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:


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.

Game 2013.149: Royals at Tigers

85-63, Magic Number is 10.

Gotta hop on a plane, so a few disjointed thoughts.

Tigers lose a playoff type game last night in a game where the AL’s best pitching flexed some muscle and completely shut down the Tigers. I wasn’t able to tune in early but did catch the Infante double. I agree with Brookens’ decision to send Fielder there, though I hardly agree that it takes “2 perfect throws” as the second throw from Escobar was actually pretty marginal but still got a slow Fielder. The Tigers weren’t hitting at all and there was no reason to think that Holaday was going to change that much (or anyone else on the bench).

But the Royals are a good team playing for something, and the Tigers were in a position to take the game to extra innings because their pitching was almost as brilliant as that of the Royals’.

I thought Hosmer’s statement that last night’s win was the “biggest of his career” was hilarious, and I expect that he had a few laughs at the expense of the Twitter when he got home.

The fact that the Tigers have been thrown out so much at home is a reflection of poor team speed (not a surprise) and more opportunities than their competitors. Let’s not be too upset about that.

I’m traveling today, so I won’t get to post the lineups. Someone please do when they are up.

Gotta win the series today. More importantly, Max needs to get on track. Hard to believe that Jeremy Guthrie has more wins that Justin Verlander.

I admit it, I love the expanded wild card.

Game 2013.148: Royals at Tigers

85-62, Magic Number is 10.

Good win last night in a game where Justin Verlander had 0 walks. In fact, he didn’t get to a 3 ball count until the 4th, and had only 2 such counts all night. 9 Royals’ hits in 6 2/3 drove up the pitch count, but if JV issues his 2-3 walks along with those 9 hits, we’re talking about a different ball game. Interestingly, all 3 runs that the Royals scored last night came with 2 outs, and JV has allowed 42 runs with 2 outs this year. That’s nearly 1/2 of his runs allowed all year.

More two out JV fun – all stats are 0 outs/1 outs/2 outs.

  • BAA: .260/.230/.284.
  • BB: 19/19/30.
  • OPS+: 92/68/132.
  • BABIP: .304/.299/.353.
  • K/BB: 3.05/3.58/2.10

How do you explain/fix that?

Fister gets the rock tonight. Despite a respectable 5-3 and 3.32 ERA over his last 10, he needs to get into post-season shape as well. His WHIP during that time is 1.38 and he’s been drilled in 2 out of his last 3 starts. Fister was lights out in the playoffs last year, let’s get back to that.

Since my post yesterday, Boston has won twice and Chris Davis hit #50. Home field advantage and the triple crown are going to be very difficult and nearly impossible to achieve, respectively.

So let’s focus on four issues which I’d like to see worked out over the remaining 14 games – 1) can Cabrera get healthy, 2) can the bullpen pitchers settle into defined roles, 3) who will play LF and 4) can JV be dominant in the postseason.

A few notes:

– Remember, Iglesias is only a rookie. AL ROY?

– A little run support in the Game Poster League would be nice.

Peralta in LF is a real thing. I’m not against it.

– 2B prospect Devon Travis is the Tigers’ minor league player of the year.

Tonight’s Regulars Lineup:

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

Game 2013.147: Royals at Tigers

84-62, 1st place, magic # goes to 11. (Basically a lock based on the squiggly lines here.)

Well friends, just a few weeks after the Tigers found themselves atop the AL (at 24 above .500), the Tigers may now find themselves without home field advantage unless they make the World Series. The BoSox have been on a tear over the past three weeks and are now 30 games above .500, 4 games ahead of Detroit, and the A’s have surged to 25 games over.

But the schedule is in our favor. Of all teams in the AL, only CLE has a weaker remaining schedule (I’d love to see them sneak in to a WC spot). Let’s break it down, again.

– 3 v KC at home. This is the only series against a team over .500, with something to play for.

– 4 v. Sea at home.

– 3 v. CWS at home.

Then we end with two 3 game road trips separated by an off-day on the 26th, @Min and @ Fla.

That’s 16 games against teams who are a combined 94 games under. At a minimum this should be a 10-6 swing, if not 11-5. But even at 11-5, I don’t think that 28 games over (95 wins) gets us guaranteed home field. I do think that 12-4 gives us a shot, though the Red Sox remaining SoS (51%) isn’t too bad either.

The Tigers are 0-5 in JV starts vs. KC this year. It hasn’t all been JV’s fault. Though he hasn’t been much of an ace this year either. It’s not going to be easy against the best staff in the AL, and especially against Bruce Chen who has been lights out for KC since he came out of the pen mid-season. Now, the Tigers did get to Chen for 6 earned in 5 1/3 in his first start against Detroit this year. Chen since rebounded as he was dominant last Sunday when the Tigers packed up their bats for the weekend after a 16 run explosion on Friday night. I expect a low scoring game tonight. Limiting walks will be the difference between a 4-3 victor and a 5-4 defeat.

A few notes:

– David Paulino is the PTBNL for Veras.

– This is the last home stand of the season. Division series tix go on sale on Tuesday.

– Despite Boston’s record, Bovada has the Tigers as the favorites to win the Pennant at 9:4 (Bos is 5:2).

Tonight’s Lineup:

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

Game 2013.146: Tigers at White Sox

Detroit Tigers: 83-62, 1st Place (6.0 ahead of Cleveland). 

Well, if the Tigers are going to insist on playing the feast-or-famine game on offense, we might as well enjoy the feast, right? Great games by Fielder, Martinez, Avila, and Iglesias. Cabrera concerns me: he did hit 3 fairly deep, but he just doesn’t seem to have the power to get it out of the ballpark right now (you know what they say about your power coming from your hips and legs). Hopefully he will hit one about 450 ft. tonight and make me look silly.

Not that we needed all of the runs. Rick Porcello pitched a fine game, so fine in fact that Jim Leyland let him finish the thing off himself, for his first career complete game. Congratulations, Mr. Porcello.

A surprising statistic that came out of an exchange last night with Vince in MN: Current WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched):

  1. 0.962 Max Scherzer
  2. 1.143 Anibal Sanchez
  3. 1.296 Doug Fister
  4. 1.309 Rick Porcello
  5. 1.339 Justin Verlander

So yes, Rick Porcello has a lower WHIP than Verlander, who is dead last in the starting rotation (Fister, Porcello, and Verlander are really close enough that they are more or less even statistically). More of Porcello’s runners end up scoring for some reason (4.56 ERA vs. 3.64 ERA for Verlander and 3.77 for Fister), perhaps because more of his WHIP is hit and less of it is walks, although his OPS against (.722) is comparable to Fister (.707) and Verlander (.705).

One thing Porcello would seem to be better at than tonight’s pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, is holding runners on base. 10 bases have been stolen while Porcello has been on the mound, out of 15 attempts. While Sanchez is pitching opponents have been successful on 20 out of 21 tries.


As we discussed in the comments section yesterday, Jhonny Peralta has begun working out with the Tigers, although no decision has been made about his eligibility (the earliest he is eligible to return is the season-ending 3-game series at Miami).

A bit of a surprise today: Jason Beck has reported that he worked out taking fly balls in left field. Peralta has never played the outfield at any level of professional baseball. Shades of Mickey Stanley in 1968? Hmm.

Peralta has also changed agents, switching to SFX from ACES, who was involved with many of the players caught up in the Biogenesis scandal. Sounds like a good move.


Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  I’ve been doing pretty well with these, but nobody is really jumping out for me today. I think I will go with Victor Martinez.

Tonight’s Let’s-Put-Cleveland-In-The-Rear-View-Mirror Lineup:

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

Game 2013.145: Tigers at White Sox

Detroit Tigers: 82-62, 1st Place (4.5 ahead of Cleveland). 

It’s never a good sign when one of the top highlights of the game is an ejection. But in the first inning Miguel Cabrera was tossed for the second time this season in the middle of an at bat, and like last time was just talking to the umpire, not visibly arguing with him. I had assumed that he must have said something bad, but apparently not. At issue was that he kept talking about it after the umpire told him to zip it. Leyland, while he agreed with the call in question, thought the umpire was too quick to toss Miggy, and I agree with him.  Here is Jason Beck’s summary of the ejection and who said what about it.

The real highlight of the game was Victor Martinez going long, and even though it didn’t do much to make the game interesting, it was a good sign–Victor was one of the players in the September doldrums, and we will need Victor hitting when the postseason rolls around. Mr. Doldrum himself, Torii Hunter, gets a rest tonight.


Thinking about next season yet? The 2014 schedule has been released. The Interleague match ups next year are with the NL West, so there will be more time spent out west next year than there was this year.


The Tigers have announced a (late) September addition: lefty Darin Downs will be joining the bullpen.


Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Jose Iglesias. Being Rookie Guy himself, Iggy is not baffled by Chicago Rookie Guy pitcher, and contributes a nice play or two on the field.

Tonight’s Too-Early-To-Panic Lineup:

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

I’m working on a way to present this lineup in a slideshow format where you have to click through 9 different pages to see all 9 guys, and your pages stall while the streaming ads are loading, like the cool web sites do. Also, I have a hilarious link to Hollywood’s 25 Funniest Sword Fight Fails.

Game 2013.144: Tigers at White Sox

Detroit Tigers: 82-61, 1st Place (5.5 ahead of Cleveland). 

The Tigers still have a fairly comfortable 5.5 game lead over Cleveland, so things are hardly going badly. Although they may have the race in hand, it is hardly encouraging to watch them hobble down the home stretch (literally and figuratively), and hardly a good harbinger for the postseason.

The playoffs are mostly about pitching. Mostly; one still needs to score some runs (see World Series, 2012). As such let us hope that the Tigers haven’t reverted to their early season boom-or-bust ways. Over their last 10 games they have scored 7-7-10-0-3-1-4-16-3-2 for a remarkable 5.3 runs per game, but because of the high/low spread a much less remarkable 5-5, .500 win/loss record.

September has not been kind to Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez, and Miguel Cabrera:  Here are their BA/OPS numbers for the month so far:

  • .207 .448 Victor Martinez
  • .154 .507 Miguel Cabrera
  • .143 .321 Torii Hunter

Yes, that is a .321 OPS, over which time Hunter has struck out in 10 of his 28 At Bats (36%) with 0 walks. Hunter currently has an 8-game strike out streak going.

This may not be the day to look for runs with Chris Sale on the mound for the White Sox, but it may be a good time to get Victor and Torii going. Career vs. Chris Sale:

  • .563 1.276 Victor Martinez (9-for-16)
  • .333 1.167 Torii Hunter (4-for-12)

About that pitching: Max takes the mound tonight after losing a pitching duel in Boston, and tries to out-duel Chris Sale for #20.


Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Victor Martinez. Which split will prevail, VMart in September or VMart vs. Sale?

Tonight’s Mute-The-Hawk Lineup:

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

Game 2013.143: Tigers at Royals

82-60, first place, 5.5 games ahead of the Indians (violation of agreement, currently under review).

We need a replacement for the “good game” cliche. Let’s go with well-played loss. Losing 4-3 gives the Royals the series edge at 8-7 and drops Detroit’s record to 15-21 in one-run games.

Duffy didn’t throw enough strikes for the Tigers to hit, and apparently their bats rusted quickly (5 hits overall on the night). When you insist on allowing Royals to reach, you can expect some stress from KC’s smartball attack, which might result in either a gutsy win or a gutsy loss. One oops that Salvador Perez put into the left field stands made it a gutsy loss for Verlander, who didn’t pitch badly at all. Big fail for the Tigers was Torii “No Plate Discipline” Hunter, who crapped out on two big runners-on opportunities, to bookend Fielder’s popout with the bases loaded against Wade Davis. Verlander and the pen kept it close. Put this one down on the hitters, yesterday’s heroes.

In the bottom of the first, Brayan Pena overthrew the throw back to the mound. Fortunately, Ramon Santiago was backing up the play. I was as confused as everyone on the field when baserunner Emilio Bonifacio, who had been on first base, walked back to the KC dugout after sliding into second. Apparently the play was ruled a “caught stealing.” I’ll have to look that one up. Oh, there it is, under “Perez, Salvador.” Really – great job, Brayan.

Speaking of great jobs, the gem was Fielder to Pena to nail Lough at the plate. Perfection. That calls to mind a play from Friday that didn’t get enough recognition, another play at the plate involving another good stop from Fielder but a high throw that a leaping Avila turned into an out. A play like that makes up for a bowl of strikeouts. A small bowl. Which wouldn’t include the terrible swing at ball four from Holland in last night’s game. Very bad at a very bad time, and this from a guy who knows the strike zone. But back to defense last night: Fielder was sharp (everyone was) on a 3-6-1 beauty, and Santiago turned a flashy play at SS worthy of Iglesias, albeit with less fanfare.

Nick Castellanos’s “first MLB hit” will be overturned as an error on 1B Eric Hosmer.

Looking over my stats on the starters from yesterday yielded a few interesting things, in combination with things I already know:

1. There’s a kind of “Pythagorean record” for pitchers you can derive from it.

SANCHEZ should be 14-9, is 13-7

VERLANDER should be 14-12, is 12-10 (not including last night)

FISTER should be 13-9, is 12-7

SCHERZER should be 21-4, is 19-2

PORCELLO should be 15-9, is 11-8

“Should be” is a rather simple take on leaving with a lead or a deficit. But everything is pretty close to actual… except for Porcello. I think I’ve been too hard on Rick. The bullpen has allowed more of his runners to score, I suspect, and both bats and bullpen have let him down at an above-average rate. I hereby declare Porcello to be Best Fifth Starter In The AL Or Portions Thereof.

2. Fister is the king of both lack of run support and squandering what support he gets.

3. The Tigers bullpen sure does give up a lot of runs, and most of them are their own. They were also 14-21 last time I checked, which speaks for itself.

4. The Tigers starters sure don’t leave the game down in the score very often, and give the hitters some credit there.

Which reminds me to present the threatened list:

New York Yankees 7, Detroit 0
Oakland 4, Detroit 3 (12)
Seattle 2, Detroit 0
Los Angeles Angels 8, Detroit 1
Los Angeles Angels 10, Detroit 0
Los Angeles Angels 4, Detroit 3 (13)
Kansas City 8, Detroit 3 (10)
Washington 3. Detroit 1
Cleveland 4, Detroit 3 (10)
Pittsburgh 1, Detroit 0 (11)
Pittsburgh 1, Detroit 0 (11)
Tampa Bay 3, Detroit 0
Kansas City 3, Detroit 2 (10)
Los Angeles Angels 3, Detroit 1 (10)
Tampa Bay 4, Detroit 3 (10)
Tampa Bay 3, Detroit 1
Texas 7, Detroit 1
Kansas City 1, Detroit 0
New York Yankees 4, Detroit 3 (10)
Chicago White Sox 4, Detroit 3 (11)
Kansas City 2, Detroit 1
Kansas City 3, Detroit 0
Cleveland 4, Detroit 0
Boston 2, Detroit 1

Ouch. Look how many times Kansas City is on it.

I don’t have numbers to prove it, but I believe that defense has actually become a strength of the Detroit Tigers, Don’t tell them I said that.

Tuiasosopo’s strikeout rate is beginning to reach the Red Zone, or should we say Avila Zone. Martinez and Infante are outstanding on an outstanding team at avoiding the strikeout.

6 Tigers regulars are above-average in line drive %. Tops is Jackson at 29%. Cabrera, Dirks (very good news), Fielder, Martinez, and Infante are also there. Kelly is even closer to the bottom than he used to be at 18%.

22% of all baserunners present score when Cabrera is at the plate. Tuiasosopo is next at 18%. Well below league average at 10% and less are Santiago, Dirks, and Iglesias.

The unchallenged king of the GIDP is Martinez – 19% of opps. Meanwhile, all the Tigers left fielders are excellent at avoiding it.

Scoring after reaching base is partly a function of who bats behind you, but Jackson’s 48% is still outstanding. Pena looks like he can really chugalug for a catcher, but the numbers tell a different story. 19%.

Only Cabrera, Tuiasosopo, and Fielder hit home runs at above league-average rate. Cabrera is, in fact, the only truly outstanding power supply on the team, giving the lie to the idea of Detroit as a team of bashers. Solid in the gap power/doubles department, though – too bad some of them are hard-pressed to leg out a double.

It’s hard to accumulate a lot of net positive or negative WPA over the course of a season. Cabrera’s 6.5 is astounding. In terms of consistent game-changing hitting, added all up, there’s been Cabrera, Fielder, and Peralta, and essentially no one else (lots of Tigers on the plus side, however). Dirks -2.2 is equally astounding. Boesched? Oh yeah.

Who are the best hitters, at bat by at bat? RE24 might not tell the WHOLE story, but it doesn’t lie. Here’s best to worst (for the season, mind you – the numbers pile up and obscure more recent trends we are well aware of):

Cabrera (off the chart)
Iglesias (w/Tigers only)

And if all this doesn’t get you fired up for baseball, I give up, and I’ll just step aside and let Doug Fister and Papa G (POPG) Miguel Cabrera (oh man, is he due or what?) take over.

Game 2013.142: Tigers at Royals

82-59, first place. Magic number 16, should you hanker for one this early. Detroit and Cleveland seem to have reached an accord about staying 6.5 games away from each other. If the Tigers go undefeated the rest of the way, this is a win-win.

Was I saying something about a close game being a good game? Oh, baloney. 16-2 Tigers – any team, any time – now that is a good game. 16 runs without a home run (close call on the Infante 3-run double, though). It’s not as though the Tigers bombed Big Game James or any of the Royals pitchers. They just wouldn’t stop hitting. And the Tigers RISP figure was none shy of obscene, at least if you’re a Royals fan. There have been other games where 26 hits (and 5 walks) might have gone for 5 runs or so, or so you’d have been thinking. Omar Infante, Andy Dirks, and Austin Jackson were the headliners and about half of the offense, but 11 Tigers collected hits and 10 scored runs. The greedy Tigers fan might feel a bit cheated of more by Shields’s clever pickoff of Dirks at 3B with bases loaded and none out, where a big inning unraveled into a zero. But Dirks didn’t hang his head after that, and good for him. Oh, and Anibal Sanchez pitched 7 good innings of 1-run baseball. Luke Putkonen could be the Anti-AlburCokey, at least as a 14-run lead specialist.

Last night’s game wasn’t a laugher the way some laughers are laughers. The Royals didn’t look sorry in lopsided defeat (as the Tigers really hadn’t, either, in their blowout loss to Boston, except for a few of the pitchers). There were quite a few notable defensive plays. KC’s David Lough turned some nice ones in both RF and LF. But the Tigers had the edge here, too. Avila, Fielder, Tuiasosopo, Infante, and Sanchez all put in some nice work. There was that sailing throw by Avila, true. And Danny Worth at 3B managed to make Miguel Cabrera look spry (not to mention his PA). It’s unfair to make a broad judgment based on one game, so allow me to be unfair and say that Worth looks just about done as a ballplayer. I still think that Worth and Quintin Berry should have made the team out of ST. I don’t know if the team would be better now, but it would have been more interesting.

Detroit’s Pythagorean record is back up to +5, and I’m fine with it. Let us savor the blowouts:

Detroit 11, Toronto 1
Detroit 10, Oakland 1
Detroit 10, Atlanta 0
Detroit 17, Houston 2
Detroit 9, Houston 0
Detroit 10, Tampa Bay 1
Detroit 11, Toronto 1
Detroit 10, Philadelphia 0
Detroit 12, Philadelphia 4
Detroit 11, Washington 1
Detroit 11, New York Mets 3
Detroit 16, Kansas City 2

This, and a glance up and down the Tigers OPS+ column, kinda makes you wonder: What are we complaining about? A list of the shutout and near-shutout losses and extra-innings losses could answer that, I suppose.

Nick Castellanos gets his first start in LF tonight, and it is rumored that Torii Hunter is getting a blow (this is a perfectly innocent old expression for “time off,” and in my continuing efforts to emulate Rod Allen, I am trying to overcome my aversion to it). Justin Verlander gets his rematch with Danny Duffy, and I don’t see Duffy getting the better of it this time, not if JV can help it. Also, 1 hit in 6 innings? I don’t think so. Not this time. Now, Danny Salazar of the Indians was very good against Detroit twice. Will Danny Duffy be? I didn’t see that last game. Maybe the Tigers have a problem with the name “Danny.” That would also explain Danny Worth and also Danry Vasquez, whom the Tigers may have traded by mistake thinking his name was “Danny.”

More amazing stats of no particular consequence to follow…

I find various run support measures vague, unsatisfactory, and possibly misleading. Consequently:

AVG SCORE WHEN REPLACED: Tigers 4.8, Opponent 2.0
LEFT WITH LEAD: 14/25 = 56%
LEFT TIED: 2/25 = 8%
LEFT BEHIND: 9/25 = 36%

AVG SCORE WHEN REPLACED: Tigers 4.1, Opponent 2.8
LEFT WITH LEAD: 14/29 = 48%
LEFT TIED: 3/29 = 11%
LEFT BEHIND: 12/29 = 41%

AVG SCORE WHEN REPLACED: Tigers 3.5, Opponent 2.8
LEFT WITH LEAD: 13/28 = 46%
LEFT TIED: 6/28 = 22%
LEFT BEHIND: 9/28 = 32%

AVG SCORE WHEN REPLACED: Tigers 5.3, Opponent 2.3
LEFT WITH LEAD: 21/28 = 75%
LEFT TIED: 3/28 = 11%
LEFT BEHIND: 4/28 = 14%

AVG SCORE WHEN REPLACED: Tigers 3.7, Opponent 2.7
LEFT WITH LEAD: 15/26 = 58%
LEFT TIED: 2/26 = 7%
LEFT BEHIND: 9/26 = 35%

From my gleaning of the pitching game logs, it stood out how easily Scherzer could be 25-3 right now.

I think it’s been clear for a while that Miguel Cabrera is not going to catch Chris Davis in HR and gain the Triple Crown. I can’t get excited about any MVP debate, either. Cabrera is having a Triple Crown season nonetheless, and I’d just like to see him put together a quality stretch run and help the team put the division race to bed in no more than 10 games or so. I’m very content to let Davis take his 55 HR and Mike Trout his (eventual, possible) MVP, take them home with them, sit down, and watch the Tigers in the playoffs and the World Series.

Speaking of World Series, it’s nice to see the San Francisco Giants in the cellar and on the brink of elimination. Not a big deal, just nice. Kung Fu Panda, Sergio Romo and his saves… so yesterday.

Game 2013.141: Tigers at Royals

81-59, first place, 6.5 games ahead of the Indians. Too early to start talking about magic numbers. When GAMES REMAINING/GAMES AHEAD = <2, magic number time begins.

After a couple days off, one of which counted in the standings, the Tigers are back at it with three against the Royals in KC. (By the way, the weekend forecast for KC MO is scorching heat. The good news is that only Sunday is a day game. Fister might pitch well in heat, I don’t know, but I fear for his longevity.) If you’ve followed the Detroit Tigers much this season, you already know the book on Tigers-Royals:

1. Neither team hits much against the other.
2. The Royals are going to steal bases at will.
3. With a little more help from the hitters, the starters could have carried the Tigers to a good 12 wins over KC. 15-4 against the Indians, and – what in the world??
4. The games will be contested and close; these two squads have been playing playoff baseball against each other all season.

The season series stands at 6-7. 43 RS, 43 RA – how ’bout them apples? A review of the last 5, which played like an ALDS:

TIGERS 4 Royals 1 WRAP
Royals 2 TIGERS 1 WRAP
Royals 3 TIGERS 0 WRAP
TIGERS 6 Royals 5 WRAP
TIGERS 6 Royals 3 WRAP

The Royals aren’t out of it. A sweep and they are way in it. Watch out, Tigers. Get your runs early and keep your starters out there for 7. Liable to be trouble otherwise.

Say what you will about the 20-4 drubbing at the hands of the Red Sox, but it’s not an indictment of the whole team. OK, so it’s a mistake to push Porcello when he’s fading. OK, so Alburquerque makes one of those pitches that the batter doesn’t miss a bit of, and now the Tigers won’t get back into this one. So it’s a 10-4 loss, more or less, after half of a tight game. What transpired thereafter, however, is an indictment of some of the more marginal bullpen pieces (shards? crumbs?), Alburquerque included, and also of Jim Leyland. Regardless of the score, I don’t think it’s ever a “waste of a pitcher” to make a serious effort to record outs. I don’t understand leaving someone out there to be hammered, batter after batter. I don’t agree that it would have been ridiculous to bring in Smyly, Veras, Rondon, or even Benoit. Whatever it took. If “getting it over with” was the idea,  getting some outs would have been a good way to go about it. Put the 14 runs allowed over 3 innings on Leyland’s ERA.

Tigers have given up 13 or more runs 3 times on Wednesdays this season. Which hasn’t otherwise been an unusual day of the week for the Tigers.

Seems as though Iglesias will be back in the lineup, the shin splints not being the news they appeared to be. Still a concern, though. There didn’t appear to be a cloud in the Iglesias sky up until now. Visions of 10-15 years of seriously deranged shortstopitude. Miggy? Well, we just don’t seem to know any more, do we? Day to day.

Just as I’d gotten to thinking that maybe Fister was the odd man out rather than Porcello, and even had thoughts of a 6-man rotation in 2014 (dream on – innovation from Leyland? Ha!), I’m disillusioned again. And then it hit me – Porcello belongs in the bullpen!* I really think so. Ah, but he’ll probably insist on a starting role, and he’ll probably be doing that elsewhere in 2014. Too bad, because I think Porcello would excel in the bullpen. He might yet, somewhere, someday. I think he’s reached his ceiling as a starter, however. Usually gassed after 5. Not real promising for a starter. A 24 year old starter.

*Not claiming it’s an original idea.

So where does everyone stand on Jhonny Peralta? Bring him back for the anticipated post-season? I don’t see why not, myself. What’s not to like about that bat on the bench?

More to come on that constant thorn in our side, the Tigers bullpen, but feel free to get started…




5+ RUN LEAD: 0.58 RPG, 29-0

4 RUN LEAD: 1.00 RPG, 14-1

3 RUN LEAD: 0.92 RPG, 12-0

2 RUN LEAD: 1.38 RPG, 5-3

1 RUN LEAD: 1.33 RPG, 8-4

TIE GAME: 1.56 RPG, 6-10

1 RUN BEHIND: 1.46 RPG, 3-10

2 RUNS BEHIND: 2.20 RPG, 2-13

3 RUNS BEHIND: 3.63 RPG, 0-8

4 RUNS BEHIND: 0.25 RPG, 0-4

5+ RUNS BEHIND: 3.17 RPG, 1-5

Ah, numbers. What to make of it all?

The Tigers bullpen has fared pretty well against the Royals. This would be a good time for them and the pitching staff in general to rise to the occasion after a pretty shaky week or so. Anibal’s last loss came against the Royals, and it was a hard-luck affair for him. Maybe the bats can get him some runs this time. Hitting has been none too perky just lately in terms of converting hits into runs. Go Tigers.

Game 2013.140: Tigers at Red Sox

81-58, 1st place, when do magic numbers become a thing?

I’m up against the clock today, friends, so just a quick intro to get the discussion going.

You don’t see too many 0-4 nights for Cabrera, makes me wonder if he was really okay. He’s out again today, and now I really wish that he had sat yesterday.

Jason Beck did a whole post on yesterday’s Pena out at the plate; gist of it is that Leyland blindly supports his coaches, even when his coaches admit that they are wrong. We’ve discussed this before. This looks bad from the outside, but it’s part of the reason why players and staff are so unwavering in their admiration for Leyland. And he’s winning, so I’m okay with it.

Today’s Can We Win a Playoff Game Without Miggy* Lineup Is:

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

*Tigers are 10-2 without Miggy this year

Game 2013.139: Tigers at Red Sox

81-57, 1st place, by a lot.

No wonder the Boston faithful gave Jose Iglesias a standing O yesterday afternoon. Besides his double, he was the cornerstone in 3 double plays yesterday, the last of which demonstrated his ridiculous athleticism and baseball IQ. First of all, he pretty easily got to a ball well to the right of 2B. He then managed to contort his body and tag a passing runner near 2B with this glove hand, only to pull the ball out of this glove and make an accurate and timely throw to 1B, while moving in the wrong direction, to double up Pedroia.

If you’re John Farrell, how depressing is it to get beat so cleanly by Detroit yesterday, then look at today’s match-up and see Scherzer staring back at you. Mad Max threw 7 innings of 2 run ball versus the Bo Sox back on June 22. A win today would put him alongside the Rocket as the only players to start 20-1, and make him the only one who did it without artificial aid.

As good as Jon Lester is, he gets drilled by Detroit. Current Tigers hitters have combined for a career .413 average and 1.081 OPS in 124 plate appearances, and he has a 5.26 career ERA in six starts against Detroit.

A few notes:

– Did anyone else think that Napoli’s attempted take-out slide on Iglesias was far beyond the context of acceptable? Considering the Infante injury, I’d love to see someone address this on the mound, at the plate, or behind the podium.

I’m wondering if yesterday’s victory bought Miggy another day off. If we win today, I’d be shocked to see him in the lineup tomorrow with a scheduled off-day on Thursday.

– ALDS starts October 4th. MLB said it first, not me.

– If the Pirates win today, this will guarantee their first .500 season in 21 years.

– Prediction: Miggy hits a bomb today and wins the Triple Crown (at the end of the season).

Today’s Blackline Lineup (yes, those are real stats):

1. Jackson, CF
2. Hunter, RF (10-19)
3. Cabrera, 3B (10-16)
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Martinez, DH (6-10)
6. Infante, 2B
7. Tuiasosopa, LF
8. Pena, C (6-14)
9. Iglesias, SS