Game 2009.135: Tigers at Rays

PREGAME: The Tigers look to extend their 4 game winning streak tonight in Tampa. Did you know that the Tigers haven’t had even a 4 game winning streak since June when they swept Milwaukee and the Cubs in back to back series (and added a win against the Cardinals to make it a 7 game streak. And they hadn’t won 4 games in a row against AL teams since they swept the A’s and Rangers back to back in May.

James Shields, who has allowed a league leading 203 hits, takes the mound for the Rays. The Tigers picked up 10 hits off of Shields in 7 innings in Detroit last time (including 2 homers) but only plated 4 earned runs.

Armando Galarraga returns from his Toledo sabbatical  without getting that rehab start the Tigers were hoping he’d get.

Detroit vs. Tampa Bay – September 5, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

Don Kelly joins the team

The Tigers purchased the contract of Don Kelly. We’ll see if this will prompt Jim Leyland to give Brandon Inge some rest. Jeff Larish was added to the 60 day DL to free up the spot on the 40 man roster.

Game 2009.134: Tigers at Rays

PREGAME: The Tigers managed a .500 road trip and a series win the last time they ventured out beyond Montcalm and Witherell. That hasn’t happened a whole lot this season. They’ll try to build on some recent success as they head under the cat-walked dome.

Justin Verlander faces the Rays for the second time in a row. He managed 8 innings and a win when Polanco guided a 3 run homer into the Tigers bullpen rescuing Justin from another stagnant offensive performance.

Jeff Niemann will be his adversary again. Niemann only allowed 5 hits and no walks in 7 innings last Sunday against Detroit. The Tigers will have to do a little more. Their offense has plated runs the last couple games, but they’re not really tearing the cover off the ball.

Detroit vs. Tampa Bay – September 4, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: I find sometimes I work backwards on these post game reports. The Tigers have had their share of late inning comebacks, but today it was the outing of Fernando Rodney that is catching my attention. Rodney was not good. Not at all. He’s been very good this year, and he hasn’t even been having many scary saves lately. Prior to tonight he had a 10 game stretch with 10.1 innings, 9 K’s and a 200/273/200 slash line against him. Not tonight though.

It may have been just one of those nights. It may have been the fact he pitched 2 days in a row, fully warmed up the third, and this was nearly his 4th game in a row. Regardless, with 35 pitches to the Rays and one ball heaved into the stands (not sure what’s up with that, but it wasn’t cool) we won’t see him tomorrow night.

But beyond Rodney, Verlander pitched a tremendous game once again and Jeff Niemann has to be thrilled to not go up against him anymore this season. Niemann got the short end again, and he was better tonight than last time. On Sunday the Tigers hit some balls hard right at fielders. Tonight they hit about 3 balls hard, one of them was a Cabrera blast that left the yard and 2 were Aubrey Huff doubles down the line.

But the Tigers put an impressive rally together in the 9th. Like Thursday’s 10th inning it involved Ryan Raburn getting on base. And then Leyland pushed the right buttons. Inge fanned, but Thames worked a walk as a pinch hitter for Laird. He stuck with Everett (a move that would have raised ire had it not worked) who delivered the go ahead hit. Granderson avoided the sombrero with a first pitch grounder between first and second that plated pinch runner Wilkin Ramirez. Then a sac fly from Polanco and it was a 3 run lead that they’d need all 3 of.

Oh yeah, back to Verlander. He was awesome again. I still think Zach Greinke is the most deserving Cy Young candidate at the moment (stuff can certainly change and it doesn’t mean Grenike will win it even if he is deserving), but Verlander has the wins, the first place team, and a gaudy strike out total to support his cause.

  • I can’t believe how quickly Ramirez got around from second base and his slide was a thing of  beauty
  • Raburn did a nice job getting the ball in quickly and keeping the tying run on 3rd base in that 9th inning.
  • You have to tip your cap to Longoria on his first RBI double. That was a 97mph pitch that was off the plate inside and he turned on it and pulled it. That’s just nice hitting.

Ernie Harwell has cancer

The news certainly puts a damper on, well, everything. Legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer that is near his bile duct. Harwell is 91 and has had very good health up until this point. Prayers go out to Ernie and his bride of 68 years Lulu.

Not even cancer diagnosis can shake Harwell’s spirit | Detroit Free Press | Freep.com

DTW Live Chat – September 3rd edition

Let’s bask in a 3 game sweep and a 5 game lead with a live chat. Ask away…

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 | MLB.com: 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.

Game 2009.132: Indians at Tigers

PREGAME: Remember Aaron Laffey? The Tigers roughed him up pretty good early in the year.  Well, Laffey has been pitching much better as of late, to the tune of a 2.47 ERA in his last 7 starts (and that includes getting pounded for 7 runs in 4 innings in one of those starts). The strange thing is though, is beyond allowing only 5 homers in 90 innings, his other peripherals aren’t that great.

Rick Porcello takes the mound for the Tigers. He hasn’t shown any ill effects from the increased workload so far this season. He shut down the Indians for 8 innings his last time out, and would love to have the same kind of success this time around.

As an aside, I’ll be at the game tonight and enjoying some beers at The Park Bar prior to the game so feel free to stop by.

PennantRaceIsOnNow, your “the chalk in the left hand batters box shall remain unblemished” lineup:

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

Cleveland vs. Detroit – September 2, 2009 | MLB.com: Gameday

POSTGAME: A couple of 4-2 finals both worked out in the Tigers favor today, and that makes it a good day. Joe Nathan had been flirting with disaster his last few outings and this time disaster got him. As for the Tigers own business, they were shall we say opportunistic?

The Tigers didn’t really kill the ball, and they hit into 3 double plays (Gerald Laird would have had 3 on his own had Ramirez not been running his 3rd time up). But they key was they put the ball in play with regularity and the Indians were kind enough to kick the ball and throw it all over the place. Laffey was charged with 2 earned runs, and I think that’s probably twice as many as he should have been charged with. But, to the Tigers credit they did push runs across when given the chance with sacrifice flies from Ramirez and Cabrera.

And the offense didn’t need much tonight because Porcello was on top of his game. He was a ground ball machine once again and his pitch count had him in position to pitch a complete game (80 pitches through 7+). Part of me wanted to see it, the sensible part of me was happy to see some pitches conserved for perhaps later in the season. The pen did the job again and Fernando Rodney didn’t even make me nervous.

  • Very slick grab by Porcello on one of the few hard hit balls against him
  • I was a little sad to see only 25k at the park tonight. It was a gorgeous night and not all schools are back in session yet, and the Tigers are about to head out on a road trip. Would have loved to see the place fuller.
  • The Tigers were 2 for 3 in sac fly situations, and the third time Everett ripped a line drive to third (surprisingly Peralta caught it)
  • Cabrera went 1 for 1 in 4 plate appearances today
  • Wilkin Ramirez looked good all around tonight and he added a walk to the sacrifice fly
  • The Tigers had lost 11 straight times when they were 9 games over .500 prior to today’s game.

links for 2009-09-02

Tigers Minor League Wrap 9/1/09

Toledo 0 Indianpolis 3
Mike Hessman, Max Leon, and Audy Ciriaco each had hits. Yes, Ciriaco and Leon – it’s late season call-up time throughout the organization. Hessman added 2 walks. Brooks Brown allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks with 3 K’s in 7 innings.

Erie 7 Harrisburg 8
Casper Wells homered in a 3 for 4, 1 walk night. Santo De Leon homered. Deik Scram doubled and singled. Jonah Nickerson was knocked around for 7 runs on 9 hits, 2 walks, and 3 K’s in 5.1 innings.

Lakeland – suspended

West Michigan – DNP

Hudson Valley 10 Oneonta 0
Rawley Bishop tirpled and singled. Clemente Mendoza was roughed for 6 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings.

Tigers postseason ticket opportunity

Here’s the official scoop on how to get in on some Tigers postseason tickets (should the need arise)

As the pennant race heats up and heads into September, Tigers fans hoping to purchase individual tickets for potential postseason games at Comerica Park can register beginning noon tomorrow at www.tigers.com for a random online opportunity to purchase postseason tickets. The winners will be selected on or around Wednesday, September 16, 2009 for the opportunity to purchase tickets to possible American League Division Series games at Comerica Park. Winners for American League Championship Series and World Series drawings will be selected from the same pool of registrants at later dates and notified via e-mail.

As part of a continuing effort to make tickets available to as many Tigers fans as possible, the online drawing gives fans additional chances to experience October baseball in Detroit. Since there are a limited number of postseason tickets available through this opportunity, applicants must fill out and submit a registration form to participate in this opportunity to purchase.

Those selected in the online drawing will be afforded the opportunity to purchase tickets for 2009 ALDS games played at Comerica Park. Tickets will be available to winners on a first-come, first-served basis, only while tickets remain. Exact date, times, ticket limits and instructions for ticket purchase will be communicated by email to each applicant selected. There is no charge to register for this opportunity and there is no obligation to buy. In order to be eligible for this opportunity, fans must be eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of entry. Limit one entry per person.

Fans who wish to guarantee the opportunity to purchase tickets for potential 2009 postseason games at Comerica Park can do so by making reservations for 2010 Tigers season tickets. For more information on how to purchase 2010 season tickets and secure the opportunity to purchase 2009 postseason tickets, contact a Tigers ticket sales representative at (313) 471-BALL (2255) or visit tigers.com.

Game 2009.131: Indians at Tigers

PREGAME: And away we go. It’s September. This is like real-pennant-chase-scoreboard-watching-finger-nail-chewing-why-won’t-the-Twins-lose time. The Tigers shook off their August doldrums and posted their first winning August since 2000. Can they craft a formidable September and hold off the Twins?

Tonight the Tigers send out Edwin Jackson. When Jackson last faced the Indians he threw eleventy (a word whose etymology is tied to the developing counting of skills of preschool aged children and is invoked when the child runs out of fingers or simply can’t comprehend a number larger than the last one uttered in the sequence) million (added for emphasis by me) pitches in 4 innings. The Tigers will face new guy Carlos Carrasco.

The Tigers don’t fare well when they don’t have a scouting report on a pitcher so this could be frustrating. Carrasco was a part of the Cliff Lee deal and a prominent enough prospect to warrant a wikipedia page where I learned that he appeared in the Future’s Game 3 years in a row. Carrasco posts some very impressive minor league numbers and rates as a top prospect. Your “Aubrey Huff not so much with the protection for Cabrera” lineup, also known as your Viva Venezuela lineup:

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

POSTGAME: The Tigers took care of business and really thumped a rookie starter and made his debut entirely unpleasant for said starter rather than the fans. Nice. Even the outs were crushed. Polanco smoked a ball into a double play. Granderson was out (I think he got the foot in) on a triple attempt. Everett lined out sharply. It was a hitting clinic.

And let’s talk about Aubrey Huff. Also known as the much-maligned Aubrey Huff. I don’t know if he is back, as declared by Rod Allen, but he was certainly productive today with a single, a double, and 2 walks. Hopefully it is the start of something, but regardless he was a big part of today’s win.

Also a big part of today’s win was the bullpen. Zach Miner allowed a lead off homer, but then retired the next 3. Then Bobby Seay got the next 4. Then Brandon Lyon got the next 2. Then Rodney got 3 of 4 allowing only an infield single (that should have been an out Mr. Everett).

Not a big part of the win was Edwin Jackson. He was definitely “owed” in a sense for the squanderings early in the season. But aside from the 6 K’s in 5 innings, he wasn’t that good. He got hit pretty hard. He’d fall behind after getting ahead, and he need 90 pitches to get through 5 innings. Not great but good enough tonight.

DTW Downtime

The upgrade didn’t happen Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It should happen Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Thanks for your patience.

You know how when something really big happens, like Kevin Youkilis is a weenie and charges our prized rookie, or when the Tigers trade for a left handed bat with some positional versatility, or the Tigers announce some roster moves, and you come to the site and then it crashes? I’m not such a fan of that, and I’m sure you aren’t either. And with the team in a pennant race (and hopefully playing well into October) there will likely be increased attention which could lead to more crashes. To rememdy the situation (hopefully) I’m increasing my server capacity. This will take place tonight after 1 am and should take a couple of hours. It means new hardware which means some downtime. Here’s a heads up.

As an aside, this stuff ain’t cheap and ad revenues aren’t what they were. I’m not broke or hard up for money or anything, but if you could tell all your friends how great the site is and how much you enjoy coming here and how they should come here too, I’d appreciate it. Or if you were in the mood to buy something, anything really, you could head over to Amazon (using that link of course) and shop ’til the cows come home.

Maybe you’d want to preorder a book I’m quoted in. Or maybe you were thinking about getting a nice warm Tigers hat for those October games. Or maybe you want to watch all the action on a sexy new display and if you’re out of town and you don’t have access to MLB Extra Innings you could get MLB.tv and hook up your new laptop with an HDMI cable. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about getting the Roku Digital Video Player
which also can stream MLB games, or anything else from Amazon Video On Demand. Just some thoughts…

(Kind of a neat trick where I tell you the site is unavailable, and then ask for money huh…)