Game 2009.070: Cubs at Tigers

by billfer on June 23, 2009 · 133 comments

in 2009 Season,Game Post

PREGAME: The Cubs come to town, and so does Alan Trammell who says he is Always a Tiger (hey, that sounds like a good marketing campaign). So if you’re heading out to the game tonight (like I am), make sure you have yourself situated by 7:05. The Tigers do announce the base coaches and a standing ovation at a moment that is typically trivial at best, or ignored altogether, would be pretty special. Now on to the game.

Edwin Jackson takes the mound for Detroit. Jackson was recently the subject of a Pitch Count Warrior column at Baseball Digest Daily (h/t Neyer). Jackson hasn’t won in his last 2 decisions, though he hasn’t pitched poorly either with 5 runs allowed in his last 11 innings.

The Tigers will face Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano has 4 straight quality starts under his belt, but he’s also been prone to walks as of late with 17 in his last 32.2 innings.

I’m really hoping the Tigers win tonight, and so is Magglio Ordonez. He was benched and the Tigers won 4 games in a row. I heard callers on sports radio say that the reason for the 4 game winning streak was Ordonez’s absence. So with him back in the lineup, a loss could be difficult for many fans to swallow.

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Thames, DH
  5. Kelly, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Ordonez, RF
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

Chi Cubs vs. Detroit – June 23, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: It’s rare that I go to 2 Tigers games in a row. It’s why I’m so satisfied with the 2 games that I got to witness. A pitcher’s duel culminating in a walk-off for the good guys?! Are you kidding me?

Edwin Jackson and Carlos Zambrano pitched very similar games. Both were solid. Both got themselves into and out of jams repeatedly with minimual damage. The Tigers had 3 at-bats with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs early on and failed to convert. The Cubs only plated 1 run in a bases loaded no out situation in the first and only scored 1 run in a 2nd-3rd no out situation later on. It was high drama (and high frustration).

Brandon Inge once again comes through with a go ahead homer in the 7th inning and things are looking great. Joel Zumaya comes in and his first pitch is 100. Two quick outs and a pitch that displayed as 104 mph on the stadium gun (and 103mph in pitch f/x) and people were giddy. Then he threw an 85 mph fastball that was launched for a homer. Now there is much complaining about Zumaya throwing the change-up when he was throwing heat past guys. It ended up being a bad pitch, not because of the decision but because of the location. How often do we see Zumaya get hit and then we complain that “he can’t jus throw fastballs by everybody.” He got beat because he didn’t execute his 3rd best pitch. It wasn’t a horrible decision, and fortunately we don’t need to dwell on it.

We don’t need to dwell on it thanks to Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and a nice decision by Leyland. Don Kelly who was a full count machine tonight and who saw 26 pitches and drew walks in front of both 2 run homers. And Raburn for making Leyland look smart for forgoing the platoon match-up and going with the superior hitter. And Leyland for what I just said. I’m thankful that Leyland has come around to the idea that Josh Anderson isn’t really a big league hitter and that the situation called for someone who had a shot at thumping the ball.

 
 

{ 133 comments }

Kevin in Dallas June 23, 2009 at 5:43 pm

7th…ouch. I would have liked to see him sit down a bit longer, I mean, why fix it now? But, I think Leyland has played Boras and Maggs well. I think Maggs has lost a lot, but not this much.

Walter55 June 23, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Trammell is my favorite Tiger I would love for him to get the Standing O he deserves.
As for Magglio I say he has 2 to 3 weeks to start producing like he should or he is gone. We will trade for another OF say we have a better player and release him. Does anybody know if the vesting options carry over to the other team if the player is traded? Because if they don’t we should trade Magglio to the Cubs for Milton Bradley as both have vesting options each team would like to get rid of.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 6:54 pm

I’d shot myself in the foot before making a trade for Milton Bradley.

Matt June 23, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I agree. Rather see him sitting than batting 7th.

But I guess he’s got one last chance to claw his way back into the heart of the line-up.

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Magglio would not be to blame if the Tigers lost tonight, that is just ridiculous.

Matt June 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm

What if he GIDP four times and we lose by one run?

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm

What if Marcus Thames, Cabrera, Granderson, or anyone were to do the same thing? “What if” questions are silly… If he were to drop a fly ball in the top of the 9th that allowed a run to score, then yes, it may be his fault. But this is a team game, no one player gets all of the blame.

Matt June 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm

If Thames, Cabrera, Granderson or anyone else did that then I would blame them for the loss.

This is a team game but one player absolutely can win or lose the game. Why do we keep individual win-loss records for starting pitchers?

(I’m not saying that putting Magglio in the line-up will automatically lead to a loss I’m just giving examples of how one player can decide the fate of a team on that given day.)

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 7:11 pm

If the Tigers want to win more regularly they will need Magglio Ordonez in the line-up. Slow starts are just slow starts. I can make an All-Star team with them. Vernon Wells, Alfonzo Soriano, David Ortiz, Garrett Atkins, J.J. Hardy, Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore, Russell Martin. I don’t think they’ll be getting dropped either.

Matt June 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Speaking of slow starts…. Ejax getting into trouble early.

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 7:15 pm

This isn’t a good start…

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 7:21 pm

It turned out OK. Just 1 run after loading the bases with no outs. Edwin did a very nice job getting out of it.

Matt June 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Nice recovery.

ouchudied June 23, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Both teams are lame for only getting one run that inning.

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Man on 3rd, no one out, that run needs to be scored. Poor job batting that in big guys.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Well it is Carlos Zambrano that is pitching. He is one of the best at missing bats.

edit: and getting outs.

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Don’t get me started…that’s because the guy who is best on the Tigers at getting the man home from 3rd with less than 2 out is batting too far down in the order in the 6th spot. This happens over and over. (And he’s been good at it for a long time, not just this season).

And he led off the next inning with the long fly that would have got the run home…

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Nice quickish inning after the 25-pitch first.

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Aaaand an even faster third.

Dave111 June 23, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Zambrano reminds me of Verlander – catch it, throw it. Not a lot of time to hurt the ballclub by thinking.

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Better get this run in.

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Agreed.

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Fail.

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I think Marcus has cooled down…

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Ordonez is getting the same results as Sheffield did last year – ground balls and pop ups. Sheffield’s problem was a shoulder injury. Perhaps Maggs has something similar. Could he have caught “tired arm” from Robertson?

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 8:20 pm

More likely he caught “badness” from Nate.

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Forget the home runs, for me here is the red flag on Maggs: with runner on 3rd less than 2 out this season here are his PA/RBI/K OPS: 11/4/2/ .293 (!)

He has always been one of the best at this, and almost never strikes out; last season was 38/25/1 .802. There is more than just a little lack of power missing right now…

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 8:22 pm

OK, here’s what I think you gain if you bat Inge 3rd (with Cabrera 4th):

-If leadoff hitter gets to 3rd, team best R3 less than 2 outs batter comes up
-If runner on 1st, low % GIDP batter up
-2nd best on base % batter up before cleanup hitter (who is 1st OBP)
-Team high Pitches per plate appearance guy bats in 1st inning, and more often (= more work for opposing pitcher).

Of course you would lose…what?

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 8:32 pm

A very reasonable idea. I don’t get the idea behind Cabrera hitting 3rd. I know Pujols hits 3rd for the Cardinals and seems to do quite well, but I too think Miggy should bat cleanup. On the other hand, I am not the Extended Manager, so what do I know.

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 8:55 pm

On yet another hand, Inge hitting 6th isn’t working out too badly either.

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Another CS for Laird. You know, a guy could get used to this good defense thing.

Jerry the Tiger Fan June 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Well…….putting Ordonez back in the lineup sure has looked like another bad idea from Ol’ Smoky. Things were going fine, did we really need his bounce out and soft pop-up back in the lineup? Ol’ Smoky sure loves to over-manage. He just can’t leave well enough alone. Always getting his smoky little paws all over things, especially when they are unneeded.

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Well, realistically he couldn’t let Maggs sit forever – has to give him a chance and find out if the guy has any hits left in him or not.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm

That is Magglio freaking Ordonez you’re talking about. He’s been one of the best hitters in baseball for the past 10 years. Give the guy a break. He’ll probably bust out of this slump like a wild fire.

billfer June 23, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Wasn’t Leyland the one that benched him in the first place, so didn’t he have to get his hands on stuff at some point?

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Real nice outing from E-Jax, considering how poor his control was.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Inge baby Inge!!! He does it again!

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 8:53 pm

BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGE

God I love this guy.

KW June 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm

Chucky Binge does it again!

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm

On 2nd thought, perhaps right now Inge should be batting 1st, 4th, and 7th…

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Pitchers already love the Binge (that thing where doubles down the 3rd baseline end up in his glove)…but there’s gotta be nothing better than trying to hold on with a 1-run deficit and then all of a sudden you’re sitting on a W…that’s twice this homestand…

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I always love visiting opposing blogs to watch them fawn over our power pitching.

Oh em gee 102 mph!

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm

104 MPH!!! Maybe Zumaya should get Tommy John surgery just for the fun of it. Maybe then he’ll throw 106 MPH.

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm

That was seconds after WGN mentioning that his previous pitch registered lower on their gun than the stadiums…

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I take full responsibility, I text-taunted my Cub-fan gf with Zum’s 104mph heater…

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Crap. The Zoom got busted on that silly change up. He should just throw nothing but 98+ MPH heaters.

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Wow, Zoom. Really. Sigh.

Chris June 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Zumaya sucks… any MLB player can hit a 100mph pitch

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

…except for the part where the HR came off a change up in the 80s…

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

The pitch Hauffpauir hit was an 85mph changeup. Almost all Zumaya’s pitches that inning were up in the zone though.

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm

A good number of MLB players have never seen a 100 mph pitch. They’ve certainly never seen 103 elsewhere. That dude had no chance to hit Zumaya’s fastball. The mystery is why he threw anything but fastballs to that kid.

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Its not THAT big a mystery. I mean if all he did was throw heat, there’s just as good of a chance that hitters adjust to +100mph as there is that they get a mile ahead of the off-speed. Obviously Zumaya looks like an idiot because the pitch left the park. He would look just as dumb if it had left the park much faster, but at the same time, Hoff-whoever would have looked quite silly had he swung anticipating a fastball.

Chris June 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I can’t wait for Zumaya to go back on the DL

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

OK let me revise that: Ed-Jack loves the Binge. And just ordered a Zumaya voodoo doll…

Joey in Portland OR June 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Brutal.

RPS June 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Inexcusable pitch. All this time, and Zumaya still just doesn’t get it. Some bullpen-desperate team is going to be mesmerized by the 101s and be willing to drastically overpay for him in about a month. I hope DD is listening, because I’m not sure this guy’s not a harder-throwing Farnsworth.

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Too harsh.

EDIT: I mean the Farnsworth reference. The pitch certainly was a huge mistake.

RPS June 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm

What’s your honest opinion? This isn’t just an overwrought reaction, it’s been a long time coming. I just don’t see Zumaya ever being a top-notch back-of-the-bullpen guy. Also, I don’t think his trade value ever gets higher than right now, when he’s healthy, cheap, and still young enough to have teams overlook his shortcomings. If the Angels decide they need a bullpen arm and decide to offer Juan Rivera, do you do it?

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm

I’d keep Zumaya. Farnsworth doesn’t have a hook anywhere near the league of Zumaya’s. As Keith mentioned, Zumaya is in his early 20s. His peers are mostly in AA ball, some in AAA. He’s played in a World Series and recovered from major shoulder surgery to return to 100% of his former power. That said, he hasn’t had a tremendous amount of work against “live” batting the last couple years. To me, he’s still learning and still rusty. If he were 30, earning $6 million and making these mistakes, I’m sure I’d be losing patience too. But he’s young, he’s cheap, he has one of baseball’s best arms, and he’s done absolutely everything possible to recover from his injuries. He’s a fighter, and I like fighters. I think it would be a mistake to let him go. What you see is not a finished product.

On that homer, some blame goes to Laird. He’s 10 years older, usually smart, and with that guy at the plate, never should have put down anything but the #1.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Worst mistake ever would be to trade Zumaya. He could be one of the best closers once he learns his craft just a little better. Zoom is only 24 years old. He’s still just a kid. Mariano Rivera didn’t start closing until he was 27 years old.

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Thank you Keith. I’m continually amazed at the impatience of Tigers fans.

RPS June 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I certainly don’t think Zumaya is worthless, or should be cut, or whatever. I also can’t say that he doesn’t end up being a dominant closer. Hard throwing late-game bullpen guys are about the only organizational strength we have, however. I have watched Zumaya enough (and seen him on the DL enough) that I don’t like the odds of him becoming great. The Tigers have no other players with such good trade value that they could get by without. I’ll be glad to see him stay here if nothing happens, but I think that right now, his trade value exceeds his value to the organization. If an above-average LF, or starter, or nice prospect package is offered, I’m all for it.

Walter55 June 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Hoffpauir was behind every fastball Zumaya threw so what do they do but throw a change up right down the middle of the plate. Horrible pitch and horrible decision for whoever called that pitch in the first place.

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Let’s go Cabby.

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 9:18 pm

You obviously don’t have to be an Einstein to be a good ballplayer, but I’ve just got this feeling about Zumaya…….

Chris June 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm

The guy is a retard.. I am hoping he goes on he DL asap. This team is better without him

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Yes, we get it, you don’t like him.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm

It’s not necessary to use that kind of language.

Chris June 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm

ok.. I know I just insulted retards by associating them with Zumaya

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Even I know that only Zack Galifianakis should use that word in mixed company.

JB61973 June 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Great “The Hangover” reference. reTARD. That kills me.

billfer June 23, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Knock it off Chris. Now.

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Thankfully for a couple of our guys baseball players aren’t subjected to the frequently leaked intelligence tests that football players are…a remember a few years back a study being published on athletes and intelligence and baseball players as a group were near the bottom of the list, which I think creates an odd situation, since I have a feeling as a whole baseball fans are probably at or near the top of the various sports fans. I also seem to remember that golfers didn’t come out well either, which also seemed odd…

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

That bottom 7th / top 8th combo is in my running for low point of the season I think; down 1 in the 7th we get a 3-run HR from Inge off a hot Zambrano, and then cough it up in the 8th to some guy named Hoffpauir on a BP changeup pitch. You don’t get too many chances to turnaround and grab a win like that, especially on a day when your 3-4-5 hitters combine to go 0-9 with 4 Ks and 7 LOB (props to Kelly though for working the BB and at least giving Inge a run to drive in).

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I meant to say “would have been in the running” above, hehe.

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm

… but of course, lol

Vince in MN June 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Kelly seems to see a lot of pitches when he bats, which is unusual compared to the rest of the team this year. Anybody know what hit P/PA is?

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm

It’s 3.89 before today…which puts him a bit above league average (3.82)–in other words one of the highest on the Tigers, behind, in order, Inge, Granderson, and Raburn. (Raburn? when did that happen?)

On edit: this is why I was saying a few days ago I like Kelly more than Anderson at leadoff–Anderson swings at everything, and has a 3.29 PPA and 38% 1st pitch swing rate, which would make Ordonez blush…

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:41 pm

What, would it have killed you to do it twice in a row Inge? C’mon!

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Yahtzee

Chris June 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

YEA!!!!! RABURN!!!!!!

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Raburn baby RABURN!!!!!!! Walk off!!!

Cdawg June 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

RAYBURN!!!

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

This is a quality win, boys.

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Haha! Baby Inge pulls it off!!

That “coaching visit to the mound” didn’t turn out so well it seems…

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:43 pm

5 wins in a row!!

Cdawg June 23, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Too bad Ejax didn’t get the win… again

Chris June 23, 2009 at 10:02 pm

It’s a crime that he is 6-4. Jackson should easily have at least 9 wins so far. Still, the win-loss record tells us nothing about how good he is. I’ll be disappointed if he is not selected as an allstar

Jerry the Tiger Fan June 24, 2009 at 1:28 am

I won’t be. I hope none of our pitchers are selected, not because they don’t deserve it but for selfish reasons. I don’t want any of our guys to get used to the point that it throws them out of whack (or hurt themselves). I just hope Cabby gets selected as a reserve and be done with it. Get Cabby one at-bat in the AS game and move on.

KW June 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm

TIGS WIN! TIGS WIN! TIGS WIN!

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Leyland is so bad. He never makes the right moves. Never should have taken Maggs out. Never should have started Maggs. Never should have hit Raburn. Raburn is bad.

ouchudied June 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Q: Who is a magician?
A: Jim Leyland.

Come on, name one other manager in baseball that would pinch hit for Josh Anderson.

On a serious note, this is a great win. I’m also glad that Raburn was able to contribute in a big way. BTW, notice whose spot in the order that Raburn was hitting in…

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Great call Leyland on hitting Raburn. Zumaya owes Jackson and me(He’s on my fantasy team) an apology. Great win!

ouchudied June 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm

A little bit of my soul dies whenever Brandon Lyon gets a win. Oh well, I still have most of it left.

Keith (Mr. X) June 23, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Lyon threw one heck of a breaking pitch to get Soriano out. He’s been throwing some real nasty stuff lately.

ouchudied June 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Nothing against Lyon or anything, but a piece of me does die inside when he gets the W. Thats all.

RPS June 23, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Raburn is good stuff.

Ryan P. June 23, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Nice game picking btw, Billfer. First walk-off of the year, ain’t it?

scotsw June 23, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Deep Thought: I know the SABRmetrics guys all talk about players reverting to their mean over the longterm, and generally I buy it. But I submit that Brandon Inge and Ramon Santiago are textbook cases of guys who have simply gotten better at their craft over the years. It’s great to see.

billfer June 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Inge has been so all over the place I have given up trying to find his true talent level. I have no idea what he is offensively.

Chris Y. June 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Man, where’d Chris go?

Chris June 23, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I was the first one to post a response to the Raburn walkoff… Where did you go?

Andre in Chi June 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Sorry Chris,

My “Yahtzee” trumps you, if only by seconds…

Chris June 23, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Oh, I thought your were playing the game, rolling the dice

ouchudied June 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Well seeing as how the Tigers won, hes not around. I think you’ll only find him around when the sky is black and the Tigers are losing.

Chris June 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

It’s rally time in Milwaukee… Come on Brew-Crew!

Dylan June 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Well I sure am glad I decided to head to that game! I’ve got to drive to Cleveland tonight but that was a hell of a game! Go Tigers! Great game.

Coleman June 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm

scotsw: all hitters tend to regress to the mean such that their averages eventually end up being what their final averages are.

Seriously though, you would be surprised what the mean is for Inge if you look at his numbers a bit differently, I’ll post them in a bit when I get home. I was expecting something like 20HR 75 RBI .260 even before the new swing.

scotsw June 24, 2009 at 10:10 am

My point is that Inge’s changes this year are more than just a “new swing.” Remember the god-awful strikeouts? Inge at times has been so poor at pitch selection, you think P.T. Barnum must have had him in mind when he made his famous comment about suckers. But not this year — he’s among team leaders in pitches seen per plate appearance. AND, this year he’s hitting for both average and power.

If you were expecting Inge to hit for 20 HR AND a .260 average, you were an optimist for sure. He’s exceeded 20 home runs exactly once before in his career, and .260 twice. In the two previous years he batted above .260, he hit 13 and 16 hrs. In short, in the past, Inge has had awful years, years when he’s hit for respectable average, and years he’s hit for respectable power. This is the first year he seems to be putting it all together. His current OPS is more than 100 points higher than any other season, and almost 200 points (!!!) above his career average. That denotes the old dog has learned some new tricks.

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 10:39 am

I’m not sure if you saw my post below, but: 20 HR 83 RBI .258 .331 434
Those are Inge’s CAREER averages, averaged over 162 games, WHILE PLAYING 3rd base (a bit high because he doesn’t get the avg number of PAs batting low in the order).

I know there is a lot of resistance to the idea of Inge the Catcher at bat=bad, Inge the 3rd B at bat = good…I’m sympathetic to the argument that there SHOULDN’T be such a big difference. But it’s hard to look at the splits even briefly and not see that there IS a huge difference. So my reasoning was that if Inge played 3rd all season, and stayed healthy (which normally isn’t a problem, as long as you keep the pillows away), and he was maybe batting 7th instead of 8th or 9th, he figured on 17 or 18 HR, so it took very little optimism to decide 20 HR was a reasonable expectation.

Last season was bad for Inge even when he was playing 3rd–except you can see a couple things stand out. His stats last season while playing 3rd: .217 / .331 / .391.
.217 / .331?? Yep, a lot of walks, 18 in 136 PA (1 / 7.6 PA, vs a career avg of 1/13 overall, 1/11.5 while at 3B) This season the “new and improved” Inge is walking 1 per 9.3 PA…the old dog learned that new trick last season

Tbone June 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I was at the game tonight, surrounded by Cubs fans. My 12-year old daughter’s friend was with us asking all game when Raburn was getting in so she could hear some country music. She got her wish!

Great win by the Tigers. Don Kelly was definitely an unsung hero with some quality AB’s and nice defense. Keep it going Tigers!

Brenden June 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm

26 pitches seen by Don Kelly, definitely some quality at bats.

Keith (Mr. X) June 24, 2009 at 12:06 am

Kelly isn’t letting this opportunity slip through his fingers. He’s making quite an impression.. He’s having a very special year so far. I still can’t get over that great diving catch he made a few days ago.

jason June 23, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Quote—”The last time Detroit won a game on a walkoff homer by a pinch hitter was in 1995, when Lou Whitaker was at the plate against the Chicago White Sox and Alan Trammell, now the Cubs’ bench coach, was one of the baserunners.”—

Really?? That long? Whitaker and Trammell? wow.

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 12:23 am

When you see guys like Kelly sometimes it reminds you how lucky you have to be to have a career in the major leagues, and also just how good these guys are; Kelly is maybe the guy who was the star player on your high school team; more probably the star on the team in your conference that your school could never beat…if Inge had said no thanks when the Tigers had asked him to try catching, odds are he could be on the shoes of Kelly or Raburn or Mike Hessman. or guys you’ve never heard of..or he could have been drafted by the Braves and starring as their closer…so many factors involved, talent and drive wrapped in a crapshoot…

David June 24, 2009 at 12:40 am

post of the year?

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 12:41 am

scotsw / billfer: 20 HR 83 RBI .258 .331 434

These are Inge’s career numbers, averaged over 162 games (which he could end up playing by the way), WHILE PLAYING 3RD BASE… I think it’s definitely worthwhile considering whether his up/down seasons are mid-characterized 3rd/non-3rd seasons…

Being the alert types you may have noticed my projections above fell below his averages; that’s because I thought the number of PAs they use in the projections are unrealistic for Inge considering how far down in the order he has normally hit.

scotsw June 24, 2009 at 10:23 am

Good legwork there, Coleman. Clearly he’s better at the plate when playing at 3rd. My point is simply this: He’s never had a season like this, and if you claim you knew all along that he’d have a year this good, I call BS. I think the dude has simply learned to be a better hitter than he ever was before. He’s not just DOING better, he IS better. IMHO.

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

And so a lot of the credit for Inge’s season, it occurs to me, needs to go to…Uncle Smokey himself. He took holy hell for it here, but the move that had Inge working over the winter with McClendon, and hitting this season with a running start, was the much-maligned naming of Inge as this season’s 3rd baseman at the end of last season…how about that…

T Smith June 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I find it refreshing that we are actually discussing Inge in a positive way. You are absolutely correct. He’s never had a season like this so it’s kinda silly for anyone to come out with the “I told you so s…” He’s not just doing better, he IS better. Last year when there was more polarization surroundng Inge than the Letterman/Palin fued, when opposing pitchers were pitching him like he “was Babe Ruth”, Inge refused to work with McClendon, which is absolutely absurd in the extreme. Simply, Branden Inge was in denial. Burying his head in the sand may even be, in large part, the reason why so many disgruntled fans hurled so much vitriol his way. When he finally fessed up that he sucked at the plate (for whatever the reason, be it to assure himself a permanant job at 3rd base or for some other reason) and agressively worked on his approach during the off season, which is what he should have done half-way through the 2007 season, Branden Inge took the first step to become a better player. Not only has he become that better player, he has also raised the bar for himself, arbuably, to become a marque player if this little run he is on turns out to be the result of mental adjustments and not just a fluke.

Is it a fluke? I don’t know. That’s really the question. Aside from a slightly different stance at the plate, what I most notice in Branden Inge is mental. He looks more confident and comfortable at the plate; he takes more pitches, is more patient, and simply waits for his pitch.

Jason June 24, 2009 at 12:44 am

I just want to let you all know, that you complaining about Zumaya giving up the HR first of all doesn’t matter, and two you have no idea what you’re talking about. If you knew how to pitch Zumaya was trying to fool him, he just left it up a little bit. The Hauffpauir guy deserves credit here, and first of all Derek Lee singled on a 102 mph, and the Hauffpauir guy fouled off 100 mph. You need to realize that the decision to throw a change up was a good one, the result just wasn’t there. Anyone can go back and say “oh hey he should’ve thrown a fastball,” well that wasn’t the case. And if you’re a Tiger fan you wouldn’t want any of you’re players to go on the DL, you sir are a douche.

Chris Y. June 24, 2009 at 9:53 am

Amen, brother.

scotsw June 24, 2009 at 10:18 am

I think the consensus among those of us who hated the changeup call was that Hauffpauir had no prayer of centering the heater. He’s not good enough. Like anyone, I suppose he might have gotten lucky. But fouling off a 100-mph pitch is not an indication that the guy is actually capable of turning on one. Hauffpauir was sitting on a changeup, because that’s the only pitch he had a real prayer of putting in play. Changeups work when the hitter is looking to hit a fastball, so save it for the better hitters who are trying to hit the fastball.

As Zumaya said post-game, Laird knew this, and Zumaya shook him off THREE times when Laird called for heaters or curves.

Andre in Chi June 24, 2009 at 11:28 am

Not to beat a dead horse deader, or to suggest that my view is better than yours, but…

“fouling off a 100-mph pitch is not an indication that the guy is actually capable of turning on one. Hauffpauir was sitting on a changeup, because that’s the only pitch he had a real prayer of putting in play.”

We’re both making assumptions here, and you know what that leads to! You’re assuming that Hauf’ was sitting on a changeup, no way to verify that was the case vs. pure luck. You’re right that the ability to foul a 100mph pitch doesn’t automatically mean that Hauf’ could have centered one, but it does indicate the ability to “fight off” his fastball (at least to a degree), which could have led to a series of fouling off heaters, wearing Zumaya out and increasing his chances of mistakes.

I happen to think that there was a chance (maybe not equal) that Hauf’ ends up putting a heater in play, just like there was a chance that Zumaya locates his off-speed correctly. I’ll go a step further in assuming, maybe Zumaya was trying to get cute and embarrass Hauf’ with the off-speed (in my mind, you look extra silly striking out on off-speed when you’re swinging to hit a fast-ball).

Either way, hopefully this is a lesson learned in his case, and one that didn’t end up costing the Tigers a game.

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 12:51 am

Is there a trick which allows you to edit posts on an iPhone? I can get it to pull up the message text to edit (albeit off in some strange corner), but anything I do from that point results in wordpress errors, either please enter name/email or please enter a comment

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 12:58 am

I’m probably over-sensitive to how difficult the baseball business is; considering the salaries the risk-reward equation is favorable.

My perspective is no-doubt affected by having to work my butt off to make the varsity team in HS, and getting hit in the face with a pitch the 1st game of the season (true story, not one of those “I’m a retired seamstress” things…)

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 1:24 am

I admit I was one who thought the game was blown when Zumaya gave up the HR; I don’t have the depth of baseball knowledge to understand that it didn’t matter, and that Raburn was about to hit a 2-run HR..

.I was thinking however that Zumaya has gotten flak for being overly reliant on his fastball (perhaps Reallyfastball is more appropriate)…and then I started thinking, am I imagining this, or has Leyland been critcal also of pitchers relying too much on certain pitches? Or has it just been about avoiding the strike zone? Because the former seems odd to me now considering it is assumed Leyland calls pitches from the bench…

Andre in Chi June 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

I think the fallout from Zumaya’s “error” in pitch selection is much more a function of game circumstances and, as scotsw points out, the fact that he shook Laird off several times in order to go with his #3 pitch.

Directed at nobody here in particular, I think in this case some people (especially the WGN announcers) are guilty of a little double-standard when it comes to the basics of pitching re: pitch selection. I constantly hear about how changing the height and speed of pitches are hallmarks of great pitching. I’m not an expert, but if that’s true then I don’t see how you can fault following a steady diet of fast-balls with an off-speed. Maybe he should have gone with the curve, but prior to that hit, I would guess that most “experts” would have been ok with Zumaya dialing down the velocity to throw off Hauf’s timing.

Coleman June 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

The true experts only give advice retroactively, when conditions are most favorable for success…

Mark in Chicago June 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm

bad pitch selection AND bad execution.

I only saw highlights, but that pitch shouldn’t have been in the strike zone no matter what he threw.

Vince in MN June 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm

If gameday is to be believed, Zumaya’s problem last night was location, not pitch selection or speed change. Almost every pitch, regardless of type, was above the belt. Lately he has been all-over-the-place. Last night he wasn’t all-over-the-place enough.

Joey in Portland Or June 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Ok watchinng the replay of Rayburns homer again and the best part is the Cubs fan beating the wall and yelling NO NO NO!!!! right where the ball went out. Awesome. (just too bad it wasn’t the other Chicago team)

Legend June 25, 2009 at 9:44 am

Hey, you guys are all missing the REAL news, & that of course is Magglios hair cut. Jeez, who cares about changing pitches & fast balls. This is muy importante!!
My Maggs has no hair, waaaa. At least he didn’t grow one of those nasty goatees & shave his head. If I see that combo one more time, I’ll not be able to stop screaming. Stop it guys, women do not really like that look. I always thought it was a sign of a serial killer anyway. Go Maggs, hair or no hair!! It is hardly like he is th only big name player in a slump.
Kidding, sort of.
Legend

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