Game 2013.66: Tigers at Twins

Detroit Tigers: 37-28, 1st Place (4.5 ahead of Cleveland). 

Who the (expletive) should Leyland close with? (to quote the skipper). Well it looks like the answer, for now, is going to be Jose Valverde, who is still the closer. (Although it should be noted that Valverde’s appearance was not a save situation, and that Phil Coke was warming up in the bullpen). Valverde himself was campaigning for an appearance, and “wasn’t shy” about it.


In Friday’s pre game talk Leyland followed up his “who should I close with?” rant by putting a little heat on his offense. When someone mentioned that the offense seems to fall off in late innings, Leyland went off: “Why don’t you write about it?” Leyland said. “You write about Valverde. You write about the (expletive) closer. Write about that. Write about it…We have to improve in close games,” Leyland said. “We haven’t done very well in close games. We’ve been terrible.”

That IS the other side of the poor record in one-run games (7-11) and extra inning games (2-7): if the offense regularly disappears in the late and close situations, eventually a crack will show somewhere in the bullpen. It is possible to have your bullpen give up a run or two and still win games.

Here is what happens to the Tiger hitters in “Late and Close” situations:

  • BA: .198 (15th)
  • OB: .291 (13th)
  • SLG: .267 (15th)
  • OPS: .558 (15th)

They also have scored a mere 23 “late and close” runs, which is also dead last (Baltimore is best with 72).

Blame can be evenly spread, even Cabrera isn’t immune. Here are the team late and close BA/OPS numbers.

  1. .231/.858  Tuiasosopo
  2. .278/.806  Infante
  3. .167/.786  Santiago
  4. .289/.684  Peralta
  5. .211/.671  Avila
  6. .231/.605  Jackson
  7. .222/.596  Kelly
  8. .220/.587  Fielder
  9. .238/.499  Pena
  10. .135/.482  Cabrera
  11. .130/.390  Dirks
  12. .114/.368  Hunter
  13. .143/.343  Garcia
  14. .139/.339  Martinez


All that aside, today’s matchup projects to be one that favors the Tigers. Detroit sends out Anibal Sanchez, who was a Joe Mauer single away from no-hitting the Twins the last time he faced them. The Tigers face Deduno, whom they knocked for 6 runs in 5 innings.  Dirks had 3 hits against Deduno in that game, and Kelly hit a home run, and they are both in the lineup today, in case you thought nobody paid attention to these things


Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Victor Martinez. Teams have been putting Cabrera on base, and Fielder has been making them pay.  Deduno pitched around Fielder the last time the two teams played (2 walks), and Victor couldn’t capitalize. He is likely to get another chance tonight…hopefully not when the game is late and close (see list above).

Today’s Donkified Lineup:

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

39 thoughts on “Game 2013.66: Tigers at Twins”

  1. So were asking these guys to produce for nine whole thats expecting a lot. And considering, half the lineup doesn’t produce anything in the furst 6 innings anyway!

  2. is Pena still on the team?..Avila gets to make his 0-4 against both L and R pitchets.. Pena must have been showing Leylands boy up so its bench time for Pena

    1. ”Who am I (expletive deleted) supposed to start at (expletive deleted) catcher? We’re going to use (expletive deleted) Alex Avila until we (expletive deleted) decide (expletive deleted) Alex Avila can or can’t (expletive deleted) do it or we’ve (expletive deleted) got somebody else (expletive deleted) better.” –Jim Leyland

      1. Excellent.

        By the way, I think Leyland goes to -2 overall (since we’ve been tracking it) based on this game. You don’t let hitters see Downs twice. There are 7 pitchers in the bullpen. All were available. Also, why not walk Mauer? Men on 2nd and 3rd? Doumit up next? Come on, man. That’s right out of the textbook Jim loves so much… when it suits him.

        I was thinking Leyland should get a +1 for some good moves in the lone win against KC, but I can’t remember if they could be called game-changers or -winners. Good moves, though.

        1. I thought pulling Sanchez for Downs was a good move. Then, as you say, he left Downs in way too long, with a fully rested bullpen available. Like Coke, Downs is a LOOGY, so in that situation (6th inning), why not go with your designated long man, Smyly.

          Leyland doesn’t understand the capabilities/capacities of his players. His roster management has always been bad in my view, and this is an example of his misperceptions contributing to a loss. A smarter move may not have meant the Tigers win this one, but it would have put the players in a better position to do so.

          I was on the fence in that KC game, but inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. But his inconsistency makes me think it was more just luck. -2.

  3. As Kevin says, baseball is fun. On the other hand, sometimes MLB is (expletive). Didn’t realize this was a blackout game.

    1. Yeah, surprise to me, too. All I got was radio. I like Dickerson and Price, though. I’d like to watch on and listen to (online) radio, but I strongly suspect there would be synchronization issues. Even 1 second of disjoint can be disconcerting and highly annoying. I found that out a time or two when there was an audio/video gap on itself.

    1. Last night Cabrera “Lamonted” Brookens–ran right through his stop sign (and scored). That is a bad omen.

      1. The funny thing is that the Tigers are average to slightly above at hitting relievers. They just aren’t doing it Late and Close.

  4. In Detroit this guy was BP Deduno. Tonight he is Cy Deduno. Is playing on the road really that different from playing at home? What is going on?

    1. I know we whine any time someone lesser than Felix Hernandez baffles the Tigers, but honestly, having seen Deduno pitch prior to this, this game against was truly insulting. It trumps all the other “Cy” complaints by a wide margin.

  5. Dirks has taken the place of Boesch, and we simply cannot continue to carry a “regular” who hits .162.

      1. Dirks’s .245 *is* a .162. Four groundballs to second base. Consecutively. In a single game. Are you kidding me?

        2 outfield assists, though. Why must they confuse us like this?

    1. There has been some confusion. Actually, Avila has taken the place of Raburn, Martinez has taken the place of Boesch, Dirks has taken the place of Avila, and Kelly and Santiago are pooling their batting averages to take the place of Dirks less an .068 depreciation for tax purposes.

    1. Cost ’em the ballgame. Hunter! What a bust. I say he’ll be out of baseball in a coupla years.

  6. Do we really know who the driving force behind bringing Valverde back was? Leyland? Dombrowski? Illitch? I don’t know. Evidence?

    1. Circumstantial evidence points to DD and JL as the instigators, and when Illitch nodded off during the discussion, the head drop was taken to mean a go ahead.

  7. gameday indicates Avila is hitting .o38 with a .112 ops..against LH pitchers so batting him against Scott Diamond friday should be considered negligence…Leyland has to go. And don’ t give me that he has to play who he has. If he would raise a little hell with DD like he does with the media he wouldn’t have dead wood like Santiago, Kelly, Avila, Martinez, Coke and Val Verde on his roster…

    hey and Mumbles the media only asks you about 5 minutes of questions after a game. how about showing a little class and not have your mouth full of food. Or try not spitting food as you talk

    1. 1. Yeah the Mumbles chewing his food and answering media questions all at the same time has got to be one of the non-classiest things ever. It pisses me off and I’m not even in the media. Its just disrespectful.

      2. Also, the little things that don’t show up in the box score continue to kill this team. Today’s example is Prince Fielder not advancing from second to third base on a wild pitch that bounced 15 feet from the catcher. The result: Fielder is thrown out at home on the ensuing Don Kelly single to right when he should have been able to walk home from third if he had just taken the base on the previous pitch. Its the little things like this that continue to infuriate me when I watch our guys play.

      3. Vmart continues to kill this offense. Until Vmart can start making the opposition pay for not pitching to Fielder this offense will continue to sputter.

  8. I didn’t see the game, so the importance of #2 got lost in the excitement of the almost-RBI as I was listening. Good catch, big factor. Cabrera takes that base. Too bad he wasn’t on.

    Have to agree on #3. I still hear the “rusty,” “a year off” excuses being made. Baloney.

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