Game 2009.125: Tigers at Angels

PREGAME: The optimist in me looks at last night’s win and thinks “hey, the Tigers have 2 more chances to win this series,” while the pessimist in me thinks “hey, at least they won’t get swept.” It’s not such a bad deal when the pessimist can even look on the bright side right?

Jarrod Washburn will try to stifle his fondness for giving up long balls as he has mistaken the Old English D to stand for “Deep.” Washburn is familiar with the Angels. That isn’t necessarily good. He has faced them 3 times this year and in 2 of the outings he allowed 6 runs and didn’t complete 6 innings in those starts.

John Lackey is on the bump for the Angels. He hasn’t started against Detroit since 2007. His last time out the Indians got to him for 6 runs in 5.1 innings. Aubrey Huff is 2 for 30 lifetime against Lackey. Gerald Laird is 3 for 30 lifetime. Ordonez is 4 for 11 with 2 homers. There’s no way that Huff and Laird can start tonight is there?

POSTGAME: At least those who stayed up until the wee hours (after staying up to the really wee hours the night before) were thoroughly rewarded. It wasn’t just that it was a win, it was that it was a terrifically entertaining game, punctuated by some key hits and even key-er defense.

Washburn was hard to watch the first 3 innings. The pattern was unpleasantly similar for almost everyone that came to the plate. Fall behind 2-0 or 3-1 by missing badly to both sides of the plate, then see the ball hit hard somewhere. Curtis Granderson saved a double in the first and Brandon Inge started a diving double play in the same frame. Washburn was bailed out of what would have been a crooked number inning without both of those plays occurring.  Fortunately after slogging through 2 more innings of struggles and allowing a 3 run bomb, Washburn settled in and somehow made it through 6 innings.

On the other side the Tigers continued to hit and threaten and they got enough big hits (and by big I mean extra base big) to post 5 runs on the board. The Polanco-Ordonez-Cabrera trifecta resulted in a run in the first. Solo shots by Grandy and Miggy tied the score. And a damn near homer turned triple (more on this in a minute) by Granderson set up what turned out to be the first of back-to-back triples punctuated by an Ordonez sacrifice fly.

But then there was the bullpen. Leyland has decided that Zach Miner has earned himself a more prominent role in the pen following his outing last Thursday. It didn’t turn out well on Saturday and I can’t really say it turned out well Tuesday either. Miner, staked with a 2 run lead walked the bases loaded before escaping due to an inning ending wild pitch 2-1 out at the plate. And then he came back out for the 8th inning. My guess is that Leyland wants Miner to have some confidence in his stuff and his abilities and to coax him out of his habit of nibbling that leads to walks – even after he’s ahead in the count. Decent intentions, but it ain’t working so much.

Bobby Seay entered with a man on and 2 outs in the 8th and gave up a long drive that Clete Thomas snared with a leaping grab at the fence. Not a home run robbing play, but it was definitely a “keep the run from scoring and keep the tying run out of scoring position play” that also ended the inning.

Rodney got the save.

  • I’ve been frustrated and critical of many of Granderson’s at-bats lately, but one thing about Grandy is he never takes a moment off. The fact that he busted it all the way to third on the near triple is a testament to hustle and doing things the right way. Big applause for Curtis.
  • Miguel Cabrera has 5 extra base hits and 8 RBI as he makes a play for AL Player of the Week. And it’s Tuesday. The tear he is on is incredible and it even has people whispering about MVP. Now Mauer is so ultra deserving that others aren’t reall close. But if people are going to make a case for Mark Teixeira, I don’t know how Cabrera doesn’t get factored in.
  • The thing with both Cabrera and Ordonez right now is that they seem so in control of the situation when they are at the plate. They are willing to take strikes down the middle early in the count because it wasn’t the strike they wanted. And when they get what they want they are hitting it hard. Ordonez only had 1 double to show for last night, but he also hit a bullet at first and his sac fly was a rope to centerfield.
  • Aubrey Huff is pretty much the opposite. He K’d 3 times last night, 2 on check swings. To his credit he saw a lot of pitches and worked the count full in each at-bat, but he has looked awful whenever presented with RBI opps, and he’s had a ton.
  • For a change it was the other team stranding guys all over the place. The Angels had runners on base every time you turned around, but the only 3 that scored came on the big fly from Howie Kendrick. Bad luck, good defense, and bad execution kept the Tigers on the right side of this game.

223 thoughts on “Game 2009.125: Tigers at Angels”

  1. Do you think the Verlander-Laird ‘scuffle’ will have any impact on how often Laird will catch Verlander in the future? I think this situation will be a good thing for the Tigers. With a six-run lead, its good to see those two had enough passion to get into a heated argument.

        1. I don’t know, 2 of the 2 strike pitches for hits in that inning were on breaking balls. One to Izturis and the other to figgins I believe. He should have thrown fastballs.

    1. Agreed. Not worried about it in the least. Both of them shoulda been ticked off. They were both terrible in the 6th inning. I’m glad they care so much.

  2. And it’s the bottom of the 1st and the Tigers have only blown 1 runner at 3rd less than 2 out scenario

    1. How did they blow it? Cabrera hit a sharp ground ball to score the runner at third. When Huff was up there were 2 outs.

  3. Grandy and Binge bailing out Washburn big time in the 1st. Looks like we may need another 10 spot tonight.

  4. Best ERA vs own division in MLB:
    1. Justin Verlander 1.63

    the bad news:
    4. Jair Jurrjens 1.76

    (courtesy of Giants vs D-Backs telecast (Dan Haren is #2)

  5. @billfer: see above comment. Originally my mobile gameday reported groundout, runner still at 3rd. (was there something weird about the play? Or just a glitchy-glitch?)

  6. K.I.D.: I’ll have to catch up on that in a bit…I’m in a tawdry bar with only the most rudimentary of baseball reference tools…on the bright side I just used my favorite line (…”I’m from Detroit…”) to great effect.

  7. Anyone notice how bad the games are when avila catches? We need some experience behind the plate. I know Laird struggles in front of the plate , but we need him behind it!!!

    1. Wait, Your logic is that Avila catches our mediocre pitches, so therefore its catching that is bad?

      Washburn had bad outings with Laird, Galarraga has just been servicable all year, and Porcello is inconsistant, which he has been all year. Really nothing to do with Avila’s catching.

      I will admit Avila seems to do a worse job of framing pitches and/or umps aren’t giving the rookie the calls. Sure seems like tonight

  8. before today’s game: 25.1 IP, 1.18 WHIP, 6.04 ERA, 13k, 6 BB

    His WHIP is actually pretty respectable, but looking like today’s game is gonna significantly alter this for the worst.

    1. This might be the best game Washburn has pitched against the Angels so far this season. Before today: 14 E.R in 16.1 innings; 19 H 4 HR 5 BB 9 K (although he did pick up an 11-3 win in April when Seattle picked up 7 runs in one inning…hmm, sounds familiar…).

    1. Lackey was 6-0 in 8 career starts against us. He is now 6-1 in nine career starts thru last night’s game.

  9. avila is calling the pitches isn’t he? I know Washburn hasn’t been good, that’s a given, my point is that we need better calls just an observation.

    1. Washburn can still shake him off. Plus Washburn has thrown more balls than strikes. That ain’t on Avila.

    2. Every pitcher will tell you, they decide pitches. It’s better that they could be on the same page, but ultimately it’s the pitcher entirely. Especially with a veteran pitcher like Washburn. Hence shaking off.

      Avila is not great defensively, but hasn’t been bad either.

  10. Hey Coleman, If you are just getting the game day feed, you can sign up to get MLB audio for like 15 bucks for the whole year. I have it so I can listen at work.


  11. How on earth did this HR throwin’ gas can have a 2.64 ERA this year before we picked him up from Seattle? That had to be the fluke of the 2009 season (and 20 starts w/Seattle not a small sample size).

    1. Hey take it easy your going to hurt DD feelings.

      Not everyone has a homer off him, like Billfer and Coleman for starters

  12. Just looking back in 2003 on Todays date we had 32 wins. The next closest were SD and Tampa Bay at 51 wins. Atlanta lead the league with 84.

    Seems like a long time ago, but man was that a bummer that was. Is Higgy available for a bat (jk)


    1. That’s what makes seasons like this so enjoyable to me. I love the stretch run and the Tigers are in the thick of it for the 3rd time in 4 years. It’s a great time to be a Tiger fan.

  13. billfer–you are right about that.I just have noticed that the games seem to be worse when he is behind the plate.

    1. You know, there may be something to it but I don’t think we have enough information either way to make a call on that yet. Didn’t Porcello take a no-no into the 5th in Avila’s first start and didn’t he catch the Washburn 1-0 game against the Royals? He’s had some good ones too.

  14. I believe there is a conservation of gas-canniness in the universe… And with Lambert gone and Robertson on the DL, it has to be someone…

  15. Hey Billfer, how about a blog roadie to Anaheim, mint park and since we would be on vacation we could stay up watch the game and not be late for work.

    “So it wont hurt to miss work”

  16. Is Washburn looking better or are the Angels not as patient? This feels a little better than the first couple innings, and he looks like he has some command now

  17. This is key to not give any runs back that we just scored to tie it. (engrish?)

    Twins won. Here they come.

    What is the injury delay?

          1. Just some humor of the genre “dumbarse” as in
            Steve: Tory Hunter just had an ankle bob
            Bob: Vlad just had a knee Steve

      1. 7 out of the last 8 in th ewin column for the Twins….I’d say that they are coming and not going.

  18. Twins won again in the bottom of the ninth, 7-6 over BALT. This is the team that I have always feared in the division. I knew it was too good to be true when they were six games under .500 last week. You just knew the “Jason” in them would lend itself to coming back from the dead……..again. How does Gardenhire do it? Can’t he have one year where the wheels come off and they lose 90 games?

    1. I think part of it is the Metrodome. Teams who are out of it go in there, and all the players care about is getting out of there without an injury. Meanwhile, the Twins will keep coming and playing hard, while the teams out of it, don’t play as hard.

      Twins 2nd half numbers in the Dome are outrageous the last 5 years.

      Just a theory…

  19. It looked like a HR, then it didn’t, then it looked like a fan may have pushed it out. I can’t tell.

  20. Considering that there are no outs, it shouldn’t be that important, but based on our track record with none out runner on third, I hope the review says it was a home run.

  21. I thought the side view definitively showed that it was a HR, but it doesn’t matter now because of Polly. I’m glad that the run came across to score anyway.

  22. Triples back-to-back! The Lackey one chased! Polanco fools them all and swings at the 1st pitch instead of the 2nd!

  23. The important thing is that Granderson never stopped running to admire it and he got himself over to 3rd.

  24. Funny story: (Maybe) I was just at my local gym and for some weird reason I thought that the tread mill would be a productive use of time instead of my usual reps at the water fountain. Well this particular tread mill had a TV on it and so I was able to tune it to the Angels network that we get out here in Vegas. Well right around the 11 minute mark of my trot (which I call the completely gassed zone) Miggy hit his home run to tie the game. I made the fatal mistake of letting out a gasp of excitement when every ounce of energy I had left was being routed to keep my heart ticking. To keep myself from entering cardiac arrest my legs turned to rubber and I fell flat on my chest. The tread mill then shot me off to the land of carpet burns at 100 mph like the cat videos you see on blooper reels. Needless to say, we better win this game.

    1. Wow, sorry about that Ken. At least you have battle scars/burns to prove your dedication to the Tigers.

    2. No! I don’t believe you. I’d just die if that happened to me. Were other people there trying to help you?

      1. No, no, I quickly got to my feet despite the intense pain and just assumed that nobody saw anything. I convinced myself that the “Oh my god are you okay”s was just the wind playing tricks on me.

    1. It’s as if JL forgot that Huff was up next, I don’t understand it. One thing if the guy is scorching the ball but right now he looks absolutely clueless. That was like throwing an AB away.

  25. That’s the reason I don’t go to the gym, so afraid of getting slammed by some crazy fitness freak flying off the treadmill while I was just minding my own business, doing my reps at the water fountain.
    That, and being kinda fat and out of shape, maybe.

  26. That’s the reason I don’t go to the gym, so afraid of getting slammed by some crazy fitness freak flying off the treadmill while I was just minding my own business, doing my reps at the water fountain.
    That, and being kinda fat and out of shape, maybe.

    1. Yeah, I learned my lesson. There isn’t really any reason to spend time on cardio anymore. I mean I can’t remember the last time I had to run for survival purposes, or any purposes at all for that matter. In fact the only reason you run on the tread mill is so that you get better at running on the tread mill.

  27. I’d prefer Lyon too, but he’s probably not available. Surprised he’s not using Ni here though.

    The last time that Miner followed Washburn it worked out okay.

  28. The first six averages for the Angel’s lineup are as follows:

    That is all sorts of ridiculous.

    1. An explanation of that statistical anomaly would make for good reading. Even the Yankees can’t find that kind of hitting.

  29. Bikfer….doyou have nay pull at FSN after your day in the production truck? If so, will you please let the director know that the shot from the third base stands for pitched balls is not a beneficial thing to the viewer? The centerfield camera is the only camera that should be used while viewing balls and strikes. Thanks in advance.

    1. First of all, I have no pull. They don’t really bring me in as a consultant, I was in as a writer. Second, I don’t think this is their regular producer/director on this trip and they probably hired a local producer/director.

      1. Uhh…I guess I should’ve posted a smiley face or something as I was kidding. I know you don’t have any pull, just trying to be funny as this director was annoying the hell out of me all night with his weird angles from the third and first base stands on pitched balls. Someone should seriously tell him that he’s doing the viewer no favors as he “experiments” with his funky camera angles.

        1. I thought it was me, it was happening the night before too…was getting used to it a little but it’s annoying and just lousy production.

    1. Because our best or 2nd-best reliever, Lyon, apparently is more useful to protect 6-run leads.

      And Ni and Seay, who should be facing figgins and Abreu (who struggle vs. lefties), are probably being saved for some scenario that will never come up.

    2. Because Verlander kind of imploded after he got a lead, Leyland got nervous and used the big guns in the pen last night, and they kinda didn’t pitch so good rendering themselves not so available tonight.

  30. Haha, Coleman, Miner DOES look like a rabbit. I think Clete looks like Fieval the mouse, but every time I say that not one person agrees with me.

  31. Can we bring in Rodney now? Sure it’s only the 7th, but we need to save the 7th before we can save the 9th.

  32. AHAHAHAHA you’ve got to be kidding me. Miner definitely planned that sequence of events. Genius, Zach, pure genius you are.

  33. It was all part of the master plan to make sure the top of the lineup didn’t hurt you. Now they can face the bottom of the order with the bases clean in the 8th. Of course it would have been easier to just do a bunch of intentional walks.

  34. Miner…..absolutely has zero confidence in his stuff out there. Got a huge break there on the wild pitch because Miner was going to walk that run in on the next pitch. Ol’ Smoky really rolled the dice bringing in his shakiest reliever in that spot.

  35. Hey that isn’t the first time that the Tigers used the wild-pitch/2-1PO 3rd out trick…tricky rabbit!!

        1. Well, it seems pretty much standard elevation. Although it is a bit tawdry, as I said. The drink prices are reasonable though.

  36. Wow, great teamwork too–the batters got through their outs with maximum efficiency, to enable Zach the Rabbit to get right back out there while he was still hot…

      1. Weird, looks like it’s worked okay so far. A called third on Kendrick? Wowza. Of course, then you walk the next guy.

  37. So, Zach looks like he might be a natural second-baseman. He applied the tag nicely there…

    But what the hell was he doing out there after walking 3? And what’s he doing out there to start the 8th against a lefty?

  38. Looks like Miner felt a need to squeeze a walk into this inning…

    Leyland is currently beating the house by leaving Miner in there. Take your money and run, Jimmy… OK – Good job pulling the wildman out, but why leave him in to face 2 lefties in 3 batters, just to use your lefty to turn around a switch-hitter? I don’t understand. Am I just thick?

    1. Aybar and Izturis are SH who hit LHP better than RHP. And Morales is the opposite.

      Note: I have no faith that this was Leyland’s reasoning. More likely he was going off individual past matchups with sample sizes of 1 at-bat, or his gut.

    2. DO not question the wisdom of Ol’ Smoky, scotsw. He’s one of the top managers in the game ((eye roll)), just ask Rod Allen or any other color commentator who likes to chirp the company line.

    3. It’s a shame that MLB requires managers to use their designated “closer” in save situations. It would be nice to have Seay face Figgins and Abreu, who struggle vs. lefties.

  39. Cletemeister? That kind of ruined the catch for me, Mario. Thanks.

    Leyland’s move to put in Clete as a defensive sub turned out to be a wise choice. Magglio likely would have turned that one into an inside the parker. Tigers have played some great D tonight.

  40. I’m with you, Kathy. I just sat there with spoon of spaghettios suspended in midair just thinking the game had been tied.

  41. The odd thing is that by the end of this series it could be that the Tigers lead their division by more than the Angels lead theirs.

  42. Nothin like a pennant race to keep the bloggers up late, livin and dyin on every pitch, ain’t it great.

  43. You know these Angels announcers seem knowledgeable, even-keeled, and reasonably objective in their commentary. It’s oddly disappointing. I’d love to be hearing Hock Harrleson whining about how the White Sox should have won last night not to mention tonight, etc…

  44. Fun fact: going into tonight, Cabrera’s OPS in the last 7 days was 1.452. That’s a pretty good week.

  45. The game would’ve been over long ago if the team’s bullpen management wasn’t left to a half-wit.

    1. We could of easily lost these last 2 games had Leyland done things differently. The Angels are no joke. They are the highest scoring team in the majors. They scored 35 runs in a 3 game series vs Minnesota not long ago. We’ve held them to 10 runs in 2 games. That’s pretty darn good if you ask me, since they average 5.7 runs per game.

      1. Had Leyland done things differently? What good moves did he make? It’s great that we won, but we won because of great play, not because of Leyland. His use of the bullpen tonight was horrendous.

        And why you would have 3 righties followed by 3 lefties in your 2-7 spots, just so you can be shut down in the late innings, makes no sense.

        *Please note my only purpose on this board is to bash Leyland.

        1. JL probably had Minor take a nap before the game so he’d be ready to pitch in this game. Who you use out of the pen is sometimes planned ahead of time and not necessary according to the game situation. You have to think ahead for Tomorrows game that starts at 3:35 . Most fans don’t think ahead like that and get mad when they can’t understand what’s going on.

          Seay and Rodney were clutch again in this game. That’s how you hold leads and win games.

          Yesterday, with the game at 10-4, he lifted Verlander with runners on 1st and 3rd and Seay got us out of that huge jam. Then he lifted Lyon with runners on 2nd and 3rd and Rodney got us out of that jam. The game could of easily went south had he used Perry or Miner in those situations. Most people who watch the games have learned that.

          I’m glad Lyon got used up Yesterday instead of Today. He doesn’t have his best stuff late at night. His ERA is more than twice as high at night (3.74) than it is during the day (1.62).

          1. I think you and I have argued about the use of the bullpen in the past. I strongly disagree with most of what you said, but I guess we just have different philosophies about how bullpens should be managed.

          2. Wow Mr. X, that is awesome. I have seen some detailed stats on this site but “late at night” ERA might top them all. Makes me wonder what his dusk and perhaps early A.M. ERA is.


          3. That’s right, you’re the person who wants to use our best arms out the pen when we are losing. Good luck with that philosophy.

          4. No, I want to use our best arms in the highest-leverage situations. You either didn’t understand my argument (unlikely), or you misconstrued it in order to make your point (more likely).

            It’s a fact that using your better options in the most critical points in the game, and your worse options in the least critical points, regardless of whether you’re winning or losing –> more wins.

  46. Obviously, all we needed was a series against the Angels to snap this road series losing streak.

  47. Oh man, Fernando does it again. It wasn’t as smooth as last night, but as Rod Allen says “they’re shaking hands” at the end. Big win, as they all will be from here on out.

  48. If Leyland’s ever wanted to try and catch a bullet in his teeth or put his head in a lion’s mouth, this would be the night. He’s riding a wave.

  49. Man, that was awesome. I’m glad you loyal fans who were willing to lose sleep to watch the end, did not do so in vain.

    1. I too congratulate the loyal fans…and with a win like this even lazy fans like me can display exuberance at the box score in the morning. Woooooo!

      Bring on Jackson v. Saunders.

  50. I’ve been frustrated and critical of many of Granderson’s at-bats lately, but one thing about Grandy is he never takes a moment off. The fact that he busted it all the way to third on the near triple is a testament to hustle and doing things the right way. Big applause for Curtis.

    AMEN! Miggy and Maggs would have gotten singles on that play.

  51. Three thoughts:

    I’m kinda really impressed that even this year’s crappy strugglematic Granderson is still on pace to be like four and a half wins above replacement. He’s very good at baseball.

    I can’t remember a guy having a season as good as Miggy who had no chance at being an All-Star or MVP, and really didn’t deserve to.

    The situations Miner has found himself in lately really point out why the six man bullpen is a bad idea. Given that Raburn and Clete are both important pieces for the potential postseason roster, someone needs to take a totally legit tired arm/sore oblique DL trip to get Fien up here. Aubrey, I’m looking in your general direction.

    Edit: Aubrey Huff has, in his short time as a Tiger, already put up a -0.5 WAR. A DL trip not only solves the roster problem, but also makes the team better.

  52. I meant to warn you guys that rain was headed Detroit’s way. Joe Posnanski said he wouldn’t trust Rodney to close your car windows before it rains. But I trust Rodzilla. And, yes indeed, my windows were closed.

    1. I don’t know who Joe Posnanski is, but I’d trust Rodney to pretty much close anything (including Joe’s mouth). He is the most effective closer we’ve had in a long time, including at any point of Todd Jones’ career. Jones scared the living you know what out of me every time he entered a game for the Tigers. He had the worst stuff for a closer that I’ve ever seen. How he didn’t blow more saves with his mediocre stuff defies logic. Rodney has a plus fastball (he touched 100 on six pitches last night), plus one of the best changeups in the game. Rodney should be high on DD’s offseason priority list because I don’t know that there will be another closer on the market anywhere near as good as he is.

      Before someone says it, please don’t mention Zumaya’s name either as the heir apparent to the closer role. He can’t stay healthy and he has the brain capacity roughly equivalent to your garden variety reptile.

      1. Joe Posnanski is a terrific writer that follows the Royals down in KC. He’s got a very good baseball blog, and in it he was discussing a text message poll that appeared on a Royals broadcast: who is the best closer in the AL Central?

        Rodney apparently finished second in this poll. Which is absurd, and Joe rightly points it out.

        Anyway, joe is a very entertaining read:

    2. I will admit these are the popular stats and respectfully leave the SABR stats to the pros on this site. I enjoy reading Fangraphs etc, but am still new to that field of analysis.

      That said, in the A.L. Central, Rodney is:
      2nd in saves (Nathan, Rodney, Jenks, Soria, Wood)
      3rd in ERA (Nathan, Soria, Rodney, Jenks, Wood)
      Tied for 2nd in HR allowed (Nathan, Rodney/Soria, Jenks, Wood)
      4th in WHIP (Nathan, Soria, Jenks, Rodney, Wood)
      3rd in AVG (Nathan, Soria, Rodney, Wood, Jenks)
      2nd in SLG (Nathan, Rodney, Soria, Jenks, Wood)
      Also: 4th in K/BB and last in K/9

      For pure closer overall performance, Rodney’s 28 saves in 29 opportunities is unmatched in the Central.

      All this proves to me is Nathan is the best in the central, and Wood probably needs to return to the N.L. I think an argument for Rodney or Soria to be 2nd is relevant either way, depending on the stats you care about most.

      As Jerry mentioned, he’s the best the Tigers have had in a while, and I for one am appreciating what may be a career year for Crooked Hat.

      1. LAST in K/9? I had to verify for myself, and you’re right! That’s very surprising, although it’s more a function of the awesome numbers the other guys have put up more so than Rodney. He still has a very respectable 8.5 K/9 figure.

      2. Kinda misleading, just because Nathan and Soria are two of the best in the game, and Jenks is very good. To even be in the mix with those three is pretty good. Rodney will never be confused with Mariano, but he’s definitely more an asset than a detriment.

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