Game 2013.19: Royals at Tigers

Well, what to do on a rainy day with no baseball? If you are Dave Dombrowski, sign Jose Valverde, that’s what. Jim Leyland didn’t waste any time either: Valverde is coming back as The Closer (“one thing you know about him, he’s done it before”), and you can expect the bullpen to settle into The Role type of bullpen, as The Committee is disbanded. What Rondon’s role will be remains to be seen, and he may just be a placeholder until the team figures out what exactly is going on with Octavio Dotel.

Valverde will be available to close today’s game, if the situation arises, and how can one hope that it will not?

So The Big Potato has come full circle now from The Closer to the Struggling Closer to the Postseason Disaster Closer to The Unsigned and Unloved Former Closer to the Aww What The Heck Minor League Signing to…The Closer. Dave Dombrowski says that β€œhis stuff is back throwing like he did a couple years ago.” Well, we shall see. What is undeniable is that there will not be any dull moments the next time a save situation arises. Jason Beck has an amusing timeline of the circular evolution of Jose Valverde from Tiger Closer to Tiger Closer.

Of course, with Valverde back, someone had to go. Brayan Villarreal was the one thrown onto the bus from Detroit to Toledo. Villarreal has stuff that has been described as “unhittable,” but unfortunately teams have figured out that they don’t need to hit him, and that standing there like a house by the side of the road can actually work when he is on the mound.

The 41st man on the 40-man roster turned out the be the sort-of-forgotten Duane Below, who was Designated For Assignment, and can now be claimed on waivers. The Blue Jays may be his next stop–they have already claimed Aaron Laffey, Casper Wells, Mauro Gomez, and Edgar Gonzalez this month.


Speaking of Casper Wells, The Ghost will be haunting Oakland now. The Blue Jays Designated Wells 5 days after claiming him on waivers, and the Oakland A’s acquired him for “cash considerations” (and moved former Tiger Scott Sizemore to the 60-day DL to make room for him). Wells seems like he would have been a good fit for that RH LF platoon role: he has outstanding numbers against left-handing pitching, and his glove is a plus at all 3 outfield positions. The Tigers have virtually no chance to claim anyone on waivers (every MLB team but one has to pass first), but it seems like they could have come up with “cash considerations.”

And since we’re at it with the former Tigers: Inge is back up with the Pirates (1-4, 2B, RBI). Cue the peanut gallery. And Delmon Young had his first rehab assignment for Philadelphia. Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Young is expected to step in as the Phillies’ everyday right fielder, but not until he’s “adequate” in the field.” Oh, stop it Ruben, you’re killin’ me!


Today’s starting pitchers are still Max and Wade, so I will stick with the lucky slump-busting picture.


Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Well, Max still figures in the equation, but the POPG obviously has to go to Jose Valverde, whose appearance or non-appearance alike will be the topic of the game.

Today’s Powerless Lineup (reverse jinx in effect):

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

142 thoughts on “Game 2013.19: Royals at Tigers”

  1. Valverde The Comeback Closer.
    Rondon The 6th Inning Guy.
    Villarreal onto the bus.
    Below under the bus (below the bus?).

  2. Speaking of ex-Tigers, Raburn is off to (for him) a blistering .212 start in his reserve role with CLE. He hasn’t run into one yet. Comparatively though, I guess .212 isn’t too bad for Bench Guy.

    1. I still think he’s better than Don Kelly. And cheaper than Santiago. He is less of a negative than they are. And I think he has a tiny chance to turn things around which is better than the chance that Kelly or Santiago could become valuable.

      1. Good Lord, Raburn better than Kelly or Santiago? Not a chance. Ryan Raburn is a DH who can’t hit. That’s what he has become. Once in a blue moon he’ll clobber a pitcher having a bad day and raise hopes. This is similar to Kelly’s once in a blue moon, one AB heroics, except that Raburn will never steal a HR in the outfield or do any number of nifty and useful things on the bases or in the field that Kelly and Santiago can – NEVER.

        Where would you play Raburn? LF? Over Dirks and Tuiasosopo? The infield? Raburn is an infield clown show – have you seen him there? DH? I’d rather have Martinez batting one-handed.

        1. [checking video to see if Martinez has taken to batting one-handed; that would explain a lot].

        2. No I would only play Raburn over Kelly. I would play Dirks over Raburn. But if it’s me then I wouldn’t have Raburn on the team as he’s below the Mendoza line anyhow.

        3. Oh and you have to be careful about saying “better”, because it’s not about being better sometimes. Santiago has a much higher salary than Raburn by a factor of 110% additional cost. I’m not saying Raburn isn’t better than Santiago anyhow, but the price factor has to be accounted for. The money savings is a benefit that can be used to buy an additional benefit some other place and that gets added to the Pro side of Raburn over Santiago on an individual value determination.

            1. Money saved is potentially more money we have to spend imo. I see no logic in spending additional money for any players that I think bring a negative overall value. There is no possible way to benefit from a transaction like that, and a possibility that the saved money is allowable to be spent on something that I think is a value-adding transaction. Every dollar counts, and every dollar should be spent on a logical baseball decision imo.

    1. That’s fine, but if Don Kelly or Santiago paid his own salary too, then I still like Raburn more. I think he has a bigger upside for the future than either of them. But in the case of Santiago he also saves over a million bucks and that makes the comparison between Raburn and Santiago a landslide in favor of Raburn. Granted it’s comparing 2 anthills, but still within that choice one is a much better value than the other comparatively.

      1. Santiago and Kelly suck but they can at least competently play multiple positions. Raburn in a Zero-tool player.

        1. I don’t consider a horribly unqualified bat to go with the versatility as a qualification that one can play multiple positions. In my mind, they can play 0 positions because their bats don’t qualify them to be on the field at all. Santiago is paid more than he’s worth and we can’t trade him for a penny because of his negative value. That means he is worse than a zero-tool, he’s in a sense a -1 tool. If Raburn is a 0 tool then that’s a better value. But he’s not a total zero, because he has a tiny chance to improve for the future.

          Raburn has nice power for a guy his size and he has shown that he has the skill and tools to hit big shots. He is capable, just not consistent. He badly needs training and coaching and there is still hope for him even if you personally think it is impossible for him to improve. He is only inconsistent because of a mental issue and psychological issue with how he approaches the game, but he has the physical capability to be a useful player if he can develop and put it all together.

    1. Pfffft….Torii Hunter!! He only has 2 years of life left, might as well get the most out of him and leave him nice and depleted so he can’t go help anybody else out after us!

      1. Vince – in time, Berry. Likable, capable (except at the plate), versatile isn’t going to be enough to keep a Don Kelly batting .100 on the team indefinitely. You’d think.

        1. I just don’t see keeping Kelly if his only function is to be a 5th OF and pinch-runner. Obviously he is going to get 0 time at 1B/3B – Tui, VMart, Santiago/Worth pick up those rare duties. As you suggest, Berry isn’t going to hit for much, but he’ll hit better than Kelly, is faster and will be a more versatile 25th man. I frankly don’t get the love JL has for him.

  3. Infanta breaks the ” Only Miggy gets any RBI with RISP curse….then Jackson starts it all over again.

  4. Wow, 4 runs for the Royals, just like that. Just when it looked like Max was gonna cruise. Not sure if I can hold out for the thrilling debut of Valverde. Might have to catch up with this one later.

    1. Perfect time though for Rondon to get his feet wet (so to speak). Valverde can wait for tomorrow if they don’t come back.

      1. Yeah I totally agree even though baseball is played on land and Leyland’s water analogy sucks! πŸ™‚

            1. Not exactly experts on dry land, we’ve been known to land on wet roadways at night, confusing them with bodies of water. But give us a break. Honest mistakes.

    1. And the rest of the team is worth a full refund, so still a bad deal to buy a ticket unfortunately. πŸ™

  5. All right, very encouraging rally. But let the Brookens complaining begin. That out… could haunt us.

        1. Good one, Vince. Maybe Brookens figured he was heading to the dugout after the usual third out. Runners were on, after all.

          1. Victor has scored all of 2 runs all season, so maybe Brookens thought it was Tuiasosopo (also 2 runs).

  6. Peralta not showing much power yet, but at least he is getting the hits.

    Hopefully the coaching staff understands that this year’s team has LESS power than last year and that therefore the emphasis on contact and baserunning is even more important than usual. They have been a station-to-station team for so long, I don’t know if that approach can be changed quickly, but they really have to work at it this season. I think the talent is there, but I am not so sure the strategic thinking has caught up to the fact.

    1. Normally I am a glass is half empty guy I guess, but I am trying to maintain a sense of optimism in this tough early going. Perhaps I am overcompensating?

    1. Not me. There’s not a strong enough probability to get both runs in, it provides a very likely out, there’s a lot of time left and not a specific certain need for precisely 2 runs (we may need more), and there’s no guarantee we even move both runners over, plus it could create a possible double play too. I also don’t look at “slump” numbers as the indicator of what a player is worth for a present AB, so AJ’s hitting potential is worth more than his slump numbers.

        1. You can’t blame Moustakas for that–it’s the underhoodie. Passed ball on the underhoodie catcher now too. I think I am onto something.

          1. The extra layer of clothing probably binds them up. Kind of like having shorts that are too tight. Pass this on to Leyland et al. God, I wonder if this couldn’t be affecting the coaching staff too!

      1. OK, you are looking at it from a more general overall view, while I am seeing it as a particular, unique situation. Nothing to argue about, just different perspectives.

        1. Well I was looking at it as a specific unique situation too, and the entire set of game conditions, such as being in the 4th, and 2 runs only giving us a 1 run lead at the time in a game where it is more likely that KC will score again as opposed to not scoring again. And in that unique situation I think the odds to win the game are higher if we elect to not bunt with AJ. He is credible for a nice OBP and that’s too much to give up for that specific situation.

        1. It has nothing to do with the slump. I didn’t want him to begin the season. So if he would have done well then that was something I was willing to risk. I had 0 interest in him being part of the team. I thought his best use was to trade for an improvement to our offense. It has nothing to do with Dotel as a player, the better he is or the more value he is doesn’t make any difference to me because I don’t like the category he is, a pitcher, and pitchers are what I’m looking for as preferred chips to use towards getting offensive improvements. So again, his performance thus far is not relevant at all to that strategy choice. It’s not a riddle, it’s just a preferred option.

  7. OK, Rod was saying Lloyd has been working with Victor. Is it time for the rare tip-of-the-cap to Lloyd?

  8. OK Victor! I think he must have taken a look at those same videos Coleman mentioned earlier.

        1. “Potato Power”
          I can see the commercial t-shirt sales potential already, to say nothing of cereal, candy bars and so on. Surely you remember “Reggie” bars. We could have our own “Potato” bars, “A healthy, in between meals snack”.

          1. I am working on the logo. Think Mr. Peanut, replace the peanut with a potato, replace the monocle with glasses, toss the top hat for a cap…this thing will sell itself.

              1. OK, now that is weird, there is currently some game ad on the right of the page with a Mr. Potato Head.

              2. Targeted marketing is getting a bit spooky these days. Mailman just dropped off (at night, no less) a bunch of Ore-Ida coupons.

  9. Great….typical….big inning for the Tigers and the pitcher decides to walk the bases loaded with no outs…

  10. Some may ask why Scherzer is still pitching. The answer is
    a) he has not given up 9 runs or
    b) he has not thrown his pitch limit (100)
    It is possible he will reach both before he is relieved.

  11. Omar is out of control. And just think, at this time last season we were shuffling Inge and Raburn at 2nd.

  12. I think we are looking at an AlAl, Rondon, Benoit, Valverde finish, getting all our ducks, more or less, in a proper row.

          1. I think Valverde is worth like 5 million just for the excitement and drama he can bring into games like this! hehe

            1. Well, everything was good at first as a result of the Valverde signing. Al-Al fit right in his slot. It was all going so well.

      1. Papa Grande has a 0.00 ERA too. He’s an All-Star until he gives up a certain number of runs!

  13. Nice physics understanding by Prince to use the principles of a black hole to suck that ball in with his massive stomach/chest! πŸ™‚

    1. Wow. 30??? I knew he was scuffling, but…

      Now THAT was a Benoit inning.

      No schadenfreud here if Valverde blows it. The Tigers need this win. I suppose they need them all, but this one is, like, happening right now.

      1. Well if you believe KC is our top competitor like me then you could argue this is our most important game of the year thus far.

      1. How about none and Papa Grande gives up 1 run, loads the bases, and then strikes out the next 3 to win it, would you take that?

        1. Well, maybe Valverde can load the bases with none out, and then Rondon can come in and strike out the side.

          1. Oh no, you have to take my deal or leave it.

            So Valverde gives up a homer to start the inning, walks 3, then strikes out 3. Would you settle for that, or would you rather roll the die on an unknown scenario that is about to happen? You have to pick one for fun!

              1. Yeah I agree. It’s no fun to win baseball when you can select your fate, gotta go earn those victories and let fate determine itself!

      1. All right! One might imagine that the win was a bit sweeter for the team on account of Valverde.

        1. Heck yeah, that was fun! It’s always going to be exciting every time he comes out now. πŸ™‚

  14. Kudos to Pappa Grande…..that all the way back for now couldn’t have been easy…good for him and us

    1. Well, 18 pitches and all fastballs according to Gameday. I thought he was throwing his splitter. What happened, or just didn’t they pick up the difference.

        1. All the fastballs I saw on Quick Pitch were 93 mph and, except for one that sank a little, very up and straight… he will always be a sideshow. However, on the aforementioned QP, they showed a stat panel that showed Papa has the most saves and the lowest opponents BA of the other two guys who aren’t as good as him. (Papelbon and someone else) BTW, anybody liking that blonde on QP? TSE?? you got to go for it!

          1. Hmm I looked up the cast lineup and the only blonde is Heidi Watney. I’m not usually into blondes but I would be willing to go out with her and give her a shot, even though according to Wikipedia she was only first runner-up for Miss California. So does she live in Michigan and do you have her phone number?

            Oh and I found this page about her for fun!:

  15. BOOBs got the job done tonight, something that has been missing. Although I am beginning to think I like Avila more when he doesn’t swing.

    1. Yeah. Heckuva play between him and Scherzer on the force at the plate, though. That was huge. One of those things that don’t show up in the play-by-play.

  16. nice to get the win and the 3-up-3-down Potato save, but 18 pitches from Valverde, all fastballs…sure a little more velocity than the end of last year, but if the splitter is still MIA (though DD says ‘its working again’), it won’t take long for hitters to lock-in on the 92-94 mph cheese… that doesn’t have much movement.

    i hope i’m wrong, but i can’t see the Valverde ‘comeback’ making it to All Star break… either because of an injury or a bloated ERA (or both)

      1. It was somehow very fitting that the first pitch from TBP was a ball. Maybe he was trying to be funny.

  17. Oh, regarding Kevin’s Delmon Young comment, I recall reading the Phillies GM explaining Young’s perceived defensive shortcomings in LF a result of RF being his natural position. I thought that was pretty funny. Who knows, it might be true. Seems doubtful. Don’t right fielder’s have to throw the ball occasionally?

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