Game 2009.149: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: Look, I’m as nervous as the next guy about this game. The Tigers are not playing good right now. But let’s look at the worst case scenario here. If the Tigers lose they still have a 1 game lead and they never have to go to the Metrodome again. Ever. A better case scenario is they win, and never have to go to the Metrodome again. Ever. Either way there is a silver lining.

Nate Robertson returns to the rotation due to the knee induced suckitude of Jarrod Washburn. The first time he returned was due to the elbow induced suckitude of Armando Galarraga. Robertson was solid for 2 starts and then incurred pelvic induced suckitude of his own. But a bullpen session on Thursday was encouraging enough to put him back in the rotation.

Scott Baker goes for the Twins. The Tigers have actually gotten to Baker twice this year getting him for 6 runs in August and 5 runs in May. Baker is much better at home where he’s limited opposing batters to a .637 OPS. He also has a crazy reverse platoon splits where he has allowed 21 of his 25 homers to right handed batters despite facing each side in the same amount of PA’s.

Your, “c’mon Marcus” lineup is

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thames, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Ordonez, RF
  6. Guillen, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

Detroit vs. Minnesota – September 20, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME:

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For those of you who don’t frequent Comerica Park, or don’t pay attention what happens when the Tigers win, their victory music is One More Time by Daft Punk. Hopefully we can say one more time a few more times before the end of the season and I’ll continue to post it after wins until the copyright police come after me (and to try and stave that off, you can find One More Time on the album Discovery. You can also download it legally here).

As for the game, I missed most of it. With all the bad baseball I’ve endured I’m sad to have missed this one. I mentioned the silver lining about being done with the Metrodome (which may not be true if a 1 game playoff is needed as pointed out by RPS), but the other silver lining is that with the lead shrinking and a September lacking for pennant races, Tigers games are moved up to the front of Sports Center. So I’ve seen the highlights.

Three of Robertson’s four starts down the stretch have been effective. Not lights out, but effective. He was hurting for the clunker, but if healthy could Robertson find himself pitching a postseason rotation? That would have been crazy talk most of the season, but it isn’t nearly as crazy now. He came up big when the team needed him to even though he couldn’t pitch very deep into the game.

And the bullpen came up big again, even the much maligned Zach Miner came up with 2 very valuable innings. Miner has come up big several times over the last couple weeks and has mostly bridged the gap to Seay-Lyon in a competent manner.

The offense got 6 runs. That’s good. Just what the doctor ordered. And they added on a couple late ones also. That’s good.

The Tigers leave Minnesota still up 3 games. For all the hand wringing, nail chomping, and gnashing of teeth the last few days, that ain’t so bad.

75 Comments

  1. stephen

    September 20, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I am at the beach without wifi which is probably for the best, but I will say as the site’s resident pessimist the Tigers still win the division. I don’t think they win today, but the Twins are terrible on the road and Detroit is great at home. It is inconcievable to be the Tigers don’t split at home with the Twins. I would argue that Detroit is an average team at best, but away from the dome the Twins are basically a 70-92 team. That being said I hope detroit wins today to avenge the farce of 87 when the twins had home field advantage despite winning 12 fewer games than the tigers. (They used to just alternate home field advantage every year) now that was an injustice.

    • David

      September 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm

      I agree with you. I hope they win today to calm everyone down and I have confidence in them at CoPa.

  2. The Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    The Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi’s
    Top Ten Things He Hates
    (and will never miss)
    About the Twinkie Dome

    10. Those “we got to put them somewhere” foul-line bullpens (And seeing the Nathan groupies as he warms up along the foul line)

    9. Those HVAC fans behind home plate that used to spin when the Twins batted during the 1987 LCS.

    8. Beating the White Sox 5-1 on the last day of the 2006 season to win the Central Division (ok, ok, this one may be my dislike of the Twins, but the game was played in the Twinkie Dome!)

    7. Those hippty-hop outfield bounces courtesy of Astroturf

    6. Getting swept in games 6-8 in 2001 after sweeping the Sox in Chicago.

    5. Only 7,479 fans saw the Tiger’s beat the Twins 5-2 in their first game in the Twinkie Dome on 27APR82.

    4. Dropping the first game of the 1987 LCS 8-5 (Alexander vs. Viola) after going into the bottom of the 8th with a 5-4 lead.

    3. Dropping the second game of the 1987 LCS 6-3 (Morris vs. Blyleven) to send the 5-game series to Tiger Stadium at 0-2.

    2. Trying to field a ball off the “baggie”

    1. After Phil Garner was fired (after game 6), getting swept in games 9-11 in 2002 to allow the Tigers a dismal 0-11 start.

    Good bye Twinkie Dome…like the Tiger’s first game in it in 1982, let’s leave on a winning note. Meanwhile my brother and I are already making plans to attend a 2010 Tiger series in Target Stadium.

    Let’s score some runs!!!

  3. Skip

    September 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Wow. We hav been terrible as of late…
    I just came back from England, and was suffering Detroit Tigers withdrawal. I had NO WiFi where I was either… Sad (yet spetacular) week…
    C’mon, let’s win this one!

  4. jason

    September 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Lose this one, and you can put the official stamp on the Tigers being done.

    • David

      September 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm

      You do know that if they lose they’d still have 2 weeks of baseball left and a 1 game lead.

      • ouchudied

        September 20, 2009 at 2:24 pm

        Very true, but the sky would be falling at that point and the apocalypse would be near for Tigers fans.

  5. Mike in CT

    September 20, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Jeez…is it Ground Hog Day or something? I just saw Marcus Thames and Carlos Guillen strike out…again. Does this team have any contact hitters other than Polanco?

  6. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    No,if it were Ground Hog Day Inge would have struck out too; he actually had a good AB–lots of pitches and he dinged Mauer’s shoulder…

  7. ouchudied

    September 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I think we should change our approach to hit Mauer with as many fastballs as possible. So far, Inge and Laird have been productive.

  8. ouchudied

    September 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    This is quite the Minnesota-Detroit battle today. Surprisingly, the Lions are still in the game. They’ll probably find a way to blow the game, however.

  9. Mike in CT

    September 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Darn it. A Nick Punto two-out RBI. You can’t make this stuff up.

  10. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Uh oh, getting beat by Punto, someone’s not gonna be happy…

    • Mike in CT

      September 20, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      By someone you should mean everyone.

  11. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Polanco Power!!

    • Mike in CT

      September 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm

      Good god, is that a crooked number on the scoreboard?

  12. Keith (Mr. X)

    September 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I say we give Magglio an extension!! Let’s sign him for 5 more years!

  13. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I can’t wait to see how Span looks in his sombrero

  14. Keith (Mr. X)

    September 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Nate the Great!

  15. Dylan

    September 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Well… Nate did his job.. gave us a shot to win. Bullpen absolutely needs to come through, wouldn’t mind a couple insurance runs to say the least.

  16. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Nate the Great!

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      September 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm

      :-)

  17. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    PH for Grandy?

    Oh, nevermind…

  18. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Zach Miner looks like a rabbit.

    Phew…

    • briggs45

      September 21, 2009 at 12:11 pm

      “Zach Miner looks like a rabbit”

      Coleman. Is there a story behind it?
      I’d prefer he looked like a flamethrower.

      • Coleman

        September 21, 2009 at 3:58 pm

        I made that comment once–just a random observation, but also, even more randomly, a reference to a dumb Saturday Night Live bit–and immediately he got out of the jam he was in, so I figured it was good luck.

        So far: 7 rabbit comments in 7 appearances. Total earned runs: 0

        There was one appearance when I was busy, and didn’t make the comment. He got shelled…clearly I have an important responsibility here now…

  19. Jason

    September 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    May the tigers save us from the dismal lions who teased us in the first half and then fell over and played dead aided by one phantom chop block personal foul

    • ouchudied

      September 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm

      Not that it matters, but that was easily one of the worst calls that I have ever seen.

  20. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    It’s not a Lion-Viking game without a key phantom call–they lost their only win last season with a phantom pass interference vs MINN

    • Jason

      September 20, 2009 at 4:35 pm

      very true at least stafford didn’t run out of his own end zone but those 2 int’s and couple of bad throws to cj in the end zone wide open and bryant wide open down field really hurt.

  21. Jason

    September 20, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Like your logo there Dylan a big blue fan here myself. All though I am more into football rather than basketball but nice looking blog check mine out if you want also.

    Go Miner shut the door and finish off the metrodome in appropiate fashion

  22. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    C’mon Span, off with the batting helmet, on with the sombrero

  23. Keith (Mr. X)

    September 20, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Miner is finer!

  24. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Respect The Rabbit!!

  25. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    No ‘Y’ !! No ‘Y’ !!

  26. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Walk Grandy to pitch to Polly…I’m liking this

    • Tbone

      September 20, 2009 at 5:02 pm

      Polly is so money in that spot.

  27. The Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 20, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Hey 5-2 score. That was the score of the first Tiger game in the HHHD. Go boys!

  28. Jeff

    September 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Jerry the Tiger Fan posted a comment the other day about Mr. X being absent during the team’s worst stretch of the season, when his positive vibes were needed the most.

    So is it any coincidence that he returns today and the team is finally playing well?

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      September 21, 2009 at 1:02 am

      If I have nothing good to say about the Tigers, then I’m usually very quiet. Also, my TV broke two weeks ago, so I didn’t get to see the Tigers lose all those games. Lucky me.

      • Jeff

        September 22, 2009 at 9:42 am

        Mr. X, the Tigers and your TV both breaking at the same time might not be a coincidence. In any event, please don’t disappear like that again.

  29. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    That extra run is huge (although not quite enough to dome-proof this one)

  30. Tbone

    September 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Rodney coming in with a 4-run lead.

    I don’t think I can watch!

  31. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    He is…
    Unfortunately, “PP Money” doesn’t work too well as a nickname…

  32. jason

    September 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    The Tigers season isn’t over after all. At least for now. The next Twins series should be interesting.

  33. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Wow, great game, I’ll take that..although I have to admit I had visions in my head of the game ending with Span’s 5th strikeout..

  34. Tbone

    September 20, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Big props to Nate today. Who woulda thunk he’d deliver in such a big game?

  35. jcm

    September 20, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    First game at Metrodump:W
    Last game at Metrodump:W
    Last game at Yankee Stadium :W
    Which stadium will be the next to be torn down?

    • Rick G

      September 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm

      There’s information on the Oakland A’s web site here that says they’ll be moving to Fremont California probably for the 2011 season. Their new stadium will be known as Cisco Field. A lot of the information is old, but I would think they’d remove anything that wasn’t still true.

      By the way, the last standing piece of Tiger Stadium was demolished
      this morning.

      • Coleman

        September 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm

        They should know better than to sell the naming rights 2 years ahead (remember Enron Field in Houston?)…I guess they probably need the money now though.

        I wonder what the nickname will be…let’s see, Comerica Park is Copa…I’m thinking Cisco Field would be known as Cissyfi…

  36. Jason

    September 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    So what does this take our magic number down to now with 13 games left

    • Joel in Seattle

      September 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm

      11 games, according to MLB.com

  37. RoseTattoo

    September 20, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Big big win — nice magic number movement too!

  38. Mike in CT

    September 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Annnnnd exhale. With any luck the Pale Hose beat the Twinks tomorrow while we all catch our breath before the final 13 games. Let’s hope the Indians don’t pull a Royals on us, though.

    At least Minny is 10 away, three at home down the stretch. I like those odds.

  39. RPS

    September 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I hate to be this guy, but if the Tigers and Twins tie for the division, wouldn’t game 163 be in the Dome by virtue of the Twins having won the season series? I’m assuming that the Tigers taking all four in Comerica to tie the season series would preclude a divisional tie.

    Much like actual games at the Dump, I’ll only believe the stadium is done when it is mathematically eliminated.

  40. Shane Trapped in Toledo

    September 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    They got the one win they needed. A very solid win. Solid defense, offense, pitching, and managing. The pitching match-ups look favorable in Cleveland, they should at least take two out of three.

  41. Mark in Chicago

    September 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Minny plays 3 in Chicago starting tomorrow and the Sox will throw Danks and Beurhle in games 2 and 3. The Twins struggle away from the dome and against left-handers, and the Sox are pretty decent at home. Meanwhile, we have our 3 best pitchers going against the Indians. Despite all the bad baseball lately, we still have a good shot to put some distance between us and the Twins.

    • Andre in Chi

      September 20, 2009 at 7:54 pm

      Agreed, my only disappointment is that the small lead means they won’t have a chance to maybe have Verlander or Jackson skip starts. I’d really like to see them get some rest, the innings seem to be catching up to them.

  42. Coleman

    September 20, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    “For those of you who don’t frequent Comerica Park, or don’t pay attention what happens when the Tigers win, their victory music is One More Time by Daft Punk”

    I did not know that…since I am unable to frequent, or even infrequent, Comerica.

    Good enough celebration music, although it is, y’know…FRENCH…

    (Although if they are on a European label, you won’t have the same level of copyright policing to worry about…)

  43. mark_in_gr

    September 20, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Congrats to Nate. Great outing today!!!

  44. Coach Jim

    September 20, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I especially enjoyed Billfer’s colorful use of “suckitude.”

  45. Jason

    September 21, 2009 at 3:57 am

    I’m concerned because Bonine is listed as the probable starter for Tuesday. Is he going to get 3 of our final 13 starts? That’s bad news, even for Eddie fans like me.

  46. Ian C.

    September 21, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I picture Bill grooving away at his computer to Daft Punk. Sort of like the “Night at the Roxbury” guys. Then maybe the music overtakes him and he has to stand up and embrace his inner dancer.

    Oh wait, maybe that was me, just now.

    • David

      September 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm

      I just read you’re proposed roster for 2010. Tengo muchas preguntas.

      Milton Bradley? MILTON BRADLEY? wtf… trade for Ankiel? Give Jackson a comparable contract to Verlander and Grienke? Totally dump Polanco without even offering him a contract? Make Seay our closer? Make Bonderman one of our primary setup guys? What great prospects are you planning on getting for Laird? Why would the Cubs, as inept as they are, want Dontrelle? His value couldn’t be any lower. Why trade Guillen? What are you smoking and how did your site get so popular, how do you have any credibility? These are horrid suggestions.

      I mean really if some of the things you are proposing are done it would be good way to quickly and totally destroy our ability to win for years. It sounds Randy Smithesque.

      Were those all serious suggestions or were you in jest, just trying to create controversy and stimulate web traffic?

      • Kurt

        September 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm

        that wasn’t Ian’s proposed roster, that was a fanshot, an article written by a commenter on the site.

        • David

          September 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm

          I did not know that.

      • Kathy

        September 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm

        Bradley? No thanks. Laird? He’s a keeper!

  47. RPS

    September 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Simma down nah.

    First, Ian didn’t write it.

    Second, Milton Bradley’s crappy season of discontent includes a .378 OBP. The Cubs are desperate enough to get rid of him that they will probably be willing to either take a bad contract in exchange (*cough* Guillen and Willis) or pick up most of his salary in exchange for nothing. Doesn’t seem crazy to want to take a chance on a guy that can produce like he has. If he’s cheap enough that you can jettison him if/when his attitude turns, why not?

    Next, Ankiel is a very good defensive OF. I cringe to think how his bat projects to the AL, but not a ridiculous idea.

    You try to trade Guillen because he is a very expensive DH with durability issues who is obviously past his prime.

    I don’t want Seay as closer not because he can’t do it, but because he is more valuable in the high-leverage spots he currently works. He is more important than any non-Rivera closer in his current role. Offer Lyon and Rodney arb. If one takes it, great, he can close. If not, Seay is just as good as anyone else in that spot. And cheap. I’m willing to take my chances with Perry/Seay.

    I think it would be a mistake to not offer Polanco arb. I’d love to have him back at like $7 mill for one year, but not for the 3/$20 he can probably get on the market. No matter how you slice it, his bat has been awful this year.

    I’m assuming Bondo only goes to the pen if it looks like he still can’t start.

    I agree with you that Jackson needs to show his improvement for another year before an extension, and that Laird should be kept.

    None of these are such terrible ideas, however. There are legitimate arguments for and against all of them. I think the author of the post is of a different baseball belief system than you are. I think his interests run more towards xFIP and WAR and economic efficiency, and yours run more towards leadership and clubhouse cohesion and veteran presence. Neither is inherently right or wrong. If you try to understand his point of view better, and he tries to understand yours, you both become smarter. Just like you can’t dismiss Milton Bradley’s attitude, you also can’t dismiss his numbers.

    Being entirely unreceptive to something like this doesn’t help anything.

    • David

      September 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm

      1) OK, now I know
      2) There is a reason Bradley keeps shuffling through teams. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole. His offense is sub par as a career outfielder, cut it any way you like. Bringing in someone like him to the fold would be the absolute wrong idea.
      3) Why spend money for Ankiel when you have Clete Thomas, Ryan Raburn and plenty of other OF? Plus Maggs, Guillen and Granderson. I wouldn’t understand that at all. Its all fine and good that he has a good OF glove, but we have that already for much cheaper.
      4) I think Guillen has another productive year or two left in him. Why trade him when his value couldn’t be any lower, and he is supposed to be a leader on this team?
      5) I think Seay has been terrific in the 7/8 innings where there is more at stake IMO. So I guess we’re in somewhat of an agreement here.
      6) I agree with this as well. To not even offer him a contract and gauge his interest is what I found to be foolish. If he is too expensive/wants too long of a deal, fine. If not go after him.
      7) Same, I think he is too young to declare his career as a starter is over.
      8) Dismiss his #s? Bradley has never had a season of EITHER 80 Runs OR 80 RBI as a corner OF. Plus we already have more than enough OF that are already signed. Plus the excess crap he comes with. All those point to me not wanting him.

      Um. I think you have me pegged all wrong. I’m for being efficient with your money, I’m for looking at the numbers in depth. I’m for youth and shying away from people I consider to be unproductive or cancerous. I don’t understand why this team would go after any so-so OF when they already have a large surplus.

      I don’t understand why you would not offer Polanco a contract AT ALL. I don’t understand what you could get for Laird that would be worth it. I don’t understand why you would give Jackson such a lucrative contract right now based upon his history and the “career year” he has been having.

      I’m sorry but whoever wrote that, doesn’t know what they are talking about, and sure as … wasn’t using data or being “efficient”.

    • Coleman

      September 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      I would take Milton Bradley in the outfield–but only if you give the other two outfield spots to the Parker Brothers.

      (It’s somewhat ironic that the proverbial buzzkill of the Baseball Is A Game enjoyment of baseball is named Milton Bradley…I think an Onion-style ad for the games designed by this Milton Bradley practically begs to be created…)

      • Andrew

        September 21, 2009 at 7:15 pm

        Hilarious & should be done :)

        • Coleman

          September 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

          I wish I had any sort of skills of a graphical nature…I’d do it myself. What meagre skills I have though are of a more wordy sort. (Well, that and the physical superpowers, obviously).

  48. colin

    September 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Guys the problem with Milton Bradley is he’s not really an outfielder. Fortunately we’re an AL team so we have a spot in the lineup for half a ballplayer. I thought that was really obvious so I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I also thought that it is pretty obvious that this near-.500 team could be upgraded with an impact bat. Buy low, sell high right guys?

    If the Twins picked up Milton for a DH, started any three of Span Gomez Cuddyer and Kubel in the outfield and flipped the fourth OF for a 2B or SS that could hit I’d be scared, wouldn’t you?

    As for Seay I’m not really into the ‘closer’ mythology to say the least but I just don’t see him working the ninth so another live arm will be needed. That lineup on blessyouboys is one RP short of being really pretty good though IMO especially when it comes to building a sustainably good team and farm system while trimming budget.

  49. Coleman

    September 21, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Ankiel has a good glove, and a great arm…he has power but hits for a low avg and strikes out a ton…hmmm…sounds like a certain All-Star in our current line-up.

    Thinking outside the box (the one that says ‘Logic’ on the outside) we could get Ankiel and he could help us transition Dontrelle into our new every day Left Fielder.

    Just don’t trade someone like Zach Miner to get Ankiel, considering how the Cards have done with pitcher castoffs they’ve picked up. I’d hate to see so many perfectly good minds here destroyed by seeing Miner with 20 wins…

    • David

      September 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm

      On the Ankiel bit I know he has a crazy arm. But I don’t understand if you’re trying to cut spending or just maintain it several things

      1) Where you would put him, and if you say RF what happens to Maggs and Guillen
      2) How he is vastly superior to Clete
      3) Why you would spend money on him when you have Clete, Ramirez, Rayyyyburn
      4) Durability issues

      I mean he wouldn’t be terrible, I just don’t see what he adds that we don’t have and how we’d create room for him.

      I’d rather them take some of the money possibly coming off the books and throw it at Chone Figgins or Matt Holiday or Rich Harden or John Lackey or Erik Bedard.