Game 2010.003: Tigers at Royals

by billfer on April 8, 2010 · 113 comments

in 2010 Season,Game Post

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PREGAME: I’m certainly rooting for the guy, but the phrase “The Tigers will look to Dontrelle Willis to secure a series win,” just doesn’t have me bubbling over with confidence.

Willis wasn’t that good this spring, save for a shiny ERA, so the hopes aren’t high here that he’ll magically find something today. I’ll be thrilled to be wrong though.

He’ll be opposed by saber-pitcher Brian Bannister. Bannister hasn’t started against the Tigers since 2008. He faced them 3 times that season and shut them out twice. In fact the Tigers have only scored more than 2 runs against him once.

Raburn gets the nod at second base today – and it has nothing to do with Sizemore’s gaffe in extra innings. This was decided prior to last night’s game. And Don Kelly goes at third base.

Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals – April 8, 2010 – MLB.com Preview

POSTGAME: I’m happy to be wrong. Dontrelle Willis was effective. Things were shaky of course at the outset, what with the 4 pitch walk to open the game. And yes, he did benefit from 3 double plays. But he also didn’t allow an extra base hit, and didn’t issue a free pass after the first inning. In fact you might even say he was pounding the zone after the first inning with 68% of his pitches the next 5 innings going for strikes. And he certainly wasn’t getting extra help from home plate ump Chris Tiller.

I acknowledge that the Royals aren’t a good offensive club, but I think we can say Dontrelle was decent, and do so without grading on a curve.

  • The Tigers offense runs through Venezuela with Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Orondez, and to a lesser extent Carlos Guillen, providing the thump all series.
  • Adam Everett reached base twice, but also had two misplays in the field.
  • Gerald Laird hit the ball hard twice. Directly at outfielders, but it wasn’t all grounders to third and pop-ups to first. But he will need to get a hit or throw out a runner soon.
  • Ryan Raburn had a rough game with 3 K’s and a not so stellar game in left field (misjudging a liner and not getting his feet set on a Rick Ankiel flyball for a throw to third).
  • It took Eddie Bonine 21 pitches to get through his inning, but only one ball was hit even moderately hard and 16 of the pitches went for strikes.
  • Nice bounce back for Jose Valverde with a 1-2-3 9th.
  • Brandon Inge and Austin Jackson appear ready to make a living in the right centerfield gap.
  • When a pitcher is in the 5th inning or so and has only recorded 1 ground ball out, running with a slow runner on a 3-2 count to stay out of the double play seems ill advised.
 
 

{ 113 comments }

Tigers Fan in Toronto April 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The Tigers can’t be giving away games like they did yesterday and expect to make the playoffs…….even if they are in a week Central division. Every game is extremely important…….look what happen last year!

mat April 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Its not magic. We know D-Train CAN do it. We just need him to focus and stay on-the-rails mentally .

Hopefully Raburn and Kelly help us get some runs letting Dontrelle stay comfortable. Or maybe he’ll pitch better with pressure. Who knows.

Fingers crossed. Go Tigers!

Andrew April 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Maybe the expected crowd of 12 people in Kansas City will help calm Dontrelle.

Ken in Vegas April 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I won’t be running across the street to bet on this one. Willis against “The Bannisher” of Tigers offense.

Tbone April 8, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Tiger Lineup, featuring Raburn and Kelly on the infield:

Jackson, CF
Damon, DH
Ordonez, RF
Cabrera, 1B
Guillen, LF
Raburn, 2B
Kelly, 3B
Laird, C
Everett, SS

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Hmmm. I’m all for giving Inge some days off this season, but I would think that you would want the best possible defense behind the D-Train…

David April 8, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I really don’t think it makes a bit of difference when he is toeing the rubber.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Leyland is trading defense for offense today no doubt.

Tigers Fan in Toronto April 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Poor managing again……man on second with none out……..he should be bunted over to third….I don’t care who your batter is……that is just basic baseball! We would then be up 1 – 0!

Kevin in Dallas April 8, 2010 at 1:30 pm

There is not a situation in baseball when you would bunt your #2 or #3 hitters in the first inning. Ever. I don’t think a #3 guy would bunt other than in the WS. And to your first post, the Tigers by no means “gave that game away.”

What’s up with Dickerson’s voice?

Tigers Fan in Toronto April 8, 2010 at 1:53 pm

With your philosophy……a team would not make it to the WS!

billfer April 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Johnny Damon had all of 2 sacrifice bunts last year. The Yankees still did okay.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

In that situation (runner 3rd, 0 out) and a LH batter up, ideally you hope the hitter can pull the ball on the ground to the right – if it doesn’t go through at least the runner gets to 3rd. Damon just didn’t get it done that time. Late in the game maybe you can rationalize the bunt, but not in the 1st inning.

Mark in Chicago April 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Is anybody watching on TV? Gameday showed a handful of pitches from Dontrelle that were clearly in the zone but called balls. Is he getting squeezed?

Mike in CT April 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Hey gang…first post of the 2010 season…stunned how much last night already took out of me.

Just hoping the Royals are this pesky against the Twins and ***** Sox as they are against the Tigers. Part of me thinks DeJesus and Podsenik keep getting contracts based on owning Detroit.

Like everybody else, figures crossed with Willis. If he can’t get through the Royals lineup without struggling, it’ll be a long year.

–Mike

Mark in Chicago April 8, 2010 at 2:00 pm

My goodness this is ugly.

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Kelly Lets go here or your gone

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Ah yes, the old strikeout with the runner on 3rd less than 2 out trick

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Pounded that, nice. Guys its the ROYALS ……………. ok I feel better

Mike in CT April 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Another season of failing to drive in runs from third with less than two outs?

Please tell me I’m still asleep…

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Guys, It looks like DW is doing a decent job here. We sure haven’t given him any run support but if he can keep this up I think we (he) will be fine.

Runs matter

Andre in Chi April 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Yeah, I might be paradoxically pleased if the headline after today’s game reads “Tigers offense wastes another pitching gem”.

TSE April 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

A shortage of runs is going to be a common theme this year, the one theme that drives you nuts the most. Not being able to score just sucks the soul right out of you.

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Carlos Guillen drives me insane out there in LF.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Lefthanders have 5 of the 7 hits off of Willis today (plus one of the two BB).

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

You could hear that one!

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Mega Maggs!

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Is Bannister cooked?

Kevin in Dallas April 8, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Great change-up by Bannister there.

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Cabrera is on pace for 108 caught stealing.

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm

You could say that stunk, if you had a 5 year old in the house, something else if your single or alone ;)

TSE April 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Well sometimes people see art in weird blobs of goo, but I don’t see anything pretty about that piece.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 2:59 pm

The lesson to be learned is to never ask a weird glob of goo try to steal.

Tigers Fan in Toronto April 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Nice job D-Train!!!!!

stephen April 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I’ve watched this entire game, I don’t care if Willis’s line is 6innings pitched, two earned runs. With the exception of 5-6 great breaking balls, he pitched like a batting practice pitcher who just happened to get the ball hit to fielders and have a couple moon shots held up by the wind. This may not have ended badly today, but this is gonna end badly sooner rather than later.

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I was thinking how he’d do pitching against the Red Sox or Yankees. Maybe his confidence will build and he can do it. Kenny Rogers didn’t have the fastest stuff, but he managed to do OK.

Now, if only these nerds could get some runs.

mat April 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Yeesh…we’re talking about our 5th starter. And a guy who has displayed the ability to be a Cy Young caliber pitcher…and also a train-wreck. Can’t we just be happy with the positive result and hope that its a sign of progress?

I’ll take 6 ip and 2 er anyway I can get it. Great job Dontrelle!

Steve April 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Its the Raburn, Kelly, Laird line. Can they once line up 3 hits in a row ……………. singles would be acceptable

Mark in Chicago April 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Gerald Laird is an awful hitter. The book on him is to work him low and away and he either can’t or won’t adjust. I don’t care if he had a good spring, once the season starts, scouting reports matter and until he proves he can do something with the pitch low and away (other than a popup to the right side or a weak ground ball to the left side) he’s going to get a steady diet of it.

My money says Avila is getting the majority of the ABs at catcher by September.

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Have to agree with you on that. He’s got to start hitting.

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

That’s Inge’s 2nd opposite field double already this season–something he was doing at the beginning of last season. This is a good sign.

stephen April 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Coleman, how I’ve missed your cocked-eyed optimism as Brandon marches toward breaking the team’s all strikeout record in approx 5000 ab’s fewer than Whitaker! (As I’m sure you’ve missed by insistent Debbie Downerisms). It truly is springtime.

It is all being recorded for posterity on this website where Tiger fans have been asked to recount their favorite Inge strikeouts. So many memories!

http://www.motownsports.com/forums/detroit-tigers/80966-charles-brandon-inge-his-march-toward-history.html

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Maybe those surgically repaired knees will prevent him from pulling the ball and swinging at the low and away breaking pitch.

Steve April 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Binge ……. OK lets go here, can we steal another one late?

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Austin Jackson looked so good in ST, but he’s looked pretty bad at the plate so far. Wonder how long he’ll last if he can’t hit.

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Maybe Leland should have let D-train go out there for the 7th.

Bill April 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

This year Leyland is going to show everyone just how great a manager he is! He is going to take our SLOWEST runner(Cabrera) and transform him into a guy who is going to lead the league in steals!

mat April 8, 2010 at 3:27 pm

If Lance Berkman can steal bases…

Kathy April 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I’m through talking. If we lose this game, I’m going to puke.

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I shudder to think of what will happen to you if Cabrera hits into a triple play here…

Keith (Mr. X) April 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Big Hurt!

jud April 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Frickin WWWWWWOOOOOOOW!

Mike in CT April 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Miggy just said…”I don’t run, I CRUNCH.”

Tigers Fan in Toronto April 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Cabby for MVP!!!!!

Bill April 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

BOOM!!!

Tbone April 8, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Tigers love them some KC bullpen!

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

That’s one way to keep the Big Mig off of the basepaths…

jud April 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

funny he runs out those HR’s about the same speed as his stolen base attempts….I much prefeer the HR running

Mark in Chicago April 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Wow the big bats coming up big today. I could get used to this.

jud April 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm

now the real game begins!!!

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I hate walks, especially leadoff walks.

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

And this is our “defensive replacement”

jud April 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

poor slow jump…… I think Damon gets that ball

Andre in Chi April 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

‘Well there’s your problem’

Perry can’t throw his fast ball for a strike this afternoon…

Mike in CT April 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Thank you Yunisesky Bentacourt for turning back into Yuieseky Bentacourt. (Spelling, I know.)

Bill April 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Who pitches the 9th?

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Good recovery by Perry to limit the damage. I’m guessing he didn’t have his best stuff.

Andre in Chi April 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm

just couldn’t command his fastball for the most part.

Kevin in Dallas April 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Love it.

jud April 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Jackson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Adam Everett is hitting .400!

Let’s make this lead Caca Grande-proof

Andre in Chi April 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

“HOLY [crap]! the kid from the mighty ducks is pitching for the royals!” – my friend Zach

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Damon having a bad day at the dish. Maybe he needs a day off.

Good spot for Miggy here. If I was KC, I would walk him too and pitch to Santiago.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:05 pm

On the other hand, if was Roman Colon, maybe it wouldn’t matter.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

What I said.

jud April 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Miggy can u have a better series than he’s had////// WOW

jason April 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

I like this sober version of Miggy.

MVP!

Andre April 8, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Roman vs Ramon!

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Where is Nomar when you need him?

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

He is Nomor.

ouchudied April 8, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Tell me the golden sombrero ain’t so…

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 4:14 pm

He’ll have to settle for the silver tri-cornered hat

BigMax April 8, 2010 at 4:07 pm

The Royals seem to be suffering from an advanced case of Roman Colon, which can be fatal if it lingers long enough.

jud April 8, 2010 at 4:08 pm

were getting closer and closer to Verde_Proof

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

With a four run lead in comes Jones, I mean Rodney, I mean Valverde.

jud April 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Phew!…… take it!… Bring in those Indians next

andre April 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Don’t look now, but the Tigers have the ALs best offense and run diff’.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

17 runs – 3 off KC starters, 14 off their bullpen. Possibly this says more about the KC bullpen than the Tiger offense. We’ll see how this plays out this weekend and into next week. Maybe it is just a statistical anomaly. I’d really like to see them spread the scoring out a bit more.

andre April 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Vince,

Could be wrong here, but I think you’re getting bogged down in details ;)

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

And then there is the 0 for 2 on the Cabrera steal attempts…….

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I would expect no less from a team on pace to go 108 – 54.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm

A 1-2-3 ninth inning. How odd.

andre April 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

yeah, and speaking of odd, i don’t know if i would have believed somebody if they told me we’d win the Grienke and Willis starts coming into this series.

Kevin in Dallas April 8, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Post of the day.

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

So who do you think will get the Matt Treanor Award this season (last player left with zero hits)?

Sizemore, Kelly, Laird, and Raburn are the final four…

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Treanor was 0 for 8 (?) and Laird is already 0 for 10, so (if that is so) I think we can call it the Laird Award. On the other hand, didn’t Raburn go 0 for 20 to start last year (or was it ’08), so perhaps it should be called the Raburn Award. To be completely safe perhaps we should just call it the Hank Aguirre Award.

Coleman April 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Treanor was 0-13 actually, but it was a special 0-13 since that was his entire season, and also he managed to somehow hit into 3 DPs in that span also.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Laird still in the running then – one more game could do it for the Treanor Prize. Sizemore is disqualified based on the three walks IMHO. What about the Raburn Cup?

Keith (Mr. X) April 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Nice comeback win. Willis was better than expected. His 1st 5 innings weren’t anything special, but he looked awesome in the 6th inning. He threw that inning with confidence and got into a groove. His mechanical timing and release point was almost flawless, which is something I haven’t seen from him since we got him. I’d love to see him throw with that kind of confidence and timing for an entire game. I can’t wait to see him pitch again.

Vince in MN April 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Any time your #5 starter goes 6 innings and keeps you in the game has to be looked at in a positive light. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for DW. Sunday will be critical too, when it’s Bondo’s turn to show what he has got against a more potent Indians offense.

Keith (Mr. X) April 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I totally agree.

BTW, Nate Robertson pitching Today too. It will be interesting to see if he can out pitch Willis.

andre April 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm

“Willis was better than expected.”

That statement leaves a lot of room for interpretation, like 1-10 on a 0-10 scale.

Keith (Mr. X) April 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm

As Billfer put it in the pregame, the hopes weren’t high that Willis would magically find something (like the strike zone). Well, he magically threw 54 of 88 (or 61%) of his pitches for strikes. Dontrelle actually had a better strike rate than Grienke (56 of 96=58%) did on Monday . Willis magically didn’t give up any extra base hits either. He gave up just 7 singles and 2 walks. He was somewhat efficient also. I’d rather have Willis throw a 4 pitch walk, than have Verlander give up a 9 pitch HR to Y. Betancourt. I was more impressed with Willis’ outing than I was with Verlander’s.

andre April 9, 2010 at 7:45 am

“I was more impressed with Willis’ outing than I was with Verlander’s.”

If that statement is ever statistically valid again this season, I’ll buy you a magical beer.

Keith (Mr. X) April 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

Sounds like a Guinness. LOL.

Mark in Chicago April 9, 2010 at 8:08 am

Hyperbole of the year.

Keith (Mr. X) April 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Things I liked-
Raburn flashing his leather at 2B. He’s knocked down ground balls cleanly and helped turn a few DP’s.

Things that I don’t like seeing-
Cabrera trying to steal bases
Laird trying to bunt for a hit
Everett not making plays that he should be making. I’ve counted 2 of them so far.

Steve April 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm

For an opening series, we kind of saw what we all thought:

Pitching for the most part is pretty good and will get better as the season rolls on.

Hitting for the most part is sporadic, and needs to get better. The questions is will the new rookie guys be able to get it going and keep it going to keep us in it. Damon looks like a keeper. Laird and Everett if they can be at 250 or above would really help out the cause.

We will be in it all year in our division so that will be decent.

Is anyone going to the opener on Friday?

Steve

Steve April 8, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Hey Check it out, Nate vs the Mets

Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST ERA
N Robertson 5.0 6 1 1 0 4 0 94-54 1.80

beejeez April 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Seen the Mets lately, Steve?

Steve April 9, 2010 at 9:43 am

beejeez, Yep, but we just beat the Royals who are in the same boat.
I liked Nate, not because of his pitching, but because we was a solid citizen in and out of the clubhouse. No roids, wifebeating, booze, drugs, arrests, 9 kids – 4 mothers, jailed, guns, etc.

andre April 9, 2010 at 10:05 am

“No roids, wifebeating, booze, drugs, arrests, 9 kids – 4 mothers, jailed, guns, etc.”

What are you, a Quaker? ;)

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