Game 2009.138: Tigers at Royals

PREGAME: Justin Verlander takes the mound tonight for the Tigers sitting at 222 strikeouts for the season. That ranks as the 11th best single season mark in Tigers history. If things go as planned tonight he should at least get to 9th and if he’s feeling frisky he has an outside shot of moving into 7th or 8th.

Strikeouts – Tigers Single Season Leaders

Rank Player   SO   Year
1. Mickey Lolich   308   1971
2. Denny McLain   280   1968
3. Hal Newhouser   275   1946
4. Mickey Lolich   271   1969
5. Mickey Lolich   250   1972
6. Joe Coleman   236   1971
7. Jack Morris   232   1983
8. Mickey Lolich   230   1970
9. Mickey Lolich   226   1965
10. Jack Morris   223   1986

(from baseball-reference.com)

Robinson Tejeda makes the start for the Royals. Tejeda has only made 1 start this year (and only 1 last year) and he 1 hit the Angels for 5.1 innings of shut out ball. He has 61 K’s in 47.1 innings this year which is really good. Between Tejeda and Verlander there could be a stiff breeze tonight.

Detroit vs. Kansas City – September 9, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

71 Comments

  1. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Nice list–whole lotta Lolich on it, isn’t there…a guy who doesn’t get enough mention when talk turns to great pitchers of the past.

    It’s a shame in 1971 with 25-4 2.92 and 308 Ks that there was another dude in the league named Vida (24-8 1.82 301 Ks), so it was only good enough to get Lolich a Cy Young runner-up. Guys were doing a lot of striking out in 1971 it seems.

    I’ll have to make sure I have a beer for my namesake up there at #6 when Justin passes him by…

    • Vince in MN

      September 9, 2009 at 7:02 pm

      The strike zone was bigger and the mound may still have been higher than today. I can’t remember what year it was lowered.

      • Coleman

        September 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm

        I can’t either…my first guess would be ’69, but I’m probably confusing it with the year the leagues were split up into divisions.

        It may be later, like ’72, when the mounds were lowered.

        The other amazing thing about ’71 was the Tigers were 91-71 and never in the race, finishing 12 back of the Orioles, who had a *TEAM E.R.A.* of 3.00 (!!)…(which probably means the mound was still higher).

        I”m not sure when they lowered the strike zone, or if that was even actually officially done before it was done (if that makes sense). If you watch highlights of Gibson’s record-setting WS strikeouts against the Tigers through a lens of a current baseball fan, dude looks like he’s probably walking in runs with all the letter-high fastballs…

  2. charlie

    September 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    they lowered the mound in 1969.

  3. Randolph

    September 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Hopefully JV can keep it up and continue dominating the Royals this season, need some other guys to step it up offensively and help him out.

  4. ouchudied

    September 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    JV is throwing hard tonight… he hit a hundred in 3 times during the Betancourt at-bat. Seems like he usually hovers around a hundo later in the game.

  5. billfer

    September 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    That stiff breeze I mentioned earlier…9 swinging strikes for Tejeda and 7 swinging strikes for Verlander through 2 innings.

  6. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I’m calling “frisky.” (re: Billfer pregame)

    That Betancourt AB both balls (2nd and 5th pitch), at least according to Gameday, were in the strike zone. So Verlander wings a 100mph FB dead bullseye middle of the strike zone for strike 3…

    Looks like something that might qualify as “friskiness” to me…

  7. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Ugly inning by Verlander there. Only about three pitches below the belt.

  8. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    B.O.O.B. gets a hit.

  9. mcb

    September 9, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Twins lead 2-1 in 8th

  10. Kevin in Dallas

    September 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Goodness, that was a beer league softball throw.

  11. Mcb

    September 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    This is like 2006 when KC killed us down the stretch. This is not the same team that played in TB.

    • Tbone

      September 9, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      I’m not ready to call this the start of the September Slide quite yet. Getting schooled by the Royals is pretty depressing though.

    • Jeff Molby

      September 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

      This is not the same team that played in TB.

      Yes it is. There’s a reason it takes 7 months to crown a championship. If you’re not a fan of day-to-day fluctuations, try football.

  12. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I get it – Inge is going to strike out three times….. and then hit a HR.

    • Coleman

      September 9, 2009 at 9:23 pm

      He’s gearing up for the 9th inning grand slam…this one’s in the bag…

      My favorite thing about Inge’s postgame comments after his grand slam–besides him giving credit to Gibby for advice a few years back–was his comment that he thought he had good swings his previous 3 ABs…um, OK…

      • Vince in MN

        September 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm

        As long as they don’t start pitching to him like Babe Ruth again.

        • Coleman

          September 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm

          This is pretty exciting… Cy Young pitching to Babe Ruth (see Jason’s comment below)

  13. RPS

    September 9, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I ask this seriously: Is there a level of offensive production bad enough to get Inge sat down for a week? This is two months of the worst I’ve ever seen him at the plate. His bat is AA-caliber right now.

    • Coleman

      September 9, 2009 at 10:12 pm

      Seriously? Have you ever even seen Leyland pinch hit for him? If there’s a good reason why, this might have something to do with it:

      Go-Ahead Hits: (all hits where the team went from tied or behind to ahead)
      Inge 18
      Cabrera 14
      Granderson 14
      Huff 14*
      Polanco 13
      Clete 9
      Raburn 9
      Everett 8
      Ordonez 7
      Laird 6
      Santiago 5
      Anderson 3
      Thames 3
      Guillen 2
      Dane Sardinha 1
      Larish 1
      Avila 0
      Kelly 0
      Ryan 0
      Treanor 0

      Note: Inge has INCREASED his lead in this category, somehow, since the All-Star break…

      • Stephen

        September 9, 2009 at 11:32 pm

        Coleman, I’m sorry but this is such a meaningless stat that I’m going to have to get nine hours of sleep, take a ritalin tablet, and then dissect it.

  14. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Gotta do better than that Curtis or you’ll never get to be a B.O.O.B.

  15. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Considering how the Tigers hit against rookie and no-name pitchers, they should consider playing an exhibition game against Oneonta. It would give the young lads a great confidence boost I bet.

    • billfer

      September 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm

      Are you putting Tejeda in that group? He’s been pretty sick this year with the only knock against him being walks. Coming into tonight he was fanning 11+ per 9 and he’d only allowed 1 homer in 47 innings. He was also riding a 13 inning scoreless streak coming into this game.

      If you’re talking about all the other guys with marginal stuff they made look good, well then I won’t argue.

      • Coleman

        September 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

        “with the only knock against him being walks.”

        uh oh

      • Vince in MN

        September 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm

        R3L2O – no run. I rest my case. Seriously though, Tejeda is good. And Carl Pavano beat Roy Halladay tonight, so it isn’t just the Tigers.

  16. Jeff Molby

    September 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    Amazing that it only took one loss to bring all the pessimism back. We’re down one run in the 5th with our stud on the mound. True, their guy is shutting us down, but he’s at 80 pitches already. We’ll get some good cracks at their bullpen.

    • T Smith

      September 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

      Getting shut out by a last place team right after a sloppy loss where we had no business losing isn’t too encouraging. Forget about the fact that we are making Kyle Farnsworth look like Mario Rivera (I think he’s recorded more key outs this game alone than he did all last year in a Tiger uniform).

      There are just certain times when pessimism is warranted.

      • Jeff Molby

        September 9, 2009 at 10:50 pm

        Did the past week make you forget about the previous five months? Sparky needed 40 games to gauge his teams; surely we laymen can do it in 120. We have a slightly above average team. It’s a fact. We’ve lost many games that we “should” have won. We’ll lose even more before this season’s over. Why not just enjoy the sport for what it is?

        • T Smith

          September 9, 2009 at 11:09 pm

          No, the past week simply made me forget about how easily frustrating this slighty above average team can be when it’s playing slightly below average.

          • Jeff Molby

            September 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm

            Frustration is a function of expectations. The tigers are an approx .550 team. They are what they are. If you expect them to win significantly more than half of their games, you will surely be frustrated. The problem is purely in your head.

  17. Pete G

    September 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Nice play Polly. Gotta sign him.

  18. Tbone

    September 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    If anyone can dribble a grounder to the left side of the infield here, Huff surely can. Can’t he?

  19. jason

    September 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Maybe we can stop making this guy look like the next Cy Young.

  20. Brenden

    September 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    So, this is the Series we decide to drop 2, against the reeling Royals…Come on…

  21. Kathy

    September 9, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I’m starting to get mad. We can do better than this.

    • Kathy

      September 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

      Will the Farns help us out?

  22. charlie

    September 9, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    here comes farnsworth…the royals don’t want to mess with their upcoming draft picks…why try and win now lol

  23. Brenden

    September 9, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Wow….Bobby and the gang have been unreliable against a team we should be beating…

  24. Brenden

    September 9, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    I am having bad feelings of 2006 where Kansas City swept us right out of 1st Place in the Central. I only fear they will send us in to a tail spin in the last couple weeks that will see us exit the playoff scene.

    • Kathy

      September 9, 2009 at 10:38 pm

      I’ll never forget that. I was depressed for a week.

      • Tbone

        September 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

        Tigers lost their last 5 in ’07 and were 8-18 in September ’08. They’ve been shut out 12 straight innings by the Royals. What’s to worry?

  25. T Smith

    September 9, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    What, is Billy Butler the new Luke Scott?

  26. Brenden

    September 9, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    This is absurd…

  27. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Ugh…
    Strikeouts last 28 days:
    Inge 25
    Granderson 24
    Clete 23

    • T Smith

      September 9, 2009 at 10:52 pm

      I think it’s clear by now Ordonez is going to vest. Maybe it’s time to accept it and give up this whole platoon experiment with Clete. Magglio gives us a better chance at starting and keeping rallies alive….

      • Stephen

        September 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm

        I’m still hoping Ordonez suffers from a non-lethal, gardening accident.

  28. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    For some reason Granderson is useless in 8th innings (but not in 9th):

    66 PA .183 .246 .333 .579 19-SO (1/3.5 PA)

    • billfer

      September 9, 2009 at 10:56 pm

      I’d guess he’s more likely to face a LOOGY in the 8th as opposed to the closer (who wouldn’t necessarily be left handed)

      • Coleman

        September 9, 2009 at 10:59 pm

        That actually probably explains it…one of those things that seems obvious once someone points it out. Thanks for doing so!

      • Kevin in Dallas

        September 9, 2009 at 11:11 pm

        Great thinking billfer.

      • Coleman

        September 9, 2009 at 11:24 pm

        Wow. I knew Curtis had problems with lefties, but the more I look at the stats…I don’t know if I’ve ever seen ANY starter with such a gap between LH/RH OPS:

        Curtis vs RHP .911
        Curtis vs LHP .508
        Diff RHP vs LHP .403

        I mean, the difference between the two is almost an entire Everett OPS…

        • Stephen

          September 9, 2009 at 11:37 pm

          Platoon Inge and Grandy in center!

          • Coleman

            September 10, 2009 at 12:30 am

            That’s not the worst idea…I mean it’s another never-in-a-million-years type of thing, but still…you’d have a CF with a good glove (Al Kaline said Inge could become one of the best OF in the league so I’ll take his word), and an OPS of .897 vs RHP and .811 vs LHP based on career numbers..

            He’d also cost a few bucks but hey it’s not my money…

        • Vince in MN

          September 9, 2009 at 11:43 pm

          Curtis is heading towards a platoon role hitting in the 6th slot. I think he may thrive further down in the order, but he is virtually an automatic out against LH and unless he solves that issue (to be fair, he improved last year over ’07 but regressed horribly this year) he has no business as an everyday player.

          • Stephen

            September 9, 2009 at 11:50 pm

            Granderson hit lefties at a .215 clip from 06-08. This isn’t new.

          • Vince in MN

            September 10, 2009 at 12:10 am

            Granderson looked like he was turning it around in ’08 vs. LH; not great, but acceptable:

            ’06 .228 BA, .277 OBP
            ’07 .160 BA, .225 OBP
            ’08 .259 BA, .310 OBP
            ’09 .183 BA, .255 OBP (vs .282 and .366 vs RH)

            Perhaps ’08 was a fluke.

  29. Mark in Chicago

    September 9, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I’m just joining in, but 2 of Rodney’s pitches to Betancourt and the second pitch to DeJesus are strikes according to Gameday. Yet they’ve been called balls.

    Are they close or is Gameday way off?

    EDIT: nevermind, this has gotten out of hand now…

    • Vince in MN

      September 9, 2009 at 11:04 pm

      It’s been like that all night. Either gameday is off or the ump’s strikezone is 6 inches off center to the left.

  30. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Well, the worst case scenario is they come home with a guaranteed non-losing 3-3 road trip under their belt. A week ago that was an acceptable result, yes? These things happen – the Phillies got swept a 4-game series a while ago. Law of averages etc. Maybe they are a little flat after the sweep in Tampa.

  31. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Billy “Right-Handed Luke Scott” Butler strikes again

  32. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    The Tigers’ bullpen uses fewer total letters in their names than any bullpen in the league.

    (Miner, Perry, Ni, Seay, Lyon, Rodney…probably even if you add the callups. I’m not counting Bonderman, since he’s kind of a rehab thing).

    OK, so I didn’t really go through and count every bullpen. But I’m pretty confident in this one…

  33. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Does anybody know the last time Rodney came in in a non-save situation and didn’t give up any runs?

  34. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Of course if Huff and Clete get on Inge will be up with bases loaded in the 9th again…it’s too bad we didn’t hold KC under 5 runs…

  35. Kevin in Dallas

    September 9, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Rodney is gonna blow up every once in a while, I’m glad it happened in a non-save situation.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      September 9, 2009 at 11:13 pm

      Though those 3 runs in the 8th are starting to look a lot bigger than they were a few batters ago.

  36. Coleman

    September 9, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    We love you Josh!

  37. Joel in Seattle

    September 10, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Too bad Rodney appealed that suspension. It would have been nice to have him unavailable tonight…

  38. Kathy

    September 10, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Have you ever wondered how Carlos can throw the ball in from LF with his right arm but still can’t bat RH’d? Several times, it seems like he throws sort of sideways like he did at SS. There must be some serious stuff going on with his shoulder or he would be batting RH’d. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be batting right handed any time soon either. Maybe they’re keeping it a secret for some special situation and he’ll come up against a lefty and hit from the right side. Maybe tomorrow?

    • Ryan

      September 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm

      He can’t bat right handed because of a sore left shoulder… he throws right handed though.