Game 2009.045: Tigers at Royals

by billfer on May 27, 2009 · 109 comments

in 2009 Season,Game Post

PREGAME: The Tigers go for the series win with Rick Porcello and some day baseball. Porcello has been on a roll and in his 4 May starts he’s allowed just 3 runs in 24 innings. He’ll be opposed by Kyle Davies who has really only had 2 bad starts this season, one of them coming against the Tigers on April 25th. In his last 3 outings he’s allowed just 6 runs, he’s fanned 15, and he hasn’t allowed a homer.

Detroit vs. Kansas City – May 27, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: This was one of those “taking care of business” games where the Tigers came out and excelled on several fronts to take the series. Offense, defense, pitching, it was all working. Fortunately I’ve been able to say that quite a bit lately.

  • Rick Porcello was a little off in the first inning, but he settled in VERY nicely and went 6 innings on only 82 pitches. I actually wouldn’t have minded him going another inning as throwing 95-100 pitches on occasion probably wouldn’t hurt. But perhaps his success and the team’s success are creating a great emphasis to keep him available deeper into the season – meaning more conservation now.
  • When I saw Anderson leading off I im’d Ian how brilliant it was to maximize the at-bats for a guy with a .660 OPS. Of course he went out and notched a hit in each of his first 4 at-bats after getting 4 hits in his previous 24 at-bats.
  • Is the top of the order starting to click? Polanco had good swings all series, Ordonez is riding a 13 game hitting streak.  If these guys start clicking that takes pressure off of everybody else.
  • Bobby Seay got charged with a tough run after a bloop hit got over Adam Everett and Joel Zumaya allowed him to score.
  • Both Zumaya and Rodney had been taxed last week, and have been gathering moss ever since. So Leyland wanted each to get work, and work they got. Too much work.
 
 

{ 109 comments }

Kyle J May 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm

File under “statements of obvious”:

A 4-game (or at least 3.5-game) division lead would be much preferable to a 2-game division lead coming out of this series.

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I think the entire season hinges on this game.

colin May 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm

The season *is* the game at hand.

Mark in Chicago May 27, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the Tigers lose today, they may never win again.

Kyle J May 27, 2009 at 2:54 pm

I think those would be “overstatements of the obvious.”

Andrew in Toronto May 27, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Yay, Cabrera!

Anybody else besides me having problems with mlb.tv? It’s just been stuck in “commercial break” all game so far.

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Andrew in Tor – change the video feed settings (go to low res), it will kick in.

Andrew in Toronto May 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Thanks. It worked when I switched from Nexdef to Standard.

colin May 27, 2009 at 2:38 pm

If they never win again, then lack of clutch hitting, pitch counts, and Brandon Inge are clearly to blame.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Not completely; the batting order must also share responsibility…

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm

BTW – a buddy of mine whom I consider a sports savant emailed me this morning to ask if I’ve ever been to fangraphs.com, b/c the guys on the radio this morning were raving about it. I informed him that a) billfer invented fangraphs between Damion Easely injury updates and Mud Hens promo idea reports in 2001 and b) that’s what you get for listening to national syndicated sports radio. b)(i) national talk radio is for the hens and b)(ii) he’s fortunate to live in the town with the greatest sports station on the globe (The Ticket – Dallas), he needs to stop messing around.

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I like Anderson at leadoff.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Send Porcello to the minors! :-)

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

And I thought there’d be no GIDP problem with Anderson on base…

charlie May 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Is anybody listening to this game on MLB audio? I keep hearing someone’s phone calls. I almost went deaf when they called a fax machine once. It’s absurdly annoying.

Andre in Chi May 27, 2009 at 3:18 pm

YES! I was just gonna post about that! Its absurdly hilarious!

charlie May 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm

It’s just so strange. I don’t even know where it’s coming from… someone at the radio station? Someone at MLB? How does a phone line even connect to the feed? And how is no one realize it? Craziness.

/Home Run Placido! Woohoo!

Andre in Chi May 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I checked, its also coming through on the KC broadcast. Epic Fail.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm

The White Sox led the majors in 2008 with 157 GIDP (DET was 5th with 144).

This season the Tigers so far are on pace for *180* GIDP…

(And THAT’S why they won’t win another game this season….)

Matt May 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I’d love to see a stat on how many of those were “first-pitch” GIDP — those are the ones that freakin’ kill me.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Probably a lot, especially the Ordonez/Cabrera ones. Of course, a good number of the Cabrera home runs/RBI hits were 1st pitch deals too, so it’s hard to complain.

Not all the Polanco GIDPs though, those I’m guessing are mostly 2nd pitch GIDPs, since he tends to take the 1st pitch and swing at the 2nd most times…

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm

to wit: Cabrera has a retarded 1.636 OPS on the first pitch.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I think it was even higher than that last time I checked. Cleanup hitters also hit into more GIDP on average than any other batting order position, so Cabrera is naturally going to have a bunch regardless. On the other hand, it doesn’t help matters to have the slowest guy on the team batting ahead of him either, which was one nice thing when Clete was hitting 3rd…

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Gotta have runners on base and hit the ball hard to GIDP. We’re in first place. I’m not complaining. Well, except that Brandon Lyon is still on the team. I’d rather see Paws warming up out there.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm

When you see Lyon, the home runs go flyin’. Thanks, I’ll be here all week.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Ask and you shall receive (sort of…sometimes…):

GIDP: 47 (not incl today)
GIDP on 1st pitch: 14
Cabrera 3
Ordonez 3
Polanco 2
Guillen 2
Thomas 1
Anderson 1
Laird 1
Sardinha 1

So it is true that an above average number (about 30%) of the GIDP are 1st pitch balls. (By comparison 18% of the team’s HITS are 1st pitches). I know it was only once, but I am sort of wondering what Sardinha had in mind on his 1st pitch GIDP…

Mark in Chicago May 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

I think we lead the league in hitting in to triple plays, too.

Joel in Seattle May 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Sox also won the division last year…

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Now i have to admit I didn’t see that one coming…

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Way to shut ‘em down after the big inning. Goodness did we miss that last year.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Ooh nice quick comeback inning for Porcello too after the runs, way to keep ‘em on the ropes! Maybe one more inning then Farnsworth time?

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm

One would find it hard to argue with the results of this contest thus far.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm

For a moment i thought Inge had one also there…luckily Teahen comes through once again though…

David May 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Lets yank Porcello out of the rotation guys, he has given up two too many runs and/or his fragile testosterone filled arm cant handle the stress and is bound to fall off because he is 20 and therefore a baby.

:p

Ryan P. May 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Davies’ ERA for the year would probably be in the low 3 range if it weren’t for his two games against us.

Craig May 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Somehow watching the game log is more exciting than listening to Jim Price

Andrew May 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Oooh, Roman Colon sighting. Hope Jordan Tata isn’t watching.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm

It is against the rules to use “colon” and “tata” in the same sentence without any semblance of an off-color joke of any kind…

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm

What is it with the Tigers recent history of having relievers who aren’t afraid to punch a dude? Colon, Urbina. I hope Ryan Perry doesn’t think he’s Mike Tyson…

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm

If by “punch” you mean “hack with a machete…”
Some of our pitchers have been more civilized though, laying off the fisticuffs in favor of the body slam….

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Well, prior to any gasoline/fire/machete incedents, Uggie did get into fisticuffs on the team plane that one time, which led to the Polanco trade.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 4:27 pm

I think fisticuffs, body slams, and perhaps even machete-flailing are all less-dangerous than Pitcher Kung-Fu though, let’s hope we don’t see any more of that in Detroit…

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Serious question. I know it’s a while away, but is Rick Porcello an All Star right now? I’m thinking you could start to make a somewhat compelling case…

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Serious answer–all else aside, no way they are going to take THREE Tiger pitchers for the AS team. And–as of now–how do you keep Verlander and Ed-Jack off the team?

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Well, it’s not entirely unprecedented to have 3 pitchers from the same team in the ASG. Why just last year 3 Cubs (Zambrano, Dempster, Marmol) and 3 Angels (Saunders, Santana, K-Rod) made it. Granted a couple of those guys are relievers, but still…

Ryan P. May 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I’m enjoying the fact that Porcello’s games seem to have the leeway to take him out after ~85 pitches. Although, I happily await the days when he’s allowed to throw 110 pitches and go 7-8 innings almost every time he toes the rubber.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Joel Zumaya has been a little shaky the last few times out there…

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm

GIDP Fun Facts!

Active Leaders, Career GIDP:
1. Ivan Rodriguez 294
3. Gary Sheffield 228
7. Edgar Renteria 213
10. Magglio Ordonez 205
42. Placido Polanco 141
66. Jacques Jones 116
72. Miguel Cabrera 110
81. Carlos Guillen 104

So how did we NOT lead the league in GIDP last season? (Renteria at 7 surprises me; not that it didn’t seem like he hit into about 100 last season, but for a guy that’s had a lot of speed most of his career, to be out in front of Ordonez was a surprise).

*Pudge is not only #1 active, but he is #11 all-time, and only needs 3 more to catch our old friend Rusty Staub for #10 (actually Rusty and Brooks Robinson are tied 9/10). He needs over 50 if he hopes to catch Cal Ripken for #1 all-time though…

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Jacque Jones is still active? That reminds me, he should really change names with Tony Parker to restore order to the universe.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Last I heard he was with the Reds in spring training, and didn’t make the team–and considering he was a big favorite of Dusty Baker in Chicago, he must not have been close to making it. I have no idea if he accepted the “designated for assignment” thing or what…

Mith May 27, 2009 at 4:24 pm

I’d say no on Frederick Alfred Porcello as an All-Star. Although 6-3 and 3.48 is not too shabby. I guess another few quality starts and maybe it’d be too hard to ignore him.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:29 pm

OK that settles it. From here on out I’m referring to him as Fred-Fred. I will accept no rebuttals.

Mark in Chicago May 27, 2009 at 5:18 pm

That is an awful name. No wonder he goes by ‘Rick’

Brenden May 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I’m thinking if Porcello keeps pitching the way he is, he could have a legitimate shot Rookie of the Year.

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Yeah, I’d have to pen him and Andrus in TX as the early leaders. Wieters up on Fri vs. the boys…

Did you know that if you have $5 and Wieters has $5, he has more money than you?

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Also, when Weiters does a push-up he’s not lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.

Kevin in Dallas (used to be Austin) May 27, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Analysis: Zumaya was better in the 8th inning than he was in the 7th inning.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 4:32 pm

That’s because he read my comment stamped 4:19 in the dugout. I can see no other explanation for it.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Hello win column.

Andrew May 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm

13-game hitting streak for Maggs now? That would be great is he’s heating up.

Eric Cioe May 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Toronto is softening up Baltimore’s bullpen tonight. Hopefully Galarraga doesn’t absolutely suck tomorrow. I think Willis will be serviceable on Friday. Verlander tends to dominate Baltimore, and now that he’s just had a “light game” at 96 pitches, I’d love to see him go out and throw a 13 SO shutout or something devastating like that. And then Jackson follows him. I like out chances all 4 games. Even though Galarraga is bad lately and Willis is still a question mark, Baltimore has almost no pitching. Weiters will be playing his first game this weekend, too, which is cool.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Yeah if it’s like last year at all we should score a bunch, because that clown Luke Scott will go 11-14 in the series with 15 RBI, and hit for the cycle twice…

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm

The Orioles aren’t a bad offensive club. Roberts, Markakis, Don’t Call Me Pacman Jones, Huff. These guys can all hit. And Wieters is supposed to be a God Among Men, so the pitchers best bring their A games. And Camden Yards is a pretty extreme hitters park, too…

Ryan P May 27, 2009 at 5:32 pm

God, I hate all-star voting. Inge isn’t even in the top5 of third basemen. Sizemore is in the top-10 of outfielders. Hell, Manny is 4th in NL outfielder voting. Stupidest crap ever, take away fan voting. Or only allow voting at the ballpark.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

I haven’t seen any results yet, is that on the MLB site?

Ryan P May 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Yes. Don’t even bother looking though, unless you enjoy inflicting pain upon yourself.

rings May 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Inge is off to a fine start, as good as can be hoped…but do you seriously think he deserves to start over A-Rod, Longoria & Young?!? He has very little national name recognition, he’s coming off a .205 season for a last place team and he’s currently 4th among AL 3B OPS.

Our all stars will be Miggy, along with JV or Jackson, most likely.

Here’s the current AL vote tally: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090527&content_id=4985248&vkey=allstar2009&fext=.jsp#alvote_052709

Ryan P May 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Start? No. Wright is in the other league. I don’t expect anyone to start, but it would be nice to see a few names up there.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I don’t think Wright is relevant to the discussion. Unless the Tigers moved to the National League. I may have missed the memo.

Tigers All-Stars: Cabrera. That’s it, and that’s only becuase each team has to be represented. Otherwise they wouldn’t have any. He hasn’t been nearly as good as Pena, Teixeira or Youkilis. OK…now that I got the sarcasm out of my system. I’d say Miggy, Verlander, Jackson and perhaps Porcello/Inge. A-Rod will be the starting 3B because he’s A-Rod. Then Longoria. I could see Inge as the third 3B selected if he continues to play like he has up to this point. Porcello stands a chance if he has something like 10 wins at the break.

rings May 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Obviously, I typo’d Michael Young (see? NY is on everyone’s “Wright” mind when it comes to all star votes!)…but the point remains: Inge is not recognized nationally and, for as good as he’s been so far this season, he hasn’t been as good as any of those three (given that A-Rod is an automatic).
For Ryan P to complain already about him trailing in voting is silly. You can “hope,” of course, but cannot have any serious expectations for him to be voted higher, particularly given that he doesn’t play in NY or Boston.

Ryan P May 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm

The whole point was kind of the hilariousness of fan voting and the NY/Boston/LA issue. As I already said, I don’t expect him to start or even be top three. Anyways, the Sizemore issue is funnier, while the Manny issue is just…hilarious…

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Inge has definitely been getting attention from his peers…not just for his home runs and web gems, but for his legs. His calves are enormous, there’s nothing else like it apparently…at least according to “Not Grandy” Sizemore:

“The man [Inge] has the biggest calves I’ve ever seen.” -Grady Sizemore, Indians

(Context: ESPN the magazine poll of athletes on who the best athletes in each sport are…ESPN seemed surprised to hear the name Inge come up a lot…”Several players mentioned Inge. Guess we’ll just have to take their word. He’s a career .240 hitter who has struck out 100 or more times in four different seasons…”)

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=jocks&id=3424124

Joel in Seattle May 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I looked, and seeing Cap’n Jetes leading the SS tally reminded me of what I read saw in The Sporting News at the Dr.’s office. While the magazine’s “expert” panel reasonably chose Albert Pujols as the best all-around player in baseball, Todd Jones weighed in with his opinion that Derek Jeter is the best player in the MLB.

Roller coaster, indeed.

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm

rings: my rationale for Inge is that reserves are voted on by players/managers/coaches. These guys generally screw up as bad as the fans do. However, Inge’s HR totals and Web Gem-type plays at third are likely to have garnered some attention from his peers. If he keeps his batting average in the .280 range I could see him getting more votes than Young (though Young is having a nice year also). I’d say he’s a longshot but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

EDIT: Yes, I screwed up and put this under the wrong post.

Olivia May 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Hi Detroit Tigers. I’m a fan of yours. Please go on the skinny. Here is the website again. http://WWW.visitmyclass.com/blogs/theskinny. There is no spaces. By the way I do a column about you.

Eric Cioe May 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Olivia, you bitch. Never call Billfer fat.

Joel in Seattle May 27, 2009 at 5:57 pm

LOL!

Chris in Dallas May 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I think Olivia is actually Borat. Discuss.

rings May 27, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Get well, Dan Dickerson! (…or anything to save us from Jim Price’s horrible play-by-play)

Anson May 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Damn can’t believe I’m driving from Baltimore to Detroit tomorrow just as the Tigers finally get to Baltimore.

Mr. X May 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Porcello in May is 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

Rodney hasn’t given up a run since May 10th.

Ken in Vegas May 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm

I know it’s early in the season, but I’m salivating like a rabid spider monkey at the thought of seeing playoff baseball again. This team has all the ingrediants to take this division: gritt, speed, defense, nutmeg, pitching, and just enough offense. I feel like Jimmy has even kicked his game up a notch. Bam! One day at a time boys.

Coleman May 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Well the Tigers have a nice 4-game lead in the Central; yes, we all know this by now.

But did you know with their record they would also have a half-game lead for wildcard? I don’t mind that one bit…

Ken in Las Vegas May 27, 2009 at 9:24 pm

I don’t think that will ever be a factor, honestly. If we win the division then we may have won the wild card too, but we will never lose the division and make the wild card because the teams below us in the central will not finish much above .500 this year. It does say good things about our record though. We are creeping up towards the top of MLB. Here we come Dodgers.

Chauncey May 27, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Billfer- I was just reading your postgame comments, and thought you brought up an excellent point about Anderson- that aside from unreal speed, he has a very high OPS (albeit in somewhat limited at bats). I was wondering what you, or anyone else, thinks about making him the everyday lead-off guy, at least against righties. I understand this takes at bats away from Granderson, but I think with Grandy’s power, he can be just as useful farther down the lineup- possibly where he’s been hitting 5th, or in my opinion, preferably hitting third.

It just seems to me that Anderson changes the entire make up of the team with his speed. Just look at the first inning of today’s game- he gets on, and is immediately in scoring position (although he somehow managed to get picked off second). Someone with that type of ability obviously puts tremendous pressure on the opposing pitcher from the outset, and makes the defense play differently from the outset of the inning. Anyway, just a thought.

jb61973 May 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm

He has an extremely low OPS. Bilfer’s point was that it was stupid for him to bat leadoff therefore maximizing his plate appearances when his production has been anemic.

Coleman May 28, 2009 at 2:10 am

I understand the benefit of a higher OPS in the leadoff spot (since this hitter will have the most ABs on the team), but I think the idea is to focus on the OBP part of the OPS for leadoff, and move the higher SLG batter (Granderson) somewhere where he is more likely to have batters on base when he is doing aforementioned slugging. As far as OBP goes, Granderson/Anderson are about the same (.325/.322), Granderson’s OPS is so much higher because he hits home runs–which might produce more runs from the 5-spot, even with fewer ABs (or not…but it’s at least a valid trade-off).

But I’m all for having one of the guys leading the team in HRs batting right after the guy who is on base the most…

I also think having better first innings will help us; as it is we are the worst in the league or close to it….216/.281/.321, 4 HR 19 RBI, 14BB 28K, 7 GIDP 19R (AL avg is .258/.332/.400 5 HR 22 RBI, 18BB 34K, 3 GIDP, 24R.

We’re almost spotting opposing pitchers a half an inning; at the very least Anderson will put a bit of pressure on the pitchers and defense. When i isolate Granderson’s 1st inning stats from his overall stats, I’m even more of a fan of trying Anderson at leadoff to see how it works:

1HR 1RBI 5BB 10K .162/.262/.270 4R…Granderson has actually been on base only 9 times in the 1st inning all season, and only scored 4 (1 of which was on a HR) which is easily lowest among leadoff hitters; 3 of the 9 times he was immediately erased by a GIDP…that doesn’t leave much of a 1st inning highlight film…

billfer May 28, 2009 at 6:02 am

Wow. Didn’t realize that Grandy only got on 9 times starting games this season. Nice work.

Still, I like Granderson’s chances of improving his OBA the rest of the season more than Anderson’s.

Vince in MN May 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

The discussion of moving Granderson down in the order has been brought up occasionally for some time now. Maybe now is the time to make that switch. If Granderson were to be permanently moved to, say 5th in the order, would the Tigers have to institute some kind of platoon at leadoff because of Anderson’s weakness vs. LHP? Any suggestions?

David May 28, 2009 at 10:14 am

I believe it to be much wiser to lead off Anderson and bat Grandy 5 or possibly even later now that he has stunk the whole season.

Anderson is from what I’ve seen much quicker than Granderson, there might not be a huge difference in top speed, but his acceleration beats Grandys hands down.

Plus he has been a superior contact hitter.

Granderson is batting south of .250 – not shocking when you look at his spray chart and see that nearly every one of his hits at COPA have been pulled or up the middle.

He has shown some flashes this year, but all in all has been a major disappointment.

Mr. X May 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

I’m the least bit disappointed with Granderson. Compared to other American League CF’s, he’s doing rather well. He’s also on pace to have career highs in Homers, Walks. and RBI’s.

Also, take a look at Granderson’s 3 year splits-
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?playerId=6125&type=batting3
He usually only hits about .270 in April/May, but in June/July he hits about .320. Once he get’s hot, which he eventually will, his average goes up, and so will the rest of his numbers. He’s on his way to having a career year.

jb61973 May 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

Granderson also has a .250 BABIP which will undoubtedly go up, since he has been well over .300 in this statistic every year of his career. WHen that number goes up, so then, will his OBP.

Besides, the point is that with Anderson as the leadoff guy you are increasing his plate appearances and decreasing Granderson’s. That doesn’t make any sense.

Mr. X May 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm
Mr. X May 28, 2009 at 7:18 am

Anderson is a tough call. Based on his April stats (.849 OPS), I’d want him leading off. Based on his May stats (.506 OPS, not including Yesterday) , I’d want him on the bench more.

Mr. X May 28, 2009 at 9:10 am

Leyland can bat Inge lead-off for all I care. Just as long as Cabrera is hitting 3rd or 4th I’ll be happy.

Jerry the Tiger fan May 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I disagree with Bilfer on the Anderson in the lead-off spot role. We are wasting Granderson’s power and extra base hit ability (although we haven’t seen it as much this year) in the lead-off spot.

Also, why does Leyland refuse to bunt more often than he does? He finally bunts in the fifth inning and it leads to a run, welcome to the way baseball is managed by everyone else Jimmy! This issue has been bothering me ever since the first of those two gut-wrenching losses in Minnesota. If you’ll recall the Tigers got the leadoff man on in four of the five innings from the 9th inning on (the extra inning loss on Crede’s walk-off), and each time the Tigers swung away and grounded into DPs. I don’t get why Leyland won’t bunt people along more often, especially given this team’s trouble in scoring runs this year. We have one guy who should never bunt (Cabrera), the rest should (including Inge who seems to be deemed as untouchable in terms of bunting by ole Jimmy).

jb61973 May 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm

So the fact that everyone else manages the game by bunting and giving away outs means it is the right way to do it?

Ryan P. May 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm

I have enjoyed the style of play this year. There is more bunting and hit-and-running, but not too much I think. Although running into outs with the hit-and-run is fairly frustrating.

I know Leyland often alludes to how he “manages with his gut”. Which is fine with me. There is often never a right answer to playing small ball or not in any given inning. There are potential successes or failures both ways.

bill May 28, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Only the Mariners and Royals have more sac bunts than the Tigers in the AL. And look at those offenses. Is that what the Tigers should be striving for?

Mark in Chicago May 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm

To say nothing of the situation: if Polanco leads off an inning with a single, should Ordonez or Cabrera be bunting?

Each team gets 27 outs, use them wisely.

David May 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Yes if we need a run. If those guys don’t know how to lay down a nice bunt, since the art has been effectively lost, then it is a different story.

Jeff May 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Disagree. A successful bunt, when a good or even average hitter is at the plate, reduces the expected number of runs and reduces the likelihood of a run being scored in the first place (check any run likelihood vs. outs and men on base chart and it will verify that).

When it’s a pitcher or Sardinha, it’s a different situation, which is why it makes sense to have pitchers and lousy hitters bunt. It’s absolutely self-defeating to have a good hitter bunt to make an out. Bunting for a hit is a different story.

Last night in Baltimore the Tigers gave away two crucial outs by insisting on bunting. In one case Santiago had a 2-0 and then a 2-1 count. A walk moves the runners up without giving up an out, yet they still had him bunting even on a 2-2 pitch. And having Polanco bunt when the next two hitters are power hitters and can drive in someone from first base was foolish as well.

As the others note, you get 27 outs. Don’t waste them.

Chris in Dallas May 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm

The only acceptable form of bunting is those red white and blue half circle things around the park during the postseason.

RPS May 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I agree and disagree with all of this. I am a huge fan of bunting for a hit. There are a lot of pitchers and third basemen around who can’t convert a decent bunt into an out. All guys with above average speed should be able to lay down a bunt well enough to get on against Ponson/Teahen. That said, I hate the sacrifice bunt with all my hating ability. Bunting as a surprise or change of pace or beating a sucky 3B and big fat pitcher tends to work. Bunting predictably is for the bottom of the ninth, tie game, man on first, no outs. And that’s about it.

I don’t like hit-and-runs generally, but I would be downright ecstatic to never again see a hit-and-run with Ordonez or Cabrera on first. If you’re not even staying out of the DP, you’re saying “Here. Have an out. I’m not using it anyway”.

RPS May 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm

And just to nip it in the bud, the 2005 White Sox hit 200 homers. Fourth in the AL. They had a total of 102 sac flies/bunts. They were 70/137 stealing bases. The secret to the feted smallball team was having enough power up and down the lineup to overcome the wasted outs. And their bullpen was crazy, crazy good.

Chris in Dallas May 28, 2009 at 3:10 pm

The real secret to the 2005 White Sox was their starting pitchers throwing approximately 948 innings in the postseason. And Jenks. And Paul Konerko impersonating a productive ballplayer.

Mr. X May 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

IMO, good teams bunt just enough to keep the other teams defense honest. The threat of bunting is more damaging to the defense than the bunt itself. The holes in the infield get a heck of a lot bigger when the infield positions itself for the bunt.

Coleman May 29, 2009 at 1:47 am

It’s also a nice trick, the bunting is, when the opposing team’s pitchers are known for fielding the bunt and then throwing randomly toward no glove-wearing uniformed teammate…

David May 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Cobb used that many times, then again he was a bunting legend.

Still we saw that in the 2006 WS where there were bunts or slow hits to the pitcher and he had a bit of difficulty fielding his position and/or throwing with accuracy to the base.

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