Game 2014.143: Giants at Tigers

These last two games may have put the Tigers up against the ropes, but they were not a knockout blow. The Tigers have played well enough this season to still control their own destiny with 20 games left to play in the season.

As I write this, the Royals are up 2-0 in the 4th against the Yankees, but the Tigers wills start tonight’s game knowing whether the Royals will be up 2.5 or 1.5 at game time, with the possible Tiger scenarios being back 3, back 2, or back 1. Remember that the Royals still have to tidy up a game against the Indians where they will be down by 3 in the bottom of the 10th, so more than likely, there is another 1/2 game that the Tigers will pick up. But all that is to say that if the Tigers take care of business, they can be in first place by Wed night. There’s also that whole wild card thing, but the division is the goal right now.

Kyle Lobstein gets the ball tonight at the Tigers – Giants game will be the only game on Sunday night. Lots to be excited about. In three starts covering 17 innings this year, Lobstein has 13 Ks, 8 walks, and a 3.18 ERA. He’s pitched well enough, and we’ll likely need several more of those this year as there has been no news on Sanchez in weeks, which is bad news.

Baseball Reference game preview here.

I’m headed out to the Death Star to see the Cowboys most likely get murdered, so someone please post the lineups later. I’m looking forward to coming back tonight in time to watch the Tigers start their 2014 playoff march.

#DoItForTheRotation

124 Comments

  1. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Yeah, no news on Sanchez is bad news. A lot of pressure on Lobstein and the other potential rookie starters, but we’ve seen other teams cope with such in September. Lobstein’s pitching has been encouraging, observationally speaking.

    The Giants have jumped all over the first two Tigers starters early. I wonder if there’s some counter to whatever their successful strategy has been.

  2. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Coleman, you’ll be glad to know that Beck says that Jack White is in the Tigers clubhouse.

    • Coleman

      September 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      I’ll be worried when he reports he’s warming up in the bullpen.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm

        Maybe he could throw out the ceremonial last pitch.

  3. 80HD

    September 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I was very interested in a comment Rod made during Friday nights game while the Giants were methodically lobbing Porcellos pitches around the field like tennis volleys.

    He remarked on the Giants approach to facing Porcello. He said that the Giants knew Porcello has been throwing a lot of strikes lately – especially low in the zone. So, they were being really aggressive early in the count in the likelihood that they would be getting a lot of strikes to hit. You are, I’m sure, aware of the results.

    Tell me when was the last time you saw or heard of such a well reasoned approach to hitting by the Tigers. The Tigers approach seldom resembles more than “Go up to the plate and flail at the white thing. Swing hard in case you hit it.”

    Realistically, for a professional baseball franchise, there must be more to it than that. But, it sure doesn’t look like it.

    The result – that we’ve seen again and again – you know what I’m going to say – is that an undistinguished pitcher looks like a first ballot Hall of Famer.

    Don’t we have TWO hitting coaches? Wally Joyner and Darnell Coles? Maybe Ausmus should wake ’em up.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      To some degree I think it’s a case of noticing the negative instances more and the positive instances less, and one aided by confirmation bias. I’ve seen that the Tigers come out with variously “aggressive” and “wait him out” strategies, but even good strategy doesn’t guarantee successful results.

      One important reason I would hesitate to criticize the Tigers’ hitting coaches is that this is a very, very, very good hitting team. Try to refute this with various statistical inquiries (I have), and you will fail.

      The veteran hitters are what they are; Joyner and Coles aren’t going to reform them. Kinsler and Hunter have their own ways of hacking and striking gold often enough to be successful. We can’t complain too much about how the younger players have hit, either. A team with zero – ZERO – sub-.200 hitters is quite the rarity, and that’s what the Tigers have, not to mention 8 of 9 starting position players with an XBH/PA% above league average. 8 of 9! They also lead MLB in runs scored.

      My eyes are on the pitching. Perhaps Jeff Jones and his various game plans and strategies are due for some questioning.

      Defense? Well, I don’t like to pick on Nick, but in spite of some nifty plays here and there, that is one gaping hole over there at 3B. It’s September. There’s not a lot that can be done, but going back to regularly getting Kelly (or SOMEONE) in at 3B late in the game is definitely in order.

      • Vince in MN

        September 7, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        The Tigers have played 56 games in which they have scored 3 runs or less. That is just shy of 40% of games played. Their record in those games is 8-48

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm

          I don’t think this is atypical, and the record is more of an indictment of the pitching, if you ask me.

          • Vince in MN

            September 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm

            Comparison with 3 other “good hitting” playoff contenders (games scoring 3 runs or less):

            Tigers (1st in RS): 8-48 56 games -40
            Angels (2nd in RS): 13-43 56 games -30
            A’s (3rd in RS): 15-46 61 games -31
            Orioles (6th in RS) 18-45 63 games -27

            So the 40% ratio for games scoring <3 runs seems to be pretty consistent, but the Tigers are 9 games worse than the A's (4.5 games in the standings). I can't believe that the pitching staff is responsible for all of that.

    • jud

      September 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      +1

  4. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Unlike the Tigers who only score 2 runs 4-5 times per week. The Royals allow less than 2 runs 4-5 times per week

  5. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    http://tinyurl.com/owbco3w

    Good article on Derek Jeter, speaking of MVP seasons (V-Mart) getting overlooked.

  6. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    I’m still struck by how many current Giants and how few current Tigers remain from the 2012 World Series teams.

    Cabrera’s HR off Romo yesterday gives us something to take away from this series, anyway. It was as if scripted. Only a walk-off version could have been better. First pitch. I saw the photo from the last PA of the 2012 WS in my mind.

  7. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 7, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Rock Lobster needs to show the Vets how a Rookie tosses the ball!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Rock Lobster will turn the Little Giants into ice cream sandwiches and crush them with a pincer movement! He will B-52 them into submission, them and their pretty boy haircuts. Rock Lobster will turn their own energy against them and turn them into empty, mindless spectres, for such is his power. Several Giants will retire from baseball after the game, and the franchise will be sold for pennies on the dollar when the season ends.

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        September 7, 2014 at 7:49 pm

        Rock on Loon!

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

          You encouraged my cautious optimism, OTFiM!

          SOMEONE has got be able to stop these Giants hitters early in the game…

    • Coleman

      September 7, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      There goes a narwhal! Here comes a bikini whale!

  8. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I’m surprised that the phrase “Be kind, please rewind” hasn’t come up the last couple games. Hopefully it doesn’t tonight.

  9. TIGERS RULE

    September 7, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Who made the decision to start the Donkey in CF, and why? The position this team is in would dictate the powers to be to field the best lineup possible, especially offensively! We need WINS!!!!

  10. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Rock on Lobstein!

    • Coleman

      September 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Unfortunately, he’s up against Cy Hudson.

  11. Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Donkey Time!

  12. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Having Tickets for tonight ….tomorrow Tigers, …..Lions at night would be about as great as it gets….other than 18 innings of the Tigers trying to score, that is…but still….

  13. tbran

    September 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I’m thinking that’s the first RBI for T. Hunter in about 10 games. Perhaps it’s an omen.

    • jud

      September 7, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      Hunter 3 for his past 30…not many omens there!

  14. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    A manufactured run!….and I thought we were going to do this all year…instead a rare occurrence!

  15. tbran

    September 7, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    okay, I WILL call that blast an omen.

  16. Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    The Clobster!!

  17. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Sure good to see Miggy heating up before its too late!!

  18. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Rock with 48 pitches after 4 innings…a novel thought.

    • Vince in MN

      September 7, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      Cy Lobstein

  19. Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Right now Lobstein’s in his own private Idaho.

  20. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Asmus does two positive aggressive moves with two steals in two innings……..+1…wheres this been all year

  21. Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Castellanos fails and flails with R3L2O…and now Avila gets to try.

    • Vince in MN

      September 7, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Same as it ever was.

  22. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Avila…000 Runners on 2-3 for the season…any doubt about the outcome!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Strange but true: Avila = #2 on team in R3L2O scoring %.

      • jud

        September 7, 2014 at 9:42 pm

        Avila .444 R3 only
        Avila .000 Runners 2-3..
        Its that darn R on 2nd!!!

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 9:52 pm

          Yeah. It’s very distracting.

  23. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Rock looks like a young and thin Mickey Lolich.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      As hard to imagine as a young and thin Miguel Cabrera.

  24. tbran

    September 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    You gotta love the way this kid appears to be “trusting his stuff” and go right after some very good and scrappy hitters.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 7, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Feel the force Rock.

      • Coleman

        September 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm

        It wasn’t a rock…it was a Rock Lobster!

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm

          I want Hudson’s air hose to break.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm

        Kid Rock Lobster Skywalker. He’s gotta be back for the 6th and hopefully beyond if he keeps rolling.

        Runs, please. (I mean Tigers runs, baseball gods. I know how you can be when we’re not specific.)

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 10:02 pm

          OK, so maybe they saw something in the 5th. Deep out on Posey, Pence walks, Lobstein falling behind 5 of last 6. Yeah, maybe it’s time to go.

    • Vince in MN

      September 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      He has the psychological advantage of not knowing who they are.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

        The Tigers need a team hypnotist so as to confer that advantage more broadly.

  25. Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Now it’s Battle of the Bullpens.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      Just heard Dan & Jim report that the Angels have 16 pitchers in their bullpen.

      • Vince in MN

        September 7, 2014 at 10:22 pm

        On some weekends with doubleheaders, even before rosters expanded, I think we have had 16 pitchers in our bullpen, but unfortunately it hasn’t worked out so well. Too many cooks spoiling the broth perhaps.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 10:25 pm

          The Angels literally have 16 bullpen guys, in addition to 5 starters.

          • Vince in MN

            September 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

            Well we could have 16 in our bullpen too, but like I said, finding 16 relief pitchers who can pitch relief hasn’t worked out.

            • Smoking Loon

              September 7, 2014 at 10:33 pm

              Finding 7 relief pitchers who can pitch hasn’t worked. They might as well carry 1 relief pitcher at a time, pitch him till he falls over dead, DFA him, and bring in the next guy.

  26. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Any protests (lifting Lobstein)? Quickly. It won’t count AFTER Al-Al yields the 2-run HR.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Phew. I was kidding. But it worked. Phew.

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      After another deep one to Donkey…no qualms

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm

        I like that guy in CF. He’s good.

  27. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 7, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Almost K’ed Grasshopper (K-Fu Panda) Good outing Rock as we are in the game.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      I’m listening. How did they NOT turn a DP on Sandoval?

      • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

        September 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        Slow hit ground ball.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm

          Musta been some slow. Would Iglesias have made the play?

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm

      Like a Rock!

  28. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 7, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Wasn’t Hudson the pitcher that Mags spanked in the AlCS in 2006?

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      If you’re thinking of the big HR, I think that was Huston Street. Rookie at the time.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm

        Hudson was pitching for Atlanta in 2006.

        • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

          September 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

          Thanks for the clarification.

          • Smoking Loon

            September 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

            No problem. Had to look the 2nd part up. Don’t want anyone to think I’m an encyclopedia.

  29. Vince in MN

    September 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    GDP no. 126. Not sure who leads the league, but they have to be right up there.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      2nd to Texas in sheer number, but in terms of opp. %, 12% as compared to league average 11%. Tigers put a lot of runners on.

      • Vince in MN

        September 7, 2014 at 10:32 pm

        Yep, OBP .330 is #1, .005 better than, wait for it, the Twins, who also are 4th in the league in runs. How did that happen?

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

          Dozier.

  30. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    OK, this stinks.

    Vince, here’s a test of the 3 run offensive game before us. As it now stands, anyway.

    • Vince in MN

      September 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      I will point out the double R3L2O fail in the 4th, a common occurrence.

      Actually, my question is, with all that run producing ability and the high OBP, why is the number of games with 3 runs or less as many as it is?

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 10:44 pm

        There will be split decisions, but I’d say that the bullpen blowing a two-run lead weighs heavier than blown scoring opportunties, being something that actually DID happen rather than something that could have happened but didn’t.

        • Vince in MN

          September 7, 2014 at 10:52 pm

          So, is the bullpen not blowing a lead something that could have happened, but didn’t? Just trying to parse out the fine distinctions here.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 11:14 pm

        “why is the number of games with 3 runs or less as many as it is?”

        I don’t know. Chance? There’s a lot of it in baseball.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 11:27 pm

          “Just trying to parse out the fine distinctions here.”

          Just saying that we’ll treat what DID happen before we treat what could have been, whether it’s hitting or pitching.

          If the starter gives up 6 in the first 3 innings, I think we can agree that the offense scoring 3 or less in that game wasn’t the fatal blow. If the pitchers hold the opponent to 1 or 2 runs and the offense can’t make a win out of that, it’s equally clear cut. I think most of the 3 or less for the offense won’t require a lot of parsing. Obviously, 3 or less isn’t “good,” but it might not be as bad as it looks every time.

  31. tbran

    September 7, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Angel Pagan — the irony in that name(obvious perhaps)cannot be overstated.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      It’s great. I’m still waiting for Jesus Satan. I’d settle for… um… help me out here, Coleman.

      • tbran

        September 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

        LOL. I like Jesus Satan even more. The football player’s name, Ahmad Bradshaw, is pedestrian.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 8, 2014 at 12:38 am

          Christian DeObblow? OK, maybe that’s not such a common surname.

  32. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Win or die, Tigers. Staying up late on a Sunday for a loss is not something I will suffer gladly.

    Thank you, Blaine Hardy. Conditionally.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:53 pm

      Romine’s last hit set up 3 Tigers runs. Luck? No more so than the pitch Hudson didn’t want to serve up to Cabrera.

  33. Vince in MN

    September 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    And Hardy puts out the fire. I hope he isn’t having a career year. One would like to think that he has room for improvement (fewer BBs). But with lefties you never know I guess (re: Phil Coke).

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Fortunately, Classic Coke is back.

  34. Kevin in Dallas

    September 7, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    A’s in an 8-18 tailspin.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Cespedes. Coincidence?

      • Vince in MN

        September 7, 2014 at 11:14 pm

        Yeah, their offense has gone into the tank since then. In those 26 games they have scored 3 runs or fewer 16 times.

      • Vince in MN

        September 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm

        Cespincidence?

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm

          That’s pretty good. If anyone read this blog, that would go moderately viral in the baseball blogosphere.

  35. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Ian strikes gold!

  36. tbran

    September 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Kinsler just showed up.

  37. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Good spot for Miggy. I see that RBI single already…

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      100!

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 11:08 pm

        All those in favor of a HR from Victor…

  38. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    When their paying like this …its good for my bad heart!…

    And once again how about Lobster tonight!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      The Lions may suit up Rock for tomorrow’s game.

  39. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Just the fact that aHardy has to sit with the Tiger blowpen all game and then come in and do a great job again is amazing in itself

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Jim Johnson. Bizarre.

      • Kevin in Dallas

        September 7, 2014 at 11:31 pm

        It’s gotta be the yips.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm

          Yeah, Dontrelle Willis came to mind.

          Some of Johnson’s stuff is unhittable, and some of it is just non-hittable.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 11:31 pm

        I went to bed, slept, got up, went to work, came home, and that Johnson 8th inning was still going. Did they postpone the Royals game?

      • tbran

        September 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm

        the Jim Johnson experiment is about over.

        • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

          September 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm

          Johnson is a Nathan understudy.

        • Smoking Loon

          September 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm

          For this evening, anyway. I prefer to think of it as “The Jim Johnson Experience.” Have you ever been experienced? Well… I have.

          • Vince in MN

            September 7, 2014 at 11:41 pm

            9IP 9BB 2HB
            All those free baserunners.

            • Smoking Loon

              September 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

              Ah, very subtle. If Jim could just get his mind together, we could all hold hands and watch the sun rise from the bottom of the sea. Not necessarily stoned, but beautiful. And he could set his glove on fire at the end of the game.

              • Vince in MN

                September 8, 2014 at 12:02 am

                ‘scuse me, while I kiss this guy.

  40. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I didn’t see it, but that must have been THE Avila strikeout of 2014.

  41. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    When it comes to strike 3 Avila is in a class by himself!!!…he has amazing moves to get it!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      The Michael Jackson of strikeouts, maybe? The K-Walk?

      • Vince in MN

        September 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

        133 for AleKKs now. How long before he passes Inge? Casty at 117 by the way. Miggy at an even 100. The last time he was 100 or more was ’09 when he finished with 107.

  42. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    The real game has begun!!!

  43. Smoking Loon

    September 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    KInsler???? Coke could have been stoned, immaculate! Kinsler throws away a triple play.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Kinsler thought there was 1 out.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 7, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        That ruins the game for me.

  44. Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    The game ends with Panik.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 8, 2014 at 12:04 am

      The Panik was avoidable! Damn.

  45. jud

    September 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Well with their backs against the wall it is at least refreshing that The Tigers ARE capable of winning…still!

  46. Vince in MN

    September 7, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    KC coming in, so tomorrow is the first day of the rest of the season. Go Tigers!

    • StorminNorman$

      September 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

      You nailed it! Funky start time (4pm) today also, especially since DET had a night game last night… so I have to give the starting pitcher (JV vs Guthrie) and ‘intangibles’ edge to KC today.

      w/the 4pm start time, in theory the die-hard DET fan could catch the Tiger game at Comerica and then head over to Ford Field for the Lions at 7:10p… could be a recipe for incredible joy and/or frustration (?)