Game 2011.72: Tigers at Rockies

Happy Father’s Day All.  This is my first! (shameless plug)  Anyone watching the game with their kids?

Tigers lose last night in a game where they doubled their opponents’ hits – 12 to 6.  The Tigers had plenty of scoring chances, and even hit 4-10 with RISP, but back to back walks in the 2nd followed up by a Ubaldo Jimenez single did in Phil Coke.  Coke had little control throughout the game, and 9 walks given up by Tigers pitching was just too much.  One bright spot – the bullpen was pretty darn good, giving up 1 hit (just happened to be a HR) and 2 walks against 4 ks in three innings. Like Ron Washington said, That’s the way baseball go.

Thus, the Tigers are on the verge of losing back-to-back-to-back games for 4th time this year.  But I’m not worried, as Justin Verlander climbs the mound this afternoon.

Since I did not yet get an opportunity to do so, I wanted to take a look at JV’s pitch selection from his masterpiece last Tuesday.  To say that he’s mixing it up would be a gross understatement, like saying Maggs in in a little slump.  In the first inning he started off relying heavily on his fastball, per usual, but note that every out pitch was on an off-speed pitch, recording two strikeouts on his curveball, and getting Brantley to ground out on a change-up.  The 4/14 off-speed pitches that he threw in the first all went for strikes.  If he can establish his complimentary pitches like that today, he’s going to be 9-3 when he leaves the ballpark.

In the second he again stuck with the fastball, throwing 6 of them against 3 changeups.  In the third, he shifted gears and began throwing more off-speed stuff.  This has got to be demoralizing for the opponents, as just when they think they are getting their timing down against the fastball, he becomes an off-speed pitcher.  From the third to the seventh, he alternated brilliantly between fastball heavy innings, and non fastball heavy innings.  In the 6th he set down Hannahan on three straight fastballs, and then in the 7th he reached 99 MPH for the first time all game to Brantley. So what does he do in the 8th when it looks like he’s all warmed up and ready to hit 100?  He throws 2 fastballs against 12 off-speed pitches.  The Cabrera hit was on a fastball that JV would likely tell you was poorly located.

Other than starting games with predominantly fastballs, JV’s pitch selection has been impossible to predict as of late, and as a result, he has been nearly impossible to hit.

The Rockies counter with mainstay Aaron Cook, a soft-throwing right-hander who neither strikes out nor walks many, but gives up a lot of hits.  Cook has started only 2 games this year after slamming a door on his finger during Spring Training.  Seems like a convenient way to get out of drills, if you ask me.  He gets pretty good movement on his two-seamer, and that combined with the Rockies’ inability to develop young pitchers have kept him in the rotation for almost 10 years.

Your Father’s Day Lineup:

(coming soon)


  1. judpma

    June 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    just logged in long enough to wish all the dad’s a HAPPY FATHERS DAY..hope you can spend the day with your family……Go Tigers….GO JV

  2. Vince in MN

    June 19, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    After 4 innings, Verlander is not only mixing his pitches well, but he is changing speeds on his 4-seam fasball too (from 92 to 97mph). Having thrown only 53 pitches, he may just be getting warmed up.

  3. Brenden

    June 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Verlander the stopper. We needed a big day from him and so far he is delivering. If we could only count on Pittsburgh to take one from Cleveland today…

    • Vince in MN

      June 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      I’m not hopeful. The Pirates have scored 4 runs in the three games, and today they have left 12 men on – that kind of futility tends to catch up with you more often than not.

  4. Vince in MN

    June 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Am I correct that there is a nick-name contest going on for Verlander, or did I imagine that? Anyway, I would put out “Just In Time” for fun, since he has sure been a stopper so far.

    • Vince in MN

      June 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      I guess if this was the 1920s or ’30s, we’d have to call him “Swede.”

      • scotsw

        June 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

        Isn’t it Dutch?

        • Vince in MN

          June 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

          I think you are right. “Dutch” it should be.

  5. Vince in MN

    June 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Well, that was easy. I don’t think Verlander even worked that hard today. He threw lots of off-speed stuff and only hit 98mph a couple of times on the fastball.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      June 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      It’s great to watch him win on a 2 hit 12 K complete game, and then come back with a 4 hit 4 k complete game.

      BTW – Wiggington’s HR was on a change-up. I can’t imagine he’s given up too many on change-ups this year.

      • Vince in MN

        June 19, 2011 at 6:27 pm

        Since he had already lost the no-hitter and the Tigers were up 4-0, he was just toying with them at that point.

  6. Kevin in Dallas

    June 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    What a father’s day. Thanks JV.

  7. Vince in MN

    June 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    CLE sweeps PIT on a walkoff HR by Phelps (.143), MN sweeps SD on walk-off single by Butera (.176). Baseball is a funny game sometimes.

    The Twins have won 7 straight and have picked up 8 games in the standings this month. Mauer is back now, but Morneau, Kubel, Thome and Span are still out. They are doing this with a AAA lineup but great pitching. I can’t believe they can keep this up, but baseball is a funny game sometimes.

  8. Kevin in Dallas

    June 19, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Al Alb post on Baseball-Reference:

    • Coleman

      June 20, 2011 at 2:46 am

      Nice find. The pooh-poohers point out that he has a small sample size, and that there was nothing in his minor league career to indicate he might be anything special. However it should be noted–and this is rather disturbing, really–his minor league career was plagued by migraines, fatigue, and shoulder pain, which it turns out were caused by severe dental problems (really, I don’t want to think about it). Someone in the Tiger organization was on the ball, and we got a steal.