Game 2009.133: Indians at Tigers

PREGAME: It will be Nate Robertson and Fausto Carmona today as the Tigers try to extend their lead to 5 games. The Twins have an off day so there is no need to scoreboard watch.

Carmona has been inconsistent to say the least this season. He got so bad he was bumped al the way down to A ball. Still, he has held the Tigers to 2 runs in each of his 2 starts against them. Carmona has some extreme platoon splits (970 OPS for lefties, 615 OPS for righties) so I’d guess Leyland will tilt the lineup accordingly.

Robertson gets a second turn after pitching well for 4 innings against the Rays. Robertson providing competent innings this month could be a huge boost to the rotation.

As an aside, the Tigers have never been 11 games over .500 this season…

Cleveland vs. Detroit – September 3, 2009 | Gameday

Robertson warms up
Robertson warms up

POSTGAME: At the last minute I decided to head down for this game, even though it was a day game after a night game, and I’m glad I did. A sweep and a 7 of their last 10 is a nice way to head out on the road.

Robertson looks like a new man, or at least like the guy that wore number 29 in 2006. He spun 6 shut out innings today with 4 K’s and he only needed 80 pitches to do it. Whether or not it lasts remains to be seen, but in his 2 starts he’s given the team a lift and with Washburn missing a start because of his knee, and Rick Porcello’s mounting workload, an extra arm could become very valuable this last month of the season.

Zach Miner also was a big part of today’s win, going the last 2.1 innings and only allowing a walk and a hit by pitch. Ni-Miner was the poor man’s Seay-Lyon today. Ni struggled to put away hitters after getting 2 strikes on them, but Miner held firm until the offense could get that extra run.

And the offense needed the extra time. They only mustered 5 hits all afternoon, but one was a homer, and one was a triple with 2 men on. The last one was a leadoff double leading to the walk-off sacrifice fly (the 3rd sac fly for the team in the last 2 days).

  • Adam Everett with 3 walks today. That’s the kind of thing that would make me nuts if the Tigers had been the ones issuing them, but kudos to Everett for getting on base 3 times.
  • Aubrey Huff hit his first ball deep to right-center, but that was the extent of the carry-over from his big night on Tuesday.
  • Ryan Raburn had an up and down game, or more specifically a down game that ended up. He fanned with a runner on 3rd and one out in the 7th. And he made a diving attempt that resulted in a double instead of a single when he couldn’t come up with the ball in 8th. But he scored the winning run after leading off the 10th with a double and putting the whole inning in motion.

111 thoughts on “Game 2009.133: Indians at Tigers”

  1. At the very least, Leyland said in his postgame last night that Maggs, Polanco, and Laird are off tonight, so he’s stacking lefties with Thomas, Santiago, and Avila. I’m hoping they come up huge like they have on occasion this year.

  2. Go Nate. I’m hoping he can relieve Porcello from another start or two so we can save him for the playoffs.
    I had at one time thought Washburn would be our third starter in the playoffs, but now it’s not looking that way. We’re looking at JV, EJ and Porcello. September should give us a competition for the fourth, between Washburn, Galarraga and Nate.

  3. The Wall Street Journal did a very informal study and ranked announcers by their chattiness. Not surprisingly, the annoyingly talkative Vin Scully came in first. Mario landed himself right in the middle of the pack, which is probably a good thing.

    Speaking of Mario, did you ever notice that the 7th and 8th innings seem to be pretty Rod-less most of the time? I wonder if he’s on a schedule and has to poop every night at the same time.

      1. I did read that, but it doesn’t mean he has to talk NONSTOP. Seriously, he never shuts up. Combine that fact with his unaffected, dry delivery and it’s a recipe for insanity.

        1. I disagree. I think he leaves more dead air than the vast majority of broadcasters. It’s actually something he’s known for (not that we need others’ opinions).

          As for his delivery, I think it’s a perfect mix of modest excitement and a calm delivery. Similar to Harwell. I’d much rather have that than some of the hyperbolizing, sensationalistic announcers of today who seem to want their words, not the game, the focal point. Someone recently had a perfect quote – Scully complements the game instead of competing with it.

          1. Fair enough, but I find Harwell annoying too. I know, I know–Tiger fan heresy. I guess maybe it’s the old-timeyness of their play calling that I’m not into.

            For what it’s worth, I also can’t stand listening to Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan, Jon Miller, Dan Dickerson, or Jim Price. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. I do like Rod and Mario a whole bunch, though. I swear!

          2. No, nothing wrong with not liking the old-timers. Taste in announcers is about as subjective as it gets. What style you like probably has more to do with who you grew up listening to than anything.

            The thing about today’s announcers is they feel a need to fill the air even when there’s nothing of value to say at the moment — that’s what I mean by complementing the game instead of making the broadcast the focal point. I’m all for funny anecdotes, analysis of a guy’s swing, etc. but they don’t even do that so much as constantly giving their opinions on the MVP race, using hyperboles and repeating the score every batter.

            I can’t stand any of the Tigers announcers. I don’t live in Detroit so don’t hear them too much, but they almost never provide any in-depth analysis, such as explaining the finer things — a pitch sequence or why a certain pitcher should come in to face so and so. Also, they sugar coat everything. They’ll say “it didn’t work out” instead of being critical of a player or Leyland.

          3. Jeff, I agree with everything you just wrote.

            A lot of Tigers fans seem to like Dickerson and Price, but all they do is talk over each other and repeat themselves. Rod and Mario are a good team. Rod provides a lot of good analysis (okay, sometimes it’s bad), is generally funny, and doesn’t talk too much. Mario is a solid play-by-play guy who knows enough about the game. I agree they’re probably too easy on the players and Leyland, but that doesn’t bother me too much.

            BTW, not sure where this post is going to show up. It wouldn’t let me reply directly to your last comment.

          4. Yeah, I guess it depends what you’re looking for. Most casual fans probably just want a light-hearted, positive atmosphere without too much analysis.

            And I just realized that every criticism I just made about the current Tigers announcers is no different from Harwell and Scully, whom I love, so clearly I’m just biased.

  4. If Nate looks okay today, what makes more sense? A six-man rotation, or just giving JV, Jax, and Rick a week off each? Or is Washburn’s completely-not-made-up-because-he’s-an-excuses-sort-of-guy leg injury enough to take him out for a while?

    1. Neither. I think you want to keep guys throwing every 5-6 days to keep them both fresh and sharp. I’d have those guys throw 50-70 pitches on their regular schedule, and have Robertson and Miner in long relief. I’m not a pitching coach though.

  5. Wow, just checked the Tigers Sept. schedule and they only have 2 days off for the entire month.

    I guess if we keep winning that could be a good thing but that sounds like a loooong month to me.

  6. Nate’s new mechanics is getting some very good results so far. He most certainly did reinvent himself. Crusty veterans like him is what this game is all about.

    1. Signing $21M contracts, hamstringing their team financially, then getting out of shape, having a bad attitude, and giving their teams two decent starts in a year?

      1. He hamstrung our $125 million payroll all by himself? Really?

        Bad attitude? How is that? He did everything the team asked him to do. He was pitching poorly and lost his spot in the rotation and he was not happy about it. Should he lie about not being happy? If he was happy, it would be time to pack the bags and retire. Most highly competitive people won’t be happy when they don’t perform well.

        About not pitching, well that happens to the best of them. Whether it’s a health issue, injury related, or not being effective, what difference does it make? Nate did what he needed to do to get himself back to where he is. I’ll be happy if he can be a solid contributor to the rotation for the rest of this season and next season.

        1. “He hamstrung our $125 million payroll all by himself? Really?”

          No, I should have qualified my statement. Not by himself. His contract has certainly had a negative impact on the team’s financial flexibility though.

          “Bad attitude? How is that?”

          I thought he complained and/or refused a demotion to Toledo. If neither of those are true, I’m wrong and take back my statement. No, I wouldn’t want him to be happy after getting booted from the rotation.

          “About not pitching, well that happens to the best of them. Whether it’s a health issue, injury related, or not being effective, what difference does it make?”

          No, giving your team almost two full years of nothing (actually, worse than nothing) in a 3-year contract doesn’t happen to the best of them. You don’t think there’s a difference in terms of culpability between a player who gives his team nothing because of injury vs. sucking? If you’re just saying the impact on the team is the same, you’re right (well, kind of – the team can at least replace the injured guy on the roster, rather than watching the ineffective one cost the team games). But in terms of “what the game is all about,” I respect the guy who comes back from injury over the guy who signs a huge contract, is completely incompetent for almost two full years and then comes back.

          “I’ll be happy if he can be a solid contributor to the rotation for the rest of this season and next season.”

          Me too. Highly unlikely though, at least in terms of his cost.

          1. He wasn’t happy about pitching out of the pen. It’s unknown whether or not he refused a demotion. That was never made public one way or the other. As for your other points about injury versus pitching bad, the two are often related. Robertson has spent half of this year on the DL so it was really a little more than a year of sucking and half a year of injury.

          2. That’s just how it goes with contracts. You sign a player based on past performance, and you can only have expectations. Consistency and staying youthful is every fans dream.

          3. Yes Keith, and the players who don’t live up to their contracts deserve to be criticized. And if they’re bad enough (like Robertson), heavily.

            I have to say, even though I disagree with almost everything you say, your optimism is really refreshing. You must be a really pleasant person to be around. It’s good to have people like you to balance out some of us surly skeptics.

    2. Mr. X, you’ve got him re-inventing himself eight inning into his comeback after two years of suckitude! That’s pretty darn remarkable! I love your cock-eyed optimism

  7. Wow, Jim Price made a joke about his partner wearing a Speedo in Fla a couple days later. And now Rod makes the same joke about Mario. Now that’s comedy.

    1. At his current rotation spot he would face the Twins on Sept 19th at the Dome and Sept 30th at Home.

  8. I am shocked that Nate is pitching this well. Shocked. I like it, but I am used to the Nate version.2008 and early this year. So far he’s done well since coming back from Toledo.

  9. Nice DP to get out of the inning. Now lets get some runs. As for Nate you have to wonder if they would have removed the mass from his arm months ago if we would have been seeing a different pitcher this whole year.

      1. I am not saying he is going to turn into Verlander or anything like that but he had a stretch of about 4 years of good to decent pitching. But last year and earlier this year he was pitiful and I am just wondering if that mass in his arm had something to do with it.

  10. When Nate has been any good, it’s been when he gets a lot of ground balls from batters…one thing that happened last season was the pitchers started losing faith in getting outs that way with our bad infield defense. Which makes me think: what would have happened to Porcello if his rookie season was with last year’s defense, and not this year’s?

    1. Coleman, You’re overthinking this. Robertson just sucked last year. You put eight gold glovers behind him last year and his ERA would have dropped to 5.50

  11. How is that guys like Pavano and Carmona struggle vs. everyone but us? Damn Shapiro, you couldn’t have left this guy in the minors until after you left town?

  12. We aren’t hitting, just a bunch of lazy at bats, and it’s Leyland’s fault. Our 4-9 hitters are:


    C.H.A.I.S.E…it’s no wonder they are lounging about today…

  13. Washburn is going to miss his next start in TB on Saturday with Galarraga taking his turn. Well hopefully Battlestar is healthy and Washburn can get that way. Now just need a big hit.

  14. I know it’s only a sample size but Nate looks way better than Washburn at this time. I hope the Washburn trade wasn’t a waste, but in the end will it even matter because Nate can be a good backup option/sixth starter? It may actually work out for the best to spell Porcello.

  15. Man this is why you hate to leave guys at 3rd with less than 2 outs. What did happen on the ball to Raburn should he have caught it?

    1. Thanks for clarifying for those of us stuck “watching” on the internet.

      But you spelled his name wrong.

      1. The Avila hype train has come to a halt. The kid is ice cold after a red-hot start for the Tigers. I still like Avila as the long-term solution for the Tigers at catcher.

        1. That’s because we’re hyping Nate Robertson now. Anyway, everyone knew Avila wasn’t going to hit .400. .308 avg with a 1.027 OPS is pretty darn good for someone who is “ice cold”.

  16. Actually I spelled his name correctly, since he wasn’t Rayburn until after the play…

    And I’m 3-for-3 now with my Zach Miner good luck charm…like Mario says superstition and baseball literally go hand-in-hand…

    1. Agree to disagree.

      When he struck out with a guy on 3rd and less than two outs, he transformed into Rayburn in my book.

  17. Matt, that’s a little tough, since we could end up, using that criteria, with a lineup containing Granderssen, Caberra, Ordonyetz, Temms, and Everest.

    1. Yeah, I’m certainly rough on the guy in that situation. But he was brought in to pinch hit. While I realize you can’t hit a sac fly on cue every time, I expect him to put the bat on ball and at least make contact. Because we sure as hell ain’t bringing him into the game for his defense.

      But yeah you’re probably right. No one is immune to striking out in a key situation.

      1. Strikeouts this season with runner on 3rd less than 2 out:

        Cabrera 5
        Everett 5
        Ordonez 4
        Granderson 4
        Raburn 4

  18. funny that Rayburn screws up in the field and Raburn follows it up with a big hit again…its almost like two different guys…….And how about Nate today……Wow 5 game lead…..a 15 and 14 means the Twinkies need to go 21-9 just to tie……

    1. we still have to play the twins 7 times, including 3 in that godforesaken dome. that could be the great equalizer. a 5-2 or 6-1 twins run erases that 5 game lead in a hurry.

      1. As worried as we are about playing the Twins, I’m guessing the Twins are just as worried about us winning games with Rayburn leading off. And yes, I realize I’m a day late on that.

  19. I listened to the game on the radio today. Dan and Jim were great….a nice change from Mario and they stuck to the game. Felt like I was right there. Terrific ending.

  20. I was without internet access this afternoon so am just now reading the comments. If I didn’t know better, I would guess that you people are following a last place Bad News Bears team and not the first place Detroit Tigers. They’re not going to win them all and the players are not always going to be perfect. Baseball is a game of failure. Let’s get behind the team and quitcherbitchin!

    Great image but NSFW caption:

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