Game 2012.60: Indians at Tigers

33-26, 1st place, 3.5 games ahead of Cle.

Good win last night, great effort by everyone except for Jose Valverde. He was flat out awful. I am certain that he won’t be closing games much longer. I can’t help but wonder if Valverde is the cause for the Verlander/Leyland miff from last night. (Miff seems appropriate, as i don’t think it qualifies as an imbroglio). In case you missed it, Verlander whimsically sought to avoid the Leyland “good game, you’re done” shake after a 7 pitch 7th last night (and rightfully so). Leyland didn’t find it to be very funny. I wouldn’t generally classify Leyland as having a “sense of humor”, but Verlander’s smirk let the whole world know what he was thinking. But I think that Leyland’s reaction after the game may have been caused by Valverde’s home run derby tryout. Here’s what I’m thinking:

The Tigers have a comfortable lead, at home, against the division rival, for now. A 4 run lead with your ace on the mound and at a reasonable pitch count is no time to think about your closer. But because of Valverde’s struggles, Leyland has to get him some easy work. So he makes the decision to go Benoit/Valverde to make it look like it was his plan to do a standard 8 – 9 routine. Then Valverde comes in and gets lit up like the 4th of July, so JL is in no mood to discuss JV (or get second guessed on anything). Thus his response.

DD – the clock is ticking.


A few quick notes.

– Tigers are 20-10 at home this year, 13-16 on the road.

– Tigers starts have posted a quality start in 13 of the team’s last 14 starts, and their ERA is 2.58 during that stretch.

– Anibal Sanchez scratched for tomorrow, Jose Alvarez up. More on him tomorrow.

I’m looking for VMart to keep up his hot bat, as he’s a career .500 hitter off of Carrasco (tiny print – that’s 1-2). To follow-up on yesterday’s JV post, that could have very easily been a 1 ER game. We’re seeing Hunter’s range diminish by the game. Still a very valuable player, but that’s just aging.

Today’s Lineup:

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



  1. StorminNorman$

    June 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

  2. Coleman

    June 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I’m with Kevin–not quite an imbroglio. I can see why Leyland is edgy (Valverde), but Verlander has got to be a bit edgy himself, and was probably feeling a bit of the yeah-now-I’m-getting-it-going feeling that he has been searching for.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 8, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Not much for Leyland’s sourpuss reaction. I’m finding his Grumpy Old Man routine less and less amusing.

      • Smoking Loon

        June 8, 2013 at 11:34 pm

        By the way, Vince: Another 0 for Jim? Good but obvious to get Putkonen out and Coke in. Also good to keep Coke in. Benoit warming up made me nervous. Valverde for the 9th was yer stock get the closer back on the horse again, but again good to see Smyly up just in case. Nothing critical.

        • Vince in MN

          June 9, 2013 at 7:50 am

          Yep- 0. I’m happy when the players take on the responsibility of getting it done and pitch and hit ‘good’, leaving Leyland mostly with writing out the lineup card (hey where’s Tui?). I had to work Sat and missed all but the last 1.5 innings. From the box it looked like Porcello and the bats were in control. Not so much the left side of the infield, but usually they have been pretty good. Coke worked out, but he makes me nervous too. If you are a believer in the need of a closer, then you have to use your closer, no matter how much dynamite he brings to the mound with him.

  3. Coleman

    June 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    And Fielder makes them pay.

  4. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    June 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Greetings all from Hella, Iceland. Following the Tigers via the net as no MLB package at our guesthouse. Keep’em winning boys! Only Tiger Fan in Iceland (Mississippi).

    • Coleman

      June 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      That’s hella cool.

    • William

      June 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      I hear its a great time of the year to play golf over there if you are so inclined.

      we have friends from there, and I hear tales of 11 PM tee times….sounds intriguing!

  5. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    June 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    They have a tournament on 21JUN with 00:00 tee off time. No baseball today in Iceland as low misty clouds abound. Good to see Tiger bats support Little Rickey!

    • Smoking Loon

      June 8, 2013 at 11:50 pm

      Say hello to Björk if you see her.

  6. Vince in MN

    June 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    God I miss Todd Jones.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      Be careful what you wish for. They brought Valverde back.

  7. StorminNorman$

    June 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    All wins are good, so ‘good win today’.
    I didn’t see Valverde pitch last night, but I did today – and I concur with the consensus that he’s an accident waiting to happen. The results were favorable today, but that had a lot to do with the CLE hitters.

    Though he did throw a few breaking balls (or splitters) today, the majority of his pitches were belt high 92 mph fast balls…though he did get Rugburn to K chasing a breaking pitch low & outside. Moving forward, I’m not sure how many teams/hitters Valverde is going to be able to fool with his current arsenal…I suspect, not many.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 8, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      The good news is that Valverde is presumably unavailable tomorrow.

  8. Smoking Loon

    June 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    A rare two-error* game for the Tigers. Miggy’s error was just terrible judgment on when and how to make the throw. We’ve seen this before. Jhonny’s error was uncharacteristic lazy glove on a routine play.

    * Was Infante’s dropped ball in RF in the 9th an error? I know it wan’t scored that way and wouldn’t say it should have been. But for our purposes, is their fault to be found? Hunter was positioned deep for a reason, no problem there. FSD comment was that he might have initially broken back instead of forward. I don’t know if that makes a difference. Maybe. Tough play for Infante, going back and back and having to twist around. And yet the ball fell in his glove, before he dropped it. I’m thinking… Hunter’s fault. Ball was up there a *long* time. I see that he could have been there before Infante was, and should have called him off.

  9. Smoking Loon

    June 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Porcello, still quite a young pitcher, always seems to be out of gas by 6 innings. I’m wondering if there might be a reversal later on this season, Smyly to the rotation and Porcello to the pen. A 2+ inning guy with Porcello’s type of stuff could be very useful to the Tigers there.

    • Vince in MN

      June 9, 2013 at 7:59 am

      With the callup of Alvarez to replace Sanchez, I think signals Smyly stays in the pen. He’d need to get stretched out (or so they keep saying), which would require longer stints earlier in the game. Anyway, he is valuable late in games and should probably get more use there than he has.

  10. Smoking Loon

    June 8, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I think I’ve seen enough of Putkonen. Not impressed with his stuff. Next, please. Evan Reed. Someone.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      June 9, 2013 at 3:06 am

      I’ve been fine with Putkonen in his time since the call-up. HE’s got an ERA in the low 2’s, what do you want from the kid?

      Reed?? Seriously? I saw enough of him in Texas to last me the rest of the year, thank you very much. Guys had very comfortable at-bats versus Reed in his brief time with the big club this year. Putknonen has been solid as a rookie middle relief guy.

  11. Smoking Loon

    June 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    This one could and should have been a blowout. Tigers hitters really let Carrasco off the hook early.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      June 9, 2013 at 3:10 am

      Yep. Very disappointing at-bat from VMart in the first inning with the bases loaded and only one out,. Got ahead of Carrasco 3-1 and then chased a pitch up around his armpits and fouled it off to run the count full. Some plate discipline there (and VMart is enough of a vet to know better) and VMart draws a bases loaded walk and the game is tied at 1 with the bases still loaded and still only one out. Instead VMart pops out to CF on the following pitch and fails to drive the runner from third in (yet another R3L2O fail by the guys wearing the Olde English D).

  12. judpma

    June 9, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Leylands plan of Coke then ValVerde…-2….the fact that it worked…+1…lucky +1….Leyland 0 today

    • Smoking Loon

      June 9, 2013 at 12:36 am

      We agree on the sum, then, if not the calculations.

      I watched the 9th again. Boy, is Valverde skating on thin ice. You can’t fault him for the bloop that fell in, but you really can for being unable to put away Gomes, and then walking him. Raburn and Aviles at the plate were gift outs.

      Unfortunately, there’s no alternative to Valverde with the slightest hint of guarantee about them. Not even Benoit.

  13. Smoking Loon

    June 9, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Has Victor Martinez lost a lot of his “speed” since 2011? I’m thinking of today’s double to the RF corner for a single, not the first such this season. His career (prior to 2013) 2B/H% is 21.6%. 2011 it was 22.5%. This season it is 18.9%. In a season like 2011, that level of decrease in doubles would have only dropped his SLG from .470 to .457. But singles that should have been doubles will have a game impact. His base running overall is like a tax that puts extra pressure on his bat to make up for it. One more reason I hope there is a change in DH policy when Martinez is gone. I think a DH by committee can work better, but that will probably have to wait until Leyland is gone. With a guy like V-Mart, there’s a good deal of risk you end up with an albatross.

    No question that Martinez has been better lately. And he’s been known to stay hot for literally months on end, as recently as 2011.

  14. Smoking Loon

    June 9, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Maybe Avila should just stop swinging and take on every pitch. The strikeouts and walks will accrue at roughly the current rate, and the GIDP will decrease. All without effort. Alex could study catching notes for the next inning during at bats. Is it against the rules to come to the batter’s box with no bat?

    • Smoking Loon

      June 9, 2013 at 1:26 am

      Or… would it be possible for the Tigers to let the pitchers bat and have the DH batting for Avila instead?

  15. Smoking Loon

    June 9, 2013 at 1:35 am

    P Jose Alvarez as a hitter has put up a .499 OPS in 46 minor league PA, all of them within the past couple years (he’s been in pro ball since 2006).

  16. Vince in MN

    June 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

    • StorminNorman$

      June 9, 2013 at 10:14 am

      speaking of Cabrera – apparently “informal talks re: extension” – if the asking price is $28M for an add’l 3-5 yrs, sounds like a no-brainer…BUT, if this is what Cabrera’s people really want, they better get it done while Illich is still alive…not to sound morbid, but as this article points out, extending Cabrera would establish a significant contract commitment to just 4 players, and a new “owner” might take a different approach

      • StorminNorman$

        June 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

        here’s the link to the Cabrera contract extension article:

        • Vince in MN

          June 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm

          I can understand why most people don’t want to talk contracts during the season.