Game 2009.061: Tigers at Pirates

PREGAME: I can’t help but wonder if there are more Tigers fans in the stands tonight that Pirates fans. I think Tigers fans would be well represented with many planning to make the relatively short drive to see their team in a gorgeous ballpark. But with Game 7 tonight, I’d guess many Pittsburgh fans would be blowing off the Pirates for the Penguins, and will it just be Tigers fans who made the journey left in the stands?

Whoever decides to go will see Rick Porcello take on Ian Snell. Porcello is looking to regain his May-ish form after 2 outings that weren’t great.

Snell hasn’t had a very good season. He’s walking a batter every other inning and not striking out very many and the result is an ERA over 5. He has been much better at home where he’s only allowed 1 of his 7 homers.

Detroit vs. Pittsburgh – June 12, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: Rick Porcello is the answer to what ails ya. Porcello had an incrdible individual effort both on the mound and in the batters box. Porcello went 7 innings and threw 99 pitches (a career high) and held Pittsburgh to 1 run, which was in part gifted due to a blown call at 2nd base.

But that was only half the story for Porcello. He also had 2 singles and drove in the first 2 runs. Who needs designated hitters?

Other stuff:

  • Fernando Rodney was much better this time out. He threw 12 pitches, and 11 of them were strikes.
  • Zach Miner as the primary set-up guy? He’s turned in a few nice relief appearances in a row now.
  • The offense was far from stagnant tonight with 11 hits and 4 walks. That only 3 came around to score was odd and annoying and frustrating, especially with 4 of the hits being for extra bases.
  • Placido Polanco with an excellent game with 2 doubles, 2 singles and a sacrifice bunt.


  1. Dylan

    June 12, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I’m headed to Pittsburgh Saturday night. I’ve never been before but it looks like a great park and I’m excited.

    Oh yea… Go Wings!

  2. Matt

    June 12, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Let’s hope we don’t suffer through another round watching an opposing team’s struggling pitcher magically regain his form against the Tigers.

    • Coleman

      June 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm

      The odd thing is, despite the struggling, the Tigers are still 7th in the league and well above league average (not to mention central division avg) with 4.92 runs / game…this despite being well below league avg in team OPS (10th, ahead of only KC, CHW, SEA, OAK); only 10th in stolen bases–but 6th most caught stealing; most GIDPs in the AL (and in fewer opportunities); 12th in sac flies (although we are 2nd in bunts)

      In other words we can’t get on base, when we do get on base the baserunners get erased by GIDPs, caught stealing, etc, we can’t manage a sac fly, and did I mention we’re a pitcher’s vacation, 13th out of 14 AL teams in pitches/plate appearance…and we still somehow seem to come out on the other end of all that with more runs than the other guys do, and a 33-27 record.

      On the other end of the spectrum, compare an offense like Tampa Bay, who works pitchers hard (1st with 3.98 P/PA–in fact only two guys in their lineup are below league avg); 1st in the league in stolen bases with 96 (DET has 33) while being only 5th in CS with 18 (DET has 17); 13 of 14 in number of GIDPs with 32 (DET has 62, with 200 fewer PA) and 2nd best league OPS at .810 (DET .739); all adding up to an amazing league-best 5.65 runs per game avg.

      Oh, and they are 31-31 (10-11 vs the weak central).

      The difference must be pitching–at least to some degree. And DET is 2nd best in the AL, giving up 4.37 runs per game. Yet TB is a solid 6th at 4.68, a far narrower margin than their offensive advantage. Have we been lucky and them unlucky, playing the right/wrong teams at the right/wrong time? Maybe–although there seems to be a consensus that we are constantly running into hot streaks…Could it be we are better managed? Maybe–although there too there seems to be a consensus that we are managed in frustratingly inept fashion…Or perhaps it’s just that mysterious and potent thing when the parts come together in such a way that their sum is exceeded by the combined whole?

      • Vince in MN

        June 12, 2009 at 5:09 pm

        Pitching and defense in spite of the offense and Leyland.

        • Matt

          June 12, 2009 at 5:49 pm

          Maybe Jesus likes us better.

          Bet you never thought of that when you were putting all your fancy stats together…


          • Coleman

            June 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm

            If he likes us better, why did he sign with the Giants? Or…oh, you mean THAT one. While he does sometimes have good advice, he isn’t much help with the stats, he’s all into all the intangible stuff.

            Plus I don’t think he would be one to take an active interest in one team over another, with the obvious exception of being against the White Sox.

            But I give him credit for being way ahead of the curve on some things, like the RH-LH matchup stuff. He was stressing the value of switch-hitting (“turn the other cheek”) way before anybody had stats on that stuff…

        • Keith (Mr. X)

          June 12, 2009 at 6:29 pm

          If it was up to us fans, we’d have gone through 27 managers already this season.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        June 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

        I hate to say it, but winning close games usually means good managing and a good bullpen.

        So yes, we have been INCREDIBLY lucky.

  3. mcb

    June 12, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Made the drive to Pitt for tonight’s game. Will have on my Wings jersey.

  4. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    I like what I’ve seen so far from Kelly. In his picture his hat is on perfectly straight, and not obscuring his vision as with the Larish cap…

  5. billfer

    June 12, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Nyjer Morgan wears stirrups. I’m going to have to pull for him a little bit now…as long as is hits are inconsequential and his plays in the field don’t rob the Tigers.

  6. Kevin in Dallas

    June 12, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    When is Dickerson back?

    • billfer

      June 12, 2009 at 7:59 pm

      The homestand. He’s not cleared to travel yet.

  7. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Hmm, did Flash Ordonez really just steal 2nd?

    • billfer

      June 12, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      He’s been running pretty well lately. He had that tag up from 2nd on the flyball to center in the Chicago series also.

  8. Tom

    June 12, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Porcello knocked the crap out of that one! Base hit!

  9. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Gameday is obviously messed up, perhaps a virus…Ordonez stealing 2nd, then Santiago singling to 2nd then Laird and Granderson both whiff but in between Porcello scores Ordonez…hopefully we’ll get the corrections soon…

  10. Skip

    June 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Porcello’s fastball sits around 91-92, but when he was drafted, I heard that he could dial it up to 95-96… Is this info correct?

    • billfer

      June 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm

      He can throw his 4 seam that fast, he had a 95mph pitch earlier this game. But he uses his 2 seamer much more.

  11. Neal

    June 12, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Didn’t everyone see that GIDP coming. I think the only real suprise was that it wasn’t on the first pitch.
    I was just hoping they were sending Miggy, even with his poor hammy.
    Let Maggs hit leadoff, hopefully he has less GIDP opportunities there.

  12. billfer

    June 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    A 6 pitch inning against Snell is pretty inexcusable.

  13. Skip

    June 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks billfer!
    Porcello and recently drafted Jacob Turner seem very similar
    Both are big right handers
    Both are hard throwers
    Both have good secondary pitches
    And both had a small mechanics issue that was deemed easily to correct in the minors
    Can’t wait for our future rotation of Verlander, Jackson, Porcello, and Turner! (assuming JV and EJ are still around…)

    • Chris

      June 12, 2009 at 8:25 pm

      You forgot Willis 🙂

    • billfer

      June 12, 2009 at 8:40 pm

      Turner isn’t nearly as polished as Porcello was at this point though. It would be pretty surprising if he was contributing in 2011. But yeah, he can bring the heat. He also seems to have the work ethic similar to Porcello. Chadd brought up his make-up several times during the conference call.

  14. Dylan

    June 12, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I am still shocked at how well Porcello just knows how to pitch. I don’t know how much credit Rick Knapp or even Gerald Laird are responsible for this. It also seems like we have a guy in Edwin Jackson who has done a great deal of “learning how to pitch”.

    But Porcello has great stuff and it’s just remarkable to me the amount of poise he carries on the mound.

    • Dylan

      June 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

      I mean his poise at the plate. *

  15. Chris

    June 12, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Maybe we can DH Porcello on his off day… There folks. Offensive problems solved!

  16. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    OK, I hereby proclaim this game to be officially amusing…

  17. Skip

    June 12, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Wow. Our offense must be really scuffiling if the pitcher (from the AL!) supplies the only offense…
    Oh well, we’re winning
    And the Wings just killed a penalty (still 0-0)
    Go Wings!! Go Tigers!!

  18. Skip

    June 12, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    The ump down at second base hates us…
    Morgan was out
    And Sanchez was out…(?)- it was close…

  19. Aloysius

    June 12, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Last night Rod Allen called Granderson “CJ”…what does CJ stand for?

    • billfer

      June 12, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      Curtis Jr.

    • Dylan

      June 12, 2009 at 8:57 pm

      Curtis Jr.

  20. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    hmm so what do we do now? Porcello is coming up against his pitch limit, but with a one-run game we can’t afford to take his bat out of the line-up…maybe we can hide him in left for an inning…

  21. Kevin in Dallas

    June 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    We are good at singles, not good at much else. This isn’t gonna fly vs. the AL W or E. Let’s snap out of this soon.

    • billfer

      June 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

      Well, I agree about the AL East, but it’s been flying against the AL West so far (14-4)

      • Kevin in Dallas

        June 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm

        Yeah, 6-0 v. Texas. I’m not counting on that to hold up, though splitting those still puts us at a respectable 11-7.

        Last 7 days we are .216/.308/.356/.664 5-3
        Last 30 days we are .257/.328/.406/.734 16-13

        Amazing. If we start to hit and pitch the same, we’ll be really, really good.

  22. jud

    June 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    just got here and i see Polonco with 4 hits and 0 runs scored hmmmm!
    And Porcello with all the rbi ///hhmmmmm!

  23. Dylan

    June 12, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    A+ start from Porcello and he added 2 RBIs for fun. We better not blow this game.

  24. billfer

    June 12, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Porcello’s WPA in this game .570. So he was worth more than a win.

  25. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Carl’s Jr…oh well, I was close…

    And there’s nothing wrong with singles; they would amount to more, if we didn’t have a line-up handcrafted with scientific precision to insure that for that day’s matchups, the batters most likely to achieve aforementioned singles be each followed by the batter most likely to achieve the GIDP in those self-same circumstances…

  26. jud

    June 12, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    well here we go the real game is on!

  27. jud

    June 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    they are playing rock paper scissors in the bullpen and the loser has to pitch the 9th

  28. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    .538 .571 .923 1.495

    What is this? (quiz inspired by previous Kevin in Austin creation)…

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

      Well, I’d say it’s Porcello’s batting line, but the .538 is hard to get there with only 3 ABs.

      Porcello in HS?

      (and I’m sticking with “in Dallas” now)

  29. Matt

    June 12, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    First-pitch ordonez strikes again.

    Maybe that pitcher was having control problems and would have thrown 9 balls in a row. But we’ll never know because Ordonez simply has to swing at the first pitch.

    God I hate that.

  30. Kevin in Dallas

    June 12, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Maggs GO/AO this season:
    April: 1.43
    May: 2.24
    June: 8.00

    2.24 for the season. Tigers as a team are 1.27. His inability to hit line drives is worrisome.

  31. jud

    June 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    ok everyone can breathe now

  32. jud

    June 12, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    one thing kind of overlooked with the great pitching the Tigs have been getting is the solid defensive play of this infield..they have been very very good…… nice win!

  33. Coleman

    June 12, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Actually Matt’s answer was closest, despite his lack of answering intent…those were Mr Inge’s 1st-pitch-hitting numbers…actually after tonight they are now
    .571 .600 1.143 1.743… that’s enough to make the Big Mig envious