Game 2009.083: Royals at Tigers

PREGAME: And once again the Tigers find themselves a mini 3 game skid. Hopefully it will remain mini and not force me to invoke backwards game post.

Justin Verlander has traditionally feasted on the Royals and he hasn’t allowed a run in his last 2 starts while pitching into the 7th both times. Of course if the offense gets stymied again a shutout might not be enough.

Bruce Chen will be designated as the stymie-er tonight. The lefty is making just his 3rd start since the 2006 season.

Here is tonight’s lineup, and while you’re watching this lineup in action, click the big honkin’ button there on the right and vote for Inge. He’s just behind Ian Kinsler and definitely in the mix. Your vote could make a difference. A vote for Inge is a vote for America, and awkwardness. And at least you’ll feel like you were productive tonight.

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

Kansas City vs. Detroit – July 7, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: Nothing is coming easy right now. The Tigers worked the count, they hit the long ball, and yet the game was a nail biter the whole way.

Justin Verlander fanned 11 and walked none (the first Tigers pitcher with double digit K’s and no walks since Jeff Robinson who did it twice in 1988), yet it took him 114 pitches to get through 6.

The Tigers take an early lead in the first, give it back in the second. They take get some space in the 5th and a hanging curve gets hit out and Brandon Inge makes a throwing error.

They get an insurance run in the 6th, and then Bobby Seay and Joel Zumaya walk the first hitters they face. Fernando Rodney would have loaded the bases before getting an out were it not for a generous strike 3 call to David DeJesus.

The boys prevailed in the end, but none of it was easy or clean. Incidentally, it was the Tigers first win by more than 2 wins since they beat Milwaukee 9-5 on June 20th.


  1. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    This game is monster-critical. Tomorrow we have Greinke who has easily slammed the door on this pathetic offense.

  2. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    There you go! Nice, but Granderson & Polanco have got to start getting on base. They are a big reason why a guy hitting like Cabrera doesn’t have more RBIs

  3. David

    July 7, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    (Off topic, but I just read the news about Halladay.)

    Good news, Detroit! The Blue Jays have an idiot GM and, for no reason other than his idiocy, he’s decided to insult his team’s superstar pitcher (who is beloved by their fans and generously gave the team a discount in his last contract) and announced he’d like to trade him.

    So, Porcello + Prospect for Halladay? If we could extract Hill or Scutaro that would be just awesome. DD reportedly has been seeking a pitcher, who better than the best? (Plus, expediting Riccardi’s firing would improve U.S/Canadian relations.)

    • scotsw

      July 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

      Well, I’d love to have Halladay. But I wouldn’t trade Porcello for anyone. Seriously. The kid’s 20, and it is blatantly obvious he’s going to be pitching in this league a LOOOONG time.

      I don’t know what the price would be for Halladay, but I’d offer just about anything in the Tigers’ farm system, including Perry.

      But Porcello’s off-limits, IMHO.

    • Jeff

      July 7, 2009 at 8:10 pm

      Absolutely not. Porcello is 20 and will improve. Halladay is 32 and will start to decline. Add in the fact that Porcello will be cheap through 2014 (Halladay won’t), and it would be absolutely insane to make such a deal.

      • Ternt

        July 8, 2009 at 10:17 am

        Lets offer them Willis and see if they bite.

    • T Smith

      July 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      There are a lot of players I would try to deal for Halladay. Porcello would not be among them.

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      July 7, 2009 at 10:31 pm

      We already have enough high dollar starting pitchers. A trade for Halladay is only feasible if we can get Willis and Robertson off the books. I’d love to have him, don’t see it ever happening though.

  4. Dave111

    July 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Just to be contrary and to drive us all nuts in the bargain the Tigers will probably make Bruce Chen look like Cy Young tonight and pound Greinke tomorrow.

  5. mcb

    July 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Gonna be a short night for JV with all these pitches

  6. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    50 pitches and counting

  7. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm


  8. Ryan P.

    July 7, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Darn, I was hoping that inning would set some kind of record for most pitches in an inning without a run, but then he had to go allow one.

    edit: or three.

  9. mcb

    July 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Well we are gonna just have to finally score more than 3…

  10. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Just what I feared would happen: right when they face their divisional rivals, the struggles take hold.

  11. Mike in CT

    July 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Haven’t chimed in here in a while, but Verlander labors through a brutal inning and the Tigers go down 1-2-3 in about 10 seconds to the immortal Bruce Chen. Inexcusable. If Miguel Olivo can manage a 10-pitch at bat, can’t the Tigers at least give Justin time to breath on the bench. Just awful.

  12. mcb

    July 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I’m trying to remain positive but this is getting painful to watch. There is no emotion on this team. They are completely lifeless out there. No confidence.

    • Chris

      July 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm

      They are playing like idiots, especially offensively. They have no concept of the art of making pitchers pitch… None! Maybe, just Maybe you think the idea of working the count could enter as a strategy.

      • scotsw

        July 7, 2009 at 8:08 pm

        Yeah, and what’s with all these lousy homers? Where are the walks?

        • scotsw

          July 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm

          Thames should have worked the count there and tried to draw a walk, but selfishly went yard instead.

          • jb61973

            July 7, 2009 at 10:29 pm

            Chris is actually correct here. Yeah Thames hit a HR on the first page and that was great. But the Tigers hitters, on way too many occasions swings at bad pitches early in counts. I don’t think anyone minds swinging at great pitches to hit early in the count, but when Cabrera swings at a 2-0 pitch low and outside, that is a mistake and is not good hitting, no matter what the result of that particular at bat..

          • scotsw

            July 7, 2009 at 11:16 pm


            If we’re scrutinizing batters on a pitch-by-pitch basis, and microscoping each instance where a guy “should” or “shouldn’t” swing, maybe that’s a sign of a failure to understand the sport.

            Every hitter who ever picked up a bat has offered at pitches he can’t hit. Happens to absolutely everyone. You can’t call each instance a “mistake.” The goal is to not fail approximately 1/3 of the time.

          • jb61973

            July 7, 2009 at 11:48 pm

            Scot, I’m just saying that the Tigers swing at bad pitches early in counts way more than i would like. I would argue that if they looked at more pitches they would hit more HRs and overall, become better hitters. They would also likely get to the opponents’ bullpen much earlier in games which could only be good.

          • scotsw

            July 8, 2009 at 11:36 am


            Point taken, but since Pudge left and Bad Inge has been replaced by Good Inge, the cringe-inducing swing-and-miss seems a lot less frequent to me.

      • billfer

        July 7, 2009 at 10:50 pm

        They did draw 5 walks off a starter who didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. Just sayin’

  13. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    That at-bat by Ordonez is inexcusable. One freaken pitch swinging, giving Verlander no time to rest between innings. He is such a liability to this team. What does he provide?

    • scotsw

      July 7, 2009 at 8:21 pm

      Not much better the second time around. Amazingly, he has the 5th-best on-base percentage on the team, behind Cabrera, Raburn, Inge & Granderson. If he had any speed, I’d say bat him lead-off.

  14. Ken in Vegas

    July 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Well let’s not turn our back on Ordonez like he means nothing to this organization. I’m willing to be a little patient and respectful towards him considering he may be the biggest reason this franchise has rooted itself from the gutter. Not that his struggles haven’t frustrated me greatly.

    • Chris

      July 7, 2009 at 7:58 pm

      I’m just sick of the 1-pitch easy outs and the DPs

  15. Ryan P.

    July 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    lol Polly

  16. Ken in Vegas

    July 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Every time Polly hits a home run, I think it’s a pop-up to shallow left coming off the bat.

    • Coleman

      July 7, 2009 at 8:19 pm

      He’s been getting his head into his swing lately…

  17. Smith

    July 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Verlander is on a freakin mission now… 10 K’s now through 5. I just wish he would have started out like this.

  18. Greg

    July 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    What is wrong with Granderson?

  19. mcb

    July 7, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Dejesus is getting practice at climbing the fence tonight.

  20. scotsw

    July 7, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    The nearest Arby’s location to me is at the Baker Rd. exit off I-94, near Dexter.

  21. Smith

    July 7, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Thames is Country Strong.

  22. Walter55

    July 7, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Nice one Marcus his numbers projected over a full season would be pretty good. Glad to see him getting consistent PT.

  23. TBurns in Calgary

    July 7, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Granderson has been weak out of the lead off spot…only problem is who do you put in his place in order to bump him back. Nice to see Mags strike out on 3 pitches with 2 on!?!

  24. mcb

    July 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    I’m sitting behind Maggs. Unreal that he did not try to throw home on that.

  25. Walter55

    July 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    It just seems like we can’t not put together a well played game lately and what mistakes we do make seem to bite us. Lets get some more runs and win this one.

  26. charlie

    July 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    some of the doom and gloom comments here really make me chuckle. chris you are turning into my favorite poster…which reminds me i was in a car accident a couple of years ago and when the other driver got out of the car i was surprised that he was a “little” person. he stomped up to me and said “i’m not happy” and i said which one are you then.

  27. Smith

    July 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Boy, is the ‘old’ Polly back finally, or what? Stroking an 0-2 pitch for a base hit, just like he used to.

  28. Skip

    July 7, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Well, Nats GM says that he will not trade Adam Dunn… so, any thinking I previously had are pretty much dead…
    It would have been an incredible price to get him too, so… Rats.
    Still, even with 8 runs… we are doing alright…
    For Now…

    (The trade proposed for Halladay- Porcello, etc.- better have been sarcastic, or else that’s absurd)

    • Chris

      July 7, 2009 at 9:59 pm

      How about this: Willis, Robertson, Guillen & Ordonez for Halladay?


  29. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Joel Zumaya is a BB machine, a BS machine

  30. Jeff

    July 7, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Get Rodney out of there. I don’t care if he gets a GIDP on the next pitch, you can’t be risking games when your closer can’t throw strikes.

    EDIT: He got out of it, but I stand by what I said. Relief pitchers have to throw strikes.

  31. sky

    July 7, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Rodney looks like he is in labor!

  32. Keith (Mr. X)

    July 7, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Another win in the books.

    I can’t stand to read all the negative posts here. Some here really need to relax and have some fun watching the games.

  33. Keith (Mr. X)

    July 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Twins losing 9-1. They sure do stink sometimes.

    • scotsw

      July 7, 2009 at 11:18 pm

      With all those losers on the team, and all those holes, that team is never going to win the division.

      • Ryan

        July 8, 2009 at 3:23 am

        Yep. Too many hungry players, and not enough good ones.

  34. T Smith

    July 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    I will say this:

    Rodney is not closer material. I love how every pundit likes to tout his perfect 17/17, but that stat means absolutely nothing as far as I’m concerned. How many of those 17 games would he have converted if they were all 1 run games? What about the blown game/but-technically-not-blown-game (where he had a three run lead), where Leyland had to pull him because he walked the bases loaded? What about his WHIP? How many first pitch strikes does he throw? How many 1-2-3 innings does he have? What about his 0-2 record? Why is every single save opportunity such a dramatic event? And on, and on, and on. I can hardly recall the last stress free save Rodney’s had, whatever the lead. In short, Rodney sports a 17/17 record (now 18/18) with a large (a VERY large) degree of fortune. Even Todd Jones had a few stress free saves under his belt inbetween his rather thrilling rides.

    I would gladly sacrifice a game or two of blown saves in exchange for a modicum of confidence that a one or two run lead is safe every time the closer takes the hill. It’s sad to say I feel no confidence with any lead whatsoever when the Tigers give Rodney the ball in the ninth.

    That’s not to say Rodney is a slouch and wouldn’t provide a valuable role to the bullpen, but he simply is not an adequate closer, imo.

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      July 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm

      There simply aren’t many good closers out there. Reason being is that their shelf life usually doesn’t last more than 2 or 3 years. Some of the highest paid closers have been far worse than Rodney also, such as Kerry Wood, Brad Lidge, and BJ Ryan.

      Closing must be the most stressful job in all of baseball.

      • Mark in Chicago

        July 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

        We can always go with Lyon. Oh wait… Well how about Zumaya? Oh, wait… Seay? Miner? Porcello?

        The closer position is overrated because of one silly statistic (as T Smith points out) in saves. Just get 3 outs at the end of the game, and Rodney is probably the most capable of doing that on a semi-consistent basis.

    • billfer

      July 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

      Rodney pitched 2 perfect innings on Friday night. They were remarkably stress free. That said, he hasn’t been good for the last month, he has blown a couple games, and has been fortunate of late. But he hasn’t struggled or made things uncomfortable the whole season.

      And just to clarify, you’d rather lose a few games and have a closer that makes you more comfortable than win games and feel uncomfortable?

      • T Smith

        July 7, 2009 at 11:48 pm

        Rodney did pitch two perfect innings on Friday night… which speaks to my point that he is valuable in the bullpen (albeit more so in non-save situations).

        And of course I’d always rather take a W feeling sick to my stomach instead of an L or two under more comfortable circumstances, but to clarify my point:

        Just because you hit black on the roulette table 18 times in a row doesn’t mean you’re gonna hit black the next 18 times. In my estimation, Rodney closing a tight game is analogous to hitting black on a standard roulette table, whereas the top six or seven closers in game recording a save are more analogous to hitting anything on the table but green.

        I’d still rather be playing on a table I’ve hit green on a couple times (even if it means that table has produced a loss or two), given that table provides the latter odds at recording saves, rather than play on the table with the former odds where I have miraculously hit black 18 times in a row. In any case, I would never wish for a loss for the sake of my blood pressure, but I hope this has nonetheless clarified what I was trying to say.

        Also to clarify — to speak to Mark from Chicago’s post — I don’t mean to imply at all that Lyon, Zumaya, or anyone else in the pen is more apt than Rodney to be closer. And perhaps Rodney is the best option we have, but that fact alone doesn’t make him an adequate closer. It only means there is hole (or potential hole) in the team that hasn’t necessarily hurt the team….yet.

  35. Keith (Mr. X)

    July 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Good news- Clete Thomas will be back Tomorrow. Kelly is being shipped back to Toledo.

  36. Chris

    July 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    My prediction: Lyon becomes the closer in the 2nd half

    Mark this post.

    • scotsw

      July 7, 2009 at 11:19 pm

      My dog marked a post on our walk today.

      • Chris

        July 7, 2009 at 11:22 pm

        you shoulda had him mark this one 😀

  37. Kevin in Dallas

    July 7, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Post of the night goes to Charlie. Inappropriate, but I’m still laughing.

    I gotta give JL credit on how he’s managed Lyon. I was ready to release him a month ago, now he’s indispensable. JL has done a great job of easing him into pressure situations.

  38. Ryan

    July 8, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Good job avoiding the sweep boys.
    So Greinke’s strikeout total tomorrow.. over or under 12?
    I’ll go out on a limb and say that he only strikes out 8, but still gets the shutout.

    • Coleman

      July 8, 2009 at 3:45 am

      If it were combined strikeout/GIDP over under at 12, I’d take over–he seems to get us for at least 3 or 4 of those. 8 seems a bit low for strikeouts; I figure Inge and Thames for 2 apiece, Clete will bat 3rd and get 1 or 2 (and a GIDP), Cabrera, Everett/Santiago, Ordonez, Laird, at least 3 there…and Polanco will double twice.

      • Mark in Chicago

        July 8, 2009 at 10:36 am

        Since his last start against us (7 starts ago), Grienke has a 3.88 ERA and 55 hits allowed in 46 innings with 39 K’s. He is not the superhuman freak from the beginning of the year (although he’s still very good). The offense seems to be much better at home, so I think we’ll get him for a couple runs but a win is a very tall order.

        I’m sure Jimmuh is telling French “you aren’t pitching against Grienke, you’re facing the Royals hitters” over and over….

        • Coleman

          July 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm

          Unless he’s too busy looking for Sammy Spanish to help out in the bullpen…