Game 2012.61: Indians at Tigers

34-26, 4.5 games up on Cle.

(never mind the bad digital editing in the image above)

Another good win for the Tigers yesterday afternoon, another poor showing for Valverde. Fielder’s bases clearing double put the Tigers in the lead for good, and Ricky P turned in his 3 straight quality start (and 7th in 10 games) to bring his ERA below 9. He’s a fantastic #5 guy.

Remember all that bad luck I talked about that JV is getting? Well Valverde’s getting all of the good luck. His BABIP against this year is .179 and his FIP is 5.62, yet his ERA is only 4.02. Over his last 5 appearances, Valverde has allowed 9 hits and 1 walk in 4 2/3. That’s a 2.14 WHIP. His (mild success) is a fluke and unless he starts throwing his splitter more often, I don’t see anyway for him to remain the closer for much longer.

Today’s replacement starter is Jose Alvarez. To me, bringing up Alvarez instead of using Smyly (who is well rested), signals to me that Smyly is in the long-term plans for the Tigers. If they were hoping to flip him for a reliever, he’d be auditioning today. My guess is still that Porcello will be dealt for a reliever and a prospect in the near future. We can win the Central with Valverde, but we can’t win the AL with him as our closer.

Alvarez is a 24 year old lefty who has been phenomenal so far this year at Toledo.He currnetly leads the International League with 76 strikeouts and ranks second with a 2.42 ERA. Alvarez was signed to a minor league contract last November after 3 years in the Red Sox farm system. He took steps backwards at ages 22 and 23, which is why Boston let him go. He doesn’t have much time to figure it out, but he’s making strides.


A few notes:

– Walk Miguel Cabrera and get burned. Following Cabrera’s last 15 walks, Fielder is 9-14 with a BB and 13 RBI.

– Great article on Grantland today about Chris Davis and the adjustments he’s made. Chris Davis is fascinating to me stemming from his time in Texas, but he looks to be Miggy’s early season MVP co-candidate.

Today’s Series Sweeping Sunday Lineup.

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

30 thoughts on “Game 2012.61: Indians at Tigers”

  1. I hope you are right with your call of the “Series Sweeping Sunday Lineup” ….. but I have a feeling we will be giving Smokey a (-1) for this lineup. Why does Smokey put Santiago, Kelly and AA in the lineup at the same time ….. especially with a first time rookie starting?
    Is this a throw away game?

    1. I like a couple of Alex’s swings today. In his first at-bat he delivered a hard hit ball to CF that resulted in a SAC fly. In his second at-bat another hard hit ball that died in the glove of Bourn in deep left-center. Hopefully Alex can start to come around with the bat and at least get himself over the Mendoza line.

  2. Martinez will get a lot of good pitches to hit today. Nobody will want to walk him with the ever-dangerous Don Kelly there in the 6th spot.

      1. Apparently Tui was given supervision of the sunflower seed bucket in the dugout. Every time they showed him in the dugout today he was chewing and spitting out sunflower seeds.

  3. Why does Smokey put Santiago, Kelly and AA in the lineup at the same time ….. especially with a first time rookie starting?
    With a 4.5 game lead in the Central he must feel like the Tigers have it locked up already.

    1. Read my comments from last night’s postgame thread. I correctly called a lineup that included Santiago and Kelly. My only mistake was that I thought Ramon would be in for Infante instead of Peralta. It is as predicatable as 2 coming after 1. Any time that we have an oppeortunity to sweep somebody Ol’ Smoky always trots out his “B” lineup.

  4. Interesting article in SI this week about the conventional wisdom of batting your “best ” hitter in the 3 spot, the author suggests the 2 spot instead. Not sure if I totally buy into it, but it makes sense, on paper anyway. Makes the unintentional intentional walk a thing of the past. Pretty sure JL would poo-poo it, he is old school, sometimes to a fault.

    1. Another theory is to bat your best hitter No. 1, since over the course of a season that can add quite a number of PAs compared to hitting say No. 3. And he would really only “lead off” once the game. Your second best hitter would bat 2nd and so on. I doubt that we will see Cabrera and Fielder in the first two slots any time soon though.

  5. I think the old school boys had it right putting your big boys 3rd and 4th. Where would you bat your tablesetters if you ran the big boys 1st and 2nd? 7th, 8th, and 9th? Doing such would not allow them the needed tableset at bats. Leave it to SI to toss this out; John McGraw would never do such!

  6. I guess the whole Kelly staring in CF worked out well this time for JL…what a genius 😉

    1. Well, Kelly has been a good defensive replacement throughout Jackson’s absence. Hardly a game in CF where he doesn’t do something we can appreciate.

  7. Looks like Donkey will be in CF until AJ gets back after that 3 run jack makes Smokey look like a genius.

  8. Cy Alvarez! About time that one of our “making his major league debut” guys shuts the other side down. Lord knows it has happened multiple times to us over the past 5 seasons. Even Verlander got knocked around in his major league debut in Cleveland in July of ’05. Love that the kid is left handed too. Having this guy and even moreso Smyly makes me confident that Porcello gets traded at the deadline this year for a closer.

  9. Also have to begrudgingly give Ol’ Smoky some credit for going with Don Kelly today. Kelly had good career numbers versus Masterson heading into this one (I think it was 6-17), so nice call by Ol’ Smoky.

  10. I’m with Jerry…bout time we did this “pitcher making his MLB debut” to someone successfully….enough teams have done this to us….

    Happy for Donkey..great at
    bat..defense has been solid

    lets keep Winnin!

  11. Mumbles Meter:…..lineup worked +1, luck +1..defensive alignment +1…Pitching management +1..bonus allowing the rookie to get resonably deep into the game +1… score +2

    1. Not that I think there were critical in-game decisions made, but I’d give Leyland credit for rolling with Alvarez and Donkey Kong.

      1. I don’t like it when Leyland plays both Kelly and Santiago in the same game, and my initial reaction at the start of the game was to cringe. The fact that Kelly got the 3-run homer certainly couldn’t have been predicted in JL’s crystal ball. He could have easily gone hitless. However, I was happy to see him let Alvarez go 6 AND no more. Going with Smyly for two was wise (I’d like to see more of that in the late innings) even though it was a bit of a rough outing for him, and finishing up with Benoit was okay too – I don’t consider him a gas can like Valverde as some do. JL managed the pitching part of the game well to finish off the sweep and there were no blunders, so even though the Indians didn’t mount too much of a challenge, but still, +1.

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