Game 2013.120: Royals at Tigers

70-49, 1st place, 6 up on Cleveland and 7.5 on Kansas City.

The Detroit Tigers are the best team in baseball. As the sour taste from the last 6 begins to fade, consider how close to 5-1 that 2-4 was.

Having done all within their power to chase off one would-be division challenger last week, it’s time to begin the more daunting task of staring down what many feel is the more legitimate contender: The Kansas City Royals. Beginning with the next 5 games, the Tigers will face the Royals 11 times over the next 43. Thus far the Tigers and Royals have played 8 consecutive close games; by my reckoning, the game has been in hand for one side or the other for all of one half-inning back in April. That’s how close. We could be seeing the beginnings of a serious rivalry that might stretch over the next few seasons.

Detroit v. KC to date:

April 24  TIGERS 7 Royals 5  WRAP
April 25  Royals 8 TIGERS 3  WRAP
June 10 ROYALS 3 Tigers 2  WRAP 
June 11 Tigers 3 ROYALS 2  WRAP 
June 12 ROYALS 3 Tigers 2  WRAP
July 19  ROYALS 1 Tigers 0  WRAP
July 20 ROYALS 6 Tigers 5  WRAP
July 21 Tigers 4 ROYALS 1  WRAP
 

Royals versus Tigers:

Tim Collins 2-10 .585 OPSA, 3 K, 3 BB
Aaron Crow 2-8 .667, 2 K, 2 BB
Wade Davis 16-43 .847, 7 K, 5 BB * 0-1, 4.35 in 2 G / 10 IP
Jeremy Guthrie 16-51 .791, 1 HR, 6 K, 5 BB * 2-0, 5.11 in 2 G / 12 IP
Kelvin Herrera 3-13 .574, 4 K, 2 BB
Luke Hochevar 0-6 .000, 2 K, 0 BB
Greg Holland 1-16 .188, 6 K, 0 BB
Luis Mendoza 1-8 .739, 2 K, 3 BB
Ervin Santana 2-23 .212, 6 K, 1 BB * 1-0, 0.00 in 1 G / 7 IP
James Shields 21-76 .742, 2 HR, 16 K, 5 BB * 0-1, 3.27 in 3 G / 22 IP
Danny Duffy —
Bruce Chen —

Yes, go ahead, weep. It’s OK.

George Kottaras 0-0 1.000 OPS, RBI
Salvador Perez 8-28 .705, 6 RBI
Jamey Carroll 7-27 .667, 2 RBI
Alcides Escobar 7-31 .508, 2 RBI
Chris Getz 2-15 .369, RBI
Eric Hosmer 9-31 .698, 4 RBI
Elliot Johnson 0-4 .000
Mike Moustakas 8-28 .783, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Jarrod Dyson 1-5 .400, 2 SB
Alex Gordon 5-33 .536, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 10 K
David Lough 3-16 .610, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Justin Maxwell —
Billy Butler 10-30 .745, 0 HR, 3 RBI

That feels better, doesn’t it? A Kleenex to wipe your tears away.

Tigers versus Royals:

Al Alburquerque 1-9 .384 OPSA, 4 K, 2 BB
Joaquin Benoit 2-12 .333, 3 K, 0 BB
Jeremy Bonderman —
Phil Coke 4-11 .988, 2 K, 6 BB (OK, some were IBB)
Doug Fister 16-58, .662, 1 HR, 8 K, 1 BB * 1-1, 2.57 in 2 G / 14 IP
Rick Porcello —
Bruce Rondon 3-12, .619, 2 K, 1 BB
Anibal Sanchez 5-26 .575, 6 K, 6 BB * 0-1, 1.50 in 1 G / 6 IP
Max Scherzer 11-45 .669, 1 HR, 12 K, 5 BB * 2-0, 5.25 in 2 G / 12 IP
Drew Smyly 3-12 .500, 3 K, 0 BB
Jose Veras 0-6 .000, 2 K, 0 BB
Justin Verlander 19-74 .638, 1 HR, 15 K, 7 BB * 0-1, 2.75 in 3 G / 20 IP

There is nothing to Coke but Coke itself, as FDR (Fernando Delano Rodney) famously said. Unless Downs (13.50 ERA vs. KC, and you surely remember how that happened) is back for this series.

Bryan Holaday —
Brayan Pena 2-6 .750 OPS, 3 RBI
Miguel Cabrera 7-27 .919, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Prince Fielder 7-30 .576, 2 RBI
Jose Iglesias —
Omar Infante 8-15 1.229, RBI
Ramon Santiago 3-11 .545, 4 K
Andy Dirks 6-20 .814, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Torii Hunter 5-33 .353, 2 RBI, 11 K
Austin Jackson 2-19 .348, 8 K
Don Kelly 2-8 .583, RBI
Matt Tuiasosopo 2-6 1.095
Victor Martinez 8-32 .586, 4 RBI
Alex Avila 3-19 .515, 2 RBI

From this it would almost appear that the matchup here is Royals vs. Royals.

Well, the die is cast with Miggy and his assortment of injuries. He’s gonna play hurt the rest of the way. Trundling doesn’t hurt (the team, that is) when you’re hitting it out of the park. It may be true that Miggy at 70% is better than most others at 100%. It’s unequivocally true that Miggy at 100% is way better than Miggy at 70%. But that’s a moot point now.

Somehow, I feel obliged to bring up the Game Poster League standings again, don’t really know why.

Smoking Loon 24-14
Coleman 24-16
Kevin in Dallas 22-19

Oh, right. That’s why.

A word of appreciation: Jason Beck is one of the better mlb.com bloggers. Lee Panas of Detroit Tiger Tales is brilliant. Samara at Roar of the Tigers is simply incredible; I’ll leave it at that before I lapse into proposing marriage. And yet… there’s no commentary on the Detroit Tigers I more look forward to reading than that of Kevin and Coleman here at DTW.

Begin the game with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive

If there’s anything we could do to get those two in the broadcast booth in place of Mario and Rod, I’m all for it. On the other hand, I haven’t heard their voices, so don’t hold me to this.

Go Anibal. Go Miggy. Go Tigers. Let the AL Central World Series begin.

65 Comments

  1. StorminNorman$

    August 15, 2013 at 8:11 am

    well stated Mr. Loon

  2. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Well–based only on screen names–I imagine your voice to be an eerie wail punctuated by coughing. So you would be better suited to broadcasting the World Series games.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      My voice is mellifluous. Everybody tells me so. Or at least they mean to. I’m sure of it.

  3. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I haven’t had time to try to take in all the stats yet, but I love the series rundown at the top (with links). Great stuff!

    At least Detroit won’t have to face Coleman coming out of the bullpen this series.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      But they did!

      Is Louis Coleman the white Al Alburquerque or what? It’s uncanny. Even the delivery. Only the results differed.

      Another resemblance noted: Jose Iglesias & Quintin Berry. Jose might be a bit less spastic.

  4. TIGERS RULE

    August 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    We now know what’s bothering the Prince.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        August 15, 2013 at 6:54 pm

        I’m not sure if this makes me feel better or worse. Better from the standpoint of he’s human, and everyone goes through rough patches which affect their work.

        Worse from the standpoint of he gets handsomely to not have these things affect him.

        • Coleman

          August 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm

          Divorce This, says Prince! (In all seriousness, now that it’s out in the open instead of a secret may have actually taken a little weight off…I mean “weight” metaphorically).

        • Kevin in Dallas

          August 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm

          “paid handsomely”

          • Smoking Loon

            August 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm

            Wow. So that’s what it’s all about.

  5. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Today’s Gotta Get Dirks Going Lineup:
    1. Dirks, CF
    2. Hunter, RF
    3. Cabrera, 3B
    4. Fielder, 1B
    5. Martinez, DH
    6. Kelly, LF
    7. Infante, 2B
    8. Pena, C
    9. Iglesias, SS

    • Smoking Loon

      August 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      You called it, Coleman.

  6. nickgouge

    August 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Really…no Jackson? WTH is with Leyland?

    • Vince in MN

      August 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Jackson hasn’t had a day off in quite a while. Leyland has loaded the lineup with LH bats, but Dirks leading off is a bit of a head scratcher. My bet is he’s trying to get him going and the only way to do that is get him more ABs so he can hit his way out since extra “batting practice is over-rated”. On the other hand, the only other option using this lineup would be to have Kelly lead off which now that I come to think of it, probably is a better option. Also, with the bullpen used up yesterday and Benoit going 1.2 IP, expect Coke to be the savior if we need one, since he didn’t pitch last night and we need to get him going too.

      • Coleman

        August 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

        Dirks OBP: .307
        Kelly OBP: .344

        Did you know? Kelly is the only Tiger with more walks than strikeouts. More Kelly, less Dirks, I say. (Then again, Dirks is at the top of the Need to Get Him Going list).

    • Jerry The Tiger Fan

      August 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      Jackson only 4-23 in his career versus Guthrie. As a fan that rips Leyland almost daily, I will give him credit here. He replaced Jackson with a left-handed bat (Dirks) versus a right-handed starter. He also got AJ a day off versus asking him to try and reverse those numbers against Guthrie. I think it was a solid move, especially considering that Dirks had three hits and two runs scored tonight.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        August 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm

        Good confession, Jerry. Feel better, right?

        I have one now. I ate the rest of the fajitas and told my wife that the restaurant shorted us.

  7. StorminNorman$

    August 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    http://www.freep.com/article/2.....ll-instant

    I know this is a hot-button issue for many, but my only response is “finally!” Personally, i’d take it a step further and also authorize using “strike zone” technology to call balls and strikes.

    I’m sure this new policy will have its “issues” also, but i’m all for anything that might eliminate or greatly diminish the number of times a manager tumbles out of a dugout to engage an umpire in a ‘no win’ argument (that can last anywhere from 2-10 minutes)

    • Vince in MN

      August 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      I don’t care at all for automating any part of the game. We do need an upgrade in umpiring skills however. Maybe PEDs are the answer.

    • Jerry The Tiger Fan

      August 15, 2013 at 10:15 pm

      I like that they are expanding replay, but the rule of managers get one challenge over the first six innings and then two more from the 7th inning on is kind of lame.

      I would rather that each manager gets one renewable challenge per game. By that I mean you get one challenge per game, but if you challenge a call and it gets overturned by replay you get to keep that challenge. On the other hand, if you use your one challenge and the call is NOT overturned you are out of challenges for that game. Three challenges per manager is silly, especially the two challenge rule beginning in the seventh inning.

      I’m hoping that tag plays at second and home plate especially will be challenge-able. It seems to me that a ton of calls are missed each year at second base (on steals mostly) by umpires who call baserunners out because the ball beat them there even though the tag often times comes after the player’s hand or foot has hit the bag. There are also many missed calls at home plate each season as well. I hope that they aren’t allowing fair/foul, HR or no HR, and trap plays only. That would be woefully inadequate.

      • Smoking Loon

        August 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm

        I appreciate the intent of expanding appeals & replay, but I think it just opens up another can of worms, ultimately.

  8. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    5-3 would keep the present pressure on the Indians and Royals in the next 8 GAMES…Anything better puts a hurt on them…lets get this first one…

  9. Kevin in Dallas

    August 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Any word on where Dickerson is?

    • Kevin in Dallas

      August 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Ken Kal from the wings is calling the play by play.

      I miss Dan.

      • Coleman

        August 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm

        Are they grooming a replacement? Is Dan retiring some year soon? I like Dan too; I think Jim Price would make me crazy without him.

        • Kevin in Dallas

          August 15, 2013 at 10:19 pm

          I posted the link below, Dan was taking his daughter to college. Makes me appreciate him even more.

  10. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Tigers need a lefty in the BP. Duane Below was released by the Marlins. Hmm.

  11. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    And I thought Avila had the slowest release as a cathers throw to second….no it has to be Pena..wow is he slow!!!

    • Coleman

      August 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Dombrowski has a pretty slow release too–look how long Valverde was on the team this season!

      • Jerry The Tiger Fan

        August 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        Love that one Coleman! Nicely played.

    • StorminNorman$

      August 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      speaking of releases…Iglesias has one of the quickest/smoothest releases in the league

  12. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    [Tipping hat to Leyland]. Hmm, batting Dirks lead off seems to have Gotten Him Going.

    • Coleman

      August 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Bah, then he follows up with baserunning Clown Show. And Torii was safe, but still–Clown Show. I challenge any one to convince me the Tigers are not the worst base runners in baseball.

  13. StorminNorman$

    August 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    WTF?! …both Dirks and Hunter… I don’t understand the logic

    • Coleman

      August 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      There is no logic. The Tigers pretty much do everything wrong on the bases. Everything.

      • Coleman

        August 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

        The Royals, on the other hand, own the base paths.

  14. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Iglesias is lightning quick on release. Especially on DP balls..amazing how quick he is…

  15. StorminNorman$

    August 15, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    KC should intentionally walk Cabrera here…playing for the DP apparently

  16. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    keep scoring cause The Royals are never done scoring!

  17. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    The Detroit Baseclowns.

  18. StorminNorman$

    August 15, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I’ve seen Little League teams with better awareness on the base paths

  19. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I think T-BALL teams can run bases better than the Tigers….the Tigers are embarrassing on the paths…but as Mumbles would say….thats baseball

  20. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I wonder what the PCT of Tigers are tagged out by their opponents compared to other teams!!!…Leyland will call it aggressive base running…I would call it atrocious baserunning!!

  21. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    how about Sanchez rebound after the first inning, just like Porcello yesterday!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      August 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Yeah. Very nice.

  22. StorminNorman$

    August 15, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Sanchez has been stellar since the 1st… very good sign that he improved with each inning

  23. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    every MLB inning Rondon gets in is huge..he even looks more confident lately.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Mario & Rod commented that he appears to have added a 2-seamer. Hmmm.

      • Coleman

        August 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

        Jim Price was commenting yesterday that this is the trademark of The Tiger Starter, and I think he is right. I do believe a top of the cap to somebody is required here.

  24. Coleman

    August 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Hey, what’s going on? I thought I was still in the minors.

  25. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Peralta does not make that play…no he does not position himself better and make it either

  26. judpma

    August 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    nice win…1 down 7 to go at home!

  27. Jerry The Tiger Fan

    August 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Anibal Sanchez > Clown Show Base Running.

  28. PHToy in HK

    August 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Is this the best starting rotation the Tigers have ever had? All 5 are in the top 20 in the AL in both quality starts and wins. They pile up lots of strikeouts (even Porcello has nearly 100) and don’t give up too many home runs (only 57).

    • Jerry The Tiger Fan

      August 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      Can’t speak for all-time as I’ve only followed the Tigers since I was an elementary school kid beginning with Fidrych’s magic season in 1976. However, in that span (1976-present) this is without a doubt the best starting five we’ve ever had. We’ve had rotations with two good starters such as Morris and Petry, but our top 4 starters would be the #2 starter or better on the majority of big league staffs. Porcello is about as good of a fifth starter as you’re going to get. Porcello IMO will never be a #1 or a #2 in the bigs, but he is far better than most #5′s in the majors. Eventually I think he will be a #3 or #4 starter with another team or with this team depending on who we are able to keep in the upcoming years.

      • Coleman

        August 16, 2013 at 12:27 am

        The ’68 Tigers are hard to beat. Starting with the most basic, W/L record: Max is an amazing 17-1 (how ridiculous is that?), and Justin next at 12-8, for a combined 29-9 (.763). McClain and Lolich? 48-15 (.762). Think Max/Justin can maintain that? Oh, and McClain-Lolich were basically their own bullpens–36 complete games between them. (Scherzer/Verlander: 0). Third starter, Earl Wilson: 13-12, .2.85 ERA, 20 complete games. Oh, and also had an OPS of .741, which is an Austin Jackson equivalent…think about that. And their 5th starter led the team in saves.

        • Coleman

          August 16, 2013 at 12:29 am

          That should read 10 CG for Wilson. Total CG for the staff: 59. 59!!!

      • JimEggersUSMC

        August 16, 2013 at 12:33 am

        Jerry- elementry school in ’76!!! I was already in and out of the Marines! Now I feel really old! I was thinking the ’69(?) McLlain/Lolich etc group was good but since you are Soooo young, you probably don’t remember them….

        • Coleman

          August 16, 2013 at 12:45 am

          The thing about the McLain-Lolich-Wilson rotation was that 1) they usually pitched the whole game, then showed up 4 days later to do it all again (4-man rotation, except for doubleheaders), and 2) they also had to bat, on top of all that.

          • JimEggersUSMC

            August 16, 2013 at 12:54 am

            And didn’t they win it all?

            • Coleman

              August 16, 2013 at 1:08 am

              Yes they did, one of the best World Series ever. Bob Gibson struck out 17 in Game 1, and Detroit looked doomed. But Mickey Lolich came up huge, and won a Game 7 duel with Bob Gibson on 2 days rest. In fact this will never happen again in our lifetimes: Mickey Lolich won 3 World Series COMPLETE GAMES (last time that has happened). Yeah, those were different times,

          • Coleman

            August 16, 2013 at 12:57 am

            Just looked it up, for fun. 1968 Earl Wilson had 7 HR in 92 PA. Wow.

            Plate Appearances per Home Run:
            13.1 Earl Wilson 1968
            13.2 Miguel Cabrera 2013 (so far)