Game 2009.157: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: So….are you freaking out a little? Do you have chills? Are you sweating? Me, not yet. I’m a little grumpy but panic won’t set in until the Tigers are looking up at the Twins. Then I’ll be shriveling lump of despair. Until then, let us cast our gaze upon one Justin Verlander.

It’s probably unfair. How many times has Verlander been put in this position and come through this year? There was the White Sox game when Chicago had tied things up. And the Red Sox game where they were on the brink of being swept.

Of course Verlander doesn’t hit. He could pitch damn near a no-hitter (just ask Eddie Bonine) and it won’t make a difference if the Tigers can’t generate some offense against Brian Duensing. Do you know how many times Duensing has allowed more than 3 runs in a start? Once. July 7th. He shut the Tigers out for 6.1 innings on September 18th and limited them to 5 base runners.

Your, “huh, Gerald Laird again?” lineup is:

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

So, my buddies and I usually pick a Tiger each game we attend. A simple guess as to who will have the best game. Who is going to come through for the Tigers tonight. Dare I say, “Who’s your Tiger?”

Minnesota vs. Detroit – September 29, 2009 | Gameday


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182 thoughts on “Game 2009.157: Twins at Tigers”

    1. I’m with you T Smith. In fact, I’m thinking Maggs turns in the “Scott Rolen 2006 Where the Hell Did that Come From” performance that will lead this team to the title!

      Who’s with me?

    1. He has only hit 2 in 101 PAs since Aug 1–that’s 1/51 PA, about half the rate of Huff or Inge…he has been downgraded to City Strong…

        1. Using Leyland logic….”He’s due to run into one.”

          You half expected Alexis Gomez to have been DHing tonight.

  1. Laird…because:

    1. The Laird Again?? Factor
    2. Duensing has given up 6 HR this season. Laird’s got 1 of them. (!)
    3. The BOOBs started out strong in the 1st game. The BOOBs will bounce back.

    1. Laird has to play. While Avila brings the bat, Laird can neutralize the speed of the Twins baserunners. You have to stretch him. Avila is a major league hitter but by far still minor league caliber defensively.

    1. He meant someone on the TIGERS Mauer, so just go back to eating your sandwich. In fact have a couple more, they’re good huh? mmm…and the burritos are awesome, have one of those too…

  2. Agree with T Smith. Maggs is going to huge tonight. Time to step up and earn that 18 mill. Hopefully he plays with some fire.

  3. Inge should consider tatoo removal services: 0.191 avg/0.549 OPS since the fateful CA road trip.

    Jobu certainly didn’t like curve balls (nor does Inge); appears he feels the same for loud ornate tats.

  4. Not fond of this line up, especially Laird catching again. I know Jimmy wants to lean on his vets, but let Avila catch a game.

  5. Verlander

    This is the game of the season right here. If we win, we’ve won. If we lose then I’m very worried.

    I hate to put so much emphasis and pressure on the team and JV tonight. But, IMO it really is that crucial of a win/momentum swing.

    1. Someone still needs to knock in a run or two (see: DH game 1)…but yeah it would help tremendously if Verlander were to strike out eleventy guys..

  6. Miggy earns his paycheck tonight.

    By the way, despite the whole “collapsing at the end of the season” thing, this is fun. As someone who was too young to follow the team in ’87 and has followed the team for too many horrible seasons (and only a handful of meaningful games), the next week is going to be exciting.

    1. It’s especially fun in a blog-commenting way…because things probably aren’t so fun/lively on, say, the Blue Jays’ blogs nowadays…

      1. Breakdown on current posts on Blue Jays blogs:

        85%: Why is J. P. Ricciardi still employable on any level by any type of organization, in or out of baseball?

        15%: Tracking prospects who the Jays could have received for Roy Halladay.

  7. Since our manager seems to follow blind hunches with no apparent backing, I’m going to do the same and go with Thames.

  8. Hoping for the Tigers to pound the Twins in this game. Outpost Minneapolis has been an insufferable place to be for this fan when the local nine overachieves. Hold the Twinkies out this year; next year they will be domeless, blinded by the light of day, and sub .500. Harmony in the universe will be restored. (Inge rules tonight.)

  9. On a lighter note, did anyone else hear Rod call Granderson “CJ” after his home run in the earlier game? Or was I hearing things myself?

    1. haha…how about raburn swinging at ball four in the dirt, polanco getting skunked by span on a foul ball and magglio, well, swinging at something and popping out — better than a GIDP, though.

  10. Love what we’ve seen through two from Verlander, but does anyone else have that stabbing pain lingering in their stomach that the Twins are going to have an inning with like, six straight hits on the horizon? Hope I am wrong.

  11. Does anyone (Coleman) know a site that breaks down home runs by type. It would be enlightening to know how many solo jobs Cabrera has hit this season, or in fact, the Tigers as a team.

    (Answered my own question. After this last blast, 17 of 32 HRs are solos by Cabrera.)

  12. Watching on MLB Network….crawl just listed Peavy getting pushed back and will throw Friday vs. Tigers. Ugh.

  13. maggs! i live in alabama and i think i just heard the entire city of detroit let out a collective exhale…it aint over but its nice to see a 2 out rbi

  14. Nice veteran, timely hit by Magglio. We fans spent a lot of time this year wringing our hands about the cost of bad Maggs for another year. What if…he really was off, hurt, distracted, and gets his power back next year?

    Here’s to optimism.

    Also, I like the idea that Ilitch sent a message that Detroit is a good place for free agents. Tigers come through on contracts, no shenanigans. (And hopefully the Robertson/Willis types can be avoided of course.) Has to be a good karma situation for the classy handling of Maggs’ option. At this point I would consider a bounce back year in 2010 a bonus. Maybe we don’t even wait that long (fingers crossed) and see some October heroics…

    1. Exactly. Not letting Maggs get his option would of been a rather despicable act in the eyes of other ballplayers.

  15. Hmm, maybe not TOO much ball-pounding…hard to beat Justin with a 3-0 lead…Justin with a 7-8 run lead has a habit of getting all Washburny…

  16. The Twins are clearly playing the Tigers to be going opposite field (especially the Maggs shift)…Maggs and then Inge were clearly looking to pull something…could we be seeing…Smart Hitting? Whoa…

  17. OMG Justin buzzes one at 96 up near his chin then drops a big curve over the plate for strike 3…it must not be very enjoyable being in that batters box when he’s ON like this…

  18. Wow! What a gem Velander is pitching!

    Given today’s earlier game and this one, you can surely see the difference between the Twins and Tigers. Get them away from the Twinky Dome and the Tigers have the edge. Sparky is right as they are both good managers. This is good baseball that I am glad to see the Tigers battle in! Let’s go Tigers!

  19. Schucks…I was hoping Duensing would sail one of those intentional balls to the backstop. The Tigers are overdue for a quirky/fluke play in their favor.

  20. See Gene Lamont, make their outfielder make a great throw at the plate. Cabrera safe by a mile. It’s not like Young, Span or Gomez (especially Kubel) have cannons out there like Raburn.

  21. Ok, we just had Verlander’s one bad inning. We need the strong bats to close this out.

    1. Does anyone know the rules on this type of fan interference? I gave them a look and it looks like the comments to Rule 3.16 deal with this; the comment basically says that it is not fan interference (and thus negates the umps ability to call an automatic out if he deems necessary) if the player reaches over the fence/rail. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that the second that ball hit the fan beyond the railing, the play was dead? I really don’t think that was an out…

  22. ok I”ve never seen that! Keppel licked his hand, wiped it on his bald head and put his cap back on!

  23. Good call Coleman! The Tiger fan did,’t have his headphones on rather he was B-berrying Bilfer’s site!

    Go Polly!

  24. Coleman – can you string together some sort of analysis on % of runners held at 3rd who eventually score? How many runners have the Tigers had thrown out at home, and how does that compare with the rest of the league? I’m sure someone in-house tracks it, I’d love to know Lamont’s % compared with the rest of the league.

    Obviously I do not watch anyone as much as I watch Det, but it seems like Lamont is once bitten 100x shy.

    1. Agreed, Leyland really loves tinkering with the expanded rosters in play.

      Is Thomas that appreciably a better RF than Ordonez? It’s not like he’s Guillen, a converted infielder out there.

      1. Yes, he really is, and Ordonez isn’t as bad as people make him out to be. Neither is Guillen. Both Guillen and Ordonez are average according to UZR. Thomas is a fielding stud.

        1. But Ordonez is batting over .400 for September. This team needs all the hitting it can get and it won’t get it on a consistent basis from Clete “The Longest Swing in the World” Thomas.

      2. It’s just formula management at it’s finest. Why doesn’t DD just buy a fricken Dell Server and some software to manage the club.

        1. See, this is what I don’t get. People complain about Leyland not making basic managerial moves, or they complain when he does something not by the book. But then when he does something by the book people complain about that too. (and I’m not singling you out, I just happen to be online at the moment)

          So what I don’t get is how he can miss “obvious” moves, like pitching changes or pinch hitting or bunting and yet still do manager-by-numbers.

          1. Well I think it’s about the moves that make sense(bunting Inge w/two on, one out) vs. substitution Clete for Mags in the 6th . . . just one example.

        2. Bilfer…I’m sure the numbers back up Thoma but to me, taking out your No. 3 hitter in the top of the sixth in an American League game isn’t always the smartest move. In the 8th or 9th, yes, but sixth? A little early, no?

          1. I’m not saying I agree with the move. I’m just saying that there really is a substantial difference defensively. I thought it was early too.

            And Mark, I still don’t get what you mean. Subbing Clete in the 6th wasn’t the least bit formulaic. Neither was leaving Verlander in.

          2. Didn’t the Twins switch to a RHP out of their bullpen before the Clete substitution? I could be mistaken, thought so though.

      3. Uhh…….yeah he’s appreciably better than Maggs defesnively. I think even Stevie Wonder can see that when he attends Tiger games. Let me ask you a question: With a two run lead late in the game with two men on do you want Maggs or Clete tracking a deep fly ball to right-center field? If you answered Maggs, it might be time for a visit to the optometrist. (I’m really not trying to be nasty, but c’mon Mike. Was that a serious question?)

    2. I like the move of the defensive replacement… just not in the sixth. Throw Clete out there in the eight or ninth. Something told me the Twins were far from done scoring. And if I recall correctly, Clete came to the plate in two very important at bats with runners in scoring position. Ordonez should have been batting in both those at-bats.

  25. K.I.D.:
    well not from my iPhone I can’t…I like the concept though, 3rd base coach efficiency rating…probably an underdeveloped statistical area since it has no fantasy league application…

    1. Roger. Seems like an important one though. You would think that Lamont would consider what I do as I stand in the coaches box during my softball games. “Well, the next two guys up haven’t had a hit since Reagan was in office and that right fielder is wearing jean shorts and sleeveless t-shirt…send him.”

      Instead, seems that Lamont thinks “Hmm, in ‘2007 Huff had a few good swings against us, I’m certain that he’ll move the runner along. Never mind that we have one of our best runners on 2B and the ball was just hit to right center. I wonder what the post game meal is? I hope they have grape nuts.”

  26. Because Leyland can do a thing while also doing it’s opposite. He is a managing magician and the currency in which he deals is The Intangible…

    1. Yes, Coleman Inge had a hit that mattered. Point made for the 786th time. He’s clutch! Of course, if Inge had hit .250 the second half we would be up by 4 games and wouldn’t be pushing our ace to throw 130 pitches assuring he will be pretty cooked come playoff time.

    1. C’mon mark, we all know that Rodney struggles in non-save situations. You have to admit that he is pretty solid in save situations, as he once again proved tonight. He got five outs in my mind, because his defenders let him down twice. There was exactly one hard hit ball among the five batters he faced and that one should’ve been caught by Granderson. It wasn’t routine, but it was play that should be made by an aspiring Gold Glove centerfielder (as Rod Allen constantly likes to tout Granderson as being). Rodney should’ve been out of there 1-2-3 in the ninth tonight but his teammates decided to make things dramatic, not Rodney. Rodney was nails tonight.

    1. I think the Rancor would have been the one from Return of the Jedi. It’s the only one I can think of at the moment.

    2. I saw it in my mind him botching it and me crying… It could still happen…A sudden downpour would be great.

  27. Well I guess Justin won’t be going on short rest saturday after throwing 8 MILLION pitches tonight! Way to get out of it tho.

    Lets get a little padding for Rodney!

  28. One problem though–assuming there’s no Twin ridiculousness and this holds up, who’s the TOG?

    I think pretty much everyone’s tied except for me…I stand alone in my wrongness…

      1. What do y’all think?

        I’m actually leaning toward Cabrera–because the way things have been going for Detroit, it would have been a real burden trying to come back from behind; this is one case I think that scoring first was almost bigger than scoring in the 9th…

          1. I can’t wait to hear your rationale…

            It’s one of the occupational hazards of following the Tigers from the West Coast…I mean I just finished dinner.

            You, you’re just up late (like I usually am, but not quite late enough to catch the first morning posts…)

    1. My vote would be for Maggs. His hit in the third inning was John Holmes huge in magnitude. It took a lot of pressure off the ballclub early in the game. If they don’t score there, it makes every pitch from Verlander fraught with tension. That gave JV some relief mentally so that he didn’t feel like the weight of the world was riding on every pitch (which it would’ve been as the game wore on and if the Tigers were only clinging to a one-run lead). To me that was the key hit of the evening, although Grandy’s HR and Inge’s double were also big.

    1. Coleman I’m here, you got one free poke of the bear in the cave with the doubles remark, (Inge still on pace to have the fewest doubles of his career despite more at-bats) but that’s it.

  29. The idea was to guess before the game…and on a Leyland-bat-Josh-Anderson-3rd-level-hunch I went with…Laird…(sigh)

  30. Hehe, well can’t help it…I’m really too old for it now, but in my younger days I was all-conference bear-poker, not to brag…

  31. These mistakes against the Twins are just ridiculous. They pulled it out but champions have to learn to stay focused. Both Polanco and Granderson have done great things to get us here, but in the bottom of the ninth against the team on your tail at the end of the season …it’s like you being a Red Sox fan in October 1986.

  32. I’m glad they won, but three misplays and two wild pitches in do or die innings at home is the sign of a tight, gagging team. This team will likely take the division, but good god unless their plane is struck by lightning on the way to LaGuardia they are going to get humiliated by the Yankees. Grow some stones, guys! You’re playing at home for gods sake.

  33. I didn’t dare log in,,,,my heart can’t take this….Thank you Jesus and I”m not a religious person. But this team just drives you there..

  34. The good news is that three of the youngest guys on the team, Porcello, Verlander, and Cabrera, showed a lot of poise.

  35. Bilfer,
    You’re there, we’re not. Is the weather a problem for this team? I seem to recall when they played in the Series they looked like they did these 2 games.

  36. I don’t get to see many tiger games. That may be a good thing. I don’t know how somebody could watch that day in and day out. That’s exhausting.

    Hope the MLB network puts Rod and Mario on tomorrow instead of the Twins announcers (who aren’t terrible at all).

    1. Edit: oops, this was sposed to be a new post.

      Refusing to pitch your excellent left-handed relievers in either of the two games close in the late innings vs. Mauer and Kubel… well, I guess it’s not surprising.

      To quote the “The Referee Pitman Show” from SNL, I was just curious – what’s in Leyland’s head, you know, since there’s no brain? I mean, is it empty, or is it filled with, say, human excrement?

  37. Man, I’m glad they managed a DH split w/ Pavano pitching tomorrow… Span is our worst nightmare. That guy has almost singlehandedly killed us… One more win in this series and the odds are stacked hard against the goddamn Twins… I just want them gone

  38. Just got back from watching the game at a buddy’s house. Not to pat myself on the back, but I said in the thread from the first game that if the Tigers were going to win tonight that the hitters were going to have to get it done. I’m happy to say that the hitters did their job tonight and……….tada! They won the game. The hitters will determine if we actually win this, not the pitchers. Our guys have to put runs on the board the next five days (by runs I mean more than two in a game). We’ve been held to two runs or less 43 times (I think that is the number) this season. That number needs to stay unchanged between now and Sunday. Our pitching is good enough that if we just score four-five runs per game we will be fine. I knew Verlander wasn’t going to shut down the Twins because they are just too good. Bonine is not going to totally shut them down either, he just needs reasonable support from the hitters. Hopefully the guys do not let Pavano get in their heads and come out attacking him tomorrow right from the jump. Its on you Tiger hitters, can you give us an offensive attack like we saw in the nightcap of the DH today? That is what it is going to take in order to be crowned AL Central division champs.

    By the way, big thumps up to Rodney tonight. He essentially got five outs. Unbelievably shoddy defense in the ninth tonight from two normally reliable Tiger players. If Magglio or Guillen had botched that line drive that went over Grandy’s head I wouldn’t have been shocked in the least. To have the normally sure-handed Granderson let a ball get over his head like that was shocking. Memories of Grandy slipping and falling in CF in STL in the 2006 World Series came flooding back. Polanco also had a poor day defensively. There was the play in the ninth inning of tonight’s game, but he also let two ground balls get by him in the afternoon game that he normally gets to (they were ruled base hits). A weird, stressful day and night of baseball. The good news is that we didn’t lose any ground, but the bad news is that we didn’t essentially end the season for the Twins (which was possible with just a smidge of clutch hitting in the early innings of Game 1).

    1. I second the thumbs up. Where would the Tigers be without Rodney? He has gone from “high upside” to indispensable reliever. Never thought I would type that.

      Lyon was a heart breaker today. I don’t see him being resigned but I wonder if Rodney is playing his way to another Detroit contract?

      Way to go Tigers! A win when they needed it most!

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