Game 2013.136: Indians at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 79-56, 1st Place (7.5 ahead of Cleveland). 

Really, it is the most remarkable thing: Cleveland just cannot beat Detroit. After cruising to a rain-shortened victory last night, Detroit improved to 14-3 against their division rivals. There is nothing like that at the top of any other division in baseball; I don’t know when the last time there has been.

  • CLE 68 – 49 .581 —
  • DET 65 – 53 .551 3 1/2

That’s what the standings would look like, if you take the head-to-head match ups out.

Of course, it is a rule of thumb that you have to beat the teams in your own division if you want to get anywhere. But even so…

DET vs Central (without CLE):

  • CHW 8 – 5
  • KCR 6 – 7
  • MIN 9 -7

Total: 23  – 19  .548

CLE vs Central (without DET): 

  • CHW 11 – 2
  • KCR 8 – 5
  • MIN 9 – 6

Total: 28 – 13 .718

Cleveland is actually taking care of its own division better than Detroit…except for Detroit.

As strange as it all is, I say let’s enjoy it, and let’s hope it continues tonight.


At least Cleveland won’t have to deal with Miguel Cabrera tonight. The official, and consistent, word from the medical arm of the Tigers word-makers is that Cabrera’s injuries are of the sort whereby he won’t make them any worse by playing. From where I sit, that attempt to stretch a double into a double Thursday was painful. His at bat yesterday: painful. Well, something is getting worse, and even if playing doesn’t make it a worse worse, it certainly doesn’t make it better. Enjoy the night off, Mr. C., you have earned it.


The Tigers have recalled Phil Coke, making him eligible for the postseason roster [eruption of dancing in the streets]. They also recalled Hernan Perez, which was probably necessary if Cabrera is going to be on the shelf for a while. To make room, Bonderman was sent to Toledo, and Poor Ol’ Putty (Luke Putkonen) was sent hurtling down to Lakeland.

Which reminds me of another little move that went without comment. Thursday, after a rather rough outing on Wednesday, Jose Alvarez was sent down to Toledo and replaced by Luke Putkonen. As luck would have it, Putkonen was quite useful on Thursday: Max Scherzer just didn’t have it, and the Tiger looked like they were on their way to a blowout sweep. As we all know, instead they staged a thrilling comeback which culminated in the Torii Hunter walk off home run. The guy who was overlooked and under-appreciated in all of this was Luke Putkonen, who came in and pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Max to stop the bleeding.


Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Victor Martinez. Victor justified his POPG last night, so why dismount a hot horse midstream? Besides he is 9-for-18 lifetime against Kazmir.

Tonight’s Very Different Lineup:

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


54 thoughts on “Game 2013.136: Indians at Tigers”

      1. I believe the same. I was wringing my hands about Miggy two months ago, but I can’t help but bow to what’s been said by trainer Kevin Rand and others in the Tigers brain trust: There’s no guarantee that x amount of days off makes everything better, and no certainty that playing necessarily makes it worse. Playing him(self) is a risk that has mostly paid off.

          1. True. I meant Twins in the sense of “Twins as they actually are,” as opposed to “Twins as the Tigers think they are when they face them.”

      1. Great game, but over the long haul, he’s been overrated to some extent. My opinion. Not complaining. Good to have stability at 2B.

      1. That would be a good but tough WS. Better Pittsburgh than St. Louis, though. I never want to see the Tigers face the Cardinals in a WS again.

    1. I wanted that slam when he was up later with the bases loaded. 9 RBI for Omar would have been too cool.

  1. I would think Putkonen is sitting right there in the bullpen tonight seeing that he comes back “up” Monday

  2. Besides Putty and Bondo, who gets the call on Monday? There won’t be many, mostly because there isn’t that much help down there. I’d guess Holaday, Ortega and Reed since they have been up already, so they don’t have to burn any options with them. I’d like to see Lennerton and Dorn, mainly because they are’t ever going to make the team anyway, so might as well give them their cup of coffee now. I’m ambivalent about Castellanos.

    1. I’d take a guess, but I’m really not clear on all the rules, especially as regards options – do September call-ups even affect options?

      I hear that Leyland is really after only what the team might really need, so I don’t think Lennerton – much less Dorn – gets his cup of coffee. I think you might have pretty much named them all, except for Alvarez and Castellanos. Tyler Collins, maybe?

      I don’t remember the call-ups in 2012, but it doesn’t look like too many actually played.

  3. Jackson triples to make a statement on his will to stay in the game! This team doesn’t quit!

    1. I hate to sound critical about a play where a guy makes a great effort and then gets hurt… but what it is up with Austin Jackson in CF these days? He’s getting to the ball, getting glove on it, and not making the play. In days of yore (April and May, for instance), he’s making those plays. The ability to make those plays is what has made me overlook the marginal OBP, the unrealized SB potential, the mediocre BA, the dip in power, the RBI%, the strikeouts…

      1. Loon, great point on the ‘unrealized SB potential’…the lack of SB’s for AJ to me is a real head-scratcher. I doubt Ellsbury is much faster, if at all, than Jackson, but Ellsbury has 50 SB this year! Yes I understand that AJ has Hunter, Cabrera, Fielder hitting behind him, but c’mon 6 SB all year?!?!…even Cabby has 3!

        DET, no surprise, is dead last in SBs with 31, next lowest 40… I get it, they’re not a very fast or gifted base running team. Dirks leads team w/7

    1. It’s nice to see the Tigers beating the Indians, and it’s been very important, but as soon as this series is over, the race is back on. It’s happened every other time, and I have no doubt that it will again. The Indians are a really good team… against everyone else.

  4. Those of you who watched the game probably heard this mentioned 7 times already, but the Tigers are 9-1 in games Cabrera hasn’t started, and I think the record would even be better if you tacked on the (2? 3? 4?) games Cabrera started but came out of early hurting (before batting 3 times). Not a reflection on Cabrera, of course, just a great reflection on the whole team.

      1. Two. The last two, I believe.

        Correct my sloppy research if I’m wrong, but:

        White Sox 6
        Indians 2
        Phillies 2
        Blue Jays 1
        Nationals 1

        That’s opponents and number of Miggy no-starts or very early exits (an ejection was responsible in one of those Phillies games). If I’m not mistaken, the Tigers are 11-1 in these games. Are there more?

          1. There were also games against the White Sox and the A’s where Miggy came out injured having batted 3 times. Both Tigers wins. In the former, the winning runs were scored without Miggy in the game; in the latter, the team came from behind without Miggy in the game. So the No Miggy/Reduced Miggy Tigers are 13-1, which really is quite an amazing stat.

            Fortunately, the Totally Miggy Tigers are still ahead of Cleveland, though not by much:

            DET 67-55 —
            CLE 71-64 2.5

            Detroit is 35-18 since Cabrera started missing games and hobbling around. I think that can be spelled SP/Martinez/Hunter/Improved Bullpen*.

            *Still a bit suspect, in my view.

            1. I should say that the winning RUN in that White Sox game scored (7th) without Miggy (out after 5). But the Tigers were up 3-0 when he came out.

              1. “I think that can be spelled SP/Martinez/Hunter/Improved Bullpen*.”

                Not to mention… Miguel Cabrera himself, The Monster Mauler of Maracay since July 4, pace extrapolated to full season:

                63 HR, 166 RBI, 111 R, 119 BB (23 of them IBB).

                OBP .437, SLG .705.

                Miggy might be onto something with this “unable to hit (run for) doubles anymore” thing. (5 doubles versus 17 HR since July 4.) He should tell Victor the secret, maybe.

  5. Regarding the underappreciated Putkonen (I’m sure his effort wasn’t overlooked by Leyland), I think he might have been the only Tigers pitcher who actually pitched well the whole series against the A’s. Late in the 4th game! Am I forgetting anyone? It really was an astonishing pitching failure, that whole series.

    1. Detroit has 26 games left, Cleveland 27. Winning percentages around .667 or .333 over this many games wouldn’t be anything unusual. Let’s say the Tigers were to finish 9-17 and the Indians 18-9.

      DET 89-73
      CLE 89-73

      Could the Royals possibly go 21-6? (Well, they’ve pulled of a 17-3 run this season. As have the Tigers.) In that case:

      KCR 90-72
      DET 89-73
      CLE 89-73

      Unthinkable but possible. The Twins and White Sox are out of it, but nothing else is over.

      1. Possible, but it’s more likely that DET wins by double digits.

        We’ll probably,start a lost streak now that I’ve said that!

        1. Yes, take it back. I’m going for the “make what you fear impossible by stating it’ effect here.

  6. I loved the squeeze play. Even though I give Jackson all kinds of credit for getting home so fast and sliding so well – on balance the play was nearly all AJax – but it was pretty amazing that Iglesias got that bunt down at all, with the pitch practically over his head. A bad bunt that was actually a miracle bunt. If he pops it up or misses, the whole thing ends in tears.

    1. No precedent for it this season, certainly. I don’t think there are 26 games where the Tigers have been below .500. 13-13 once. If that’s the benchmark, 22-5 is the hill to climb for Cleveland. Highly unlikely for any team, historically.

      1. All just a reminder that it ain’t over ’til it’s over. I’d like to see the Tigers take a series from the Flaming Red Hot Chili Pepper Sox without the charity of right fielders and umpires before I start getting excited.

  7. the stolen base thing is more of a philosophy thing with Leyland than anything abiut base running..its just kike hitting behind a runner on second to move him to third….Leyland doesn’t believe the steal or moving runners are worth it.

  8. sorry spell check gets me every time.

    Leyland has gone on record stating when you try to steal you get thrown out and the risk isin’t worth it….his philosophy isn’t shared by the other 31 managers, or most of us!

    1. He’s big on the hit and run, though. Recently I was wondering why the batter was so often swinging (and usually fouling it off) when it was clear (before the pitch) that the base was stolen (usually by Dirks or Jackson). Took me a while to get it. Seems like some of those swings should have been takes, but maybe that’s just second-guessing.

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