Game 2014.139: Tigers at Indians


Got to go with JD Martinez for the post picture today. The Verlander picture search was turning up some odd stuff, plus Martinez is the man of the hour right now. His rocket into the centerfield forest not only won the game, but it completely turned around what was looking like a real candidate for “this is when the season was lost,” a game with more consecutive failed Runner at 3rd with Less Than Two Out situations than any this season.

JD is an interesting character. He started out like gangbusters, went a bit cold, and then, just when everyone started muttering “Chris Shelton” and “Brennan Bosch,” started coming back at just the right time.

Martinez does swing at everything: during the Monday telecast they pointed out that his 56% swing at rate is the highest in MLB. And as frustrating as it is to watch him flailing at the outside sliders and chin high fastballs, he obviously hits a lot of them. This hasn’t always been the case: his Strikes Looking percentage has plummeted to 16.8% this season, after averaging about 25% in Houston. The aggressive approach has served him well.

And here’s another thing to like: after the game, Martinez had this to say. “I’ve never been on a team that had a chance to go to the playoffs (in pro ball), and I’m more excited about that than anything. I want to make the playoffs so bad.” How can you not like hearing that?

Just for fun, here is the rundown on blown opportunities:

  • 2nd inning. Bases loaded, 0 out: Suarez struck out swinging. Davis struck out swinging. Kinsler grounded out to 3rd.
  • 4th inning. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out: Kinsler struck out swinging, Hunter struck out swinging.
  • 5th inning . Runners on 1st and 4rd, 0 out: J Martinez struck out looking, Castellanos struck out looking, Avila struck out looking.
  • 6th inning. Runners on 1st and 3rd, 1 out: Hunter ground into double play.

That’s 5 strikeouts with a runner on 3rd, less than 2 out, and 1 double play. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this game could have easily ended up as the blown opportunity of the season.

To put that in perspective, as of the end of the 8th they had managed 1 run on 14 hits, which, if it had held, would have been the 14th time a team had only scored 1 run with that many hits since the invention of baseball statistics.

Special tip of the cap to The Lobster, who for the 2nd time pitched well enough to win, but got his W vampired by Phil Coke.

Tonight Justin Verlander takes the mound, and hopefully will bear down and show his stuff.

Alex Avila is out with a concussion, or concussion-like symptoms, or something (no official word). No need for DL with a 3rd catcher on staff.

Today’s One-More-Takes-The-Series Lineup:

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


  1. jud

    September 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Hey Stat Dept. What had happened to Oakland since trading away their 4 hitter for a pitcher they didn’t need in the first place. ( already had 5 good starters). They don’t seem to score at all, since!

    • Coleman

      September 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Their desperation move to get Dunn is working well so far.

  2. jud

    September 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    The razor sharp defense strikes again!!!!

  3. Coleman

    September 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Lobstein > Verlander

    • tbran

      September 3, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      K. Ryan > Verlander, P. McCoy > Verlander

  4. Coleman

    September 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Maybe we can trade Verlander to Texas.

  5. jud

    September 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    If this isn’t the story of the Tigers in the past 5 years what is…..0 runs 5 hits And Cleveand 4 runs on 5 hits

  6. Stephen

    September 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    And we will call him Zito Verlander. And he will make $175m and he will be our favorite #4 starter and long reliever ever.

  7. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    As a silver lining, this Moya kid has potential.

  8. jud

    September 3, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Heres another Capt Mumbles Asmus trait. Scoring in one inning a game. A Leyland specialty. Now Capt Smarty does the same thing. If his team doesn’t score getting 8-10-15 hits a game… Asmus blames “baseball”……

    • KW

      September 3, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      edit: didn’t mean to post here.

  9. jud

    September 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Hey Verlander! can’t wait for you and Assmus to tell us how outstanding you threw again tonight!!!

  10. jud

    September 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Verlander is now 25 -24 in two years at $44 frickin mil……nice gig!!!!!!!!!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Kate luvs it and is very proud of his efforts!

  11. KW

    September 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    So yet another game with Ausmus leaving in Verlander much longer than he should have when it was clear he was in trouble. It doesn’t matter since they didn’t even score, but it’s still a game that completely got away from the manager.

    What do you all make of Cabrera playing hurt and Verlander staying in too long in a number of starts? Are the superstars strong-arming the manager, does Ilitch pick up the phone and say, “my money, my rules—those guys are going to play no matter what,” or is Ausmus just that inexperienced? Or is it an organizational problem? Many here have pointed out the similarities between Ausmus and Leyland. Lots of teams are known for styles of play and how their organizations work. Maybe this is the kind of job where culture dictates a lot of how things are done.

    • Vince in MN

      September 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      The bats were dead, so Verlander might have been taking one for the team by the 7th. On the other hand Ausmus does seem to be somewhat deferential to the elites on the team. Remember how JV glared the last time he got pulled “early”?

      Part of Ausmus problem may be the rookie manager thing, but Matt Williams at Wash is a rookie and he doesn’t seem to be doing to bad, although some of the fans complain about “rookie mistakes”. The fact that the Nationals are just a better constructed team than the Tigers probably minimizes that particular spotlight there though. Another thing about managers in the current era is that they tend to be extensions of the front office more than the radical free thinkers of the past (can you imagine Casey Stengel managing anywhere today?; more recently, see Bo Porter). Probably this is because of the money involved (we’re talking billions now) and the fact that baseball teams are large corporate enterprises (or parts thereof) rather than “clubs” in the pre-corporate era, and the suits (including the manager) all have to be on the same page; GMs are more akin to CEOs today than yesteryear. So, an organizational issue? Yeah, I think that is a reasonable claim.

  12. Kevin in Dallas

    September 3, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Rangers get swept in KC, go 3-28 w/RISP during the series.

    • StorminNorman$

      September 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      in the context of long baseball seasons and teams that become perennial playoff contenders; TEX has gotten really bad really fast

      …wonder if Nolan Ryan has dined on a schadenfreude sandwich lately (w/ a side of Jon Daniels)???

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        September 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        The Rangers have been hit with lots of season-ending injuries…The Prince, Darvish, and even Holland, who tripped over his dog, to name a few. In light of all, Ron Washington should be given credit for working wonders.

        • Vince in MN

          September 4, 2014 at 5:42 pm

          They’re playing for that draft pick now.

  13. Coleman

    September 4, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Can’t we just skip Verlander’s next start and throw out some dude named Kyle? Seems to work.