Game 2012.139: Tigers at Angels

Detroit Tigers, 73-65, 2nd place, 2 back.

My own game post pictures now haunt me.  I decided on a new set of pictures for this important road trip:  serious, determined faces.  Now instead they look tense, stressed.

Jim Leyland has said that he doesn’t believe in team chemistry; it may also be that team chemistry does not believe in him.

He has become increasingly frustrated in recent days, even lashing out at fans who question his lineup.  The fact that Leyland is losing his cool with the criticism, and publicly, may be reflecting–or setting–the tone for the team as the pennant race winds down.

Justin Verlander wasn’t himself, for the second time in three starts.  Austin Jackson, after resisting all season long, decided to try on the floppy shoes in centerfield. And Miguel Cabrera, after a 3-strikeout night (and after watching his chances of beating out Trout for the MVP plummet), had a meltdown on a seemingly correct strike call.  Cabrera is frustrated.

There were a couple of good things about the game:  Putkonen is quietly putting together a decent season; Infante seems to be coming out of his slump; Garcia plays with a hustle and enthusiasm that the team could really use.  And Prince Fielder stepped in to try to keep Cabrera from being tossed: he scooted all the way from the on-deck circle, and put himself in between Cabrera and the umpire, retreating when Leyland made it out to take up the argument.

In fact Fielder has been a real bright spot, despite some mildly disappointing power numbers:  he gets on base, he plays hard, he runs hard, he gets runners home from 3rd, he is very aware, and he just may be starting to take more of a leadership role with the team.

The Tigers could certainly use it.  I have a feeling the Tigers are missing the leadership of Victor Martinez, and yes, even Inge.  The look on Leyland’s face as last night’s travesty was unfolding seemed to say he’s done all he can do.

Maybe the talented Ryan Raburn will turn it around.

It is an old truism that every teams starts the season with the goal of playing meaningful games in September, and the Tigers have accomplished that. The weight of expectations may be getting to the team though; it certainly has gotten to the fans.  The four games in Chicago will determine whether the rest of the month is exciting, or whether September becomes a very, very long month.

Stat of the Day: The Tigers have yet to win a game in which they have been outscored by the opposition.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Prince Fielder. Forget the statistics; this team right now needs a leader, and Fielder is going to have to be The Man.

Todays Anibalic Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Andy Dirks LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young DH
  6. Brennan Boesch RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Omar Infante 2B

28 Comments

  1. StorminNorman$

    September 9, 2012 at 9:33 am

    the following ‘talent assessment’ is indicative of the logic that dictates personnel decisions of the mastermind calling the shots
    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....yan-Raburn
    “He didn’t do very much up to this point this year, that’s for sure,” Leyland said. “But he’s a talented guy. He’s got an outstanding arm in the outfield. He runs OK. And he’s got power — he can hit a three-run homer.”

    • Vince in MN

      September 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

      The short version: “He’s due.”

  2. Kevin in Dallas (in Livonia)

    September 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Excellent post Coleman.

    A few notes:

    1) The lack of leadership is abundantly apparent, and, unfortunately, I don’t have a solution. JV doesn’t want to seem to take the helm, and I while I think that Cabrera leads by example, he doesn’t bark in clubhouse. I do believe that the players scratch their heads as much as we regarding the lineups and pen management.

    2) Cle and LAA are putting on tremendous fielding displays. We all knew that defense would cost us a few runs, but we thought that the offense would more than make up for it. Well, with Avila, Peralta, Boesch and Young all having subpar years (though Young is lining up with is career averages, which aren’t that great), the offense can’t bridge the gap. Our horrendous close game record is a direct effect of the lack of defense and bullpen management.

    3) The Raburn thing is insane. This is Leyland sticking it to the fans and beat writers. At some point in time Raburn will luck into a hit and Leyland will say “I told you so.”

    Boesch, Young and Raburn (if he qualified) are among the 10 worst players in the majors measured by WAR. Garcia (until he proves otherwise) and Berry should be playing the rest of the month. Berry’s defense will more than compensate for the offensive disparity (if any).

    4) Mike Trout is the MVP of this league. Cabrera is a once in a generation player, but what Mike Trout is doing this year should be illegal.

    • travisfrymanfan

      September 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      he doesn’t bark in clubhouse.? Last week he went to the mound with the hand on his hurting leg to ask Valverde to clean his act.

    • Kevin in Dallas (in Livonia)

      September 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      I need to correct my lineup change – Dirks should be playing as much as possible, not Berry. Leyland’s lineups allowed me to forget Dirks.

  3. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Leyland: –24 and counting.

  4. MLR

    September 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Leyland says he doesn’t believe in team chemistry?? That in, and of, itself says what kind of manager he is, was, and always has been! Without team chemistry there is no TEAM! Just a bunch of individual ball players going through their own individual rituals in their own little world on the field and at the plate. Oh! That’s the 2012 Tigers. Thank you Masterful Manager Leyland, for giving us THAT!!

  5. Kevin in Dallas

    September 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Someone is telling the players to hit their way out of their slumps. Who do you think that is coming from?

    • Coleman

      September 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Dirks didn’t get the memo.

  6. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I hear the fat lady warming up in the wings.

  7. Coleman

    September 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    What are the odds this will end up as a 3-2 loss, with 2 solo HRs?

    • Coleman

      September 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      They have become predictable defined.

  8. mcb

    September 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Who tries a steal on 3-0? Seriously?

    • Coleman

      September 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Strange as it is for a guy so fast, Austin Jackson is just not a good base stealer. Especially not on 3-0.

    • Vince in MN

      September 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      I hope some brave reporte asks Leyland about that after the game. I always appreciate a good laugh

  9. Kevin in Dallas

    September 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Stupid baserunning by Jackson there. He’s usually smarter than that?

    • Vince in MN

      September 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Trying to force something to happen. What they really need is a couple of 5-run homers.

  10. Kevin in Dallas

    September 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Hilarious.

  11. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    What do we think about Sanchez? Is he worth hanging on to for next season if the cost is reasonable. You can always keep Wilks and Smiley in storage at Toledo with the option of trading one of Wilks/Smiley/Porcello/Sanchez to plug some hitting hole that can’t be fixed in the off-season. And there is a good bet they won’t be able to address all of them. With a new manager and coaching staff coming in, I suppose the rotation philosophy could change as well (e.g. preference for a LH)

    • Steve

      September 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Question is: What does Terry Francona want……. I think he will be the new manager. I think the Leyland experiment is over……….

      • Vince in MN

        September 10, 2012 at 1:19 am

        I vote for Harry Potter and 5-run homers.

  12. Coleman

    September 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    They catch EVERYTHING. Must be nice.

    • Coleman

      September 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Oh good…may have jinxed them.

  13. Vince in MN

    September 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    KC beat CHI 2-1. Holland was having a Valverde moment in the bottom of the 10th, but managed to finish it off. Frequently checking in on that game today, it occurred to me that the Tigers still may have a chance to back into the divisional championship. Neither team is playing particularly well at the moment and it could come down to who ends up being the least worse. Taking it that way would be unfortunate though, since it would encourage giving Leyland another long-term deal. A truly perplexing time to be a Tigers fan.

  14. jud

    September 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    nearing 1700 losses on your job….U N B E L I E VA B L E !!!!!!! and you actually keep your job!!!!!!

    • Vince in MN

      September 10, 2012 at 1:18 am

      If you take the blinders off it is clear to see. But…….

      Magical thinking seems to have become a staple in the organization over the last several years. Either that or they are just dishing out the usual corporate bs to a gullible public willing to accept the happy talk out of habit. Perhaps I am being a bit too cynical and am guilty of some negativism and the real answer is not an either/or, but both.

  15. Henion32

    September 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    very frustrating weekend, hopefully we can get this Chi series or its over

  16. Jerry The Tiger Fan

    September 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Leyland takes it to a new low this afternoon. The lineups just came out and he has Ryan Raburn hitting second ahead of Cabrera. Yes the same Miguel Cabrera that had ZERO at-bats with runners in scoring position this past weekend in Anaheim. Putting a guy with a .221 OBP should solve all of that, right Ol’ Smoky? Unbelievable. This should be exhibit #1 (of about 100) when DD calls Ol’ Smoky into his office in November and fires his butt. How can Ol’ Smoky explain that one? Even if Raburn goes 3-4 tonight this is a bad decision that will have worked out against all odds. I’m so over this guy and at this point it would be sweet relief if we have a September collapse and he gets the broom. If we were in any other division we’d already be out of it despite having the #5 or #6 payroll in all of baseball. If I was Mike Ilitch I’d be furious right now and the guillotine would be poised for heads to roll. Ol’ Smoky would be the first on the chopping block and DD would be getting heavy consideration for the same.