Game 2009.128: Rays at Tigers

PREGAME: Nate Robertson makes his return to the starting rotation, and it’s really hard to know what to expect. Do you draw on his 3-4 years as a slightly below average pitcher who will give you 6 innings, or do you draw in his last 2 years which have been ripe with injuries and ineffectiveness? He battled a hip problem which he never mentioned last year, and this year he had stuff in his elbow. His most recent history, be it at the AAA level is a rehab start where he fanned 9 in 6.2 innings on only 68 pitches.

He’ll go up against David Price. Price has nice strike out numbers (74 in 85 innings) but he has been vulnerable to the walk with 41 issued this year. He also has given up 13 long balls, but none in his last 3 starts.

This is a Fox “National” game meaning many of you get blacked out, but not as many as usual. Beyond Michigan and Florida it looks like Boston, Dallas, Minnesota, and the Dakotas will get this 4 pm tile.

Tampa Bay vs. Detroit – August 29, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: I’ve been a big believer in the theory that the Tigers pitching has improved this year because of the efforts to improve the defense. However, if someone had only watched the last 2 games I’d have a hard time convincing them. In Friday night’s game the defense had 3 misplays. In today’s game the defense had 4 misplays. That the pitching has held the Rays to 5 total runs is pretty remarkable.

Adam Everett was charged with 2 errors, but it looked like one should have gone to Polanco. Gerald Laird had a passed ball leading to a run. Miguel Cabrera battled the wind (which was screaming) and lost on a foul pop-up.

Robertson pitched well. He was limited to 4 innings because a) he had only thrown a max of 68 pitches in his rehab assignment b)the max came in his start Tuesday meaning he was following up on his longest outing on 3 days rest c) his innings kept getting extended and he should have made it through another inning.

  • The offense did remarkably little. Only 2 of their hits even left the infield.
  • I didn’t mind the Laird bunt, Longoria was playing way back. Bunting is part of Laird’s game. It was a good gamble.
  • I actually would have liked to have seen Granderson try to bunt because Pena was playing him well behind the base and he might have had himself a hit and if he didn’t it should have scored a run – it didn’t even need to be a suicide squeeze.
  • Granderson ended up fanning on the only real threat. But he made a bid at redemption in the 8th that was about 3 feet short of being a game tying homer.
  • Ordonez had 2 hits and drove in the only run.
  • The 8th inning was a nice little rally and the team made it interesting. The 9th inning was a buzz kill.
  • Zach Miner did very well in relief of Robertson and he ate up 3 innings.
  • I would love for the Tigers to display scoring decisions on the scoreboard. They never indicated wild pitch or passed ball on Laird. They never indicated if the 9th inning play was E4 or E6. There was no indication of what runs were earned.

41 Comments

  1. Coleman

    August 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    uh oh…I haven’t done a thorough analysis yet, but the Tigers almost always lose when the billfer pregame notes that the opposing pitcher has problems walking guys.
    Cause we don’t do that walk thing (=pitcher who suddenly has no vulnerabilities).

    • Big Game James

      August 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

      Sometimes there’s a fine line between prophetic and voicing reason from experience.

      Either way, nice call Coleman. :)

  2. Dylan

    August 29, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Well… the White Sox are getting spanked by the Yankees at least.

    • Vince in MN

      August 29, 2009 at 4:43 pm

      Final 10-0 on a 1-hitter. Contreras was terrible and they made three errors – typical.

  3. Duce

    August 29, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Anyone going to have a stream up of this game?

    • Anson

      August 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm

      I haven’t been able to find one any where yet… will post if I do.

  4. Stephen

    August 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I know this is a little off point, but lets thank our stars for Mr. Illitch. The Rays just traded their 25-year-old top-line starter for prospects even though they are only 3-4 games out in the wild card. I’m not going to argue Kazmir is the greatest and he’s had a lousy year–he’s young enough that he could still turn out to be Verlander Lite or he could be Jeff Weaver– but what the Rays owe him is roughly what the Tigers still owe Willis and Robertson.
    You can argue Kazmir’s pitching value or the values of the prospects coming back, but he’s actually a bargain for the next two years and his trade is one of the most blatant signs of capitulation I can remember.
    So Mr Illitch, I order an extra round of crazy bread in your honor.

  5. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Do you know what time it is? It’s Nasty Nate time.

    I can only hope that this is a good thing.

  6. Big Game James

    August 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Wow, who is this Spahnlike warrior on the mound for the D?

  7. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    I can’t believe that the 0-23 Bartlett is against Nate is the most at-bats for any player not to have a single hit against a certain pitcher. So I guess that means that Robertson vs. Bartlett is the biggest mismatch in baseball. Too bad Bartlett is currently standing on first base.

  8. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Thats what happens when you give a team 5 outs in an inning…

  9. Adam

    August 29, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    3 innings and Nate’s had to get 11 outs.

  10. Mark@HOU

    August 29, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Only following on gamecast, How is the ump’s zone? On game cast giving alot of room away off the plate for Price against RH?

    • ouchudied

      August 29, 2009 at 5:04 pm

      His zone sucks. Definitely way too much room on the outside corner for Price against rightys. Ex: Inge at-bat.

  11. Adam

    August 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    One-pitch Polly strikes again.

  12. Coleman

    August 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    What’s the point in bunting the runners over when the next batter is likely to strike out with the guy on 3rd one out? I think we would have been better off to let
    Everett swing the bat–unless he thought he could get the bunt single–than leaving it up to the .120 vs lefties batter. Waste of a good BOOBs innings.

    • Mark@HOU

      August 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

      Yeah, didnt like the idea of setting up a .156 hitter against lefties and wasting an out. Plus Everett has gotten some big hits this week.

      C’est la vie…

    • Vince in MN

      August 29, 2009 at 5:07 pm

      Explain to me again why Granderson, who can’t hit lefties and is the only LH bat in the lineup, is leading off against a LH pitcher?

      • Jeff

        August 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm

        Because Leyland is a fool.

    • Adam

      August 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm

      I wanted Everett to bunt, and then…when Granderson came up I was like “Aw man…”

  13. mcb

    August 29, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    What happened to Nate? He wasn’t that bad. Not the walk machine Miner is in?

    • Greg

      August 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm

      Pitch count.

  14. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Why pull Nate? He pitched fine and he only threw 70 pitches. Now we have Miner in the game. Thats a downgrade.

    • Mark@HOU

      August 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm

      He had only thrown a max of 75 in the minors. So his arm is not stretched out yet. Leyland didn’t want to play with fire.

  15. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Pat Burrell is 0-2 and has been on base 3 times.

  16. Adam

    August 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Why have a guy start if he can’t go more than four innings?

    • Mark@HOU

      August 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

      Well he would have went 5 without the Tigers defense.

      And if you believe Galarraga really needed rest, who else are you going to start? Sometimes you start guys hoping to get 5, this is one of those times.

      The bullpen gets reinforcements Tuesday.

  17. Mark@HOU

    August 29, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Too bad Everett couldn’t get on there, so we wouldn’t have the pitcher spo…. I mean Granderson leading off the inning.

  18. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Thats about the only way Granderson is going to get a hit off of a lefty. I hope he tries to steal a bag here.

  19. Jeff

    August 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Having Laird and Everett bunt in the 3rd inning are two ill-advised moves in themselves. But to compound the foolishness by doing it ahead of the hitter in your lineup least likely to succeed (Granderson)? Unbelievable.

    • Mith

      August 29, 2009 at 6:57 pm

      They didn’t have Laird bunt. He was clearly bunting for a hit.

      As for Everett, I will never fault moving guys to 2nd and 3rd with one out in a close game. It’s a smart play, but it obviously didn’t work this time.

      • Jeff (the other one)

        August 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm

        Really? Would you have Cabrera bunt in a 1st/2nd nobody out situation in the 1st inning of a 0-0 game?

      • Jeff

        August 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm

        My bad. I was just looking at the gamecast.

        Bunting leads to fewer runs than swinging away. So it’s especially bad when your hitter who is least likely to do something positive is coming up next.

        • Mike F

          August 29, 2009 at 8:59 pm

          Yes, the number of runs scored after a bunt declines, but the chances of scoring any runs increases. I’ll be looking through my old Bill James Baseball abstracts tonight to get the exact data.

          • Jeff (the other one)

            August 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm

            Depends on the situation. The chance of scoring at least one run for the *average* hitter, man on first, nobody out, decreases when you bunt. And that assumes 100% success on a bunt. And the average number of runs scored, as you note, decreases as well. That’s why bunting a guy over from 1st to 2nd when an *average or above average hitter* is at the plate is NOT a good one-run strategy.

            Of course this is different when you have a below average hitter (pitcher, Sardinha, Everett) at the plate.

            Now the 1st and 2nd, nobody out situation, the chances of scoring at least one run slightly increase when you bunt successfully (again, assuming 100% success, and, on the other hand, no throwing errors). But again, the average number of runs scored decreases.

            So as a late inning one-run strategy, a bunt makes sense for a bunting-type hitter when it’s 1st/2nd, nobody out. If it’s Cabrera at the plate, it makes no sense. If it’s tie game, man on first, nobody out, 7th inning, Laird up, I’d think about it. If it’s Thames at the plate, no way.

          • Jeff

            August 29, 2009 at 10:27 pm

            Jeff (the other one) is correct. Mike, you’re also correct.

            The problem is you shouldn’t be playing for one run in the 3rd inning. You’re increasing your chances of scoring a run, but you’re significantly decreasing your chances of a big inning.

            Of course, these general points are being made in a vacuum. The decision was even more egregious considering Granderson was up next facing Price. To give everyone some perspective, that’s not a whole lot dumber than an NL team having the 8 hitter bunt with the pitcher up next. Of course, I wouldn’t expect a person with the intelligence to bat a guy with a .509 OPS vs. lefties in the leadoff spot to be able to understand this.

  20. ouchudied

    August 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Damn.

  21. Keith (Mr. X)

    August 29, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Nate pitched good. Miner pitched well also. I sure am glad we didn’t give up on those guys.

  22. Keith (Mr. X)

    August 30, 2009 at 12:22 am

    The Tigers had more runs and hits than the White Sox and Twins combined. The White Sox got 1 hit and 0 runs, while the Twins got 4 hits and 0 runs. LOL.

  23. Jud

    August 30, 2009 at 3:07 am

    #38 games with 2 runs or less ….it just goes on and on and on

  24. Kathy

    August 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I don’t know about this team. At this point, I believe Jim Leland needs to get runs anyway he can right from the get go. I certainly, for one, don’t assume we’ll hit our way to a victory. I’d bunt from the get go and bunt often. I just wish some of our guys could run faster.