Game 2014.46: Rangers 12, Tigers 4

The Detroit Tigers (28-17, 1st place Central, 1st place AL – still) can still salvage a split with the Texas Rangers (24-25, 4th place West, 11th place AL) before heading out on the road again after this brief “homestand,” and that would be a good idea, because the trip is to the West Coast. Trouble. M-O-O-N, that spells trouble. Laws, yes. Texas sends out Colby Lewis, and the Tigers counter with Justin Verlander. I have no comment on the expected pitch count for JV through 5.

Corey Knebel does have quite the curveball, and Danny Worth quite the knuckleball, but neither are ready to crack the bullpen, as was amply demonstrated mere hours ago. Andrew Romine is looking more comfortable and less pathetic at the plate. That’s nice. Meanwhile, the Rangers have to be encouraged by how their “team of scrubs” is handling Detroit.

So… the Tigers have lost 5 of their last 6, and they’ve had their donkeys (or mules, or whatever) handed to them in three of those losses. I mean, really. Beatdowns. There has been admirable restraint here. No one calling for team meetings or an Ausmus rampage behind closed doors. The team just has to play better, pitch better, and also pitch better, not to mention play better, or the losses will continue to pile up, however many Tigers hitters might be in the AL Top 10. It’s that simple.


  1. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I can handle losing if the Tigers are competitive, but this sucks. Colby Lewis isn’t that good, but will be lights out today….yesterday from Victor thru the BOBS…10 hits….1 RBI..Figure that one out

    And I am sorry but pitching Danny Worth is a reflection of incompetent management just who is responsible for not having enough pitchers in a billion dollar business

    • KW

      May 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

      The 84 Tigers had a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season where they were outscored 33-8. This kind of stuff happens over the course of 162 games—even to teams that start 35-5 and become eventual World Series champions.

      There’s no point in getting worked up right now, especially when the Tigers still have the second-best record in all of baseball.

    • StorminNorman$

      May 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Ausmus just seems to be following the (two decade) conventional trend concerning the handling of his 12 pitchers.

      Times have changed considerably in this regard – for example, the ’84 Tigers carried just 10 pitchers (5 SP, 5RP). More relief pitcher opportunities in the modern day than in ’84 where DET starters had 19 complete games, but having said that ’84 primarily used just 3 RP (led by Hernandez 80 games, 140 IN).

      Someday i expect the trend will shift back (some) from the over-specialized handling of relief pitchers, and instead of a “7th inning guy, etc”, the best pitcher for a given situation will pitch more than just the 1-inning approach now utilized.

      i’ve always questioned the logic of a mgr who brings in a RP in the 7th, and he mows down the other team (3 K’s or minimal pitches), and then the mgr replaces that 7th inning guy with the 8th inning guy.

      Pitchers internalize this (specialized) mindset, which helps perpetuate the 1-inning specialty trend. That’s my uniformed opinion anyway.

      • Vince in MN

        May 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

        I agree 100% with your take on the trend to specialize. I’m not sure there will be a “shift back”, certainly not soon and maybe never. I see baseball as a microcosm of the culture at large, and we are living in an Age of Specialization where everything seems to be getting micro-managed. The internalization of this mindset isn’t only in regards to baseball. Perhaps this is the price we pay for “progress”.

        • StorminNorman$

          May 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm

          …i was going to add ‘culture at large’ aspect to my post, but felt it was already wordy enough, but you nailed it.

          • Smoking Loon

            May 26, 2014 at 4:02 am

            You know there’s something weird about the current conception of pitching staffs when there is simultaneous concern about “getting guys some work” and not “overtaxing” them with more than a couple light-duty appearances in a row.

            I’d also like to know what happened to the swingman. Some teams have them still. The Tigers don’t have one. Why not? What’s the benefit of having 7 one-inning or one-batter guys? All it takes is one game to “overtax” the bullpen, then.

            Get rid of the 1-inning or 1-batter save, I say. 2 innings minimum. Better still, get rid of the save altogether. Good intent, bad results.

  2. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Another bizzare developing of the pen is “how can you be expected to get RH batters out if you are LH pitchet and visa versa..this specialization is getting crazy…guys like Willie Hernandez are shaking their heads .Goose Gossage prolly won’t even admit he was a ” relief pitcher””…
    can we baby these guys who actually work only 15 minutes a day 3-4 times a week!!!…nice gig!

  3. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    One mind set Asmus has that I think needs changing is if Krol or AlAl gets thru the 7th in 5-10 pitches, He is automatically replaced by the 8th inning guy..he very seldoom and recently only with Coke sends the 7th inning guy out for 7 and don’t use those guys 2-3 days iin a row anyway so why not two innings…….if you ask him who eats innings if the starter is getting is getting hit hard, or what is his plan, I think he will say I have no plan other than let him get bombed!

  4. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    You can’t be an innings guy and a match up guy both. Leyland tried that and it never works…..If your starter gets you 7 in you can then do whatever you want for that game. The Tiger problem is what do you do when your starter doesn’t get you 7..In our recent winning streak Showalter and Ferrell pulled starters after about 4 runs. Asmus lets them give up 6-7-8

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 3:23 am

      Did it help Showalter and Farrell? No. So what’s the difference?

  5. Coleman

    May 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Verlander may give up those 6-7-8 runs by the 4th. I hope Danny’s got his knuckle ball face on.

    • Coleman

      May 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      I was off by one inning.

      • Vince in MN

        May 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm

        And then Ausmus leaves him in for his 125 pitches because … Ace.

  6. Bill

    May 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    Something is wrong with Verlander, not just pitching. Did anyone notice he was pitching from the stretch with nobody on base. Something is going on with him. He definitely does not look like himself

    • KW

      May 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      I noticed that his full wind-up looked weird today. He’s either tinkering or out of whack.

    • Vince in MN

      May 25, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I’m going to start skipping Verlander starts: the high pitch counts, the baserunners, the tinkering, the loooong innings. It’s like watching grass grow.

      • Vince in MN

        May 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

        Today it is like watching crabgrass grow on steroids. Eeeeek!

        • StorminNorman$

          May 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

          JV = 62 strikes 47 balls… he’s really wrestling with his control and until his “location” gets better, he’ll continue to struggle.

          Plus his confidence is understandably shot, he gets gun shy to throw first pitch strikes when a batter or two hits him hard (1st pitch), so he finds himself behind in most counts – and since he’s having trouble locating his pitches, he’s not fooling many hitters or keeping them off-balance… and his starts (lately) have spiraled out of control.

          DET seemed to have climbed a mountain w/the BAL & BOS sweeps, only to descend to the valley in CLE. In light of the fact that BOS has dropped 9 straight, that does diminish the BOS sweep some.

          • Vince in MN

            May 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm

            The JV thing has been going on for the greater part of a year now. If adjustments need to be made, make them already. Although maybe a different “mindset” issue is at work here and a tough one to break. There is certainly enough accumulated evidence that what he has been trying to do over his last 50 or so starts has, for the most part, been a failure.

            I’m sure this is just a bad streak, which can (and will) be rectified, but the “deer in the headlights” sensation over the last week or so really gets my goat. And Ausmus has looked very Leylandish during that time – programmatic, pushing buttons. Grrr. Not what I want to see.

  7. Coleman

    May 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm


  8. Vince in MN

    May 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Q: What’s wrong with out pitching lately?
    A: The bats are heating up.

  9. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Hey Brad make sure you let him give up 10-15-20 runs…while your bullpen gets some good suntan!!!!

  10. Coleman

    May 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Where’s Brad Thomas when you need him?

    • Vince in MN

      May 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      Where’s Godzilla when you need him?

      • Coleman

        May 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

        Showing in a theater near you.

        • Vince in MN

          May 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

          The vaudeville act known as the Tigers would be more appropriate for a theater.

          • Coleman

            May 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm

            Was just trying to suggest some alternate entertainment options to this plodding B-movie.

            • Vince in MN

              May 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

              I did water my garden, picked up some fallen twigs in the yard, etc.

  11. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    5 runs 6 hits not even a visit from a coach…I guess they must be tanning with the bullpen

    • Vince in MN

      May 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      125 pitches. It’s in his contract.

  12. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Brad kinda quick hook there..not even two touchdowns yet!!!

  13. Vince in MN

    May 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Perfect situation for Phil Coke backed up by Danny Worth (knuckleballers can pitch every day) to finish off the “game”.

  14. Vince in MN

    May 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    What is the point of bringing in Krol here?

    • Coleman

      May 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      To tire out the Rangers lineup with all the base-running?

      • Vince in MN

        May 25, 2014 at 4:13 pm

        I was optimistic when Ausmus was hired, thinking that his smarts (Ivy league grad) portended an intelligent approach to managing a ballclub and game strategy. My bad! Clearly he needs to be shipped off to Manager School, that is a manager school where they teach you how to actually handle a ballgame over a school that emphasizes PR.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 26, 2014 at 3:21 am

          Starting pitching this bad can’t be remedied with any amount of game strategy. I can’t think of any particular managerial move that would have saved the last 6 losses. Clearly it was a bad idea to start Verlander, Scherzer, Ray, Porcello, and Smyly, but that’s who Ausumus has to work with.

  15. Coleman

    May 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Haha Rod’s calling for Danny Worth, this home stand has officially jumped the shark.

  16. StorminNorman$

    May 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Beckett (LAD) has a no hitter vs PHI going into 9th

    • StorminNorman$

      May 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      he got the no-hitter…thanks in-part to an expanded strike zone for the 3rd out (Utley)

  17. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Lets see let JV get his brains beat out and then use the rest of the pen in a 12-2 game to get thru 2 innings…..hey how long are we stuck with Ivy League boy!!!!!….he is clueless!

    • Vince in MN

      May 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      The bullpen needs the work. Huh?

  18. Vince in MN

    May 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Does Nathan get a virtual save for stopping the bleeding?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 3:36 am

      An inning without baserunners calls for a Cy Young Award at the current rate.

  19. Vince in MN

    May 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    The last week has been a top down disaster – all 26 guys (Knebel for Ray) as well as the manager and coaching staff. They didn’t lose 6 out of 7 by 3-2 scores, they were blown away 4 times by two teams with sub .500 records. Gut-check time. Responsibility-time.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 2:35 am

      The last time the Tigers lost 6 of 7 (and I thought it was longer ago) was June 25-July 1, 2013. Versus Angels (home) and Rays (away).

      Starter blown out (Porcello)
      Bullpen collapse (Smyly)
      1-run hitting, “oh well” extras loss (Coke)
      A win on the backs of Scherzer/Cabrera/Fielder
      “Oh well” walk off loss in the 10th (Rondon)
      1-run hitting
      Pitching blown out (Alvarez, Putkonen)

      The current 1-6 is uglier, I think. They haven’t even been in four of the losses (outscored 39-10) and were lucky to have any chance in the two others. 57 runs allowed in 7 games, against two losing teams that were struggling to hit.

  20. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I can just hear Ivy League boy in his postgame meeting , if he even has one with the team…”thats ok boys, I know you treid hard, thats all that matters”…….this guy is in so far over his head even I want Capt Mumbles back!!!!!….you will say ya but there in first place and I say ANYONE can coach when the team is playing well…what do you coach like when things aren’t going well!!!!

    • KW

      May 25, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      jud, your rants are getting awfully annoying. DTW tends to have the best comments out of all the Tigers blogs, but you’re really bringing the overall quality down. How about some well thought out insights or stats-based analysis?

      • Smoking Loon

        May 26, 2014 at 2:54 am

        I can’t say that I understand the fascination with criticizing Ausmus, or the expectation that browbeating players or the whole team will improve their performance. But it wouldn’t hurt to tell Castellanos to stop cutting off his SS. Twice in the last two games with bad results. And have Verlander – or the whole staff – take some extra PFP. Those two things I can see some upset about.

  21. Bill

    May 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Since when did comments on here have to be intelligent or even well thought out? Is this policy just starting? If so, many of us will be banned!!

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 1:45 am

      Well played, Bill. This is a forum where we can vent in frustration, call someone out for venting a little to much, question the calling out in a humorous way, etc.. As long as we don’t descend to some of the egregious (and not even funny) ad hominem attacks I see elsewhere, it’s all good.

    • KW

      May 26, 2014 at 3:05 am

      I don’t think all comments have to—if they did I’d be banned myself. It was just a suggestion for the one person here who seems to rant a lot.

  22. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Hey KW..Try everything there comes out happily ever after….here at DTW..we tend to tell it lie it is . I POST as much positive as I do negative , there just has been a lot of negative when you get blown out 6 out of 7 games….and if you found some positive this week other than Sanchez gem..please help us out here. I did compliment Sanchez and othets in our one win this week!!!

    • KW

      May 26, 2014 at 3:09 am

      Not saying I’ve seen much positive this week. I just think in a 162 game season full of ups and downs, you have to roll with the punches. What other choice do you have?

      By the way, you know you can reply directly to people by clicking “reply” under their comment, right?

      • Coleman

        May 26, 2014 at 10:12 am

        I’m guessing he uses the mobile version, where you can’t do that.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm

          I’m guessing you’re right. I did not know that. That is quite bizarre.

  23. Coleman

    May 25, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Verlander said he has been trying to work on hiding the ball better, which maybe goes along with the feeling that sometimes batters know what pitch is coming.

    • Vince in MN

      May 25, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      So, everybody but the catcher knows what is coming. Hmmm.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 26, 2014 at 1:48 am

        One place to hide the ball that might not have occurred to JV is in the catcher’s mitt. Not very many strikes are making it there.

  24. jud

    May 25, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Two very average teams have lit up the entire pitching staff…it would make sense to believe they know whats entire staff doesn’t go bad at the same time..

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 2:12 am

      If the stuff is good, knowing what’s coming or guessing correctly isn’t necessarily enough for hitters. The stuff hasn’t been good at all over the last 7, aside from Sanchez. Porcello started off good and fell apart. 5 out and out clunkers from Smyly, Verlander (2), Scherzer, and Ray. Collective slump. They really need to be over it now, because look who’s coming up.

      I’m not optimistic about Verlander. The other four are really going to have to step it up.

      Tough to win when your starting pitching puts you in a hole like this. That pitching was carrying the team. Now it’s dropped it. Better pick it up again. The Tigers are showing how mediocre they are without really outstanding starting pitching. Only 3 guys hitting at any given time, a defense and a bullpen that aren’t difference-makers. Mediocre. Fun to watch when they’re in a game, but somehow, all it takes is a 2-run deficit for me to feel like they’ve fallen out of the game. And look how many scoring opportunities were squandered today. Conceding the loss, it still would have been nice to see them put some more runs on the board. The Rangers kept giving them chances, and the Tigers kept failing to capitalize.

  25. Jim EggersUSMC

    May 26, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Dang- just found out I will see JV starting Friday in Seattle. Will attempt to get him squared away, however, of late I have been more helpful to 11-12 year olds.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Do what you can, Jim. We trust you.

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        May 26, 2014 at 8:34 am

        Throw it as hard as you can, keep your head up and your eyes closed! (Works for a golf swing!)

  26. jud

    May 26, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Jim…you are our only hope to get JV squarred away…you have 5 days to prepare,!!

  27. jud

    May 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Scoring runners on base is just as big of a problem as the pitching…15 runners 2 runs,
    17 runners and 4 runs last two days…

  28. Smoking Loon

    May 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Coleman – Check this out, regarding your recent Research Department request:

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      Ty Cobb (1918) was the last Tigers position player to make 2 relief pitching appearances in the same week. He pitched 2 innings (each) in successive games.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        Oh, wait. Forget that.

        In 1963, non-pitcher Willie Smith appeared in relief for the Tigers 4 times in one week! And 3 times another week! Detroit won 3 of those games, and Smith picked up 2 saves.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm

          The surprisingly uninteresting answer to Coleman’s original question:

          C Drew Butera appeared twice in the same week as a reliever for the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 14 and 17 of this year.

    • Coleman

      May 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Good Research Department work!

  29. Smoking Loon

    May 26, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Last time Tigers faced Milone:

    The video link should take you back. Looks all too familiar. JV on the mound, Rain-shortened game. Loss.

    Drew Smyly has never started against the A’s, but in 3 relief appearances, he faced 13 batters and gave up 7 runs (and runs every appearance). One blown save in an eventual loss at Oakland. The other two were A’s blowouts (in Detroit). Maybe it is well that he’s starting this time. At Oakland. (He’s never recorded an out against them at Comerica).

    • Smoking Loon

      May 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Smyly did pitch twice in relief vs. the A’s in the 2013 ALDS, at Oakland. That went OK.