Game 2009.063: Tigers at Pirates

PREGAME: It appears that the Tigers Saturday/Sunday invincibility only applies to intra-league games as they have been stymied in their first 3 match-ups with the senior circuit.

Dontrelle Willis gets the ball for the Tigers and fans will get to see what is better, his hitting or his pitching. Despite his struggles in his last start, Willis’s stature in the rotation seems somewhat more secure with the news that Bonderman will be out for a couple more months.

Russ Ohlendorf is your typical back of the rotation starter. One of these days the Tigers will need to thump an opposing pitcher. Maybe this is the day. Five of the eleven homers that Ohlendorf has allowed this year have come on the first pitch. This could play into the Tigers approach.

Oh yeah, and they’ll be wearing 1909 throwback uni’s. Always a good time.

Detroit vs. Pittsburgh – June 14, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: When the lineup was posted this game felt like a lost cause. When the Tigers sacrifice bunted in the first inning to play for one run and the plan backfired it was demoralizing. When Dontrelle Willis walked in 2 runs in the first inning it was the beginning of a disaster.

Nothing about this game felt good except for the fact that Don Kelly had a nice game. Willis was bad. Really bad. Miguel Cabrera and Curtis Granderson combined to not get the ball out of the infield. And Josh Anderson batted third. This was a couple days after Leyland was quoting he thought Anderson wasn’t cut out to be a leadoff hitter. Yeah, batting 3rd should fix it.

I think this is pretty good timing for an offday.

79 thoughts on “Game 2009.063: Tigers at Pirates”

  1. 1) His first name is Ross, not Russ. 🙂
    2) I don’t know if he is a back of the rotation starter – he has seven quality starts – one more than Ricky Porcello. They might beat up on him though, he has been atrocious in day games.

    His ERA isn’t good but he has pitched several games very well especially earlier on this season. He was the trading chip I believe for Xavier Nady.
    That’s a nice story about him – he went to Princeton and did several other rare/impressive things. I’m kinda surprised the Indians didn’t take him, since they go after guys like that.

    I’m so psyched for the throwback unis! And the change in ballpark atmosphere (no music/different scoreboard etc.). Wagner v. Cobb&Crawford!

  2. Jeremy Bonderman on the DL until at least September if not 2010!!!

    From Beck’s Blog (Jason Beck – beat writer)

    Jeremy Bonderman was back with the Tigers in Pittsburgh on Saturday, but it won’t be for long. He’s scheduled to fly back to Detroit on Sunday and start his rehab work again with a therapist. From there, it’s looking like a long process, and Bonderman sees it.

    “It’s probably not going to be within the next month, but I’m hoping before September,” Bonderman said of a possible return. “My goal is before September. I know it’s going to be a long process.

    “It just hasn’t been everything I expected. It’s tough. It’s been a tough year.”

    It wasn’t expected to be nearly this tough. He faced a difficult offseason rehab process after surgery in June to correct a restricted blood vessel in his right shoulder, but remember, there was at least some hope going into spring training that he might be ready in time for Opening Day.

    But the surgery has taken more of a toll on his shoulder than most anyone could’ve expected, including some nerve problems, and he can’t get that strength back to pitch at a Major League level.

    “From what Dr. Andrews said, I still have a long way to go,” Bonderman said. “I’ll just start working with a rehab guy in Detroit — for how long, I don’t know — and go from there.”

    He’s prepared for the possibility that even September might not be long enough, or that the Tigers will play it on the safe side.

    “I just want to get back — if it’s not this year, then at least get to where I feel comfortable going into next Spring Training,” Bonderman said. “I plan on being back, but wherever things go this year, I don’t know. I don’t want to put a timetable on it, because when I came back this time, I wasn’t ready. I’m not going to come back and hurt the team. When I come back next time, it’ll be to stay.”

  3. I just saw today’s lineup and buried my face in my hands. I can reach no other conclusion: Jim Leyland is trying to lose.

  4. Why is Anderson playing?
    Why is he still on the roster?
    Batting 3rd?. , maybe that’s Leyland’s way of telling guys they are about to be sent down if they don’t produce big.

  5. Hopefully Dontrelle can get us a good start. I think its time for Armando to go to the minors. Are there any good starting options in the minors for us?

  6. What is with this batting order?!?
    Oh well… We’ll see if it works… (hopefully…)

    And the mobile version of this site is back on my iPhone!!!!

  7. Galarraga…..Willis…..get rid of both of them….This is just crazy to have these two in the rotation. They are not even competitive.

  8. Well, this is going to be a long day…

    Hey, what does anyone think of Luke (“frickin’)
    Scott in a Tigers uniform?
    Morosi of Fox Sports is whispering Tigers are looking for a left-handed bat and the Orioles have some good lefty hitters
    The only problem is, Morosi said Wilkin Ramirez would be the trade chip…
    Oh well, it’s all rumors anyway…

  9. Okay….Robertson, Willis, and Galarraga are out…

    Minor to the rotation, Bonine to the bullpen, who else can we bring up?

    1. I’d like to see Fu Te Ni given an opportunity. He could have arguably made the team out of spring training, and he’s pitching well in Toledo. It would be nice to have a second left-hander out of the pen when Robertson is released.

  10. Will Willis make it out of the first inning?
    I’m getting sick of this platooning crap…..field your eight best and lets get on with it!

  11. Galaraga and Willis are killing this team and the bullpen. DD and JL have to make some changes or this team will fall off during the season. JV, EJ, and Porcello cannot keep up their pace all season and carry the team.

    Time to cut loose Dontrell and Robertson and maybe send Galaraga out or to the bullpen. Minor should start and as much as this pains me, Bonine may deserve another shot.

  12. I don’t know if I like dontrelle the person or hate dontrelle the 2009 pitcher more. It sucks that it’s happening to such a good guy.

    1. Like the manager. I can’t believe he is giving Polanco and Ordonez ANOTHER day off. FIRE JIM LEYLAND TODAY!!!!

  13. All of these off days for the the starters is really starting to irk me. They are being paid millions to play more than 2 days in a row!!!

  14. Anderson the fastest Tiger makes it pretty easy when you ground out to FIRST…almost anywhere else in the entire field scores that first run. If you are going to sac why not squeeze with a guy who isn’t hitting anyway.

  15. Willis hand problem is it doesn’t have any strikes in it!

    you walk a guy hitting .042 how about throwing it under hand to him

  16. Willis takes a line drive off the leg, then he starts throwing better. This is like something from The Three Stooges.

  17. I have an idea: let’s free up a slot on the roster and release D-train. He hasn’t, and is not gonna, get the job done. Far too many walks; he’s just way too wild. He walked in 2 runs in the 1st again today; I’m tired of this. Tigers have been patient with him, but I’m just not seeing any improvement – you can’t be this wild and pitch in the Bigs. LH pitching is ALWAYS at a premium….but they have to at least be able to throw strikes. Seems like when D-man pitches, he gives the Tiges no chance to win; they fall behind early and don’t catch up. So my feeling: let’s cut him loose and cut our losses now…. 🙁

  18. Radio announcers talking about Willis as if he is special olympics participant. ‘What a bounce back,’ they just exclaimed because he managed to get two batters out in a row

  19. funny thing if the hitters didn’t swing an any pitch he throws the score of this game would be 6 -0

    1. I don’t think Sardinha has one thing to do with JV ‘s success he has been so good you or I could catch him and he would be the same this year.

    2. Why does everyone think Sardinha is Verlander’s personal catcher? Laird has been catching most of his games lately.

      1. Seriously….Sardinha is not a condition for Verlander’s success. Get that out of your head. Al because Rod said it, doesn’t make it true.

  20. If this teams offense doesn’t get cooking and if Galarraga, Robertson, and Willis stay on the staff, we will fall right out of first place.

  21. 8 walks in 3.2 innings….that’s 8 walks while getting 8 outs. So if D-man pitches a complete 27 out game….he gives up 27 walks?? Sorry – Leyland, Illitch and Dombo….do what ya gotta do: give him his walking papers…..

  22. Miner is a good pitcher but HORRIBLE coming in with runners on and JL knows it or should know it because we all know it

  23. Maybe lately, but his track record is much better with Dane…check it

    April 6th: Verlander/Laird- LOSS
    April 11th: Verlander/Laird- No decision
    April 17th: Verlander/Laird- LOSS
    APril 22nd: Verlander/Laird- No decision
    April 27: Verlander/Laird- WIN
    May 3rd: Verlander/Sardhina- WIN
    May 8th: Verlander/Sardhina- WIN
    May 14th: Verlander/Sardhina go 6 innings, 2 ER…Laird goes in later, no decision (loss to Seay)
    May 20th: Verlander/Laird- WIN
    May 25th: Verlander/Laird- WIN
    May 30th: Verlander/Sardhina- WIN
    June 5th: Verlander/Laird- no decision
    June 10th: Verlander/Sardhina- WIN

    Laird: 3 wins, 2 losses, 3 no decisions

    Sardhina: 4 wins, no losses, 1 no decision

    Just because Rod says it, doesnt mean its true 😉

    1. Sardinha is just a back-up for the real back-up catcher. Probably about half of them games Sardinha played was on Thursday afternoons or the day after a night game, when Laird will usually get rested.

    2. so are you suggesting JV would have another loss or two if Sardinha was not the catcher in those games……I DON’T think so

  24. The lack of hitting is oficially a problem. McClendon had better be on thin ice.

    We may have to make a move. But do we have any bait?

  25. this offensive plan was doomed when Leyland presented this line up to the Umpire…Give Thames a day off brilliant he’s only played 5 games. Polonco just starting to hit give him the day off..

  26. I don’t mind seeing Santiago in the line-up for Polanco. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Polanco got traded. He’s probably our most expendable bargaining chip at the moment.

  27. well, the ‘hitting problem’ isn’t Polanco’s fault….nor Everett’s….and Santiago’s fine. The real issue is Ordonez and, currently, Cabrera. Mags hasn’t done squat all year basically (until the last couple weeks), and Cabby started smoking hot, but has now cooled off in June. Funny, so has the offense….

  28. Man, this is looking grim.

    With the disintegration of Willis and Bonderman and to a slightly lesser extent, Galarraga, what had the potential to become a formidable rotation is in turmoil. We have no idea what to expect from Rodney from one appearance to the next. And we can’t buy a run.

    I can’t believe I’m writing this about a first place team. Thank God it’s a long season and we play in the AL Central.

    Its time to release Willis and Robertson – there’s nothing there. They have big contracts but that doesn’t seem to impress opposing hitters too much. We know they can’t get outs – maybe somebody else can.

    1. It’s a pickle. Glad it’s not up to me to decide. I just hope we’re not dumpster diving for someone like Casey Fossum again. That wouldn’t be a step forward at all. I’d be happier with Dolsi or some other young gun given a chance. Almost every team needs pitching though. I’d hate to have Willis or Robertson comeback and beat us in a big game. It’s a pickle.

  29. Im suggesting that the catcher has some influence over the game that HE is calling..and since Justin was struggling before Dane came into this season (he is wild, and gets anxious) that its not a far stretch to think Dane- like most Hawaiins, brought a calm persona to the field that helped JV keep focused on the game at hand.

    And then I think its also not impossible that Laird talked to Dane and payed attention to their success and started implementing into his games with JV.

    If you think Justin magically got better after a couple crappy starts just because he is so awesome, then I wonder how you can explain last season.

    Laird has winning % with JV just over 50% this year, whereas Dane is undefeated for if you want to keep blasting me for suggesting theory that works with facts that back it up, then feel free. Its a free country.

    1. I agree that some of it is Dane.

      But I think if you remember each pitch start by start you should remember that all he was lacking in April was his control – he was pumping balls right over the heart of the plate – and wasn’t able to execute.

      His velocity was there, his bite on his curve was there, just not his control.

      Plus I love Hawaii and like Hawaiians, so I’m all for keeping Dane.

      Also his first dominant start in this recent stretch was against the Yanks with Laird.

      Really though any catcher they get (outside of trading for Mauer or Martinez) is not going to be much of an upgrade offensively over anything we’ve got.

      If JV feels even slightly better with Pineapple besides the dish – I’d def. keep him there.

    2. From what I hear, Verlander “magically” got better when he turned into a mean son of a beach the day he’s pitching. He won’t talk to anyone or even smile before a game. He’s pitching like he’s pissed off at everyone. It really has nothing to do with Dane. He’d pitch the same way with an old rubber tire standing behind home plate.

      1. And that happened supposedly after Greinke gave him some tips during a trip to KC..but you cant argue it coincided with Dane’s return to the team.

        Anyways, people are calling for Dane to be shipped out..but the fact is he calls A GREAT game, and has a superb arm…not every position player needs to bring a big bat. Not so long about Shortstops were defense only.

        This lineup should have enough RBI power from the rest of the players…if someone like Dane is doing 2/3rds of his job really well, you can forgive his quiet bat.

        Unless youre Jud, and then you expect everything from everyone and want to fire Leyland anytime something goes wrong 😀

        1. I don’t think hardly any of this is Leyland’s fault…I don’t like some of the things he does like the lineup today but it isn’t his fault the guys aren’t producing stick to your opinion and don’t type my opinion.
          In fact you can keep playing your .075 hitting catcher for all I care!

  30. As most folks know, I’m a pessimist at heart, but this division is so weak The Tigers could win the division at 84-78. Of course, I wouldn’t like their chances in the playoffs, but the 73 Mets, the 87 Twins, and the 06 Cards were barely above .500, good hot and won pennants.

    There, you have my one optimistic post of the summer.

    1. Yea but what if they fall off the table like they did in 2005, 2006, 2007 and last year in the second half to miss the playoffs?

  31. Mr. X, I will buy you box seats if Willis comes back and beats the Tigers for another team this year. It ain’t gonna happen. He’d probably sit out and try again in 2010 and/or go back to the weaker National League.

    1. I agree.

      Answer me this though.

      Right now what do the bad multi year (at least signed through/option for 2010) contracts look like? Is the following a fair list?


      And how much $$$ is a given for those guys who don’t – outside of Maggs have a good change of decent production.

    2. You’re probably right that he won’t beat the Tigers. I won’t argue with that. If Willis is released though, I bet many teams would be willing to take their chances with him. The Yankees are still throwing Wang with his 14+ ERA.

    3. I’d agree with dropping Willis though. We don’t need the drama anymore. I have little confidence that he’ll be any good in a Tiger uniform. He needs a fresh start somewhere else.

  32. Remember the good old days when “a waste of salary money” meant Inge getting $4.5 mil, with $6 mil in the future? (and even at his worst, he actually saved a roster spot by allowing the team to go with one fewer position player and at times with no backup catcher). By the way he is now the only Tiger to start every game this season.

  33. In the 1st inning, Rod Allen said Santiago bunted on his own. I wonder if that was true.

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