Game 2013:54: Tigers at Orioles

29-24, still in first place by .5, losing streak at 4.

Tigers sapping your strength these days? How’d you like to be an Indians fan right about now? Looks like both teams are trying to stay out of first place. “Go ahead.” “No, after you.” “Please, I insist.” “No, I really couldn’t.” “Age before beauty.” “Ha ha. Seriously, I’ll hold the door for you.”

Justin Verlander will take the mound this afternoon and will presumably do what he has traditionally been so good at. Shutdown performance to stop the skid, stop the bleeding. Someone might want to let the hitters know that innings beyond the 6th are not a post-game light workout, but actually count toward game results and overall statistics.

I’ll be back with a bit of a mundane statistical rundown and save the heavy stuff for tomorrow’s post. Feel free to beat me to the punch with any little statistical tidbits you may care to offer… And here’s that minor statistical time capsule for you:

HITTING:

AVG / OBP / SLG / RBI v AVG OPP%*

.372 Cabrera .446 / .670 / 177%
.326 Peralta .375 / .474 / 110%
.315 Tuiasosopo .448 / .463 / 121%
.312 Hunter .361 / .426 / 100%
.307 Pena .329 / .427 / 86%
.291 Infante .330 / .402 / 73%
.272 Jackson .333 / .371 / 75%
.271 Fielder .393 / .472 / 131%
.265 Garcia .286 / .500 / 164%
.247 Dirks .305 / .377 / 82%
.228 Martinez .273 / .305 / 85%
.176 Kelly .299 / .311 / 82%
.172 Avila .267 / .281 / 58%
.135 Santiago .220 / .243 / 27%

* A bit crude; ignore minor differences due to rounding

PITCHING:

BAA (LHB/RHB) / WHIP / ERA / K-PA% / IP

.156 Valverde (.214/.059) / 0.87 / 3.55 / 22% / 13
.187 Scherzer (.189/.184) / 0.89 / 3.42 / 31% / 76
.193 Benoit (.188/.200) / 1.00 / 1.88 / 32% / 24
.198 Downs* (.194/.200) / 0.99 / 2.82 / 28% / 22
.200 Smyly* (.106/.260) / 1.01 / 2.20 / 26% / 33
.211 Putkonen (.167/.231) / 1.50 / 1.69 / 25% / 5
.233 Ortega (.238/.227) / 1.32 / 3.97 / 20% / 11
.233 Sanchez (.266/.203) / 1.13 / 2.79 / 31% / 71
.241 Alburquerque (.296/.185) / 1.81 / 3.14 / 38% / 14
.261 Verlander (.259/.263) / 1.36 / 3.68 / 29% / 66
.267 Reed (.333/.222) / 1.00 / 2.25 / 7% / 4
.269 Coke* (.150/.344) / 1.30 / 6.46 / 23% / 15
.270 Fister (.222/.312) / 1.21 / 3.28 / 21% / 68
.275 Porcello (.276/.274) / 1.27 / 5.29 / 19% / 51
.417 Dotel (.273/.538)/ 3.00 / 13.50 / 14% / 4
.444 Villareal (.714/.273) / 3.69 / 20.77 / 21% / 4
.455 Rondon (.500/.400) / 3.00 / 11.57 / 7% / 2

* LHP, of course

Today’s “Maybe If We Distract Them With Oranges and Grape Jelly” lineups:

DETROIT

Infante 2B
Dirks RF
Cabrera 3B
Fielder 1B
Martinez DH
Peralta SS
Avila C
Tuiasosopo LF
Garcia CF

BALTIMORE

McLouth LF
Machado 3B
Markakis RF
Jones CF
Davis 1B
Wieters C
Hardy SS
Dickerson DH
Flaherty 2B

Stay tuned or come back for the post-game.

POST-GAME: Tigers 10, Orioles 3. Wow! A blowout has rarely been more welcome. The wheels started to come off for Jason Hammel by the 2nd – no real command – when Tuiasosopo scored Martinez from 3B with 2 out after an Avila GIDP with real buzzkill potential. Verlander was good for his 7 innings but not dominant, alternately very sharp and very hittable, especially when he was serving it on a tee to J.J. Hardy (solo shots to LF in the 3rd and the 5th; the first one tied it at 1-1, while the second was more of a consolation prize). The Tigers 4th was just too sweet. 11 men came to the plate and ran the score to 9-1 before it was over. It started with Hammel allowing a HR to V-Mart (RF)… then Peralta (LF)… then Avila (LCF on a nice easy swing). Before Tuiasosopo could make it four in a row, he was drilled by Hammel’s first pitch, and Hammel was tossed without delay (but not without argument). Clearly, Hammel didn’t mean to hit him, but he took that chance with the high and inside after allowing three long balls, and deserved what he got. I was sorry to see him go, because I wanted more HRs. The O’s hurried to ready reliever T.J. McFarland – and the show went on! After Infante had doubled in Tuiasosopo (miraculously scoring from 2B for once!) to make it 5-1, a Dirks walk loaded the bases for Cabrera. I’m thinking no way, don’t hope for too much, they’ll probably walk him in eventually. The count went to 3-2 (still none out, by the way – was this a dream?). But evidently the Showalter/McFarland plan was “don’t give in, try and get him somehow,” and Miggy hit his 200th Tigers HR to LF for the grand salami. 9-1 Tigers. The 4th-5th innings (not to mention 6th) were not easy ones for JV, and the Orioles got to within 9-3 before Fielder ended the scoring by absolutely muscling a pitch from McFarland out the park to CF, on an improbable and atypical (for Prince) sort of swing. Smyly had an easy 8th but a trickier 9th, putting 2 on with none out after losing a 12-pitch battle with Hardy for the walk. It all ended happily when Nate McLouth looked at the last strike in a 3-pitch AB.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander
HONORABLE MENTION: J.J. Hardy, Victor Martinez, Omar Infante, Matt Tuiasosopo, Drew Smyly, Troy Patton
NOT SO GOOD: Jason Hammel, T.J. McFarland

31 Comments

  1. Vince in MN

    June 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Jeremy Bonderman debuting for Seattle v. MN tomorrow.

    Today’s lineup just doesn’t look right with Kelly sitting out against a RH.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Yeah. Maybe the message is finally getting through.

  2. Brenden

    June 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Its really looking like Avila needs a trip to the minors…this is just getting sad…

    • Smoking Loon

      June 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      It’s so odd that he can hit a HR to LCF with such a nice, easy swing that you’re surprised it went out, and then go right back to looking pathetic. It wouldn’t be so odd if this was a back and forth thing; some power hitters are just this way. But Alex just hits the odd HR out of the blue.

      • Vince in MN

        June 2, 2013 at 9:04 am

        Even a blind squirrel…

  3. Coleman

    June 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Look who “ran into one.”

  4. Coleman

    June 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    And Avila too!

  5. Coleman

    June 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    OK, that was completely ridiculous, leave Hammel in the game! Please!

    • KW

      June 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Holy cow, I missed all three home runs because I turned the channel for a few minutes. What a silly game.

    • KW

      June 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      But I saw Miggy’s bomb. Fun to be a Tigers fan today.

      • Smoking Loon

        June 1, 2013 at 11:03 pm

        Coleman, I was thinking the same thing. So sad to see Hammel go, wanted Tui to make it 4 in a row. But McFarland proved obliging. I like that guy.

  6. TIGERS RULE

    June 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    BOOM BOOM BOOM ….. out go the lights.

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    June 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    JV has been getting shelled as of late (relatively speaking). I think I have his next game, more on this soon.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 1, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      You’re right, and I look forward to your report.

    • Vince in MN

      June 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Ditto. I think we have to start thinking about the real possibility that JV is going to have an off year. Still very good compared to the great majority of starters, but poor for him relative to what he has done the last 4 years. No Cy Young for JV this season I am afraid.

      • William

        June 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

        agreed. and if the other 4 pitch like they have been pitching the past few starts, it really shouldn’t matter.

        • Vince in MN

          June 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

          Yup. JV is a horse and even when he is not sharp, you are pretty much guaranteed at least six innings 90% of the time. Although I think Porcello may be the weak link, the Tigers have one of the best if not the best rotation in baseball, going deep into most games. We must be at or near the top in QS also.

          • William

            June 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

            Porcello is the weak link without question…but he’s been better than 99% of 5th starters during the past month. Sanchez has been very good all year. Fister and Scherzer have been erratic, but solid to very good for the most part.

            Certainly one of the deepest, if not the deepest rotation in the game. I think over the course of 162 games, it will be more apparent in the W/L results (at least it better be!). I mean, how many times in the same series do you have two starters go deep (8-9 innings) without allowing a run and you lose both games in extras? If they keep throwing up QS, we’ll be fine.

          • Smoking Loon

            June 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

            It seems like he’s working on stuff, in a process of reinventing himself. I suppose that’s allowed when you’re as good as JV is. Our expectations are so high that our evaluations are biased by it. Verlander is still the Tigers starter I enjoy watching the most. I like his tempo, and also his demeanor and attitude. You can just see the wheels turning as he focuses, and it’s fun to watch.

  8. JimEggersUSMC

    June 2, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Was over in Idaho today at a Scout event on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. It is a gorgeous and large body of H2O, if any of you are ever out this way, you should see it. Heading home an hour or so ago, I heard the radio call of the back to back to back with the cherry on top GS,and smiled the rest of the way home. I like winning, it’s better than losing….

    • Smoking Loon

      June 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      Mario and Rod were wondering if there was precedent for an MLB inning with 3 straight HRs and then a grand slam later. It’s a good question. It’s got to be near-historic at the least.

      • JimEggersUSMC

        June 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

        Thought espn said it happened in 1986, the Brewers if I recall…

        • Smoking Loon

          June 2, 2013 at 1:16 pm

          Thanks. Did they say if that was the only other instance?

          • JimEggersUSMC

            June 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

            There was a four HR inning more recently (03, Red Sox ??) btw does Hammel not know about the size and toughness of Tui’s Dad?

            • Smoking Loon

              June 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

              Not to mention Tui himself. I posted a link to his reaction to the HBP. It’s hilarious that he was thinking the same thing we were – gimme a chance to hit that 4th HR!

            • Coleman

              June 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

              A tough dad…and a tricky cousin!

              • JimEggersUSMC

                June 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

                We (the Bride and I ) just watched the 4th inning dvr and she was very impressed! (you have no idea how hard that is!) I have been known to “let go” of a slider or two, and they do usually end up in the ear flap region. A Valley Firefighter ( I was City) went deep on me and his next AB he got one up in there. He laughed it off (we are friends) but the next shift 2 huge Sheriffs showed up to “arrest” me for assault with a deadly weapon.My co workers argument was that I don’t throw hard enough to break glass. Think Jamie Moyer.

  9. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    June 2, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Loon…Good post-game analysis..thanks!

    • Smoking Loon

      June 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      You’re welcome, and thanks for reading. Wins are much more fun to write about than losses.

  10. Vince in MN

    June 2, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Despite Valverde’s seeming success on most occasions so far, I don’t think the recent blowup is an outlier. Looking at the Pitching Chart above, it looks to me like the “committee” approach to the 9th inning is good, realistic and workable alternative to the “closer”, which personally I think is a silly idea (for the Tigers anyway, since we don’t have someone of the quality of a Mariano Rivera to call on). Since in most instances our starters give us 6-7 good innings, the bullpen won’t be particularly taxed if you go with “matchups” in the last inning and use 2 or 3 pitchers to get the job done. How is anyone going to get burned out pitching to one or two batters? With a 7-man pen there is plenty of flexibility (dirty word?), but it goes against the “role player” theory that Leyland is fond of. I expect we will see more Valverde fur balls soon.

    • Smoking Loon

      June 2, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Yes, we’re agreed on the folly of getting hung up on roles and titles in the bullpen. We’ll never get Leyland or many MLB managers to go along with it, however.

      Question I can’t answer: Is there a team out there we could point to as an example of successful bullpen by committee, by design and not by emergency?