Game 2009.150: Tigers at Indians

PREGAME: The last time the Tigers went into Cleveland it looked like a sure sweep for the good guys. The Indians had just traded Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez and they were done. The Tigers were starting Edwin Jackson in the first game and there was reason for much confidence after the Tigers scored early. Turns out they lost 2 of 3 and needed extras to win that 3rd game. So while the match-ups look good I’m not taking anything for granted.

Jackson has been struggling but the Tigers thing it may be attributable to the fact he was tipping his slider. Jason Beck looked at Gameday data and noted that opposing hitters have been attacking his fastball. I really do believe these things happen quite frequently, but I’m always suspect when team’s make this kind of announcement prior to a game and view these things as attempts at either gamesmanship or changing a pitcher’s psyche.

Aaron Laffey takes the ball for the Indians. Laffey’s numbers aren’t particularly inspiring and the Tigers have gotten to him for 9 runs over the 2 starts he’s made against them this year.

Now for some bonus good news. Tim Bryant at Fox Sports Detroit passed a long a note that the series will be broadcast in HD. Indians games typically have been in standard def because the Indians don’t use a regional Fox Sports network and the HD broadcast capability isn’t usually available. Because this was a very late addition it is unknown if Dish Network will have the HD feed as we go to press.

Detroit vs. Cleveland – September 22, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME:

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So on a night with a microscopically small strike zone who would figure Fernando Rodney of all people to record a 3 out save with only 10 pitches? Yeah, I’m not raising my hand either.

Rodney’s effort capped a very satisfying win. I’m still skeptical about the Tigers fixing Jackson’s pitch tipping, but he didn’t allow a run thanks to 3 double plays. He only had 6 first pitch strikes and there were a number of hard hit balls. But if anyone had some good luck coming his way it was Jackson.

The Tigers also had a number of hard hit balls, the first 4 hitters had nice swings, but…they were also at people. Miguel Cabrera hit the ball hard 4 times, and had 1 hit and a double play to show for it. And with Ordonez on base 4 times, there were numerous unfortunate RBI circumstances.

But if there was a star of the game it had to be Ryan Raburn. He gunned down a runner in the first. He hit the homer that was the difference in the game for much of the tilt, and he singled and walked. Little Jimmy Jackson had himself a game.

The Tigers took care of business tonight. One more time.

92 Comments

  1. Tbone

    September 22, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    The ususal “Mighty Righty” lineup:

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

  2. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Today’s random statingetic:

    Tigers with Inge batting 6th: 38 – 26 (.594)
    Inge batting 6th OPS: .749

    Ordonez at 6th OPS: .886
    Tigers with Ordonez batting 6th: 11 – 14 (.444)

  3. Jason

    September 22, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Hmm interesting comparison with Maggs and Inge there could it be due to the production fall off from the #3 spot without Ordonez since a lot less is expected of the #6 slot.

    If Jackson has been tipping his slider I sure hope he can change his cadence because his fastballs have been doubling as comets streaking into the stands lately. I also wonder how many pa’s grandy is losing to left handers batting further down the line up and how above/below average he is from the Tigers average #7 slot production.

  4. Jeff Molby

    September 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I’m usually the first to beat up Maggs for half-hearted plays, so let me be the first to give him props for that double

  5. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    It probably mostly means the Tigers do better against lefties, which has been when Inge bats 6th lately…also means I was looking for an excuse to use “statingetic”

  6. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Jackson is lucky so far. Tigers better get him a bunch of runs tonight, he’s really struggling down the stretch.

    • billfer

      September 22, 2009 at 7:46 pm

      Control isn’t there, and stuff is getting hammered. Then again the Tigers have been hitting the ball well off of Laffey also.

  7. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Ra-Gunned at the plate!!

  8. Mike in CT

    September 22, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Who knows how the voting shakes out for stuff like this, but Gerald Laird deserves the gold glove at catcher this season, regardless of how little national ‘rep’ he has.

    How many other catchers make that tag out at home on LaPorta?

    • Andrew

      September 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

      If he had a better offensive game he would probably get more recognition as far as Gold Glove. Isn’t that dumb? It’s a defensive award . . .

  9. Jason

    September 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Always great to see an awesome defensive play get rewarded with a HR that next inning by super sub Raburn

  10. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    How often does a guy make a fine defensive play and come to bat the following inning and hit a home run? Nice :)

  11. billfer

    September 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Little Jimmy Jackson, taking Laffey deep!

  12. Keith (Mr. X)

    September 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Just turned on the game and Raburn went yard! I’m back!

  13. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Raburn is outta control!!

  14. ouchudied

    September 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Just purchased two standing room only tickets to the home game one of the ALDS! My cheap, broke-ass is pumped about this. Now my only worry is whether this series is a possible future construct or if it is going to be an actual event.

  15. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Jackson is really struggling.

    • ouchudied

      September 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm

      Well, the Cleveland Indians are the type of team where you can really struggle on the mound and go out and pitch 4 shutout innings on.

      • T Smith

        September 22, 2009 at 8:13 pm

        Fortunately, yes. I would say if this game was at Yankee Stadium, the score would be 9-1 by now.

        • T Smith

          September 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm

          oops. Correction: 9-1. I’ll give No Y his long ball at Yankee Stadium.

  16. ouchudied

    September 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Minny already has two runs across the plate. They’ve only made one out so far…

  17. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    For the love of Wilbur Wood, couldn’t the Sox at least pretend to be a legit MLB team?

    • Vince in MN

      September 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm

      Umm…maybe when they play the Tigers?

  18. billfer

    September 22, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I can’t believe there has only been 1 run scored in this game. Both pitchers have been lucky.

  19. billfer

    September 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    One of these times Cabrera won’t smoke a ball right at someone. Of course that will likely be the time he comes up with the bases empty.

  20. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    CHW-MIN is definitely a weird game–MIN gets 3 in the top of the 1st without Mauer getting on base; CHW comes back with 1 in the bottom without a hit.

    • Tbone

      September 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      I just hope the White Sox lay down when we get to town.

      • Mark@HOU

        September 22, 2009 at 8:38 pm

        Guillen will be managing those games like its the 7th game of the World Series.

        They will play the this is our playoffs roll, because we are first.

  21. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Well I was arguing earlier that it didn’t matter that much how Cabrera did with guys on base since there weren’t many guys on base anyway…but now that Raburn, Polanco and Maggs are getting hot this could be an issue…

    • Vince in MN

      September 22, 2009 at 8:45 pm

      Instead of the earlier 7-2 black hole, we could now be looking at a 4-9 black hole.

      • billfer

        September 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

        In all fairness, Cabrera has 3 hard hit balls tonight. He’s not whiffing or popping up.

  22. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    White Sox up 4-3 over Twins. Royals up on Red Sox 5-0.

  23. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    No matter who we face in the playoffs they’ll have at least 6 guys with a higher OPS than whoever our 5 hitter is…

  24. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    That was the most stressful seven shutout innings I’ve ever seen Jackson pitch.

    If he gets the win it will make up for some of those tough-luck losses earlier in the year.

  25. jason

    September 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Pitchers duel !!!

    Is this a sign of what I am going to see in the playoffs? (if we make it, of course)

  26. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    That was a nasty third strike pitch by Jackson. NICE!

  27. Tbone

    September 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Huge game from EJ tonight, lucky or no.

    • T Smith

      September 22, 2009 at 9:11 pm

      Agreed.

  28. billfer

    September 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    So I’ve been adding a few more images/graphics and such lately. I also tweaked the recent comments in the sidebar. Yay or Nay?

    Also, does anybody every look at the recent post and related post boxes?

    • Andrew

      September 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

      I’m liking the additional images & recent comments. Dig the related posts, too.

      Now, could you tweak the Tigers offense & get them some more runs? ;)

      • Tbone

        September 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm

        I like the recent comments feature but I never look at the recent or related post boxes.

  29. jason

    September 22, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    There’s the hit you were looking for Billfer!

  30. Shane Trapped in Toledo

    September 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    About time Cabrera got rewarded!

  31. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    This Indians team couldn’t have come along at a better time for the Tigers.

  32. Vince in MN

    September 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Tonight’s quiz:

    Edwin Jackson is to Cleveland as Carl Pavano is to ____________.

  33. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Recent: yes…Related: no.

    Big Mig! That’s more like it!

    • jason

      September 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm

      ditto.

    • Vince in MN

      September 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm

      Some tit for tat. Perez was the guy that blew the game for the Indians last week against the Twins when the Trbe was up 3-0 in the 7th and Twinkies scored 6 runs to win 6-3.

  34. ouchudied

    September 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Huge insurance run by Miggy! Not that we even need one, though. We have Miner in the pen.

  35. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Wow. Shoo has a gun on him.

  36. billfer

    September 22, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    @t smith

    There was your squeeze.

    • T Smith

      September 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm

      lol. with Miggy at 3rd no less. That’s what you call a surprise.

      • billfer

        September 22, 2009 at 9:19 pm

        I think that one was more for the Yankees scouts than anything else.

  37. Ken in Las Vegas

    September 22, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    That was a great inning to come home to. Anybody know who’s coming out of the bullpen?

  38. mcb

    September 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve never seen a strike zone like this

    • Andrew

      September 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm

      Strike zone is horrid tonight

  39. jason

    September 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I may have to look away from the TV… to save myself from the sight of this implosion

  40. Shane Trapped in Toledo

    September 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Seriously, walking Carroll?

  41. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    That last pitch looked like a strike

  42. Mark@HOU

    September 22, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    I don’t know how Rodney will be able to throw a strike in the 9th with this guy’s wandering strike zone.

  43. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Phew!

  44. Ken in Las Vegas

    September 22, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    What do you think Lyon yelled into his glove after that inning?

    • Coleman

      September 22, 2009 at 9:53 pm

      He was singing:
      “Would you one time,
      Let Me Be Myself
      So i can shine,
      with my own light
      Let Me Be Myself…”

      • T Smith

        September 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm

        Is that when the scoreboard flashed, “So easy a Sea-Lion can do it?”

        • Coleman

          September 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

          If we got a Rabbit and a Seay-Lyon, what’s Rodney?

          He might have to be The Caveman…I guess we need something for Ni also…

          Ever notice they haven’t mustered up the nerve to throw in any Cavewomen yet?

      • Kathy

        September 22, 2009 at 10:42 pm

        Ha, ha!!!

  45. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I wasn’t worried there, nope not a bit, just enjoying the game, Mr. Unworried Guy, if someone would have walked by they would have said, “see there’s a guy who’s not worried, not even a bit…”

  46. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    There was a blatant blown call coupled with a very tight zone. That doesn’t bode well for Rodney.

    (That last pitch to Laird was right down the middle and called a ball). Wow. Just wow.

  47. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Who’s the umpire tonight?

    • Coleman

      September 22, 2009 at 9:56 pm

      i think it’s that Guy Who Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express

      • Andrew

        September 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm

        LOL :)

  48. Randolph

    September 22, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    BEAUTIFUL!

  49. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Nice inning by Rodney! Scoreboard watch – Twins over Sox 7-5 middle of 7.

  50. Keith (Mr. X)

    September 22, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Rodney is gold once again.

  51. billfer

    September 22, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    One more time, we’re gonna celebrate…

    [audio posted]

    • Coleman

      September 22, 2009 at 10:17 pm

      We Are Family!! (oops, wrong team/decade…)

  52. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    10.

  53. Walter55

    September 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Nice win by the Tigers tonight now here is something I rarely say Go White Sox.

    • Coleman

      September 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm

      I say to Hell–a small city near Pinckney, MI–with the White Sox (here they will be without the creature comforts they are used to and see people walking about with Tiger hats all over. Serves them right).

      Let the Twins sweep them…fine. We’ll sweep the Racially Insensitive Mascots, win 3 of 4 vs MINN, and beat up on the Sox just for fun. So there.

  54. Andrew

    September 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Crank that Daft Punk, Bill!

  55. Tbone

    September 22, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    It would be nice to see the Twins lose a game for a change.

    Go White Sox. (blech)

    • Vince in MN

      September 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm

      Not that the Hosers were playing that great before Gullien called them out for quitting on the season, but since then they have been playing like, well, they have quit on the season. And that includes their manager. Danks clearly didn’t have it tonight, but Ozzie left him in to give up all 7 runs.

      • Coleman

        September 22, 2009 at 10:21 pm

        Yeah, Danks for Nothing…

  56. Vince in MN

    September 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Speaking of Hosers, Greinke pitched 6 shutout innings against Boston tonight. His ERA is at 2.08 now. I think we can call him Cy Young this year.

    • Coleman

      September 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm

      I hereby decree that a condition for eligibility for the Cy Young award is that one must pitch against each team in one’s division.

  57. T Smith

    September 22, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    The Tigers have to keep on winning. The Twins are playing with such intensity, I can easily see them sweeping the panty hose. You’d think it was the 7th game of the world series the way the Twins dugout hangs on every single pitch/play.

    Meanwhile, the WhiteSox look like they’re playing with the sole purpose to instigate an Ozzie tirade.

    • Coleman

      September 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm

      What’s the over/under on how many games until a Pierzynski-Rios dugout/clubhouse scuffle?

  58. Coleman

    September 22, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    OK I made a crack earlier about our #5 hitters (it used to be the #3 hitters, but Maggs is improving that).

    There seems to be this widespread impression that our anemic 7-9 hitters are the cause of our offensive woes. Nevermind that they are all good at bunting, baserunning (well, Inge USED to be), and some special situations; the reality is most teams have guys like this in their lineups.

    Compared to other teams, especially other playoff contenders, where we’re really weak offensively is the middle of the lineup, specifically the 3 and 5 spots. Compare these OPS numbers:

    Batting 5th:
    .964 LAA (1) +156
    .870 BOS (2) +62
    .866 MIN (3) +58
    *808 AL Avg*
    .787 NYY (10) -13
    .765 DET (11) -43

    Batting 3rd:
    .952 MIN (1) +151
    .942 NYY (2) +141
    .820 BOS (5) +19
    *801 AL Avg*
    .776 LAA (8) -25
    .763 DET (11) -37

    Combined (compared to AL avg):
    MIN +209
    LAA +131
    NYY +128
    BOS +81
    DET -80

    Sure, it’s stacking the deck a bit to leave out the cleanup spot, where we happen to excel. But guess what–so does everyone:

    Batting 4th:
    .914 DET (1) +102
    .907 BOS (2) +95
    .896 NYY (3) +84
    .859 MIN (5) +55
    .843 LAA (7) +31
    .812 AL Avg

    So even with the best 4th hitter in the league, we don’t come close to matching up in the middle of the lineup:

    Combined 3-5 (compared to AL avg):
    MIN +264
    NYY +212
    BOS +176
    LAA +162
    DET +40

    Luckily there is an old saying about Pitching and Defense…

    • Stephen

      September 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

      Coleman, most teams have one offensively challenged guy in the 7-9 slot. We have three. You seem very adept at the stats, if you can do a comparison of our 7-9 guys against the Angels, Red Sox, and Yankees and we’re pretty close stat-wise, I’ll not utter Brandon Inge’s .216 post May 1 batting average or Everett’s .290ish on base % or Laird’s .220 hitting for the rest of the season. To me, it’s not the point that they are not great defensively, they all are, the question has always been can you win a pennant, not just a division title, with those guys batting 7-9 against the likes of Sabathia, Beckett, etc.. I’d say in the playoffs we need to hold the Yankees to 3 runs a game to have a real chance.

      • Coleman

        September 23, 2009 at 11:17 am

        I’m not arguing we’re as good in the 7-8 slots–just that we’re not worse by as much there as we are in the 3 and 5 slots (we can all agree I’m sure that 9 is hopeless).

        Here is how we compare at 7 and 8:

        .872 NYY +139
        .787 BOS +54
        .734 MIN +1
        *733 AL avg*
        .704 DET -29
        .683 LAA -50

        .782 BOS +65
        .765 NYY +48
        .756 LAA +39
        .720 DET +3
        *717 AL avg*
        .691 MIN -26

        combined 7-8 (compared to avg)
        NYY +187
        BOS +119
        LAA -11
        MIN -25
        DET -26

        We’re almost average at 7, and above average at 8–the only lineup spot other than 4 where we come out above AL avg. The 8 spot includes good numbers by Avila and Santiago by the way. Again, we come out on the bottom of the playoff contenders. But it’s closer.

        And even though we’re last by a lot in the 9 spot, only Boston is much above average there:

        .699 BOS +52
        .656 LAA +9
        .647 AL avg
        .647 NYY 0
        .634 MIN -10
        .570 DET -77

        So I’m still of the opinion that the 5 hitter matchup is where we are weakest; and even if it weren’t I think it hurts us more to have a hole in the lineup behind Cabrera than it does to have slightly below average 7-8 hitters or the worst-by-far 9 hitter.

  59. Andrew

    September 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Good article about Verlander in SI: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....index.html

  60. Stephen

    September 23, 2009 at 8:29 am

    As the Tigers were winning, Matt Joyce was muddling about in the AAA championship game and Cameron Maybin was looking lost at the plate for the Marlins. Those trades worked out pretty ok.