Game 2011.67: Indians at Tigers

First place on the line and Justin Verlander on the mound, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Although last night will be tough to top:  tense, tight game, close plays on the bases, the rare night when the calls were going Detroit’s way, and a dramatic walk-off triple (the first career walk-off hit for Ramon Santiago).

The triple was aided by B.J. Upton, who was playing Santiago shallow and shading toward left.  In fact Rod Allen commented more than once during the game that Upton was playing a very shallow CF for Comerica, and that came back to bite Upton.  There certainly was no reason to play shallow with Martinez on first;  even a double wouldn’t have scored the run. One wonders if Maddon were on the bench, if Upton would have been repositioned.  Was Maddon’s ejection the hidden key play of the game?

Not that you can blame Maddon for being upset.  Ruggiano, the runner called out at the plate, even took it to another level, hinting that he’s just going to do a Posey on catchers from now on. “If they’re going to give catchers the benefit of the doubt on those plays, then I feel like that narrows down our options to a collision at home every time,” Ruggiano said.

Tonight not only brings us the battle of first-place teams, but also the battle of the Justins, Verlander vs Masterson. Verlander is in top form, 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA his last seven starts. And he says he isn’t really pitching his best right now.  I can’t wait to see what that is.  The key for our Justin is to get past Michael Brantley, who is .538 for his career vs Verlander.

The other Justin did well in his start against Detroit earlier in the year, and is pitching well in general, but falling victim to the team slump–he held the Twins to 2 runs in 8 innings his last start, but got the loss.

In unrelated news, Ryan Raburn needs a few more ABs to statistically qualify for the league leader lists.  Which is a shame, because he just edged Chone Figgins for the lowest On-Base Percentage in the American League (.235).

In other news, Brandon Inge was seen taking batting practice today.

Today’s Player of the Pre-Game:  Don Kelly

See above.

Today’s Lucky Lefty Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Don Kelly 3B
  3. Brennan Boesch RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Andy Dirks LF
  7. Alex Avila C
  8. Ramon Santiago SS
  9. Ryan Raburn 2B

47 Comments

  1. Brenden

    June 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Okay…so let me get this straight, Magglio gets benched against Masterson because of the match up, yet helpless Raburn is left in the lineup, instead of starting switch-hitting Santiago. If Leyland is going to use that logic to bench Magglio against Masterson, the same should apply with Raburn, considering that we have better options against a Lefty…

    • Coleman

      June 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      Yeah, the move would seem to be to put Santiago at 2B, and leave Peralta at SS (against his former team, nonetheless). In essence, Smokey is going with Raburn over Peralta today.

      • Vince in MN

        June 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

        Rayburn is MR2B and Santiago is not. End of story.

      • Mr. X

        June 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

        Peralta hasn’t had a day off for awhile. He usually sits every 10th game of so. Raburn just had 2 days off. I understand resting players, especially players that are slumping like Peralta. Jhonny is 0-8 in his last 2 games and 6 for 34 in his last 9 games.

        • Coleman

          June 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

          Raburn has been slumping since March.

          • Mr. X

            June 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

            The Tigers won’t have a day off until June 23. Their last day off was on June 2nd. Nevermind.

      • Brenden

        June 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

        Yeah, I missed that part….Peralta is benched….one of the hottest hitting guys on our team is benched for Raburn…

  2. Andrew

    June 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Leyland with another classic sound bite when asked about Ordonez not being in tonight’s lineup.

    • Mr. X

      June 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      Magglio will probably pinch hit for Don Kelly later in the game if a lefty pitcher comes in.

  3. Mr. X

    June 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Been looking forward to this series.

  4. ouchudied

    June 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Anyone else having problems loading MLB.com Gameday? It hasn’t seemed to work in a few days for me.

    • Mr. X

      June 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

      It’s working for me.

      • ouchudied

        June 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

        grumble

  5. Coleman

    June 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Jumping Jax!

  6. ouchudied

    June 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Mario just ruined the surprise unveiling of our new third basemen: ALEX AVILA

    • Mr. X

      June 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      Look out Inge!

  7. ouchudied

    June 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Hey Jack Hannahan -

    You don’t belong in the batter’s box.

    kthxbye

    Love you,
    Justin Verlander

  8. Vince in MN

    June 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Good to see Verlander toughing it out when he doesn’t have his best stuff yet.

    • ouchudied

      June 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      I see what you did there

  9. Mr. X

    June 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    That why Dirks is batting 6th.

  10. R3L2O Police

    June 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Mr. Dirks, you are a fine, upstanding citizen.

    • R3L2O Police

      June 14, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      As is your neighbor, Mr. Avila

  11. Vince in MN

    June 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Ah, good old station-to-station Tigerball.

  12. ouchudied

    June 14, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Inge better hope that he doesn’t have another kid. That kid would really feel left out

    • scotsw

      June 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      He’s got 2 legs, allegedly.

  13. JOE Z

    June 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    atta boy raburn

  14. Vince in MN

    June 14, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    R. (Rallykiller) Rayburn!

  15. Brenden

    June 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    We can always count on Raburn to kill a good inning with a strikeout. It’s almost like they pitched around Santiago to get to him. Hmm…

  16. ouchudied

    June 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Its restaurant week in Ann Arbor and I told the gf that I’d take her to one of the restaurants tonight, so I’m going to have to leave the couch soon and take a break from watching this game. What she does not know is that I am choosing the restaurant based on the presence of televisions in the establishment. If I am wrong here, tell me. And if you do tell me I’m wrong, I will not listen to you. FYI.

  17. Coleman

    June 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    OK, so did that pitch REALLY hit Santana in the 1st inning? Because it is looking possible that that could turn out to be a very significant call.

    • Mr. X

      June 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      Your 1st Place Detroit Tigers

      • Mr. X

        June 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm

        opps wrong place for that

  18. Kevin in Dallas

    June 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Standing O.

  19. Brenden

    June 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Ahh, that’s too bad… Well done, Verlander.

  20. Coleman

    June 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Nice support from Smoking Man, bringing in the 8th inning defensive replacements.

  21. Coleman

    June 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Wait, seriously, Worth has a .950 OPS?

  22. JOE Z

    June 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    lets never give first place back

    • JOE Z

      June 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      GO

  23. Mr. X

    June 14, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Mr X May 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Prediction: Tigers will be in 1st place at or before June 16th.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 14, 2011 at 10:17 pm

      Mad props here. I’ve had that in the back of my mind for a while.

      So Mr. X, how long will it last?

  24. Coleman

    June 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Sometimes you just have to appreciate Rod Allen.
    With an 0-2 count on Sizemore, and Verlander at 11 strikeouts:
    Rod: Verlander with 12 strikeouts
    Mario: How many?
    Rod: Did you see that last swing
    Mario: (chuckles)
    …followed by an awful swinging strike 3.

    Which, by the way, got Grady a brand new golden sombrero

  25. Kevin in Dallas

    June 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Just in case you haven’t seen Grandy’s stats as of late.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player....._id=434158

    Super happy for the guy, just wish it were anyone but the Yankees.

    • Andrew in Toronto

      June 15, 2011 at 7:26 am

      I was going to reply with some comment about wishing we had a real hitting coach on this team, but I guess I should refrain from doing so when we have one of the better offenses in the league. Don’t know if McClendon is responsible, but we’re doing okay.

    • Adam Holwerda

      June 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      It wouldn’t be. How many other “short porch” teams are there?

  26. Vince in MN

    June 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Tigers string of consecutive games with an extra-base hit ends at 66.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 14, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks for ruining my perfect run. Now I know what JV musta felt like in the 8th.

  27. Adam Holwerda

    June 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I tweeted this after the game last night:

    @adamholwerda: Verlander now in top 5 of each AL Triple Crown category. WINS: 2nd (tied with 2 others) STRIKEOUTS: 3rd (105K’s) and ERA: 5th (2.66) #tigers

    Not predicting a Triple Crown, necessarily, but the guy is at least putting himself in a position to do it.