Game 2009.076: Tigers at A’s

by billfer on June 29, 2009 · 62 comments

in 2009 Season,Game Post

PREGAME: The Tigers once again find themselves in the middle of a very long road trip, next stop Oakland. The Tigers salvaged a happy plane ride at least after dropping 2 in Houston. The A’s meanwhile are scuffling having lost 5 in a row and their bloggers are deservedly restless.

As for the pitching match-up it will be Rick Porcello taking on Brett Anderson. Anderson faced the Tigers earlier in the year and his infield pretty much error-ed for the cycle as he allowed 9 runs, only 3 of which were earned. Anderson has a 45/18 K/BB ratio in 69 innings with 13 homers allowed.

Porcello turned in a QS when he faced the A’s in that same series. He’s allowed 21 baserunners in his last 2 outings spanning 10.2 innings, but he has limited the damage to 3 earned runs (5 runs total).

Detroit vs. Oakland – June 29, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: That was some kind of ugly. Porcello gave up a ton of baserunners and didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. There were some defensive lapses (and a couple nice plays to be fair) and the offense was shutdown by another pitcher with an ERA over 5.

The Tigers fanned 14 times in the game. They did make Anderson work and ran his pitch count up, but they sure couldn’t hit him. They couldn’t even make contact off him with 11 swinging strikes and 3 foul tips on 46 swings. That’s a 30.4% swing and miss rate which is just brutal and dumbfounding.

The only brightish spot was Fu-Te Ni making his debut (and wearing Todd Jones’ old number). He did allow a monster homer, but that was the only baserunner he allowed and he fanned 3 of the other 5 batters he faced.

 
 

{ 62 comments }

billfer June 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm

That was a tight strike zone to Cabrera. Hopefully Porcello’s sinker is sinking.

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Hmm, looks like Inge was so impressive batting 5th that Leyland couldn’t resist moving him back to 6th…so once again he sits in the on deck circle as runners are left on base, and once again he leads off the next inning with bases empty…

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Hmm, Inge doesn’t really lead off innings more than anybody (although he’s had a lot in June); that honor goes to Laird, 26.2% of his PA, followed by Cabrera at 23.6% then Inge at 21.4% (not counting Granderson’s PAs to start games).

That’s not exactly a consolation, it would be nice if neither Inge nor Cabrera were coming up quite so often to start an inning…

billfer June 29, 2009 at 10:42 pm

After that at-bat I don’t think Granderson will see another fastball from Anderson. Those breaking balls destroyed him.

billfer June 29, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Tigers are swinging through a lot of pitches tonight. Don’t know if they’re not seeing it well, or guessing wrong or what.

ouchudied June 29, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Kurt Suzuki tried to steal home? WTF?

billfer June 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Not exactly. Runners at the corners and Cust broke for second. Laird faked the throw down and caught Suzuki off of third.

ouchudied June 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Thanks for the clarification, it sounds like a heads-up play by Laird. Although he hasn’t really been hitting this season, he has been playing great defense, which seems to be underrated by most. He has been a good pick-up so far.

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:01 pm

The Haircut smacked a single to right, just like that Ordonez guy who was so good used to do…

ouchudied June 29, 2009 at 11:04 pm

I write that and then Laird strikes out. Karma sucks.

billfer June 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm

11 swinging strikes and 2 foul tips in the first 4 innings for Detroit. I don’t think Anderson’s stuff is that good.

Scottwood June 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

He was a top prospect ever since high school. He does have some good talent. But, we are swinging at a lot of fastballs out of the strike zone to make him look better than he really is.

ouchudied June 29, 2009 at 11:16 pm

GIDP is quite a weapon for Porcello…

jud June 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I still say Cabrera should NOT be fielding a ball that far away …Porcello knew it was a GB to second…yes he should have been there but that was an easy GB out turned into a Tiger miscue

billfer June 29, 2009 at 11:22 pm

That’s weak. The top of the order comes up after the starter gives up some runs and despite it being their 3rd time through the order it is the easiest inning of the night for Anderson.

Jerry the Tiger Fan June 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

The ONLY thing about Porcello that concerns me is his lack of strikeouts. Only 44 this season in 80+ IP, and none so far tonight (bottom of fifth). If you allow guys to make contact that often you are inviting trouble. I like his poise, makeup, etc. but he’s got to start missing some bats.

T Smith June 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

This lineup isn’t working. Sputter, stop. Way too many LOB. Unreliable cleanup. Thames and Miggy need to switch.

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Cabrera hasn’t been knocking in runs, but he has been getting on base, which we need just as much…problem is, he’s been getting left on base…Inge has been hitting, but coming up to bat with the bases empty. Perhaps the Cabrera-on-base / Inge-hitting phenomena could be combined…if only there were some way possible that Inge could come up to bat right after Cabrera…

Thames is having the Mickey Tettleton memorial game experience today…

ouchudied June 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Oh no.

Walter55 June 29, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Ever since we scored 4 on Houston in the first 2 innings our offense has really struggled. We have only scored 4 runs in our last 30 innings and that is not going to get things done. Hopefully we will put together some big innings sometime soon.

jud June 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm

unfortunately with the exception of the Milwaukee series that has been the pattern for the month

Matt June 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Little surprised that Porcello is still in this game…

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Fu!

Vince in MN June 29, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Looks like the offense is reverting to its pre-IL play form -ZZZZZ.

Anson June 29, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Fu-Te Ni is in I’m so excited! Seriously does no one else’s mind jump to an Ewok getting shot by a stormtrooper every time they hear that name? Nice debut strike out and fly out.

Matt June 29, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Fu vs. Suzuki = Asian on Asian action.

jud June 29, 2009 at 11:38 pm

in just two batters NI has done better than Robertson did in his last 5 outings

jud June 29, 2009 at 11:43 pm

93 pitches in the 5th with no outs and he is pitching a shutout…..something wrong here?

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:45 pm

He could be up to 120 pitches by the time Inge stops fouling them off

T Smith June 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Okay Maggs. Three run shot, right here. I’m calling it.

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:48 pm

That won’t do it, we need him to hit the 5-run HR…

T Smith June 29, 2009 at 11:50 pm

Or not.

jud June 29, 2009 at 11:52 pm

nice swing though!

Matt June 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I’m just glad he didn’t GIDP.

Vince in MN June 29, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Things aren’t looking too good when success is measured in NOT hitting into a DP; when striking out is a moral victory.

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:53 pm

Normally Inge comes home on that play; also Suzuki’s double down the line is one that Inge usually makes a ridiculous play on…in other words, it’s looking pretty clear that Inge is hurting…

Coleman June 29, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Clearly there are forces at work beyond our control–we just don’t have a good enough team to beat the last place teams, luckily we get MIN soon for a breather, before we get slammed with back to back series vs KC and CLE…

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:02 am

At least Ni throws strikes, something lacking in the bullpen lately. One has to wonder how long it will last before he is Robertsoned, Willised, Zumayaed or Rodneyed.

Jerry the Tiger Fan June 30, 2009 at 12:09 am

At least the Twins lost in KC tonight. Looks like the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal night in Oakland. However, don’t look now, but the Chisox have caught Minnesota and will now be tied for second place just four games back (assuming no miracle comeback as we are currently down 6-1 in the 7th as I type this).

I keep vacillating between getting a hitter or an arm for the Tigers at the deadline, and it is nights like these that keep me leaning toward a bat. We just can’t keep asking our pitchers to hold the opposition to three runs or less. We’ve got about three-four legit hitters in our every day lineup right now and that is not getting it done.

Brian P June 30, 2009 at 12:21 am

Should we consider not letting Granderson leadoff against lefties? His splits have been horrible this year.

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:26 am

I would consider sitting him down against lefthanders, at least for a while, but who do you replace him with?

Brian P June 30, 2009 at 12:28 am

Inge, perhaps?

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:35 am

With the apparent bad hammy or whatever Inge has now, we may be looking for somebody to play third for a few games. Inge definitely can’t go to CF. I doubt EM would consider it anyway. Raburn maybe, but who leads off? Lots of holes in the lineup.

Brian P June 30, 2009 at 12:49 am

Oh. I was considering flipping Inge and Granderson’s spots in the lineup — not having Inge play CF, even though he has before.

Coleman June 30, 2009 at 2:55 am

Inge actually spent time in 2005 batting leadoff, his numbers don’t quite match Granderson’s, but they are closer than I would have thought…and may be better this season (assuming he is not one-legged). Career averages, batting 1st:

Inge .280 .364 .402 (.767)
Grandy .278 .351 .494 (.845)

Leadoff stats averaged over 162 games:

Inge 11-HR 73-RBI 94-R 7-SB 1-CS 82-BB 152-SO
Grandy 26-HR 80-RBI 121-R 16-SB 4-CS 72-BB 162-SO

So Granderson has more power, but Inge gets on base more and strikes out less (?!).

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:23 am

The boys are obviously suffering form jet lag. Yeah, that’s it.

Despite giving up the HR, Ni’s outing must be considered a success – 27 pitches, 21 strikes.

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:29 am

Kelly put the bat on the ball. There is another kind of moral victory tonight I suppose.

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:39 am

Great gme by Maggs tonight: 2 Ks, a single to right and a foul out to right. More and more, it looks like the homer to left the other day was an accident.

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 12:44 am

UGLY.

westcoasttiger June 30, 2009 at 10:10 am

I was at the game last night and the highlight was watching the players try to shag fly balls during BP into a blinding sun. It is a miracle no one was hurt. Mags hit a few bombs to left center so I know he can still do it. It had to have been difficult for the hitters. There was an odd haze in the air until the sun went down about the 4th inning Was this mentioned on the telecast. I was sitting directly behind the Tigers bullpen on the right field line, you can pretty much hear all the conversation and Zumaya, Miner and a few other guys were commenting on this as well.

A funny note. After Ni finished his first inning, he ran back to the bullpen to sit. Jeff Jones was using hand signals to thell him to go sit in the dugout. After he headed back to the dugout the guys including Jones were in hysterics.

Prior to running in after his final warmup tosses, Porcello brought a ball over to a young boy sitting next to us. A nice gesture, but I couldn’t see Verlander breaking focus to do that on a game day.
The real show might have been the Eric Clapton show going on next door at the Oracle Arena.
I will be sitting in the same seats tonight with my daughters. 1st row behind the Tigers bullpen.

Coleman June 30, 2009 at 11:26 am

Well here’s a random thought…So far in his life Porcello has pitched in New Jersey, Florida, Detroit, and wherever they’ve been for road games: Toronto, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Kansas City…but never in California, Arizona, Colorado.

Is it possible in a dry, non-humid environment that the sinker, well, doesn’t so much? And that Porcello, having never experienced this, was thrown off? Or perhaps the non-humidity left him with a dryer grip on the ball? Just a thought…

Coleman June 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I also just noticed–and while i won’t say i thought it couldn’t be done, to be done so early, and with such efficiency is a surprise–I noticed Flash Anderson has managed to zip on by Polanco to claim the Low-Pitch-Count crown, with a 3.28 PPA to Polly’s 3.36.

About 90 qualifying plate appearances are all that stand between Flash and a virtual tie with Betancourt for dead last in the AL…(Polly resides 3rd-to-last, with Robinson Cano in between Polly and Betancourt).

Both at 302 PAs, Inge has seen 234 pitches more than Polanco so far this season…

Mark in Chicago June 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Polanco is a 7th place hitter on this team. With his batting average in the .260s, not hitting for power, and not drawing walks, he is becoming a black hole batting second.

EDIT: …and Josh Anderson is a 6th outfielder.

Kevin in Dallas June 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm

I’m so down on PP these days. That relay throw home in the game on Sun was atrocious.

RPS June 30, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Josh Anderson could work his way up to fifth outfielder status, though. With dedication, he could one day be the equal of Timo Perez.

Coleman June 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm

But he’s so hard to strike out! (They never mention he is equally hard to walk…)
You left out seeing fewer pitches per PA than almost everyone in the AL, and grounding into DPs at a high rate. Oh, and he can’t bunt.

But he is still a great contact hitter; and I suppose the plan is that Granderson starts games with a triple, and Polanco gets him home; while we’re waiting for the triples though he might be more useful later in the order–he’s pretty good at the whole runner on 3rd less than 2 out thing, but batting 2nd he’s going to have far more opportunities for the GIDP…

Like perhaps 7th, where instead we have the Power Haircut with no power, who also can’t get the run home from 3rd, which he used to do as well as anyone…

As we stand now our 1st innings go something like Granderson takes a few pitches to make the pitcher work, gets himself in an unfavorable count, and strikes out (or, more rarely, gets a single, in which case step 2 is the GIDP). Then Polanco takes the 1st pitch and ground/lines/flies out on the 2nd. Then Cabrera hits a long fly to center, and our opposing pitcher is onto the 2nd inning with a pitch count of 9…if Cabrera should happen to single/walk, then Thames strikes out on 3 pitches…or he walks (this is a rally!!) and then (with the team RBI-guy sitting on deck) Raburn strikes out.

Vince in MN June 30, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Sine Cabrera doesn’t get to bat with runners on anyway, how about this for a lineup:

1. Cabrera
2. Thames
3. Inge
4. Granderson
5. Raburn/Kelly
6. Laird
7. Polanco
8. Ordonez/?
9. Everett/Santiago

Of course this assumes that roster changes are liimted to the shuffling of #5 starters and relievers.

Coleman June 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

The weird thing is it’s hard to move things around without losing something, meagre as the losings may be…but the thing that’s bothered my all season is how we keep ending up with the guys drawing walks followed by the GIDP guys; guys getting on 3rd with our most reliable strike-out/popup/GIDP guys up at bat; rallies ending with Inge/Cabrera on-deck.

The Houston game was the most dramatic, but Inge has been regularly doing most of his hitting in tie games and close games; in fact he has had 13 hits that broke a tie/put the Tigers ahead, a big lead over the next closest hitter (Cabrera and Granderson are tied with 9)…and yet for some reason it seems too radical somehow to move him to 5th in the order, which might get Cabrera a few more pitches to hit into the bargain

T Smith June 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm

1.Granderson
2.Polanco
3.Inge
4.Cabrera
5.Thames
6.Ordonez
7.Laird
8.Rayburn
9.Everett/Santiago

I understand the idea behind shuffling Grandy down in the order, but I still like him in leadoff. He’s also a good cleanup man for the bottom of the order — and the bottom of the order OBP seems to be nearly as impressive as the top the order OBP. Granderson hasn’t attempted many stolen bases this year, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t. We should be much more aggressive in sending him when he reaches.

Polanco is still the best two man — despite his issues. He makes contact well and rarely strikes out. If you have Granderson on 2nd with Polanco up, odds are good that run comes around to score, either by a RBI outright or by successfully moving the runner up.

Aside from Cabrera, Inge has the best OPS, which makes him the best candidate for the three hole. He has a good tendency of fouling off pitches and wearing pitchers out, which is the perfect setup man behind Cabrera. And Cabrera needs to emphatically be clean-up man. . . We need men on base every single time Cabrera comes to the plate, and we need our best hitter batting cleanup. This is a no-brainer. Half the problem of this lineup is batting Cabrera third. I don’t like it, even though it guarantees he bats in the first inning.

And… if you’re gonna pitch around Cabrera to get to Thames, you’re playing with fire. Thames should bat 5th — but for whatever reason, he’s just not getting the job done in the cleanup spot.

The rest of the order is symantics. Do with it what you will.

Keith (Mr. X) June 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I prefer to have our right handed power hitters spread more evenly so that the opposing pitchers just can’t skip through that part of order every time.

Coleman June 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Starting out Granderson / Polanco makes sense, and seems like it should work–but the reality is that is hasn’t been, not for a long time. I posted the numbers before, and got a sort of “bah humbug” response, but they’ve progressively gotten worse since.

Up through yesterday’s game, this is Granderson leading off games:

.192 / .276 / .288 BB-6 K-15 R-7 SB-3 CS-2

That’s something like Jacques Jones’ line when he was cut last season; at any rate it’s one of, if not the worst among all AL leadoff hitters.

Then if Granderson does get on, or if Polanco does following him, we get the GIDP gauntlet: Polanco (4), Ordonez/Clete (3), Cabrera (4)–that’s 11 1st inning GIDPs from the 2-3-4 hitters. And our 12 total (Guillen 1) 1st inning GIDPs lead the league, of course. If that somehow doesn’t sound like a lot of 1st inning GIDP, think of it in context with Times Granderson has been on base in 1st inning, 2009: 16.

Which helps explain that other sad bit in Granderson’s numbers, the “R-7.” Even with the incredibly low OBP, 7 1st inning runs is a paltry amount for a leadoff hitter 4/9 of the way through the season (other leadoff hitters on teams that score about as many runs as Detroit does: Brian Roberts 16, Figgins 16, Kinsler 15, Scutaro 15, Denard Span 12 in 61 games, Podsednik 11 in 43 games…the closest I can find to DET is Crisp / DeJesus combining for 9).

So starting off with a very low OBP, and adding a very high GIDP, what do we get? In the bottom 3 of the league in 1st inning runs, with only 33 (KC 30, SEA 29, CLE 26…you’ll note their W/L records aren’t so hot).

MIN, on the other hand, has 46. DET and MIN are very even in Runs per Game: DET 4.78 MIN 4.76 But if you take out our bad 1st innings and look at Runs per Game Inn 2+ you get: DET 4.35 MIN 4.17. It’s the bad 1st innings dragging us down. I’m not sure how the series with MIN will turn out, but I wouldn’t put any money on us being up after 1 inning in any of the games…

In fact, it may be luck that our numbers are as good as they are, since we are 13th of 14 in 1st inning OPS–but lead the league with 5 ROE, which may have bumped us up a run or two.

So, to make a long post over, I think we have a problem with how we start games that it would be worthwhile to fix…

Keith (Mr. X) June 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Maybe Magglio should lead off. Then at least he can’t hit into a DP to start the game.

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