Game 2012.35: Tigers at White Sox

Justin Verlander set a good example for young Drew Smyly, and callously shut down the Oakland A’s offense.  That’s the way to deal when your own team can’t score runs.

Today’s surprise prediction:  Smyly has his first shaky outing, but the offense will more than make up for it.

A lot of things have gone wrong with the offense.  Miguel Cabrera went on a career worst slump, followed by an unprecedented, and ongoing, Fielder slump (0-22 and counting).  They can’t score a runner from third with less than 2 out, they can’t bunt a runner up (it used to be every .200 hitter could bunt and run…not so much anymore).  And then there is Ryan Raburn.

Raburn has been awful.  And if past history is any guide, there is no reason to expect much improvement any time soon.  For those who missed it, Raburn has been consistently awful in May (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS)

  • 2010 .115 BA .115 OBP .154 SLG .269 OPS 0 BB 7 K
  • 2011 .113 BA .141 OBP .129 SLG .270 OPS 1 BB 22 K
  • 2012 .114 BA .179 OBP .200 SLB .379 OPS 2 BB 14 K

(2012 numbers through 5/13)

In other words, as bad as he has been, he is having a career best May.

Leyland says he is going to keep playing him, no matter what (OK…maybe. But batting him 6th? Seriously?): “I’ve got to get him going, and I’m going to give him the opportunity to get going.  That’s why he’s playing.”

As Jamie Samuelsen says: “Leyland needs Raburn to hit. And the only way that he knows how to get him to hit is to keep rolling him out there. Why he thinks that strategy applies to Raburn and didn’t apply to players like Brandon Inge, Ramon Santiago or Don Kelly is something only Leyland knows. But it’s not going to change, at least not soon.”

Furthermore, if it is an established pattern that Raburn hits only after the All-Star break (Raburn is a career .300 hitter in the 2nd half), why in the world would it seem like playing him more now is a good idea?

Jason Back says that “Raburn is like a stock at 52-wk low but with history of beating 2nd and 3rd-qtr estimates. Maddening to own, panic move to sell.”

So what to do? You tell me.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Gerald Laird.  Laird is one of only 3 Tigers hitting .300, has shown surprising baserunning abilities, and may be one of the best minor moves of the offseason.

Tonight’s If-He-Gets-Another-Hit-He-May-Move-Up-To-4th Lineup:
  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Andy Dirks LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young DH
  6. Ryan Raburn 2B
  7. Brennan Boesch RF
  8. Jhonny Peralta SS
  9. Gerald Laird C

84 Comments

  1. Kevin in Dallas

    May 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    1) Love that Dirks is batting second against a lefty. He’s here to stay.

    2) Cabrera read that ball beautifully. He’s such a smart ballplayer.

  2. StorminNorman$

    May 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    3-0 and rugburn had a green light?

    • StorminNorman$

      May 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      3-0 count that is – i’m not watching – was the 4th pitch toraburn out of the strike zone?

  3. PHToy in HK

    May 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Pregame forecast seems accurate so far. Let’s hope 2 runs is as shaky as it gets for Smyly.

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 8:33 pm

      I REALLY like the way Smyly reacts to adversity…no emotion, no change in what he is doing, just goes about his business…for a youngster, he seems not at all prone to ever having a real meltdown.

  4. Vince in MN

    May 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    With Raburn’s .130 1st half+ (remember he doesn’t usually get going until after the AS Game) and .330 the rest of the way, I would be much happier with somebody who could average .250-.300 all year, finishing .260 or thereabouts. He’s a tremendous drag when he is an automatic out for such a long spell AND PLAYING EVERY DAY.

  5. Kevin in Dallas

    May 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Man I swear that MLB umpiring has been on a decline for a few years. Maybe it’s b/c instant replay is curing some of the ills in other sports.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      May 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      In case you missed it, Cabrera’s ball was CLEARLY fair (kicked up dirt inside the line past 3B), but was called foul. Would have scored 2.

  6. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    WTH is going on with the Tigers and umpires these days? That ball was fair 2 different ways.

    • Vince in MN

      May 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      When you are not playing well you don’t get the calls either. It was like that 2 or 3 years ago too. And when they were really bad, oh my.

  7. Vince in MN

    May 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Dunn seems to be earning his salary this year .993 OPS before tonight.

  8. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    OK, so we’ve established Raburn can’t bunt either, lets take that off the table.

  9. scott

    May 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    just learned something else Rayburn can’t do…….. :-(

    • Damus Fucious

      May 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

      Quote;
      “just learned something else Rayburn can’t do”
      —————————————–

      Well – Ryan can spell his last name correctly.

      Go Tigers!

  10. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    1-2 0 out bunt fail is just as bad as the R3L2O Fail.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      May 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Fail.

  11. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Laird with the R3L2O success…player of the pregame!

  12. scott

    May 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    too bad……we were hammerin’ Danks; don’t want a reliever in there……

  13. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Danks = Colon

    • StorminNorman$

      May 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      raburn = buzz-kill

    • Vince in MN

      May 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Stewart = Cy Young

  14. Kevin in Dallas

    May 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Cabrera = smart ballplayer.

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Cabrera = Laird…not fast, but very good baserunner.

      • Coleman

        May 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

        He has yet to fail when ignoring Gene Lamont.

  15. Vince in MN

    May 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Oh no, Cabrera steals third. That will only work about 10% of the time, but Leyland will be encouraged to try it again and again – with different results.

    • Tigers Rule

      May 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      ….. and K-Bum can’t even get him home with only one out ….. just brutal!

      • Vince in MN

        May 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm

        I think Raburn needs to be moved to the leadoff spot. He will get more ABs there and break out of his slump faster.

  16. tom in troy

    May 14, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Let’s see, Bosch can run like a deer toward a ball nearly in the seats but he couldn’t get to that one?

  17. scott

    May 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    is it me, or does it seem like the Tigers are getting inundated with ‘dink hits’ against ‘em? seems like 2 or 3 times a game the other team gets those damned bloopers……

  18. Tigers Rule

    May 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    We must have the worse execution rate with R3L2O.

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      We actually do.

      • Tigers Rule

        May 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

        I hope those runs that we didn’t plate in that situation tonight don’t come back and bite us in the a$$.

        • Vince in MN

          May 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm

          Hold onto your hat – we are approaching blowpen territory.

  19. Vince in MN

    May 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Look gents, just because you have reached your average of 4.2 runs per game is no excuse to stop now.

  20. tom in troy

    May 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Rookie mistake!

  21. PHToy in HK

    May 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Is it in his contract that Smyly can only go 6 innings?

    • tom in troy

      May 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      it is odd that he was taken out having thrown fewer than 70 pitches.

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      No, but they read the Pre-game, and realized they were pushing their luck.

      • Coleman

        May 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm

        If only they would’ve read also the Raburn section.

    • Vince in MN

      May 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      No, but it is in Leyland’s brain.

  22. scott

    May 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    this ‘putz’ dude…….I’m less than impressed, and haven’t been his other appearances either……..

  23. tom in troy

    May 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    The blow pen doing what it does best. Is this Putkonnen guy really the best we can do in this situation??

  24. scott

    May 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    now I’m disgusted…….

  25. Vince in MN

    May 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I say leave Putkonen in there so he can pitch out of his slump.

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      The Raburn Rule says that they have to bring him in again tomorrow, but sooner.

  26. PHToy in HK

    May 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    What a great decision!

  27. tom in troy

    May 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Putkonnen = Jason Grilli = human gas can

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      The White Sox call him “Rally Cap.”

    • Florian

      May 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      But it’s sure nice that he could improve his on field experience :-(

    • Damus Fucious

      May 15, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Quote;
      “Putkonnen = Jason Grilli = human gas can”
      ===============

      Pick another name please. Gas Can now belongs to Collin Balester.

  28. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I’m a bit embarrassed, really, but my Pre-game prediction didn’t fully factor in the Blowpen Effect.

  29. Kevin in Dallas

    May 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    At some point in time, some manager will learn that you bring in your best relievers in the most high pressure situations. And he will be applauded by me.

    I would have loved to see Dotel or Benoit once Put’em’on got into hot water.

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      On the other hand, Managing For Dummies says that you replace a LHP starter with a RHP reliever, because they have their RH lineup in, haha.

    • Chris in Texas

      May 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Leyland has always been terrible at handling a bullpen…certain managers have good pens, no matter who is in pen every year and other guys have terrible pens…The thing about most bad pens, in the league are that way because the starters don;t go deep enough in games and they get worn down…Not, Jim Leyland’s teams…He just never knows when to take them out.

  30. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    You know things are rough when you’ve got Peralta up there bunting (and failing).

  31. Brenden

    May 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Are you serious??? So many more opportunities to score runs and they blow it, and then Leyland brings in a rookie in a tough situation and he blows it… This team is just giving away this game!

  32. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Great time for KJax to re-emerge.

  33. Jud

    May 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    what a shame to waste Rayburns once a series hit….

    • StorminNorman$

      May 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      oh it won’t be ‘wasted’ in JL’s mind…that hit just guaranteed Raburn another two weeks in the starting lineup…

  34. tom in troy

    May 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Hey look it this way: They have blown two 3 run leads in just 7 innings. That is an improvement because these jokers haven’t had two 3 run leads in the last month.

  35. Brenden

    May 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Is there any reason why the other relievers couldn’t have been used? This team actually produces a few runs, and blow pen blows it… But, of course, the offense has had more opportunities, but expecting them to score more than 5 runs is a lot, considering that it is a challenge for them to score one run…

  36. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I like the Below-pen much more than the Blowpen

  37. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Not sure why Jim Leyland thinks anybody besides Benoit or Valverde can pitch in his bullpen (Dotel can be good, just like albuqurque last year) but, for the most part you can only count on those two guys…on a consistent basis, so, I am wondering why we were in such a hurry to get rid of our starter…but, in any event. How can the Tigers be late on 3-1 93 mph fastballs right down the middle? How is that possible? Offensively they suck. Tonight, they scored some runs because Danks was awful and the CF misplayed Fielder’s ball to CF…Raburn is hitting in the 6th hole, which Leyland himself has called “a great RBI slot” which is why he had Guillen hit there all these years…I mean, I can’t complain about Raburn because almost all these guys suck…but, bat him towards the bottom of the order. Boesch is 3rd on the team in RBI…bat him 6th. It doesn’t really matter, they will be fine, if the division sucks this bad…but, they should be way up by now…what happens if they suffer a major injury (JV, Cabrera,etc.) They may be 8 games out, if somebody goes down…This start is pathetic and Jim is pushing every wrong button…Why Putkkonen? Why leave him in forever?

    • Florian

      May 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Why pinch-hit for Dirks? To weaken your offense so that you can gain relatively more strength or why? why, why, why?

  38. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    May 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    For what it’s worth, the Hen-o-meter down in Toledo is at .351 for the season and .429 for the month of May. And did I mention he plays a mean second base? http://www.milb.com/milb/stats.....pid=518784

  39. Jud

    May 14, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    leta see Santiago for Dirks…whenever I think Leyland can’t get stupider….he does something stupider….

    • Florian

      May 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Maybe JL can’t wake his team up anymore, so he let’s them fall to rock bottom, so that they get motivated again?

  40. StorminNorman$

    May 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    applying what i think is the more relevant LOB stat tonight, DET 23, CHW 8

    • Florian

      May 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      consistently high LOB values – still new to baseball, so can anyone explain why that even makes sense? you are able to get on base, so you are able to hit, and then why do you fail in R3L2O situations? If you just continue scoring hits, then you should be fine eventually.

  41. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Fielder WTF? You were looking for a pitch around your ankles? 1st pitch swinging at that pitch? I mean, it isn’t a secret why they are bad in the clutch…They swing at that crap, with the game on the line…1st Pitch…Leyland needs to start benching guys, when they waste an at-bat…This is a joke. 8th inning, tying run is up and he swings at that…God, I wish guys would do that to us, with the game on the line…It almost never happens…We start out 1-0 and get behind in the count. When was the last time they won 2 in a row? I am sick of people acting like it will work itself out…They are playing AWFUL baseball (as far as the mental approach) and the only way you can win that way…is if the rest of your division loses the division…They should not accept another day of this BS…Get called out on strikes from time to time. The advanced scouts, know that the Tigers are overly aggressive and nobody throws them strikes in clutch situations…They need to be patient and stop missing 3-1 cookies and teams will have to start pitching them different. This is all coaching…Stop playing guys, who refuse toi change their approach. The will get the message.

    • Florian

      May 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      alright, thanks, this answers my question about R3L2O. Sad. Really.

  42. Jud

    May 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Rayburn is really on a roll. He has one hit exactly in three consecutive series…He is going for the one hit in a series record

    • Coleman

      May 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm

      The Raburn Hitting Streak (1 hit in every series)…I wonder what the RHS record is?

  43. tom in troy

    May 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Clown show in full effect.

  44. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Does Leyland not know that his bullpen stinks besides Benoit and Valverde? I am getting redundant…My point..on a given night when he finds a guy getting outs…Just stay with it, because the chances are slim, that he will find 2 guys not named Benoit or Valverde to get outs on the same night. Hopefully it works out, but, Below was getting outs.

  45. Thunder-C

    May 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Yep, this team is just not enjoyable to watch! Gotta be the most lazy, undisciplined team in the league & the ole skip pushes all the wrong buttons!

    • Vince in MN

      May 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Leyland needs to change his diet. His gut is letting him down.

  46. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Try to take this guy to RF and make him pitch w/ men on base and see how he reacts? Delmon Young is just cashing his paycheck, that was a joke of an at-bat.

  47. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Good Job Raburn (we need him to get hot NOW)

  48. Coleman

    May 14, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Raburn Rally!!

  49. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Hang a slider to Boesch

  50. Chris in Texas

    May 14, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    He had a chance…that pitch caught a lot of the plate…but, we aren’t even hitting mistakes these days.

  51. Jud

    May 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    this team sucks…and I agree with Chris ..they AREN’T going to be all right!!!

    • Damus Fucious

      May 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Quote:
      “this team sucks…and I agree with Chris ..they AREN’T going to be all right”
      ——————————————

      Buy the Macy’s crystal ball next time – or don;t let your dog roll it down the basement steps.
      Employing both methods should add another 15-20 Tigers victories this season.