Game 2014.162: Twins at Tigers

89-72, 1 game up, magic number is 1.

It’s pretty simple here friends. Thanks to the White Sox, the Tigers still control their own destiny, even if those evil baseball schedule makers did force us to end the seasons against the Twins.

Win and we win the division. Lose and we can still win the division, if the Royals lose. If the Royals win, we are playing in Comerica on Monday for the division. Win that, and it’s against the Orioles (on Wed, I think). Lose that, and it’s against the Mariners or Athletics in Detroit on Tues for the right to play in the ALDS.

That’s a pretty messy paragraph, so it would be much preferred that David Price step up and deliver.

David Price has been a front of the rotation pitcher in Detroit, but he hasn’t been an ace. A guy who, on a consistent basis, steps up and stops a losing streak, lets the bullpen rest, and delivers a W. Today is his chance. Last time out Price had a gem working through 8, then was charged with 3 ER in the 9th, and ended up with a no-decision. Note, he’s posting a 1.18 WHIP and .670 OPS against with the Tigers, so some luck has factored into his 3.97 ERA during that time. But Aces make it happen any way they have to.

The Twins send Kyle Gibson to the mound to close out what will be a winning head to head record against the Tigers, no matter what happens today. Gibson is 2-2 against the Tigers this season, but the Tigers have hit him hard, batting .325 with an .826 OPS for a 6.86 ERA. He’s walked 10 Tigers batters in 19 2/3 innings this season, so patience should lead to hittable pitches and walks.


In case you are wondering, the Royals – White Sox starts an hour after the Tigers game, not that will matter…

As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, spark plug Rajai Davis strained his pelvis in the batters box last night (I know that players adjust themselves a lot, but this seems excessive), and is out for a few days. He claims he’d be ready by Thursday, which is when the division series should start. Carrerra gets the start in CF, which is baffling to me, considering the consistently awful defense we see as a team. Ausmus even mentioned the poor defense in his post game interview last night. Kelly also bats left, is a significantly better fielder than Carrera, and gets on base at a better clip (.333 to .300). I just don’t get it.

Baseball Reference Game Preview here.

1. Kinsler, 2B
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Martinez, DH
5. Martinez, LF
6. Avila, C
7. Castellanos, 3B
8. Romine, SS
9. Carrera, CF

92 thoughts on “Game 2014.162: Twins at Tigers”

  1. Here’s where the Bad News part of the every-other-outing pattern for Price comes in. According to the trends he should give up 4-5 runs in the first few innings.

    I’m with you on Carrera. He does have base-stealing speed (now that Rajai is on the Pelvic Reserve list), but you’ve got to get on base to use that, something he doesn’t do much of. I will wager that we don’t see him diving for anything today.

    1. I’m OK with Carrera. No problem with Kelly in CF, either, but compensating for Davis on the bases seems to be the game plan. Could be a key, can’t fault it.

  2. I’m watching this game only provisionally and under protest. I reserve the right to turn it off at any time.

  3. An interesting mistake by Rod Allen gives us a good term for an underperforming #4 hitter: Leanup hitter. Batting leanup.

  4. I’m sure glad David Price is on the mound today. It might take 150 pitches, but this is our best chance.

  5. I had a feeling Avila was going to run into one today. I hope that’s not the last one. Really, I can just see Avila being the one to win it today.

    1. Must be. Maybe his son. Gibson has carved up Hunter, Cabrera, and Martinez so far. Something’s gotta give.

  6. A lesson in defense from the Twins. Wow. Tip of the cap for that inning. Aside from the Castellanos play at 3B by Escobar on the Kinsler single.

  7. I’m sorry but I find it so hard to believe that The Sluggos can’t reach down in the most important gane of the year and score 1 frickin run on 3 frickin hits!!!!

  8. Gibson with only 74 pitches in seven innings. Unheard of territory. Wait for your pitch Boys.

  9. Asmus use of Romine this month has been right on…..Romine and Carrera aren’t in the swing just to swing club….huge run right there!!!

  10. Yeah, I’d say this is something to celebrate. Thank goodness – simplicity. Go to ALDS, go directly to ALDS, do pass GO, do collect $200.

  11. I’m drinking champagne from my Dad’s 1968 Tiger mug. Gonna drink a Strohs and Faygo Rock ‘n Rye too.

  12. had to leave house at 1pm to manage my daughter’s softball team (they played great BTW), so I left my house when it was 1-0 in the 4th, but Price was already up to about 80 pitches… so I left with a great degree of uncertainty (bullpen) – had to leave my cell phone (OS8 issue) at home, so I was completely cut-off from the DET-MIN game… in the end it all worked out… my daughter’s team (the Tigers) won, DET Tiger won and so did the Lions – good day!

  13. No matter how you slice it, 4 consecutive Divisional Titles is a feat. It wasn’t always pretty and they angered us all from time to time but they got it done. Not too long from now we will all be looking back on these as the “good old days.” Now let’s go beat the Birds!

    1. I agree – especially in light of the fact that the bad old days weren’t that long ago (i.e., 43-119 in ’03)

      my post-season expectations for DET this year are lower than they’ve been since 2006 (in the days before there were any real post-season expectations for DET) – so hopefully they’ll shock me (everyone?) and put it all together over the next few weeks

  14. BTW, congrats to Jose Altuve for refusing to sit out the last game to save his batting title. Such honor is what make fans for a team. Well done Jose! You are a ballplayer.

  15. looking at the playoff schedule (and that’s without any rainouts), DET plays first two in BAL on Thurs – Fri, off day on Saturday, then Sunday – Monday in DET, off day on Tuesday, then Wed at BAL

    …so in theory DET could run 3-man starting rotation and still provide 3 days rest for the game 1 (& game 4) starter – and a 4 day rest for the game 2 (and game 5) starter…

    unless DET is certain Sanchez is strong/healthy, I wouldn’t go with a 4-man rotation that includes Porcello, and that’s based on Porcello’s last 6 outings (DET lost all 6) – two of those games Porcello pitched pretty well, but in 3 of the 6 outings he didn’t make it out of the 4th inning, and in the other he gave up 10 runs on 6 hits. Overall he’s had a surprisingly strong year, but since 8/31 he’s given up 26 runs in his last 31 1/3 innings – appears to have hit a wall (at least based on effectiveness).

    1. I like it…

      Scherzer, Price, Verlander, Scherzer, Price

      One would think it would be pretty hard to win a 5 game series facing both Scherzer and Price twice.

      1. …that’s the rotation I’d go with also… Scherzer might be better on 3 days rest than JV, and Price in game 2 based on his (except for today) struggles at Comerica – JV starting game 3 in DET, Sunday (game 4) back to Max, then Price game 5 (on 4 days rest)

        …also side-note, DET is on the hook w/JV for $28M through 2019, Scherzer likely won’t be back w/DET next yr… just sayin

        1. Guess the question is, is Scherzer on 3 days rest a better bet than a well-rested Porcello in game 4? If game 4 is an elimination game (for the Tigers) do you go with Scherzer on 3 days rest over Porcello?

          1. T – my call is Porcello for Game 4 elimination game or not. It’s not a foregone conclusion that Scherzer or whoever starts Game 1 cruised to victory. Maybe they got rocked or had some kind of difficult day. No matter what, I don’t want them on 3 days rest, no. 3 days rest is the stuff of WS emergency.

      2. But there are high pitch counts, a defense, and a bullpen to consider. And I think it’s been a while since the Tigers put even 3 impressive starts up in a row. So my thoughts turn to offense, pretty quiet in the Twins series.

        I see that the Tigers offensive hot streaks have consisted of one 6-game run of 5+ (late June), and another 4-game streak (even earlier). So… I think it’s gonna take a bit of everything. As it usually does, I suppose.

        I’m not as impressed with the Scherzer/Price/Verlander marquee as I used to be, or maybe as I should be.

    2. I don’t think Porcello has actually hit a wall. If there’s a Game 4, I expect he’ll be the starter for it, even if the Tigers are down 2-1. Rough outings last couple times, and I’ve obviously felt let down, but he’s legit; he’s arrived. It might be different if he was in the shadow of a near-invincible trio, but that’s not how I’d describe the other three. If Porcello is in the plan for 2015, he’s in the rotation for the 2014 postseason. My take.

      1. Loon, I suspect you’re right, and Ausmus (like JL in the past) will run a 4-man rotation…but I disagree w/the approach (namely based on Porcello’s last 6 outings, and more specifically his last two). If Porcello does pitch game 4, I really hope he proves my logic wrong.

        With the days off (travel days between venues) in the ALDS AND more importantly the narrower margin of error in the playoffs (and BAL has very good starting pitching and a great bullpen), I think DET should go w/your best 3 starters, who give DET (and their erratic bullpen) the best chance to win.

        1. SN$, no problem with a 3-man playoff rotation here, but it turns on whether those 3 are head and shoulders above your possible 4th guy. Lately or overall, I don’t think there’s an odd man out. Scherzer is the only guy seemingly free of “just don’t have it” days (what Scherzer has instead is somewhat frequent “that one inning” days).

          I really wouldn’t want to snub Rick Porcello after the season he’s had. Whether the Tigers were down or up 2-1 for Game 4, I’d start Porcello. Same for any subsequent series, unless it becomes clear that he really HAS hit the wall.

          I know we like to think in terms of the hot hand, but these trends change on a dime, and the point at which they do is something we only recognize well after the fact.

      2. Tampa shut down Drew Smyly early this season, because he is only 25 and had already pitched more innings than he ever had before. Rick Porcello is 25 and has already pitched 22 innings more this season than he ever has before. In fact I believe he’s pitched more innings than any 25 yr old in baseball.

          1. Rick Porcello has 186 career starts under his belt. He has averaged 176 innings per season prior to this season, 5 years of that starting at age 20. He pitched 197 innings when he was 22. Compare Drew Smyly. Compare any other 25 year old starter in baseball. If fatigue from “hitting the wall” was the simplest way to explain a couple poor starts in a row, it might be a better one. You know… sometimes a guy just has a couple bad starts in a row.

            We really want to shut down a guy who has more complete game shutouts (and more of each) than the rest of the staff combined? Really? Based on a wild guess about the effect of 28 extra innings (due to pitching more innings per start, not more starts) on a 6-year veteran with proven durability? Better H/9 than Verlander, rivaled only by Price in BB/9?

            It could be that Porcello really has become chronically ineffective because of fatigue or some kind of burnout. But not because he’s 25. And I don’t think the Rays would have shut Smyly down had they been in contention.

            Would you (or would you have) shut down the following for the postseason:

            Shelby Miller
            Julio Teheran
            Henderson Alvarez
            Sonny Gray
            Stephen Strasburg
            Zack Wheeler
            Drew Hutchison
            Yordano Ventura
            Madison Bumgarner
            Wily Peralta
            Jarred Cosart
            Nathan Eovaldi
            Chris Archer
            Jake Odorizzi
            Roenis Elias

            Maybe? Well, none of them come close to Porcello’s career starts and IP.

            Bingo? No bingo, I say.

            1. I’m sure Ausmus will agree with you. A 3-man rotation would be a huge slap in the face to RP after only a couple of dismal outings. I expect a 4-man rotation. But I’m also on the fence on this one. On the one hand, I fully agree it’s premature to shut down a guy who has, for the most part, dominated lineups for most of the year (he could easily have 18 or 19 wins sans dismal run support, a bullpen only slightly more impressive than the ChiSox bullpen, and a couple tough-luck loses); on the other hand, there is a nagging voice in the back of my head that doesn’t so much subscribe to the idea that Porcello has hit a wall, per se, as much as it does to the notion that he may have been over-achieving this year prior to his skid. His reliable and expected production, as a pitcher, probably lies somewhere in-between the back-to-back complete-game shut outs we’ve witnessed and his recent batting practice offerings. In other words, I see Porcello as a good solid three man or a luxury four man in a rotation stacked with Cy’s. But (and I mean no disrespect to RP), is that really the guy you want to tow the rubber in a potential elimination game? I dunno. Maybe vs. the 3-day-rest alternative.

              My main concern with Porcello is he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, so in order to be effective, he needs movement on his sinker and he needs to keep it down at the very bottom part of the zone. But that’s easier said than done. There is little margin for error; his command needs to be nearly perfect for him to dominate opposing lineups. As we’ve well seen when he gets on a roll; he can be as difficult to hit as anybody. But once he gets out of sync, he tends to press (which is normal), and his sinker either falls out of the zone and the hitters don’t bite, or it floats up when he’s desperate for strikes and it catches way too much of the plate. When Porcello is in this mode he is easily hittable.

              I would argue it’s a rhythm thing for Rick, and I just don’t think he’s figured it out 100% yet.

              1. Truly spoken, T.

                A point I wanted to make earlier was: If Game 4 is an elimination age for the Tigers, chances are that something went wrong with one of the starters we are perhaps a little overconfident in. So give Porcello the shot he’s earned. If Game 4 finds Detroit with the upper hand… give Porcello the shot he’s earned. No need to feel shaky with Mr. Game 5 (and who would that be? Verlander is the guy who’s earned the title) in your back pocket, right?

                The guys we have are the guys we have. We got here with them and can get through with them. Have to. No time for fussing and fixing now.

                Something occurs to me. Might they carry both Sanchez and Lobstein (who is eligible, no?), just in case? Probably not, but… Will they, in fact, carry Sanchez at all? Is he really up for multiple innings?

                Nathan, Alburquerque, Coke, Soria, Chamberlain… Hardy ain’t been hisself lately… Johnson? Please… Hmmm.

              1. Nobody bingos me, pal. Nobody.

                (It was actually Kevin with the bingo…)

                (I’m just kidding here, but you really never know what’s gonna set someone off. I’ve nearly come to blows over calling someone “buddy,” and being called “dude” in certain circumstances raises my hackles like you wouldn’t believe. Now I’m waiting for Coleman to go ballistic over “pal.”)

                Oh, no problem here, Officer. Just a friendly discussion about starting rotations. What do you mean, “calm down”? I *am* calm. Get your hands OFF me!

        1. The Tampa organization is probably smart that way considering when Porcello was 24 and 23 the Tigers didn’t shut him down. Why would they do it when he is 25. But then again what do the Tigers know about the use of pitchers?

  16. Amazing drama for the last week of the season..Tigers..Royals..A’s..Mariners, Alteve..Martinez…Jeter..St Louis…Dodgers…Pittsburgh..Even Zimmermans no-no

    Those that are left are let the real games begin!!!

  17. Got busy around the hacienda today to get caught up on chores so I can enjoy post season BASEBALL! I have a chance to catch either the 5th game ( if needed) of the NLDS or a game during the NLCS as we are going to be in SoCal for bro-in-law’s ( rock star) nuptials. Still dreaming of a LA- DET WS…

    1. You should have told us you could catch earlier, Jim. But you seem to be saying you’re an NL-only catcher. Hmmm.

      1. Loon- NL only due to the fact that my wife’s cousin has connects for Dodger tickets. I will be ready though, I do own a catchers mitt for left handed throwers, a rare bird indeed.

        1. If it gets to be DET-LAD, Jim, bring that mitt. Is there any way you could disguise yourself as Avila after the ambush? Remember to strike out at least twice or the jig will be up.


      I concur w/Coleman, did expect that. Buck/BAL should hire him as a bench coach/mojo for the ALDS – as Gardenhire seems to DET’s number here lately.

      I feel injuries and a depleted roster (and the Target field curse) made season #13 unlucky for Gardenhire… but then again, its a results oriented business, and the Twinkies over the past four seasons: 265-383

  18. Asmus did a better job in Sept from a managing stand point than he did the previous 8 months. I really liked how he handled the SS position. Also he was right about Coke (kinda)..and got 35 saves out of Nathan. He did make the playoffs so I am willing to cut him some slack for now. Although would I put Gardenhire or Francona in his place…..yes!…but for now he just has to keep improving his game management..just win baby!!!!

  19. How about a new thread, fellas, so we can discuss and celebrate the postseason? It’s getting kinda crowded in this one, and it’s a long way til Thursday.

    1. I’m not quite sure why Verlander is slated for game two instead of Price… but at the end of the day I guess it doesn’t matter. Maybe Ausmus is thinking Price will be better on 6 days rest instead of his standard 4 days rest.

          1. Yeah… valid considerations. Only thing that bothers me about this rotation is Price would not be available for a potential pick to pitch game 5. In my mind, all other things considered, I’d rather be choosing between Scherzer or Price if it comes down to game 5 instead of Scherzer or Verlander. All said, I really want to believe Verlander has righted the ship, but I’m not so convinced after just two outings of above-average stuff (certainly not 2011 vintage Verlander stuff). I will be very pleased, however, if these nagging “concerns” are unwarranted.

  20. A combination of Cespincidence and Trout gone fishing (wearing a Trout Mask Replica) could result in a Royals-Tigers ALCS. That’s what I’d like to see.

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