Game 2010:024: Angels at Tigers

It’s Rick’s turn. Dontrelle Willis is figuring stuff out. Jeremy Bonderman is showing glimpses. Justin Verlander didn’t allow an earned run last time out. It’s Rick Porcello’s turn flip the switch.

Whether it has been bad luck (.427 BABIP, 12.7% line drive rate, 63% LOB) or bad pitching, Porcello is getting knocked around and giving up way too many runs. He didn’t make it out of the 5th inning when he faced the Angels 2 starts ago.

Joel Pineiro is on the bump for the Angels. The Tigers got him for 9 hits in 7.1 innings out in LA, but they managed to not score any of those baserunners.

The Johnny Damon goes for RBI 1500 lineup is:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Laird, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Everett, SS

Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers – April 30, 2010 – Preview

Should this post be about Maggs or Dontrelle?

Dontrelle Willis shines, Magglio Ordoñez makes history, the Tigers take their first series of the year against the Minnesota Twins. Any way you slice it this game was a heck of a lot of fun.

Willis walked the second batter he faced, and the last one. In between he was mixing pitches and speeds and mixing up the Twins to the tune of 6 strike outs and 6 innings of shut out baseball. We shouldn’t draw too many conclusions in April, but Willis has been good more than he’s been bad this season. Against the Twins he was very good, not lucky, not pitching on the edge, just plain old good.

And then you have Magglio Ordoñez making history and becoming just the 6th Venezulean to reach 2000 career hits. He joins fellow country men Luis Aparicio, Omar Vizquel, Andres Galarraga, Dave Concepcion, and Bobby Abreu.

You have the Tigers manufacturing a run in the first inning against a pitcher who has had their number. Single-steal-error-sacrifice fly and the Tigers had all the runs they’d need.

Then there is the bullpen with Joel Zumaya dominating again for 2 innings. The signature moment was a 3 pitch strikeout of Joe Mauer. And Jose Valverde picking up his seventh save.

And in the end you have a series win against a divisional foe. Good times.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 04.29.2010

Syracuse 2 Toledo 3
Jeff Larish was 0 for 2 but he drove in the winning run with his second walk of the game in the 9th inning to really “walk off.” Jeff Frazier and Deik Scram each singled, doubled, and walked. Phil Dumatrait allowed 2 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 3 K’s in 5.1 innings. Scot Drucker (who is now blogging at allowed just 2 baserunners in his 2.2 innings of work. Jay Sborz walked two and allowed a hit but maintained his scoreless season and got the win.

Erie 4 Bowie 3
Andy Oliver struck out 10 in 5 innings. He allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 4 walks. Willkin Ramirez went 2 for 2 with 2 walks. In his last 4 games he’s 8 for 16 with 4 extra base hits and 3 walks.

Lakeland 4 Daytona 3
Gustavo Nunez had a 3 for 4 day with a double and a stolen base. Rawley Bishop homered and singled. Charlie Furbush went 6 innings with 8 K’s, no walks and just 2 runs allowed.

Lansing 3 West Michigan 7
West Michigan broke out of their offensive funk. Jordan Lennerton homered as part of an 3 for 4 day. Michael Rockett also homered and singled. Jamie Johnson and Luis Palacios also had 2 hits each. Trevor Feeney allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, 1 walk and 7 strikeouts in 7.1 innings.

Game 2010.023: Twins at Tigers

Way back in the early days of the season, the Tigers swept the Cleveland Indians. It was the last time they won a series. Granted, they did notch 2 splits on the road so it hasn’t all been bad. Today it will be Dontrelle Willis looking to edge out Carl Pavano.

Pavano had this bizarre mastery over the Tigers last year. Overall he had a 5.10 ERA last year. Against the Tigers it was 3.00 and he went 4-1 in his 6 starts. This year he’s pitching quite good against everybody though. He’s 3 for 4 in quality starts and has only walked one batter this season while fanning 17.

This isn’t an ideal match-up for the Tigers hitters, and it isn’t ideal for Willis either. Even with improved control, walks have still been an issue this year – just not a debilitating one. And the Twins are the only AL team to earn more free passes than Detroit.

Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers – April 29, 2010

Junkballing: Injuries and Verlander’s Workload

A journey through some links that will update us on the Tigers walking wounded, that will put limits on Justin Verlander’s workload, and other odds and ends including bullpen usage and Alex Avila.


Word out of Lakeland is that Zach Miner is preparing to enter pseudo game action as part of his rehab assignment. Even with no set backs that would likely but him a couple weeks away from being ready to join the Tigers. And while the bullpen has been overworked and a fresh arm would be helpful, the bullpen has also been pretty effective.

Adam Everett is expected to be back any day now after taking batting practice yesterday. That could prove timely as Jim Leyland is still concerned about Scott Sizemore’s ankle and if he wants to spell him at second, he would have Ramon Santiago as an option with a healthy Everett manning short.

For those that were hoping to get a look at Brent Dlugach, he has cooled off at Toledo as his BABIP hasn’t been able to sustain his strikeout rate (31 K’s in 86 PA’s).

On the minor league injury front the Tigers are hopeful that Jacob Turner’s soreness is an adjustment to a pro pitching schedule and nothing ominous.

Verlander’s workload

With Justin Verlander throwing over 120 pitches in each of his last two starts and not seeing the sixth inning in either, it turned out to be a clubhouse topic yesterday. Leyland says he is going to put a limit on Verlander in his next start regardless of the inning. Verlander acknowledges that he needs to be more efficient but says pitch counts are overrated.

Verlander's Pitch Counts by Game 2009

We’ll see what happens with this limit. I’m sure that Leyland doesn’t want Verlander getting hurt on his watch, but he also had him throw over 120 pitches in 6 of his last 8 outings last season. Verlander has always proven up to the task, I just doubt that Leyland is going to reign him in too much.

The rest


There will be considerable focus on the Denard Span play (pictured in a series of screen grabs above) as it comes with considerable controversy. That play though was only a part of what proved to be an offensive onslaught by the Tigers. Detroit didn’t win because of that call, but it was a large factor.

When Damon came up with 1 out and Austin Jackson on first the Tigers win expectancy was 40.4%. After the play that had pushed through to 55.1% with the go-ahead run getting into scoring position with 1 out. The run expectancy went from 1.16 to 2.09. If the play is ruled as a made catch and Jackson returns to first, the run expectancy drops below 1.

Here’s the thing though, the play would not have ended the inning, like Ryan Raburn’s play the night before would have. The Tigers still followed with a walk, a HBP, and 3 doubles before the Twins recorded another out.

You can consider the Tigers fortunate to get the call, but the team had already closed a 6-1 deficit to 6-5 at that point and they went on to plate 6 more runs while keeping the Twins at bay. A game without controversy is always preferable, but this isn’t a Paul Emmels induced win.

Max Scherzer

Scherzer got banged around and once again the Tigers had to turn to their bullpen early. Scherzer was neither efficient, nor effective. To his credit I guess he didn’t walk anybody on a night when the zone seemed to be quite tight.

The bullpen

Brad Thomas struggled in his spot start, but he was a big factor in tonight’s victory and earned the win. He held the Twins off for 2.1 innings and bridged the gap from Scherzer’s short night to the more dominant back of the pen pitchers. Phil Coke managed to get Jim Thome out along with 5 other outs while allowing just 1 hit. Jose Valverde finished the game, and he issued the only walk of the night by Detroit pitchers.

The bullets

  • Johnny Damon continued his hitting streak
  • Austin Jackson didn’t strike out for the second game in a row.
  • Magglio Ordonez had 3 hits and is at 1999 now for his career
  • Good things happen when Brandon Inge homers and doubles in the same game. Well, at least this week that’s been the case.
  • Brennan Boesch absolutely smoked his bases loaded double and he was just a little bit of air from a grand slam.
  • The biggest damage came on 3 straight pitches when Boesch, Inge, and Ryan Raburn took the first pitches they saw and each laced doubles.
  • With Ni going 2 innings yesterday, and Thomas and Coke each going 2 today, it will be interesting to see how Jim Leyland will deploy his southpaws tomorrow. But he did accomplish his goal of resting Joel Zumaya for two consecutive days.
  • Paul Emmel made the call on the Span play. Emmel was the ump who tossed Span on Tuesday night. There will be no love lost between Span and Emmel and I’m sure he’s enemy number 1 in Minneapolis tonight.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 04.28.2010

Syracuse 5 Toledo 3
Casper Wells belted his 5th homer of the year. Wil Rhymes had 2 hits. Ryan Ketchner went 5 innings with 4 strike outs, no walks and 3 runs allowed on 4 hits.

Erie 9 Bowie 7 
Thad Weber “scattered” 10 hits and a walk in 5 innings but only 3 runs crossed the plate. Brooks Brown wasn’t so fortunate and he surrendered 3 hits and a walk in 1 inning, with 3 runs scoring. Andy Dirks went 3 for 5 with a homer. Wilkin Ramirez doubled, homered, and walked.

Lakeland 5 Daytona 3
Adam Wilk went 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, but with only 1 strike out. Anthony Shawler went the last 3 innings and got the save. Kody Kaiser homered and singled. Alden Carrithers, Bryan Pounds, and Rawley Bishop each had 2 hits.

Lansing 2 West Michigan 1
Ramon Lebron allowed 2 run on no hits, but he did walk 5 in 2.2 innings. West Michigan’s lone run was unearned. Jordan Lennerton singled and doubled. Jamie Johnson singled and walked.

Game 2010.022: Twins at Tigers

Hey, at least Scott Baker can’t be quite as good as Francisco Liriano was last night can he?

Baker goes for the Twins after getting beat up for 10 hits and 6 runs in 5.2 innings against Cleveland his last time out. Baker has continued his reverse platoon splits from last year into this young season where right handers hit him better than left handers.

Max Scherzer is coming off a strong outing that earned him a quality start on a 7 K, 2 BB, 7 inning effort in Arlington. He’s never started against the Twins.

Your lefty heavy lineup is:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Raburn, 2B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS

It’s Liriano’s world, we’re all just flailing in it

While the Ryan Raburn error was terribly frustrating. And the Scott Sizemore error made you think, “c’mon, they’re not even in that God forsaken dome and this stuff keeps happening.” This game was all about Francisco Liriano.

Liriano spotted the fastball to both sides of the plate. He froze Tigers hitters with back door sliders and had them flailing at regular sliders that dove at their back foot. Six of the Tigers ten strike outs were off the backwards K variety. They couldn’t even muster a swing.

Credit where credit is due, Liriano put on a clinic an deserved to win.

On the other side Justin Verlander was better. He didn’t walk a batter not named Jim Thome while fanning 7 including victimizing Justin Morneau 3 times. He deserved to get out of the 6th were it not for the Raburn error, but it would have been his final batter regardless with a pitch count of 121.

At least this time out it wasn’t stuff lacking, just efficiency.

  • On a night when 12 of the 27 Tigers outs came on strikeouts, Austin Jackson didn’t have a single one while drawing the only walk, thus ending the 20 game streak. I love baseball irony.
  • Johnny Damon kept the hit streak alive.
  • Fu-Te Ni came into a bases loaded situation and got a come backer to the mound and managed to go 2.1 more innings. He picked up 2 more walks and benefitted from a wide strike zone (just ask Denard Span) but the end result is that he was able to “reset” the bullpen by staying out that long.
  • Eddie Bonine didn’t have it after being so effective and critical to the team’s win on Saturday.
  • For all the talk about the Twins doing things the right way and manufacturing runs and what not, they did strand a lead off triple with their 2-3-4 hitters up. I’m just saying, it happens.
  • Disappointing to see the Tigers play so poorly on defense regardless. In addition to the 3 errors I’d argue that Ordonez didn’t take a great route to Span’s triple. I don’t know if he would have got it, but it appeared if he angled back he may have had a better shot.

Twins 2, Tigers 0

Tigers Minor League Wrap 04.27.2010

Syracuse 0 Toledo 7
Alfredo Figaro pitched 7 shut out innings, fanning 7 and walking 1. Daniel Schlereth fanned 2, but walked 2 and only threw 10 of 23 pitches for strikes in a scoreless inning. Casper Wells singled and homered. Brent Dlugach was 2 for 4 witha double.

Erie 7 Bowie 2
Duane Below allowed just 2 hits, 2 unearned runs, and 3 walks while striking out 10 in 5 innings. Zach Simons added 3 scoreless innings. Michael Bertram and Cesar Nicolas each homered and singled. Audy Ciriaco had 2 hits pushing his average to .321. Most impressive is that he only has 2 strikeouts in 28 at-bats.

Lakeland 1 Daytona 3
Brayan Villarreal pitched a complete game with 6 strike outs, and just 1 walk and 3 hits allowed. Unfortunately 2 of those hits were homers. John Murrian singled and doubled.

Lansing 6 West Michigan 0
Giovany Soto had 8 strike outs and allowed just 1 run on 6 hits but he only lasted 4.2 innings. Mike Gosse, Avisail Garcia, and Alexis Espinoza all had 2 hits.

Game 2010.021: Twins at Tigers

Check out the post game at: It’s Liriano’s world, we’re all just flailing in it

The Tigers are back in Detroit and they welcome in the Twins. Speaking of people who are back, have you checked out what Francisco Liriano has been up to? He’s sporting a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 FIP. He hasn’t allowed a homer in 21 innings this year and has thrown 15 scoreless innings over his last 2 starts. Sheesh.

Meanwhile Justin Verlander is still in the hunt for his ace-like ways. While Verlander has given up some hits this year, it was the 4 walks and 125 pitches in 5 innings that was most disconcerting in his last start against the Angels.

The Twins are 2.5 games up on the Tigers and they are pounding the ball with 99 runs scored in their 19 games so far. Theoretically the Tigers could be in first place at the end of the series. In April it doesn’t matter a whole lot one way or the other though so let’s not get too worked up.

Your matchup notes include Jim Thome with 7 homers and 10 walks in his 51 plate appearances against Verlander. Lefties are 1 for 20 against Liriano this year so it’s a good thing Damon is the only hook in the lineup. Magglio Ordonez has a 381/409/810 line against Liriano in 22 PA’s. Tonight’s line up has 23 strike out sin 85 plate appearances against Liriano, and that doesn’t include Austin Jackson.

The lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Inge, 3B
  6. Raburn, LF
  7. Laird, C
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Santiago, SS

They’re coming home

It looked like a laugher, but then the jokes stopped getting funny, then the Miguel Cabrera had the last laugh. It’s games like this where I like to let Fangraphs tell the story.

Jeremy Bonderman looked great in the early going. He only needed 38 pitches to get through 4 innings. He pitched his way out of a rocky 5th with minimal damage, so it was quite the surprise to see him unable to finish the 6th and spare the bullpen.

And that bullpen which has been quite good and quite heavily used was vulnerable. Joel Zumaya finished off the 6th inning, but got knocked around for the first time this year. Phil Coke came on and got the first out before Vladimir Guerrero tied things up.

The offense scored early and late. Brandon Inge broke his home run drought in a big way. After sending a ball to the warning track he got angry and went homer-double-homer for a monster night. Ryan Raburn narrowly missed a grand slam and added another double.

But the biggest blast once again came from the biggest hitter. The Rangers inexplicably threw Miguel Cabrera a pitch over the plate in the 9th inning and he put it over the wall to give the Tigers a win that Jose Valverde saved easily.

A 5-6 road trip isn’t great, but it is certainly acceptable. And we get back to 7p start times, and the Minnesota Twins.