Game 2009.073: Tigers at Astros

PREGAME: In terms of subplots, you need to look no further than the Tigers taking on “the little pudgy one.” Pudge Rodriguez, the catching-est catcher of all time and his former skipper Jim Leyland have already exchanged phone calls in the days leading up to the series. So it sounds like there are no hard feelings.

The Astros come into the series at 33-37. They post a league average OPS, and a league average batting average with RISP. But somehow they only score 4.10 runs per game (NL average is 4.49). Like the Astros offense, the defense is largely average as well.

Random Factoid of the night: The Astros hitters have the highest ground ball percentage in the NL.

Tonight the ‘stros send out Wandy Rodriguez. Looking at his game logs he seems to be either awesome or awful. His numbers on the whole though are pretty impressive with nearly a K an inning and nearly 3 K’s for every walk allowed. He’s given up 10 homers this year, and 9 have come in his last 4 starts.

Bonus Random Factoid of the night: Wandy Rodriguez has made one start against the Tigers, which coincidentally came on June 26th, 2006.

Justin Verlander will be on the mound for the Tigers tonight. He’s been good.

Tonight’s DH-less lineup is:

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

Detroit vs. Houston – June 26, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: What started off so promising turned so frustrating. Verlander wasn’t sharp today. He didn’t have great command (especially to Lance Berkman unless he meant to throw every pitch a foot outside) and he couldn’t put hitters away. That spelled doom as the bullpen was tasked with holding a 1 run lead for 3.2 innings and the pen wasn’t up to the job.

Joel Zumaya finished off the 7th with a couple pitches, but the 8th inning was a disaster. When he couldn’t put Darrin Erstad away everything unraveled and two more walks meant the game was tied and Zumaya was done. Freddy Dolsi limited the damage in a bases loaded 1 out situation to 1 run which isn’t bad for his first appearance.

  • On one hand you want to bash the offense. They scored 4 early runs and that was it. But it wasn’t like the offense went to sleep, they just couldn’t push a run across. I don’t know if the fact they had eleventy chances with RISP and got nothing after the 2nd inning is more or less frustrating than if they’d been no hit the rest of the way
  • Magglio Ordonez had an awful game. His first time up he drove the ball to right field and that was fine, a hard out. But then it was ground ball fiesta again including a double play. He also failed to make a play on what looked to be a pretty catchable ball.
  • Zach Miner did a nice job once again throwing a double play ball to end the 6th inning.
  • Leyland said as much in his postgame, but this one had a bad feeling for awhile. With Verlander struggling and the offense not cashing in on chances, and the Astros chipping away, it felt like the Tigers were on the wrong side. The side they hadn’t been on as of late where they were coming back and doing what they needed to do. They just didn’t get it done tonight.

68 thoughts on “Game 2009.073: Tigers at Astros”

  1. This is the most sensical line-up that Jim has ever put on paper. This is literally the only time in the last several years where my ideal line-up matches his.

    1. It’s almost but not quite at matching mine–I’d have Ordonez 7th (I realize it’s unlikely he would put him 7th, I’m just saying ideally…)

      Inge gets on base a lot–he especially draws a lot of walks. You’re maybe asking a little for the GIDP having Ordonez follow him.

    1. Yea, but at least he was efficient. He served-up that hit on only two pitches. Nate Robertson is well rested and available to serve-up a hit without getting an out tomorrow.

  2. This should be Nate Robertson’s last appearance as a Tiger. It is time to eat that contract. That money is lost. Gone! He is absolutely useless and is occupying a valuable roster spot.

  3. now I get it!!! let Roberston put a guy on, get the next pitcher in, DP….brilliant coaching ..I never thought of that

    1. Luckily they had time to real billfer’s Random Factoid before the game, and knew the Astros loved to hit those ground balls….

    1. With all the various ways Maggs has struggled the very worst–and the most un-Maggs-like–has been managing to do anything with the runner-on-3rd-less-than-2-out scenario. He has always been great at that–his career BA is around .440.
      This season: .190.

      So far this season–and surely he must lead the league in THIS–in 13 PA he has managed 4 GIDP (and struck out twice).

  4. Mags looked like he was jogging to that ball… would Clete or Kelly have caught it? I sure think so… and I doubt they’d GIDP any more than Maggs has been.

  5. By the way, in billfer’s pre-game bit he raises the mystery of how the Astros can be avg or above in hitting and hitting with RISP, yet have a low run/game avg…I believe one clue can be found which helps at least some in solving this mystery. One category where they are far, far above avg offensively: GIDP. (12 above avg, 1 short of being league high).

    I remember watching a mystery with a similar plot last year somewhere…

  6. Ahhh! I was watching a baseball game but now i come back and something really scary is on instead!

  7. hey Zoom maybe if you try and throw it 200 MPH they might be strikes.
    ..Pitch the dam ball ..not just throw it

  8. Wow. Just when I thought our bullpen was mildly decent, Zoom-Zoom can’t throw a strike!!
    I am soooo sick of Tigers’ pitchers giving up free passes with the bases full. Well, now Dolsi comes in for clean-up control and lets in the winning run!

  9. Nothing like making your first appearance of the season in unfavorable circumstances, here ya go, bases loaded, enjoy Freddy!

    1. talk about Leyland setting up a rookie for failure. He’s lucky he only gave up the one run.

  10. After it got to be 4-2 the game got nerve-wracking, just a sense of dread. Here’s hoping they can pull out another one.

  11. There are only so many times you’re gonna bail yourselves out of situations like this…what are the odds Binge pulls off another save? Rescue Raburn is still on the bench…would Leyland ever bat him for Ordonez (hmm…maybe once every million years).

    1. Disagree. Moving Cabrera to second is better than him staying on first, but he doesn’t score on that many singles.

    2. And he actually, strangely, has not been a good bunter so far. He has been successful in 1 of 3 sac bunt attempts so far this season, the only Tiger with 2 blown sac bunt attempts.

  12. Is David around? Anderson somehow barely twisted right around the tag on that–maybe you’re onto something with your “Snake” nickname for Anderson…hey, and the announcers just said he “kind of slithered” into 2nd base…

  13. well the streak can’t go one forever I guess. We might as well lose in one of the two ways we lose…. BULLPEN….At least it wasn’t because the Tigs could only score 1 run…go tomorrow

    1. Here’s what gets me about it though. We now have, unless it’s changed a lot the last couple of days, the BEST defensive team in the league. And they routinely spend entire innings standing around while batters fill the bases, slowly, until they slowly walk home the runs that beat them.

      As good as they are, none of them have the range to prevent the walk…

        1. That post is right on!
          ..we are going on two years of walk after walk after walk by relief pitchers…do the Tigers lead the league now in walked in runs?

          1. I was pretty sure they must, but I decided to look it up to make sure. They don’t lead the league in walked in runs…they DOMINATE the league in walked in runs; in fact it is probable that if they don’t have any more from now until the end of the season they will still finish the season with the most.

            They also have the added distinction of being the only team in the league that with the bases loaded are more likely to walk the batter than to strike him out. Here are the AL team totals for bases loaded walks / HBP / strikeouts / PA / BB-HBP Rate:

            DET 15 1 13 103 16%
            TBR 8 1 13 69 13%
            MIN 6 0 9 57 11%
            BOS 5 3 12 74 11%
            KCR 4 1 7 57 9%
            NYY 6 1 18 85 8%
            TEX 5 1 13 73 8%
            OAK5 1 15 77 8%
            CLE 6 1 22 112 6%
            LAA 4 1 12 90 6%
            CHW4 0 13 70 6%
            TOR 2 2 15 65 6%
            SEA 4 0 12 81 5%
            BAL 3 1 9 83 5%

            AL AVG 5 1 13 78 8%

            This is what I call a comfortable lead–when you have more than the combined totals of the guys who are 2nd and 3rd on the list…

            Of course the based-loaded walks problem would be smaller if we weren’t going around with bases-loaded all the time; only CLE has more, but they seem to prefer striking them out to walking them.

            I was surprised how common the bases-loaded HBP is–BOS already has 3, and in fact only SEA, CHW, and MIN haven’t had one yet (CHW?). And also surprised that the cream of the crop overall turns out to be…the Orioles (?!).

  14. I think maybe Joel needs some time seated in the Ordonez section, and maybe a haircut, before we see him out there next…

    1. only if he is seated next to Ordonez who must have needed a rest today after the haircut and two hits yesterday..

    1. Exactly. Zumaya needs to learn how to pitch and the major league staff isn’t the place to do it. Destination Toledo, and not just for a week or two.


  16. Zumaya has nothing to prove in the minors. He just needs to learn to handle the pressure in the late innings. Only experience at the MLB level will give him what he needs.

    He’s having some growing pains and is still learning from his mistakes.

  17. We all know the bullpen is our major weakness. It’s actually done a lot better than what I’ve expected also. IMO, they’ve been pretty good at holding leads late in the game. Does anyone have any stats on blown saves? I don’t think the Tigers have that many compared to other teams.

    1. The Tigers have 11 blown saves as a team. The MLB average is 10. So yesterday at this time the Tigers pen blew an average amount of saves.

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