Game 2013.68: Orioles at Tigers

38-29, 1st place, 4.5 games up. Which is the 2nd biggest division lead in the majors.

The Tigers took care of business in Minnesota taking the three game series with the win yesterday. Good teams have to win series against no so good teams. So good job, boys.

A much more formidable opponent rolls into the D tonight, a place that has been very difficult for opposing teams this year. The Tigers are an AL high 12 games over at Comerica this year (22-10), mostly thanks to a prolific home offense which was mentioned in Coleman’s opener yesterday. Here are some selected home stats with their ML ranks in parenthesis:

– Avg. .302 (1)
– OBP. .370 (1)
– Slg. .455 (3rd)

But again (I think I brought this up a few weeks ago) the home XBHs aren’t there – as they are 17th, 16th, and 16th, in 2B, 3B, and HR, respectively. This is easy to pinpoint by looking at home/away splits for individual hitters. Cabby and Fielder are both mashing home and away, but Peralta (128 points), Infante  (239), Avila (145) and Martinez (86) all are experiencing significant dropoffs in slugging away from Comerica. I guess the other way of looking at this is that Peralta, Infante hit at all-star levels at home! And Martinez and Avila hit at near league average levels!

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The Orioles come into town at 40-30 after having taken 2/3 at home against the 1st place Red Sox. The Orioles lead the majors with 15 series wins in 2013. Jake Arrieta gets the start in place of Jason Hammel, who is getting an extra day to recover from illness. Arrieta lost his starting job back in April after posting a 6.63 ERA and failing to reach the 6th inning in 4 starts. This will be his first major league appearance since then.

Mad Max Scherzer could set Tigers history tonight…no Tigers starter has ever started a season 10-0. Over his last 5 starts, Max has a microscopic .69 WHIP, a 2.00 ERA, and 38 ks in 36 innings. He was given a no decision against the Orioles when they walked off with a bomb off of Valverde. Max hasn’t forgotten I’m sure.

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The big news of the day is that Anibal Sanchez (strained right shoulder) and Alex Avila (deep contusion on his left forearm) were put on the 15-day DL today; though I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone.

Here’s your it happens other places too note for the date: Ron Washington told reporters yesterday that even “Detroit lost 7/8 at one point in time this season”.  Panic is sweeping the Metroplex regarding the Rangers.

Tonight’s Lineup:

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

 

70 thoughts on “Game 2013.68: Orioles at Tigers”

  1. Avenge the no-decision, Max!

    Yeah, just noticed that the Tigers have a better record than Texas. How did that happen?

      1. This would also be an opportune moment to pick on the Rangers for being 5-1 against Houston. However…

        1. And the upshot would seem to be that the Tigers are so much better than Texas… except when they play Texas.

  2. The Cabrera Slump was apparently just a Road Slump! Good job by AJax not getting doubled off (+1 run).

      1. I feel ya Vince. VMart is killing us this year. .231/5 HR/33 RBI is not getting the job done in the 5 hole 40% of the way thru the season. He did deliver an important SAC fly tonight, but in general has looked 180 degrees opposite of the 2011 VMart. I sure wouldn’t mind seeing Tui get some run at DH versus lefties. Not only is Tui hitting for average, but he also has some pop in his bat.

    1. Glad he got the win, but yeah, not real sharp at all.

      The bases-loaded strikeout of Chris Davis, though… that was like a World Series moment or something. Huge.

      I’ve got to note the home plate ump’s name, because the two close pitches that ran it to 3-2 *were* outside. If not for “Mr. FoxTrax,” I’d be whining about how Max got robbed. I think pitchers of Scherzer’s caliber often get those calls, and that ump did a fine job. I don’t think I saw a batter give a dirty look or “silent protest” about a call the whole game.

      1. Max sure gave the ump a dirty look after he called the 2-2 pitch a ball. Max looked like he wanted to choke-slam the home plate ump.

        1. You’re right about that. Not too often you see a pitcher get that animated about it. But I think the calls were correct. A swinging strikeout was the perfect ending.

  3. Graphic on FSD just showed that VMart is career .314 with the bases loaded, 0-8 this year.

    That about sums it up.

    1. And if he is going to play, they have to get him out of the 5-spot, preferably replaced by Peralta. I’m not sure what the cause of delay is except “loyalty”.

      1. Lineup I’d like to see:

        Jackson
        Hunter
        Cabrera
        Fielder
        Peralta
        Infante
        Tuiasosopo/Dirks (split time)
        Martinez
        Pena/Avila (split time)

        1. To make matters worse, all of Martinez’s GIDP have come with (a) runner(s) on. That just galls me.

          Seriously, he’s money with Men On. .223/.275/.347.

          Confederate money.

        2. I like Infante batting 8th because it gives us a potential rally starter at the bottom as we swing into Jackson, et. al. I’d move T/D and M up one slot. But it is a moot point because you will never see Martinez hit that low.

          And now that Garcia is back, when will you see Tui in any position in the starting lineup? Garcia/Dirks is the new platoon. Kelly/Garcia will fill in for Hunter a couple of days a week. Leyland doesn’t know what to do with Tui, so he does nothing with him. Quite a waste.

          1. OK, Infante batting 6th is pushing it. But I don’t want him in front of DP machines. And if he bats 9th, that’s x more AB for Avila in front of him. I think Infante should co-bat with Avila in the #9 spot. Omar can be the swinging batter, and Alex the taking batter.

      2. Its just Ol’ Smoky being Ol’ Smoky. Nothing we can do about that (shrugs shoulders).

        1. Well, we were all silently lobbying for Avila to go to #9, and it happened eventually. We just need to concentrate and focus our collective telepathic energies.

          On the other hand, maybe the above is already working too well, and that’s why Jim gets so confused at times. Consensus, people. Consensus!

  4. Peralta has been unreal. I don’t get it, but I’ll take it.

    Arrieta can’t get to the 6th, again.

    1. And Peralta must bat with 2 strikes more than anyone else on the team. Wonder what his 2-strike numbers are…

      .242, .666 OPS. Well above league average, I’m sure of that.

  5. Avisail Garcia GIDP: 4 in 16 opps

    Matt Tuiasosopo GIDP: 1 in 16 opps.

    Nice going, Jim.

  6. None of us saw the Martinez GIDP coming. Our jaws are still on the floor. No joy in Mudville.

  7. Are we thinking 3-inning save for Smyly here, or do you have to bring ED Valverde in because he isn’t shy… or something?

      1. It’s gotta be a 5-run lead in that situation.

        Isn’t one Valverde enough? Who’s this Ed Valverde?

          1. Not too obscure. We’re just not real bright.

            I think we should start calling him Ed Valverde. It might bring good luck. It’s kind of a homier name, somehow. Ed Valverde, the helpful hardware man, or the school bus driver, or some such. How could we dislike an Ed Valverde? It might mellow our criticism to call him Ed.

            1. The Maytag repair man is the best possible role I can think of for him, but for that fantasy to become real, we need to overcome the Dead Zone problem and start scoring some late and close runs.

              1. Unfortunately, Matt Tuiasosopo seems to have Maytag Repairman covered. Perhaps “Ed” could be the old Dunkin’ Donuts guy. He’d never be available late in games on account of having to get up and make the donuts.

  8. The Tigers have GIDP 61 times now. Cabrera (10), Fielder (8), Martinez (10) and Avila (6) account for 34 of them.

  9. That is the way Smyly should be used. Give him tomorrow of and there is no reason he can’t pitch again on Wednesday. I have a sneaking hunch though, that if the score was 5-2 after 7, he would have been gone in favor of the old automatic setup/closer routine.

    1. Exactamente. Smyly thrives on the work and this kind of work. Bring back the 3-inning save guy. The Tigers have a real advantage over many teams this way, if only they would take… advantage.

    2. No, Smyly just had the ” particular repertoire ” for the Orioles tonight.

      Or whatever the hell Leyland was mumbling about yesterday.

    3. I concur

      …and the same goes for a Benoit or 8th inning pitcher that breezes through the 8th inning…bring him out for the 9th

  10. Mario sez: George Mullin (29-8 that season) went 10-0 for the Detroit Tigers in 1909. That was the last time, or I should say the previous time.

  11. Someone should show Smyly’s performance to Leyland so he knows what a closer looks like.

    1. Leyland ought to remember the age of the 3-inning save. He was there. He was even a catcher.

        1. Good point. Maybe AA teams didn’t even have bullpens in those days. That would explain a lot.

  12. …and just for the record, Papelbon game into the PHI – WAS game in the 9th to “close” and preserve the 1-run lead, he gave up the game tying HR…just sayin

      1. Someone will write a column citing this as evidence that the Tigers need Papelbon. Established and expensive closers inspire walkoff wins. There’s a lot of selective evidence in favor of that theory.

  13. Is there any metric for “weighting” saves? A 3-inning shutdown save with a 4-run lead (like tonight) seems a lot more valuable than a 1-inning shutdown save with a 3-run lead.

    1. We’re free to make one up. A first step would be to throw the concept of “save” out. You could just look at how many BF there were and what the lead was and weight that somehow.

      For instance, Smyly held a 4-run lead for 9 BF. Divide 4 by 9. .444. If he had held a 2-run lead for 9 BF, his score would be .222. Lower = better. If he had held a tie instead, for 1 BF or 9 BF, his score would be 0. Ties are the tensest situation going, so zero makes sense, but I’m not sure what to do about accounting for the greater difficulty of facing more batters here.

      That’s a crude beginning of an idea, or an invitation to submit a better one.

      1. WHIP would be better than BF.

        Now, with an increase of statistical evaluation, the “save” idea isn’t going to go away. But it certainly needs to be modified somehow. The current criteria just isn’t useful for establishing any value over a broad range of unique events. It’s very much like the old game winning hit category (now abandoned) that we briefly commented on several posts back. Originally conceived as a general overview of late inning relief effectiveness, it has now morphed into a sacrosanct (literally, a “save”) category. The increase in perceived “value” of a save hasn’t been matched by more enhanced evaluation methods. Sabremetricians need to get to work!

  14. The Tigers have lost 5 of 6 twice this season (SEA/LAA/KCR and PIT/BAL), but never 7 of 8.

    1. Thanks for that. I was racking my brain trying to remember a time when the ballclub had dropped 7 of 8 this season. That stat from Ron Washington didn’t smell right when I read it.

      1. Washington might have been counting every Rangers victory over the Tigers as two, which would match how we were feeling about it at the time.

  15. Had a hunch and followed up on it. Yes, the Tigers have the fewest 9th-inning ABs in the AL. In all of MLB, in fact. The reason is the good and obvious one. So… at least that .508 OPS hasn’t hurt too much or too often… at home.

  16. Tuesday’s lineup vs BAL – LHP Zach Britton
    1. Austin Jackson, CF
    2. Torii Hunter, RF
    3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
    4. Prince Fielder, 1B
    5. Victor Martinez, DH
    6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
    7. Matt Tuiasosopo, LF
    8. Omar Infante, 2B
    9. Brayan Pena, C
    Starting pitcher: Justin Verlander

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