Game 2010.003: Tigers at Royals

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 – 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 thoughts on “Game 2010.003: Tigers at Royals”

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

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

  4. 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

  5. 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…

  6. 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!

    1. 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?

        1. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.


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

    Please tell me I’m still asleep…

  10. 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

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

    2. 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.

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

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

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

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

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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!

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

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

  18. ‘Well there’s your problem’

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

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

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

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

  22. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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…

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

  25. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I totally agree.

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

    2. “Willis was better than expected.”

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

  26. 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.

    1. “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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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?


  29. 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

    1. 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.

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

        What are you, a Quaker? 😉

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