Game 2012.124: Blue Jays at Tigers

66-57, 2nd place, 2 games behind CWS, 1 game behind WC.

Hard to pick up games when the White Sox sweep the Yankees, but the White Sox are off today, and the Tigers go for a sweep of their own.

Don’t look now, but Benoit and Valverde have become quite the 8-9 combo. Valverde has only allowed 2 runs in his last 10 outings (10 innings) and 9 of those outings have been scoreless. Benoit has allowed only 1 hit over his last 5 outings covering 4 1/3 IPs,

Despite Valverde’s recent success, I’m very leery of his continued effectiveness. I believe that Ks are king for closers. Last season was the first in Valverde’s career when his K rate was below 1 per inning. It was still very close – .95 per inning (or 8.58/9), but it has dropped precipitously this year. Through last night, Valverde only has 38 Ks in 51 2/3, for a rate of .74 an inning or 6.62/9. His career rate is 10.1/9. Velocity wise – he’s lost a little over 1 MPH on both his fastball and splitter, anything more and we’re going to see his BAA spike.

Benoit, on the other hand, has kept his velocity constant despite the fact that he’s a year older than Valverde. I think that Al Al or Rondon make more sense as the closer of the future, but Benoit should have the 8th inning spot for a few years. Remember, Valverde’s on a one year deal.

Anyway, Sanchez had his best outing last night, allowing 2 ER over 6 2/3. Even if we just get that kind of a start every other one, for a #5 guy, that’s pretty salty.

JV climbs the hill today. A win would only be his 2nd in the past month, so he’s due. Plus, JV dominates the Blue Jays. There was that no-hitter last May (the last time he faced Tor), and the current Blue Jays batters are a combined 7 for 59 v. Verlander.

A few notes:

– Raburn hit a HR and a double last night in Toledo, which I’m sure has caught Leyland’s attention.

– Fister has been scratched for tomorrow’s start. Smyl Smyly.

Today’s Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Infante, 2B
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Peralta, SS
6. Young, DH
7. Baker, RF
8. Dirks, LF
9. Avila, C

29 thoughts on “Game 2012.124: Blue Jays at Tigers”

  1. Hmm, the Tigers site has Avila catching and batting 9th…your lineup makes more sense though…what’s the point of having Laird if you don’t run him out there for the day game after a night game with a lefty pitching?

  2. i see online where Santiago replaced Cabrera @ 3B – wuzup with that? obviously some type of injury occurred… serious? minor?

    1. when Cabrera went down, Cy Happ’s job got a bit easier.

      erratic offense against mediocre pitching is nothing new for JL DET teams…and that’s likely going to be magnified if Cabrera is out for any length of time

  3. Since Baker was acquired for ‘a player to be named later’…if that is predicated on his production thus far, what minor leaguer would that be? is Zach Miner back in the farm system?

      1. Miner is in Toledo, but the PTBNL could also be Jeff Baker. This actually happened once, but I can’t remember who the player was.

        Anyway, Baker’s performance so far seems to enhance the possibility of a Raburn return pre-Sept 1.

  4. Great win!
    What was Gose doing on that last play? He pulled up to play it safe on one hop and try to throw out…Quintin Berry? Odds were much better for the diving catch attempt there.

  5. Not a very inspiring series despite the sweep. The test will be what they can do against LA this weekend in a CRITICAL series (no it isn’t too soon to say this, the clock is running down.) The WSox host Seattle, whom I don’t expect to pull a KC. The odds are much greater that we will lose ground than gain any.

    The pitching match-ups are iffy in the first two: tomorrow Porcello v. Greinke would seem to favor LA, but Greinke has been hit hard since his return to the AL; Saturday Smily v. Haren, who knows what to expect, with Smily just back and Haren very inconsistent all year and hammered in his last two starts. Sunday looks better with Scherzer v. Santana, although Santana has pitched well his last two times out (both QS.) The bats are going to have to wake up though, since the Angels aren’t going to roll over like Toronto and are likely to score more than a 3-run maximum. And they need to stay awake on defense as well.

    And if Miggy is out we are in big trouble. I don’t like the idea of Santiago or Baker batting 3rd until he gets back.

    1. Angel pitching has been terrible in August…and the team is 7-13 – which SHOULD mean a lot of offense for DET this weekend…right?

      …and Pujols will miss at least tomorrow’s game with a calf injury – the stars are aligned. I agree w/Vince, with CWS (and the other wild card leaders) continuing their winning ways, DET needs to win at least 2 of the next 3. In a few weeks DET travels to CA to play the Angels 3 more times 9/7 – 9/9

    2. SEA has won 8 in a row and 10 of 11. haven’t allowed more than 3 runs in the last 8 games.

      I know CHI has been hot too, but the Mariners likely won’t roll over.

      Looking @ schedule, the Tigers play the final 12 against MIN/KC, while CHI has 4 with Tampa Bay in between 3 game sets with Cleveland. If it comes down to the last week, that may help.

      1. Gotta disagree with the CLE part of your statement William. CLE has basically quit on Acta this month, can you imagine how apathetic they will be by late September? They just lost 8 of 9 on their west coast trip to ANA/OAK/SEA (which was preceding by an 11-game losing streak 10 days before that), their starting pitching may be the worst in the AL right now (right alongside MINN), and their lineup has struggled to score runs on a consistent basis all year. At least MINN has Mauer, Willingham, and Morneau in their lineup, the CLE lineup has been producing the way our lineup “produced” against TOR this week for the better part of the entire season. Derek Lowe was able to give them a good first two months before the wheels came off, and since then they have nosedived to the point where it won’t surprise anyone if they pull an ’08 Detroit Tiger act and finish in the AL Central basement this year.

        I’d rather that Chicago was playing KC down the stretch than us playing them down the stretch because KC is battling people big time right now (they have taken 5 of 6 from the ChiSox in the last 2 weeks plus 2 of 3 from the A’s). CLE will have their minds on plane tickets back to Latin America or wherever else their players hail from by the time they play Chicago. I don’t see this favoring us at all. MINN has too many good veteran players (the aforementioned three in particular) to roll over and KC seems to have found a second gear after struggling thru the first 4 months of the season. The four gamer between Tampa and the ChiSox does bode well for us, but those six games with CLE do not at all IMO.

        Its going to come down to the wire, do not expect us to go 31-10 over the last 41 games like we did last season. If Cabby stays out any length of time we are cooked, as he is one of only 3 hitters that we can depend on to produce with consistency (Fielder and Jackson being the other two). We are very fortunate to be 4-2 on this homestand so far as our offense has been “offensive” to watch. We gotta start producing again with the sticks or its going to be Chicago that pulls away from the pack this year. When I look up and down their lineup I like it better than ours (although we have the best hitter overall in Cabrera) even with Cabrera in the lineup. Outside of Beckham, they don’t have too many holes in their lineup. We mysteriously can’t hit left-handed pitching despite 3 of our top 4 hitters being right-handed sticks. The White Sox seem more balanced to me and this is going to very interesting going down the home stretch. As long as we keep winning series I think we’ll be fine one way or the other (division or wild card), but our bats and our bullpen have me quite concerned right now. If Austin Jackson doesn’t pull off that spectacular catch today we likely lose in 10 innings, and it would have been two bad outings in a row from our most dependable bullpen guy to this point (Dotel).

        Lets face it, we got extremely lucky that it was TOR that we were playing this week. Anybody else (except CLE) and we probably drop two of three or maybe even get swept if we were playing somebody good. TOR hasn’t quit (to their credit), but that is a Triple A lineup that they are throwing out their right now due to injuries and paternity leave. We got the sweep and I’m grateful for it, but we had better step up our level of play this weekend against the Angels.

        1. I was speaking more to the 4 game set they have versus TB. The Rays will be in the thick of things, more than likely.

          agree on Cleveland…they have packed it in. I didn’t phrase that very well, i guess.

          White Sox do get KC 6 more times, and play 4 @ LAA and 4 @ Baltimore….the games with the O’s are the start of a road trip next week that ends at Comerica.

          I agree with you on their line up…they are a whole lot better than any of the pundits thought they would be in March. They are a good team….we have our work cut out for us.

          I will actually be at the Friday night game of that TB-Chicago series in US Cellular–headed there for the Ryder Cup that weekend.

          1. Gotcha on the CLE point. I thought that you were saying that its a good thing that the ChiSox get to play CLE that much in the final two weeks. Sorry, I misunderstood your point.

            Very cool that you are going to the Ryder Cup. I went to the Ryder Cup when it was at Oakland Hills in suburban Detroit 8 years ago and it was pretty cool even though we got absolutely crushed by the Euros that weekend.

            When you are at US Cellular I hope that you can bring the Rays some good mojo (assuming that we need the help)! 🙂

  6. If the Tiger Offense stays like it has for any length of time it won’t matter about the matchups….this very easily could have been a sweep the other way around…the fact that 5-9 do not get enough done on a consistent basis to get 1-4 up more often..5-9 won the game tonight, but you have to do some real searching to find even a few games like this one where they have done so…

  7. JV was sick today. One bad pitch.

    In 7 no decisions this year – JV has a 2.52 ERA, 53 Ks in 50 IPs, and a .98 WHIP.

    Think anyone misses VMart more than him?

  8. Cabrera DH’ing tonight…DYoung starting LF
    1. Austin Jackson, CF
    2. Omar Infante, 2B
    3. Miguel Cabrera, DH
    4. Prince Fielder, 1B
    5. Brennan Boesch, RF
    6. Delmon Young, LF
    7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
    8. Alex Avila, C
    9. Ramon Santiago, 3B

    Rick Porcello, RHP.

  9. Hopefully the Angels will be tired from all the running around the bases they did v Boston and won’t be able to score more than 2 runs tonight.

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