Game 2011.13: Tigers at Athletics

The Tigers packed up Wednesday with a to-go order of walk-off under their belts to travel to Oakland for a 4-game series with their good friends the Oakland Athletics.  Good friends because the A’s are returning home from a road trip which saw them take consecutive series from the Twins and the White Sox.

The Tigers will go from facing the team with the best ERA in the league, to facing the team with the 2nd best (2.73), who recently held the Twins to 5 runs in 3 games.  Add to that the A’s lack of offense and the Coliseum’s large dimensions, and this is likely to be a low-scoring series.

The first game features a left-coast lefty matchup of Phil Coke and Gio Gonzalez, who has only allowed 1 run in 13 innings so far this season, picking up where he left off last season (2nd half ERA of 2.59).  His weakness is a relatively high number of walks, so if the Tiger hitters are patient they may be able to get into the bullpen early.

One of the nice things about Gio Gonzalez becoming so successful is that he is not on the White Sox.  They had him, and traded him–twice.

  • Player of the Pre-game: Ryan Raburn. Raburn vs Gio Gonzalez is a career 4 for 5 (.800) with a 2B and 2 HR.

If the Tigers win, Raburn will likely be involved.  If not, the loss can probably be blamed on me for not following the short-but-sweet lucky game post format.

Today’s no-Rhymes-nor-reason lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Casper Wells RF
  3. Ryan Raburn LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez C
  6. Jhonny Peralta SS
  7. Brennan Boesch DH
  8. Brandon Inge 3B
  9. Ramon Santiago 2B

96 thoughts on “Game 2011.13: Tigers at Athletics”

    1. Word is that Magglio will play at some point on the West Cost trip, but currently he says he could “probably play 6-7 innings.”

  1. Looking forward to watching Phil Coke pitch.
    ‘m kind of surprised that Magglio hasn’t been put on the DL. I’d hate to see him miss the rest of the season again because of that bum ankle of his. I remember when he broke it. He should of been held up at 3b, but the coach waved him in. It was just as stupid as Josh Hamilton being told to tag-up on that foul ball where he broke his arm. Not that many good 3B coaches these days.

  2. Victor Martinez is just absolutely killing this team. I personally think he was a terrible signing…How hard is it to find a DH? The Tigers already signed Maggs for 10 mill…That guy is a DH…They needed somebody to protect Cabrera,but, I think they overpaid. Hopefully, it will work out and he was better than anybody that they had, I guess when you can’t draft position players…you are forced to overpay. In any event, the guy needs to stop swinging at absolute crap…That at bat was a wasted at bat, he’s reaching, while he’s ahead in the count. Just let pitcher off the hook…a guy who has been dominant.

    1. Well of course we overpaid him, signing a guy like this for that kind of money is something you do if you have proper roster shape, and we don’t. We are a couple roster moves away from being a strong competitive team, and if we end up making those moves at some point in the very near future, then having VMart for an overpayment will come in handy when we approach the WS. But until we make a few more roster moves, it’s just completely blown money that is all a waste and detraction from our future success. The year’s not over yet or lost yet, and DD and Illitch still have time to justify the signing with corresponding complementary moves. Time’s running out, but until all the sand drops, they are in a position to do the right thing for this team.

        1. Removal of reject prospects like Rhymes and Kelly, proper utilization and gambling on possible useful prospects, having a qualified full set of infielders of which we have a STARTLING 1/5 completion rate, not having overpaid guys on the roster, and not having too many older players unless you can justify it with a qualified title run.

          1. How do you qualify without getting an opportunity? I’m not a Rhymes fan, but I think he deserves this shot. The options at 2b aren’t that good anyway. I was hoping that we’d trade for Dan Uggla during the off-season. 2B is a big weakness for most teams. There are only a few (Uggla, Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler, Weeks, Phillips) that would make an impact.

            As far as Kelly goes, I doubt it makes much difference who’s on the roster in that bench spot. As long as VMart is our primary dh and back-up catcher, we’ll have an extra roster spot. If Kelly makes Leyland feel more secure for emergencies and extra inning games, then I’m satisfied. I doubt Kelly will be settling down anytime soon though. He’s probably the 1st guy to go if VMart gets hurt or if Avila loses his starting job.

            Inge and Peralta are about average at their positions. So I don’t think they are hurting the team at all. Having everyday guys at the spots at 3B/SS is a blessing. A good team needs workhorses like them.

            Paying guys is just part of the process. Whether it’s overpay or underpay, it really has no function to how the team plays.

            1. Well you can’t qualify other than to go based on previous non-big league stats and seeing these guys play and then making a logical decision. I don’t see a logical basis for allowing Don Kelly or Rhymes to have any shot with the team. Leyland did, and he never justified that decision with a logical or rational explanation. I feel confident in my ability to scout players and dissect their non-pro stats, and it’s not an exact science but a process of which I feel I am very good at, whereas Leyland his whole career has been awful at figuring out not only WHEN to use these young guys, but also WHICH young guys to use. His strategy of incorporation of young prospects just sucks, and he’s a bad judge of baseball talent as he doesn’t understand the science of hitting and how to interpret what a good hitter is, and he lacks the eyeball identification of clues that tip off who is good and who is not good at baseball.

              And yeah it’s not a disastrous thing to have Kelly or Rhymes on the roster if they don’t make many appearances, but every atbat counts, and every lost percentage on each plate appearance counts. And a manager’s job is to get the most out of his team and under no circumstances to shoot the team in the foot by handicapping the team for unnecessary and illogical reasons. Leyland diminishes our odds to win baseball games by massive degress EACH and EVERY game. A tiny portion is attributed to Kelly, and then a tiny portion is attributed to 10 other areas of the game that he FAILS on. Add them all up and we have a big slice out of our potential.

              I disagree with you on Inge and Peralta, they both make too much money and both have no future upside for a major bonus, they only have conservative mediocre levels that they are potentially going to hit, and they are inconsistent at that. They both clearly hurt the team. And Peralta is off to a decent start with the bat so far, but that’s not relevant, as I’m looking at the long-term and the logical odds, and Peralta doesn’t qualify for what we need to compete on a serious level. All the money spent on him just comes as a waste, cause that pool of money along with other assets could have lowered our cost to get a SS with qualified talent. And well Peralta’s stats as I look them up now for a refresher are actually lower this year than I thought they were offhand, but either way it doesn’t matter, he shouldn’t be here.

              And paying guys that don’t earn their money is just a lost opportunity to have used that money to put that money into play in terms of making trades to get a qualified roster. I want to trade Inge and Magglio, but nobody wants to pay their full salaries, so in order to dump them I have to eat money. Sure would be nice if Peralta never existed, cause that money spent on him could have gone towards the money I need to eat to sell my garbage to some fool of a team that trades me the guy I want. I’m going to get the players I want, that’s not an issue, cause if it takes Inge plus Magglio plus buyout money, if that’s not enough, then I’m going to minor league prospects and big league pitchers.

              The only question becomes HOW MUCH $ do I have to blow on concessions, and that’s why i would never overpay for a guy, cause I’m always going to use that money for strategic trades and setting up a lean and profitable future. Which in turn allows us flexibility to do more things in the future and get on track to quickly becoming an uber-dominant team in short time that also generates massive profit levels for the owner.

              1. If your scouting and analysis is that strong, then you should try to do a full evaluation of all 30 major league teams and tell us what GM’s and managers you like and don’t like. Then tell us what you’d do differently with each team. Pretty much, just do what they do at Fangraphs, but only better.

              2. TSE-

                Agree with you on Don Kelly, he has no place on a ML roster and Leyland overuses him far too much. To me, Rhymes seems like the kind of guy you would advocate, a young guy that is cheap and getting a chance and his minor league OPS numbers aren’t terrible for a middle infielder:

                2008 – 753 OPS
                2009 – 679
                2010 – 785 before getting called up

                He’s by no means a star, but a reasonable fill-in player at a position where they don’t have a lot of options. Remember, they also gave Sizemore a shot and he struggled, although his track record suggests he can be a pretty good hitter. Rhymes can also give the lineup some speed, which they desperately need.

                As for Inge and Peralta, I can only ask who you think DD should have gotten instead? There is nothing better in the farm system (that is even remotely ready to play at the ML level), and while trades are possible, it’s not like there’s a huge quantity of starting-caliber 3B and SS around the league that are available (and would probably require overpaying with prospects instead of overpaying with dollars and I’m not sure that’s any better).

              3. Mark,

                There are countless SS and 3B players I would rather have than Peralta and Inge, and it could be anybody. Name any SS and 3B you want, and we could have had them if we wanted to move some pieces around. There’s no point in my speculation of any specific players as I don’t know which players I’m going to have until I negotiate with all the other teams. If I like one 3B from one team, well that’s contingent that things match up for a SS somewhere else, and if one cog in the wheel gets changed, then that could affect 5 different names on the team. It’s all tied in together through the trade negotiations in terms of which players the other teams want in order to get those premier players/prospects that I want. One team may want pitchers in return, some might want varying amounts of money, others might want prospects, and depending on what is needed by the other teams is going to dictate which combo of guys we add.

                All I can tell you is our team would be a lot better off if I could do some trades, you wouldn’t see dead weight age and money on the roster, cause I would never sign a guy to a big $ contract unless it was logically justifiable, and many of our contracts just aren’t.

              4. countless? In actuality, there are only about 12 Shortstops that would be an upgrade over Peralta and about 12 – 3B’s that would be better than Inge. Inge and Peralta pretty much define what league average is. They are getting about the average salary for a free agent also. I can prove this. Do yourself a favor and start researching. Just list the top 30 players at every position. Any real GM could do this in their sleep.

              5. It doesn’t matter how smart of a GM you are or how good of a master plan you have. You are bound to failure in a game like baseball because winning isn’t about getting the best statistical players from seasons past or by how well you spend money. It’s about how much heart your players have. Money can’t buy that. You can’t trade for that either. You have to breed it and grow it from within. That’s why I love guys like Inge, Avila, Boesch, Raburn, Gibby, Trammell, Whitaker, Parrish, Kaline, Horton, Freehan, Stanley, Northrup .

            2. LOL sounds like too much work for a blog entry. I have enough time to follow the Tigers in my free time, not looking to familiarize myself intimately with every other team. Just not enough hours in the day, wish it was my job though, sounds like a fun task to get paid for!

  3. Martinez is a career .300 man over a good period of years. He’ll come around. And I’d have him behind the plate 4 or 5 games a week, too. Look at this way, who is better: Martinez or the front office guy’s kid — Avila? Answer seems obvious to me.

    1. Yeah, I’m starting to get that feeling as well. I like Avila, but he hasn’t been that special. I’m thinking that the DH is hurting Martinez’s production. I’m sure he will eventually adjust to DH, but I’m not sure we can afford to have him in this slump caused by DHing him.

      1. Well we need 2 catcher upgrades eventually. One for VM cause he’s too old, and one for Avila cause he’s not very good. although he’s shown some nice HR power so far. Maybe he can be great one day. He just wouldn’t be great on my team cause I’m selling him for whatever I can get, I just don’t believe in him as much as his dad does. I mean I wouldn’t mind having him as the 2nd catcher on the roster, but with how many holes we have on this team, we need to scrape every last bit of resources together in order to get the highest level of GOOD players and/or prospects to fill those key holes. He doesn’t fit on this team AS IS. He should just stick to swinging for a HR every time, cause that’s working right now and that’s the best way for him to buy time and increase his stock, especially if he can string a few more together pretty soon.

  4. Ex-Tiger hat-trick:

    The Twins’ Joe Nathan blew a save when Matt Joyce doubled in 2 runs in the 9th.

    Then the Twins re-took the lead in the 10th when they singled in a run off of Kyle Farnsworth.

    But the Twins blew a 2nd save in the 10th when Johnny Damon hit a walk-off HR.

  5. Seems that Josh W is displeased with that called 3rd strike. It may have been a generous call.

  6. 1) I always thought it was jv to point at a ball that nearly goes to the warning track. Makes you look like it’s your first time.

    2) Can we get Coke some pants that fit? Maybe maternity pants?

    3) I love watching Ramon in the field. He just looks right.

    4) Coco Crisp’s hair is bad&ss. Yes, I’m bringing that back.

  7. I agree w/ most of your comments on Martinez…Truth be told..I know he is better than anybody we have…I just don’t understand a team full of DH’s signing a guy to BE A DH and backup C, when you signed Maggs (terrible move) who can only really play DH.
    Tonight, this guy has been great this year (Gonzalez) but tonight he isn’t throwing strikes…The Tigers hitters are getting themselves out…start swinging at good pitches and we should get some hits.

    1. I agree re the too many DHs on this club. To me though the bigger problem is a complet lack of discipline at the plate. And that has been a problem for the Tigers for years. Far too often they fail to work counts and just swing at first pitches and other times they swing at junk. The other problem was just on display — RISP and no RBI.

      1. We are missing Wee Willie Rhymes in that case. Because he never, ever swings at a 1st pitch. He now leads the AL with an incredible 2% of first pitches swung at (the next closest is Youkilis at 6%).

  8. Jackson…are you kidding me? swing at some strikes…its hard to score when your leadoff man never gets on base. Gonzalez is throwing 1 strike per at bat

      1. This is why you have to look at stats more closely: none of Raburn’s lifetime ABs vs Gio came LAST season, after he became good. Doh!

  9. The Tigers should be embarrassed…In his first 60 pitches this guy has thrown 32 strikes and 28 balls (according to the Oakland broadcast) Many of those strikes were from help by the Tigers and yet, they still haven’t hit a ball hard. Gonzo has also not thrown a curveball for a strike w/ 2 strikes…yet they keep swinging at it..make the ump call you out before you keep swing at that…it sure appears to me, that he has no desire to get anybody out in the strike zone. He is throwing a lot of get me over curveballs……maybe be ready for a curve early..Raburn was giving a hanger, like inge got yesterday..on the 1st pitch for example.

    1. That’s typical of Gio Gonzalez. He is well known for walking guys. Throwing heaters up high and soft stuff in the dirt is part of his game. It makes him nearly unhittable.

  10. Ok let’s be agressively patient. Meaning go up there w/ a plan and if he gives you what you are looking for early let it rip…I bet he walks Miggy, so, it will be up to some other guys to make them pay…Coke is 0-2 and has pitched well, let’s get him a win.

  11. Not a bad at bat,by Miggy..he ahd his pitch to hit and he fouled it straight back…he was ready Gio got lucky. Martinez got a real good pitch to hit and he fouled it straight back…The Tigers hitting is just bad.

  12. Man…Coke continues to impress me as a Starter. It is too bad we can’t get any offense to support him. He has become this years Nate Robertson and Edwin Jackson of years past.

  13. Man…That is 3 batters and 3 pitches up to drive..Need to do something w/ those pitches. This guy REFUSES to throw a strike, when he gets ahead in the count. Too bad, we keep swinging at that curve in the dirt w/ 2 strikes..

  14. This guy did not pitch well tonight…The Yankees or Red Sox would have walked their way to a lead and he would have been out of the game by the 3rd inning…

      1. Yes, the Yankees would have done something w. those walks and we could have had a bunch more…He threw almost no strikes…its unheard of for a guy to throw only about 50% strikes and get through 6 scoreless…That’s on the hitters.

  15. It took Santiago to do what the rest of the line up could not do all night — get one up in the zone and put it play.

  16. reading the comments i see everyone is well pleased with cokes early efforts. i like how hes 25 pitches better than gio tonight. good sign, i guess that what 6 BBs does to you. coke could pitch into the 8th depending on jims leash and gameplay

  17. I give up. I’ll read about it in the morning. Go Tigers!

    PS to Jim L: Leave Coke in the game.

  18. Its hard to like Victor Martinez…He was an Indian for so long and his nickname in Detroit should be Victor “Rally killer” Martinez.

      1. Cheerful. The Tigers have not won a division title since 1987…Every year they start the season w/ giant payrolls and huge holes in the lineup and pitching staff. Just calling it for what it is….I am not very critical of the Red Wings…win or lose, they know what they are doing…You don’t have to like every move, to understand they have a plan and they execute it….The Tigers always rely on some unrealistic thing to happen for them to be successful over the long haul… D-Train or Bondo starting last season, in 2007 they thought Rodney or zumaya would come back,so, they did nothing to shore up the bullpen. Sheff was obvioulsy too injured to be effective….Yet, JL let him bat 3rd for WAY too long. In 2009 some guy named Figaro is pitching in a huge game….Their star player is drinking w/ the chisox and goes hitless in the series,,,they still play him in the Minnesota game. In 2008…They have a team stacked w/ talent and Leyland and the staff lose control of the team and they finish DEAD LAST….Through all this chaos…we are told that DD has done a great job and Jim Leyland is the best man for the job…I love my tigers, but, I have lost all faith in the current regime. Let us not forget that they also signed a guy (D-Train) to a long extension before ever seeing him pitch and had this big drawn out media fight w/ Inge about moving back to catcher (even tried to trade him) Then realized he couldn’t play 3b (No scout saw this before bringing him over) and Finally…They sign Guillen to a long extension…experts question whether he has the range or body to withstand playing SS any longer…DD says “we would not have signed him long term, if we did not see him as our SS throughout the contract” shortly after that…they make the decision that he can not play SS and go and move him to every position…before figuring out the guy is a DH…too bad they have a ton of those. Ah!!!! I feel better now.

        Go Tigers!

  19. chris in texas can you lose your keyboard or something please? where’d you come from, loser. get lost

    1. I am not allowed to vent about my Tigers…some of it is superstition…When you call guys out, they tend to come through…it used to work w/ Fedorov and Shanny years ago…I think it probably had more to do w/ the fact that those Wings teams were very, very good…In any event, habits are hard to break…I do not think that I attack anybody besides pro ball players…Besides V-mart has been the enemy for so long, he just lit up Tiger pitching FOREVER…

      1. When you cry here too often, like you have been, nobody will want to listen when you have a legit complaint. Like the boy who cried wolf.

  20. i give coke leash here. 3 run lead, still managable pitch count for at least a few batters. lets see if he can get in and out quickly in the 8th. im sure benoit is coming in though

  21. AJax with the R3L2O-K Fail. Luckily for us the A’s are showing off their Clown Show talent tonight.

  22. maybe jim will use an excuse of, oh it was a long wait between pitches for coke. dont want him out there kinda cold after such a break with oakland walking atleast 4 batters in the top half lolol

  23. isnt this the kinda spot you might leave coke in? strong showing, early in a road trip, try to save some pen work?

  24. I’m with the leave Coke in another inning crowd–low pitch count, and they barely hit a ball hard against him. Not to mention that we’re a bit thin in the set-up area right now, so why not save Benoit? I also knew no way Smokey ever doesn’t go Benoit-8 Valverde-9 here.

    1. I don’t mind Benoit getting his work, but won’t this be three days in a row for Valverde?

    2. Coke has never made it past the 7th inning. He started to lose it in his last game after 88 pitches. So I guess that’s the benchmark.

      1. he wasnt losing it tonight. mario mentioned retiring 13 of the last 14.

        though i will give plenty of credit towards coke is still transitioning to being a starter. so thats the best argument. at 94 pitches tonight he is still increasing his workload and was quite stellar at that. so its not a huge issue, just maybe a little aggressiveness from jim if he keeps him in.

        GG tigers. strong win

  25. How bad&ss would a show about Valverde and Coco Crisp be where Valverde was the boss and Crisp was his dumb but loyal henchman. Valverde would say stuff like “Hey hombre, that’s not where the dead bodies go!” (cue the laugh track)

    1. Just think if Valverde had that hair…it would bounce around when he did his leg kick. Plus he could store all sorts of, um, pitching aids in it.

  26. I think Phil Coke might be our new staff ace. He avoided hitters counts. He induced soft grounders and cans of corn. Made it very easy for our defense.

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