Game 2013.6: Yankees at Tigers

When I first took a look at the schedule, I thought that the Tigers should be able to take each of the first 2 series, and get out of the gate 4-2. After a disappointing games 2 and 3, the Tigers can get to 4-2 with a sweep today, which would be the first regular season sweep of the Yankees since ’08, and first in Detroit since 2000.

The Tigers face Yankees ace CC Sabathia. In his career, Sabathia is 18-12 with a 4.43 ERA against the Tigers. Over his last 8 starts at Comerica, he’s 2-5 with a 6.80 ERA. Which segues nicely into my next point – is Sabathia losing his stuff?

Looking at Fangraphs Pitch f/x data, you can see that Sabathia’s fastball has lost a few mph. Early in his career he averaged about 94 mph and topped out at 99. Last year he averaged 92.4 and topped out at 96.3. He looked slow in spring training, and in the Yankees opener, his fastball averaged 89.9 mph and topped out at 91.3. I recognize that one game doesn’t make a sample size, but his 2011 and 2012 have begun the downward trend. I don’t know if he can reverse it at this point in time. As we’ve discussed here before, losing a few mph on your fastball is killer for a starting pitcher, and low 90s got Jose Valverde booted from the big leagues.

This is CC’s 10th time to match up against JV, he’s 4-4 with a 5.01 ERA. Both Cabrera (1.147 OPS) and Fielder (1.098) rake against CC. Peralta (1-17) not so much.

Let’s see if JV can pitch into the 6th today.

*************

A few notes:

- Austin Jackson has led off each game by reaching base, and has scored 4 times. He has 7 runs scored in 5 games this season. And he’s Kd 2 while walking 3 times.

- ESPN did a touching article on Max Scherzer and his brother yesterday.

- I’ve gotta take back my “6.74″ post yesterday. The Tigers bullpen ERA is actually a bit lower because none of the ERs were charged to Al Al yesterday, despite a 3.0 WHIP performance.

- Off day tomorrow – so root extra hard today.

Today’s Series Sweeping Lineup (coming soon – update, gotta jet, someone please post). I think we’ve established that Pena will be starting, look for Tuiasosopo to start in left.

 

31 Comments

  1. Coleman

    April 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Here is today’s unveiling of Pena and Tuiasosopo lineup. Also, Santiago gets his 2nd consecutive start. Maybe that will “get him going.”

    1. Jackson, CF
    
2. Hunter, RF
    
3. Cabrera, 3B

    4. Fielder, 1B
    
5. Martinez, DH

    6. Tuiasosopo, LF
    
7. Pena, C

    8. Infante, 2B

    9. Santiago, SS

    • Vince in MN

      April 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

      The only thing missing for “Bench Day” is Kelly starting in CF.

      • Coleman

        April 7, 2013 at 11:40 am

        And batting first.

        • Vince in MN

          April 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

          Actually the bench should be fairly good this year, better than last at least, especially when the bean counters come to the realization that performance is more important than salary and they ditch Santiago for Worth. Tui should (I hope) prove to be the RH bench bat who can reliably give Dirks a break from time to time, and Pena is probably as good a backup C as one needs. I still isn’t clear to me exactly what Kelly brings to the table since his versatility is mostly going to be limited to playing the outfield and pinch running once in a while and wouldn’t Berry be a better fit there? But it is early, and hopefully these issues get rectified before too much longer.

          • Coleman

            April 8, 2013 at 3:10 am

            We may need Kelly in the bullpen before the season is over.

            • Vince in MN

              April 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

              Ya, and he can catch too, which will surely come in handy at some point.

  2. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    April 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Kevin…thanks for posting the link on the Max and Alex Scherzer article. I recall Dave Dombrowski recognizing the Scherzer family during the post game celebrations after the Tigers swept the ALCS last year.

    • Jim Eggers USMC Rifle Expert1971

      April 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Kevin-I too am grateful for the link. I had no idea that Max and his family had gone through this in the midst of the Tigers success last season. I am no stranger to loss, Mom in 67, a brother in 99, a sister in ’05, Dad and father in law last year, and numerous friends over the years. I am so moved by what Max has been through. I am going to do all that I can to get to him when I am in Seattle in 11 days, and just tell him how sorry I am for his loss, and will cut him lots of slack when the fastball and slider are not working on any given day.

  3. Coleman

    April 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Bench boy rally time?

  4. judpma

    April 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I think there was a miscommunication on the “who is getting the day off memo”..everyone cept Tui must have thought it meant them!

  5. StorminNorman$

    April 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    apparently Coke is again saving his best stuff for the post-season

  6. judpma

    April 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    so much for the Blowpen shrinking ERA Coke took care of that

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    April 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Tough game. I hate the off day after a L. But it gives me more time to work on my bullpen rec letter to Leyland.

  8. The Strategy Expert

    April 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    That’s not really fair to charge Dotel with 2 Earned Runs on that last single considering Santiago made a tremendously horrible play that is responsible for the guy on 2nd base. How did he figure out a way to let that lead runner advance is just a total embarrassment for him.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 8, 2013 at 1:30 am

      Odd play. Heat of the moment, not much of an excuse for veteran Santiago. He certainly had time to get the DP (going to the bag at 2B himself) at the cost of a run. I don’t know why preventing one run is that vital when you’re down 5. If it is, well, then he did his job, I guess.

      However, Dotel put the runners on, and Dotel also allowed the 2-run single. He wasn’t good. He deserves his earned runs allowed.

      • The Strategy Expert

        April 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

        He had the guy trapped at 3B, so no chance for a run either. The DP looked like it might be out of the question and maybe not even possible, but that’s all a moot point to securing the out at second. The guy at third can’t possibly score unless he gets off the bag too far to the point that Santiago can move to get him out instead. But once Santiago made the initial mistake to not go tag the bag himself while keeping the runner in check on 3rd, he compounded the mistake by some reason feeling a need to throw the ball when he was nearly centimeters away from making the tag on the lost runner. Or if he really wanted to he could have turned around and walked back to 2B to tag it at that point while still keeping an eye on the guy at 3B.

        • The Strategy Expert

          April 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

          And it’s not like there wasn’t enough time to decide. Here’s a really fun way that things could have played out, at least theoretically. Santiago could have stopped close to the 2B bag when the 1B runner started to retreat and he could have stood there all day until the guy at 3B was willing to make a move in a game of chicken or until the guy from 1B gives himself up. It could have created a stalemate situation where it might be wise for the runner from 1B to not even confront Santiago and just walk off the field and retreat. The longer he doesn’t give himself up the more of a chance that the runner on 3rd has to make a foolish decision to dance off the bag to incite a throw in order to resume the game. And the guy from 1B is not going to sneak by Santiago and get to the bag. We could have seen Santiago and the runner just mutually decide to do nothing until the other guy does something. It would have been cool to force an out due to the runner forfeiting his rights to remain in the base-bath. Oh well. :)

          • Smoking Loon

            April 8, 2013 at 8:14 pm

            I concede that Santiago got caught in the headlights and made a boo-boo. I was confused just watching the play. Trying to sort out what could and should have happened was nearly as confusing. I can’t say whether giving up the run for two outs there is the smart percentage play, but that’s where I lean. You are absolutely correct that getting that force at 2B should have been done – the runner at 3B didn’t have any realistic chance to score without breaking and committing on contact..

            • The Strategy Expert

              April 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm

              Yeah the main thing is that there was virtually no risk to giving up a run while securing the out at 2B. My theoretical example is used just to show that Santiago could have created a nearly infinite long amount of time to decide what to do if he knew how to think with a proper baseball mindset. I blame the coaching as it seems obvious to me that the lack of coaching is one of our biggest problem areas in general.

  9. judpma

    April 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    the way the blowpen is going maybe ValVerde isn’t such a bad idea…

  10. Vince in MN

    April 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Glad I had my taxes to do today for some excitement.

  11. Smoking Loon

    April 8, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Tough game to watch. I think the 3-2 loss to the Twins was better. I prefer sudden heartbreak to drawn out futility.

    • The Strategy Expert

      April 8, 2013 at 11:31 am

      I say neither option is acceptable.

      • Vince in MN

        April 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        Well, at least we haven’t been treated to any clown shows yet, but early season difficulties have been a recurrent issue over the last seven or eight years.

        • The Strategy Expert

          April 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm

          I think we have had too much difficulty consistently throughout the entire season each of the last seven or eight years. There are constant recurring issues with this ball club that receive inadequate attention and effort to improve upon.

        • Smoking Loon

          April 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm

          Good point. No clown shows is a good thing.

          Expectations have been much higher since 2006. We’re biased that way in judging the difficulties. Other biases factor in as well. The bullpen has blown one game and put two others out of reach so far. That’s 3 out of 6 games. We can say that the bullpen has been a problem all season, because it’s true. But the entire season consists of 6 games played at this point. Soon enough, trends will be measured by the month rather than by days. Everything is magnified in the early going.

          • Vince in MN

            April 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm

            I’m not talking about 6 games, I mean more like the first 20 or so. Here’s the Tigers records after 20/30 games since 2006

            2006 12-8 20-10
            2007 11-9 19-11
            2008 7-13 14-16
            2009 11-9 17-13
            2010 11-9 17-13
            2011 10-10 13-17
            2012 10-10 15-15

            With the exceptions of ’07 and ’08 those 30-game records are fairly pedestrian, and even in those years, they were not exactly hot out of the box.
            It just seems odd to me that not once in the last 7 years have they been able to do more than average for the first three weeks+. I can’t believe it is all about the weather.

            • Smoking Loon

              April 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

              Good stuff. How about the LAST 20-30 games? Have a feeling that’s been hot and cold, but very hot when hot. I won’t peek until you tell me.

  12. KW

    April 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hate to say it, but Verlander’s fastball velocity has been down pretty significantly this year: http://www.fangraphs.com/pitch.....8;pitch=FA.

    Hopefully he’s just rationing his superpowers, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.

    • Vince in MN

      April 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      If Gameday can be relied upon, in his first two starts he has gone with more off-speed stuff than fastballs: 81/30 ratio yesterday, with almost half of his total listed as changeups. However, some of those changeups were maybe just slow (for JV) fastballs. Anyway, the velocity is down as you say, but is it because he just isn’t throwing that much heat right now? On the other hand, maybe the pitch info on Gameday is completely bogus. I was informed by another poster that in ST it was completely unreliable, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a carryover into the regular season as well.

      • Smoking Loon

        April 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm

        My money is on Verlander rationing his superpowers. I think he still has the heat if he wants to use it.