Game 2009.118: Mariners at Tigers

PREGAME: Aubrey Huff makes his Tigers debut tonight and he’ll be batting 5th in the lineup. I don’t know if Daniel Fields will make an appearance tonight or not, but he’s in town.

As for the pitching match-up it will be a rehabilitated Rick Porcello. Rehabilitated in the sense that he has done time for his crime of having a helmet chucked at him (yep, still bitter). He’s facing Seattle after a lengthy layoff having only gone 1 inning and 1 pitch his last time out. The last time he faced Seattle it came on the heels of his summer vacation (that 2.5 week stretch where he was off) and it didn’t go so well.

He’ll have to be better this time out though because Felix Hernandez takes the mound for the Mariners. Hernandez is awesome. He just is. But he has had some problems with walks as of late with 14 issued in his last 3 games.

Your Aubrey-ized lineup is:

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

Seattle vs. Detroit – August 18, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: I think it’s safe to deem this game a battle. Porcello and Hernandez battled. Tigers hitters battled. Fernando Rodney battled Jose Lopez. Fortunately for the Tigers they won more of the battles.

Porcello and Hernandez was essentially a draw. Porcello was better than at any ponit this season through 5.2 innings. He picked up 8 K’s and he had the fastball and breaking ball working. It appeared he tired a little in the 6th though, because the ball started leaving the infield. Through the first 5 if the M’s weren’t whiffing they were grounding out meekly.

The Tigers didn’t fare any better at the dish while Hernandez was in the game and he held them to 4 hits and 1 walk and 1 run in 7 innnings. He made Granderson look particularly foolish as Grandy was on his way to the golden sombrero before he was lifted.

Bobby Seay struggled again against the Mariners. You may remember it was Seattle who broke Seay’s scoreless appearance streak in July and got to him on consecutive nights. This time it was a jam job double by Ichiro that set up a couple sacrifice flies.

Fortunately Mark Lowe struggled more with some “help” from his defense. Alex Avila started off the 8th with a monster mash to visitor bullpen and that opened things up. A great pinch hit at-bat by Santiago resulted in a single. A Granderson foul out was followed by a chopper to short . Probably not a double play but there should have been an out except the misplay resulted in runners at the corners. A Guillen walk was followed by a Cabrera clutch 2 run single that would pull the Tigers ahead and be the difference.

The Tigers added on with a “double steal” where Lowe tried the fake throw to third (after a nice job tagging up and getting to 3rd by Raburn who Leyland inserted for Guillen) then get the guy breaking off first. The play that never works…except Cabrera was actually moving on the play. Raburn managed to score as everyone was safe.

A composed Rodney gave up a ground ball single and a line drive single, but he fanned Russell Branyan and eventually fanned Jose Lopez after a tremendous 12 pitch at-bat to end the game. Rodney threw 28 pitches, 22 of them for strikes.

  • A longer postgame than normal, but after a detailed bashing of the lack of offensive execution on Sunday this team/game deserved equal positive treatment.
  • And to that end how about Adam Everett with the big hit early in the game to plate the first run.
  • Very nice outing by Ryan Perry who came in with the bases juiced and 2 outs and got out of the innning, then fanned the side the next inning.
  • Seay threw a lot of pitches, Rodney threw a lot of pitches, Perry pitched in parts of 3 innings. Is the pen thin tomorrow and do they make a move?
  • Cabrera stole bases in consecutive games for just the 2nd time in his career, the other time was May 21-22, 2006
  • Aubrey Huff was introduced to Comerica Park by hitting a 410 foot out to center

124 thoughts on “Game 2009.118: Mariners at Tigers”

  1. Does anyone know if Fields will stay a Shortstop. Everyone seems skeptical he will stay there. If not SS, than where?
    And if he stays a SS, will that make Cale Iorg and co. expendable?

  2. If you read the conference call notes, they are starting Fields at short but feel he is athletic enough to play multiple positions (which is kind of implied if he is athletic enough to play short)

      1. He’s very…average. Not very Tiger-like either, since only 2 of his 12 GIDP were on first pitches.

        More Tiger-like: the career Pitches per Plate Appearance of 3.63.

    1. I don’t know if Huff is going to be our Matt Holiday…but I hope the acquisition can somehow inspire Granderson/Polanco/Guillen etc. At least the front office is sending a message that the current offense is not meeting expectations

    2. He’s better than Matt Stairs. That’s kind of an insult in my book. I think he’s also better than Sean Casey, at least in terms of what we need (power from the left side)

    1. The “stuff” combined with that attitude he showed last week is giving us a lot to be excited about. After last season, it sure is fun to trumpet the merits of Tigers pitching. Lean times breed appreciation, I guess.

  3. Felix with 39 pitches the second time through the order – with a gidp in there. Now they just need some hits.

  4. Actually Guiilen and Inge were both over .350 in the WS. But yeah, Casey was the star. (We got almost nothing but RH pitching against us, so bonus points for Brandon, even if he did K for the final out)

      1. If Hernandez is somehow in the game next time Granderson is up I don’t see why he wouldn’t be wearing the hat.

      2. I dub this new lineup the “Huff and Puff” lineup. LH are 0 for 11, 6Ks, 1GIDP and 1 BB so far. Looks like it will be up to Cabrera or Inge to come up and hit a solo homer to take the lead.

  5. Perry’s slider is looking real good so far tonight…

    Disclaimer: he has only thrown 3 of them.

    EDIT: he definitely threw more than 3, and the pitch was looking quite nasty tonight. Great outing from him.

  6. That pitch to Thomas for strike three wasn’t even in the Detroit Zip code it was so wide and low..maybe that s why there have been 20 K’s in this game

  7. Stupid play by Clete… his throw home allowed Ichiro to get to third and then ultimately score. Lame.

  8. Isn’t it against MLB rules to score your runner from third with
    less than two outs ?????? or is it just for the Tigers

  9. gee Smokey don’t bunt Granderson…stupid coaching….

    the guy hasn’t touched a ball until that weak pop out

    bunt by Grandy a run scores there….come on JIM

  10. That’s the first time since May 21-22, 2006 that Miguel Cabrera has stolen bases in consecutive games

      1. That reminds me of a sign I saw outside of Comerica before Game 1 of the World Series: It read “Ferndale loves Albert’s poo hole”. LOL.

  11. Too bad this wasn’t aboout 50 years ago, the guys from ‘Mad Men’ could have had an advertising field day with a commercial featuring Fernando Rodney and Jim Leyland for Lucky Strikes…

    1. Novacaine? what’s that? Don’t you ever watch westerns? Just a few swigs of whiskey will do the trick.

      At least that’s what I was using tonight…

  12. Thank you for riding the F-Rod Rollercoaster sponsored by Tums. You may now exit and slow your heart rate to a reasonable pace.

    1. Is it just me, or is every Rodney save exactly the same? 2 baserunners, 2 strikeouts. He’s like Todd Jones with an out pitch. I’m not complaining, just observing…

      1. Its just you. Last week he set down Boston 1-2-3 in the ninth to preserve Verlander’s win at Fenway with nary a hard hit ball against him. Tell me when Todd “Rollercoaster” Jones ever did that at Fenway. Rodney has only one “real” blown save this year as Sunday’s blown save should be credited to Raburn’s butchery of third base in the 10th inning. Yeah, he gets in some jams but he more often than not gets out of them because he has an outstanding changeup and a plus fastball. Todd Jones had neither of those in his arsenal. Jones, to his credit, didn’t walk many but he didn’t strike out many guys either. It was basically Jones throwing mediocre stuff over the plate and then hoping it was hit at somebody. I’ll take Fernando Rodney any day of the week over “Rollercoaster” Jones.

  13. One of the best games this year. Envious of the folks who were at the park to witness this nailbiter. WOW is all I can say.

  14. Rodney looked pretty composed thru that whole inning…. he actually looked confident thru out..great finish…wow

  15. Did anyone catch the Tigers postgame where Mickey York shouted “Oh, Mickey you’re so fine!” right before they cut to commercial? What was that all about?

  16. “Seay threw a lot of pitches, Rodney threw a lot of pitches, Perry pitched in parts of 3 innings. Is the pen thin tomorrow and do they make a move?”

    You do, of course, realize that Verlander is going to throw 159 pitches tomorrow…right? 😉

  17. Tomorrow will be a hit-fest (meaning lots of runs) for the Tigers and bullpen will be inconsequential…you heard it here first!!!

  18. Hey Chris, if you want to hop on and take back your “Miguel Cabrera will be out of baseball in 2 years” comment, we’ll all look the other way.

    1. You’re totally confusing me with someone else. Check billfer’s archives! I only ever called Miggy a fatty, a comment which I stand behind. At the time I said it, anyway. He’s in much better shape nowadays.

      1. He’s referring, I assume to “Chris” (not, presumably, in Dallas), and not “Chris in Dallas.”

        Chris’ realationship with Cabrera makes “stephen” (somewhere on the east coast) look like Inge Fan Club President.

        Cool though to have dueling Dallas Detroit fans. And isn’t anybody in Austin anymore?

        1. Chris in D, not to worry. It’s just “Chris” that I’m referring to. Coleman’s got my back.

  19. Anybody still have doubts about Avila? He completely changes our line-up from bad to good. In the 6 games he has started, the Tigers have averaged 6.5 runs per game. In Laird’s last 6 games, the Tigers have averaged 3 runs per game.

    Carlos Guillen didn’t look bad at all in LF. He moves pretty good out there. He impressed me when he tried climbing the wall trying to save a HR. Maybe the shoulder injury was a godsend because it doesn’t seem like his knees are bothering him.

      1. i don’t know if he’s caught enough to do anything with that. And even if he had, the fact that he is catching different pitchers than Laird makes comparision not very useful.

        One troubling note: an unusually high percentage of his starts lead to pitcher ejections.

  20. The Sac Flies are For Sissies Club:

    Miguel Cabrera 492 PA 72 RBI 0 SF
    Clete Thomas 235 PA 33 RBI 0 SF
    Ryan Raburn 196 PA 31 RBI 0 SF

    Totals: 923 PA 136 RBI 0 SF

    My question/challenge: can anybody tell me the last time a batter made it to 100 RBI in a season with no sac flies? (Currently there is one other player in the major leagues with over 50 RBI and 0 sac flies–Luke Scott (!) at 58).

    1. You are an encyclopedia.

      Cabrera gets a pass from me. Nobody hitting like he does can be criticized for any thing he does at the plate, even if he decided to go up there left-handed once in a while. Who am I to tell him what to do? I remember Leyland was interviewed the Spring Cabrera came in, and the reporter asked him what he could tell Cabby about hitting. “Not one thing,” Leyland replied.

      Raburn and Thomas are role players, and have no excuse for not moving runners over.

      HOWEVER, Cabrera averages 1 RBI per 6.833 plate appearances. Thomas is averaging 1 per 7.121 PA, and Raburn is at 6.323 PA. Raburn is getting the job done. I’ve never seen that stat calculated before, and now I can’t think why not — it’s arguably much more important than batting average, as plating runs (not collecting hits) is the whole purpose of hitting.

      1. “plating runs (not collecting hits) is the whole purpose of hitting.”

        Yes and half-yes (as opposed to “no”). The cause of plating runs tends to be aided by actually having men on, unless you happen to hit tons of HRs in which case you’re plating yourself. I do tend to agree with you though that average needs to be taken in context (as do most stats), and that RBI rates are worth looking at.

        Take Magglio in August. He’s by far having his best stretch of numbers in terms of avg/obp/ops @ .356/.370/.992 over 45 ABs…but he’s only got 5 runs/2 hr/5 rbi to show for it. Meanwhile, Thomas has 9 runs/1 hr/5 rbi while hitting for .163/.305/.550.

        I’m sure that this is in part due to the team not capitalizing on Magglio’s production as much as it has with Thomas, and batting order has some impact…but its this kind of thing that has me agreeing on paying more attention to RBI rates.

        1. Ah, the half-yes…I’m learning important new tools every day!

          And I’m presuming one could pull out the half-no also…

  21. the most worry some thing about tomorrows game is this could be the 18th pitcher winning his first game of the season against the Tigers this year

    1. It better not be. We need to capitalize on having a decided edge in this pitching matchup. Verlander against Snell should come out in our favor 7 out of 8 times. I’d like to see the Tigers put up 7 tomorrow and make it easy on everyone. Hopefully Verlander returns to his dominant self. Before his last home start vs. Minnesota he was undefeated at Comerica this year and had more strikeouts than hits allowed in every home start. He looked as sharp as he has all season at Fenway, hopefully he’s still got some bullets left in his gun for tomorrow night.

      On a side note: its kind of ironic that the Tiger’s worst pitcher on this night got the win (Seay). Porcello, Perry and Rodney all pitched better than Seay (IMO), but it is Seay that gets the win by being the beneficiary of a four-run rally in the 8th.

      Side note II: I haven’t heard much talk about the Tigers re-signing Rodney. I hope they are not considering letting him walk after 2009. Who else will close next year? I like Lyon and Perry as set-up guys, but don’t want either as a closer just yet (in Perry’s case). Zumaya is injury prone and I don’t trust him to throw strikes in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Re-signing Rodney might be one of the more important off-season tasks on DD’s plate.

      1. Now you see why wins are about the most useless statistic available to evaluate a pitcher. Especially a reliever.

      2. “I hope they are not considering letting [Rodney] walk after 2009. Who else will close next year? ”

        Pre-season odds on this phrase NOT being sarcasm?

    2. He’s actually won 2 games this season, but they were on the Pirates (NL) so don’t show in his totals.

      We may not see as many of the rookie/callups types as before either–I think some of those moves were a way to avoid throwing a lefty against Detroit, and with Avila and Huff that’s less important.

  22. Great game.

    I must have missed it, but I can’t find anywhere who they moved to make room for Huff on the team. Anybody?

    1. They optioned out Eddie Bonine and are going one short in the bullpen (rather than sending down Clete for example).

  23. Obviously, the Tigers will need to move one of their OF before long. I presume Huff, Grandy, and Guillen are safe. Thomas could be optioned. It seems more likely that Raburn and Thames could be trade bait, and Ordonez, obviously, is in peril of being chopped. (Unless Dombrowski believes that the Ordonez slump was tied to Mrs. Ordonez’s health issues, and that Maggs will be a .300-type hitter going forward.)

  24. Coleman,

    You’re the Granderson-leadoff-stat expert — since my memory sucks, who’s your pick to leadoff?

    He’s had a rough stretch recently, but I was thinking maybe Clete — even with the slump he gets on just about as much as Granderson. If you drop Grandy to 3rd in the lineup, you have a L,R,L,R,L combo assuming Thomas, Polanco, Grandy, Cabrera, Huff. I’d suggest Guillen leading off, but his lack of speed seems to offset the on-base skills.


  25. I don’t really have a pick, that’s the problem–and I suspect it’s why Uncle Smokey leaves him there. A couple of months ago my pick was Inge (takes a lot of walks, high pitch count guy, decent baserunner .280 .325 .560 .885 in 80 games as leadoff batter career), but that’s obviously a bad idea nowadays. You can see why with his speed Anderson looked appealing, but once i caught a few of his 1st pitch weak groundouts I cooled on him in a hurry. I might try Raburn, when he’s playing–he has a similar OBP as Clete, strikes out a tad less, and knows what he’s doing on the basepaths. I think it’s worth moving Granderson in the order though, if for no other reason than to help break him out of the Thames-like hot-cold cycle he is in.

    1. OK, Lets do it. I will call Smokey right now.

      I will be at the game tonight (coffee mug night) and doing Nemos


    2. Surprisingly, Granderson actually has the second highest OBP on the team. That’s one reason to keep him leadoff… although we really ought to have somebody who can do better than .340!

      1. That’s the odd thing. Granderson’s OBP isn’t so bad, but then when you break it down by when he’s actually leading off the game, vs other times (which includes some time batting 5th in the lineup–where he put up a .400 OBP by the way) you get a different picture. Leading off the game/inning his OBP is .316, and was below .300 most of the season. He had a hot streak after the break, which made me hopefull he had gotten out of whatever he was in, but the last few games he hasn’t looked so good.

        This isn’t a new problem–last season in 124 PAs as the leadoff batter in the game Granderson put up a .266 OBP (.194 BA .611 OPS), 2nd worst in the AL, and consequently making the Tigers one of the worst 1st inning teams in the league. (They are better this season; after an awful start they have become just a bit below average).

        So my point isn’t that Granderson’s OBP is bad–it’s that his leadoff OBP is bad, and that he actually may hit better somewhere else in the lineup when you take the leadoff burden away from him. Sure, he’ll have fewer PAs lower in the lineup. But the PAs he’ll be giving up are the ones where he isn’t hitting anyway.

        Edit: I forgot to add one more thing. As the one guy on the team who just never hits into DPs, we’re wasting him batting him once a game with nobody ever on 1st…maybe Polanco or Ordonez should leadoff now that I think about it…

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