Game 2009.159: Twins at Tigers

PREGAME: So, what will everybody be doing this afternoon? If you’re at work do you listen on the radio, or follow along with gameday, or do you stream, or do you leave work completely and head to the park (or a bar)? Or does your day not change and you’ll just wait to get home to see who had the better day, Scott Baker or Nate Robertson.

Robertson wasn’t good his last time out. Alfredo Figaro and the offense had to bail him out against the White Sox. But prior to that he was put into a must-win situation in Minnesota and he came up big. For a player looking to be relevant, this game today is dripping with relevance-inducing moments.

Scott Baker comes in with the crazy reverse platoon split homer numbers (21 of the 27 homers allowed this year have been hit by righties) so if you see Marcus Thames penciled in you now know why.

Oh yeah, one more thing, if the Tigers win today they clinch the division…

Minnesota vs. Detroit – October 1, 2009 | Gameday

POSTGAME: Well, that was at least entertaining as far as frustrating blow outs go.

Those gritty Twins who play the game the right way made 4 errors, walked 6, and hit a guy…and still won easily. That’s in large part due to the fact that the Tigers were once again left longing for that big hit.

Nate Robertson got through 6 innings and allowed 4 runs, 3 earned, which is a perfectly acceptable performance. Meanwhile Scott Baker labored and he broke the 100 pitch mark in the 5th inning. The Tigers worked the count, saw lots of pitches, did everything right essentially except for getting hits at the end of those at-bats.

So the celebration is on hold. The magic number is still 2. But I’m not worried…yet.

  • Angel Hernandez always feels the need to make his presence known. This time he did it by blowing a tag-up call on Ramon Santiago saying he left early when replays show he didn’t. That got Leyland irritated. When Bobby Seay didn’t get a called third strike on a borderline pitch to Denard Span, that probably got things simmering. When a pitch went behind Adam Everett and Marcus Thames had already been hit and knocked down (and Span had been hit earlier) Hernandez warned both benches which set Leyland off.
  • Bonderman came out and promptly plunked Delmon Young, which was clearly retaliation and Bondo didn’t really care. The trouble is the Tigers are going to need some long relievers on Saturday. Bondo will get suspended.
  • I don’t think anybody was throwing at anybody (except for Bonderman) but Thames was certainly peeved the second time he got buzzed. Both were breaking balls, but I think Thames took issue with the fact that they came in high.
  • And when the ball went behind Everett, Mike Redmond didn’t catch. He didn’t make an attempt to catch it. Or to retrieve the ball. Yet Gerald Laird stayed on second base. I don’t know why he didn’t advance. I don’t know why Hernandez called time when nobody had the ball.
  • I don’t know why Polanco didn’t play and didn’t pinch hit in several big situations. This is concerning and not because I think it is managerial malpractice, but because I think it was something other than Leyland keeping him out of the game.  Polanco missed 2 ground balls this week which just isn’t him. I wonder if his back problems have flared up with the cold weather and the doubleheader.
  • One very bright spot was the job that  Ryan Perry and Fu-Te Ni did coming into a 2nd and 3rd no out situation and getting out of the inning unscathed.

238 thoughts on “Game 2009.159: Twins at Tigers”

  1. I will be teaching a lab course for the majority of this game today. I teach at the University of Minnesota, so I will be surrounded by Twinkie fans today. We will be keeping track via gameday on my laptop. I really wish the wasn’t blacked out for this one. That is probably for the better though, since I will technically be working.

    Twins fans are insanely optimistic. I will probably hear about how good their chances are to make the playoffs all morning. Hopefully I will not be hearing it after this afternoon. Go Tigers!

  2. Wait, the Tigers can clinch today? I hadn’t heard that!

    I’ll be at a bar and then listening on the radio. Should be exciting.

  3. it’s on FS Detroit, correct? I may try to find a bar with Extra Innings package. otherwise, follow along on here and Gameday.

    it’s slim pickings here in Birmingham, AL, but perhaps I can find a spot that has it.

  4. Here’s the Tigers lineup featuring Santiago in place of Polly (!) and Thames in DH spot:

    Granderson CF
    Santiago 2B
    Ordonez RF
    Cabrera 1B
    Guillen LF
    Thames DH
    Inge 3B
    Laird C
    Everett SS

    1. Nothing against Santiago, but I wish Polly were playing today…

      He can rest tomorrow after we clinch!

  5. I will be awash in media. MLB Broadcast, Mario and Rod, Streaming Price and Dickerson on the I phone. I want it from every angle. The good news on the West Coast is you only have to wait until 10:00.

  6. The Tigers really need to lock this thing down today. The last thing we need is to go into the weekend having to take two from the ChiSox, maybe forcing a JV start on Sunday and screwing up the ALDS rotation.

    I figure Ozzie would throw Buehrle out on Sunday if the Division was on the line for the Tigers.

  7. I did see that. It’s not the first time it’s happened this year with the Tigers. It happened in a Cleveland game I remember and I saw the Royals doing it too.

      1. My thoughts on Polanco not playing today is that senility has set in on Ol’ Smoky. Chance to wrap things up and you sit your best second baseman? Perplexing to say the least, even if Santiago is a switch hitter. If you want Ramon’s switch hitting ability in thelineup so badly, put him in at SS, play Polanco, and sit Everett. Leyland is not one of my favorites to say the least.

    1. Tigers gotta know, perhaps they have yet to redo the signs b/c they are setting up a team for the playoffs…

  8. I’ll be listening through the MLB At Bat app. Best $10 I ever spent.

    I’m hoping it’s the Great Nate that shows up, not the desigNate. But more than that, I’m hoping the offense continues to show up. One more hit in the first 4 innings Tuesday afternoon and they would have won that game.

  9. Gameday Audio baby.
    Looking forward to hearing about Nate and “the art of pitching”.

    Really odd about Polanco…any thoughts?

    1. Maybe Leyland wants to ride the hot bat (!) with Santiago and save Polly for a possible pinch hit spot late in the game if it’s close. Seems a little odd if you ask me, but would that be the weirdest thing Leyland has ever done?

  10. Being forced into early retirement does have it’s advantages it seems. I’ll be watching FSD in crystal clear, stunning HD.

    I may have to drink the last bottle of Oberon if things go our way.

  11. I’ll be at Lifetime Fitness in downtown Minneapolis – running on a treadmill, and watching the game on one of the monitors. (A good way to deal with the stress of watching the clincher!)

  12. That throw should be going directly to 2nd with Mauer coming up. Come on guys, let’s think here.

  13. In keeping with my recent string of non-sequiturs, what nicknames have people heard for Laird – besides “G-Money”?

    I thought I heard somebody refer to him as “the Honorable Gerald Laird” the other day and I almost doubled over laughing.

    1. Unfortunately we don’t have many bullpen options. We need Nate to hang in there for a few more innings.

  14. eesh, not the greatest inning, Nate really struggled there. Only 3-1 and Baker doesn’t look sharp. Keep the pressure on and we’ll get some runs.

    Patient ABs, boys.

  15. Why do I feel one of those “Tigers had Baker on the ropes in the early innings but couldn’t cash in enough” type of postgame comments coming in our near future. I see Baker starting to settle in the way Blackburn did Tuesday afternoon after some missed early opportunities. Its the offense fellas, I’ll keep saying it. Score runs and we win. Revert to our usual offense and we will lose today. Its all on the hitters, although I am steamed at Nate for hitting a batter ahead 0-2 in the count. That was just flat-out stupid.

    1. It’s tough to complain too much, they have 4 hits and a walk and have made Baker throw 72 pitches in 3 innings. They are going about it the right way, they’ll be OK.

  16. They’ve got Baker throwing a ton of pitches. They will score more than 3 here.

    The question is whether we can hold them.

  17. Ugh…Cabrera, you gotta make that play at first. Not a terribly thrown ball by Inge. Can’t let Harris, Redmond or Punto hurt us. (As I type this, of course, Redmond gets a single. Grumble.)

  18. All things considered that was a decent job by Nate following the E-5 to get things started. Could have been way worse. The Twins are teeing off, though, he doesn’t look long for this game.

    Need to string together some offense now. Get a couple of these runs back.

  19. Damn the torpedoes. Can we insert polanco in the lineup? I had a bad feeling about everett in the game. We need to be a threat in the remaining innings.

    1. Yeah…and on a related note only two of the three hijacked planes on 9/11 were able to carry out their mission of destruction. Weee!

      1. Ramon would! Popped it up too…..what a stud! Sorry, I’m just angry right now. I hate when we let teams up off the mat and we always seem to do it. If the situation were reversed at the Metrodome, I guarantee the Twins wouldn’t be down 4-1 in the fifth inning. I really want this thing to be over today. I don’t feel good about having to beat the White Sox or the Royals beating Minnesota, even if Greinke is pitching.

  20. Wow, thank goodness Polanco wasn’t up in that situation. Thanks Ol’ Smoky! My weekend didn’t look like it was going to be stressful enough with the big U-M game at MSU.. Now it looks like it going to be chockful of stress. What is Leyland thinking? Its lineups like these that lead to conspiracy theories. Did Bud Selig demand that this plays out until Sunday? WTF? 🙂

      1. It could be a lefty righty match-up. Polanco lifetime avg = .212 vs Baker. Santiago has a .353 vs Baker.

        1. What’s Everett’s lifetime average? You could play Polanco and Santiago at the same time, they are not mutually exclusive.

          1. He could have the flu or something. Who knows? It’s not like he’s benching Cabrera or something. Polanco is no spring chicken either, so it might be wise to rest him because he played both games of the Double header and Yesterday. Playing 4 games in 48 hours isn’t as easy as it sounds.

        2. That’s idiotic. If that was the case why not just play Santiago at ss? You do not sit out one of your better players at this point in the season. That’s ridiculous.

  21. Just don’t choke this away!!! I don’t care if we win a game in the postseason, just get in. Everything that happens in the playoffs is gravy to me, but after leading the division since May 10 (and by 7 games as late as September 6), I just won’t be able to take it if we don’t win the AL Central. Dread is filling my gut, especially with having to start Figaro on Saturday. The theater of the absurd just gets more bizarre with each passing day. All of the sudden Porcello can’t pitch Saturday? Very, very weird.

    1. If the Tigers lose today and tomorrow, I think all bets are off regarding the Saturday/Sunday starters.

    2. Porcello was supposed to pitch Monday but the game was rained out and his start was moved to the first game of the Tuesday doubleheader. To bring him back on Saturday would be to do so on 3 days’ rest.

      1. I understand all of that, but sometimes you have to make an exception for the good of the ballclub. Keep Porcello on a strict 80 pitch count and then go to the bullpen early, but don’t throw some Double A kid in there in a game that you need to win (unless we and KC both win Friday). You tell Miner to be on high alert beginning in the fourth inning and go from there. Use Figaro IN RELIEF if you need to, but starting him sounds like a bad idea to me.

    1. As I’ve been saying Mike, the offense will win it or lose it for us in the final week. They lost it for us Tuesday afternoon, and won it for us on Tuesday night and Wednesday night. Today they are losing it for us by not cashing in on opportunites (I know…..shocker). I don’t feel good about us trying to outscore Chicago twice this weekend, especially with Peavy and Danks pitching in a couple of those games. Ozzie is such a douschebag for not letting Peavy pitch his normal turn vs. CLE and holding him back for us on Friday.

      1. “Ozzie is such a douschebag for not letting Peavy pitch his normal turn vs. CLE and holding him back for us on Friday.”

        You’re kidding, right?

  22. I agree Jerry. If we don’t win the division – these decisions of resting Polanco and Porcello should cost Leyland his job. Period.

    1. Unfortunately they won’t because they just extended Leyland for two more years back in July. Ilitch is not going to eat those two years and bring in another guy. Leyland knows it and therefore does whatever the hell he pleases, even if it makes zero sense to anyone else.

  23. Easy guys! They’re down by three and have a magic number of two. Chill. Even I don’t see the Tigers blowing this. Twins have to face Greinke and might have to start Bert Blyleven in one of those games since their back end starter situation is as bad as ours.

  24. Come off the ledge everyone. Even if we lose today, we’ve only got to beat the ChiSox ONCE. Greinke will take care of business against the Twins.

    1. Really? I’ll bet you that Minnesota beats Greinke on Saturday. We now have to take tow of three from Chicago or else its the dreaded one game playoff in the Dome of Pain. Minnesota will sweep KC this weekend and keep the heat on. I know this to be true in my heart. Today was the day to end all the dramam and hand-wringing.

        1. My heart/gut was nervous with anticipation. I knew this wasn’t over, but was hoping it would be today. I’m very disappointed in Leyland (Santiago over Polanco) and the players today. The Twins have the kind of “scrappiness” I wish our guys showed more often. I really don’t see Minnesota losing a game to KC this weekend, Greinke or no Grienke. They are going to make the Tigers earn it, there will be no backing in by the Tigers. With the way Chicago plays against us under Guillen along with Ozzie scheming against us as if he’s on the Minnesota payroll, I have real fear of a one game playoff in the Dome of Pain becoming a reality. Its just too bad that our guys are letting Minnesota live to see another day. It didn’t have to be this way. The stage was set for today to be a great day, instead that great day has been ruined by the hometown heroes.

  25. Easy….why? We are at home with all the momentum on our side from the last two games and we are getting drubbed on a day where we should be dancing in the streets. Ozzie is scheming to ruin things for us (holding back Peavy for an extra two days to pitch Friday vs. us instead of Wed vs. CLE), and I’m supposed to take it easy? We could’ve rested Polanco, Cabrera, and whoever the hell else we wanted to for the entire weekend with a win this afternoon. Instead we are going to have to sweat this out until the final day, yeah I guess that calls for chiling and relaxation.

    1. Jerry, I like you because usually I’m Mr. Negativity driving at 75 mph on the highway thinking I’m going to get the wrath of Tigers fans for being a pessimist and then you pass by me going 90 on the Dark Cloud Highway. Statistically speaking, the Twins had a 4% chance of winning the division going into today, with this lead that probably goes up to 9%.
      Now winning so you can rest your starters, that I totally feel you on. But am I worried the Tigers are going to lose the division? No.

      1. stephen….I’m happy to take the heat off of you today. The Tigers deserve every slam they are getting from me today. I have praised the Tigers this year when they deserve it on this forum and I have ripped them when they deserve it. The fans turned out in full force today ready to celebrate a great moment in Tiger history. Instead they are treated to their manager putting in his “B” second baseman and another lackluster offensive performance. Champions beat down the opposition in these moments at home. The Twins are like a boxer on the ropes and the Tigers can’t land the knockout punch. That boxer senses weakness and is now punching back and staggering the “favorite”.

  26. Some people here should be banned from watching the Tigers. All this complaining is ridiculous.

    1. Some people missed their calling and should’ve been performing with “Up with People!” Some people blow sunshine up other people’s rear ends regardless of how dire the situation may be. Some people are like the Iraqi Minister of Information when the U.S. was overrunning their country in 2003 “all is well, no reason to worry”.

      1. But what do you accomplish by criticizing performance? There’s a difference between criticizing physical mistakes and poor effort/mental mistakes/bad managing. I could understand it if the effort wasn’t there.

        1. Who am I going to commiserate with? My wife? She doesn’t watch or care about baseball? The family dog? I come here because we all care about the Tigers and want them to win. I know that I get emotional when I watch them play, but its only because I want them to win very badly. By criticizing performance it allows me to blow off steam instead of stewing inside. That is what it accomplishes. Effort or not, baseball is a results business which is why they keep track of wins and losses. Effort is nice, results are better.

          1. I fully agree – this board should be a place for letting off steam. I guess I just prefer to bitch about stuff that they have control over.

  27. It would be fitting for the Tigers to clinch today by beating Nathan for the first time. I could happen…

  28. Ron Mahay, I believe, is the last strikebreaker in the Majors. He played for the Red Sox as a position player back in the day of the lockout. He’s not a member of the union. We should have rocked his world in UAW land just for that.

  29. Gotta think Leyland left Nate in too long there. When was the last time he threw 90 pitches?

    It doesn’t matter since we’ve only scored 1 run, but now it looks like we’re taking ourselves completely out of this one.

    1. Coaxing another inning out of Robertson wasn’t the best idea, but who exactly did Leyland have to bring in?

      EDIT:…Perry looked nice coming out of the pen. Maybe he could have blown away Punto…

      1. I’d say some combination of Perry and Ni. 😉

        You should be able to get 2 innings out of that duo. Plus you’ve technically got Bonderman and Fein if you just need to get through 3 outs (i.e., score doesn’t matter).

  30. Do you think Perry’s insulted that he only gets to pitch when the Tigers are considerably behind and threatening to get more behind?

  31. Wow, fantasic job by Perry and Ni. Excellent work, boys.

    Now, let’s pound the Minnesota pen and get this thing tied. It’s time for the Twins to experience some payback for all the funky-a$$ bounces they got against us in the Crap-o-dome.

  32. Well friends, I gotta run out. God bless the MLB iPhone. Hopefully the next time I see this board it’s covered in champagne.

  33. For everyone who compares the Twins to the Tigers and says how the Twins always do stuff right, well I’d point to the overall record. And the fact that the Twins had 2nd and 3rd, nobody out with the heart of their order up and scored nothing. A first pitch bounce out. Their clean-up hitter swinging at pitches nowhere near the strike zone. Yeah, the Twins always cash in on their opportunities.

    1. I don’t see the Twins outfielders throwing to the wrong base (Grandy in the third allowing Span to move up from first to second) or letting catchable flyballs get over their heads (Grandy again). Grandy is My Tiger, but he may need to visit Dr. Rhamani or something because he is not picking up the baseball at the plate this year or the outfield (in the last few days). Throwing to the wrong base was just a dumb mental error, something I don’t see the Twins do very often (if ever). If you ask me they do the “little things” right more often than we do (moving runners over, getting them in with SAC flys, etc.). I appreciate that kind of stuff because IMO it is good, sound fundamental baseball. They don’t play for the three-run HR, which tome is a good thing. The Twins aren’t perfect, but they are far better coached IMO than are the Tigers.

    1. Angel has a bad reputation for being a bad umpire. Not surprised he made something all about him.

        1. I was at the game – unbe-freakin-lievable call. You should have seen the smiles on the Twins players faces. Even they couldn’t believe the call. It was like an early Christmas present. They were all looking at each other like, ‘really, we get a gift?’

  34. Losing is one thing. Losing with polanco on the bench and Thames in the lineup against a rh pitcher is another thing. What a disgrace Jim leyland is.

    1. Take a look at Thames numbers against Baker.

      Polanco? That one I don’t know about. I don’t know if he’s hurt or not but there were 2 grounders this week he didn’t get and he’s had a history of back problems. If it’s rest for rest’s sake then it is dumb. If it’s rest because he’s hurting? I don’t know then.

    2. Polanco vs. Santiago isn’t a big difference:
      It’s .287/.334/.402 vs. .276/.328/.400
      Looks pretty similar to me.

      Polanco has also had some misplays defensively this series.

      As for starting Thames, Baker has reverse platoon splits. His OPS allowed vs. right handers is .792 this year compared to .625 for lefties.

      Leyland does a lot of dumb things in my opinion, but I see no problem today.

      1. How is not starting Polanco a problem? What are Everett’s numbers? Some of you people are unbelievable. It is an outrage that Placido Polanco is not playing today. You can’t be serious Andrew.

        Bilfer: I don’t put much stock in 24 at bats. Leyland tried to get cute and it hurt the team today. I don’t know what Polanco would have done and he might have failed, but I’d take the odds that Polanco would have produced better than Santiago did.

        1. I just don’t think we can say having Santiago in there — or even Everett in there, who I agree is pretty weak — cost us this game. Guillen, Cabrera and others failed in big at bats. And our pitching was poor. That’s why we’re losing.

          This one is a team fail, not a Leyland job.

        2. We gave up 8 runs today (and counting) and scored 1. Unless Polly was going to throw 7 shutout innings, not having him in the lineup didn’t really matter.

          And let’s examine the one possible point where it really could have mattered: when Santiago batted with the bases loaded and two outs. Could Polly have done something different there? Sure. Would he have? We’ll never know, which is why it’s absurd to spew absolutes like “it’s an outrage Polanco is not playing today”.

          The success or failure of one game very rarely hinges on the performance (or absence) of one hitter. And to billfer’s point, what if Polly’s back is bothering him? We just don’t know.

    3. Do me (and yourself) a favor – go through the Tigers payroll for this year, then subtract all the dead-weight contracts (Bonderman, Willis, Sheff, etc.) and tell me what the remaining payroll looks like. After you do this, look at the other payrolls in the division. Then look at the standings. Then reconsider your Leyland hyperbole.

        1. Jeff, yes you can.

          jb, I figured it out a while ago, before they added Wash and Huff, I think it was ~$80mil. unless your original statement regarding Leyland is limited to today, you still look a little silly (imho). he’s gotten as much out of this group as could be expected, if not more.

          1. Well, the Indians have had almost every key player injured or traded, so they’re the shell of an MLB team. So are the Royals. So we really have two teams to compare with.

            The Twins payroll is 68m. White Sox are 98m. So the most you can say is based on payroll and record, Leyland’s clearly done a better job than Ozzie and probably equal to Gardenhire.

            “he’s gotten as much out of this group as could be expected, if not more.”

            More guys have underachieved than overachieved, so I disagree.

          2. I should have phrased it “gone farther with this group than expected”.

            The Indians weren’t shedding contracts until well into the season, so “no” to that point.

            I don’t know where the scales balance out in terms of number of over- vs underachievers. I do know that, even with all the negatives of this season, the Tigers are in first — skippered by Leyland.

          3. The Indians still had several of their key players hurt for much or all of the year – Hafner, Sizemore, Westbrook, etc. Not saying Leyland isn’t better than Wedge, but you can’t really compare.

            “I do know that, even with all the negatives of this season, the Tigers are in first — skippered by Leyland.”

            Yes, in the worst division in MLB. In any other division, they’re not a playoff team. They’ve scored 9 more runs than they’ve given up.

            Leyland makes mind-boggling decisions almost every game. He might be an incredible clubhouse leader, but he’s terrible strategically.

          4. “The Indians still had several of their key players hurt for much or all of the year – Hafner, Sizemore, Westbrook, etc. Not saying Leyland isn’t better than Wedge, but you can’t really compare.”

            Its always going to be hard (if not impossible) to find 1:1 comparisons,
            but Leyland’s crew (with or without his influence) found a way to overcome setbacks similar to those that have marred those of CHW and CLE.

            My original point, if poorly stated, was based from the idea that I think the Tigers are too often judged by their payroll with no context. I realize jb didn’t mention payroll in his thorough analysis of Leyland as a “disgrace”, but that’s how I choose to counter that notion.

            “Yes, in the worst division in MLB. In any other division, they’re not a playoff team. They’ve scored 9 more runs than they’ve given up.”

            Thank you (and Jeff Passan) for pointing that out. I had no idea the Tigers were the best of a weak division.

          5. “Leyland’s crew (with or without his influence) found a way to overcome setbacks similar to those that have marred those of CHW and CLE.”

            Look at the team CLE has put on the field most of the year, and then look at the Tigers (even without the dead weight contracts). They’re loaded by comparison. As for Chicago, I agree.

            “Thank you (and Jeff Passan) for pointing that out. I had no idea the Tigers were the best of a weak division.”

            Um, it’s a relevant point. The “hey, they’re a playoff team” is ridiculous. It’s only by fortuity that the Tigers are in a division of mediocre teams. I don’t see why Leyland should get credit for that. They’re an average team.

          6. “Um, it’s a relevant point. The “hey, they’re a playoff team” is ridiculous. It’s only by fortuity that the Tigers are in a division of mediocre teams. I don’t see why Leyland should get credit for that. They’re an average team.”

            First of all, I’ve been reacting to jb’s comment about Leyland being a “disgrace”. To counter that, I made an awkward argument comparing payrolls within the division vs the standings. As clumsy as that was, it was certainly more substantive in evaluating the degree of Leyland’s disgrace than jb was.

            It might be ridiculous and/or fortuitous that the Tigers are a playoff team. But the fact that they are a playoff team would suggest that the burden of proof falls on those saying that Leyland is a disgrace.

            Even in what turned out to be a mediocre division, you guys make it seem like the Tigers and Leyland have had nothing at all to do with their own (modest) success.

            Don’t take this as a sign that I’m deluding myself as to the objective state of the team, I know the Tigers are flawed and the odds aren’t in our favor should we reach the playoffs. I’m just saying that the implication that Leyland is a disgrace leaves me to believe that jb thinks a better manager would have gotten better results from this team. Who that manager would be is difficult to say, and harder to prove.

          7. Ok. I wasn’t defending jb’s statement, but rather arguing yours that Leyland has gotten as much or more out of this team as could be expected.

            “the implication that Leyland is a disgrace leaves me to believe that jb thinks a better manager would have gotten better results from this team.”

            I don’t know. It’s impossible to evaluate managers. Any evidence for or against them can be flipped on its head – does a team succeed because of its manager or in spite of him? I think generally, managers have a smaller impact than people think, both positively and negatively.

            I do think Leyland’s a fool though, based on his on-field decisions. I’d say the same thing whether they won 100 games or 60.

          8. I agree with Jeff. He’s a disgrace for more reasons than just this decision. His on field decisions often lack logic. His off field behavior is abhorrent. THe way he eats during the post game interviews is disrespectful to the media, the fans and the organization he is representing. The way he scolds media members is disgraceful.

            I don’t know if another manager could have “gotten” more out of this team. I think the players like playing for Leyland and that certainly helps. Not playing your best players certainly does not help.

  35. Even if we can’t come back today, and it does not look good, we will have accomplished what we needed to do with a split in the series. Having said that, with Peavey going tomorrow and Figaro starting on Saturday, there still is a lot of opportunity for anxiety.
    If only for a little bit of clutch hitting by Guillen and Santiago, we could be resting a little easier now.

    1. I think people are a little to quick to bend over and hand the game over to Peavy before he even throws a pitch.

      Yeah, he’s a good pitcher but he’s facing off against E-Jax and I happen to think E-Jax is pretty good too.

      1. E-Jax has faded after a strong first four months. He is still a decent pitcher, but he’s no Peavy. Even iof E-Jax wins tomorrow night I don’t think that can be debated. This is why some people (me) are more worried than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

  36. makes me a little nervous to have Seay in there, given the arm problems lately.

    EDIT: and as I type that, the Twins tack on some runs to put this one out of reach.

  37. Bummer. Seay has been out of what for some time now.

    Thank goodness we’re in the driver’s seat.

  38. You know what sucks? If that hit means the Twins don’t use Nathan. This is a war of attrition, you had to keep it close enough to make them use their closer at least to put wear and tear on his arm before the weekend.

    1. We’re putting wear and tear on the Twin’s batters by making them hit the ball so often today. Expect to see lowered offensive output from the Twins over the weekend.

  39. Anyway, as we worry if the Tigers can win 2 or 3 vs. the Sox. We all assume Minnesota will sweep (even with Grienke going).

  40. Seay’s ineffectiveness/sucktitude the last appearances is disconcerting. He must be hurt – in our bullpen he’s probably the most difficult part to replace.

    1. I agree. I currently have more confidence in Fu Te Ni to get lefties out than I do in Seay. He does appear to be hurt. Whatever is it is, he is not right at the moment.

  41. Laird tells Mr. Conservative to stick it….I love it. Fat Gene played a role in costing us the first game of the series by holding Thomas (who can run decently) on Cabrera’s single. The result? A predicatable zero runs in the frame.

  42. Well, they were one hit from making things really interesting. Still, you’re making them use Nathan, mission accomplished!

  43. Wow, Angel is tossing every player in a Tigers jersey. Somebody watching on TV please tell us WTF is going on!

  44. Yeah, I’m not saying Leyland doesn’t have a beef, but I HATE them having a meltdown of composure right here. They’re down 5 not 12, keep your head in the game.

  45. I love it!!! Show some attitude. Don’t let Minnesota think they can just punk you in your ballpark and not pay for it! Baker nailed Thames earlier for no apparent reason and the Tigers waited until this one was out of hand (wisely)before retaliating, unlike the Porcello second inning plunking of Youkilis.

    On a related note: Do NOT let cabrera or any other valued hitter (I know there aren’t a lot of them in our lineup) bat in the ninth inning. We cannot afford to lose anyone for the White Sox series. We don’t need Cabrera getting plunked on the wrist, head, or anything foolish like that!

  46. I don’t know where to start.

    Thames hit by pitch — took Cabrera out at 2nd to break up double play. Both benches chirping at each other.

    Everett avoids being hit by a pitch thrown behind him — looked intentional — Leyland erupted — no one seems to know why — he was ejected quickly.

    Bonderman up to pitch in the 9th and hits the lead off batter.

    Very condensed version prolly missing much.

    1. Yes, after they threw behind Everett, the ump gave warnings to the benches. Leyland came out and yelled for about 10 minutes – he was clearly just trying to get tossed.

      Bonderman hits Young in the hamstring with 1st pitch. Young rolls around on the ground and they gets up pointing and yelling at his own dugout.

  47. I’d me more psyched if they batted around and won the game. Chances of that are tiny, but I really can’t believe either team is getting chippy with this much on the line.

    1. stephen,

      would you at least appreciate the irony if Inge were to tie it up on a home run?

  48. This may be Huff’s best at bat as a Tiger. If the Twins lose b/c they can’t use Nathan manana, we’ll have Huff to thank.

    1. They worked Nathan for 27 pitches. A small victory. But really, I doubt KC is going to play them so tight that the Twins need their closer multiple times. I’m sure Nathan could probably pitch tomorrow if necessary.

  49. I had no idea the Tigers were the best of a weak division- Really?
    Tigers against West division: 22-14
    Angels against West 27-26
    Cy Young : Greinke
    Batting Champ : Mauer
    MVP : Cabrera,( ours )
    ERA : Greinke
    Ks: Verlander.
    ROY: Porcello
    Return of the Year : Verlander
    2nd and 4th collective ERA: WS and Tigers
    3rd collective average: Twins
    Less errors and best fpct: Twins

    1. After the Indians traded away a lot of their veteran talent these last few years(Sabathia, Lee, Vmart) and the Twins dumping of Santana(and possibly Mauer soon), I’d say one could make that argument.

      One could make the counter argument that you have, and it isn’t a bad argument IMO.

      I will say that we have a great deal of parity this year. Our weaknesses, while not unexpected are nothing to balk at. The malinvestment in Shef. Dtrain. Robertson etc. and some of the long contracts (above and over “Tiger-Tax”) are a good reason why we haven’t already gotten to 90 wins.

      I will say that assuming no major fire sale there is a LOT of young talent on each and every team in our division, which is encouraging if you’re a fan of the game.

    2. Some of these things won’t even occur, and even if they do, they’re not a good indication of division strength. Look at team records.

    3. Nice omission of the Tigers 15-21 record vs. AL East compared to NYY nad BOS record vs. AL East opponents, not to mention Boston and NYY records against AL Central.

  50. The problem with most of the things you mention is that they not indicative of the overall strength of a division — at best, they’re individual awards, and in the case of Cabrera, almost certainly not going to be the case.

  51. All the Tigers have to do is not get swept. Win one and they are in. The Twins will not sweep the Royals.

    1. I don’t know if they will sweep, but the Royals could get intimidated by the crazed Metrodome fans this weekend. The key game of the weekend is the Tigers tomorrow night. If they lose, then I get worried. If they win, no matter what the Twins do, I’m not worried. I know I’m not basing that on rational thought, just a gut feeling. ZG is great for the Royals, but if the Tigers lose tomorrow and the Twins win, there’s going to be 40,000 plus in Metrodome on Saturday because of a) pennant race and b) Dome is closing down. I envision ZG leaving with a 3-1 lead in the 7th and then the Twins coming back. Tomorrow is the must game for Tigers because of the scenario above and because if you end up pitching Verlander on Sunday the division title become largely meaningless. I’ve come around to the thought that it is possible for the Tigers to somehow take the Yankees in a 5 game series, but if Verlander is gassed by pitching on Sunday the chance goes from 25% to 0.1%
      Or! I may have no idea what I’m talking about!

      1. It won’t make much of a difference.

        If the Yankees choose the Wednesday series, Jackson and Verlander can each go twice either way.

        If the Yankees choose the Tuesday series, we’re screwed either way because Bonine will have to start a game (in place of Verlander if he has to throw Sunday; in place of Jackson if not).

        Of course this assumes Leyland goes with everyone on regular rest – he could still throw Jackson or Verlander on short rest in game 4.

      2. In Zack’s last 37 IP he has allowed 2 ER. That is an ERA of 0.486… I’m sorry but when he starts he is basically a lock to win. Therefore we only have to not get swept.

        I agree with a lot of what you said in the sense that Verlander (and possibly Jackson) will be the keys to taking down the Yankees. The Royals have also had several very good relievers the last several days.

        If by some Minnesota Miracle and Detroit Dystopia we were to be tied going into Sunday and had to throw Verlander out there then I’d be in your boat.

        But I’d hardly be in your boat after tomorrow even if we lost and they won. Trust me when I say that it is Saturday’s games that are crucial.

    1. I’d like that too. But Peavy is pretty good, and I would call him a Cy front runner for next year.

      He is one of the most dominating pitchers I’ve ever seen.

    1. I was listening to talk radio on the way in to the game yesterday and this was all they could talk about. Laird caught Mauer doing it. Yesterday was too big a game to risk ejections and suspensions, but don’t be surprised to see Mauer get plunked by the Tigers next season.

      1. that is a disgusting display of poor sportsmanship—plain and simple! I hope they get blown away by KC and KC plays them with fake signals etc!!

          1. I don’t agree with that. It has been around since it’s inception. To be honest I wish they’d show it more often.I’m also for allowing roids, and not worrying about pitching inside.

            This game has been weakened by all the formal and informal rules and regulations.

            I mean Mauer’s whole purpose in the game should be and is (as evidenced in this video) to win.

          2. David,

            Its been too long, you no longer know when I’m being completely sarcastic. I’ll work on posting more.

          3. I never said they were the only ones to do it. Everyone does at some point or another I’m sure. Even our Tigers steal signs – it’s part of the game.

            I’m just saying there is one of those unwritten rules that ballplayers abide by (like when Young got plunked yesterday in retaliation for the throw behind Everett’s head) and when you’re caught there are paybacks.

          4. I realized you were being sarcastic. Jaws wasn’t(or at least that was how I interpreted his comment). I should have been more clear and directed my defense of the Twins to him.

            It has been too long…

  52. Well, guys, I let you down by going to the game yesterday. I brought an 0-4 record with me to Comerica Park and thought I was due to finally see a Tigers victory (and what a victory it would have been) at Comerica. I either need to go to more games each year (which is tough with a 6 hour round trip drive) or quit going altogether ;).

    However, is was my son’s first game and he had such a great time that he wanted to come back again this weekend.

    I thought Robertson did well to pitch 6 giving up 4 runs (3 earned). When the lineup was posted at the game I was NOT happy. No Polanco and Thames at DH (ugh). Santiago was terrible at the plate in place of Polanco.

    I really thought after Perry and Ni pitched out of the bases loaded in the 7th that the Tigers would roar back and score some runs, but they flailed away again and then Seay had the strike zone tightened up by our ‘friend’ Angel Hernandez and the Twins pretty much put the game away with 4 runs. Tigers made it interesting for the fans that didn’t leave after the top half of the 8th, but it ended as just another loss to those pesky Twins.

    Question: Will the Royals ruin the Tigers shot at winning the division this weekend as they did in 2006? Only this time instead of sweeping the Tigers will they be swept by the Twins?

    Oh the potential irony of it all.

    1. I don’t want to think irony either, but the thought crossed my mind so I wrote it 🙂

      In the “positive thinking” post of the day, I foresee the Twins unexpectedly being tripped up tonight and lose as they scoreboard watch during their game and see the Tigers squeak out a win against Peavy and the White Sox to close out the Central.

  53. Can we talk Tigers pitching probables for this series? If we don’t clinch tonight, is it set in stone that Figaro will pitch Saturday? I just can’t believe we are going to hand the ball to someone with almost no experience-especially in such a pressure situation.

    Is there a Plan B? How about starting Verlander on Saturday and moving Porcello to Sunday if necessary?

    I’m trying to remain positive, but I got an hour’s sleep last night going over the pitching match ups for the weekend.

    Born in Detroit. Taking it all in down in Myrtle Beach.

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