Game 2014.22: Tigers at Twins *POSTPONED*

In case you missed yesterday’s postgame, Anibal Sanchez has gone on the 15-day disabled list with a middle finger laceration, and his spot on the roster has been taken by Justin Miller. Alex Avila is also off of day-to-day status and back in the lineup.

Well today is Sunday, and that means Justin Verlander is pitching, with the Sunday Lineup behind him.  It is also the rubber game of the series with the now 2nd place Minnesota Twins, who would pull to within percentage points of tying Detroit for 1st with a win.

Not that the Twins should scare Justin–he has won 9 straight against Minnesota, and has never lost at Target, despite that Mauer guy who has Verlander figured out to the tune of .371 lifetime. All eyes will be on the pitch counter today, what with the bullpenalooza fun this season.

Minnesota sends out Kyle Gibson (3-1, 3.63) who has never faced anyone in the Tiger lineup. I’ll go with Hunter to stay hot. I was going to pick Cabrera until I saw him at DH.

In case your attention begins to wander with the bottom of the Sunday lineup at the plate, you might want to check out this interesting New York Times study on the boundaries of baseball fandom. They have mapped fan preferences by zip codes using Facebook data, and have been able to determine pretty clearly the geographical point at which, say, one is a Yankee fan rather than a Red Sox fan.  If you enlarge the interactive map and mouse over it will give you fan breakdown by county.

Today’s Because the 3rd Baseman Bats 6th, That’s Why Lineup 

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, DH
  4. V. Martinez, 1B
  5. Jackson, CF
  6. Kelly, 3B
  7. J.D. Martinez, LF
  8. Avila, C
  9. Romine, SS


  1. Coleman

    April 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Well that’s no fun, I get the post up just as they are announcing the game is off. With an off day also tomorrow, this is going to mess with the starting rotation, not to mention leaving us fans with two days with no Tiger baseball!

    Oh well, we can use this post for off-day chatter.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Agreed, no fun.

      Forecast for Chicago and KC over the next week: RAIN RAIN RAIN and MORE RAIN. Day in and day out. Tigers might as well go home and wait for a game to be scheduled rather than postponed.

      • Smoking Loon

        April 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        If one of the White Sox games is postponed, which is almost certain, that will be one game against each division opponent lost in the first month.


    April 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    The only part of this lineup that I disagree with is replacing Nick C. with the Donkey. Nick C. needs all the reps that he can get against major league pitching in order to get better, especially with off days coming up. Smokey Jr. is really starting to piss me off with his incompetent managing. You would think these were Smokey’s decisions.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      I think the worry about Nick C. missing a game here and there is unnecessary. He’s better against major league pitching and looking better at the plate than Miguel Cabrera through 21 games, and if you’re watching Nick, you know it’s not luck.

      I’d suggest starting Kelly at 1B in place of Cabrera for a Sunday Lineup game, except that Cabrera needs more reps against major league pitching in order to get better.

  3. Smoking Loon

    April 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Words of wisdom from Rice Krispies: Great starts lead to great things. With Verlander scheduled to pitch today, I saw that as a good omen this morning.

  4. jud

    April 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    This was a loss waiting to happen anyway..The less Sunday get away games they play the better…Midwest forecast for all of next week ugly. All division opponents. See you Tuesday boys, maybe!!

  5. Smoking Loon

    April 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Underperformance (OPS) against opposing starters:
    Avila .521 (career .810)
    Cabrera .665 (.989)
    Kinsler .685 (.835)
    Martinez .781 (.831)

    About even here, two guys without a lot of career to measure against:
    Romine .625 (.645)
    Castellanos .762 (.777)
    Hunter .818 (.829)

    Way over:
    Jackson 1.070 (.775)
    Davis .790 (.719)

    If it only takes 4 struggling hitters (count Romine in there and Martinez out) to make it seem like the Tigers can’t do anything against starting pitching, maybe it would only take 2 turning it around (Cabrera and Kinsler, for instance) to make them seem like an irresistible force to opposing starters.

  6. Smoking Loon

    April 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Batting #5 is turning Austin Jackson into a better leadoff hitter.

  7. Jim EggersUSMC

    April 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Some days you win, some days you lose, and some days it rains…. Crash Davis circa1988…..

    • Smoking Loon

      April 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      I welcome the rain here, just not over the ballparks the Tigers happen to be playing at. I imagine it rains quite a bit out by you, Jim. Anyway, rain just isn’t good for baseball (aside from helping the grass grow). Football is fun to watch (on TV) in inclement weather. Baseball, not so much.

      • Jim EggersUSMC

        April 28, 2014 at 2:09 am

        A common misconception, my blogging cohort. I live on the dry side of Washington state, the rain shadow of the Cascades keeps us drier than the Puget sound region. We have 4 distinct seasons here, snow in the winter ( so we go to Kauai!) unsettled springs ( today we had rain, thunder, hail and sunshine!) dry, warm summers (cool nights) and fall is usually late (used to be called Indian summers, but Cleveland complaIned) and then winter kicks us to the curb. I like living here 9 out of 12 months.

        • Smoking Loon

          April 28, 2014 at 8:49 pm

          Ah, I knew the Pacific Northwest wasn’t one climate only, but I stand corrected. Pretty sure you’ve made reference to your locale more specifically before, but I forgot. Sounds like a better baseball climate (a better climate overall, really) than the Midwest, which likes nothing in moderation.

  8. Smoking Loon

    April 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    How the RBI machine isn’t, Cabrera with 2 on in 2014:

    FC, runner out at home
    Flyout to CF, inning over
    Single to SS, run scores
    Strikeout, inning over
    DP 5-4-3, inning over
    Intentional walk
    Groundout to SS, run scores
    Flyout to CF, inning over
    DP 4-3, inning over
    Single to CF, 2 runs score
    DP 5-4-3, inning over
    DP 5-3, inning over

    6 of the 9 outs on the 1st or 2nd pitch.

    Exempting the IBB, 4 of 11 runners on 3B have been scored by Cabrera. That might be decent, but not for Miggy, I don’t think. No, in 2013, 55 were plated by Cabrera from 3B in 82 opportunities.

    Opposite field, 4 for 16 overall with .200 BABIP (3-15 out of 69 total balls in play). All 4 oppo hits since April 22, it appears. What we like to call warning track power (even Andrew Romine has it) appears to be an issue still, but how long can this continue? This is Miguel Cabrera. The trend should be our friend.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 28, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      FWIW, “2 on” should read “2+ on.” Bases-loaded situations included.

  9. StorminNorman$

    April 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    the speculation about the Robbie Ray call-up seems to be gaining traction. reports: The Tigers may start to see additional dividends from the Doug Fister trade, reports Chris Iott of Left-hander Robbie Ray, acquired from the Nationals in that December deal, is a leading candidate to replace the injured Anibal Sanchez in the rotation. Ray has posted a 1.93 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9 in his four starts for Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers have yet to decide who will fill in for Sanchez; but, if Ray is their choice, they will need to create roster space since the 22-year-old isn’t on the 40-man roster.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      They might also go with Kyle Lobstein, despite an unspectacular start at Toledo. We could see both Lobstein and Ray. OK by me. I’d like the chance to watch, evaluate, see what they can do.


        April 28, 2014 at 8:42 am

        ….. at the expense of losing games?

      • Vince in MN

        April 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

        “I’d like the chance to watch, evaluate, see what they can do.”
        Which is what Toledo is for and where Mr. Lobstein should stay (unless they decide to send him back to Erie). Ray on the other hand has been impressive and might well deserve a look, but the 40-man roster situation may make them think twice. I suggest offering up Phil Coke as the sacrificial lamb in that regard.

        • Smoking Loon

          April 28, 2014 at 8:43 pm

          Well, I do have still (I think), but if fill-in starters are the order of the day, I’d like to see both Lobstein and Ray pitch a game for the Tigers. Giving either of them or both a look isn’t so much a matter of stats at Toledo so far.

          TIGERS RULE, regulars lose games all the time. They’ve lost 9 so far. Rookie starters can be good. The Tigers have *faced* enough of that – they certainly did last season. About time they get in on the fun themselves. When Justin Verlander made his first start, I’m sure there were those who would rather have seen a veteran pitching who wrote it off as an automatic loss (and he did lose, but the Tigers also put up 0 runs on 6 hits that day). You don’t find out about guys in AAA.

          No, I’m not afraid of seeing bench guys or new guys get to play. The team wins, or the team loses. There’s no possible configuration of Detroit Tigers (in their regular positions, mind you) in a game that I don’t expect to win with going into a game.

  10. StorminNorman$

    April 27, 2014 at 6:53 pm;mlb.html

    Ausmus indicates, “the off days and rain days has killed our rotation” (“killed”…really?!?!) …unless i’ve missed something, ‘the rotation’ thus far has done quite well, on the other hand, the bullpen…

    • Vince in MN

      April 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      The performance of the rotation has been very good. However, the apple pie order of it all has been upset. For a manager that can be a killer. If Ausmus thinks this is bad, wait until the makeup games, when they will be adding a starter or two to the rotation. And the days off and rainouts has been a blessing for the bullpen as they try to get that monster under control (literally).

      • Smoking Loon

        April 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

        The pitchers themselves also seem very attached to the apple pie order. Seems strange to me, but maybe I’d see it differently if my throwing arm was on a very pronounced strain and recovery cycle.

  11. Smoking Loon

    April 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm


    Has allowed 42 runs (vs. starters 49)
    Has induced 1 DP in 66 opportunities. One.
    Alburquerque and Chamberlain are 0-8 in inherited runners scoring. The rest (discounting Ortega’s 0-1): 18 inherited runners, 14 scored.
    You wouldn’t know it from ERA or some of what we’ve seen, but Al-Al and Joba are as good as it gets for Detroit by a number of measures (Miller doesn’t get an honorable mention, see how it went in first 4 BF with 2 on)
    8 SB in 11 attempts, only Coke, Krol, and Miller not run upon

    • Smoking Loon

      April 27, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      But we should remember the games the bullpen didn’t allow a run, all 5 of them (team record 3-2). We should pause for moment to honor the contributors:

      Reed 4 IP
      Nathan 3 IP
      Alburquerque 2.1 IP
      Krol 2.1 IP
      Chamberlain 1 IP
      Miller 0.2 IP

    • StorminNorman$

      April 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      thanks for putting some hard numbers to the rocky (at best) start for DET’s bullpen

      I wonder if Jeff Jones’ influence has increased or decreased under Ausmus. I understand Ausmus & Jones have to play with the cards dealt them (and it is still only April), but one-month-in, DET’s relief pitchers have provided more questions than answers.

      • StorminNorman$

        April 27, 2014 at 8:30 pm

        Jeff Jones was born in Detroit (7/29/56) and began his career at Port Huron Community college, then Bowling Green U, drafted by OAK in 1977, where he was a relief pitcher for ’80-’85 (3 total game starts)…

      • Vince in MN

        April 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm

        Over the winter I predicted Jones would have his hands full working with our staff. His head must be spinning trying to figure out who to work with first. And it’s possible, even likely, that he won’t have a wonderful rapport with everyone. From outside the clubhouse it’s pretty hard to determine what kind of impact any coach has on an individual player. I guess that’s why they are the first to go when the team has a long bad stretch.

  12. StorminNorman$

    April 28, 2014 at 10:18 am

    DET: “Justin we have some good news and some bad news…first the bad news, pack your bags we’re sending you back to Toledo”

    Miller: “what’s the good news?”

    DET: “unpack your bags, we’re calling you back up”

  13. Vince in MN

    April 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Not sure what areas of expertise Avila possesses (catchers with the same last name?), but in my view Leyland never showed much understanding of relief pitching over his 8 years as Tiger manager. On the plus side, they are in Erie where their confabulations can’t do too much immediate damage.

  14. jud

    April 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Send special Advisor Leyland to Erie to evaluate relief pitchers. Might as well send Al Avila to Detroit to evaluate catchers for all the good those two trips will do!!

    • Coleman

      April 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Holaday seems like a good contact hitter, can bunt, and can run all right for a catcher. And according to Max he calls a great game. But man does he have a wacky arm,

  15. jud

    April 29, 2014 at 1:33 am

    I wonder whats worse..Avila who can’t throw anyone out vs Holaday who doesn’t throw anyone out!!

    • Coleman

      April 29, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Holaday keeps the outfielders on their toes at least.

  16. jud

    April 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Worried about this set if games..the two best pitchers in baseball going for you BUT the weather might be crappy and we all know the Tigers can’t possibly be expected to play hard in bad weather……