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Game 2013.96: Tigers at Royals

Detroit Tigers: 52-43, 1st Place (1.5 ahead of Cleveland). 

Do the Tigers need a little jump start?

They came back from the break cold as could be–the offensive highlights of the game were two warning track flies to center by Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera.

Perhaps they do need a spark; accordingly, Jim Leyland is sending a message and sending out a lineup that is…the same as last night.

You know I will go out on a limb and say that while there are certain topics that invite criticism, Leyland is not really doing a bad job of playing the hand that he has been dealt. And it IS the hand that he has been dealt–he does not have a magical ability to make better players materialize from the the bowels of Comerica Park.

It is not so hard to see the Tigers’ weaknesses. They have great starting pitching; the bullpen? Cross your fingers. They have a great offense–with arguably the best hitter in the game– but one that either bombs the other team into submission, or makes the likes of Ervin Santana look like an All-Star Game snub, with not much in-between. It is easy to see that the Tigers are not so good at the low-scoring, let’s-manufacture-a-run type of game, but harder to see what to do about that, managerially. Leyland does try: last night after Andy Dirks got a rare hit, he was sent with Avila batting, which got them a 3rd out. He only has so much to work with.

Not that there is no room for criticism. Pinch-hitting Don Kelly for Ramon Santiago? Really? Because there actually was a guy on the bench who could have tied the game with one swing. Unfortunately, he swings from the wrong side of the plate, so he could not have possibly done better than Ramon Santiago or Don Kelly, right?

*****

Before the season started there was much discussion about how the Tigers needed a right-handed bat. What they really need, it seems, is a left-handed one. Andy Dirks and Alex Avila we won’t discuss. But also Prince Fielder is not really panning out in that respect. He may want to skip the hard work of taking BP against lefties and just focus on crushing righties. Also he could use a day or two off, which will never happen, and will become increasingly more annoying as his Tiger tenure continues. He currently has a meager .798 OPS against right-handers (.253 BA), which is just a tick better than Don Kelly (.763). This is not what Mr. Illitch paid for. Oh, and by the way, Tuiasosopo’s OPS against RHP is a mere 1.134.

*****

This team is desperately missing Omar Infante. The worst thing about the lineup is their inexplicable inability to do anything after the 6th inning. The one exception is Infante, who has been the late-inning star, with across-the-board standout numbers: a .337 BA (Cabrera is 2nd with a lukewarm .260), and an OPS of .897 (Cabrera again 2nd at .808, Tuiasosopo 3rd at .788). Martinez may as well leave early and let Don Kelly take over, with late-inning numbers of .180/.489.

*****

Not that there was nothing good about last night’s game. In the weekend before the All-Star break, Bruce Rondon seemed to have what may have been a breakout performance, retiring Texas in the 7th with 2 strikeouts and a groundout–all on 0-2 pitches (and added another out in the 8th).  Last night Rondon came in in the 7th and got Billy Butler, and then followed up with a quick 1-2-3 8th inning. This is two in a row for Rondon, and his emergence, if that what it is, could end up being the biggest story of July for Detroit, who I suspect is trying really hard not to pay way too much (in trade or otherwise) for bullpen help.

*****

The White Sox have been struggling mightily, and finally manager Robin Ventura decided he had had enough. Alex Rios was removed from the game after failing to run out a grounder (on which he may have been safe).  I have always been a bit skeptical about the actual value of “sending a message” like this. On the other hand the White Sox are currently bombing the Braves 9-4, and Rios is 3-for-4 with a grand slam. Food for thought.

*****

Stat of the Day: Anibal Sanchez is an even 7-7. In each of his 7 wins, the Tigers have scored 6 or more runs. In each of his losses, they have scored 3 runs or fewer.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Justin Verlander, in case the lineup bats like yesterday.

Today’s Same as Yesterday Lineup:

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

Posted by on July 20, 2013.

Categories: 2013 Season, Game Post

43 Responses

  1. Good post Coleman. Great comment for the random spam post from game 94 too.

    Baby #2 was born this morning, a boy. Let’s introduce him the right way, JV.

    by Kevin in Dallas on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm

  2. Wow, congratulations!!

    by Coleman on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:11 pm

  3. Congrats to you and Mrs Kevin and the little one!!

    by judpma on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

  4. Yes Kevin, congrats!

    by Vince in MN on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:34 pm

  5. Congratulations, I am a first time dad this week and enjoying every moment of it.

    by PHToy in HK on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

  6. Watching JV walk a batter to start is like .frustrating. Indicative of his unpredictability this year especially. Our starters are not what they were a couple of months ago.

    by sky on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  7. Avila with a solid double. That should silence the doubters.

    by Vince in MN on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm

  8. Two blind squirrels find nuts, consecutively (!), in the same inning!

    by Vince in MN on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm

  9. Nothing is as it was a couple of months ago.

    by Vince in MN on Jul 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm

  10. Those were not bind squirrels. JV at fault again. He’s not doing it when it counts anymore. His fastball is just too predictable and he is on the way to becoming just an average pitcher with a great offensive team. Nowadays you never really fell confident about him like in the past.

    by sky on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:23 pm

  11. I feel in my soul this game is lost. I honestly feel Detroit will not win the division or make the playoffs. They do not really play like a championship team. Note failures in extras and late innings. Seldom make comebacks. If they lose a lead they do not often get it back. Score a lot early in the game and often nothing later. I hope I am wrong.

    by sky on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm

  12. Here come the Royals again. Rod says JV has a good fastball. Sure not fooling anyone with it.

    by sky on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm

  13. By the way, some years ago there were all kinds of people on this blog. What happened to them all Vince?

    by sky on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm

  14. nice base running error, there, cain

    by joe on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm

  15. Not the JV we are used to seeing …… didn’t he just sign a juicy extension.

    by TIGERS RULE on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

  16. well, when you’re getting $5000 very pitch you throw, who really cares about the outcome now

    by joe on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm

  17. Where has that wicked breaking ball that JV regularly featured to sit guys down time after time gone?

    by TIGERS RULE on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm

  18. and make that $7300+ per pitch when the new contract kicks in,

    by joe on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm

  19. Congrats PHT! And thanks all.

    This is not the outing I was waiting for. I may wait another day before I introduce the little guy to the Tigers.

    by Kevin in Dallas on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm

  20. is it really worth watching from the 6th inning on

    by judpma on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm

  21. clown show at its finest!!!!

    by judpma on Jul 20, 2013 at 8:59 pm

  22. Kevin, congratulations to you and Mrs. Kevin on the birth of your son. Tigers have to win this one now.

    Great posts last couple days, Coleman. Got me interested in baseball again. I admit that I was enjoying the break.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm

  23. Coleman pitches for the Royals! Who knew?

    Throw some BP when you come in, man.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  24. Buzzkill.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm

  25. that was impressive two whole ground balls to third by the best two hitters…does this team suck or what..and Leyland must be awake because he ordered that worthless bunt by Jackson

    by judpma on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

  26. They’ve been avoiding using me against Detroit, conflict of interest and all.

    by Coleman on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

  27. Otherwise known as R3L2O Fail.

    by Coleman on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

  28. The suspense is killing us. Is he named Justin? Miguel? Brandon? (OK, maybe that is going too far, even for entertainment purposes).

    by Coleman on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm

  29. All 7 games against the Royals have been close. You may recall that the 8-3 loss was due to an extra-inning grand slam, Gordon off Downs.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

  30. Nothing wrong with the bunt itself. Nor the call, really.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:08 pm

  31. Well, there were chances aplenty. Good game.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

  32. I always think of “Star Wars” when I see that. Despite never having seen “Star Wars.”

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm

  33. Good question.

    Alex A.?

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm

  34. Vince made them go away. Didn’t you, Vince?

    Hehe.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:20 pm

  35. Congratulations to you as well, PHToy.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:25 pm

  36. Well, the Royals – when they play the Tigers, that is – look like the one legitimate challenger in the Central. If they started hitting, things could get very uncomfortable in September.

    It’s 2012 all over again. The Tigers are still an 88-74, middle of the AL pack team that will sneak into the playoffs and possibly into the WS ahead of other more “deserving” teams. I was hoping for something a little more resoundingly convincing than that, but I won’t refuse it.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:32 pm

  37. I blame Rear Admiral Julius von Thursday.

    by Coleman on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm

  38. Try and see how much blogging you blog from the brig sometime, with the scourging of a dozen scourges stinging you, then we’ll see what tune you sing you scurvy rapscallion.

    by Rear Admiral Julius von Thursday on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm

  39. I blame Billfer. My theory is that he gathered all – or most – of the old posters unto an ark, and in the aftermath of the flood etc. etc., they founded a new blog, possibly located in the cyberspace version of Middle Earth, a kind of DTW In Paradise, a blog so wonderful that even actual Tigers players and other members of the Tigers organization post there freely and often, sharing secret inside info. We were left behind. For this, I blame Cap’n Tuesday.

    by Smoking Loon on Jul 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm

  40. You don’t think Curtis Granderson is really injured, do you? No, he is a full-time blogger now. Well, he and Neifi Perez alternate.

    by Colemam on Jul 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm

  41. congrats Kevin… cherish this time… and the limited sleep that comes with the territory

    by StorminNorman$ on Jul 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm

  42. Good article on Castellanos:
    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....-gene-roof

    by Vince in MN on Jul 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

  43. Clete Thomas and Casper Wells both get Web Gems today on almost identical at-the-wall catches.

    by Colemam on Jul 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm

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