Game 2014.11: Indians at Tigers

Despite a division lead that was as big as 8 1/2 games in September, the Tigers ended up barely edging out the Cleveland Indians by one game–this despite the fact that Detroit owned the Indians themselves, putting up a remarkable 15-4 record against their rivals.

The much anticipated rematch of last year’s Central Division contenders had to wait until today, due to snow, rain, ice, cold, and general non-baseball-friendly conditions.  Yesterday’s cancellation was in fact the 3rd already this season for the Indians (they made up one in a double-header), the 2nd for the Tigers, and the 9th overall in MLB. If the weather continues to be tricky it should make for some interesting scheduling down the line.

The Tigers decided to move Sanchez from Tuesdays start up to today and to keep Verlander starting Thursday as scheduled. This means that Drew Smyly has been bumped from the starting rotation for the 2nd time in as many attempts. Back to the bullpen for Drew.

Today’s DH-is-back Lineup:

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

DET P: Anibal Sanchez (RHP)

Sanchez handled the Indians well last season, going 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA and WHIP of 0.879.

CLE P: Zach McAllister (RHP)

Last season McAllister was 0-2 vs. Detroit with a 9.00 ERA, lasting less than 4 innings in his last 2 starts. Hitting him particularly well were Andy Dirks and Brayan Pena. Oh. Well Martinez hit him well too: 3 doubles in 7 at bats. So we will go with V-Mart as the Player of the Pregame.

64 thoughts on “Game 2014.11: Indians at Tigers”

  1. I’ll be really interested to see what Castellanos can do with more consistent AB’s. I like what I’ve seen so far. Seems to take an intelligent approach at the plate. Hate it when they go to the west coast – might as well be the moon.

    1. He’s been good even with the odd day off here and there. No question he’s going to be good at the plate this year. The real question is how good he’ll be next year, when there’s a real “book” on him. Think Dirks, think Avila, etc. etc.. But he does seem like the real deal.

  2. Perusing the box scores today I noticed Valverde continues to pick up where he left off last year: 1IP 3H 2R 2HR, although the Mets beat the Diamondbacks 5-2. Do we miss him yet?….. didn’t think so. How has Arizona managed to play 8 more games than the Tigers? They are 4-14 to our 6-4 – for those who like statistics, that is 80% more games ;). And with that start, is Gibby living on borrowed time?

  3. Whew! Nice flip by Gonzalez, nice sliding catch by Nick. Anibal skates away this time. Whew!

  4. Come on Rod, “Avila really had no chance”??? Well, I guess I agree when the ball bounces 6″ in front of 2nd base.

  5. It looks like the Indians are going with a 3-man bench and 13-man pitching staff, which seems kind of odd, especially at this time of year when there are a lot of days off.

      1. With the Tiger bats still as cold as the weather ….. this one is headed for the L column!

        1. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. It’s tough when you have to hit against Cy Young every game.

      1. On second thought, that’s exactly what you were saying in the first place. Never mind me. Just agreeing.

  6. 5 of AlAl’s 7 pitches were fastballs, so maybe he is making the effort to be less reliant on the slider.

  7. Off hand does anybody know how many times Davis has reached on an error so far? Is his speed a factor, causing defenders to rush?

  8. I didn’t like the call for Hunter to bunt. Didn’t like Hunter’s half-hearted execution. Pretty costly AB there.

  9. Any team that has to go to a Don Kelly type in a crucial pinch hitting situation has a bench problem.

    1. Actually, I was happy to see Kelly there. Good guy for the situation, not easy to strike out. So much for that theory.

  10. They made a game of it after all. Why can’t all pitchers be so nice to Alex and give him something to hit like that? Nice baserunning. Not all catchers can run like that. It was cool. Really livened up the game. Bit disappointed in the Donkey, Mr. Sac Fly himself. Oh well. Tigers have some pitching. We can cling to that.

  11. From what Ausmus has shown so far this season ….. he is no baseball manager! Bring Smokey back.

    1. I thought he did the right things tonight: pinch ran for Avila – check, pinch hit for Gonzalez – check. The fact that Don Kelly was the BEST he could rely upon in that situation isn’t Ausmus’ fault. His aim is true but the gun is loaded with blanks. At the moment our offense is comprised of 5 guys who can actually hit on most days, a couple borderline question marks (Davis, Casty) and the Mendoza quintuplets. Who dealt this s**t anyway.

      1. He should have called for the squeeze to try and get Romine home to tie the game and then take it from there! He threw away the possibility of a W by not calling the squeeze. Poor managing in my eyes.

        1. I agree on the squeeze. At the beginning of the season, it looked like Ausmus was all about a more exciting style of baseball. He seems to have backed off a bit.

          As far as tonight’s game goes, I don’t find any major fault with Ausmus. I don’t have the same problem with Kelly that Vince does. Kelly struck himself out uncharacteristically. You can usually count on him to put the ball in play, which is exactly what the situation called for.

          1. I don’t have a problem with Kelly being on the bench. He’s good, decent D and versatile, slightly below average hitter utility guy – a good number 25 man to have on the team. However, if I am the manager of a team that is considered by many to be a legitimate WS contender, having Don Kelly as my No. 1 clutch pinch hitter off the bench just doesn’t cut it.

            1. I don’t think a team with Kinsler-Hunter-Cabrera-Martinez-Jackson needs a big bat on the bench so much as they need more than a couple runs a game from the aforementioned group. But I’m on record as having protested letting Tui go. Would’ve taken him over Kelly in a heart beat.

              1. Way back a long time ago during the Dodgers series, I thought the bunt by Beckett with two strikes was brilliant. The call, the execution, everything. That kind of surprise and daring is what I’d like to see from Ausmus and the team (we’ve already seen some). I can live with a certain amount of failure. I appreciate the attempts and the departure from bygone ways.

    1. They don’t seem disinterested to me. Tonight, it looked like everyone on the field was finding the game a bit of a battle due to the chilly weather.

  12. Top 5 vs bottom 4 after 11 games.
    This is by batting order not player, but since Davis is the only one who slides between the two groups it doesn’t really matter that much.
    Top 5: 220/63/27/.286/21
    Bot 4: 154/32/13/.208/10

    Now your better hitters are going to bat nearer the top, so you can’t expect BOOBs to produce like the top hitters, but the production difference here is pretty stark.

        1. If the top 5 were batting .300 and the bottom 4 .222, the team might be 9-2 right now and the stark difference no big deal.

          Seeing the games, I realize how hard it is to simplify and generalize things, not only within a game, but over a sum of games. I can’t really localize the difference between 6-5 and 9-2 or 3-8 down to a small group of players. It’s the team.

          Kelly and Davis can and should do better than strand Avila at third base. Hunter and Cabrera can and should do better than to spend two outs just to get Kinsler home from second base. The accident of having one out to work with as opposed to none out is just that, an accident. As is 1st vs. 9th inning.

          Seeing the games, I see the players doing good and bad and OK. Rarely does anyone have an unequivocally superb or horrible game all around. Cabrera made an error at 1B that led to a run. Later, he made a pretty good play at 1B. He drove in two. The second was clutch, for sure. The first, well, I don’t know about you, but The Great Miggy grounding out to SS for an RBI doesn’t exactly make me jump and shout in the 1st inning. Sanchez was awful, then kinda good and awful both, then really really quite good. There was some brilliant pitching there, and yet you could also say he gave the game away with the awful part. And on and on…

          The closest thing to a goat in this one was Hunter, I think. The way that bunt thing played out, it was almost like he resented being asked to bunt. He sure wasn’t asked to do what he ended up doing. Ridiculous attempts at bunting twice, and then grounding into the DP. I could almost read the “see what you made me do?” Sure, he was going the opposite way with two strikes… having donated the two strikes with his ridiculous execution. Cabrera was up next, for crying out loud. That Cabrera singe could’ve been TWO runs. Darn you all to heck, Torii Hunter.

    1. All with two outs, too. Sounds like (except for that part) the one that almost got away against the Dodgers.

  13. I wanted to save this for the Postgame post, but I’m traveling in the morning; hopefully this discussion will carry over.

    A few thoughts:

    1) Hitting is down across the majors. SI had a long article about it last week (such a great magazine). Better to measure hitters against league stats (like OPS+) than the past. The Tigers’ offense is going to look bad on a regular basis. It sucks, but we need to get comfortable with it. We should be talking about the bullpen – 4 IP 4 H 1 BB. I’ll take that against a good hitting Indians team

    2) Miggy’s just in a slump. By this time next week he’ll be hitting .300.

    3) I was surprised by the Hunter bunt attempt on 0-1. But it’s too early to know Ausmus’ tendencies.

    4) The Kelly AB in the 9th was bad, but that’s what good relievers do. We just don’t have much experience with that.

    5) Sanchez was awesome after the 1st inning.

    6) Jackson will never be able to develop into a base-stealer.

    7) 1-9 RISP is bad. 1-13 (Cle) is worse. It happens to everyone.

    We’ll get ’em tomorrow. JV is pitching.

  14. A comment from the Lunar surface aka the West Coast. ( Hair split, I’m about 300 miles from coastline) In California, there is a town by the name of Auburn. In gold rush country, but known now as the Endurance Capital of the world. They have an annual ultra marathon, a 100 miler. Many, many times we have heard “it’s not a sprint, it is a marathon.” I submit that the MLB season is more akin to an ultra marathon; Kevin is right, we will get them tomorrow, or the next day, or any of the 150 plus games left. It is still the first ten miles of the run.

    1. Well stated Jim… its early, and DET is still in the AL Central

      Didn’t read the Drew Sharp article today in the freep, because, well Drew Sharp wrote it. Out of Sharp’s reactionary mind came the headline, “its early but DET lineup has some problems…” I don’t know of any MLB team that doesn’t have some issues, concerns or problems – and some teams have already had major injury problems/concerns.

      Maybe my recall is wrong, but its seems to be that DET hitting typically starts slow…and pitchers usually have the advantage for the first month or two of the season (sans DET bullpen apparently).

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