Game 2009.098: Tigers at Rangers

PREGAME: Oh boy, the Tigers are on the road again. That hasn’t exactly been their forte this summer. It should be hot and steamy at the Ballpark in Arlington (I always liked this place for the shout-out to Tiger Stadium with the upper level in right field).

This is the 3rd time this season the Tigers have gone up against a Rangers team that was hot. This time the Rangers have won 7 of 8 including a sweep of the Red Sox. In addition to playing well they are hot in the sense of febrile as H1N1 is traversing the clubhouse.

Former Ranger Armando Galarraga gets the nod for the Tigers. Galarraga was a hard luck victim of no offensive support and a Bobby Seay-allowed homer in his last start.

Tommy Hunter goes for the Rangers. He’s been solid in his last 4 starts not allowing more than 2 runs in any of them.

I don’t know if this has more to do with Ordonez or Raburn, but Maggs is starting against the right hander tonight.

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

Detroit vs. Texas – July 27, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: Well, at least the Tigers scored 2 runs instead of 1 and once again it could have been more. Granderson led off the game with a homer, and the Tigers didn’t score again until the 8th inning. Sigh.

The biggest wasted chance came when the team had runners on 2nd and 3rd and only 1 out. A walk to Polanco loaded the bases but Clete Thomas hit a dribbler back to the mound (his second of the game) and nobody scored. Miguel Cabrera had a 3-0 count but ended up in a full count and he swung and missed at a pitch around the letters.

  • Galarraga was mostly good, except for the 6th inning when he got rattled and balls got peppered around the park. The slider was encouraging again. I’d count this as a positive outing.
  • Curtis Granderson got charged an error when he threw a ball that nearly hit second base that neither Polanco or Everett picked up which then trickled away from everyone allowing a run to score. I’m not sure why Galarraga wasn’t behind the plate backing up for a throw home.
  • Ordonez turned on another fastball and ripped it for a double. It’s been a decent little stretch for the struggling Ordonez.
  • Ryan Perry had a couple balls hit hard. His first struggles since his recall.
  • Tim McClleland not making many friends tonight. I can’t remember so many disputed called strike 3′s in a game. The strike zone was small early in the game, but got pretty wide at the end.

55 Comments

  1. Matt

    July 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Battlestar had that look in his eyes last time out.

    So I’m making the prediction right now: Gallaraga will dominate tonight.

    • Ange

      July 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm

      So far…..so good

  2. Kurt

    July 27, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    At first I was like, “Maggs against a righty?” but now I would almost guess it has more to do with Raburn getting a mental day off after a pretty tough series.

  3. Tigercub33

    July 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    what about playing Thames in LF and Thomas in RF…that makes the MOST sense.

  4. jason

    July 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    so how many more games till maggs gets his option?

  5. Forty

    July 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Is maggs pulling the ball now? If so, it’s been nicing knowing you, raburn!

  6. Forty

    July 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Is maggs pulling the ball now? If so, it’s been nice knowing you, raburn!

  7. Forty

    July 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    ::hangs head in shame over double comment::

  8. Mcb

    July 27, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I hope this ends better than his last start!

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 12:17 am

      Maybe he’s even more angry now. So his next start will be even better. Another half-dozen starts with no run support and he’ll be totally playoff-ready…

  9. Matt

    July 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Bases loaded with one out and nobody gets home.

    I’m blaming that one on Clete. If the guy before you walks, and then you swing at the first pitch, you damn well better hit it past the pitchers mound.

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 5:12 am

      I blame that one on Leyland. Leyland made out the lineup and wrote Clete’s name in the #3 spot. Swinging on the 1st pitch after the guy before you walks is exactly what the guys who bat 3rd and 4th in our lineup have been doing. Maybe Clete was just doing his best to play the role of the #3 hitter.

      I think asking a guy who maybe really shouldn’t be in the 3 spot to have better ABs than the regular middle of the lineup guys do is expecting too much.

      On the other hand it was pretty cool wasn’t it, how we had that L-R-L-R-L-R pattern for the 1st 6 guys, think how bad the game would have turned out without that…

  10. Adam

    July 27, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Hunter isn’t getting any strikeouts – we’re swinging at everything up by our heads.

    All Cabrera had to do was keep his bat on his shoulders and he would have had an RBI. What is going on with this team?

  11. Adam

    July 27, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    MAKE THE FREAKING KID THROW STRIKES, IDIOTS!

  12. mcb

    July 27, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    No way this team will win the Central with the way they are blowing opportunities. By the time this road trip is over, first place will be a distant memory.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      July 27, 2009 at 11:21 pm

      This post has been made every road trip since the beginning of June. It still hasn’t come to fruition. I am also frustrated by our hitters, but we are playing a Texas team we have dominated and then a CLE team that we are 7-2 against this year. Let’s not throw in the towel on this road trip just yet.

  13. jason

    July 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    horrible.
    it’s not like we are in a division race or anything…

  14. Kevin at the game

    July 27, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Didn’t you (or someone else) write that before the CWS series?

  15. Mcb

    July 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Anyone who’s warched the Tigers a lot this yr could gave predicted this. How many times have we failed to capatilize to be followed by big innings from the opposition.

  16. GW McLintock

    July 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    My only question is what was Armando doing still on the bump when Grandy was throwing home.He pulled a Raburn knocking the ball away from…himself. And one more Q:Where was the real cutoff man? He may have been kicking himself for swinging at 2 ball 4′s. (Lurker no more)

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 12:18 am

      My question is how do they boot the ball around like that and give up runs and end up with no unearned runs?

    • Jud

      July 28, 2009 at 3:28 am

      I just watched the “archived game on mlb” and there is no cut off man on Grandersons throw. Cabrerra starts to go over and stops Gallaraga starts to leave the mound to back up some where and he stops. Granderson throws exactly where he was supposed to and there is no one there. Tough error, the ball skids past Gallaraga near the mound because there isn’t anyone there.

      • Coleman

        July 28, 2009 at 4:59 am

        Yeah, it’s like one of those things I’ve seen before when a runner is stealing 2nd, the catcher rifles an on-target bullet, the SS wakes up but doesn’t get to the bag in time, the ball sails into CF…and throwing error on the catcher (who then quickly puts his mask back on so you can’t read his lips and figure out what he is saying about the SS).

        Anyway, I know for the 2nd run of the inning–reached on single, advanced to 2nd on error, scored on double–that’s always an earned run, the error was only responsible for the base advance. I just would have thought the 1st run, the runner on 2nd, who you probably give the 2nd-to-3rd advance on the single, and a run-scored-on-throwing-error, would be an unearned run (and, since someone said “well he would have scored anyway when the next batter doubled,” actually the following play was NOT the double–it was the 2ND error on the play, on Galarraga).

        What is the rule for run-earnedness or un-earnedness on “run-on-error” plays like that?

        (And I feel bad for Cabrera, since he has been criticized some for ranging into Polanco territory after ground balls…he’s probably been getting reminders to stay within certain boundaries, started to go after the throw, and thought oops better get back near first…)

  17. Adam

    July 27, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Oh, NOW you pinch hit for Thames. I would have liked to see him bat in front of Cabrera in the fifth.

  18. Adam

    July 27, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Hahaha. Now the umpire can’t tell where the plate is. Awesome.

  19. Forty

    July 27, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    The rangers pbp guy is quite annoying. Liked how he was crying balls and strikes earlier. Then when k zone clearly showed strike three to marcus was in fact ball four, he has nothing to say.

    • David G.

      July 27, 2009 at 10:53 pm

      I agree but from what I saw (had to flip a bit tonight to appease the wife) that ump called that pitch quite frequently. The Ump tonight, whatever his name is, is utterly brutal with his theatrics. Quite making yourself a part of the Arfing game.

  20. Jud

    July 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    the 30 Million duo of Miggs and Maggs stranded more runners than Texas plated ….luckily the Pale Hose lost in Twinkie town

  21. GW McLintock

    July 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Forty,
    Lewellen is a hack. Tom Grieve is enjoyable enough, but Lewellen is the SD Chargers PBP guy in the fall/winter.

    Miggy is 5-45 last 45 ab’s w/ RISP.

  22. Jerry the Tiger Fan

    July 27, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Willingham hit his 15th and 16th HRs of the season and is now batting .300 (live up to the minute stats from MIL tonight). I’ll say it again, dangle Zumaya in front of the Nats for Willingham…………..please. Watching the current Tigers hit with men in scoring position brings back painful memories of me trying to undo my girlfriend’s bra as a teenager. Neither one of us (me or the Tigers) had a clue on how to accomplish what we were after. Please Mr. Dombrowski, make the awkwardness stop!

    • Coleman

      July 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. About you striking out, I mean…

      • Jerry the Tiger Fan

        July 28, 2009 at 12:54 am

        Yeah…the Tiger’s hitters are as clueless as I was, but at least it was my first time. :-) These guys are professionals and allegedly among the best in the world. I wish they would start showing it on the field.

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 1:28 am

      WOW. Willingham didn’t just hit his 15th and 16th HRs of the season today–he hit 2 GRAND SLAMS. You didn’t mention that part!

      Surprisingly, based on total occurrences, multi-grand slam games are more rare than perfect games…I did not know that…

      • Jud

        July 28, 2009 at 3:14 am

        those 8 RBI in two swings are more than Cabrerra–Ordonez-Inge- Thames- Rayburn- Granderson-Polanco-Laird any of them have had in a month

        • Coleman

          July 28, 2009 at 4:32 am

          Well, to be fair, as far as the “two swings” part of it goes, even Polanco and Ordonez usually have at least 3-4 swings a game…

    • billfer

      July 28, 2009 at 6:57 am

      You can’t trade a player that is on the disabled list.

  23. tigers fan in west MI

    July 27, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    We certainly need another hitter, preferably a lefty with power. Hermedia or Dunn would fit good, put Miggy back in the 3 hole and one of them in the 4th spot. Sorry but Clete is not a 3 spot kind of hitter.

  24. Keith (Mr. X)

    July 28, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Minnesota and Chicago have been lackluster teams. They don’t deserve to win the division the way they’ve been playing. They’ve also done nothing to get better.

    If you think about it, Minnesota screwed up their chances a few years ago when they traded away Garza and Bartlett to TB for Delmon Young. That trade was huge to the Tigers because it opened the door for us to get Edwin Jackson.

    Then the White Sox traded Vazquez to the Braves for some minor leaguers, traded Nick Swisher to the Yankees, and let Orlando Cabrera leave via Free Agency. The bed has been made for them.

    DD made his moves in the pre-season that improved the club enough to win this. The other teams didn’t and they are still doing nothing. The Tigers should win this by default.

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 1:36 am

      Nick Swisher has always reminded me of a guy named Overray Ted.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      July 28, 2009 at 6:15 am

      I love how you mention that Minnesota and Chicago don’t “deserve” to win the division because of moves their GMs made but completely absolve DD of giving away a bright young pitcher like Jurrjens for Renteria (OMG awful trade even before Renteria ever slipped on the Olde English D), signing an obviously declining Willis to a three year extension (when he was clearly on the decline in Florida), signing an average at best starter like Robertson to a three year extension, and signing Gary Sheffield to a three year deal at age 37 or 38. Four awful moves that probably would’ve gotten most GMs fired. But yeah…..our guy has been so much better than Kenny Williams and whoever the GM is in Minnesota that we “deserve” it more. Puhleeeze. DD is even more to blame for our situation than Ol’ Smoky. DD has done an incredibly poor job the last few seasons constructing a ballclub. He’s got no catcher, 19 designated hitters and zero reliable, everyday corner outfielders. DD has made two good moves in the last three years: Getting Galarraga for nothing from TEX and stealing Jackson for Joyce. Otherwise DD has been a disaster from 2007 going forward. It wouldn’t surprise me if he lets Jackson walk after this year because he’s got the millstones of the Willis and Robertson contracts around his neck.

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        July 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm

        DD signed Traynor and Laird. That’s about as good as any GM could do in filling a void at catcher.

        Willis was clearly on the decline? I know alot of people think that way. To me, that’s like saying Verlander was clearly on the decline last year and this Spring. Getting an established 25 year old starting pitcher is usually a great move. I expected Willis to be atleast be a solid innings eater like Gil Meche is.

        Nate Robertson was that great innings eater from 2004-07. The extension we gave him was to avoid arbitration and was probably below his market value at the time. Guys like him were going for 4 years at $10 million per season, about what Bonderman got.

        Sheff got a 2 year extension because he would of vetoed the trade without it. It was the only way to get Sheff here. I didn’t like Sheff, but I thought he’d make the team better, so I supported the trade after it happened. We didn’t give up much talent to get him, only prospects. The only thing lost was $. IMO, money is worth nothing if you don’t spend it. We’d be no better with a $70 million dollar payroll. Sure, we’d have more money to spend, but on who? The problem has been getting people signed to play in Detroit, not paying them. Money is the most replenishable commodity in the world. It’s no secret that players would much rather play in NY or LA for less money, than to come here and play in Detroit.

        I’m glad Renteria didn’t get that kind of extension the other guys got when we got him.

        DD really has been brilliant in rebuilding this franchise. He started off with nothing but Jeff Weaver. After a few years, he built up the farm system so that he could afford to trade away top prospects like Jurrjens for proven talent, whether it be Cabrera, Willis, Sheffield, or Renteria. Usually getting All-Star or future Hall of Fame players is low risk. Being on the other end of the deal and getting unproven prospects is usually the much bigger gamble.

        How is Jackson going to walk after this year? He’s not a free agent after the season. He still has a few arbitration years left.

        I think the Tigers are in a wonderful situation. We have a rock solid core of young players and one of the best managers in the game, Leyland. Don’t understand how people could think otherwise.

  25. Brenden

    July 28, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Still no offense and still no movement from the front office…

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 1:53 am

      Don’t worry. Perhaps they are like Kung-Fu Masters, and they appear to be completely motionless, yet they can still deal deadly blows, without seeming to have moved…

      Or perhaps not.

  26. Jud

    July 28, 2009 at 3:44 am

    to save everyone some research the Tigers have :
    2 times shutout
    13 losses when scoring 1 run
    8 losses with two runs

    • Coleman

      July 28, 2009 at 4:27 am

      Hey, Needless Research is my middle name…

      (Actually my middle name is Markley, but the kids in school called me Needless Reseach and it kind of stuck…)

      The thing that one doesn’t grasp easily, especially after tearing hair out watching another 2-1 loss, is that overall the Low Scoring Game is a place where the Tigers have an edge on their rivals. I know it’s hardly a revelation, but in baseball, when you don’t score more than 2 you lose, almost always. Everybody.

      The Tigers fail to score more than 2 exactly as often as the Twins and White Sox (27 for all 3). But they win a slightly higher % of those games than either team. (In other words, in theory if all 3 teams had had twice as many low scoring games, our division lead would be bigger).

      The Twins are almost as good as us at avoiding shutouts, and have a big edge in avoiding 1 runs games (but more 2 runs games). What I see when I look at that is the difference between a team that converts with the runner on 3rd less than 2 out and one that doesn’t (which, in actual fact, the Twins do have a big advantage in). What isn’t so clear is how much of a difference it really would make in the overall record if we had scored the extra run in a third of those 1 run games, assuming you couldn’t pick just the 2-1 ones as the extra run games.

      I do think the difference between the Twins numbers and those of the White Sox is a point in favor of the Twins are the Most Dangerous Rival school of thought.

      Here is how the 3 teams break down, with the total 0-2 run games and total 0-1 run games after the team name… and I added the Indians since we play them next. (And nice to hear they dealt Garko before the series BTW).

      Tigers (27)(18)
      2 times shutout (0-2)
      15 losses when scoring 1 (1-15)
      6 losses when scoring 2 (3-6)
      Total with 0-2 runs: 4-23 (.148)

      White Sox (27)(18)
      9 times shutout (0-9)
      9 losses when scoring 1 (0-9)
      9 losses when scoring 2 (2-7)
      Total with 0-2 runs: 2-25 (.074)

      Twins (27)(13)
      3 times shutout (0-3)
      10 losses when scoring 1 (0-10)
      11 losses when scoring 2 (3-11)
      Total 0-2 runs: 3-24 (.111)

      Indians (28)(17)
      4 times shutout (0-4)
      13 losses when scoring 1 (0-13)
      9 losses when scoring 2 (2-9)
      Total with 0-2 runs: 2-26 (.071)

      • Keith (Mr. X)

        July 28, 2009 at 6:28 am

        Thanks for those numbers. It really shows that the grass is not greener on the other side.

      • David

        July 28, 2009 at 8:23 am

        And whats that a testament to?

        Our PITCHING!

        We could really use one more solid starter. I’m worried about Ricky, Mando is iffy/on/off and I don’t know how long Luke French can pull this off.

        Two aces(JV+EJax) and a third solid guy(trade) + the hot flavor of the month/someone we have on the staff would probably be enough to have a high probability of

        1)ensuring a playoff spot,
        2) being able to weather a injury/overuse of Porcello
        3) possibly repeating or besting 2006

        Without another solid starter, I’m worried.

        Pick someone or some two from the following. I am just going on two main criteria for this list

        1) Said pitcher is on a team not in contention (defined as the following – Toronto, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, New York Mets, Washington DC, Cincy, Pittsburgh, Arizona, San Diego)
        2) Said pitcher has an ERA below 4

        http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/leagu.....Frame=2009

        There are several intriguing names on that list, that are on the named teams and fulfill the second requirement.

        • RPS

          July 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm

          Jon Garland if you don’t want to give up prospects, John Lannan if you do. Strieby, Iorg, and Figaro for Lannan, Willingham, and decent but not near ML-ready starter prospect? Enough, or does a Satterwhite-type guy have to go as well?

  27. Tbone

    July 28, 2009 at 7:08 am

    I’m wondering what the Tigers record is when Granderson hits a leadoff homer. It seems like we lose a disproportionate amount of those games.

  28. jim-mt

    July 28, 2009 at 11:40 am

    One other move DD made that may result in the Tiger’s next hall of fame guy was acquiring Caberra (if only he can learn how to hit in the clutch like Kaline could).

    • Andre in Chi

      July 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm

      I’m not too worried about the clutch hitting, at least not long term. With all his seasons of producing ~ 30 HRs and 100 RBI, its sometimes easy to forget how young he is. I think there’s plenty of time (in his career as a Tiger, maybe not this season) to improve his “clutch-ness”.

      • Coleman

        July 28, 2009 at 3:17 pm

        I’m not worried about it for different reasons (it’s a different issue obviously in the context of discussing player value vs contracts, or where the best place for them to hit in the order is, etc. I’m thinking basic, just what he’s contributing with the bat in general).

        True he is not hitting in runs as expected; and frustratingly even more so when the situations look tailor-made for producing RBIs. But he has being doing other things. Above all he has been getting on base. A lot.

        The Tigers HAVE to score more runs–even with great pitching and defense I doubt many teams have won divisions without scoring runs at least at a league average rate…which the Tigers aren’t doing:

        Runs per game:
        AL Avg: 4.79
        Tigers: 4.59 (tie 9th with BAL)

        It’s obvious why we aren’t scoring too–our big hitters become useless as soon as a runner gets in scoring position, even the Big Bat Cabrera. Well at least it seems obvious, but that idea actually couldn’t be more wrong. The problem that needs to be solved is that WE CAN’T GET RUNNERS INTO SCORING POSITION in the first place, or to be honest even on base at all:

        Total baserunners:
        AL Avg: 2387
        Tigers: 2223 (-164 – 11th)

        PAs with RISP
        AL Avg: 1019
        Tigers: 918 (-101 – 13th, KC: 915)

        We may be a bit below average scoring; we are way below average getting guys on base; but we are a couple a baserunners away from being dead worst in the AL at getting runners into scoring position. In that light it’s a small miracle we are even above .500 right now.

        And here’s the small miracle: somehow this odd offense is among the league’s best at getting runners home once they get in scoring position. Yeah, I know. But the numbers don’t lie (although they often babble incoherently):

        RISP Efficiency (PA/R)
        AL Avg: 2.91
        Tigers: 2.79 (+.12, *4th*)

        We’re getting guys on base like an out-of-contention team; we’re getting guys into scoring position like a solid basement dweller; but we’re scoring runs like an average team, because we’re scoring the runners we do get into scoring position like a playoff team does.

        In light of which Cabrera’s excellent OBP–10th best in the AL–is a bigger factor for this Tiger offense right now than his subpar RBI/RISP performance. What we need most are baserunners. Desperately. Cabrera is doing his part and more.

        • Andre in Chi

          July 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

          Coleman,

          Can you get me a job where you work? Also, great effing post.

          • Coleman

            July 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm

            I can’t actually. Not because of inability of mine or nonhiring policies or that sort of thing.

            I can’t because of logical impossibility. In short I am currently self-employed.

            I should probably fire myself I suppose, but I’ve never been good at that sort of thing as a manager. And yeah the amount of time spent on baseball things some days is not trivial. But at the same time when I see me working late to make up for the time, it doesn’t look so much like a thing to fire a guy over, you know?

          • David

            July 28, 2009 at 8:15 pm

            Keep your boss happy ;)