Game 2014.68: Royals at Tigers

This afternoon the Detroit Tigers have a chance to do something they have yet to attempt in 2014: pass another team in the standings.

They will be doing it without Evan “Charges Pending” Reed, who got the DFA boot in favor of reliever Chad Smith. Smith, from USC, was a bit of a gamble pick in the 2011 draft–after the draft he had Tommy John surgery, then sat out a year. The gamble seems to have paid off, with Smith progressing smartly through the Tiger system. Smith brings a good sinker ball that can reach the low 90’s, and had a 1.87 ground ball to fly ball ratio at Toledo. It’s a bit of a departure from the high heat approach of an Evan Reed, but right now departures are good.

Hopefully Drew Smyly can depart from the starter trend in this series; I’ll take 4 runs in 6 innings. Otherwise we get to listen to Mario and Rod rave about how the Royals offense is hot and clicking on all cylinders like they have the past 2 days (funny how Verlander runs into “hot” offenses every start). Another dose of that and Jeremy Guthrie–Jeremy Guthrie!–pitching like Cy Young, and there will be rending of garments.

Troubling stat of the day: over the last 7 games, Miguel Cabrera has a higher OPS (.641) than Don Kelly and Austin Jackson, and that’s it.

Note:  Jason Beck tweets that currently Verlander is throwing a side session in the bullpen, with Ausmus and others looking on. So they are working on stuff.

Today’s We Try Harder Because We’re in Second Lineup:

  1. Davis LF
  2. Kinsler 2B
  3. Cabrera DH
  4. V Martinez 1B
  5. JD Martinez RF
  6. Avila C
  7. Castellanos 3B
  8. Kelly CF
  9. Suarez SS

Torii sits again, as the hot JD Martinez tries to stake his claim on the 5 spot. Alex is bumped up in the lineup to 6th. Ausmus is playing the matchup here: Avila was 4-for-9 with 2 HRs against Guthrie in 2013. Kelly subs for Ajax to add another lefty bat.


  1. Bill

    June 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Rod Allen just said Sparky Anderson will not be at the reunion of 84 World Series champions. That’s must be breaking news. I hope he knows Sparky died four years ago

  2. Coleman

    June 18, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Just as feared, it’s Cy Guthrie in the house.

    • Vince in MN

      June 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Assuming this is Smyly’s last inning, do we see Smith-Chamberlain-Nathan to finish up?

      • Coleman

        June 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

        I think he’ll go one more. May not matter, 2 runs might be enough for the mighty Guthrie.

        • Vince in MN

          June 18, 2014 at 3:06 pm

          I was surprised, since Smokey Jr has been taking it kind of easy on him. But with the bullpen “short” I guess it needed to be.

  3. Vince in MN

    June 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I think the current slump Cabrera is in is worse than the earlier one.

  4. Vince in MN

    June 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Assuming KC sweeps the series, this will be the Central standings after Thursday’s game:

    CHI 16-15
    KC 15-15
    CLE 14-14
    MN 12-12
    DET 15-16

    Winning the division almost always goes to the team with the best record within the division, as the inter-divisional and inter-league battles will likely even out. Totally up for grabs.

  5. Coleman

    June 18, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    JD to the rescue!

  6. Vince in MN

    June 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Today’s lineup features 5 starters who were not on the team last year. I wonder how much that plays a part in the team’s batting woes.

    • Coleman

      June 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Hits today: Kinsler, Castellanos, Martinez (2). New Guys only!

      • Vince in MN

        June 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm

        I was thinking of the “teamwork” angle. Does working together for a while help the offensive unit “gel”?

  7. jud

    June 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    At least under Jim Leyland the team didn’t quit. He got them to play hard….this team led by Miggy absolutely quits in games. And on a regular basis!!! You can count the nimber of guys on one hand that play hard all the time

    • Vince in MN

      June 18, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Miggy wasn’t a “leader” when Leyland was manager, why would he be one now?

    • KW

      June 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Eh, I don’t think you can say that. There were many times over the course of Leyland’s tenure that the team looked like absolute lazy garbage. However, I will say that Ausmus’s cool-headed demeanor is wearing thin with me. I’m not asking for a full-on Leyland-esque flip out, but it would be nice if he should some personality once in a while.

      • Coleman

        June 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm

        Well, he tried a bit of that in the post game today, didn’t go so well.

  8. Vince in MN

    June 18, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Moving Wade Davis to the bullpen this season was apparently a smart move.

  9. StorminNorman$

    June 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    End of June
    2008 DET – 42-40 – finished 74-88 5th place in AL Central
    2011 DET – 44-40 – finished 95-67 1st place

    the 2008 team’s pitching staff melted down (JV 4.84 ERA, TJones 5.60) – 12th in league in team ERA

    how is the ’14 team going to close out this season? I haven’t a clue.

  10. Vince in MN

    June 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    So that is what a closer looks like.

  11. Vince in MN

    June 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    OK Royals, let’s see how you like the pressure of being in 1st place.

  12. StorminNorman$

    June 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    …so KC clearly opens up a can whoop-azz in DET’s house

    …continuing to get man-handled by AL Central cannot continue if DET has any playoff aspirations… they’ve been one hot mess since starting 27-12

  13. KW

    June 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Oh boy, it’s starting to get ugly:

    • Vince in MN

      June 18, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      Brad’s foray into standup comedy fell flat. My advice to Brad is don’t quit your day job.

      On second thought, maybe you should quit your day job.

    • Coleman

      June 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      Ouch. Ol’ Smarty stepped in it today.

  14. Smoking Loon

    June 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Ausmus made a joke about beating his own wife. Not yours or mine or all wives. I don’t think he beats his wife. I get the joke. I think it’s funny. The majority of those who rush to be offended by such are “me too, oh how awful” folks who would have to admit they have no experience with the reality of the subject.

    Jeez-Louise. Get a life, America. If this was more than posturing, no one could earn a living as a standup comedian in this country.