Game 2014.129: Tigers at Twins

DET at MIN

Torii had said last week that he felt there was a lack of energy on the team, but that last night was different:We had to go out there and come with a little more fight,” Torii Hunter said. “We lost the last two and we lost big. Those guys are taking first and third, stealing bases. So today, we played a little harder, and I could see it.”

So instead of facing a disastrous 4-game sweep, today the Tigers look for a split to the series, thanks in large part to some clutch hitting by The Rooks, Castellanos and Suarez. Verlander was not great, but he was good enough to keep Detroit in the game. He had good velocity on his fastball right up until the time that he was pulled–at just the right time, for once, much to his great displeasure.

Miguel Cabrera had a rough day, grounding into two rally-killing double plays. When he finally did roll a single up the middle and was lifted for a pinch-runner, he noticeably limped heading back to the clubhouse. Yes, it’s time for that old theme again: don’t play Cabrera at DH. Here’s the tally up until before yesterday’s game:

.200 BA .327 SLG .582 OPS

That’s Don Kelly territory there. It’s a pretty small sample size, and the situational aspect should also be taken into account: Ausmus puts Cabrera at DH on days when he is sore, or for a day game after a night game, or the 2nd game of a double-header, etc. In other words, precisely when he is least likely to be at his best. But that’s my whole point. Why not give him an actual game off instead of the DH thing? It would be better for him, and we can probably cover the .582 OPS we’d be missing.

And there is today’s lineup, so it looks like Cabrera needs a day off anyway.

Today’s Let’s-Get-This-Split-Then-Split Lineup:

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

31 Comments

  1. Smoking Loon

    August 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    “Yes, it’s time for that old theme again: don’t play Cabrera at DH.”

    Yes, but did you see Miggy’s performance in the dugout early in last night’s game?

    • Coleman

      August 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      I missed it, but heard it was something.

  2. Smoking Loon

    August 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    The last time the Twins put up 38+ over three consecutive games was July 25-27, 2010. Twins fans must be enjoying a moment of happiness.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Last time for the Tigers? August 10-12, 1993.

      • Smoking Loon

        August 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

        The 2014 Tigers have one such historically significant stretch. 14-5 and 4-1 over Dodgers, then 16-4 over Royals. 34 runs. 5.7% of the season’s runs in 3 games. Huh.

  3. tbran

    August 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Its Diet Coke to the rescue

  4. tbran

    August 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    With that pitch and strike out, I am promoting him to Tab.

    • Smoking Loon

      August 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      The only other time it was Coke vs. Mauer with the bases loaded, Coke walked in a run on 4 pitches.

  5. tbran

    August 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    The length of the last few games is killing me. 3 h and 15 m in and this game is stilling slogging on. Wow.

    • Vince in MN

      August 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      It’s only going to get worse in Sept. as they call up 10 relievers to bolster the bullpen. Ausmus will be wearing out the grass as he makes 4 or 5 trips to the mound every inning late in the game.

      • Smoking Loon

        August 24, 2014 at 8:16 pm

        Yeah, tbran. Seems like every game this series has been 4 hours.

        • Smoking Loon

          August 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm

          Pitchers took a beating this series. 73 runs (not necessarily earned) in 70 innings.

  6. Kevin in Dallas

    August 25, 2014 at 12:01 am

    I was in Vegas for the weekend. If you have to suffer through two embarrassments like Fri night & Sat morning, then Vegas is the way to do it.

    I stayed at The D, seemed like everyone was in a Tigers cap or shirt. I engaged several people into Tigers talk, I quickly found out that none of them wanted to discuss the lack of velocity on Verlander’s fastball and whether that was being caused by age or arm angle or a combination of both.

    Detroiters are some good peeps. Plenty of representation on the Strip too.

    I have no idea what to expect the rest of the way. I will say that my expectations have significantly decreased. I don’t know where to point the finger – Dombrowski is responsible for the pen & Nathan, but Ausmus seems to be getting out-managed day in and day out.

    By the way, I’d highly recommend The D. The steakhouse was phenomenal, and the casino atmosphere was lively and inviting. I’m a big fan of what’s going on in downtown Vegas these days.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      August 25, 2014 at 7:21 am

      Kevin….Thanks for the update….The Fremont Experience rules! Was gonna go up and watch the Yankees v. Tigers but the play of the dog days of August put the kibosh on such.

    • jud

      August 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Justy went thru Vegas last week on our way to Michigan. Made enough at the tables to afford the seafood buffetry the Rio….outstanding!

  7. StorminNorman$

    August 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve been reviewing (remaining) schedules and standings and its pretty clear that KC may have the easiest remaining schedule of any team…just saying…

    Also: who would have thought when this season began that in the last week of August, TEX would have the worst record in the AL and BOS would have the 3rd worst? go figure.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      August 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Or that the Tigers would be 4 games under for the past 3 months.

      • StorminNorman$

        August 25, 2014 at 3:34 pm

        good point…mind-boggling about how erratic DET has been over the past 3 months… but so have several other teams (SF, LAA, OAK, etc) – which is why the weekly MLB “Power Rankings” are a joke.

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        August 25, 2014 at 3:44 pm

        I think we are quietly hoping that the Tigers are going to break thru this funk and play great ball for the remainder of September and on into the playoffs. If not, we are and have been toast. And, should we stumble into the playoffs, not playing the strong ball of April/May, do we really expect to go far? For an interesting read on whether the Tigers are built for postseason see: http://blog.detroitathletic.co.....eason-run/ This article brings to truth that the Tigers don’t have a lot of strong bats and hmmm, a poor bullpen.

        • StorminNorman$

          August 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

          like most of the DET Tiger fans I know, I remain cautiously optimistic about DET’s chances, but will not be too terribly surprised when disappointment rears its ugly head…even if ‘that’ occurs prior to the end of the regular season.

    • StorminNorman$

      August 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      http://www.freep.com/article/2.....oit-tigers

      it’s official – KC does have the easiest remaining schedule

      • Smoking Loon

        August 25, 2014 at 11:06 pm

        By that measure, the Royals have the easier schedule by .017. By another, the Royals are 28-26 in 2014 against opponents coming up, while the Tigers are 27-26. I’d call it a dead heat. The upcoming 6 meetings between the two are going to be like playoffs before the playoffs. Pretty exciting. Don’t forget about the Indians, either (7 games). All this AL Central stuff makes nothing easy. Just way more interesting. Tip of the cap to those who drew up the schedule, could hardly have been better.

  8. StorminNorman$

    August 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    playing well at the end of the year is not always a recipe for success in the post-season. For example, we all remember the 2006 STL, who dispensed DET in 5 games in the 2006 WS… well from 7/27 until the end of the regular season, STL finished 25-36 (having an 8-game and a 7 game losing streak during that stretch). They finished 83-78 with a 1 1/2 game lead over 2nd place HOU.

    getting in to the playoffs is the key, but I think we all can agree if JV and Sanchez aren’t healthy and pitching well, the post-season (if any) expectations will be low

  9. Smoking Loon

    August 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Time for a pep talk. I’m prepared to dodge the rotten tomatoes.

    Don’t know why so much is made of this “under .500 since _____” stuff. The Tigers got off to a 20-9 start with help from an 8-game win streak. Opponents: CHW, KCR, HOU. None playing especially well at the time. .690 winning percentages are hard for any team to sustain, eh?

    Detroit is AT .500 since May 7… since May 13… since May 22… since May 24… since May 30… since June 26.. since June 28… since June 30… since July 6… since July 29… since July 31… since August 10… since August 14… since August 16… since August 19… since August 21. They are 10 games OVER .500 since April 19… 7 games over since June 18… 2 games over since August 12. The Tigers have had winning streaks of 8, 7, and 6, and losing streaks of 5, 4, and 4. Erratic, maybe, but not unusually so.

    Depending on how you look at it, Detroit is either the best hitting team in the AL, or, if only runs matter, 3rd best (with fewer LOB than either OAK or LAA). Depending on how you look at it, the Tigers have either the best starting rotation in the AL (Wins Above Average) or certainly a top-tier one. These strengths are undermined and sometimes undone by the bullpen and team defense. It doesn’t help that on any given day, over half the lineup consists of baserunners without a great deal of athleticism and/or smarts. Just goes to show you that it’s easier to buy hitting and starting pitching than defense and bullpen. The latter two seem to be better developed by organizations more inclined to develop them.

    Perhaps Brad Ausmus and his staff (such as defensive coordinator Matt Martin, maybe?) have been less than consistently brilliant in their first year. But remember that there is only so much blood you can get out of turnips. The Tigers don’t have the personnel for too much small ball and defensive cleverness as yet, and there’s a tradeoff involved there.

    The closest thing to a team without obvious Achilles’s heels such as the Tigers have is the Los Angeles Angels. They are 7 games better than Detroit. They also play in the division that has the Astros and Rangers in it (and are 20-7 against the two). The Tigers have swept the A’s and the Orioles. They destroyed KC 16-4 and the Angels 14-5. The Mariners… well, let’s not talk about the Mariners.

    I realize that DTW functions mainly as the Tigers Complaint Department (I’ve availed myself of its services there), but I can’t see being persistently downhearted and disappointed about a team 2 games out (or maybe 1 and a half) on August 25. It’s a team good enough to get hot and pull away, and bad enough to go cold and fold. It’s possible through mlb.tv or taping the games to watch nothing but Detroit wins. I’ve watched most of both the wins and the losses (listened to some), and I don’t feel a great deal of anxiety about Detroit making the playoffs or what will happen if they do. It’s an interesting team having an interesting season, and I’m still enjoying it. Sounds like some of you guys have only watched the losses, and if so, you’ll be relieved to learn that the team is actually 70-59 right now. Or at least you should be relieved. But you’ll probably be disappointed.

    This time last season, Detroit was 76-53 and 6 games ahead. They finished 17-16 and not so far ahead and got no-hit on the last day. 73 runs in their last 21 games, Miggy playing injured (very injured), everyone sick and tired of Leyland (again), losing 5 of their last 7 (3 by walk off), the 20-4 debacle in Boston… it wasn’t all peaches and cream down the stretch. Aside from being in second place, I think this team is at least slightly better situated by comparison. I have more confidence in it, anyway. But this is subjective, and memory can be very selective (and of course I was harping on the negative with a purpose – I haven’t forgotten all the good things).

    Oakland is 76-53 like the Tigers were last season. What happened to the A’s? (Verlander.) (What happened to Texas? Oakland.) Anything can happen. We’ll see when we get there.

  10. Angus

    August 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Here is a breakout of the remaining games

    DET KC
    NYY 3 3
    TEX 3
    BOS 4
    SF 3
    CWS 7 7
    CLE 7 6
    MIN 7 3
    DET/KC 6 6

    I think we have a good chance. About a week ago if you said we would be 1.5 back at this point, that would have been great. We do not have Texas and Boston in our schedule but if we can stay within two or three games of KC I like our chances. KC is done with the Twins as of Thursday. We have 7 more against them as of Thursday. Chicago and Cleveland can play spoilers. Good starting pitching, return of Sanchez and Soria, and a healthy Miggy/JV by the end of September and I like our chances come October.

  11. Coleman

    August 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Tigers claim Chad Qualls on waivers:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....ivers.html

    • Vince in MN

      August 26, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      48 hours to make a deal. Let’s see, who’s our best hitter right now?

      • Smoking Loon

        August 26, 2014 at 7:35 pm

        Alex Avila?

  12. jud

    August 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Hey Loon…good stuff!

    • Smoking Loon

      August 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you, man. Gotta support the team.

  13. Pingback: Game 2014.130: Yankees at Tigers – The Detroit Tiger Weblog

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