Game 2012.129: Tigers at Royals

Detroit Tigers, 69-59, 2nd place, 2 back, 2 back for WC spot.

Well, that was different.

The very first comment on yesterday’s post (Tigers Rule) predicted a bucket full of runs, and as if on cue the Tigers hit the bucket with 3 in the top of the first.  Meanwhile Baltimore had jumped to a 4-0 lead on Chicago and knocked Sale out of the game, Verlander was about to take the mound, and if finally looked like Detroit was going to make its move.

And then…well it’s hard to describe actually, but it lead to Darin Downs warming up in the 2nd inning of a Verlander start.  I wonder how many times the bullpen had to be called before they were convinced it wasn’t a prank call.

The game did have a little of everything, that’s for certain.  Once could almost make separate posts on Verlander, Coke, Cabrera, and Young.

As for Verlander:  Not Enough Strikeouts.

As Kevin and I have pointed out before, Too Many Strikeouts is an odd thing to worry about when you have possibly the worst defense in the league–the fewer balls put in play, the better. And although Verlander was certainly off, he was also the victim of bad luck and bad defense.  Just look at how the 2nd inning went:

  • Strikeout
  • Error by Cabrera (scored as single to left, on 1-2 count)
  • Popup in between 2nd/SS/CF (on 2-2 count)
  • Ground single between 3rd and short (run scores)
  • Flare double on foul line to left (1-2 count)
  • Ground single over 2nd (1-2 count, run scores)
  • Ground out at 2nd, failed DP
  • Ground single over 2nd
  • Popup to first

4 of the 6 batters with hits had 2-strike counts; only 1 out was recorded for 5 ground balls (for those who like such things, Verlander’s BABIP for the game was .512). A perfect storm of shaky defense, bad luck, and an inability to close out with the K on batters with 2 strikes.

All I have to say about Coke is Leyland will bring in a lefty in that situation every time, and not to bring in Coke would go against his penchant for sticking with struggling players to keep their confidence up (call it the Raburn effect). Well OK, one more thing:  so far this season lefties have hit .217 against Villarreal, .267 against Coke.

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The there was the 9th inning.  After a disappointing strikeout by Cabrera by a runner on 3rd and one out and an intentional walk of Fielder, Delmon Young, to the surprise and joy of Tiger fans, put the Tigers back up with a 3-run shot inside the RF foul pole. Or around it. Or behind it. Or through it, or something. Or not: it was ruled a foul ball, a call which held up after a video review.

It seemed like a home run to me just based on where it landed–the ball was slicing, and to get where it ended up while being foul it would have had to change its arc in flight.  But what do I know. The video replays were confusing. You tell me.  Both teams said the umpires made the right call.   That’s hard to argue with: if conclusive video is needed to overturn a call, they had no choice.  By the same token, if it had been called a home run, it would have also been difficult to overturn the call.

One thing that’s good to know:  even though MLB instituted the home run replay review, there are no standards or methods to insure consistency in what exactly they are reviewing.  The quality, number and positioning of cameras are the responsibility of the home team broadcast crew, so what you get in Boston and what you get in Kansas City may be completely different.  Here is more on the vagaries of video replay. Really, technologically, one could probably design a system that could use videos from intelligently designed angles, combined with measuring velocity etc, to actually predict where a ball in flight will land, much less judge after the fact.

Actually there is such a system:  the human brain.  That’s how outfielders catch balls.  Watch the video again, and focus on the path Francoeur takes.  He is pursuing a fair ball. That’s all I’m saying.

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The real question we all want answered:  was Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi actually at the game, and what did HE think?

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One thing that can’t be denied is that the Kansas City Royals will have a huge effect on who wins the Central.  The Tigers still have 9 games left–almost a third of the remaining schedule–against KC.

Tonight Anibal Sanchez will try his hand against Bruce Chen, Tiger-killer in decline.

Stat of the Day: Tiger pitchers are on a hot streak…wait, that was yesterday’s. So much for that.  OK, how about today’s trivia question:  Which is the only AL team with more intentional walks than sacrifice flies? You are correct! The Tigers have 35 IBBs, and 32 SFs.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Delmon Young. DY did it again yesterday.  One more game Delmon, one more.

Todays Is Omar In the Doghouse? Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Andy Dirks RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young DH
  6. Alex Avila C
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Jeff Baker RF
  9. Ramon Santiago 2B