Game 2010.013: Tigers at Angels

Things just don’t seem to go well for the Tigers in LA (or Anaheim). For all the talk of the Tigers struggles in the Metrodome, opportunity for frustration against the Angels always seems to run high. There was this game where people questioned Justin Verlander’s acehood. And this one where Jeremy Bonderman’s arm pretty much disintegrated. Or this one which started bad, got better, and ended miserable. People just don’t remember because the games are on so late.

Tonight it is Dontrelle Willis who will try and, well, do good. The Angels have the second worst run differential in the American League (behind the Red Sox) at –17. They hadn’t won a series until sweeping the Blue Jays this weekend and are now riding a 3 game win streak. Fernando Rodney is their closer.

Joel Pineiro goes for the Angels.Pineiro was actually quite awesome his last time out. He went 7 innings in Yankee stadium and allowed just 1 run on 5 hits with no walks and seven strike outs.

Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels – April 19, 2010 – Preview

168 thoughts on “Game 2010.013: Tigers at Angels”

    1. This one was before the weblog was in existence, but does anyone remember the game where Anaheim scored eight runs in the bottom of the eighth or possibly ninth inning when Sparky was still managing to erase a seven run Tiger lead? That was the most painful of all the losses at the “Big A”. I’ll never forget Sparky’s postgame quote (paraphrasing) “That’s why baseball is the best game. You’ve got to get 27 outs, no matter how far ahead you are. There’s no clock to worry about, no having the team in the lead just trying to run out a clock.” True dat, Sparky.

  1. Tiger team LOB by game so far this year:

    1 – 6
    2 – 8
    3 – 9
    4 – 5
    5 – 6
    6 – 18
    7 – 8
    8 – 12
    9 – 9
    10 – 6
    11 – 8
    12 – 12

      1. You know this is setting up a bunch of 1-2-3 innings and little LOB frustration because of little offense?

        1. We’re second last in the AL in home runs ……so I think we are due to break out of that funk any time soon… that should clear some of that LOB and pick up the offense.

          1. The Tigers aren’t a long-ball team. They weren’t an especially powerful team last year and they are less of one this year considering the loss of Granderson and Thames. I expect a drop in HR by season’s end and a significant one (say -30 or so) isn’t out of the question. Hopefully they can keep the OBP up, but to get the scoring up they need to play better small ball. So far they are having difficulty in doing so. Whether it is a temporary condition or a systemic problem (station-to-station has been the modus operandi for quite a few years now) remains to be seen. I’d love to see them start banging the ball out of the park more often, but a Murderer’s Row they ain’t.

  2. It’s good to see Avila starting in Back to Back games. Willis really needs to throw a good game Tonight. I’d like to see him at least keep up with Nate Robertson.

  3. While it is terribly, awfully frustrating to have so many LOB, isn’t that better than not having anyone reach base at all? We gotta learn to drive them in. Is it really the “clutch” thing or maybe good luck. Just wondering out loud. Looking forward to the game.

    1. I think the main reason for all of the LOB is that we are drawing a lot of walks (3rd in the AL behind MIN and NYY; 3 in the AL top 20–Cabrera, Inge, Damon), and therefore have a lot of baserunners. And we have 3rd fewest strikeouts. And we are, for once, above league average in number of pitches seen. The combination of these three things is a very good trend. It’s still very early to make anything of it, but if you recall it was stressed before the season that this would be an organizational focus, so it may be more than accidental.

    2. Also it is worth looking at WHO it is being left on base. Most of the left on base have been Inge; in fact he has been on base 20 times (.400 OBP); he has scored 1 run. That’s a 95% LOB rate. This is bound to happen when you are followed by Laird and Everett in the lineup; in fact most teams #6 hitters probably get left on base a lot.

          1. The next question is, then who goes in the 8 spot to drive in Inge and Sizemore? Good question…Avila? Laird/Everett, and bunt a lot?

            1. Harold Reynolds on MLB Network thinks Leyland should have Jackson bat 9th. Now, I don’t want to hear everyone’s opinion about Harold, but who would you bat first in his place?

              1. There is no one else besides possibly Damon, but then who do you hit second, Sizemore? I think Jackson in the leadoff role is where he belongs. Unlike Granderson (who would be better in the fifith or sixth spot in a lineup IMO) he is not demonstrating a lot of power yet, but he is getting on base and setting the table for our big guns (Ordonez and Cabrera). How does hitting him ninth help with anything in terms of scoring runs?

              2. this is a stupid thing for Harold to say. essentially his argument is: let’s give the guy getting on base alot and hitting for a high average and is a very fast runner FEWER at bats each game. I know TV people have it rough and when you talk all the time you are going to say dumb things. My question is: does Harold even realize how absurd that statement is?

  4. I think there is more upside than downside to Willis……and I hope he proves me right starting tonight.

  5. Yay to Smoky for using common sense and sitting down Laird again. Even if Avila doesn’t get a hit tonight, this is the right decision. Does anyone know if Laird is signed beyond this season?

    1. OK, had to check…yes, so far BInge has been left on base more often than anyone in the league (21 on base, 1 run). 2nd most looks to be Jason Kendall (19 on base, 2 runs).

  6. I don’t like falling behind so early on, especially when we had opportunities to score. I feel the offense is going to be dormant the next couple innings…

  7. An error and a walk. This following an inning where we couldn’t knock in guys on base. I don’t know if I can handle another rinki-dink, loss tonight.

      1. Vince’s 1st Law of Offensive Dynamics:

        Power teams that play station-to-station leave a lot of LOB.
        Non-power teams that play station-to-station leave a lot more LOB.

    1. His fastball tops out at 90 now. Don’t know if that will go up or if it is as good as it will ever get. A pitcher can probably live with that IF he has great control (e.g. Piniero, Brad Radke was another one), but otherwise likely to get pretty beat up.

  8. Willis needs to be able to pitch out of the stretch.. He has thrown pretty good…but, it always seems like he is one pitch away from disaster and w/ this offense..any more runs and we are cooked.

  9. Nice catch, Maggs. Now let’s get a hit or two out of the bottom of the order and setup the top. AJax is due for his first ML bomb.

  10. Sure gald Defensive replacement Ryan Raburn wasn’t out there to misread the 1st shot to RF and then drop the 2nd one..great job by Maggs. I think Willis is hanging on..and its only the end of the 4th.. who thinks this guy is gonna be able to start through the year?

    1. I don’t know how far through the year he will make it, but this is easily the best version of Dontrelle that we’ve seen of him in a Tigers uniform.

    2. I don’t think he can continue this all year long unless he finds his release point. On that at-bat to Rivera, he was releasing it from all over the place, even though he got him out.

    3. Seriously man. I do not understand Jimmy’s use of Raburn. As for Willis, I think we’re all waiting for the wheels to come off. He looked great through 2 tonight. But as someone else has said, he needs to figure out what the hell he’s doing from the stretch.

  11. Watching Willis survive that inning is like watching Tex Cobb survive another round with Larry Holmes. It just means more pounding will come soon. His ERA could easily be 7 for the season.

    1. Say what you want but he’s giving us a decent start here. We should have plated at least one by now.

      How man times this season have we had a lead after 5? And that’s obviously not all on the starting pitching.

  12. The scary part is you are right, this is the best we have ever seen D-train pitch for the Tigers. The Tigers NEED to be able to cash in on leadoff doubles…There is no excuse for Guillen not to get Miggy over and Inge hit a sac fly…Its a broken record…but this team has a lot of holes in their lineup..old smokey only seems to hit and run w/ Miggy…so, lets score the cheap runs and we can go on a roll.

    1. That is the scary part. So far, he’s had eight release points, shakes off ever other pitch call, shakes his hand melodramatically because of a blister and gets bailed out by a great Maggs catch. He’s like the crazy girlfriend you overly praise at Thanksgiving for not throwing up at the dinner table or making a pass at your brother.

      1. But did you see when the runs scored? It was a cue ball that resulted in a run because Ordonez’s throw was right on the bag and hit the runner. The he didn’t get out of the inning because the double play ball was hit too soft to Inge. He hasn’t been hit hard today. He had moments of shakiness, but 3 of his innings were 1-2-3 and he faced the minimum in a 4th inning. Really, what is the problem?

        1. I would also submit that the “great catch” by Maggs was actually Maggs recovering to catch a ball he misplayed.

        2. The problem is on the exceedingly rare moments like tonight when Willis pitches well as he pockets his 22nd million he looks like he’s about to have a nervous breakdown on the mound. No team can consistently play well defensively behind that kind of stuff. There’s no way he makes it through a half season with his varying mechanics and his mound antics.

          I’ll donate a $100 to the charity of your choice if come the end of the season Willis has 10 wins, pitches 140 innings, or has an ERA below 5.50

  13. He is great out of the wind up tonight..and all over the place in the stretch..He is a strange hard as I have been on him, he has worked hard and he deserves a shot at a win tonight, lets get some runs…Troubling trend…we can not hit any starters. That needs to change

    1. Oh man, I’d go insane if I listened to Rod Allen, the worst announcer in the major leagues. I always listen to the visitors. They’re talking about Willis’s wildness helping him with the batters. It’s sort of the crazy man with his finger on the nuclear button theory.

  14. Assuming the 6th was DW’s last inning, a very acceptable outing by our #5 starter.

    We at least need to get within a run here so we can get a crack at Rodney in the 9th.

  15. someone told me here last week the Tigers are scoring 5 runs per game. Funny I can’t remember the last time the Tigers scored 5 runs in a game

  16. Why would Leyland let Everett bat in that situation? Oh that’s right we have no bench…As bad as these starters are at hitting..imagine if we have any injuries.

  17. I’m still not used to seeing Tom Brookens standing there next to first. Pretty awesome seeing this guy resurface after so many years out of the bigs.

    1. Every Year Sparky brought in a new 3B and he kept winning the starting job. You can not get rid of the guy

      1. He was awesome! Absolutely the nerdiest big leaguer ever. Actually scratch that. That award went to Johnny Grubb. Still Brookens was always a favorite of mine as a kid.

  18. Maggs doesn’t seem to have the same balance at the plate he had the first 2 weeks. He seems to be falling/lunging.

  19. How much pressure does Cabrera have to feel in situations like this? I mean, if I knew that after my at bat the odds of getting the runs in would drop so precipitously, I know I’d press.

  20. Angels broadcast showed we are hitting .217 w/ RISP on the season and are 1 for 8 in the game..before Guillen….amazing block by the catcher. They are fundamentally a tough team.

  21. Ha…yeah…that’s game…I can predict the 9th…Fly-out, Ground-out, Strike-out.

    This team needs to find some offense…

  22. Easiest save of Rodney’s career coming up…Inge, Avila, Sizemore… You just hope we start hitting in the clutch..some hard hit balls, but,its still pretty much Miggy or the runs don’t get driven in..Tonight you have to give the Angels credit and a bit of bad luck…but, this happens every game for the Tigers…These guys are very frustrating.

    1. Don’t be so sure. Rodney is going to be amped to the gills. And I’m guessing he’s missing the zone. If we’re patient, we might get some runners on.

      1. Of course, if we do we won’t hit them in, so I’m not suggesting you get your hopes up or anything.

      2. I predict a leadoff walk by Inge (Inge knows how wild Rodney can start out; he’s caught him after all)

        1. It’s a shame Rodney gets to come in with a 2-0 lead, no runners on base and the weak part of the lineup.

          If you need three outs — and JUST three outs — he was okay.

          Every time else…

          1. I don’t know Rodney is now 44 out of his last 45 save opp. and his final appearance as a Tiger in Game 163..he threw 3 shutout innings. I don’t see what some Tiger fans had against Rodney. He had a terrible year, the year Leyland was throwing him out there when his fastball was like 88 mph (obviously hurt) Leyland didn’t relaize it..what a joke

      3. Nice theory..but, he has no fear of these guys..he will dial it down (if he must) and make sure he doesn’t walk them. His stuff is far too nasty for these barely major leaguers he will be facing in this inning. When Inge and his .236 career avg. over 10 years is batting 6th, you have no hope.

  23. I am currently trying to prepare myself for the fact that this team will more than likely not make the playoffs this year, despite the first week of games that gave me a vault of confidence for the post season. This team just is not very good…

    1. Well, it is game 13. I’d at least wait until game 17 or 18 before giving up hope for the season.

      1. You can generally tell after about 2 out in the first inning if you are going to win a game or not, no?

      2. Yeah, I’m not saying that I’m giving up hope, per say. I just notice trends with this team and have read the analysis. There are just too many holes in this offense and way too many question marks with the pitching. The offense has definitely down graded from last year, and the pitching is suspect at best…

      3. There is always hope..but, we are really, really bad offensively..last years team was an offensive machine compared to this group. 1/2 the lineup are bad hitters.

        1. So what do you think is the anomaly, the really good OBP or the really bad BARISP? Both probably are to some degree. They won’t get on at the same rate, but they also will also likely add 30-40 points to their batting average with runners in scoring position. It won’t be a prolific offense, but it won’t be awful either.

          1. I hope you are right..but, before we say it will be a better offense..don’t we have to have one good day off a starting pitcher? What scares me is Inge is bad and he bats 6th (i am not buying the injured knees business) he is a 8th or 9th hitter on good teams. Laird/Avila combo is weak (this is the one spot that has hope because i call it weak because I assume JL will play Laird the majority of the games)
            Everett (don’t make me laugh) and Sizemore is a rookie, who appears to have very little pop (maybe he will be good, but, an awful lot of hope on an unproven rookie)

            Finally, Guillen, Damon, or Ordonez will probably spend time on the DL and if they are missing any of those guys..they become possibly the worst offense in baseball.

            No power and No speed..tough combination..we shall see..

  24. Where will we be able to get offense? I still don’t understand why llyod is still the hitting coach.. I am not stupid enough to think it is all Llyod’s fault or even if it is his fault at all…All I know is that they have not been a good offensive team (HR or nothing) since JL has been here..You can not get rid of all the, make a change at the hitting coach..see if it helps.

  25. Another frustrating game from the offensive standpoint!

    Rodney looking pretty good.

    1. Stinks to lose a game getting shutout, when you out-hit the opponent 9-4.

      Guess, that’s baseball sometimes, though.

  26. I am sure glad that we got rid of Polanco for this future star..I’m sorry but, Sizemore does not seem like anything and his fielding is very weak.. All the hype, was the guy was a poor fielder, but, he can hit. Correction..he can draw a walk…that is about the only thing he does.

    1. Really? How much do you possibly know about him at this point? It is 45 plate appearances and he’s doing fine.

      1. Doing fine? why do you think he is good? I think he is not very good because he has been overmatched by good pitchers…The KC and Indians pen is all this team has hit and they are terrible. I know his fielding numbers from the minors is awful and so far he has been a pretty bad range and a little league error to cost us a run.

        The hype about the guy is he is a good hitter, yet, they bat him behind Laird…(that ought to tell you what the organization really thinks about his hitting)

        Finally, the Tigers have not produced a position prospect besides Grandy through their system in a long, long time. So, I may be jumping the gun..but, history is on my side..what makes you think he is a good player? Dave Dombrowski ?

        1. He’s hit at every level in the minors. That’s no guarantee, but it’s often an indicator that it will translate to the majors. And why does he hit 7th/8th? I don’t know, ask Jim Leyland. Where should he hit? He’s not a better fit than Jackson at leadoff, is he supposed to bat in the place of one of the veteran guys at 2-6?

          So tell me: what would be acceptable performance from Sizemore after 45 at bats? Just curious because you seem to have awfully high standards.

        2. I think he’s doing fine because he has a .373 OBP. I think he’s fine because he has hit at every level of the minors as Mark said. I think he’s fine because scouts (not just Tigers scouts) have long said he was a good hitter. I think he’s fine because he has only swung at 14.5% of balls outside of the strike zone.

          I think he will be good, for now I think he’s been fine.

          Why should any other player impact your evaluation of Sizemore?

    2. I think Sizemore is playing very well for a rookie. So far, he’s having a better April offensively than Ben Zobrist, Gordon Beckham, Orlando Hudson, and Chone Figgins. He’d probably do even better if he wasn’t batting 8th.

      1. I’m with you Keith, I think Sizemore should be moved up in the order. I’d even dare to put him at No. 2.

        As for Laird, he can just continue to ride the pine…

        1. Here’s the line-up I’d like to see-
          Sizemore, Damon, Jackson, Cabrera, Ordonez, Guillen, Avila, Inge, Santiago

  27. That was a solid quality start for Willis and maybe the best performance we’ve seen from any of our starters this season. Offensively, we got plenty of hits, but we just couldn’t plate any of our runners. This was actually the 1st time we scored fewer than 2 runs in a game, and it happened to be a shutout. Oh well.

  28. hey Jimmy the 3 run homer isn’t working cause there ain’t any homers…. but there is plenty of two guys on situations ….remember the Oaklond A’s of a couple years back …no bunts no steals no runs….

  29. The philosophy is no bunt no steal which then takes three hits an inning to score a run. When you only have 5 Major League hitters in your line up and say one of them has a 0-fer you haven’t got much chance to score many runs

    1. bunting is almost always a bad play and decreases the expected runs scored in an inning. There are a few limited situations in which it is correct.

      1. Tell that to the Angels who bunt an win every year …Tell that to the Twins who bunt and win every year…..

          1. I found it on Baseball Reference

            Sacrifice bunt attempts with less than 2 outs 2009:

            Minnesota: 77
            Detroit: 71
            Anaheim: 63

            1. Hmm, does that mean of 71 attempts only 53 were successful? That doesn’t sound very good, although the Twins didn’t do any better.

          2. The Twins and Angels bunted a lot (51 and 43)–only outdone by Seattle, who led the league (56) and the bunting powerhouse in Detroit (53)

            Sac flies is a different story though–the Twins led the league with 57, and Detroit (39) only beat one team, the Royals (32). Which sounds like we’re a team that bunted the runners the 3rd and then left them there…

            1. I am guessing that attempts includes making contact in a bunting stance. So 71 attempts and 53 executions would make sense if you count 18 foul balls and pop outs, right?

  30. Sizemore is doing just fine ….not even wet behind the ears yet and he look competent at bat. .275 ranks right up there on this team

    1. there have been a total of 4 sacs for the whole year both bunts and fly balls and Sizemore has 3 of them….. the entire rest of the team….. frickin 1

      1. jud-

        get some sleep, man. you’re posting these things at 4:30-5:00 in the morning. I hope you live in Hawaii or something where it’s only like midnight!

  31. re: Brandon Inge

    Chris – please see below and find me three hitters that you’d rather have batting #6 than Brandon Inge (with support, please), or else admit to all that there are no “good” teams in the AL.

    Rick Ankiel
    Jose Bautista
    Chris Davis
    David Ortiz
    Jorge Posada
    Juan Rivera
    Jim Thome
    Nolan Reimold
    Milton Bradley
    BJ Upton
    Eric Chavez
    Luis Valbuena

    Keep reading what billfer has to say Chris, in time you may actually have something useful to say.

    1. You cheated, you left off Jorge Posada (OBP .465), Inge is only 2nd best in the AL (OBP .407) among #6 hitters.

      There is a strange circular logic that is popular that goes we aren’t winning as much as we should because Inge-Laird-Everett suck, and when you point out that Inge is doing well so far (so is Everett relatively), the response is that by the end of the season he will be hitting .200–which may be true, but whatever Inge bats in September is hardly the reason they aren’t scoring runs NOW.

    2. Just for fun, here is our AL ranking by batting order spot (OBP–which seems more useful to me than OBP with the small sample size):

      1st – 3
      2nd – 5
      3rd – 4
      4th – 2
      5th – 4
      6th – 2
      7th – 6
      8th – 4
      9th – 12

      So we are weak in the 9 spot, but above average everywhere else, and near the top of the AL with our 1, 4, and 6 hitters.

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