference.

Other stuff:

  • Justin Verlander now has the Tigers last 3 complete game shutouts.
  • Verlander has 56 strikeouts this season. Last year he got his 56th strike out on June 16th
  • Brandon Inge has all of the Tigers webgems this season. I think, and I’m going out on a limb here, but Grandy’s catch might just sneak in there tonight.

The highlight reel is here. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing that catch (please disregard the nicknaming of Curtis as “The Cougar”:


  1. ouchudied

    May 8, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Is there anybody out there (out there)?

    • Coleman

      May 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      I’ll be right there, soon as I finish my bacon…

  2. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Just because I was curious: Verlander needs 15 scoreless innings to get his ERA under 4.

  3. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Just got home, Glad its Zero to Zero

  4. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Why wasn’t Dane bunting?

  5. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I really like this new and improved Justin Verlander.

  6. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I hate this excessive first pitch swinging. Their bullpen is worse than ours last year. Our goal should be to work counts, even with RISP.

  7. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    18 consecutive innings without a run for the Tigers’ offense.

    • Mr. X

      May 8, 2009 at 8:36 pm

      Not surprising. Buerhle and Lee are 2 of the best pitchers in baseball. We won 9-0 the game before facing them.

  8. jri

    May 8, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    So, remember when the Tigers could throw a right-handed line-up out that that looked like a crime scene for pitchers, from top to bottom. Marcus Thames had to fight his way into that lineup. Now we’ve got a left-handed Clete Thomas in the 3 hole, Ryan Raburn in the outfield, Dane Sardinha catching, and Adam Everett at shortstop. Brandon Inge is batting 6th, and we could argue that he should be higher. No real comment, just an observation.

  9. Mr. X

    May 8, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Verlander is shutting down the hitters and shutting up his critics. Just a few weeks ago the critics were picking him apart and wanted him sent down to the minors.

  10. Coleman

    May 8, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    DP the fancy way…

  11. Coleman

    May 8, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I’m not sure I get running yourself out of the inning like that with the team’s #2 HR/RBI guy on deck…

    • Brian P

      May 8, 2009 at 8:38 pm

      And with the way Ordonez and Cabrera run, sending the runner doesn’t even guarantee you’ll stay out of the double play.

    • Mr. X

      May 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      I like the running the game. Must of been a hit n run. I don’t feel any better when someone hits into a routine DP. The way Mags is hitting I would of expected him to hit a grounder to second.

  12. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Beck with a nice Willis piece…

    Hard not to root for D-Train.

    • Mr. X

      May 8, 2009 at 8:53 pm

      I have trouble with the fans who don’t even want to give Willis a chance. Unfortunately Detroit has many of them. It’s kind of a paradox because many of these same people work in auto industry.

  13. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Awesome. That might be the only double play more frustrating than the strike-em-out-throw-em-out.

  14. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Phew…. Huge double play. Thank you Everett

  15. Mr. X

    May 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Another DP. VMart’s turn to be the goat now.

  16. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Commmme on Clete Thomas…. Base hit.

  17. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Shattered bat infield single RBI. I’ll take it.

  18. Mr. X

    May 8, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Love Clete!! That the running game baby.

  19. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I have to image Lee is done after that. 113 pitches. So we get one shot at their bullpen. Hopefully we won’t need it and Verlander can complete the game.

  20. Brian

    May 8, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Does JV go for the complete game, or is it Rodney time?

  21. Jeff

    May 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Okay, do you send him out for the 9th? 101 pitches so far . . .

  22. Mr. Jimmy

    May 8, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I say send JV back out there for the ninth.

  23. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    You send him back out. That’s a no-brainer.

  24. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    ok here is there

  25. billfer

    May 8, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I say send him out, but have Rodney at the ready if someone gets on.

  26. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Still throwing Heat

  27. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    98 on the gun

  28. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Granderson!!! Holy s***!!!

    • billfer

      May 8, 2009 at 9:25 pm

      Normally this would get edited for swearing, but man. I’ll let it slide.

  29. Mr. X

    May 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Holy Cow!!

  30. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Wow. You’ve got to be joking,

  31. Dave

    May 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Don’t you love Leylands trips to the mound? Everyone else listens and nods for fifteen seconds and he goes back to the dugout for a smoke.

  32. Ryan P.

    May 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Wow, gameday had that one just about at the wall. How close was it?

    • Brian P

      May 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm

      That ball was over the fence by 2 feet. Curtis lept up and pulled it back.

  33. Coleman

    May 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    OK, I think that settles it, Granderson’s better than Sizemore…heh heh

  34. Ryan P.

    May 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Hell of a game, Justin.

  35. Mr. X

    May 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    YEESSSS!!!! Game over . Verlander is a stud. Granderson is a god!!

  36. JOE Z

    May 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm


  37. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Wow what a game and what a catch

  38. Coleman

    May 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Ryan P: It looks like it would have gone over except for the glove in its path

  39. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    The Cleveland guys are saying Granderson should get the save. “winning the game to losing the game in one catch”

  40. Coleman

    May 8, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Verlander must have felt pretty ill for a minute, one bad pitch and he’s looking at a 2-1 loss…except Grandy brought it back.

  41. Ben in Denver

    May 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    What a game. That was amazing. Granderson is unbelieveable – and he was so nonchalant after the catch. It seemed like he didn’t even smile until after the 3rd out.

  42. Mr. Jimmy

    May 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm


  43. Allen

    May 8, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    GRANDY!!!!! Wow. That is something that would not have happened last year. I am real excited for this season.

  44. Dylan

    May 8, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    LOL — Just watched the highlight on GameDay and the Cleveland announcer called it like a homerun. back back GOOOOONE, oh no…

  45. Eric Cioe

    May 8, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Game score of 92 for Justin, the best game pitched in the Majors this season. His No-hitter was a 95, I think.

    Game score of eleventy million to Curtis Granderson with the best catch I’ve ever witnessed.

  46. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Its interesting that Verlander seems to have his grove back. Last year I cant think of two good back to backers, let alone two great ones. Is it Knapp, or just another year. Boy it feels good to be able to have a guy with great stuff go out every 5 days. With a return of Bondo and Dontrelle and them getting their grove back we would be able to match any staff in the league.

  47. David

    May 8, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    I only caught the last few innings of this one, but WOW!

    Great pitching (from both teams).
    Great D from us (GRANDERSON!!!! and Everett)
    And some get ’em over, get ’em in+ running hard

    This has got to be one of the best games of the last few years.

  48. Mike in CT

    May 8, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    What a win, what a win!

    Didn’t want to post during the game to jinx it.

    Maybe Granderson’s catch is especially sweet since it robbed Sizemore, who everyone touts as the best CF in the league.

    Let’s hope this starts something positive!

  49. Steve

    May 8, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Here is an interesting stat

    “Verlander entered the game with a 1-7 record and a 9.00 ERA in eight career starts at Progressive Field, having allowed 42 runs in as many innings, with 53 hits. His one win was also his only quality start of the bunch, though he had the consolation of averaging a strikeout per inning.” from the MLB game site.

    Guess he put that to bed. Good for him

  50. jud

    May 8, 2009 at 9:38 pm


  51. Ryan P.

    May 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Holy crap, that catch was ridiculous. I love you Curtis.

  52. Brian P

    May 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    The reaction by Rod and Mario was priceless. Mario had his deep voice like he knew it was gone, but when they realized Granderson caught it, they both started screaming. I was yelling right along with them.

    Watching the replay, you can see he had to get extra lift with his cleat against the wall. Amazing.

  53. Chris

    May 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    This was easily the best, most satisfying win of the season. What makes it better is the fact it is the Indians. Last year, the Tigers don’t win this game… No doubt.

  54. Ryan P.

    May 9, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Baseball Tonight: “This is the web gem of the year coming up, no question”. Ahh I love Curtis.

  55. Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin)

    May 9, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Play of the year for the Tigers, maybe all of MLB.

  56. Ryan P.

    May 9, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Ah nevermind.

  57. Tbone

    May 9, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Billfer – I still think that catch where he robbed Wily Mo Pena at Comerica in 2007 was better, but this was pretty darn close. The game situation made this one all the more dramatic and the Cleveland announcers call was priceless!


  58. Coleman

    May 9, 2009 at 8:07 am

    The Wily Mo Pena catch was a more amazing CATCH–he ran farther, and had half of his arm over the fence (BTW when watching the live telecast they showed a brief view from the other side of the fence, which I’ve never seen again in any of the highlight clips).

    The catch last night though was a more amazing PLAY, if that distinction makes sense…

  59. Brenden

    May 9, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Great win last night, but I must admit that I am strating to get a little worried about the offense, or lack there of. The Tigers have some of the worse offensive stats in the AL. Luckily good pitching has kept us above .500, but we need our big guys to start hitting again.

  60. MCM

    May 9, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Leyland needs to “shake-up” our line up again…Clete is here to stay and even Raburn makes an amazing diving catch, whoda thunk? Luckily he didn’t break his wrist, did ya see the flex there when his glove hit the ground, ouch.

    That Cleveland announcer made Grandy’s catch even more dramatic when he called it gone and then immediately had to retract it when he saw Grandy throw the ball towards first base!

  61. Russ

    May 9, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I am one of those who questioned JV’s “ace” worthiness. I am humbled. I was clearly wrong. It appears he’s bad to his old self. totally in a groove. interesting that Gala is slowing down as JV hits his stride.

    And how long has Granderson had the “cougar” moniker? it’s the first time I’ve heard–other than the time i mentioned it a week or three ago.

  62. Andrew

    May 9, 2009 at 9:19 am

    That game should be an ‘instant classic.’ Wow, just wow.

  63. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    May 9, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Yeah Ryan P – sorry about that, I was posting from my mobile, didn’t see your post. I’m still on a high from that game. In fact, I’m gonna pull it up and watch it again.

    I’m looking forward to my Mavs getting back into the series, and the Tigers teeing off on Fausto today. I wonder how many times I can replay the 9th before the Mavs tip at 4 C.

  64. Kevin in Austin (now Dallas)

    May 9, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Screw that, the archives are “temporarily unavailable.” Good thing I paid $120 for that. Does anyone else out there have premium? If so, what are your thoughts?

    The premium eats up too much processing power from my old laptop (even though it’s 2.2 GHz with 2MB ram, though an older motherboard), and the premium sucks all the bandwidth at work. As a result, I’ve rarely used it. I just stick with the old bandwidth level. If any of you have had success, can you give me an idea of your CPU power and your downstream bandwidth?

  65. Coleman

    May 9, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Kevin in Austin: with i could help you there but I’m hanging on at the old bandwidth by the skin of my teeth–I actually have been connecting on mobile broadband. I finally clicked on one of their “free premium preview” things and it does a “testing bandwidth” bit that takes 10 minutes then says something like “we have detected your bandwidth is not sufficient for MLB.TV Premium. Please increase your bandwidth.” Ah, now THAT was helpful, increase bandwidth! Why didn’t I think of that?

    Anyway apropos the CPU question the funny thing is that watching the games don’t seem to max out the CPU, but GAMEDAY, that’s a different story–by the time it even loads the laptop fans are kicking in. I wonder is this common, or maybe just one of those Macs/Adobe Flash don’t play nice together things?

    • billfer

      May 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm

      I hear that about Gameday. I actually just got a cooling pad for the laptop.

      As to Kevin’s question, I’ve had fairly good luck with premium. I’ll hook up the laptop via HDMI to my TV and in general get a very nice HD picture.

  66. Rick G

    May 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Surprised to see Clete didn’t get a little more love here for busting his tail on that routine ground ball.

    If he runs down the line like your typical major leaguer (say, Gary Sheffield, for instance), the game goes to extra innings and who knows what happens.

    Great game, awesome win. I’m starting to get a good feeling about this team, that they believe in themselves.

  67. David

    May 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I’m just hoping after last nights win, they don’t put up a dud tonight. Jackson should be better than 1-2.

    “The Tigers have yet to lose a weekend game this season, going a combined 8-0 on Saturdays and Sundays. … ”;c_id=det

    I found that to be interesting

  68. scotsw

    May 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Get it while it’s hot: Here the YouTube clip of Granderson’s catch with the commentary from STO (SportsTime Ohio). They were totally fooled, and called it a home run… then a second later: “No it’s not.”


    I prefer Mario and Rod’s version, but it you want to know what it sounds like to be pwnd, check it out, LOL.