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.


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.


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


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

37 thoughts on “Game 2012.129: Tigers at Royals”

  1. I watched the replay a bunch of times on and Delmon’s ball was indeed foul. It does look like the ball disappears behind the foul pole in real time, but if you pause the video on the slow-mo replay, the ball looks like a white streak across the pole. Plus, the better angle is the second one they showed on the broadcast, and it clearly went foul from that angle.

    Just curious, do umps have access to better camera angles than the TV audience? You’d think they’d have cameras all over the place to make sure they get the reviews right.

    1. The umps get whatever the home team provides, which depends on broadcasting rights. In addition, extra camera views are available in nationally televised games. In other words, the odds of a controversial home run call are highest in a place like Kansas City.

    2. There are 3 different angles: to me one was undecipherable, in one the ball seemed clearly foul, and in one it seemed fair. I read an explanation of how the “disappearing” ball could have been a function of slow frame-rate video, but at that point I think you have to just stop and go with it-is-what-it-is.

  2. From MLB official web page. 2008.
    “The camera shots are beamed in from local and national television broadcasts, typically three to four per broadcast team. And at the command center, engineers have the capability to turn those live video streams into replay clips within three seconds’ time…
    “Taking a live feed and redistributing that is one thing, but taking a live feed, cutting it, slicing it, dicing it and sending it back to the park so an umpire can see it — all in a relatively short period of time — is frankly a skill set that we needed to develop.”

  3. Oh, how funny: three clowns bungle the ball. Afterards, clown Avila hugs clown Sanchez, while a run has scored. Argh!

  4. From the description on gameday, we had some Clown Show action on the “hit” by Moustakas?

    1. I saw the replay – just one of those freak things. Nobody’s fault, not much you can do there.

      1. The little pop ball that fell in behind the mound was a better hit ball than most of the balls the Tigers have hit tonight………

    1. That’s a good thing in the strange brain in Ol’ Smoky’s head. He doesn’t like a lot of strikeouts from his starters, probably because we have such a stellar defensive team.

  5. This team continues its Jeckyll and Hyde ways. Last night they tear the cover off the ball and can’t anybody out. Today they are getting an unlikely good start from Sanchez and they predictably can’t hit tonight. Every time we get a good start from one of our guys the offense is silent, the few times that we score runs are the same nights that our starters struggle (the 7-5 loss in Fister’s last start comes to mind in addition to last night’s game). Maddening doesn’t begin to describe this team. Is it so wrong to have a laugher now and again? We see to be the only team that is playing in nail biters on a nightly basis, both of the high scoring and low scoring variety. Every game seems to require a trip to the drug store for Maalox.

    1. I just had the strangest dream…Austin Jackson was batting first, followed by Ryan Raburn in the 2-9 spots.

  6. How is it that Chen always manages to pitch a gem against the Tigers…or perhaps it is the Tigers than never hit a guy with an ERA over 5.

  7. 2 sac flies with a runner on 3rd and we’re winning this…unfortunately the Tigers don’t do those.

  8. The most annoying part of the game will be after it is over, hearing some version of “you just have to tip your hat to Bruce Chen…”

  9. “thats just baseball”
    ” he was lights out, despite his 9-10 record and 5.20 era”
    ” we just have to regroup and try and come back tomorrow”
    ” we did just fine”
    ” its just one game”
    “we had lots of chances”
    yada yada yada yada…

  10. This is a sad states of affairs. Baker has been huge for us, so glad we made that pick up. Cant wat til we send Schotts and Castellanos to Cubbies for him. Nice one, DD. This team just can’t put it together. Maybe they will fold up. I hope not, I don’t think so, but we know damn well by now CHW isn’t. This has been a trying year…

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