Game 2009.059: Tigers at White Sox

PREGAME: It seems like only yesterday we were anxiously awaiting the Tigers first round pick, and waiting to see if the Wings would clinch, and kind of dreading a Buehrle-Willis pitching match, and trying to figure out how to fix my refrigerator. Well, it was only yesterday. The Tigers got their flame thrower, we’re still waiting on the Wings, the Buehrle-Willis pitching match-up wasn’t so bad, and my refrigerator still doesn’t work.

With that in mind let’s turn our attention to the less dreaded Justin Verlander and John Danks pitching match-up. Verlander has been kind of awesome for about 6 weeks now. BUT…things haven’t always gone swimmingly for Verlander at the Cell. In his career he has a 5.92 ERA and 11 homers allowed in 51.1 innings.

Danks has been struggling this year, sort of. He only has one quality start in his last 5 outings and his ERA is 5.10. BUT…his peripherals aren’t as bad as his ERA. He’s actually striking out more batters this year than last, but he’s also walking more meaning the ratio has dipped from 2.79 to 2.25. Not as good as last year but not bad either. What has hurt him is that he’s allowed 1.35 HR/9 this year compared to .69/9 last year.  And really, it’s not like the Tigers have been feasting on struggling pitchers anyway.

Detroit vs. Chi White Sox – June 10, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: The Tigers had lost 4 games in a row, people were freaking out and the Twins were only a couple games back. Then Edwin Jackson pitched a complete game 1 run effort striking out the heart of the Angels order to end the game with 98mph heat. That started a run of 5 wins in 6 games culminating with Justin Verlander pitching a complete game 2-1 effort and punching out Josh Fields (who came in for Paul Konerko when Verlander jammed him on a ground ball) with 98mph heat. I like symmetry.

Verlander was incredible once again with only one bad pitch to Thome against 121 pretty good ones. Some of you may be expecting me to be upset about the pitch count, and I’m not in the least. This is the time to extend him, in a tight game where he’s still got gas against a team he’s owning, on a night with a depleted bullpen. This is when you lean on your guys.

The offense wasn’t much to speak of, but Adam Everett homers always deserve mention. The other run came on a bases loaded walk so the Tigers weren’t really crushing Danks. But with a series win assured, there isn’t really anything to complain about.

105 thoughts on “Game 2009.059: Tigers at White Sox”

  1. I’m fine with Willis getting another start since every other team in our division is having problems with starting pitching.

    Here are some ERA’s from our rivals starting pitchers-
    Minnesota – #1 Baker 5.59 ERA, #2 Liriano 6.12 ERA, #5 Swarzak 5.23 ERA
    Chicago – #2 Danks 5.10 ERA, #3 Floyd 5.35 ERA, #5 Contreras 6.45 ERA
    Cleveland- #3 Huff 8.71, #4 Sowers 5.40, #5 Ohka 5.40 ERA, Carmona 7.20 (DL’d), Reyes 6.75 ERA (DL’d),
    KC- #3 Davies 5.13, #5 Hochevar 7.85

  2. Here are some ERA’s from our rival’s bullpens. Also list those relievers with 5+ ERA’s-

    Minnesota – 4.15 team ERA from the pen. Crain 7.79
    Chicago – 3.68 team ERA from the Pen. Gobble 6.30
    Cleveland-4.80 team ERA from the Pen. KERRY WOOD 5.31, Lewis 5.46, Smith 7.11
    Royals- 4.49 team ERA from Pen. JUAN CRUZ 5.63, Bale 5.06

    Tigers- 4.58 team ERA from the Pen. Lyon 5.06.
    Lyon is actually doing better than Kerry Wood and Juan Cruz. lol.

  3. Interestingly, Leyland picked Willis to pitch on Sunday because he wants to see him hit.

    It’s NL rules @ Pit

    1. I’m wondering if Leyland would consider letting Willis hit and DHing for Sardinha sometime (obviously not in an NL park).

    1. Since Chuck Hernandez, Cleveland’s pen ERA has actually gotten better. Last year their team ERA from the Pen was 5.13.

  4. Here’s some news-
    ESPN- “After a hot initial stretch following his insertion into the starting lineup, Sheffield has come back to earth. (Jun 10)”
    Sheffield is hitting .105, .195 OBP, and .295 OPS so far in June. He’s in a 2-19 slump with no extra base hits and with only 2 walks.

  5. It’s maddening to see swings at borderline pitches in 3-0 counts. That’s about the fifth time in the last week.

    1. I think Ryan is ready enough. Aside from catching Verlander I can’t think of another positive quality Sardhina brings.

  6. Thanks!
    Ryan is a pretty good defender and a good offensive player, but his handling of a pitching staff is the only weak area (at least last year)

  7. Verlander seems sort of, what’s the word…good…yeah, that’s it. He seems like he might be a pretty good pitcher out there…

  8. Wow, I come back from the gym and I expected Verlander to be cruising, but I sure didn’t expect our only run to be an Adam Everett bomb.

    1. The evil spirit that possessed Rodney has left his body and inhabited Danks; things look good…

  9. Can Harrelson maybe address the point that that HBP on Inge could have HELPED the Sox? I mean Raburn got to 1-2 before getting walked and Inge was FAR more likely to hit a bomb than Raburn or Everett (tonight’s goodness notwithstanding).

    1. The reason the pitch was so far inside in the first place is that they weren’t planning to throw anything in the strike zone to Inge with 1-3 and 1 out, so the bad call mostly just saved Danks 3 pitches…

  10. Just a question for all you stats guys out there…how can Dane Sardina’s OB% be lower than his BA?

    1. That happens when you don’t have any walks–OB is your hits + walks + HBP divided by your Plate Appearances (vs At Bats); if you have any non-AB plate appearances (sac fly for example), and no walks, then you get for BA your hits divided by your ABs, and for OB your hits divided by the slightly higher PA.

      And yes, I just checked and Sardinha has 0 walks (and 14 K) in 31 plate appearances…eh, good eye Pineapple!

    2. Actually including today The Spikey Fruit has 34 plate appearances, with 0 walks and 16 K…that’s 1 K for every 2.1 AB, a ratio that must make even the great Inge giddy…

  11. Oh fabulous, we get the “strike-zone whine” / you can put it on the board one-two punch, before I had time to hit the mute button…

    1. And now is the time where we re-visit the bad calls from last night, in this terribly unfair season in which all forces have been conspiring to keep the White Sox from their rightful place in World Series ’09….

  12. Mr X is Jim from 07. Or his brother. Sheffield, since we are already ready paying him, would have been good for 280-300 ab’s, the reason he’s dying in NY is because they are playing him every day. He’s still better than Marcus Thames. Probably will be better than him when he’s 60.

    1. stephen- Sorry, but that’s not me. Last year I posted under Chief Monday. I’m sure you remember.
      Mr. X is my alias in MMORPG’s such as World of Warcraft. Chief Monday was my alias in Call of Duty 3 . My real name is Keith. If it’s really that big of a deal, then I’ll use my real name here, but I don’t see what difference it makes.

      1. Yes, but the crunchberries man! Where have you hidden them, you scoundrel!

          1. I have no idea what you’re talking about…and I don’t even like Crunchberries, with me it’s a ham sandwich or nothing…hehe

  13. When was the last time Verlander gave up a homer? I can’t remember. Dude has been lights out lately (obviously an understatement, but still)…

  14. Verlander gave up a homer to Luke F’ing Scott right in front of me in Camden Yards his start before last.

    1. I think you have to let Verlander try to finish it. If a hitter reaches, then we roll the dice with Lyon… not a very good option, I know

    2. He’s the Manager, he makes out the line-up, decides who’s pitching, and makes up stuff to tell reporters after the game; kinda the guy in charge, in a way.

    3. Pretty sure this ones Verlander’s. He’s gonna ride him out until we’ve either won or lost. Unless we’re tied, which would be rather suck.

      1. See the list of relievers at the top of this thread. Every team in our division has at least one guy who is doing worse than Lyon. Big names like Kerry Wood and Juan Cruz made the list.

        I feel the same though. Glad Verlander stayed in.

        1. Yes, I utilized the mighty hyperbole in that comment. Obviously, I have seen worse pitchers.

          I mean, we all remember Maroth and Ledezma, right?

    1. Better the high pitch count than the garbage reliever. I was stunned to see that people thought Lyon pitched well in last night’s game overall. Granted, the second inning he threw was solid but his first was horrible. I don’t care if you come into the game with the bases loaded, letting three inherited runners score is bad regardless.

      1. If you watched the game and understood what was going on, he walked Thome at least semi-intentionally. He was clearly instructed not to give him anything to hit. Konerko hit a decent 0-2 pitch that was at worst on the inside corner. Kudos to Konerko. He basically struck everyone else out. I guess that’s terrible to you. If Lyon pitches like he pitched last night, THe Tigers are trouble for everyone in the league.

  15. I have to admit this is a risky move. While there is no one I trust better right now in the bullpen, Verlander has lost some of his pop on the curve.

    1. Didn’t lose anything on his fastball. Good grief. Gameday put that strikeout pitch at 100 mph.

      1. Very true. He looked better in the ninth than he did in the eighth. It was a gutsy move, but probably the only one given the shape of the bullpen. I like.

  16. Well, that’s one way to win. Refuse access to the bullpen.

    Not to downplay yet another Verlander gem, but this team despirately needs some offense. Our lineup made Danks look WAY to good tonight. On most nights 2 runs on five hits just ain’t gonna cut it.

    1. This offense is offensive right now. With some really good pitching and a few lucky breaks, this team has been able to win 5 of last 6. But that cannot hold up. The bats have got to start producing. The key is Polanco and Ordonez. We are not getting the production out of them as we need.

      1. I do see signs that Polanco is turning it around. The bases-clearing double last night was nice. Still awaiting some power from Maggs, though. I dunno. Maybe he needs to sport that chocolate-milk mustashe again. If it helps him find the gap every now and then and feel a little more powerful, as a man, I say hell yes. Very good look, indeed.

        1. I’ve been meaning to point out about Maggs something that I don’t think he has gotten credit for–even during this slump, he has been finding ways of getting on base; in fact his OBP is 3rd best on the team at .360. To put that in context, his OBP last season was .376, and his career avg is .371, so he is already approaching those numbers. If Cabrera and Granderson are going to be driving in runs, they are going to need the guys on base to drive in, and Maggs has been accomplishing that. In fact there are worse ideas that batting Maggs leadoff (Seriously. Speed on the basepaths is overrated as a factor in avoiding the GIDP; the speed of the batter is what makes a difference).

          By way of the high OBP, Maggs has also been making the pitchers throw more pitches to him, and has what would be a career-high P/PA avg of 3.80 (At last season’s avg of 3.52 he would have already seen 62 fewer pitches at this point).

          This is a definite weak spot for Detroit, who has the 2nd lowest total in the league, especially considering Ordonez follows in the line-up a leadoff hitter who can’t get on base in the 1st inning, and a guy who sees fewer pitches than every player in the league but two (oh and by-the-way, the very lowest is AJ Pierzynski, which one can’t help but enjoy…)

          So while Maggs has had a definite and obvious power dropoff, otherwise he is doing just fine, and in fact in certain ways even better than last season.

          1. I found the numbers to be quite striking (no pun intended), especially since before I looked at them my guess would have been way off…it’s always interesting when the numbers contradict your assumptions…

          2. His OP% doesn’t mean much because he isn’t even fast.

            He isn’t a stealing threat and usually doesn’t go from first to third on a single.

            No pop and no speed.

            Still right now I’d play it like this and stick him in the two hole and move Poly down

            Just based on performance and doing this very quick –


            Whatever they do, Inge should be hitting much higher than in the 6 hole. And Poly should be “demoted”

  17. I think Verlander is trying to keep his slider a secret. At least to the media. He hung the slider to Thome, but he was being obviously discrete (sic) during his postgame interview about what kind of pitch it was.

      1. I can’t remember exactly. There was a coy smile, a short pause, and then something like “Uhh. A pitch I tried to throw down and in. But left it up.”

    1. Well, he’s had Rod fooled, at least. I know word of the slider has been flying around for a few months now, but Rod and Mario seem to just think they’re botched changes, or something.

      1. haha. It’s easy to fool Rod. I see pitches off the plate described as “Right. Down. The middle.” all the time. The closest I’ve heard them describe the slider is “A nice, tight curveball.” If opposing scouts don’t know about it, then shame on them.

    1. Ha, I love the mild optimism behind Billfer’s headline that day, “Edgar Renteria might not totally suck.”

      (…then again–he might…)

  18. I don’t even remember the last time the Tigers had two pitchers going at the same time over this long a stretch since…I’m not sure. Morris/Petry?

    Who knows how long Verlander can keep pitching like this, but if he somehow managed the rest of the season at this pace, he ends up with something like 297 strikeouts.

    Which, to bring up a really amazing pitching performance, falls short of Mickey Lolich’s 1971 numbers, when he threw 308 strikeouts on his way to a 25-14, 2.92 season (and the guy couldn’t even pull down a Cy Young with those numbers–dude named Vida in 1971 went 24-8 1.82 with 301 K!).

    1. Not quite. But close enough.

      If E-Jax goes 7+ shutout innings tomorrow, he’ll be under TWO.

    1. I don’t know Brian, but we need to address this lineup. We can’t keep counting on Verlander and Jackson to be uber-studs every time out. There will be nights where we need to score five or six runs when they are pitching (not to mention when Porcello, Willis, and Galaragga pitch) and this lineup is so weak right now that six seems like a daunting number. We need another dangerous bat (preferably a left-handed bat with some pop). I’m not sure who will be available come trade deadline time, but DD has got to beef this lineup up a bit to contend all the way thru September.

  19. Would this be a good time to promote myself and my work I did on Justin Verlander a few days ago?

    More velocity, more sink/tail on his fastball/change-up, more downward movement on the breaking ball. Everything’s better and I don’t care what Mario and Rod say, he and Jackson are not 1 and 1A. Jackson’s stuff hasn’t been on the same plane as JV’s.

  20. David you do realize that his OBP does absolutely matter whether he has spped or not becasue every time he gets on base, is a time that he did not make an out. ANd he cannot score without getting on base. Everyone would like to see a higher slg% for Ordonez, but to say that his OBP doesn’t matter becasue he is not a threat to steal is nothing short of ignorant.

    1. Sorry I should have said – his OB% doesn’t mean nearly as much because

      1) He is not a burner
      2) It doesn’t include many extra base hits

      His SecA (Secondary Average) is .199 …which is horrible

      His Runs Created is also horrible.

      1. I haven’t learned to appreciate the Secondary Average thing yet…which doesn’t mean I won’t at some point. It seems to give similar ratings to very dissimilar hitters for what to me are very different results. Mostly the guys who get good numbers are ones who get tons of walks, and/or steal a lot of bases, and/or hit a lot of home runs and not so many singles. Are Inge and Granderson really so much better than the rest of the Tigers? Although neither can compete with the likes of the great Coco Crisp, or Jason Varitek, or Jason Giambi, who could really use a secondary average actually cause his primary one’s broke (.214).

          1. Obviously nothing wrong with the logic that doubles/triples/HRs are good-but then again, that’s what the SLG% measures. And walks are good; they are also already accounted for in OBP. And the steals part doesn’t seem to add much; at least it couldn’t help Mickey Mantle to measure up to the great Adam Dunn, or help Rickey Henderson reach Jason Giambi levels…

  21. Best reason of all to have Maggs bat leadoff: 0% chance of him having a GIDP to start the game.

  22. The Tigers are 7th in the league at scoring runs, 9th in # of baserunners…so, to be simplistic, the offense could use an improvement in getting on base more than an improvement at getting their baserunners home.

  23. As far as burners go, I’d say Anderson burns most. So far this season he has scored a run every 7.9 PA; Ordonez has scored a run every 8.4 PA. That’s a difference of 2 runs. Obviously if Anderson were on base more the advantage would be greater; but that’s the whole point…

  24. Do you guys think Baltimore would trade Huff for a prospect like Strieby? He could DH here and Baltimore is rapidly falling out of contention and might be sellers real soon. Huff is a left-handed hitter with some power that could beef up our weak lineup a bit. Streiby will never play here as Cabrera is blocking his path to the bigs in Detroit.

    1. With the numbers that Strieby is putting up you will eventually be able to get much more in return than Aubrey Huff.

  25. So we’re talking about everything BUT the dominant outing by Verlander. What a treat to watch. He made good hitters look foolish. He pitched like Jack Morris did, taking the ball and going all nine innings. We’ve got to appreciate what we have.

    It is hard to suggest a good lineup for this team. Here’s my attempt:

    1. Granderson
    2. Ordonez
    3. Thames
    4. Cabrera
    5. Inge
    6. LF of the day
    Bottom three of Laird, Polanco, and Everett.

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