Game 2102.5: Rays at Tigers

The Tigers are still hot, even in the snow.

Porcello said cold weather be damned, and pitched a gem, marred only by 3rd inning control problems.  Austin Jackson continued to excel, provided power and patience, raising his SLG to 1.000 and his OBP to .650 in the process.

Non-obvious play of the game: with no outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, Jim Leyland replaces Delmon Young with pinch-runner Clete Thomas.  With an early jump, Thomas beat out a tailor made DP ball off the bat of Ryan Raburn, which meant that Peralta’s fly brought home a run and kept the inning alive for Gerald Laird, instead of ending the inning.  The two insurance runs made life easy for the bullpen. Gold star for Smokey.

The Tigers will load up with lefties to take on James Shields today, and vie with Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks to see who the last undefeated team standing will be.  Current Tigers actually have fared quite well against the Rays ace, compiling team numbers of .329/.366/.588/.954, with Jhonny Peralta leading the pack at 8-16 with 4 home runs.

Mr. CyVP himself takes the mound for Detroit, and looks to continue his early season dominance. He has done well historically against the Rays lineup (poor Ben Zobrist with a 2-23, and 7 Ks), with the exception of the Cat-Saver Matt Joyce.  Joyce is 6-11 against Verlander, with a 1.183 slugging percentage.

***

Can you imagine the Tigers this season with Victor Martinez in the lineup? You may not have to imagine: it is possible he could return in August.

***

Today’s Player of the Pregame: Austin Jackson.

Ajax continues to lead MLB with a .650 OBP.  On the other hand, he has yet to find first base in 4 career ABs against Shields. Which trend will continue today?

Today’s Debut of the Donkey lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Brennan Boesch RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta SS
  6. Alex Avila C
  7. Andy Dirks DH
  8. Ramon Santiago 2B
  9. Don Kelly LF

35 Comments

  1. Kevin in Dallas

    April 11, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Great start. Avila hit a rope there.

  2. Coleman

    April 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    First hit of the game, and it’s Mr. 2-for-24 Ben Zobrist. Figures.

  3. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Verlander certainly has no-hit stuff today, even with Zobrist’s base knock.

  4. Kevin in Dallas

    April 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    This is sick.

    • Coleman

      April 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      Just for fun Leyland should send Valverde out to warm up right now.

  5. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    5 pitch 8th inning. This is probably Justin’s best non-no hitter of his career.

  6. Kevin in Dallas

    April 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    There’s no question that JV comes out to close this.

  7. Coleman

    April 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    This is ending badly.

  8. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Heartbreak.

  9. Andrew in Toronto

    April 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    I think that’s exactly the situation people were wondering about…

    If a better defender was playing 3rd this inning, maybe the game would be over now, or at least not tied.

    On the other hand, a defensive replacement would take away having the best hitter in baseball lead off the bottom of the ninth.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      April 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      I didn’t see it, was it pretty close to Cabrera?

      • Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

        April 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm

        It looked like a tough play, but it was hard to judge as a faster 3rd baseman may have gotten to it before they needed to lunge for it.

      • Andrew in Toronto

        April 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        Not sure what it’s worth, but here’s what Lynn Henning tweeted about it: Double-play ball by Longoria. Tigers will live with the double-edged sword.

        Hopefully we’re about to be reminded of the up-side of a Cabrera-Fielder combo.

    • Vince in MN

      April 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      9th inning, 2-run lead and Cy young pitching, you have to very seriously considering going for defense. Anybody not named Cabrera playing third and Leyland makes the switch. So it goes.

      • Andrew in Toronto

        April 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm

        What made it even harder to make a switch was having Cabrera and Fielder due to lead off the next inning.

        • Vince in MN

          April 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

          True, if he’d already batted in the eighth, Leyland probably puts in Worth there.

  10. Coleman

    April 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Schlereth…ugh

    • Nickgouge

      April 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Not a big fan…

    • Vince in MN

      April 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Weak Link.

    • Jerry The Tiger Fan

      April 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      I trust Schlereth in a tight game less than I would trust a pedophile to babysit children. He cannot be trusted to throw strikes………ever. Whne Fister comes off the DL Ihope they move Smyly to the bullpen as a situational lefty and boot Schlereth to the curb. Meant to post this after Wednesday’s game but didn’t have the time.

  11. Kevin in Dallas

    April 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    4 ER to JV. Tough game.

  12. Django McTunes (@ensigntaiga)

    April 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Anything can happen in baseball, even really bad crap. Sigh.

  13. Coleman

    April 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    The result of all of this is that we get to see Crooked Hat now.

    • Nickgouge

      April 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Crooked Hat?

      • Coleman

        April 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        Fernando Rodney…guy is just incapable of wearing his hat straight.
        http://angels.ocregister.com/f.....mages6.jpg

        • Nickgouge

          April 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

          LOL…Thanks, I forgot he was with the Rays now.

      • Vince in MN

        April 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        Rodney

  14. Vince in MN

    April 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Keppinger gets to PH twice.

  15. Vince in MN

    April 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Two things we can learn from today’s game:
    1. Don’t bring in Valverde in a non-save situation.
    2. Don’t bring in Schlereth.

    • Jeff Molby

      April 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      3. Bringing in your closer to start the 9th isn’t such a crazy idea after all. ;-)

      • Vince in MN

        April 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm

        Jeff,
        Actually I think that in today’s game it was even more justified to leave Verlander in to finish than last time: 1 hit and only 81 pitches over 8 innings looked like it should have been a slam dunk. And I agree that if a closer is going to be used (even in a non-save situation) it should be at the start of an inning. Technically of course they should be able to pitch in any situation, but too many times over the years (not just with Valverde – think Todd Jones) I have seen them fail miserably in situations outside of their normal role. They are kind of like super-stud bulls or roosters, which are bred for…. well, you know, and just don’t perform at such a high standard in any other situation. I don’t know if there is any way to prove this theory, and perhaps I have some deep seated biases, which unbeknownst to me, are leading me to this conclusion.

        I am 99% confident in my assessment in Schlereth however :-)

        • Jeff Molby

          April 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

          I agree on both counts. Why the heck was Schlereth even warming up? He’s way</em too low on the depth charts for a situation like that.

          • Vince in MN

            April 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

            He’s a LOOGY, although since he invariably allows the first couple of guys he faces to get on, that seems to be a rather mistaken role for him. I’d limit him to a mopup duty (ahead by 10 runs or behind by 10 runs) when he could at least provide a breather for the other relievers on the staff. Better yet would be just to replace him, but since he is left-handed….

            • beejeez

              April 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm

              Verlander was throwing too well and too economically to bring in a reliever to start the 9th. So don’t blame Leyland.

              Verlander overthrew a couple times in the 9th, but also threw some fantastic pitches that the TB hitters handled extremely well. So don’t blame JV.

              The bullpen wasn’t great, but pitching well when coming in unexpectedly on a cold afternoon against a good-hitting club isn’t easy. So don’t blame the bullpen.

              You want to hang the loss on somebody, hang it on the offense.

  16. Vince in MN

    April 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Thomas DFA for the Smily call up. Interesting roster manipulations after his start tomorrow with Wilk scheduled to be added to the roster Sat. And then there is the Inge decision coming up.