Game 2015.23: Tigers at Royals

Breaking news, Shane Greene is not perfect. I repeat, he is not perfect.

But on some nights, Miguel Cabrera is. If you haven’t watched the Cabrera HRs from yesterday, you gotta see them on MLB videos here.  The first one was crushed to the second deck, and then he followed that up with a no-doubter to straightaway center. They were awesome to watch. While you’re on that video page, make sure you watch McCann’s inside the park HR. One of the coolest things about those MLB replays is that they play the TV replay, then follow it up with the radio call over the TV replay. Dan D is such an amazing broadcaster. We’re lucky to have him.

So Green turns in his second complete clunker in as many starts, and we’re left understanding how we got him for Robbie Ray. Whatever, as a #4, he’s still aces in my books.

Anyway, a big four game set at KC this weekend pitting the top two teams in the AL. Good benchmark for the Tigers early in this 2015 season.

Simon v. Duffy tonight

Lobstein v. (Dallas native) Chris Young tomorrow (7:10 PM central)

Price v. Volquez on Sat (6:10 PM central)

Sanches v. Vargas on Sun (1:10 PM central)

Fun fact: The Tigers are 7-2 on the road this year. The Royals are 7-2 at home.

Tonight’s Baseball-Reference game preview here and lineup below:

1. Davis, CF
2. Kinsler, 2B
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Martinez V, DH
5. Martinez J.D., LF
6. Cespedes RF
7. Casetellanos, 3B
8. McCann, C
9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2015.22: Tigers at Twins

It wasn’t cold last night, and the Tigers didn’t hit into a bunch of double plays or leave a dozen men on base. The latest winning streak came to an end because last night Cy Pelfrey baffled the Tigers to the tune of only 3 hits and 6 total base runners. Was this the first “tip your cap” game of the season? Although with no Jim Leyland around there was nobody to literally say “you have to tip your cap to him,” although Victor Martinez came close with “you have to give him credit and move on.” OK, we’ll go with that.

Speaking of Victor Martinez, there is a hole in the Tigers lineup which is like the elephant in the room. The Tigers are close to having the weakest cleanup hitter in baseball; in the American League only Minnesota is worse. The prime 4th spot in the lineup has given the Tigers this so far: .247 BA .654 OPS (which includes a paltry .301 slugging percentage) and more double plays grounded into (4) than extra base hits (2). The Tigers have been lucky so far to get surprisingly good production from their 9th and leadoff hitters, and that won’t last, which will only make the hole look bigger, and lead to more games like the game last week in Cleveland where Miguel Cabrera only got one swing in the entire game.

Things that will never happen: moving Yoenis Cespedes up to the cleanup spot until Victor gets his legs back would put a bat behind Cabrera that would actually scare pitchers now and then.

Today’s Bag O’ Lettuce Lineup:

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. James McCann C
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

Rajai is back today to try out his rested groin, James McCann replaces The Walkman, and Andrew Romine gets his first start since April 11, when he had a hit, 3 walks, and 2 stolen bases.

Game 2015.21: Tigers at Twins

By now most of you will have heard the bad news that Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which explains his absence from the broadcasting booth. Jason Beck has a collection of reactions to the news.  As Brad Ausmus says, “I can’t see Kirk Gibson folding up shop and crawling into a corner over this.” Best wishes to one of the most memorable Tigers from the Sparky era.

Well, the Tigers tried an experiment last night with the lineup, and it worked:  Jose Iglesias went nuts in the 2nd spot, with three hits including a home run (!) and a triple. People are already starting to talk about how his success isn’t sustainable (which of course it isn’t), just as his average his rookie season was a fluke, based on an abnormal number of infield hits. At a certain point though, if a guy is consistently “lucky”…well, maybe the “luck” will last a while.

At any rate, with a right-hander on the mound, the experiment is over and Iglesias takes his seat at the back of the Bottom-of-the-Order Boys section of the lineup.

Tonight’s Win-One-For-The-Gibby Lineup:

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2015.20: Tigers at Twins

The Tigers are back to winning, taking the Indians series with a 2-game winning streak, and now they get the Twins, who they dominated by a combined score of 22-1 to start the season. It would be nice to get some momentum to take on the road to Kansas City on Friday.

The victory Sunday came with a cost, however, as Rajai Davis had to leave the game with a groin strain and is day-to-day. Davis says he doesn’t “think it’s serious at all,” but you may recall Davis struggled down the stretch at the end of last season with a bad groin.

David Price laid an egg his last start, on a night on which he said he couldn’t feel his fingers. It’s should be in the high 60s in Minneapolis tonight.

Today’s Price-Is-Right Lineup:

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Hernan Perez, 3B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF

This is the most different lineup of the season so far. With Davis out, Gose plays center, but against the lefty Milone is slotted 9th, which gives Kinsler his first leadoff spot of the year. Also Iglesias moves up to 2nd, which, considering how often he puts the ball in play, should be a good spot for him. The slumping LOB machine Nick Castellanos gets a day off. The two missed pop flies in the same at bat could not have helped his cause.

Game 2015.19: Indians at Tigers

last minute Trevor Bauer scratch worked out to the Tigers advantage as they jumped on a wild T.J. House for 3 runs, 4 hits and 4 walks in 3 innings, and then rode another outstanding performance from Alfredo Simon to a 4-1 win. Poor House, he’s now allowed 9 runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 against the Tigers this year.

Simon allowed 8 baserunners in 6 2/3, and then turned the ball over to what is becoming a formidable bullpen, anchored by Joaquin Soria. Four starts into the season Simon is 4-0 with a minuscule .95 WHIP and .559 OPS against.

Lobstein takes the mound in the rubber match today; he’s in JV’s spot. Speaking of JV, is anyone else concerned about the lack of news? JV is still not pain free, but he’s still throwing and will go with the Tigers on their 10 game road trip, presumably so he can get some work in. If he’s not going to start I think I’d rather have him rehabbing with doctors at home. Once he does get to “pain free” it’s going to take a while to build up arm strength, so I really don’t see him pitching anytime in the next 2-3 weeks.

Baseball Reference Game Preview here.

1. Davis, CF
2. Kinsler, 2B
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Martinez V, DH
5. Martinez J.D. RF
6. Cespedes, LF
7. Castellanos, 3B
8. McCann, C
9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2015.18: Indians at Tigers

Well, you’re not going to win them all, but winning once every 5 days would be nice. After sprinting out of the gates to start the season with the best record in the Majors, the Tigers have slipped into the 4th best overall record, and 1.5 games behind KC in the Central. I would like to point out that the Tigers lost 4 or more games in a row 3 times last year and once in 2013, so remember that it happens. It’s a long season.

Alfredo Simon looks to right the ship this afternoon against Trevor Bauer. Bauer has been nearly flawless so far this year, allowing only 2 ER and 8 hits in 18 IP. He’s struck out 26 in that time for an eye-popping 13 K/9.

Baseball-Reference Game Preview here.

1. Davis, CF
2. Kinsler, 2B
3. Cabrera, 1B
4. Martinez V, DH
5. Martinez J.D., RF
6. Cespedes, LF
7. Avila, C
8. Castellanos, 3B
9. Iglesias, SS

 

Game 2015.17: Indians at Tigers

Well, that sucked. Second place Tigers take on the Indians. Sorry for the short note. Someone please post the lineups when avail. Headed to the Mavs game.

Game 2015.16: Yankees at Tigers

Well, there is one good thing about last night’s game. But what it is I couldn’t tell you. I guess if you were at the game, the beer stayed cold, we’ll go with that.

The Tigers turn to Anibal Sanchez to stop their first losing streak of the season, and hope to see the old Anibal, or at least not the one from the past two games. Over his last start Sanchez has only managed a combined 9.2 innings pitched, and given up 14 earned runs, including 5 long balls (he only gave up 4 HRs all of 2014).

If Sanchez struggles again this time out, the well-worked bullpen will be severely tested. The Tigers brought up a fresh arm today to help out: Ian Krol, who would be unavailable today anyway, was sent to Toledo and swapped out for right-hander Alex Wilson, who came to Detroit from Boston in the Rick Porcello trade. Wilson has yet to give up a run this season in Toledo, and is 3 for 3 in saves.

And speaking of saves, today the Tigers announced the sad news that Joe Nathan will be having season-ending Tommy John surgery. I wasn’t in any particular hurry to see Joe take the closer role back from Soria, but nonetheless this is a tough break for Nathan, and it’s hard to not see this as the end of his very good career.

Today’s Chilled-Out Lineup:

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  9. Hernan Perez, SS

Castellanos takes a step back in the order, and Iglesias gets a day off.

Game 2015.15: Yankees at Tigers

As good as Monday’s game was, the Tigers dribbled through Tuesday’s game like an egregiously under-inflated basketball.  It’s not that the game wasn’t close; The Lobster, despite a shaky start, got through 6 innings with only one run, and the Tigers went into the 7th down only 1-0. In fact Detroit had the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the 9th. But somehow this game felt different, perhaps because of the 4 double plays: seemingly every time a baserunner got on, the next guy took him off, so the game just had one of those this-isn’t-our-day feels. Maybe it was the cold, rainy weather.

Tonight should be less rainy, but even colder (it should be below 40 before the game ends), in other words even more of the same from last night. Of course we get David Price on the mound, but the starting pitching hasn’t been much of a problem this season (ahem, Anibal); lately, somehow, the problem has been scoring runs–in the last 7 games, the Tigers have scored more than 3 runs only once, which has been masked by their 5-2 record over that period.

Tonight is the polymer game of the 4-game series. Expect a lot of ground balls today, it being Earth Day and all.

Tonight’s Same As Last Night Lineup:

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Pitchers: David Price vs. Adam Warren

Nick Castellanos, who began the season at the plate in pretty aggravating fashion, has quietly begun to put up some good at bats. He is 1-for-2 against Warren, with a triple. I’m looking for the Bottom of the Order Boys to pick up the offense tonight.

In other news, Joe Nathan had to leave his rehab assignment early with a possible elbow injury, which drew a collective shrug from Tiger fans nationwide.

 

 

Game 2015.14: Yankees at Tigers

Well I hope you all got to watch last night’s game, which more than lived up to its Monday Night Baseball billing, and all in a brisk 2:20.

With great pitching and great defense on both sides, the game came down to a couple of plays, although Tom Gage found 10 pivotal points in the game.

Alfredo Simon again had a good start, but C.C. Sabathia might have been even better, picking at the boundaries of a generous strike zone, and backed by stellar outfield play and highlight catches by Gardner and Ellsbury, though they were outdone by the great play by Jose Iglesias, which even had Omar Vizquel shaking his head in wonder.

For me the pivotal point in the game wasn’t until the 8th inning. The Tigers had just taken a 2-1 lead, and the Yankees looked like they were going to take cover that run in the top of the 8th, when Didi Gregorius singled with Stephen Drew on 2nd. Rajai Davis, however, was playing an unusually shallow center, and Headley was held at 3rd, even though Davis turned out to bobble the ball. This left runners on 1st and 3rd, and ex-Yankee Joba Chamberlain promptly got a double play ball from Ellsbury, and that was that.

Well, one good win deserves another. Tonight Kyle Lobstein will don the eyeglasses as he takes on righty Nathan Eovaldi (in fact the Tigers won’t face another lefty all week).

Tonight’s Undefeated at Night Lineup:

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2015.13: Yankees at Tigers

ESPN seems to be quite fascinated by the Amazing Mets of ’15, and not too much interested in the Tigers (although they are on ESPN tonight because: Yankees). The New York Times, however, had a nice piece on the Tigers, and how they’ve managed to have a year-in year-out history of success (four consecutive division titles), with an ever-changing lineup.

By way of illustration, here are the Tigers who played in the 2012 World Series (that’s just a few months over two years ago):

Position players, sorted by number of at bats:

Omar Infante

Jhonny Peralta

Prince Fielder

Delmon Young

Miguel Cabrera

Austin Jackson

Andy Dirks

Quintin Berry

Alex Avila

Gerald Laird

Avisail Garcia

Don Kelly

Ramon Santiago

Danny Worth

Pitchers, sorted by number of innings:

Anibal Sanchez

Max Scherzer

Doug Fister

Justin Verlander

Phil Coke

Al Alburquerque

Joaquin Benoit

Octavio Dotel

Drew Smyly

Rick Porcello

Jose Valverde

That’s five total players from their 40-Man Roster, or 12.5%, in three seasons. So I’ll throw this out there: who can think of another team in any sport with four consecutive division titles with an 87.5% roster turnover?

Today’s Undefeated at Night Lineup:

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. JD Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2015: White Sox at Tigers

Well, I tuned in just in time to hear Abreu’s grand slam (man was Dan defeated the minute the ball hit the bat), which really was the icing on the cake for the White Sox. Sanchez was bad from the get go, barely getting through the 1st unscathed after stranding runners on 2nd and 3rd. He was beat up for 4 earned in the 3rd, and plastered for another 5 in the 4th while only recording 1 out. It was a throw-away game for Sanchez, and he’s going to have a few this season. On the positive side, the Tigers are rolling even in spite of his two terrible starts.

But the season marches on and the Tigers are still primed to take a series from a division foe, which is always the goal.

Someone please post the lineups in the morning.