Game 2009.097: White Sox at Tigers

PREGAME: A series split would have been acceptable. Going 3-1 tilted towards the home team would have been a positive step. A sweep, well, that would be freakin’ awesome (technical term). Fortunately the forecast for the Tigers is a positive step with a chance of freakin’ awesome.

Rick Porcello had some rust last time out and he wasn’t keeping the ball down and getting his customary bevy of of groundballs. The rust should be off, but there may be some adrenaline and jitters in play on the ESPN National stage.

Clayton Richard goes for the White Sox. Richard has struggled completing 6 innings just twice in his last 7 starts. But one of those times was his last start when he held the Rays to 1 run in 8 innings, with 7 Ks and 2 walks. The Tigers faced him in June and ran his pitch count to 100 before the end of the 5th inning.

The righty-heavy line up is:

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

Chi White Sox vs. Detroit – July 26, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: Rick Porcello had a rookie moment…either that or he just had no control tonight. From the beginning Porcello couldn’t locate the ball and to the White Sox credit they made him pay. An infield single was fine, but then Porcello hung a curve ball that Alexei Ramirez ripped to left. And then a walk. And then a near double play ball that wasn’t. And then falling behind to Paul Konerko. And then the get-me-over fastball that got over the seats. And that was the ball game.

Like his last outing, Porcello’s pitches didn’t appear to be lacking in movement, but they sure were in location. He eventually settled in, but the damage was already done from the top of the first inning.

The offense didn’t get the favorable bounces that they had found in the first 3 games and Detroit only managed 1 run. It looked like they might break through in the 4th when Ordonez and Cabrera ripped back-to-back singles, and then Marcus Thames crushed a ball to centerfield that Podsednik tracked down. Three hard hit balls in a row could have been a sign that they were figuring Richard out, but that really was the only rally to speak of.

  • Casey Fien made his debut in a bases loaded situation, and got Konerko to pop out. He went on to pitch 2 more innings and strike out 2. Very nice outing and very encouraging.
  • Zach Miner was awful. He threw only 13 of his 34 pitches for strikes and created the aforementioned bases loaded situation on walks.
  • Ryan Raburn had a pretty poor game as well. He went all out on a ball ealier in the game, but he also dropped a routine fly and hit into a double play. He did drive in the only run, but that was on a ground ball force out.
  • The announcers went on and on about Porcello being late to the bag in the first inning. Yes, he was late but Thome still beat the throw. It wouldn’t have been a double play. Plus the throw wasn’t good. Maybe they save the 2nd run from scoring on that play, but Konerko hit the homer in the next at-bat anyways. Clearly there is room for improvement there and I’d guess he won’t be late to the bag again for quite some time, but I don’t think it was that big of a deal.
  • Speaking of the announcers, I rejoiced a little bit when I saw Joe Morgan wasn’t in the booth and he was replaced by Orel Hersheiser. But I was disappointed in the overall broadcast. The announcing team didn’t seem to have enough information about the Tigers, and didn’t provide enough context for a lot of the situations. For example, they talked about the Ordonez platoon without mentioning the vesting option (or if they did I missed it).
  • Richard balked when he picked off Granderson. It was so blatant I have a hard time figuring out how it was missed. He started coming home, and then changed direction. I can’t blame Granderson at all on that one. He didn’t progress his secondary lead until Richard made the motion towards home.
  • Inge looked awful at the plate. I know his knees are hurting, but that shouldn’t effect pitch selection that much. He is totally out of whack. He’s taking pitches down the middle and repeatedly swinging at pitches at his eyes.


  1. mcb.

    July 26, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Go Porcello. Go Tigers! We could really use some freakin’ awesome in this town.

  2. Coleman

    July 26, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I hate when I have something else to do and end up missing the best part of the game, which is looking possibly to be the pre-game warmups.

    • Andrew

      July 26, 2009 at 8:31 pm

      What is it about me finally being able to catch a game on tv & the Tigers start out down 4-0? Oh well, I’ll keep watching – it’s too early to give up just yet 🙂

  3. Mcb

    July 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Jimmy might not give Porcello all 15 starts he talked about

  4. Andrew

    July 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Okay, I’ve seen enough of Porcello. He’s hanging nearly every pitch up in the zone. Next, please.

  5. scotsw

    July 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Looks like Inge just regressed about 1 year.

    • Andrew

      July 26, 2009 at 8:49 pm

      I was thinking the same thing.

  6. Greg

    July 26, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Well Inge is injured.

    • scotsw

      July 26, 2009 at 9:05 pm

      That Granderson pickoff looked like a balk to me — textbook. Given the nitpicky stuff they do call as a balk, it’s amazing that the step to first isn’t watched more closely.

  7. mcb

    July 26, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    For a team “deep” with outfielders, can we get some that can field out in left?

  8. Mike in CT

    July 26, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Is it possible to petition for no more ESPN games, the Tigers always seem to struggle when they’re on the WWL.

  9. Andrew

    July 26, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Here’s hoping for some late game offense again!

    • Andrew

      July 26, 2009 at 10:33 pm

      Ugh. Making another pitcher look like Cy Young candidate.

  10. Skip

    July 26, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Disgraced on national television!

  11. Kevin in Dallas

    July 26, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Seems as if theses guys were content with taking 3 before the game ever started. Too nonchalant.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      July 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm

      Good point Kevin. It sure didn’t feel as though there was much energy coming from the guys wearing white tonight. Three out of four is still a very good result from the weekend, but tonight’s effort was still disappointing. I could’ve stomached a loss a lot easier if we lost say 6-4 versus this 5-1 lethargic-fest. At least at 6-4 there would’ve been some excitement and some tension in the late innings. The way it went down was anti-climatic to say the least.

  12. Jerry the Tiger Fan

    July 26, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Its hard to complain when your team has taken three out of four in a first place showdown series, but I’ll give it a shot.

    1. Why does it seem we have the most impatient hitters in the AL? Take a cue from the Yankees and learn how to drive a pitcher’s pitch count up. Take a few pitches, foul off the tough pitches that you can’t do anything with when you have two strikes, etc. We make it too easy on our opponent’s starters too often, with tonight a case in point.

    2. Brandon Inge looks absolutely incompetent at the plate right now. Before people get their panties in a bunch, I’m not ripping on the guy. I’m saying that his knees most really be taking a toll on him because the stark contrast between pre-AS break Inge and post-AS break Inge is stunning. He needs to go on the DL because right now he is an automatic out. IF DD can swing a deal for Scutaro, now is the time to do it. Give Inge the first two weeks of August off and let that knee calm down a bit. Right now he is absolutely toothless at the plate. Scutaro won’t hit for the same power as Inge, but he can and has gotten timely hits earlier in his career in Oakland and Toronto.

    3. Porcello is never going to be as good as Verlander if he doesn’t develop enough arm strength to throw harder than he does. He simply does not throw hard enough to induce swings and misses, and whenever the other team is putting the ball in play as much as they do against Porcello there are going to be nights like these (more than we would like). Maddux was able to have a HOF career without the dominant fastball, but most top of the line pitchers have power arms that strike fear in the hearts of hitters. With Porcello, his fastball is not scary enough that the opponents can’t sit on his offspeed stuff. Verlander and Jackson don’t have that problem becuase if you sit on their off-speed and you get a fastball you are dead, thus hitters don’t sit on their breaking pitches. Right now Porcello is in a tough spot because hitters are going to make contact all night long as his paltry strikeout to IP ratio shows. I’d still include Porcello as the centerpiece of a trade to TOR for Halladay (even though I’m fairly certain it won’t happen). Halladay, Verlander, and Jackson would give us a top three equal or better than anybody’s top three. That would make us dangerous in any playoff series no matter the opponent. I don’t get why everyone is so against trading Porcello for a proven stud like Halladay. Added bonus is that Halladay is signed thru 2010 so it wouldn’t be a case of a two-month rental.

    4. Does Leyland skip Porcello’s next turn in the rotation with an off-day Thursday? It wouldn’t affect the Galarraga/French/Verlander rotation for @Texas, but it would give us Jackson/Galarraga/French for the @CLE series and then Verlander/Porcello/Jackson/Galarraga for BALT, followed by French/ Verlander/Porcello for the MINN series two weeks from now in Detroit. This way you save Porcello’s wear & tear a little more (by skipping him one time thru the rotation), plus you get one less start from our most ineffective starter going back to the beginning of July. I think I’d skip Porcello’s next start if I was Leyland for all the aforementioned reasons. What do you guys think?

    • Robo-Tiger

      July 27, 2009 at 12:31 am

      Porcello’s problem isn’t his velocity, it’s his command. He only had 9/24 first pitch strikes. His stuff is good and induces tons of ground balls but he has to locate on the lower half of the zone. When his pitches are up they get hit. When he falls behind he becomes more predictable and has to throw a get me over straight fb, and if it’s up it gets crushed. Some more seaoning will take care of that. The guy’s 20 years old. It’s not his fault the Tigers lack organizational depth and he finds himself in the middle of a divisional race. He’s just not quite ready to have consistent command. Some pitchers never get it. I think Porcello has shown the maturity and moxy that indicates he eventually will.
      That being said skipping him maybe good in the short term but he probably is struggling a little from lack of regular work and may be better off getting a few starts in a row. That’s the pickle the Tigers face right now when you’re trying to protect a 20 year old and win a division at the same time.

      • scotsw

        July 27, 2009 at 9:24 am

        I have no long-term worries about Porcello. His “stuff” is better than every starter in the Tigers system with the exception of Verlander and Jackson (and Bonderman, when he returns). He’s not as accurate as Galarraga, and he doesn’t have the “reps” that French has (of course, French is 4-5 years older). The ESPN guys — Orel mostly — talked about the need for Porcello to work on his offspeed stuff, and I absolutely agree. Rick knows he has a “plus” major-league fastball, and doesn’t trust the rest of his stuff as much. He needs to polish either his slider or curve.

        It was a learning game for him. That said, I don’t think the game was totally out of reach after the first. Porcello settled down and pitched a lot better, and there was plenty of time for the Tigers to chip away and put themselves in a position to overtake the Sox. The bats didn’t do it… Where have the homers gone since the All-Star break?

        And nice job by Maggs yesterday to get a couple hits. But I did notice the ball he hit to left field was only going 83 mph. Bat speed can’t catch up to the heaters anymore.

        Finally, Richard looks like he will develop into a helluva pitcher, and we are going to be see him a lot the next few years. Tip of the cap to the U-M product. He made the right career choice foregoing football.

        • bill

          July 27, 2009 at 9:35 am

          The double he pulled down the line Friday night was 94mph. He can still get around on occasion.

          • scotsw

            July 27, 2009 at 9:40 am

            Blind squirrel and the nut?

            Here’s hoping he is recovering some of his batspeed — even a partial recovery would make him a dangerous hitter again. Right now, Maggs is getting overpowered a lot. I don’t know the details of his wife’s medical issues, but I have to believe it has affected his off-field training and preparation, and he maybe hasn’t been able to do the things a 36-year-old needs to do to remain competitive. That’s just a guess on my part.

  13. Skip

    July 26, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    3 outta 4 ain’t bad
    would have liked 4 of 4, but, hey, it didn’t loom good early.

  14. Kevin in Dallas

    July 26, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Yup. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that JL gave them an earful. Losing is okay. A lack of effort is unacceptable.

  15. David G.

    July 26, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I think you are a little too critical of a 20 year old, period.

  16. Greg

    July 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    The Tigers are interested in Cody Ross of the Marlins. They are also looking at Zach Duke and Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates.
    Found it on mlb trade rumors.
    I don’t know if that would help but hopfully DD makes a move for a bat.

    • Steve in Det

      July 27, 2009 at 1:18 am

      Yea Greg I saw taht as well.

      Cody Ross would definitely be an interesting find however I think that Dunn or Willingham would be a better find then Ross. Besides the Marlins did rip us of all talent in the Miggy trade no sense doing it on a Ross trade.

      Duke intrigues me a lot! It would save us Porcello’s BAD outings. (As I predicted at the beginning of the Season. Porcello’s arm is giving up and is REALLY REALLY BAD. We cannot afford, if we are going all out this year, to have Porcello having really bad outings) DUke would give us a solid #3 pitcher. And also I dont think we would have to give up much for him. I think Duke for Figaro, Ramirez, and Stieby(sp?) would do it. All of them are either expendable or blocked by other major league players.

      • scotsw

        July 27, 2009 at 9:31 am

        Steve, I disagree with you on Porcello, and so does Orel Hershiser. His arm is not “really really bad.” I think that would be obvious to the well-paid expert eyes running the franchise. His fastball looked great, and he fooled a lot of good major-leaguers yesterday. But he also had location trouble, and his curve wasn’t getting over for strikes. Pretty typical rookie off-day. He also made his own job harder not getting over to first fast enough to cover on that play. He’ll learn.

  17. stephen

    July 26, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Hey you guys are the one who orchestrated Inge making the all-star team! He’s about 4-30 since then, well, 4-40 if you count the Home Run Derby.

    Welcome to the horror film of your making called The Inge Identity. In this thriller, a well-meaning slick fielding 3rd basemen with no business making the all-star game is unveiled as an imposter. This is one of the few time in professional sports where, you, the sport fan share part of the blame! Seriously, weren’t we already pretty well represented?

    Who actually thought Brandon ‘more career strikeouts than hits’ Inge would benefit from being in an all-star game or, god help us, a home run derby?

    I may be Johnny One Note, but man didn’t I say DON”T vote Inge to the all-star game because all you would do is make the baseball gods angry? (Yeah, yeah his knees are barking. Funny how we didn’t hear about this until he started going south).

    I think Billfer was right about this being a moment where Michigan came together for a common cause. Unfortunately, it’s turned out much like some of Michigan’s other recent common causes, a well-meaning disaster.

    • Coleman

      July 27, 2009 at 12:07 am

      Hmm, I suspect that post is some sort of trap…especially with no number .239 to be seen.
      But I just had my Malt-O-Meal so I’m feeling fearless.

      Yes you did say not to vote for Inge for all-star, and I’m pretty sure you even mentioned the baseball gods. But if I can play devil’s advocate or satanic lawyer or whatever you call it, didn’t you also make it known that Inge was already in the process of declining back to his usual self and before we knew it he’d be just the same old crappy Inge at the plate he always was?

      Which would mean it wouldn’t matter one way or the other who votes what, The Inge of Seasons Past was already on his way into town.

      But now you are trying to blame the Inge-voters for the same decline that you had already pronounced to be inevitable…

      I call foul on the double-dipping.

      • David

        July 27, 2009 at 3:05 am

      • stephen

        July 27, 2009 at 10:46 am

        Well played Coleman! You and your infernal logic.

        I’d just say yes, Inge was reverting to the mean, but three days in St. Louis only sped up his trip back to nowhereville. It’s like Tigers fan re-routed him from a path through O’Hare to a nonstop.

    • bill

      July 27, 2009 at 9:36 am

      Actually we started hearing about his knees when he hit the 9th inning homer against the Astros and he was limping around the bases.

  18. Mat

    July 27, 2009 at 12:02 am

    There is nothing good about Inge making the AS game. More wear and tear on the knees and more buttressing of an over-inflated ego.

  19. Matt

    July 27, 2009 at 1:01 am

    I didn’t expect much out of tonights game because Porcello got hit hard last time out. I knew he’d get hit hard tonight and I expect he’ll get hit hard again at his next start.

    (Don’t know why, but it just seems like that’s the trend).

    The good news is, we took 3 out of 4 AND now the Chisox have to go to the dreaded metrodome. Go Twins? (That felt weird.)

  20. Brenden

    July 27, 2009 at 1:22 am

    And we are back to having no offense…yay!

    • Steve in Det

      July 27, 2009 at 1:45 am

      Brenden like I said above. Dunn, Willingham or even Sanchez could spark this lineup. Though Id love to have Dunn the most. Provides perfect protection for Miggy.

      However a Dunn and a Duke trades would be great, but also clear out the farm system which isn’t good. So one or the other right now. I don’t know which we need more of. A starter, with Porcello’s arm dropping like a fly. Or a lineup that desperately needs a spark. IDK. Do you?

      • David

        July 27, 2009 at 3:01 am


  21. Keith (Mr. X)

    July 27, 2009 at 2:29 am

    I think Clayton Richard pitched fantastic. It was a carbon copy of his last game vs TB, but with a few less K’s and couple of well timed double plays.

    I think Porcello done fine pitching wise. The big screw up was on a potential DP ball in the 1st inning. Cabrera fielded the ball and threw it to 2ndbase for the force out, but Porcello didn’t cover 1st base early enough, and let Jim Thome beat him to the bag. There was a bad throw on the play by Everett anyway, that made Porcello dive for the ball, but he should of been there to atleast block the ball, but instead the balled rolled away, letting another run score. After that play, Porcello was shaken up and he threw a batting practice pitch to Konerko that he hit into the seats to make it a 4 run inning. If the Tigers got that DP the inning would of been over and it would have been a scoreless 1st inning. That was the ball game right then and there.

  22. rings

    July 27, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Bilfer – I thought the same thing on the balk. It was completely apparent during the one replay, but the announcers spent their time telling how Grandy “cannot” get picked off in that situation without mentioning the forward motion by Richard.
    They also kept calling Casey “FEEN”…is it “FINE” or “FEEN”? I’ve only heard “FINE” before last night.

    • Mark in Chicago

      July 27, 2009 at 8:54 am

      it is in fact, “FEEN”

  23. Matt in Toledo

    July 27, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I would’ve liked to have seen a shot from first base on the play where Granderson got picked off. I thought Richard not only moved toward home but also had his knee cross over his back leg.

    Can somebody tell me again why we have the balk rule? They call it on things like benign little twitches the runners don’t even notice or that play Bonderman had a few years back where he did the “redo the signs” motion while standing on the rubber. Then they don’t call it on a play like that against Granderson which is the precise reason for the balk rule. I understand the reasoning for the rule, but the way it is called is asinine and only serves to make everyday fans look smart when they’re watching with their significant other or child.

    • scotsw

      July 27, 2009 at 9:35 am

      Exactly! Exactly! You and I are on the same wavelength! See my comment above. You say with more detail exactly what I’m getting at: Why do they nitpick and then ignore the glaringly obvious?

  24. jason

    July 27, 2009 at 10:26 am

    quote- “Clearly there is room for improvement there and I’d guess he won’t be late to the bag again for quite some time, but I don’t think it was that big of a deal.”

    During the Leyland in-game interview didn’t he rip Porcello and say this was the third time this year he messed up getting to first? Seems like a trend, and seems like Leyland is counting.

    quote- “Speaking of the announcers, I rejoiced a little bit when I saw Joe Morgan wasn’t in the booth … But I was disappointed in the overall broadcast.”

    I have never understood the Morgan hate, and I am starting to think some people aren’t happy no matter who is in the booth.

    As for Granderson’s pick off. I agree 100% and was shocked no one was arguing that non-call (i.e. a balk). How could Granderson or Leyland not argue that play?

  25. Birdy

    July 27, 2009 at 12:13 pm


  26. Andrew in Toronto

    July 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Are you sure Thome would have beaten the throw if Porcello was there in time? Perhaps Everett eased up on the throw to give Porcello time to arrive at the base.