Game 2012.59: Tigers at Reds

Detroit Tigers, 27-32, 6 games behind Chicago.

Jim Leyland feels pretty good.  Every game.  Over and over. At least one can assume. “Anytime you have Cabrera and Fielder back to back, you feel pretty good. Right-hander or left-hander, it doesn’t make any difference,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Anyway yesterday was the kind of game that good teams win, in the same way the Friday night’s game was the type of game that bad teams lose.  So tonight is the rubber game both of the series, and of the good team/bad team thing, and it will be played out on the big stage: the game is the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball feature (thus the 8:00 PM start time).

Brennan Boesch has taken his share of abuse here, understandably so (although it should be noted he is no longer AL LVP: he is now behind both Ryan Raburn and Chone Figgins). But his double–and his base running on the Fielder single in the 8th (and this is exactly the sort of thing that the Tigers do oh so badly)–was the difference in the game.  Although no, sorry, Boesch still does not look as good as Joey Votto. 

On the down side, Boesch tweaked his ankle on the play, was removed from the game, and is now…day-to-day?

***Update: Boesch out, Berry in right, batting 2nd.  It may be a minor cavil, but it would make more sense to bat Berry first, and move Jackson to 2nd.  But maybe they were short of white-out or something.

In other news, apparently the Tigers made a serious offer to Roy Oswalt this offseason, and he said no thank you.

Stat of the Day: Jim Leyland is a career .500 manager. OK, technically 1615-1617. But he is 73-40 (.646) in Interleague play.  That sly, double-shifting devil!

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers have yet to see Reds flame throwing closer Aroldis Chapman.  That will likely change tonight, close situation or not.  The 100 mph fastball of Chapman meets the bat of Cabrera, and Chapman is tagged with his 2nd earned run of the season.

Tonight’s Jacksonberry Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Quintin Berry RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young LF
  6. Ramon Santiago SS
  7. Gerald Laird C
  8. Danny Worth 2B
  9. Drew Smyly P

104 thoughts on “Game 2012.59: Tigers at Reds”

  1. So, Leyland’s theme song is “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” now. My choice of a theme song from me to Leyland would be a medley starting with “Happy Trails To You”, followed by “Do Nothin’ Til You Hear From Me.”

    Boesch is incredibly streaky (almost Raburn streaky at times) as evidenced from his not so recent hitting streak between 5/7 and 5/25 (hits in 16 out of 17 games .355/.403/.516/.919) immediately followed by a slump (2 for 38 in the next 10 games). He is 6 for 12 in his last 3 games, and although that might make JL feel pretty good, I don’t know if “we’ve got him going” now or if it is a temporary blip. I guess we’ll see over the next few games. Obviously, if he doesn’t hit and falls back to the 2010 version, the team is in big trouble because he’s the RF apparently no matter what.

    D. Young has been (for him) relatively hot lately, hitting .296 in his last 20 games. I can see why Leyland would want to keep him in the lineup based on that figure, but to my mind it is a soft .296 as his OBA is .305 (1 BB) .494 SLG and .799 OPS. In other words, your normal average Delmon Young, which is nothing to get particularly excited about, especially in your No. 5 hitter.

    Peralta was showing signs of coming around this last week, but then he had to go and have a baby, so he is on paternity leave. However we have the “starting to get going” Santiago to fill in at SS, so maybe we will be OK there until Jhonny gets out of the hospital.

    The bottom half of the order (5-8) has that black hole look about it to me, but JL has lots of doyble switch opportunities with the deep bench, and Berry can always pinch run for somebody in a critical situation, so maybe we’ll be OK.

    1. I always liked the Rolling Stones’ “When the Whip Comes Down!”

      I enjoyed Kevin’s “white out” comment. Leyland and Dembroski have been looking for the bottle for quite sometime.

  2. worst team in baseball since the 9-3 start and Jim blames it on Doug Fister…How about teaching these pitchers how to hold a runner or spending some money on a 5th starter,so, Smyly was your insurance policy…You should always expect 1 starter to get injured during the year…when we won in 2006 Mike Maroth went down and last year we had to trade for Doug Fister…When Porcello is your 4th starter, I wouldn’t want an unproven rookie as my 5th starter. WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL since mid-April. They either have no talent or their coaching sucks…in any event, they are still in it, but, at some point you have to actually win some games for that to be true. They seem to be waiting for a savior.

    1. They went after Roy Oswalt. Big deal, the guy hasn’t even pitched yet. Beyond that I doubt that they tried to pick up another veteran. At the time Oliver, Turner and Wilk were their guys and Smily wasn’t even an insurance policy – he was truly a surprise out of ST. Maybe they were gunshy with the way the Penny signing turned out last year, but even so that isn’t a valid excuse. They are clearly paying for the lack of depth.

      Despite having innings eater Verlander, the starting staff is 12th in the AL in IP so far ths year. That of course taxes the bullpen and then the relievers start going on the DL or DDL and you get the parade of ineffective AA and AAA pitchers we have seen, which compounds the problem. as 4 or 5 relievers a game becomes SOP.

  3. For a guy who is known to draft pitchers…we will have to trade for another starter this year. Smyly is NOT READY…Porcello is not very good. In the last month, Smyly in the last month has 6.41 ERA it is possible that the league has figured him out as much as he is just having a bad stretch (We don’t know) I just can’t understand why a guy who has made a name for himself by saying “we draft pitchers” has not had many years where his teams has been in the top 5 of the AL in pitching. Porcello and Smyly both never make it to the 7th…so, your pen is overworked and Scherzer has been inconsistent. Bottom Line: This team can’t win if Scherzer and Porcello don’t grow up NOW…

      1. Gutsy performance? who cares? He is still not ready to pitch in the big leagues. We could all go out there and pitch w/ our hand bleeding…That still wouldn’t help the bullpen or the team win ballgames…He is probably a great kid,but, he should be in the minors developing his craft, or they need Porcello and Scherzer to become more consistent or their bullpen will be dead by August. That is all I am saying, If I were a GM, I would always have 6 legit startes on my team every year…Now, one of them would have to be a mediocre guy because no good starter would accept that role..but, all teams need a veteran innings eater.

        1. Did you see his blister? He’s obviously been dealing with this a while. So why is he pitching? Because WHO would be doing better?

        2. “Gutsy performance? Who cares?” Actially, I do. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with most of what you say. But, as a rookie, this tells me something about Smyly that I think is important. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a better starter available.

          It reminds me of Inge with two bad knees two years ago–impressed that he gutted that out. Not as impressed that Leyland kept writing his name in the lineup. Still, the same question: who SHOULD he have been putting in instead?

          It all comes down to a question of depth in the organization.

          1. No, Coleman..I am not putting you down..I hear what you are saying…I like the kid, I just think..the Tigers rush their starters and their bullpen problems this year have been due to overuse…But, I put, that on Scherzer and Porcello..w/Fister being injured, Those two are veterans and need to go deeper in games. Smyly has done more than the Tigers could have ever hoped for…He is not the problem.

    1. Smily has given up 4 runs in each of his last 5 starts, in only two of which he has pitched 6 innings. However, since there isn’t anybody else who can do any better in the 5 slot (or is it the 4 slot with Crosby in the 5 slot), we’ll just have to ride it out with him I am afraid. Even when Fister comes back, I’m betting Crosby is the one sent out.

      1. He’ll be back soon enough. Leyland will just have to accept the fact that he needs an 8-man bullpen. Which sterling member of the bench goes to make roster space might be a tough call, but I will bet it’s Berry since we won’t need the extra OF.

      1. That has got to even out at some point in time. I can’t fathom any other explanation.

        I think we’re going to go through a stretch of 10-12 games where we score 7-10 runs per game. I’m just nervous about what’s going to happen after that.

  4. The Tigers are a perfectly built team for this ballpark, unfortunately..Peralta, Raburn, and Boesch couldn’t play in all 3. They even have two sinkerballers in their starting lineup.

  5. Danny Worth makes a person miss Ryan Raburn. He has had his chance..The guy sucks. On a different note, I was watching American Psycho on cable today and Homer Bailey looks a lot like Christian Bale (i think that’s his name…the new batman)

    1. Christian Bale’s stepmother is Gloria Steinem. (You won’t get this kind of information from other Tiger blogs).

  6. Jim and Dan seem to think Laird attend the LaRussa school of hitting while at St. Louis

  7. Is there a worse 1st base coach than Tom Brookens? He always looks like he is about to ask a question.
    Tigers have to lead the league in runners thrown out leaving first base. Brookens has to go!

    1. I think Gene Lamont has taught Brookens everything he knows about coaching runners and unfortunately some of it may have stuck..

      1. “He always looks like he is about to ask a question” – that’s freaking hilarious. Look for it in a pre-game post soon.

  8. Time for a Raburn/Henry Toledo update… the last ten games Raburn is batting .182. Henry is .292.

      1. Tells me regardless of the league he has a swing or headgame flaw that hasn’t been fixed.

      2. If they had any notion of bringing up Henry, why did they bother with the A player Hernen Perez. Unless Leyland had him confused with Neifi.

  9. Other then the Twins sweep, when was the last series the Tigers won? That was a terrible call by the home plate umpire.

  10. Just got two books for my birthday: “Summer of ’68” by Tim Wendell and “Sparky and Me” by Dan Ewald both printed this year. I was a 13 year old newspaper boy for the Detroit Free Press in ’68 and the book brings back good memories.

    1. Both those books sound good. I never experienced 68,but, do remember the Pepsi Tiger fan club and the excitement we got when the tickets came in the mail. They were seats out in LF and never the premium matchups,but, it was like the scene from Fever Pitch when they came in the mail..I think we got 5 games per year. It remember Ron Leflore and Tram and Whitaker as youngsters…The dancing groundskeeper. I was also a ten year old when Gibby hit a HR over my head in game 5 of the WS…Little did I know, how rare that was being in the stands to clinch a championship. Great Memories! Don’t get back much anymore, last game was Fathers Day 2 years ago. Boesch hit a HR. Any other great memories from Michigan & Trumbull or Comerica?

      1. Best memories from the Corner? Kaline at the plate or patroling right field and regularly throwing a guy out at the plate as if it were a routine play. Kirk Gibson clearing the roof. Jack Morris mowing them down and refusing to lose. I could go on.

  11. I just tuned in and I swear that I am seeing now what I’ve watched all year. Tigers playing from behind. 2 men on, 2 out and little chance that anything will happen besides the natural change of a half inning. Hope I am wrong.

  12. Delmon Young – batting .228 vs. RH pitchers before tonight’s game. .317 vs LH. Anybody for a platoon?

  13. The Tigers have hit well with no one on base..Boesch should DH vs. RH and then Berry could play RF vs. RH..Just a thought.

  14. Thank God for AJaxx and a clown show..Hopefully, we can hold on because Cabrera and Fielder w/ an EPIC FAIL. It’s on them if we lose, not the tired bullpen.

    1. Can’t blame Cabrera…he put it in play, right side of the field–usually = run…he just hit it too hard.

      1. Yeah, that ball took a hop off of the mound right to Phillips. I wouldn’t blame Cabrera for much of anything right now, otherwise than that dive/fall on the popped bunt earlier in the game.

    1. What is he doing on this team ….. 10AB, 8K ….. anyone else, offensively speaking would be better ….. we need to score runs not kill rally’s.

          1. .244 /.337 /.463 /.800 with OAK, but that is all playing 3B. So he has had a refurgence playing at his natural position. Our mistake was moving him to second. We obviously should have kept him at third and made Cabrera move to second.

      1. Big, Big Win…I think for the Tigers to get rolling, they need to use Berry and Santiago for D more than they have…Berry brings some speed and some D. Boesch needs to get Hot or stay hot…He can be the DH against RH to get Berry more at bats. Benoit and Valverde look like they are back to form. It comes down to Porcello and Scherzer…If they start pitching, then we may have something. I would like to see our best defensiv e team up the middle, when our sinkerball pitchers are on the mound. Sorry, Jhonny. Good points on Matt Young. Don’t forget that if Chapman doesn’t hit him, he had NO CHANCE at hitting his fastball..he was about a half hour late on all those pitches…That is what made the comeback. They need to sweep the Cubs and come home w/ momentum.

  15. Hershiser just had a great line on Valverde – “he likes to work his way through the lineup and pick his outs.”

      1. That’s 4 consecutive 1,2,3 appearances for the Potato. Good things happen when you throw strikes Mr. Valverde.

  16. That’s No. 1 for Kevin’s 10-12 in a row with 7-10 runs.

    The Cubs are the worst team in baseball at the moment, so the Tigers need to take advantage. They haven’t been able to do that yet when they have played down teams.

    The Tigers are 11-11 in one-run games now. That is a lot of one-run games and projects to about 60 nail biters (last year they were 27-12 for the season), so if the trend continues the late inning guys are going to have to stay sharp.

    Obviously they aren’t particularly good at the three-run homer, so like tonight, they are going to have to scratch for more runs. Berry can help with that, but I am worried that when Dirks comes back, Leyland is likely going to go back to the old tried and true station to staion approach, which unfortunately, although thoroughly tried, hasn’t proven to be too true. DY needs to be platooned more and get him out of the 5-spot.

    1. Delmon actually baffles me. Because even when he gets hot, I don’t like him. Can’t say why.

      1. It may be a personal bias, but it seems to me that a lot of DY’s “hot” comes in non-critical situations while in critical situations he fails more than the average, at least more than what you would expect from a no. 5 hitter (.305 OBP, the Ks, the GDPs.) A sabermetrician (Lee Panas?) probably has access to some formula for showing his trends in various situations, but all I have to go on is my gut, which i also happen to believe is nororiously unreliable, so….
        Anyway, last year when he was having that great run of power hitting at the end of the season, I asked an avid Twins fan friend of mine who had moaned about him for three years, what he thought, and his comment was that pitchers were just laying in a lot of hard stuff when he was at bat because they would rather face Young, the free swinger, than try to finesse him with Cabrera on deck (DY was hitting 3rd at the time). There might be something to that.
        The bottom line for me is, that he is inconsistent and even when he seems to be going good, he really isn’t that “hot.”

  17. POG has to be Dusty Baker..thanks for using your bullpen one pitcher for one batter and he ran out…..on the other side Smokey actually pushed some good buttons again today..thats two days in arow….

    1. With as wild as he has been until just recently I doubt very much The Big Potato is throwing a spitball; it would be flying all over the place. On the other hand, maybe that’s why he has been so wild and he is just now getting the hang of it.

      The last successful spitball pitcher was Gaylord Perry, who actually used a variety of substances I guess. I think Vaseline was his preferred alterant, and the catcher would have to frequently walk the ball back to the mound it was so slippery. It helped extend his career quite a few years even when he wasn’t throwing it that much. Of course it is a great psychological advantage for the pitcher to have hitters think he might be throwing one, especially if the pitcher goes through a lot of different hand motions to various parts of his body/uniform before he steps on the rubber. We need to give a big thanks to that fan in Cincy.

      Remember when Brian Moehler got busted for scuffing the ball some years back?

  18. Even if our boys grow their muscles and start hitting more homers (with men on base even), those big old clown shoes will keep getting in their way when they take the field. It’s going to be tough to overcome the horror of Tiger defense even with an uptick in offensive output. Eventually (if it hasn’t already) it will take a toll on the pitching staff too.

      1. My favorite part of the column was the suggestion that we might as well deal Porcello since he is a ground ball pitcher and we have an infield that fields like bar bouncers.

        1. Yes, because dealing a 23 year old developing pitcher who has proven big league stuff for a decent 35 year old with a half year left on his contract would be a good idea, ESPN.

    1. There goes my theory that Ortega would be back soon. However, Putzy does gave 7th-inning guy experience.

  19. I am glad Luke is coming back…I know I may regret saying that, but, he has really good stuff, he just leaves it out over the plate. Ortega will never get ML hitters out. The Tigers need to keep winning series so, they are above .500 at the break.

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