Game 2009.032: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: It is merely coincidence that Dontrelle’s first takes place alongside the Lost Season Finale right? It isn’t a harbinger of things to come right? Headline writers won’t be able to point to some combination of Lost Season or Finale to describe this game right?

Well, here’s hoping that Dontrelle Willis maybe visited the island and his control problems have been cured. Willis is making his season debut as his DL (anxiety disorder) stint concluded after starts for Lakeland, Erie, and Toledo . Each stop saw an improvement in command over what we witnessed last year. Still his combined 26.7 innings pitched saw 9 walks, 3 homers, 16 K’s, and 23 hits so he wasn’t exactly dominating.

I have no idea what to expect tonight. I’m rooting for Willis, not only as a Tigers fan but because he seems to be one of the good guys.

Lefty Glen Perkins is on the mound for the Twins. There was a time when the Tigers hammered lefty pitching. That time isn’t now. Perkins started the year with 3 straight 8 inning outings where he allowed a total of 4 runs. Since then he hasn’t recorded an out in the 7th and has allowed at least 4 runs each game.

Detroit vs. Minnesota – May 13, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: This game deserves more analysis than what I’m about to offer up, but it’s 1 a.m. and I’m grumpy. Bringing Brandon Lyon out for the last inning was stupid. Leaving him in was beyond stupid. It’s almost hard to believe that a guy that is used to throwing 1 to 2 innings hung a curve ball on pitch number 60. Unless Nate Robertson was on life support this was incredibly freaking stupid.

Information coming in that Robertson is injured and Lucas French is on his way from Toledo. This news makes the above paragraph, well, misguided would be an understatement. You can backtrack on various pitcher usage through the game and look for things that could be done differently, but there is a point where you can’t plan for a 14 inning game.

191 thoughts on “Game 2009.032: Tigers at Twins”

  1. LOL…

    Vote for your favorite Lost character/Tigers player equivalents!

    I’m hoping that Willis = Desmond (the only character with a remotely happy ending so far)

      1. I’d put him as Locke if he pulled an Ankiel and came back as a power-hitting position player. 🙂

  2. Whats the definition of a “good guy”? I’m rooting for him too, but not expecting too much. Considering we’ve got the streaking JV going tomorrow I’d like a series win with extra pickles. I wouldn’t mind if he walked Mauer every time he gets up. Possibly Morneau also.

    Over the last seven days Mauer is 11 for 19(.579 BA) with 9 RBI. His OPS is nearly 1.800 .

  3. As I read this, I kept associating “Lost Season” with 2008 and “Finale” with our last game against Minnesota. Woops.

  4. I got a bad feeling about tonight.

    Honestly, I just can’t picture D-train coming out and delivering a dominant performance. God, I hope I’m wrong.

  5. David –

    Good Guy – a man,boy, or fellow, who is morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious, or simply of a favorable character or tendency .

  6. Greg aren’t morals subjective? Same with virtue.

    Personally I don’t care if Dtrain is an ahole if he can pitch. If he can’t that is just another strike against him, no pun intended.

    1. Kant certainly doesn’t think that morals are subjective. Well, he would probably say that there are permutations among societies, but that the categorical imperative, “never treat others as means only, always also as ends,” or “only act on that maxim that can be universalized,” is constant.

      Virtue is harder, I think.

      1. This blog has reached new levels, as Eric introduces Kant into the conversation.

        Smartest baseball blog on the web. Hands down.

        1. There was talk of Locke above. I was wondering how John Locke had anything to do with baseball. Again, my lack of Lost familiarity shames me.

  7. Bryan P I lol’d at your first comment. I don’t watch LOST, so I almost associated it with Dtrain’s career before I read the rest of the sentence.


  8. I’m rooting for D-Train as well. It’s either going to be a nice story or a sad story. The next month or so probably will make or break the rest of his career.

  9. Not to put too fine a point on it, but tonight is literally the most important night of Dontrelle Willis’s young life. A muddling performance is all he needs, but if he goes 2 innings, five walks, four hits etc the chances of this ending well are not great. He just has to go five innings and be competitive. I hope it happens.

  10. I will be rooting very hard for D-Train tonight. FWIW, I think it does matter whether someone is a “good guy” or not. I could not root for someone like Barry Bonds, not because of the steroid issue, but because he just seems like a big jerk.

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dontrelle had some big-time nerves going and struggles in the first inning or two. If that happens and he can settle down, maybe that’s a good sign.

    Basically, he needs something positive to happen tonight.

  12. How ’bout the Tiger bats coming alive tonight to support and boost D-Train’s confidence – nothing like a few runs in the first to help squelch Dontrelle’s inevitable early inning jitters.

  13. I hope Willis pitches well, just so that some fans will give the Tigers a 2nd chance. I’d think that the winning 1st place record and the 3.92 team ERA would be redemption enough, but it isn’t.

    Whatever the outcome, I hope it’s a good game. Not sure what I’ll be watching yet, but whatever happens, happens.

  14. So D-Train started out around 88 then it seems like he just let it loose and is throwing 93-95. Nerves at first? Thinking too hard about throwing a strike? Just pitch D-Train.

  15. Goodness Maggs. This isn’t 2007. Take a pitch.

    Has anyone looked at first pitch stats in a while? I’d love to be able to see what our stats are for the first and second pitch as a team.

  16. 2 innings-16 pitches. perkins can pitch into the 14 th inning at this rate. sigh. ok dtrain settle down…good luck

  17. What’s sad is that he is throwing strikes (22/14), especially when you consider those two strike threes that weren’t called. One crushed ball and two weak singles and he’s in deep doo-doo. I’m more worried about his psyche than anything else right now.

  18. He’s been pumping too many fastballs. Looks like Todd Jones.

    And I wish he would have pitched around Justin like I said before the game 🙁

  19. If they’re going to jump on the first pitch, I’d prefer it if they’d swing at pitches that are grooved, not just ones that might be called strikes. This isn’t a game of PONG.

  20. We do not come into any game with a plan for our hitters. Just go up there and swing away.

  21. this game was never really about our hitting…it was about willis and things haven’t been so bad considering. it would be nice to see a couple of 1-2-3 innings before he’s done ofr the night.

  22. Tigers are down 3-0, but Willis has not been the weakest link so far. Cabrera playing first with his head up his butt and an offense that has seen 24 pitches in 3 innings. I don’t hate first pitch swinging, but this is freakin pathetic.

  23. I mean, the first pitch thing has to be coming from the hitting coach. I’m not gonna argue with a first place perch, but it seems that we could make adjustments depending on the pitcher.

  24. Wow, they took some pitches and good stuff happened. Where would we be without Adam Everett’s offense?

  25. I don’t think d-train did bad, but he didn’t do great either. I agree he did throw a lot of fast balls. At least he threw strikes.

    If somebody other then Maggs had been in right that one ball would have been caught. Then Miggy missed that catch.

  26. I agree; we can’t hang this one on Willis if we don’t come back. He deserves another start.

  27. If Leyland had kept Willis in for one more batter, he’d be in line for his first win as a Tiger now.

  28. INGE!!!

    And yes Cabrera sucks at first. He is horrible.

    And it is sad that Everett is outhitting Ordonez, I hope that isn’t the case come mid-July.

  29. Man, I know everyone is trying to be nice about Willis but this isn’t the Special Olympics. He had ten baserunners in 4 2/3 innings. That is not success by any stretch of the imagination.

    1. He threw strikes though and only gave up 2 walks. IMO, he deserves to pitch on this team more than Brandon Lyon.

  30. Re: Lost. It’s now season five and they’re still on the island, right? Now there’s a narrative arc!

  31. Can someone explain to me why we pitched out (according to gameday) with a guy on 3rd? Were they really worried that Span was gonna steal home?

    1. Actually I have been following the pitch count stats, and they don’t all confirm initial impressions.

      For instance not only is Maggs swinging at fewer 1st pitches than usual, but he has so far a career-high Pitches/Plate Appearance average.

      Maggs 1st pitch swing % 2009: 34% 2008 41% 2007 40% career: 37%
      Maggs PPA: 2009: 3.96 (3rd best on DET) 2008: 3.52 2007: 3.68 career: 3.56

  32. This is actually a fun game but I can only flip over during commercials unless I want to watch in non-HD and miss Lost. Not a huge fan of the latter but it’s mildly entertaining and the wife watches.

  33. I thought his strike zone was pretty poor when Dontrelle was in the game. Not sure how much it impacted things cause it looked to me like DW no longer has an out pitch or anything effective offspeed but I definitely thought he got hooked on a few pitches.

  34. @David yeah, Lost was a dilemma for me too but I had to see the Willis start. I’ll probably either download the former later or watch it on

    Don’t tell me what happens.

    1. Was that some kind of strategic move? I would think it would be a disadvantage for the hitter, so long as Zumaya was going to throw strikes.

  35. So, what do we have to do to get Joel to re-learn his change-up? It was voted BEST IN THE ORGANIZATION by Baseball America in 2005. It’s been abandoned. Given his lack of consistency with the breaking ball (in terms of throwing it for strikes), why not go with the change-up?

  36. That single was practically a bunt, he just stuck his bat out over the plate and the next thing you know the ball’s bouncing into CF…I guess that’s the other side of the 101mph pitch coin…

  37. “It’s funny he would swing at the 1st pitch…” No, Rod, actually NOT FUNNY AT ALL.
    Why not Santiago there?

    It must be Laird’s impressive game yesterday…
    AB1: K (3 pitches)
    AB2: Popup RF (1 pitch)
    AB3: Groundout to P (1 pitch)
    AB4: *Lifted for PH*
    (0-3, 1K…5 pitches total!)

    So Lloyd picks him the pinch-hitter tonight?? 1-pitch groundout, who woulda thought??

    If you don’t want to use your last guy on the bench, then why not just leave Sardine-head in?

  38. So what’s the consensus on Willis? Did he have anything on the ball? Did he have to take something off to get it over? Did he have any rhythm, challenge the hitters? If he could be just crappy it would be an improvement. Any Lakelandites see Bondo throw Monday? Who will check out his rehab? Will he be in GR Saturday?

    1. Different guy than last year. He was going after guys, throwing 93ish. When he was missing, it was for the most part around the zone, not all over the place.

    2. There was some zip on his fastball when I was watching. His composure was good. He didn’t pounce around like a nutcase. His leg kick wasn’t all over the place either. He actually looked like a normal pitcher out there. Now that he got this game under his belt, I think he’ll do much better the next time out.

  39. I cannot stand this Metrodome camera angle. I can’t wait until I never have to see it again.

  40. Oh great, Rod just jinxed us for tomorrow too…”and Verlander, he could go 9-innings tomorrow, he’s that good right now…”

    1. Nevermind….@!#**!

      I guess Miggy must have caught it from Carlos before he hit the DL…

  41. I’ve only been watching since the 8th inning but…this ump sure has a…special…strike zone.

  42. Well, having the lead was fun while it lasted. Don’t like our chances with Lyon pretty much in control till futher notice.

  43. A second inning of Lyon hasn’t been a recipe for success this year. But Nate is the only one left in the pen.

  44. Very, very frustrating. Inge up twice in a marginal bunting situation was aggravating cause that’s a D’ed if you do D’ed if you don’t. But just made a nice play.

    1. And Inge almost never hits into the GIDP either, so you know it’s a bad omen when he does it (he had 4 last season in 407 PA).

  45. Watching Lyon pitch is just exhausting. We got lucky to leave him in that long and the game not being over yet. On another note, I miss Leyland. He sure does manage a better game than Gene Lamont.

    WTG Granderson!!!

  46. Grandy!!!

    Can’t believe its his first triple of the year, guess he’s just been smashing homers.

  47. I guess Laird is conserving energy…total pitches seen yesterday: 3 AB, 5 pitches.
    Today: 2 AB, 2 pitches.

  48. Ummmm. How is Nate not warming up? Lyon’s over 30 pitches, and those last 3 balls were hammered. Don’t hang the guy out to dry.

  49. The pitching was mis-managed. Lyon should have never been in that position. Ugh I am so frustrated right now. I can’t believe I stayed up to watch Crede do that to us again.

  50. Did the site go down for everyone, or just me? That was weird. Terrible time for it to come back up.

  51. what the crap! worst part is that this highlight will be replaying on sportscenter for the next few days.

  52. Tigers need to hire a bench coach for these situations. I can’t figure out why we don’t have one. This was the worst piece of managing I’ve ever witnessed.

  53. That’s the stupidest &^$#ing thing I’ve seen all season. WHY would you let one of your weakest relievers, having already thrown a ton of pitches, when the last three batters CRUSHED the ball, come out for another inning. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I don’t even know what to say. You suck, McClendon. &*^$ing pathetic.

    1. now we know why McClendon is the HITTING coach…what a moron…and as a side note, Nate is in like the biggest doghouse ever right now

  54. Jim Leyland and his inability to handle a pitching staff. Where have we seen this before?

  55. What a vote of non-confidence in Robertson.

    Gave this one away – he has sucked previous to this – but this was completely unfair to Lyon

  56. I agree with Billfer WHY WAS LYON out there

    oh man this stings

    if JV loses tomorrow …. 🙁

  57. No big deal guys, just one game. Entertaining as hell. Willis was better than expected, he may be able to win a few games for us this year.

    Offense looked good. Nathan won’t be avail tomorrow for JV’s masterpiece. Min always gets us.

  58. Word is on the back channels that Robertson got injured today, and Luke French is on his way up. That certainly explains 60 pitches from Lyon. Pretty gutty outing, if you ask me. He pitched real well for about 40 of those pitches, too.

  59. If Lyon was the last available reliever, it was still mismanaged. Rodney should have been asked to throw another inning.

      1. I’m no fan of Rodney’s, but I’d rather see 2 from Rodney and 2 from Lyon than 1 from Rodney and 3 from Lyon. A third inning from an average reliever is never, ever good.

  60. So now we know that a) Lee and Eric have few skeletons in their closet and are willing to use their full names, or b) made up their names (genius) and c) drink on Wednesday nights.

  61. If Nate is hurt, that would definitely explain it. If he’s not hurt, McClendon should have to cough up his pay check for the game to a charity or something.

  62. I hate Joe Crede as much as I hate the Twins.

    The magic of 2006 – we put a severe beating on the Twinkies. If I take this as a proxy…well I don’t want to go there.

  63. if Robertson was indeed hurt I would have put Inge in to throw

    and like Ryan posted why didn’t Rodney go two…new pitching coach and everything and they still can’t get it right…You know Jimmy was sitting on a stool 5 feet from Mc Clendon calling the shots around the corner…or he was on a run to the drug store getting a pack of smokes…either way this sucked

  64. Liars. Those aren’t EE names. Though I do appreciate the drinking on a Wed. If you guys make it down to Dallas, I’ll buy you several rounds and tell you about my Ernie Harwell 1984 tape that I found in a used car once.

  65. Nate hasn’t pitched in a game for 8 days. Why are they just discovering that he’s injured right now? Nate could of been DL’d before they DFA’d Rincon.

  66. Just to clarify, Nate got injured during a pen session?

    (BTW – props to DTW and the users, best Tigers info avail)

  67. Yea Inge shoulda pitched. Leaving Lyon out there was crazy, even if Nate is injured. And why would you only throw Rodney 1 inning?

    It was a darn good game though. Besides the losing.

    I called the Granny btw. It was hilarious. I’m like “oh here is fu**ing Crede, I bet he hits a Granny.” 😀

  68. Why didn’t we put in a starter? That might sound a bit crazy, but at the same time, losing a game like this could start a huge skid.

  69. Verlander absolutely has to pitch 7 innings tomorrow. The bullpen’s going to be Luke French and Fernando Rodney. Miner might be available in a pinch, I guess. Probably not Perry.

  70. Hey Eric I was just looking at Motown Sports, and saw you have a s-load of posts. What is the difference between that and here…anything? Or do a lot of the guys overlap? I’ve never posted there, it looks interesting.

    1. Different animals. Billfer does a great job on this blog, and it’s the one I read the most of the Tigers blog, though I also like Lee’s and Eddie’s. Motown Sports game threads are pretty dumb, but there are a lot of cool people there, and we have some good discussions. I’m sure you’ll find friends there.

  71. A point:

    The pitching staff’s efficiency sucked last night. The Tigers averaged over 20 pitches/inning — a total of 255 pitches in under 13 innings. Too many full counts, and not enough Ks or double plays.

    Willis and Zumaya were the best, I thought. Willis threw 53 of 87 pitches for strikes, and probably got jobbed on a handful of others. Zumaya was left in a long time, but put 33 of 47 over for strikes.

    Stat of the game: Tigers pitchers notched 5 strikeouts in over 13 innings; The Twins got 11.

  72. Just saw Leyland’s ejection from last night, I just thought it was over balls and strikes. I hope Schrieber gets suspended for touching (pushing, rather) Magglio. A player would be suspended for much less.

  73. The press reports really downplayed Schrieber’s touch on Maggs — he didn’t just “guide” him or direct him. He pushed against his back. Not proper with any player, but that’s a former batting champ there, and some respect should be shown. I felt you could see from the Ump’s reaction when Maggs stops after that shove that he knew he crossed a line. On top of all that, Schrieber called two outside pitches for strikes on Maggs that at-bat, and probably knew it.

    Good for Jimmuh chewing him out like that.

  74. David – lol, you asked for a definition I was just trying to help out.


    Morals are not subjective, but the accurate assessment of morality for those with finite knowledge is subjective.(Actually, the accurate assesment of ANYTHING for those with finite knowledge is subjective)

    You wrote: Personally I don’t care if Dtrain is an ahole if he can pitch.

    If he’s on my fantasy baseball team, I’m 100% on board. However, all else being equal, I’d prefer good guys to have success over bad guys, though I’m not going to lose any sleep either way.

    I haven’t read Kant since college, so I can’t comment on that one. Though I’ll take Sarte or Camu over Nietzsche any day. Especially Sarte in his last days when he became a theist.

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