Game 2013.150: Mariners at Tigers

86-63, 5 up on Cleveland, KC effectively eliminated. 6-7 September record; more of the same gets Detroit to 92-70… and the ALDS in Oakland.

Big win yesterday against the Royals, big loss the day before, biggest series of the season on many levels. Gut check: Pass. (Also down to the wire now in the Game Poster League. Good job, Kevin. I guess I’m the only one left who can’t handle the pitching staff.)

The Seattle Mariners come to Cabrerica for a four-game series, day game on Thursday. Rain is a threat in the Detroit area forecast for the last couple, particularly Thursday. The forecast also calls for a 95% chance of Iwakuma and King Felix the last two games, with hail as large as baseballs, or possibly pitched baseballs the size of small hail, depending on how you look at it, threatening to come down upon the Tigers offense.

Unaided memory of the April series in Seattle calls back: Hunter to Fielder to Pena and a violent collision at home plate with Justin Smoak where Pena hangs on to preserve a 2-1, 14-inning win. The Series of the Strikeout (both teams). Prince Fielder striking out 5 times in one game. Iwakuma throttling the Tigers. The first glimmer of the first minor offensive funk of the season.

April 16: Tigers 6 MARINERS 2 WRAP
April 17: Tigers 2, MARINERS 1 (14) WRAP
April 18: MARINERS 2, Tigers 0 WRAP

The Mariners can hit a home run, but are otherwise one of the worst offensive teams in the AL. No threat on the bases, bullpen and defense nothing to write home about, either. Their starting pitching would seem to be their saving grace, but that’s really all about Hernandez and Iwakuma, not enough to save them from 66-83. They do, however, have something “left” to play for, and that is winning. Just like every other team the Tigers will face from here on out. Let’s try not to forget that.

Miguel Cabrera, who didn’t appear especially unhealthy at last check, might be on his way from Triple Crown to No Crown. Monster consistency over 5 months just leaves us wanting a sixth (and seventh) month, doesn’t it? “What have you done for me lately?” is a constant in baseball. But he does seem to be coming around lately. Staving off Trout for his 3rd consecutive batting title certainly wouldn’t hurt the team’s chances.

Now, about that playoff rotation question posed recently by Kevin, as we jump to all kinds of fairly reasonable conclusions. My take – which assumes that the Tigers are not going to face an AL wild card at any point and that the A’s aren’t gonna catch the Red Sox – is below:

GRAB1

Interesting questions:

1. Must Porcello be excluded from playoff starts? Isn’t there a way to work him in? Might the Tigers actually go 5-man – and would you? How? (I considered it, though not carefully.)

2. Verlander is due to start Game 162 as things currenty stand. Is there a reason to juggle this for a playoff reset? (I don’t think so.)

3. Is the honor of a Game 1 start a factor in your mind? Does that surpass being entrusted with an eventual Game 7?

Two of my choices might stick out. Fister in ALDS Game 2 at Oakland? (Good career numbers there.) Verlander my 3-7 go-to guy in the ALCS and WS? (Yep.) Even my Game 5 go-to guy in the ALDS? (You remember 2012, don’t you?)

All right. If the Tigers can take care of their own business against Seattle, the scoreboard watching can soon end. And wouldn’t that be nice? Wake up, Andy Dirks (CAPOPS*). Get a big hit one of these games, maybe even have a big series. You’re turning into a ham sandwich. Unacceptable.

*Called Out Player Of The Pre-Series.

26 Comments

  1. Coleman

    September 16, 2013 at 12:28 am

    The last 3-game series of the season is against Miami, and, by then the division, and the playoff seeding will probably be set. If so, Peralta will be playing, if he is ever to play for Detroit again. In left field? We shall see.

    Also, the series can be used to set up the rotation–don’t be surprised to see, say, Alvarez starting game 162. On the other hand, a far-thinking manager might look at this series–which is AT Miami–and think: Pitchers’ Batting Practice!

    • StorminNorman$

      September 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      …good points, and please let me know when you locate one of those “far-thinking managers” ;)

      Another positive regarding the MIA series is that last week MIA shut down rookie pitching sensation Jose Fernandez, so DET won’t have to face him (2.19 ERA; 0.98 WHIP, .182 BAA)

      I’d play Peralta all three of those games in MIA… provide him with live BP and a game rest for Iglesias, Cabrera or LF?

      If DET has clinched and home field is no longer in play, as Coleman suggested should juggle the rotation to line it up for playoffs

      • Smoking Loon

        September 17, 2013 at 1:22 am

        With 4 days off between season and postseason, I see no reason (this is starting to rhyme) for juggling, unless “equal extra rest” is a factor, as it may well be. In that case, I’ll have to come up with the juggle for my scheme.

        No off days until the 26th. Looks like the juggle might require an Alvarez start at some point.

  2. StorminNorman$

    September 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Tonight’s Tigers lineup…dusting off Tui against the lefty…Saunders
    1. CF Austin Jackson
    2. RF Torii Hunter
    3. 3B Miguel Cabrera
    4. 1B Prince Fielder
    5. DH Victor Martinez
    6. 2B Omar Infante
    7. LF Matt Tuiasosopo
    8. C Alex Avila
    9. SS Jose Iglesias

    • Coleman

      September 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      I think we’ll be seeing more Tui, as the brass ponder the Tui or Jhonny question.

      • Coleman

        September 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

        Tui is playing himself right off the team (never a good sign when Tte Donkey is pinch-hitting for you.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 17, 2013 at 1:12 am

          He advanced a runner and then reached on an error. Didn’t strike out. The Donkey PH was de rigueur SOP lefty-righty nonsense.

          • Vince in MN

            September 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm

            Unfortunately it seems that Tui has reverted to his pre-Tiger self – not good. Whether or not that has to do with rust is a debatable point though.

  3. Kevin in Dallas

    September 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Nice formatting in the spreadsheet.

    • Coleman

      September 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      Yeah, Loon seriously out-formats me.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 17, 2013 at 12:57 am

        I can’ t tell if you guys are kidding or not.

  4. judpma

    September 16, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    hey you guys are all formatting the heck out of this stuff!!..I am sure Bilfer is proud of you guys!!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 17, 2013 at 12:57 am

      … and again.

  5. judpma

    September 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Amazing that the Indians are only 37-30 in the AL Central even with all the Tigers wins, it doesn’t seem like anyone else in the Central beats them. In fact KC has a better AL Central record than Cleveland..

  6. judpma

    September 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Mario:..Saunders really been struggling
    Rod: last 5-6 starts hes been hit hard
    Mario: hasn’t made it out of the 4th inning
    Rod: he’s been bad early , middle, and late

    …..and here comes the Pussycat offense to help straighten you out!!!

  7. judpma

    September 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    this is a little more like it…Infante second half MVP

    • PHToy in HK

      September 16, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Not V-Mart?

  8. Coleman

    September 16, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    “Alex Avila singles on a sharp line drive to catcher Mike Zunino.” Don’t try this at home!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 17, 2013 at 12:59 am

      You should have seen it. It was amazing. Of course, they’ve taken it down from mlb.tv now and replaced it with something more mundane.

  9. judpma

    September 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    nice job again Rick…you are starting to become reliable…and solid!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 17, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Your question as to whether Smyly would really be a better starter than Porcello was a good one, and it keeps getting better.

  10. judpma

    September 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Infante is ahead of Martinez in almost every hitting catagory except RBI.. and a couple HR….the lower RBI because he is not usually in a RBI spot in the batting order..

    • Coleman

      September 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Not to mention that when he does have guys on base in front of him (Cabrera, Fielder, Martinez) it takes a double to score them from 3rd.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 17, 2013 at 1:05 am

        As I’ll try to show tomorrow, though Infante has been great, Martinez has been all-around greater since July 1. Agree with Coleman’s point, though.

        • Vince in MN

          September 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm

          Infante has missed quit a few games also.

  11. JimEggersUSMC

    September 17, 2013 at 2:00 am

    I was talking to a friend yesterday about al kinds of stuff, and at the end he asked me if I would watch Tacoma (M’s AAA) versus the Tigers. I attended three M’s games: Tigers in April, A’s in June and Angels in August. I also saw, in person two Tacoma games, 1 in Apri and 1 in August. In those five games 10-11 of the players for the M’s had also played for Tacoma and vice versa… WOW!
    AND, I too loved the spread sheet, it was a thing of beauty… I kid because I care….