Game 2014.12: Indians at Tigers

Game 11 Postgame: Indians 3, Tigers 2

Wednesday night’s game started off badly, then looked better, then looked even better, then ended in a somewhat disappointing fashion.

Anibal Sanchez averted a near-disaster after starting the game with back-to-back-to-back walks (the Research Department tells us he has only given up 10 leadoff walks his entire career; it is holding out on whether he has ever started a game with 3 consecutive before; but in fact he is averaging only 11 first inning walks per season). But he got the dangerous Carlos Santana to change his evil ways and ground into a DP.

The second inning started just as badly: Cabrera booted a play at first, and Sanchez followed it up with yet another walk. Gomes cleared the bases with a triple and Detroit was down quickly 3-1. Sanchez found his groove though, retiring the next 9 in a row, and striking out 5 of the last 7 batters he faced. The bullpen (Reed/Krol/Alburquerque/Chamberlain) was strong and shut them out over the last innings. Aside from the shaky start, the pitching was solid.

And the hitting wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t timely. There were 4 Tigers with 2 hits, but they just couldn’t combine them in a way that turned into runs. The game-tying run was left on 3rd with 1 out, and that was that.

Thumbs down:

  • They lost, so automatic thumbs down on that. Extra down on the R3L2O fail.
  • Austin Jackson caught stealing. Apparently not all fast guys are base-stealers. I get the sense he doesn’t like stealing bases. Maybe he doesn’t like to slide.
  • Anibal Sanchez: Anibal walked 4 of the first 6 batters he faced, and 2 of those 4 scored.

Thumbs up:

  • Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez recovered from his bad start and looked very good by the time he left. He kept the Tigers in the game.
  • Alex Avila: If Alex can have one game like this a series, or even a week, it will make a huge difference.
  • The bullpen: 4 innings, no runs.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Game 12 Pregame:

This is the lucite game of the weather-shortened two-game series. Don’t worry, we will see plenty of Cleveland later.

As Detroit faces another right-handed pitcher this afternoon, there has been some concern and frustration that Detroit can’t find another left-handed bat for the lineup. And certainly there are times when it would be good to be able to go to a lefty: some pitchers are particularly tough on guys of their own persuasion. But after hearing an announcer say that Detroit has trouble with right-handed pitching this season, I looked at the numbers and it doesn’t really work out the way I expected.  Here is the general breakdown:

vs RHP  .251 BA .707 OPS

vs LHP  .267 BA .756 OPS

But when we look at who is doing what we see:

RHB vs RHP .270 BA .763 OPS

LHB vs RHP .200 BA .557 OPS

In other words, it’s the left-handed batters in the lineup who are struggling with right-handed pitching. In fact, the Tiger right-handed batters are 4th best in the league right now against right-handed pitchers–and that’s with Miguel Cabrera having the slowest start of his career. I think the Tigers will do fine against right-handers, and it would be a mistake to add just anybody to the lineup for the sole reason that he swings the other way. This applies mostly in left where platoon-bait Rajai Davis has been going against career norms and hitting .281 against RHP, and adding a real threat on the bases (and a good glove in left also).

Today’s Same-as-Yesterday 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: Justin Verlander (RHP)

CLE P: Danny Salazar (RHP) The Tigers will be facing some heat this afternoon with Danny Salazar on the mound. You may still remember the game last August when Salazar struck out Miguel Cabrera 3 times. Salazar faced the Tigers again in September, but Cabrera sat out. So this is the re-match, and should be one worth watching.

40 thoughts on “Game 2014.12: Indians at Tigers”

  1. I’d like to see more of Andrew Romine. With Gonzalez, I can understand that the Tigers were hoping he had some tread left on his tires and maybe they’d catch a break with a cheap easy fix – lightning in a bottle, so to speak. I’ve seen enough to satisfy me that this gamble probably won’t pay off. I know Romines rep is no stick but I don’t expect that from SS too much. I wasn’t honestly expecting much production from Iglesias had he been healthy. All I want from SS is to make all the routing plays and sprinkle in the occasional breathtaking throw from short left. I’d like to see whether Romine can do more of that.

    1. Gonzalez was presumably supposed to be the hitting half of SS. Stats aside, he’s been looking pretty awful at the plate. I think he might be gone by the end of the month.

  2. Media making a big deal out of the bunt fail by Hunter. I have a better… one how about Hunter and Cabrerra going 1 for 8 and hitting .227 and .235

  3. A well hit ball the every SS in baseball except Peralta and Gonzalez would have handled easily…..base hit

  4. Every catcher in baseball except Avila and Holiday would have thrown Avilas out on the two out steal attemt…The Tigers don’t even bother to throw…single follows 2 runs…

  5. It’s probably better that “Ingvila” doesn’t throw to get a runner. He attempted one last night and bounced it 6′ in front of 2nd base. But boy can he handle a pitching staff ….

  6. We knew going in that Avila and Holiday can’t throw, that Casty’s D at 3B was going to be a challenge, that without Jesus Iglesias at SS the left side defense was going to be iffy, that Cabs is better than Fielder at 1B but still not great, that Davis is questionable in LF, that Hunter is 39 and his D is in decline. We also knew that despite the fact that the rotation is the team’s strength, it takes Verlander frequently 25 pitches or so to get through an inning, but that the bullpen sucks. On the hitting side, we knew Casty would be a work in progress, that Hunter is 39 and in decline, that Avila can’t hit, that Gonzalez can’t hit, that Romine can’t hit, that Holiday can’t hit, that Collins can’t hit, but on the plus side that Cabrera’s slump can’t last forever and we have Donnie Baseball Kelly anchoring the bench. We are suffering mere temporary inconveniences which will be magically rectified when the weather heats up, so the thing to do is just relax and enjoy the spectacle. We’ll be fine.

    1. I’ve seen every one of Castellanos’s at bats this season. Collins’s as well. They’re both better than you seem to think. They’re already better hitters than a number of other Tigers. They’ve rarely looked like rookies at the plate.

  7. I like this Kinsler dude……Davis and Kinsler manufacture a run..something 2013 could never do!

      1. And he’s getting on base somehow. I don’t think he’s been ahead in the count even once this season (maybe that’s an exaggeration), but he’s finding ways to get it done.

        And speaking of getting on base, I’m thinking the Tigers must be near the bottom of the league in drawing walks so far. Seems that way, haven’t looked it up. Research Department?

  8. ROD “5 Stolen bases by Cleveland and basically theye were uncontested”..Rod…all SB off Avila are basically uncontested!!!!

    1. The uncontested ones were common sense based on the pitch or the situation. Out west recently, some bad choices were made in this regard.

  9. Down by three and the opposing team is running at will on our catcher – embarrassing. At some point the inability to keep the running game in check will have to be measured against Avila’s pitch framing skills. What will they decide?

    1. Just as a point of fact, not a defense of Avila, there’s more to keeping the running game in check than the catcher’s arm.

  10. Refer back to Commerce Daves opening post…as useless as Gonzalez is ..why not take your chances with Romines speed and D

    1. I could almost agree, except that Romine has so far been unbelievably bad as a hitter. Not going by stats, but by what I see. I’ve hoped he would bunt every single time.

    1. Is there a concealed joke here, or did you mean Krol? Not a bad pitch on the HR. Brantley earned it.

      Coke looked pretty good. It’ll take more to get him out of our doghouse, but still.

      Nathan got a gift on a called third, but yeah, pretty good there as well.

  11. All this Avila bashing…Just remember every couple of months, he gets slightly above average for a couple weeks.

    1. Avila flying out to CF today was more encouraging than the two hits yesterday. I’m serious. He also gunned down one base stealer at least, and framed Nathan’s gift strike nicely. The swipe tag at the plate after Hunter’s excellent throw to the plate was good, except for the part about not having the ball in his mitt.

  12. Nice post, Coleman. I *still* don’t like yesterday’s news in today’s game, so to speak, but that’s about as well as I’ve seen it done.

    1. With a day game following a night game, it seemed to make more sense to put up one post rather than two.

      1. It does make more sense, no question. It always makes more sense, in a way. My resistance is kind of aesthetic or conceptual, I guess. But if I look at it from the perspective of me the reader, what you did upstairs is perfect, and I applaud it.

  13. How about the number of pitches thrown by Verlander? Couldn’t locate his fastball, I reckon. I also reckon that when the other pitches are working but that one isn’t, you get lots of foul balls rather than swings and misses and maybe strikeouts at the cost of many extra pitches. ~100 pitches thru 4 is pretty incredible.

  14. vs RHP .251 BA .707 OPS
    vs LHP .267 BA .756 OPS
    RHB vs RHP .270 BA .763 OPS
    LHB vs RHP .200 BA .557 OPS

    But the Tigers haven’t faced much LHP and don’t have that many LHB. A great deal of the LHB vs RHP can be summed up as “Avila.” The Tigers certainly haven’t done very well against starting pitching, most of which has been RHP.

  15. For teams with a shot at winning their division, inter-division games (especially against other division leaders) are huge. 76 inter-division games – 19 vs each division team.

    As you all recall DET finished 1 game ahead of CLE in ’13 to win the AL Central – what you may have forgotten (I did) was that DET’s record against CLE last year was 15-4.

    1. I think most of us remembered last year’s dominance of the Indians. Won the division for them single-handedly, you might say. Also, if you watch Mario and Rod, they say the same things and have the same factoids each and every game of a series, and this one has come up, of course.

      After a few innings yesterday, I decided I’ll go audio-free from here on out. I don’t know if Fox is just a crappy sports network all around or what, but Detroit Tigers baseball television coverage deserves better than this. It’s not all on Mario and Rod, whose mildly amusing rapport is all they have going. It’s poorly conceived and poorly produced baseball coverage all around. Real big on strikeouts in slo-mo or quick cut, real big on the most utterly irrelevant stats possible, real slim on angles and replays that clarify a play on the field. Losing the audio won’t fix that.

  16. Justin Miller called up from Toledo, the mystery corresponding move to follow. Not getting this one, but I guess we soon will. It portends something. Speculation is that Tyler Collins will go to Toledo, but it can hardly be about that. Something is up. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with Phil Coke or the barely used Luke Putkonen.

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