Game 2009.107: Orioles at Tigers

PREGAME: It’s Rick Porcello taking on David Hernandez today. And Alex Avila makes his debut. And Matt Wieters is young. The combined age of the Tigers battery is 42. The combined age of the O’s battery is 47. Play ball.

Baltimore vs. Detroit – August 6, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: There’s so much to like  about this game. Avila has a very impressive debut with a single, a double, an RBI, a run scored, and some lengthy at-bats even when he made outs. And he caught 4 innings of no hit ball from Rick Porcello. Not a bad way to start your career.

Everybody got in on the fun, with the exception of Miguel Cabrera. Brandon Inge hit his first homer since before the All Star Break. magglio Ordonez hit another ball hard. Curtis Granderson flashed some extra base power. Hopefully these are signs the team is breaking out of it’s collective offensive funk. Or maybe it was just a fluke, but at least they won.

The pitching was quite good with the exception of Bobby Seay who didn’t feel secure in his strike zone. Ni was very good, Lyon bailed out Seay and got the save. And the kid certainly built on his previous outing even though he kind of wore down towards the end. Good win. Good series.

77 thoughts on “Game 2009.107: Orioles at Tigers”

  1. Ordonez and Inge…
    I think we need a new Whipping Boys Duo graphic. I mean nobody can reach Sheffield status, but still…

  2. Granderson just completed the Tiger Cycle this inning. OK, so a team cycle isn’t so rare. But this is a Tiger Cycle. In one inning. Just try to find the last one of those…

  3. Man, this looks like a different team Today.
    Ordonez is breaking his slump.
    Inge hits a homer.
    Granderson is owning the bases.
    Hits galore!!!

  4. Hernandez is getting shelled but he’s sort of cool looking. He looks just like an orange and black bird.

  5. Good omens abound today…

    The Tigers are 14-6 when Inge homers. (He hit 2 in one game).

    Which is a more impressive record once you know 60% of his homers have been with the Tigers tied or behind. (It should be 15-6 and 62% after today).

  6. That second inning is what I’ve been begging for from our hitters. Working the count, fouling off pitches and timely hitting. We made that kid throw 40+ pitches to get out of the inning. That is the kind of stuff we need to do. Very nice job in that inning from the Tiger hitters. Even Avila made the kid throw 7-8 pitches before striking out. Me likey. 🙂

  7. I predict Inge will hit for the cycle today… and ruin his knee sliding into 3rd on the triple, spend the rest of the season on the DL, and the Tigers will finish 3rd in the Central.

    OK, not really, but don’t you hate when all the comments are negative when they’re losing, and all the comments are positive when they’re winning?

    1. Leading by example is the best strategy, although I tend to fall into that trap myself. The DTW commenting crew remains smart and (mostly) positive, which is why I like to hang around here.

  8. Porcello looks like crap. Only 1 strikeout so far. I wonder if it’s too late to trade him for Halladay.

    1. Baltimore is being hard to strike out the way Polanco is hard to strike out–Porcello can’t even manage to get a 3rd pitch in on them, much less a strikeout.

      1. Good pitchers find a way to get strikeouts in fewer than 3 pitches. Porcello is a bum.

  9. Baltimore has the game acceleration thing the Tigers get stuck in sometimes–can’t do anything the first couple innings, so try to mix things up by being more aggressive and end up still doing nothing–but much faster, then all of a sudden it’s the middle of the game and the pitcher has thrown about 2 innings worth of pitches…

  10. Wow, we’re pulling out all the stops here, I wonder what Leyland’s pre-game speech was…or maybe Uncle Celery called them out again..

    But a Granderson walk, followed by a Polanco Not-GIDP, that’s good stuff…

  11. Avila has seen 21 pitches in 3 at-bats. If that keeps up he will fit in around here nicely.

  12. The last time Laird had a 2 hit game was on July 8th, nearly a month ago. Avila’s bat is making an impact already.

    1. Crazy game, now it’s 6-4 and the Sox have the bases loaded with 1 out.

      Minny lost already.

  13. Wow, Porcello lost it fast today. No hitter thru four, then two runs in 1 2/3 innings with some hard hit balls. Good decision by Ol’ Smoky to go get him when he did. Fu Te Ni did a nice job getting the lefty Luke Scott out. Porcello still doesn’t miss enough bats for my liking, but he’s given us two good starts in a row after four stink bombs in a row. Only two more in a row Mr. Porcello to make up for the four stink bombs.

    Major League Debut Guy strikes again, only this time its a Tiger doing the striking! Alex Avila 2-3 with an RBI in his big league debut. Very nice young Alex.

  14. Clete just showed us why his UZR rating in RF is one the highest in the majors. Maybe 1 or 2 other RF’s get to that ball. Great catch Clete!!

  15. Seay had a bad outing today. He tried to be too fine with his pitches instead of attacking the hitters. Lyon showed him how to do it, just throw strikes and make the hitters beat you. Seay walking Reimold after getting ahead 0-2 was a cardinal mistake with a five run lead. Hopefully Ol’ Smoky lets Lyon finish it off as Rodney pitched last night and traditionally does not perform well in non-save situations (as today’s game fall under the non-save category).

    1. I agree with that. Funny how back in early April, Leyland got crucified for leaving Lyon out there to pitch in the 9th in a non-save situation. Now, it’s no brainer.

  16. Quick Questions for everyone to ponder…

    If Maggs heats up and continues to hit the way he has the past week or couple of days, does Leyland have to keep him in the lineup?

    A solid hitting Maggs could push us over the top.

    1. Yes, no question. If his bat is back to the extent that he’s capable, they have nobody else that can generate his type of production.

        1. Maybe, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Maggs will unfortunately fall a few ABs short for the option to kick in.

        2. that’s kind of weird thing to say. A contract is a contract. Illich isn’t the kind of guy who will try to screw his players just to save a buck. Magglio took a huge chance when he signed with this team which had stunk for 12 straight seasons prior. He helped turn the franchise around and had some huge hits that Tiger fans will remember for a long long time.

          Maggs has had an off year, but there is no reason why he can’t bounce back next year and be productive again. He’s still a .310 career hitter and has raked with the best of them. I’ll give him the benefit of a doubt, because guys with his track record don’t grow on tree’s.

          1. Three weeks ago there was serious talk about CUTTING him, largely due to poor performance, but also the 18,000,000 reasons concerning whether his option kicks in or not. Illitch might be a nice guy, but he is also a business man and Baseball is a business – a big and costly one. Regardless of how Illitch feels personally about Ordonez he’d be a fool to allow his emotions to get the better of him and hand the man 18M if he couldn’t be relatively secure in Maggs ability to continue to produce to warrant that kind of a paycheck. This is the big issue that has been nagging all season. For most of the year Maggs has looked really bad, and it is a serious question whether he can bounce back at his age. The Tigers could pick up a lot of quality personnel for that 18M and that fact has to be on Illitch’s and DD’s mind as this plays out. Remember also that when the Tigers signed Ordonez, many thought they were the ones taking the chance as Maggs had been seriously injured at the time of his departure from ChiSox. One could use the counter-argument that the Tigers offer to Ordonez was quite generous considering the few teams that were showing interest at the time and that they were instrumental in keeping his carreer alive with a long-term contract.

          2. “Magglio took a huge chance when he signed with this team which had stunk for 12 straight seasons prior. He helped turn the franchise around and had some huge hits that Tiger fans will remember for a long long time.”

            To piggy-back off Vince, the Tigers compensated Magglio very well for all those hits and memories. In addition, should Maggs not reach the auto-vest threshold for the options, and should the Tigers decide not to pick up said options, Maggs still gets a cool $3mil buyout.

            I would say the two parties are “even” in terms of who should be thanking who. Even if Maggs continues at his (relatively) elevated pace, letting a contract of that size vest for a player who won’t likely “earn” it through production would be…unwise.

            Its a sad and almost unfair thing to see a player with his track record decline so quickly, but that’s likely what’s happening here. He might bounce-back, but to think that he’ll come close to his former-self is quite a gamble based on his age and what we’ve seen this year.

            Factor in his declining defensive skills, and you’re either looking at a double-whammy of weak hitting/defense in RF, or (best case) single-whammy of weak-hitting DH on a team with much better options @ DH.

        3. I doubt Ilitch thinks of it that way, he’s has never been one to haggle over money if his team is winning.

    2. Right now he’s hitting right handed pitchers, so the answer is yes. He’s been hitting lefties all year, so it was just a matter of him opening up his swing so he could get around against righties. I can’t believe it took so long for them to figure that out. I guess it’s better late, than never.

      Before the season started everyone expected Magglio to get his options years and be around until after the 2011 season. His slump certainly brought the worst out of Tiger fans.

    3. If he does, yes because no one else is stepping up. Inge finally showed up today, but that was his first good game at the plate since the AS break. If Maggs is back (and its a big if) then we have no other choice. If other guys were hitting with some consistency, we could cut bait. Unfortunately we can’t count on any of our other guys to come thru with any consistency. Hopefully Inge can get it back together after a three week slump, because before today he was an automatic out, even our 8 and 9 hitters were outperforming Inge the last three weeks.

      1. Well automatic out might be a bit harsh, but he certainly had zero power. (And who are those 8-9 hitters? I think we could use them. It’s sure not Laird/Everett).

        Since the break Inge has had a low OBP .286, but his SLG–ouch! .213.

        (Everett and Laird since the break have had OBPs of .182 and .228 (yikes), thus the comment above).

        Cabrera, Ordonez, Clete, Guillen, and Polanco since the break though–all good stuff (OBPs of .448[!] .347 .385 .340 and .337).

        Which means there has been more offense than it seems; the problem seems to be getting guys on base in the same inning, instead of one guy on-one guy LOB every inning.

        1. I am surprised at Polanco. I thought the 7-2 spots in the order was a huge black hole. It’s good to see it is only 7-1. Things are getting better and better.

          1. I think that–the surprise I mean–is one of the effects of becoming aware of the Placido-pattern (called 1st strike/2nd pitch ground ball); the outs he makes are more irritating than they should be.

            And he actually only has *1* GIDP since the break, although a lot of that is probably due to Granderson never being on 1st when he comes up–Granderson has 19 hits, but with 4 HR, 3 3B and 2 2B he hasn’t been spending much time as GIDP bait. That’s one way to avoid the double-plays: doubles, triples, and homers only!

            It was pretty funny to me last night when Polanco got his big hit. He took a called strike on the 1st pitch, then the guy left a weak slider out over the middle of the plate on the Placido-pattern Autoswing Pitch. Doh! as they say.

  17. Don’t look now, but since June 1 here are Lyon’s numbers:

    29.1 ip, 16 h, 3 er, 9 bb, 24 so, for a 0.92 ERA and hitters have posted a 165/241/216 line against him.

    Egad, that’s a nice run.

    1. He has changed his delivery or added a pitch or something since earlier in the year hasn’t he?

      1. He added a cut fastball. Not sure if he had it earlier in the year or has just been throwing it more. But it has made a huge difference. I think he’s earned Leyland’s trust and that’s why he left him in. Earlier in the year we would have seen Rodeny protect the 4 run lead. I think if Rodney should blow another save soon, Lyon may get a chance to close.

      2. It may be neither here nor there, but it looks to me at least that he has dropped a few pounds. Maybe he’s into Rally Celery.

  18. Thank you Ol’ Smoky for not over-managing this one. I was holding my breath when I saw Rodney and Lambert warming up in the bullpen in the bottom of the 8th. Better to let Lyon finish this one off as Baltimore can hit and put a rally together at any time, and Rodney does not fare well in those non-save situations. I also did not want a guy like Lambert coming in either as Lyon has been money since June.

  19. We won 3 out 4 games vs Baltimore. That’s exactly the kind of baseball that I was hoping for. Great pitching and defense, with the offense heating up.

  20. Some breathing room with the Twins and Sox losing today. This weekend with the Twins is a big series. They should be down after losing 2 of 3 to the Indians and we need to deepen their depression – they are as bad or worse on the road as the Tigers and should be forcefully reminded. A decent outing by Galarraga tomorrow would be a nice start on that. Speaking of road woes, with 4 games in Boston next M-TH the Tigers need to hit the road on a high note after Sunday’s game.

    1. White Sox gets the Indians at home, by the way, and Cleveland has actually played better since trading half the team. I doubt it’s addition by subtraction, but whatever it is, I hope it lasts through the weekend.

    2. Wow, can’t believe Galarraga is up tomorrow. I swear it seems like he just pitched a few hours ago. Been a quick week.

      I agree, it’s payback time. We need to pound on the Twins, dash their hopes for winning the division and extract some revenge for the suffering we endured in the ‘dome.

      1. “Pound on the Twins” reminds me…who was the bloodthirsty anti-Twin last season who was always adding stuff in his posts like “I hope the Tigers sweep the Twins…and Mauer breaks both his arms?” (Which reminder reminds me farther: just what DID ever happen to Smoking Loon??).

        Was that Cabrera-Fan-Club-Chris?

  21. to Vince about Magglio-
    There wasn’t serious talk about releasing him. Maybe the fans talked about it, but they have no control over any roster decisions. Absolutely nothing was leaked from the management about releasing him IF they were discussing it, which they were not for one big reason (the contract).

    Also, why do people assume that releasing Ordonez terminates the contract? It’s a contract that states that if he plays X amount of games or gets Y amount of AB’s, then the option automatically gets picked up. He could still get the option picked up if he’s released and plays for another team. In that case, we’d still have to pay the remaining 2 years. Why can’t anyone comprehend that?

    Magglio Ordonez contract-

    5 years/$75M (2005-09), plus 2010 & 2011 club options
    -signed by Detroit as a free agent 2/05
    -$6M signing bonus (due 11/05, not guaranteed)
    -05:$6M, 06:$15M, 07:$12M, 08:$15M, 09:$18M, 10:$18M club option ($3M buyout), 11:$15M club option (no buyout)
    -Tigers may void contract after 2005 if Ordonez spends 25 or more days on disabled list in 2005 with recurrence of pre-existing left knee injury
    -$3M annually deferred from 2008-11 salaries at 1% interest
    -no-trade protection
    -2010 option guaranteed at $18M if Ordonez has:
    + 135 starts or 540 PAs in 2009, or
    + 270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2008-09
    -2011 option guaranteed at $15M if Ordonez has:
    + 135 starts or 540 PAs in 2010, or
    + 270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2009-10
    -award bonuses: $0.5M for MVP ($1M for subsequent MVPs) ($0.2M for 2nd-5th in MVP vote, $0.1M for 6th-10th); $0.2M for WS MVP; $0.15M for LCS MVP; $0.1M each for Hank Aaron Award, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, All Star team or BA/TSN/AP All Star ($50,000 for All Star selection)
    -perks: suite on road, Ordonez to purchase ballpark suite at home

    Here’s some Ordonez stats (Not including Todays game) –
    For the past 7 days, he has a .400 avg., with a 1.067 OPS
    For the past 14 days, has a .324 avg., with a .861 OPS
    For the past 28 days, has a .292 avg., with a .846 OPS.

    1. Also I know from following the RISP and Runner on 3rd with less than 2 out stats that the first few months of the season he was below team average in both: now his totals are not only above average but begin to approach his career averages. I know this is often the natural result when small sample sizes become larger, but I think in Maggs’ case it’s significant. “Regress” to his norms? Yeah, I’ll take that!

      RISP OPS: .812 (was under .700 in June)
      Career RISP: .935

      Runner on 3rd less than 2 out: 14 PA 10 RBI (.714) 1.036 OPS
      Career: 433 PA 342 RBI (.813) 1.119 OPS

      To me that was the big sign Maggs was in trouble early in the season–in the situations he always thrived in (RBI situations), he was awful. That seems gone.

      (Oh and the GIDPs–he’s always done that, even in his best seasons).

  22. Wow. Smoltz got lit up again. That’s the 4th straight game he’s been terrible. In 9 starts, only 1 has been quality. Boston’s rotation is in sad shape right now. TB and Texas are closing in on them for the wild card. It should get interesting.

    1. Smoltz has 0 Quality starts, not sure what you are looking at. He only pitched 6 innings twice and gave up 5 earned runs both times. His ERA is 8.32, there is no way Boston can give him another start, that is beyond horrible. I was actually suprised they pitched him tonight.

      1. I was looking at his game log. It’s not a text book definition of a Quality Start, but he did throw a quality 5 innings start, where he gave up 4 hits, 1 walk, with 7 k’s, and got the win. If that’s not quality, then I don’t know what is. You are right that it’s not a QS though.

        Anyway, his next start is scheduled for Tuesday vs Detroit (Porcello).

      2. Maybe there is a way they can give him one more start next week when the Tigers are in Boston…

  23. bonderman got lit up in the minors tonight. nate bump pitched 8 good innings to go 5-0 bonderman altho throwing 19 strikes in 21 pitches gave up 3 hits and 3 runs…striking out one.

    1. And yet…the AccuScore probabilities of winning the Central Division/Making Playoffs:

      White Sox 44.6%/45.3%
      Tigers 39.9%/40.6%
      Twins 15.4%/15.6%

      They’ve pretty much got the Twins dropping out of contention, and the 2nd place White Sox for some reason* in the driver’s seat. I have to agree though with the slim difference between Central Division/Playoff odds.

      I don’t count myself in the “sky is falling” crowd as far as losing the division. And hey, even a 40% chance to make the playoffs this late in the season can sound good if you’ve been a Tiger fan for much more than 3 years. But it does add a dose of reality to things to know that the White Sox are considered the favorites at this point.

      *OK they do give a reason–because Detroit has more games left vs the AL East.

      1. Chicago might be messed up pitching wise.

        Colon will be shutdown for about 3 weeks with an elbow injury.
        They traded Richard for Peavy.
        Peavy won’t be ready for at least 3 weeks, if he comes back at all.
        Prospect Carlos Torres is in the rotation now. He had very nice AAA numbers.

        Buerhle has given up 12 ER and 17 hits in his last 5.2 innings pitched. Before that he was perfect for 14+ innings.

        Contreras has given up 10 walks in his last 2 starts and hasn’t won a game for about a month.

        Danks has been doing OK, about average, but really nothing special lately.

        Floyd has been terrific. That’s one bright spot they have.

        Jenks has been terrible, but he’s only pitched once in the past 2 weeks because of kidney stones. He had a 8.59 ERA in July.

        Dotel has been wild all year. He’s given up 31 walks in 42 innings.
        Carrasco had a 7.47 ERA in July.
        Linebrink has a 6.75 ERA since the All-Star break.
        Thornton is the only one that has been excellent out of the pen this year.

        They added some unknowns for final 2 bullpen spots-
        Randy Williams has a career ERA of 6.09.
        Prospect Jhonny Nunez has 1 whole inning in the majors, but he had good minor league numbers.

        That’s everybody I think. They better be hitting because the pitching don’t seem to be there anymore.

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