Game 2013.42: Tigers at Rangers

23-18, 2nd place, 1.5 games behind Cle (who have now won 4 in a row)

Anibal Sanchez did his best Justin Verlander last night, and promptly got booted in the 3rd inning after allowing 11 base runners and 5 ER. The Tigers were never really in the game, and the best offense in baseball was tamed again for the 3rd straight night.

Against an opponent whose number we seemed to have for a while, the Tigers are now 6-12 versus the Rangers since October of 2011. And it feels even worse than that because in those 12 losses, the Rangers have reached double digits against the Tigers 5 times. Think about that – roughly every 3rd game against the Rangers has been a blowout loss. The Rangers are averaging nearly 6.5 runs per game against the Tigers during the time span (116 to 76). I think it’s safe to say that the Rangers have our number these days.

So Doug Fister climbs the hill tonight to take on Derek Holland on Sunday night baseball. Holland is enigmatic, to say the least. The young lefty has been brilliant at times, but he also gets a lot of flack for a seeming lack of concentration on the actual game part of playing baseball. Holland’s success this year (3-2, 2.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) can partly be attributed to his low HR rate (just 2 all year – .33/9) which is unsustainable over the long run. But Holland is a hard-throwing lefty with a good sinker and a great slider, and is also issuing a career low 1.79 walks/9. Tonight won’t be easy.

Of Fister’s 8 starts this year, 6 have been quality. He rebounded nicely last week against Houston (remember, it was Houston) after his shortest start since 2011 against Washington the previous time out. Fister has been thumped by the Rangers in the past, to the tune of 14  ER and 19 hits (5 long balls) in 9 innings.

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A few notes.

– This is the first time since 2003 that two Tigers’ starters didn’t make it through the 3rd inning in a series.

– In today’s the apocalypse is upon us note – the Tigers’ uni’s were beat out by the Orioles’. Blasphemy. This has really upset me.

– Prince Fielder is in a slump (I’m sure you knew this). Over his last 10 games he’s 6-36 with 1 HR. Last night’s RBI was his first in 7 games. He’s 0-3 career versus Holland, though lefties are hitting better against Holland than righties (.773 OPS v. .582 for righties).

I don’t feel good about it, but man do we need a win tonight – off-day tomorrow.

Someone please post the lineup later, as I’m headed to a BBQ (game will be on).

140 thoughts on “Game 2013.42: Tigers at Rangers”

  1. Tonight’s Tui-Avi-Torii Lineup:
    1. Infante, 2B
    2. Hunter, RF
    3. Cabrera, 3B
    4. Fielder, 1B
    5. Martinez, DH
    6. Tuiasosopo, LF
    7. Peralta, SS
    8. Pena, C
    9. Garcia, CF

    1. And don’t forget the similar sounding trio in the middle of the lineup:

      Miggy, Princey, and Vicky.

  2. This has nothing to do with tonight’s lineup because we are facing a lefty, but which player would you rather have hitting vs. RH pitching:

    A) .163/.265/.279/.544
    B) .429/.429/1.000/1.429

    1. Well I would pick B because A sounds like he might not belong in this league. It took me 2 guesses to figure out A and only 1 guess for B. The fact that we have more than one player that is believable for that A stat line is not a fun feeling to think about!

      1. Vince, you can’t just put guys in the lineup because they hit better in defiance of conventional platoon split thinking. Tuiasosopo isn’t *supposed* to hit RHP and Dirks isn’t *supposed* to hit LHP. Therefore, stats must be ignored.

        1. A is actually Kelly, who happens to be hitting .300 vs.LH pitching. So kind of a trick question, but one that further asks why is Kelly the regular CF now, while Tui remains a bench guy.

          1. Yeah, I knew who A was, though it was a good question. I’ve been wondering about the Kelly over Tui for a while. Lately I’ve been wondering why Tui and Dirks in the lineup “must” be mutually exclusive.

    1. Every decision has the Leyland stamp of approval.

      We are genuinely certifiable no matter what your opinion is!

  3. Cabrera is simply amazing.

    Also amazing: we got another guy thrown out at home, this time slopoke.

  4. I’m okay with the play at home. Contact play. Would have been an out at first otherwise and a single would have scored a run still.

  5. Martinez has been such a great hitter for such a long time it is really sad watching him hach away out after out after out after……….this year

  6. We all knew the range issues would cost us a few runs here and there. There you go.

    Lots of baeball left.

  7. Absolute clown show… When is this team going to wake up from their mid-May nap? The offense, pitching and fielding has been pretty terrible this month…

    1. I usually blame Illitch and DD for almost anything that goes wrong. To me the blame deserves to rise to the top.

      The players just go out there and do their best and don’t deserve to be made into excuses by the team that picks players that don’t produce desired results.

      1. I tend to agree with you. I am still not convinced that signing Prince Fielder was the smartest move, but rather was made by an owner desperate for a World Series win… I just think of how many other holes need to be filled on this team, yet so much is locked in with Prince, yet another 1st baseman, when we already had a 1st baseman in Cabrera.

        1. I don’t have a beef with the Fielder signing. Maybe several years down the road it will turn into a fiasco because of the long-term contract, but for the moment adding Prince to the lineup has added enough punch to more than compensate for the fielding deficiencies (although occasionally the ‘range issue’ rears its ugly head). And I think it has made Miggy more productive as well. My complaint, for years now, has been the utter disregard for improving the bench. Surely when you have already spent 130M+, a few million more to improve on the likes of Kelly and Santiago is no big deal. Tui was a big unplanned for surprise this season. Without him imagine what the bench would look like. Remember the odds-on favorite early in camp was the waiver guy we ended up sending back to WASH (can’t even remember his name). Avila has been a ‘hope-and-prayer-return-to-2011-form’ situation, which is looking like a gamble that is not going to pay off, but you can’t fault them too much for that because the number of available capable catchers is extremely thin. The insistence of sticking with him is getting a little old though (batting 6th yet!). I don’t find much of a problem with the pitching either.

  8. I would have walked Cabrera too. Time for Prince to make them pay (If Prince continues to slump, and with Martinez playing Mendoza ball, Cabrera might get Bonds’d a lot this year).

    1. Good one! I just missed it when I made my post or it would have fit nicely right here!

  9. Fielder has had several times this year where he has failed to get the lead runner on a similar play. Sometimes he thinks he can’t get the guy or doesn’t have an angle when he does. We need to keep him focused on making the smart decisions like that last play.

    1. Yes. I have no idea why, at the least, you couldn’t bring Benoit in here. Ortega is just toast. Benoit can pitch two innings.

    2. The sad thing is he doesn’t know either. Smokey is an absolute joke! The sooner he’s gone the better!

      1. When some actual managing has to be done Smokey is lost! He can’t think on his feet.

  10. I’m fully expecting this game to be out of reach when Ortega leaves.

    Remember what I said about double digits?

    1. Yeah. I think it’s gonna get there yet. With any luck, maybe the Tigers will get to double digits as well. Martinez won’t bat again for a while.

  11. We have got to deal someone for some bullpen help. Smyly and Porcello seem like the best candidates.

    Dotel should be back soon, that will help. But our bridge guys are just awful.

    Now, the Rangers may just be the best team in baseball. So it won’t always be like this. But the pen we have can’t be our post-season solution.

    1. I think Porcello and Smyly are too valuable to deal, and I don’t have a good feeling about Dotel being able to help, soon or ever.

      The Tigers have the bullpen talent, big the big team and Toledo. They really do. That talent just needs to deliver with something approaching consistency. If that doesn’t happen, yeah, I suppose some kind of painful deal is inevitable.

  12. Goodness Cabrera. You don’t see him make many mental errors like that. Who knows if it will even matter.

    1. He makes bad choices at 3B with regularity. Best hitter in baseball by far, Tigers MVP without question. Still a liability at 3B.

      1. Someone should tote up the number of extra bases the Tigers gave away tonight. Errors, misplays, bad throws, dropped balls, wild pitches…

  13. 3 brainless plays in a row. Make that 4. It’s a reflection of a total lack of baseball common sense from Leyland on down .

  14. I’ve watched this crap all weekend. Enough. If the Tigers find a way to win, God bless ’em. But I’m done and it’s time to get the F out of Texas. Let Oakland beat them up.

  15. Why did Tui airmail the cutoff man again ….. didn’t Smokey speak to him after the first one earlier tonight ….. oh that’s right Smokey can’t manage!

  16. Incredibly frustrating. I hate baseball right now.

    Just know that I feel what you guys feel.

    Going to make a drink.

    1. Hey Kevin..plenty of season left. While my wife, daughter, and I attended the first three games of the series, we missed this game, getting home at 0430AM after last night’s game. Despite the score, you are seeing a very special baseball player bat. Incredible show of hitting. My brother is currently at the game. Cheers!

        1. Tui’s pretty decent in LF. I think he got greedy after one diving catch and wanted to play the hero again, went for the gusto rather than playing it safe as the score dictated. Dumb, maybe, but there’s a guy in RF who gets caught up in the heat of monmnt at times, too. Not a good game in LF last night, no. But the first bungles I’d hold him entirely responsible for so far.

          1. I think you have to cut the guy a little slack. His minor league career of 804 games is mostly as an infielder (3B- 444, SS-140, 1B-74, 2B-48, OF-98). I think it is the classic case of him being put out in LF because there wasn’t any other place for him to play. Obviously he hasn’t been worked with much and is in effect learning the position. That might be a reason why Leyland doesn’t pencil him in very often.

            1. Anyone who would look at the numbers would yank Martinez as DH and put Tui there.

              But baseball isn’t played by numbers, it’s played by people, and you don’t just do that with a guy like Martinez. It’s easy to scoff at the “player’s manager” aspect of what Leyland does, but it’s a very real part of managing a team, and he does it well.

              At some point (but when?) it will have to be decided whether Martinez is going to get it back or not, and difficult decisions will have to be made. They were made eventually with Ordonez, which I think is a very similar situation. So while I think it’s fair to point out that the Tigers are suffering from bottom of the barrel DH performance, that doesn’t mean anyone is doing anything wrong, as paradoxical as that position may sound.

  17. best manager in baseball. just ask the players…know why…he won’t say one word to them about this clown show!

      1. I was there for my birthday – took my Mom. She’s from Detroit, so we let pretty bummed. Entertaining game though.

  18. Awful, awful weekend.

    The Rangers are the class of the AL right now, and the Tigers are somewhere in the middle. Fortunately, we play in the AL Central.

    Long season, we’ll have many more nights like this. It’s the cost of being a fan.

    1. Yeah and Oakland beat KC. But because CLE won again now that might not be a good thing since CLE is now our current top threat for the division and the extra win could help OAK against us.

      Gosh why don’t we just slap like another hundred million of salary on top of this heaping mess, that should do the trick. When all else fails, just mindlessly toss more money around. Thats the Tiger way.

  19. Oh and congrats to Cabrera for the awesome 3 homer game that could have been a 4th if it wasn’t for being walked. But too bad it happened in one of those 7+ runs given up games that we haven’t one a single one of yet this season.

  20. wonder how long Leyland’s patience will hold. there’s along way to go but since the tigers are making some pretty amateur blunders with regularity sooner than later would be good

    1. Patience for what though, so if his patience runs out what would that mean and how would that affect us?

  21. The only thing worse than a bad weekend is coming here to find nothing but incessant whining from a bunch of grown men who apparently haven’t figured out that every team has its ups and downs over the course of a six month season.

    Peace out, y’all. I’m done hoping that the billfer glory days would somehow return. There’s gotta be a thoughtful blog around here somewhere….

    1. Thoughtful blogs are made from thoughtful contributions. We’re all free to make them and steer the conversation to something more to our liking.

      One of the functions of the game post thread is to host the spontaneous and informal banter of fans whining and/or exulting about the game in progress or the game just played. Without having some kind of ultimately irrational emotional involvement with the Detroit Tigers to begin with, what is the point of a blog devoted to being a fan of said Tigers? “[A] bunch of grown men [and women, too] who apparently haven’t figured out that every team has its ups and downs” is the very definition of “baseball fans.”

      Yes, teams and players have their ups and downs. But if having reactions to the ups and downs that are less than scholarly and opinions about them that are less than academic is silly, then so is analysis of Justin Verlander’s pitch speed and release point, or Victor Martinez’s strike zone contact rate. None of it matters at all unless you make it matter. “It all evens out” might be true, but it’s a non-starter for conversation. It’s really the ultimate rebuttal. Rebuttal is quite easy. Proposal, more difficult.

      The billfer glory days included proposals (and perhaps more of them) that fostered discussions, not only rebuttals. I suggest that anyone with complaints about content provide some.

      1. fanatic

        a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, esp. an activity

        1. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is that too many of the expressions of that enthusiasm are laughably devoid of any reasoning.

      2. We’re all free to make them and steer the conversation to something more to our liking.

        I’ve tried, but it’s clear that I’m grossly outnumbered. Y’all seem happy with the status quo and you’re certainly welcome to have the forum of your choosing.

        Without having some kind of ultimately irrational emotional involvement with the Detroit Tigers to begin with, what is the point of a blog devoted to being a fan of said Tigers?

        The irrationality is that we have strong emotional attachment to an arbitrary team that plays an arbitrary game. We don’t need to be irrational in our analysis of the game.

        But if having reactions to the ups and downs that are less than scholarly and opinions about them that are less than academic

        Less than academic would be fine by me. Expressions of frustration/joy are fine to. What drives me crazy is when people use their frustration to start spraying blame mindlessly as if it’s Leyland’s or Dombrowski’s fault every time the bullpen blows a lead or someone strikes out with a runner on third and less than two outs…

        “It all evens out” might be true, but it’s a non-starter for conversation.

        There are many conversations that need not be started. This isn’t talk radio where you need to fill dead air, even if it means airing pure drivel.

    2. There is whining on every blog; for some people that is the whole attraction of a daily blog. I think the biggest difference in the “glory days” was that there was a larger group of people commenting, more diversity of opinion, and less of the old familiarity breeds contempt effect as a result. So the easiest way to improve the experience would be to bring more people here.

      Any ideas on how to do that?

      One thing Billfer used to do, that I haven’t managed to, is to
      do post game updates, which I thing added a rationality and sanity that tempered the whine factor (there was plenty of whining in the comments back then too). Don’t know how he did it, and props to Loon for his efforts.

      (By the way three of maybe the top ten commenters from the “glory days” are writing the posts now. We ain’t Billfer, but there is some continuity).

      1. Sorry for the typos, phone-posting while walking is apparently beyond my capabilities.

      2. Personally I think this is the best Tigers blog out there, I love it and think there are often interesting tidbits of information whether it’s stats in the daily posts or just fascinating opinions and perspectives from a variety of people albeit a small group. Keep up the good work guys cause this is a special place that offers insight different from everybody else while easily being the most interesting blog out there for me at least.

        Lee’s blog Tiger Tales is also phenomenal in it’s own right, but just not as conducive for daily and regular conversations. I check both blogs regularly every day and I’m hooked!

      3. Well one great idea is to create a large marketing budget!

        Otherwise maybe less costly ideas include creating a forum-based environment which makes conversation and follow up easier and more intensive on dedicated subjects. It’s pretty hard to keep track of conversations once they get buried in places that are a couple days old.

        Or I would always suggest to any sports related site to find ways to create unique offerings, whether it’s set up a mock draft or GM game or whatever one can come up with that might be fun and interesting to check out. I just think in particular there isn’t much out there for baseball like there is for say football in terms of unique ways to drive an audience.

        It might be worth trying to make efforts with members of the Tigers to do interviews or maybe set up a live chat to gain a special and unique offering that nobody else can duplicate.

      4. I think the biggest difference in the “glory days” was that there was a larger group of people commenting, more diversity of opinion, and less of the old familiarity breeds contempt effect as a result.

        I disagree with that. All the commenters in the world wouldn’t help unless they’re the right kind of commenters. If the tone stays as is, the only new commenters that would stick around are those that enjoy (and want to perpetuate) the current tone.

        One thing Billfer used to do, that I haven’t managed to, is to
        do post game updates, which I thing added a rationality and sanity that tempered the whine factor

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but you guys have generally been putting the post-game updates in the next day’s pre-game, right? Nothing wrong with that.

        I think the core of the problem is that 1) analysis doesn’t get enough emphasis, which signals to readers that this isn’t a forum for analysis and 2) the frequent cynical humor of the moderators signals to readers that cynicism is in vogue and they frequently chime in with the same tone, sans humor.

        (By the way three of maybe the top ten commenters from the “glory days” are writing the posts now. We ain’t Billfer, but there is some continuity).

        Yes, but the tone has changed entirely.

    3. People post more during losses far more than wins…just the nature of it. Folks like to vent.

      And it’s that way everywhere….as an Alabama graduate and season ticket holder, I find our blogs downright comical at points during football season. If your read them during a close game or a loss, you might think you had stumbled across a Vanderbilt forum.

  22. Good feedback, Jeff. I’d hate to see you go.

    I think I too get cynical, but like most of you, I’m sitting at my house in my Tigers cap, wearing my Tigers t-shirt, drinking from my Tigers beer mug, and flipping through Bless You Boys for the hundredth time. It’s hard not to get frustrated with something that you’re so emotionally invested in. Other than work, I likely spend more time following the Tigers than anything else.

    I make an effort to rein things in and keep things in perspective. To that end – let’s remember where this team is now – widely regarded as WS contenders. You can’t sit on a perch any higher than that, and it’s easy to fall down.

    I also agree with William – the Texas Longhorns message boards are awfully depressing (especially in light of recent years).

    It’s a function of passion + disposable time + anonymity.

    I go out and check the other blogs from time to time – this one has the best analysis. Bar none (well, Lee’s is better, but most of us read his, then post here).

    And finally, we’re working on some significant site upgrades. It’s gonna take a while, but they are in the works.

    1. I go out and check the other blogs from time to time – this one has the best analysis. Bar none (well, Lee’s is better, but most of us read his, then post here).

      There’s some good analysis here, but once the season starts, the vast majority of it gets rolled into the pre-game. By the end of the first inning, what little discussion it had generated is drowned out by the onslaught of fear and loathing.

      1. I don’t disagree with the location of the analysis, but it’s very difficult to find time to do more. I would love and encourage more analysis posts (no matter how in-frequent). If guys (or gals) are willing, I’d be happy to add more contributors.

        1. BTW – I don’t think any of us really understand how much time billfer put into this all those years. I can see why he stepped back.

          1. I’m certainly not knocking the effort, because I do understand how much you guys put into it. The problem mostly has to do with structure and emphasis. If you could create some separation between the thoughtful discussion and the barroom banter, that would probably be good enough.

              1. Off-days are too infrequent; they’d get pushed out of sight within a couple days. Out of sight, out of mind.

                There needs to be some dedicated portion of the site where meaningful conversations can be had at any time without being drowned out by the game chatter. It should be structured in such a way that the conversations can easily flow over the course of multiple days.

                Here are my thoughts on the site layout: http://screencast.com/t/qddgDUhh

              2. Well, Jeff, I’m glad you spoke out. It has sparked an interesting discussion that could set in motion some changes for the better here.

              3. Well you can’t even read the entire comments anyhow, so not sure what the point of listing them on the home page is. It’s just an incoherent message preview.

    2. I admit some of my posts are often a little silly and I’m attempting to elicit humor more than I’m trying to embarrass any particular player if it seems like I do that from time to time. Like when I referred to Victor as Vicky the other day to me that’s just a playful comment as players who aren’t performing well are accountable to perform or they should expect some harsh critiques. It’s not personal and I am going for trying to be PR or PC friendly, so I apologize if that’s an issue. I surely would never refer to Victor as Vicky to his face or in a setting where anonymity wasn’t part of the process, it’s just that The Strategy Expert only posts unabridged and unfiltered commentary whether good or bad, and anybody involved in baseball needs to do a good job otherwise they are going to hear me comment about what I think about their work. And everybody gets a fair chance to defend their place in baseball with how they approach their game. Those that fail don’t deserve sympathy or free passes in my mind because this is a serious game to me.

      1. sorry NOT going for PR or PC friendly.

        And when are the updates going to have an edit button, get to work guys it’s already the afternoon!

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