Game 2012.152: Twins at Tigers

Detroit Tigers, 80-71, 2nd place, .5 back.

Well, they say that it’s a hard thing to win both games of a double-header, although why that is harder than winning any other two games in a row has never been explained to me.  At any rate, after some preliminary calculations, I’ve concluded that there is a high probability that it is equally difficult to lose both games of a double-header.

So the Tigers have that going for them.

Detroit will be entrusting the rubber game to Smiling Drew Smyly, who will be faced by the Pajama Man, P.J. Walters. Forecast calls for probable hitting duel.

And this just in: once again a share of first place is on the line, the White Sox get swept by the Angels (don’t think the Indians will be so accommodating though).

According to ESPN, the White Sox have a 75.4% chance of making the playoffs, the Tigers have a 26.4% chance.  Say what?

Stat of the Day: 28 HR, 73 RBI, .346 BA, 1.146 OPS. A bit low on the RBI maybe, but that is an All-Star season. That is also the line Miguel Cabrera has put up so far this season AT COMERICA PARK. That’s 1 short of 1 RBI PER GAME.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Ramon Santiago.  The knock on Santiago has always been that he just doesn’t have the endurance to play full-time. Considering he has 2 ABs in the last 26 days, he must be really due, and will endure throughout the game.

Today’s Ramon Who? Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Quintin Berry 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. Ramon Santiago 2B


  1. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Has anybody found the game on the Direct channels?

  2. Coleman

    September 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Miguel says “saber this.”

  3. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Coleman, by hitting duel I presume you mean our 1-5 vs. Twins 1-5.

  4. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Santiago is so well rested, he’s rusted.

    • Coleman

      September 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      He’s so well rested that he’s hitting like a .225 hitter instead of his usual .209….it’s just that the casual observer has a hard time perceiving the difference.

      • Florian

        September 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm

        .225 and ca. .244 is JUST below .313 and .277, so I am sure Santiago and Boesch will be equally valuable as Dirks and Infante. Probably an idea of Leyland’s wise breakfast burrito a.k.a. “gut”. Not that this would be an important game, the Angels swept the Sox, and we won one game already, so we can totally afford to give “less than .250 players” a chance to play.

        • Vince in MN

          September 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

          Boesch is rested too. So both of them are due to run into one (or something anyway.) And if they don’t, well that’s baseball.

  5. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    5 innings out of Smyly would be acceptable and then turn it over to the pen.

    • Coleman

      September 23, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      I don’t like this…the BP is going to need more than I run to work with.

      • Vince in MN

        September 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

        So far you just have to tip your cap to Mr. Walters and his 6+ ERA.

        • Coleman

          September 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

          Just the luck of the draw that they got stuck facing Cy Pajama Man

    • Vince in MN

      September 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Well, maybe 4 innings….

  6. StorminNorman$

    September 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    a leadoff walk to a #7 hitter batting .235 could have set something in motion

  7. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Smyly continues the long tradition of Tigers pitchers unable to field their position.

  8. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    With his high walk rate, AlAl is not the guy I’d bring in here, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed he gets the K.

  9. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Wow, I guess we dodged a bullet?

    • Vince in MN

      September 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      Clown show reprised. They tried, they really tried. Well, maybe next inning.

      • Vince in MN

        September 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm

        Followed by a 9-pitch 1-2-3 inning at the bat.

  10. StorminNorman$

    September 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    i’m following online, so i didn’t ‘see’ what happened, but it appears to have been a case where Avila’s error led to a run and a DP…with Mauer in the on-deck circle, i’ll take it.

    • Jeff Molby

      September 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      The runner on third was forced out at home. Avila overthrew Fielder, allowing the runner on second to score. The runner on first tried to score, but was caught in a pickle and tagged out.

  11. Coleman

    September 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    There are some events for which mere words are not sufficient.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Well said Coleman! Post of the game!

  12. Jeff Molby

    September 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Wow! I think Albuquerque is back… and not a moment too soon!

  13. stephen

    September 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    There is no way in hell the Tigers get swept by the Twins at home with first place on the line. Right? RIGHT?? I’m on work deadline, I will check back in 30 minutes and I want runs or answers.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Let me put a text into Cabrera and Fielder for some solo homers

  14. StorminNorman$

    September 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    ABV in the 9th? …Anybody But Valverde

  15. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Hold on to your Stroh’s, the Tigers are coming to bat! Great job Benoit!

  16. Doug of troy

    September 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Teams have closers, but we have an opener in valverde. Once again he did his job..

  17. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Valverde = absolutely useless.

    • tom in troy

      September 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      Totally predictable. Can’t wait to hear JL’s reasoning for that “strategy.”

  18. Coleman

    September 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    That’s why they call him the closer; when he comes in there are Gameday apps closing all over the place.

  19. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    19 innings of mush in one day is really too much.

  20. Florian

    September 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    F** you, way to suck!

  21. Coleman

    September 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Nothing more depressing than a 9th inning Peralta at bat.

  22. Fish

    September 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Valverde has only one pitch with no command. Stop it Leyland, just stop it. We are all for being loyal to players, but Valverde WILL cost us the season.

    • Jeff Molby

      September 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      His command was fine. Those “low” pitches were perfect strikes at the the knees, but he wasn’t getting the call.

      You’re right about only having one pitch, though.

  23. stephen

    September 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Wow. All I can say is wow. Speechless. Two games at home against worst team in AL and your rival plays on road against an ace. And you lose ground. Still think they win it, but this was crap.

    • Vince in MN

      September 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Chicago might lose it, but the Tigers aren’t going to win it. They just can’t go more than a few games without bringing in the clowns. This has been the pattern all season and it isn’t going to suddenly end now. They’ll embarrass themselves at least 2 or 3 more times before this is over.

  24. Doug of troy

    September 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    How about a 10th innong with the game on the line?

  25. Florian

    September 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    The Tigers should be condemned to watch reruns of Baltimore and Oakland games (both teams that have players with much lower BAs and still WIN close games) until they know every defensive move to be made in critical situations by heart. That includes the coaching staff.

  26. Jeff Molby

    September 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Well, I’m really surprised that we lost both games. What a shame.

    As for Valverde, I defended him for the first couple of months because it didn’t seem likely that he’d go from really good to really bad so quickly, but obviously he’s not the same pitcher he was last year.

    What I don’t get is *how*? What happened to his splitter??

    • Florian

      September 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      “How” should be the question that Valverde is asking himself. I am asking “why still”? Why didn’t he improve over the season?

      • Jeff Molby

        September 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm

        Florian, you can’t just will yourself to improve at that level. Nobody has questioned his effort, so I’m sure he’s trying all of the things you would expect him to try. It just doesn’t always work. His splitter stopped working or something and he just can’t get it back for some reason.

    • Vince in MN

      September 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Maybe he just finally reached his tipping point. It happens to everybody eventually (Rivera being a rare exception.)

      • Florian

        September 23, 2012 at 10:40 pm

        … and that tipping point is a point of “No Return”? or is it rather compensation for an exceptional season 2011? he may still be slightly overperforming now. Either way, that should be for some other team to explore in 2013.

      • Jeff Molby

        September 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm

        I’d understand if his started to slip over the course of a couple years or if his velocity waned, but apparently his splitter went from awesome to so-bad-that-I’m-better-off-throwing-nothing-but-mediocre-fastballs.

        That just doesn’t make any sense at all.

        • Vince in MN

          September 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm

          According to Kevin, he has lost velocity, See below.

          • Kevin in Dallas

            September 23, 2012 at 11:50 pm

            See below.

  27. T Smith

    September 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    If the strategy is to lose the Central, by all means, let Valverde pitch with the game on the line.

    3 run lead = okay.
    2 run lead = sketchy
    1 run lead = blown save
    tie game = L

  28. Florian

    September 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Check the White Sox record against CLE and TBR. Better than the Tigers against KCR and MIN. Now yesterday evening I thought the Tigers just need to get hot and then have a chance… but today’s games make me think it is more realistic that they won’t. Even if they had every Cy Young winner of the last 20 years pitch for them.

  29. stephen

    September 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I still can’t believe it. I’ve harshed on the Tigers, but losing two to Twins seemed almost statistically impossible.

    • Florian

      September 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      An offensive implosion of that magnitude… leads to the double loss, enhancing defensive mistakes. I really blame it on the #5 – #9 position. I also blame it on the managerial decision to wait until the players “run into one”. They so excruciatingly neglect to play small ball -> also one reason why the defense makes so many mistakes. And this may also be the reason why half the team constantly goes into naptime: just wait for the big guys to hit it out of the park or to drive runs in in equally impressive fashion. There is REALLY no excuse for these performances in this division when there are teams that do much better with a smaller payroll and less power hitters in the lineup.

  30. Vince in MN

    September 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    And another 1-run loss. In those losses, how many of them were directly related to fielding lapses – I would guess quite a few. You could also probably chalk up a few of the 2-run losses as well, but that is just wild speculation on my part. Anyway, add in the Valverde blowups and you have a team that is struggling at 1 game out when it could/should be several games up.


      September 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      Don’t we lead the league in unearned runs?


    September 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Chicago opened the door by losing their last five games ….. did we walk on in …….

  32. Florian

    September 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    The only bright spot I can see right now is that Verlander would be available for a tie-breaker game with the Sox after october 3rd.

  33. Kevin in Dallas

    September 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Valverde has lost 1-2 mph on his fastball and split-finger which means that a) those low strikes are no longer strikes and b) he’s not getting as many swings and misses as he used to. His K rate is down which is the death knell for closers. He’ll be out of baseball in 2 years. He doesn’t have anything else now that his command his gone.

    But I bet that Leyland sticks with him through the end of this year. He’s just a place holder until Al Al gets his command under control.

    • Vince in MN

      September 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Agreed on the pitch analysis, and of course Leyland sticks with Valverde because he has the capital C after his name.

      Looking ahead to next year, I think there are several internal candidates that could do the job: AlAl, Villarreal, Benoit. Rondon is up and coming, but they probably wouldn’t put him in that role immediately. Personally, I think way too much is made of the closer role and that a team could be just as successful by doing it by committee. But the modern philosophy (I’m inclined to call it mythology, but whatever) is that you MUST have a designated “closer,” and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. So maybe they go shopping anyway, but I would rather see the effort spent elsewhere.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        September 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

        Valverde threw 18 pitches in the 10th. 16 fastballs and 2 splitters. Of those 16 fastballs, 1 was at 95, 7 were at 94, at 8 were at 93. From 2008-2010 his average fastball velocity was 95+. Last year it was 93.8. This year it is 93.3.

        Valverde now has a 7.72 ERA over his last 10 appearances, during which time he has a WHIP ABOVE 2, and nearly as many walks (5) as Ks (7).

        More on this in tomorrow’s opener.

  34. StorminNorman

    September 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Valverde, and JL’s failure to recognize Valverde’s ineffectiveness are easy targets, but bottom line, DET managed just 6 hits and 1 run against a pitcher with an ERA north of 6.40 and the worst pitching staff in the AL. (teams are hitting .275 against MIN pitching). Teams that only score 1 run in 10 innings typically lose.

    As Vince alluded to above, apparently the winner of the AL Central will be the team that plays ‘less worse’ than the other team… its gonna be brutal for the second place finisher

  35. T Smith

    September 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Poor offensive withstanding, if Valverdre is putting up numbers where his WHIP is above 2 with a 7.72 ERA over a considerable stretch, you shouldn’t stick with him. That is not a recipe to close out close games. Feelings be damned; the division is on the line. Valverdre’s sub-mediocre preformance isn’t a fluke, in my opinion. Even in games where he has got it done, he hasn’t been lights out for long, long time, and his command, velocity, and splitter continue to regress everytime I see him pitch. Either he’s hurt or he simply no longer has it. It happens. And when it happens, the manager has to adapt.

    With the expanded roster, and with AA coming off the DL, Dotel can close out 1 and 2 run games. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly better than losing game after game by putting your head in the sand. Chicago is not going to continue to lose forever, folks. We have ten games left to figure this out.

    • Vince in MN

      September 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

      The expanded roster is meaningless for the Tigers because Leyland doesn’t like it, and therefore doesn’t take advantage of it. Garcia is the only extra player to get any significant playing time and of the pitchers only AlAl in a few games. When every other team/manager has a dugout of up to 40 players to draw on, our medieval aged skipper refuses to do so. Stoopid.