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.

8 thoughts on “Capitalizing”

  1. I must say I was very vocal all winter about how “Good” our pitching was going to be and Where all the hitting was going to come from. Now most nights we seem to score a bunch of runs and the pitching is kind of shot.

    Does anyone think the pitchers are going still catching up to the hitters coming out of spring training or do we just need them to step it up a notch and get 7 quality innings in.
    It really does look like we have the talent and at times they look decent to excellent, but then the bad times come too. What up? Is this a mental thing on their part or is this a Knapp thing.


  2. A minor point on one of your bulletts but a mistake also made by Rod and Mario last night – Rayburn’s 6th inning double came on the second pitch he saw, he took a called strike before getting the knock.

  3. The Span call was bad, but it doesn’t really change much. As you said, the inning wouldn’t have ended, and the next 5 guys all got on. People are making too much of it.

    Its not much different than a blown call at first or a close pitch called a ball on a full-count.

  4. The Span catch was the wrong call, but not necessarily a bad call. The TV viewer gets the luxury of replay and multiple angles. Span had his back the infield. Even though we could see the ball in his glove from an OF camera, the umpires could not…and they were about 300′ away. The umps could not see if he juggled it or controlled it.

    1. Excellent point Coach Jim – from the presiding ump’s perspective on the field (in real time), he made the right call… from field level at that distance, with Span’s back turned, there’s no way the ump could have confirmed Span didn’t juggle that ball – and the ball popped out – 95% of umps are going to rule it was not a catch.

      The umps called a drop on a foul-catch by Guillen earlier in the year, where Guillen was pulling the ball out of his glove to throw… and in that case, Guillen was facing the infield and only about 50ft from the ump.

      Personally i think MLB should add a replay system on certain calls/situations, and until they do, teams are going to have to deal with human error.

  5. The Span call was correct. Or not. No one knows, at least from the angles I’ve seen. We either assume the ball is secure or juggled during the torso eclipse. What we do know? The ball is certainly not under control when it returns to visibility. Replay should be implemented. But in this case, I doubt if it would be overturned. Assuming an NFL approach, indisputable visual evidence would require a camera angle following the glove the entire way. It isn’t available.

    But Bilfer is right, this play is not the reason we won. The Twins failed to record an out until they had submitted to forced prostration.

  6. Given that 10 inches inside called third strike on Polanco in game 163 (along with the Inge non-HBP), forgive me if I have little sympathy for the Twins or Span.

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